Friday 03/11/2016 by n00b100

N00B100 PRESENTS: MY FAVORITE SETS OF 3.0, DIRECTOR'S CUT (PART 1)

Way back in the heady days of October 2014 (before the Chilling Thrilling Sounds set, the Miami "Disease," Magnaball, and the Mexico run), I put together a list of my favorite sets from the modern era, which can be found here. I’ve updated it a few times since then, and was ready to post the latest version on the forum, but since I’m now technically part of the .net team as a jam chart contributor, I’ve decided to give back to the website that’s given me so much, and am instead putting this latest update on the blog. So here they are: my 50 favorite sets of 3.0, and 11 honorable mentions, presented ten at a time over a series of five blog posts. Up first, the honorable mentions and sets #50 - #41. Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: All of this is just one man's very subjective opinion. Feel free to discuss, disagree (gently), and point out anything I may have missed or ignored in the comments. Vive la différence!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

HM: 9/6/15 Encore, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO

From a jamming perspective, easily the least impressive set (or, well, “set”) here. But from a pure fun, pure humor, and pure emotion perspective? One of the highlights of the whole darn era. And besides, who doesn’t like a good "Keyboard Army"?

HM: 7/12/14 II, Randall’s Island, New York, NY

One of those sets that functions far better as a sum of its parts than it does when taken individually. While the "Carini," "Ghost," and "Harry Hood" from this show are all quite good, there are versions of each that I like more in 2014. But when you put them together, threaded expertly with some “breather” tunes (if one can call "Rock & Roll" a “breather”), into one six-song set of music? Baby, you’ve got a stew going. A sleeper favorite of mine for sure.

HM: 7/30/14 II, nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA

Ah, forgot about this one, didn’t you? One of the funkiest sets of the modern era, headlined by the third (and the nastiest) of the big July 2014 "Fuegos," but also featuring an actually exciting "Meatstick" and a "Piper" that moves from gruesome to blissful with 3.0’s usual ease. A high-class show from Summer 2014, albeit one sucked under the current of some better-known Summer 2014 shows.

HM: 6/7/12 II, DCU Center, Worcester, MA

One of the era's finest tour openers; maybe a bit left back in the shuffle thanks to the last three years, but still featuring a potent and exciting "Carini" -> "Taste" > "Ghost" > "Boogie On" > "If I Could" run that showed off how much the band had improved to that point. I’m fairly sure people will think I’m underrating this one, and to be honest, I’m not sure that I’m not.

HM: 1/17/16 II, Barcelo Maya Beach, Riviera Maya, MX

The Mexico run has inspired more than enough debate as it is, but I think there’s very little debate on this puppy being the highlight of the three shows, with a "Disease" and "Crosseyed" that both settle into icy late-90s type grooves. A set forever known as the "Shipwreck" set, and a possible portent of a new direction for the band.

HM: 8/7/10 II, William Randolph Hearst Theater, Berkeley, CA

If anyone remembers this set today, they’ll remember it for the monster "Light" (segued into, even!), but it’s put together very well and the "Hood" and "Suzy" are true highlights. One of the top shows of Summer 2010.

HM: 9/5/15 II, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO

I go very hard in the paint for this show, so it pains me to have it here. Dick’s 2015 is often boiled down to its final night, but a set featuring a run of the quality of "CDT" -> "Twist" > "Mercury" > "Light" should not be ignored. "Light," in particular, is the first sign that the "Drive-In Jam" had stuck with the band (we’ll get to another one soon enough).

HM: 10/31/14 III, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV

You can’t blame the band too much for both tiredness and sloppiness after what had come earlier that night, but they still managed a neat "Golden Age," cool segue into "Heavy Things" from "Tweezer," and an absolutely killer "Sand" -> "Tweezer Reprise" to close. A worthy end to one of *those* shows.

HM: 12/28/12 II, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

This "Tweezer" managed to hold the title of “Consensus Best 'Tweezer' of 3.0” for 7 months, but a six-song second set, especially one that features both "Fluffhead" and a very fine "David Bowie," shouldn’t be remembered just for that.

HM: 8/23/15 II, Magnaball, Watkins Glen, NY

Given how many sets in this era mainly gain respect for big jams, for a set whose highlight arguably isn’t its biggest jam (the "Disease") to show up here means that it’s got a lot to sell. And between the big segues, the laugh-out-loud fun of the "Twist," and that gorgeous "What’s The Use?," there’s a lot to sell for sure. Oh, by the way, we definitely haven't seen the last of this run.

HM: 8/9/15 II, Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI

The hardest omission for me; I think it says a lot about 3.0’s top-end quality that a set this good just barely misses my main list. But make no mistake, that "Waves" -> "Tweezer" and "Mike’s Song" triptych is really damn choice. We most definitely haven't seen the last of August 2015, as well.

And now, without further ado, the bottom ten of my top 50 favorite sets of 3.0!

NUMBERS 50-41

50. 6/17/11 II, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC

As noted in a previous incarnation of this list, almost a history of Phish in reverse – 3.0 punching bag "Number Line," big late-90s jam vehicles with (a stellar) "Rock & Roll" and (pretty good) "Ghost," then the early-90s with "Reba," "Icculus," Fish singing, and "YEM." Just a fun set all around.

49. 12/30/15 II, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

I think people are still bummed about "Ghost" being used as a new song sandwich, but that only really means so much when you’ve got that ridiculous "Gin," multi-part "CDT," and "Paug" -> "WTU?" -> "Paug" to deal with. Don't miss out on the "Waves," either. One of those sets that just bounces from strength to strength.

48. 10/17/14 II, Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR

My favorite tour opener of the era. A truly underrated show, distinguished by another superb "Crosseyed" that led into a lovely Type II "Harry Hood" (one of many from "Hood’s" banner year of 2014), but also featuring a cool "Carini" -> "Plasma" double shot and nifty Type 1.5 "Twist."

47. 10/30/10 II, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ

Who doesn’t like songs about hobbits and the bedding of fair maidens?

46. 10/26/13 II, DCU Arena, Worcester, MA

The first set from the legendary Fall 2013 tour, probably the pick for 3.0’s finest tour until last year. Most people would consider the big-time "Drowned" as the highlight, but I’ve always been partial to that hip-hop inflected "Light" that serves as its sidecar.

45. 6/27/10 II, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

The first of a few sets appearing on this list that were played at Merriweather Post Pavilion, which has really established itself as a must-see venue in 3.0 (odd that they’re not returning for 2016), as well as the first of a few sets played at MPP that feature great segues (hint, hint). Who doesn’t love a good teasefest?

44. 7/31/09 II, Red Rocks, Morrison, CO

It’s a bummer that they haven’t been to Red Rocks since, because I consider that run to be the moment where Phish shook off enough rust to begin the upward trend of 3.0. "Drowned" -> "C&P" is a heck of a beast, and "Fluffhead" gets taken for something of a ride, to boot. You can write off a decent amount of 2009, but this (and a few other shows) should convince you to not write off all of 2009.

43. 8/7/15 II, Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

The "Ghost" and "Hood" from this show are both quite sharp, and getting "The Lizards" mid-set is a heck of a treat. But the reputation for this show lies almost entirely in "Chalk Dust Torture" -> "Tweezer," a highlight from a year positively swimming in highlights. A Fall 2013-style set, played in Summer 2015.

42. 6/4/11 II, Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Funny how this pairing worked out. A true highlight of June 2011 (a somewhat rocky month, to say the least), with some great moments – "Steam’s" debut, an upbeat dance party out of "Sally," a really sweet "Hood" / "Have Mercy" sandwich. Hopefully this show will get more attention in the future.

41. 9/1/12 II, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO

Another set that I think people will say I grievously underrated, to which I say “well, I don’t *love* the "Light," and if you don’t *love* something like the 7/13/14 "CDT," you probably won’t think that set’s all that great, either.” The "Light" IS really good, though, as are the "Caspian" and "Golden Age," so it might just be me.

Go ahead and leave a comment below, and stay tuned for #40 - #31, coming Wednesday, March 16th!

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Comments

, comment by drshaws
drshaws I made very similar comments to a friend about 6/7/12 today. I need to find time to do a historical comparison of tour openers - I'd bet a dollar the Carini > Taste > Ghost > Boogie segment holds up well against any of them.
, comment by Runaway_Jay
Runaway_Jay that blossom set got shafted hxc. woof. i wasnt there but that set was probably my favorite of the year that i didnt attend
, comment by PhDCandidatePhishology
PhDCandidatePhishology As if I didn't already obsessively refresh the .net homepage hoping that cool blog posts appear. Love the list so far and I'm incredibly excited to read the following installments.
, comment by kidrob
kidrob I can't wait to read the rest of this list. great writing as usual. Out of the 10 listed, I think I might have to listen to the red rocks show. I have listened to almost all of 3.0, but there are definitely a lot of 2009 shows I am not familiar with still. From the HM section I want to relisten to the DCU tour opener because I remember getting home for set 2 and audio streaming, loving it and listening to it again the next day.
, comment by tensionland
tensionland Damn you gota love @n00b100. Hes always spot on and he knows his shit. Mfers givin @johnnyd a run for his money. and I love me some @johnnyd
, comment by makisupaman
makisupaman A task of this magnitude can only be accomplished with any measure of success by a very select strata of Phan, an elite cadre whose years of love and labor for this band oozes out of every keystroke. @n00b100 has clearly arrived to that Vahalla of Phish warriors over the last few years. Like watching Steph Curry of late, reading n00b's posts forces us to just sit back and marvel at someone in their prime. Look forward to the rest of this series and everything else!
, comment by harry_hoodlum
harry_hoodlum No first sets to make the cut yet? Just something I noticed
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @harry_hoodlum said:
No first sets to make the cut yet? Just something I noticed
No first sets in those posted thus far, but Phish has been relatively predictable in their setlist improvisational balance throughout 3.0, in terms of leaving most (if not all) of the heavy improvisation for the second set. There are a few exceptions to this of course (off the top of my head, 7/3/11 I, 8/31/12 I) that score highly in many fans' estimation for bringing things like segues, bust-outs, and the occasional bona fide deep exploration, BUT -- if it's all about the jams for you, as it is for many of us -- you're going to see heavy second set-bias picking favorites from 3.0 (and to be honest, much of the band's history outside of the late '90s and 2.0).
, comment by Toe2323
Toe2323 Great write up nOOb100! Looking forward to reading the rest.

Of course I always love reading your thoughts on both Phish and Dead shows and very much respect your Phish knowledge in particular as it is MUCH greater than mine! :) I also of course respect your opinion even if I don't agree on occasion which is the case with 9/1/12. 9/1 for me is still one of the VERY top shows top to bottom of 3.0 and would make my top 5 somewhere. I still hold Dicks 12 in general as the best all around run of 3.0 and at one time or another, I have considered EACH of these shows as my favorite of that weekend which goes to show just how strong each show was. It's all very subjective as you say though and there is no right or wrong when discussing our favorites of course. Great job as always though and looking forward to reading the rest!
, comment by CameToPlay
CameToPlay How am I supposed to complain about omissions when you're only doing 10 at a time?

Well done as always - Looking forward to further installments from a fellow unapologetic 3.0 lover.
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 dick's 9/1/12 should be higher up on the list imho. but summer 2012 is easily the best run of 3.0 followed by fall 2013.
, comment by CypressMikes
CypressMikes How many shows (and i guess sets) have there been in 3.0?
, comment by PhDCandidatePhishology
PhDCandidatePhishology @CypressMikes said:
How many shows (and i guess sets) have there been in 3.0?
If you don't count extended sound checks during festivals and promotional sets such as the Late Show, there have been approximately 290 shows played since 2009. Obviously, certain shows only have one set (1st night Bonnaroo 2009), while others have 3 sets (NYE and Halloween shows). Ultimately, these occurrences come close to cancelling each other out, leaving us with (rough estimate) 580 sets. Wow-E-Wow.
, comment by harry_hoodlum
harry_hoodlum Definitely agree with you there. There are a few others that come to mind for me off the bat, 5/28/11, 8/15/11, and 8/11/15, but as you said I think we'll see a majority of second sets just for the jam factor. i'm excited to see which first sets actually do make the cut though because some of them certainly deserve to be mentioned on this list (especially 07/03/11, which I hope earns its rightful place in a top 10 slot)

@ucpete said:
@harry_hoodlum said:
No first sets to make the cut yet? Just something I noticed
No first sets in those posted thus far, but Phish has been relatively predictable in their setlist improvisational balance throughout 3.0, in terms of leaving most (if not all) of the heavy improvisation for the second set. There are a few exceptions to this of course (off the top of my head, 7/3/11 I, 8/31/12 I) that score highly in many fans' estimation for bringing things like segues, bust-outs, and the occasional bona fide deep exploration, BUT -- if it's all about the jams for you, as it is for many of us -- you're going to see heavy second set-bias picking favorites from 3.0 (and to be honest, much of the band's history outside of the late '90s and 2.0).
, comment by dogogbyn
dogogbyn So nice to see 6/27/10 get some love here.
, comment by as_my_senses_bleed
as_my_senses_bleed Yes! More 3.0 love. More @N00b100 love! Congratulations on your induction/promotion. I look forward with gleeful impatience to the full unveiling of your list.
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @harry_hoodlum said:
Definitely agree with you there. There are a few others that come to mind for me off the bat, 5/28/11, 8/15/11, and 8/11/15, but as you said I think we'll see a majority of second sets just for the jam factor. i'm excited to see which first sets actually do make the cut though because some of them certainly deserve to be mentioned on this list (especially 07/03/11, which I hope earns its rightful place in a top 10 slot)
Just want to point out that @n00b100 isn't saying these are the best sets, just that they're his favorite sets. Subtle distinction, but I think it's important here in light of saying that certain sets "deserve to be mentioned" or should "earn their place in the Top 10". Because 'best' is so difficult to define here ("beauty is in the eye of the beholder", etc.), what n00b says are his favorite sets is essentially irrefutable -- it's a subjective call (as he points out in the intro). Anyway, I'm definitely curious to see where others rank certain sets and how that compares with n00b's rankings, but I think it's important to keep in my that he is in no way saying his ranking are definitive, nor do they necessarily represent anyone else's opinion but his own (even though my Top 50 sets of 3.0 and his Top 50 sets of 3.0 would probably share a great deal of overlap).
, comment by weewaw
weewaw sweet rankings, @noob100!
Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the shows I attended end up stacking up, and to see what your favorite sets were.

I greatly enjoyed 6/17/11 - just an amazingly fun close-to-home show with friends, lots of hilarious Trey-speak, my first R&R. So much fun that we all decided to drive up to Raleigh the next night on the spur of the moment the next morning. Only me and one other girl went in, and i promptly passed out on our lawn blanket for at least fifteen to twenty minutes during one or both sets.
8/23/15 was fun, too; the DWD doesn't get as much play as the MMonster, SaSS > WTU > Dirt, or as the Twist > ending. Overall, still a solid, positive vibey set to cap an amazing weekend.
12/30/15 was also great - my first show since Magnaball, and my first with my friends since atl2, and our first visit to NYC. Just such positive personal memories surrounding the trip, and then we get this second set. I remember thinking that the CDT was going so deep and almost hit magna core, the ghost sandwich was awkward but fun and smiley-face inducing, and the WTU also brought back memories of magna.

Anyway, thanks for posting/ abusing your authority!
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 @PhDCandidatePhishology said:
@CypressMikes said:
How many shows (and i guess sets) have there been in 3.0?
If you don't count extended sound checks during festivals and promotional sets such as the Late Show, there have been approximately 290 shows played since 2009. Obviously, certain shows only have one set (1st night Bonnaroo 2009), while others have 3 sets (NYE and Halloween shows). Ultimately, these occurrences come close to cancelling each other out, leaving us with (rough estimate) 580 sets. Wow-E-Wow.
I figured I'd give it a full count, just because I was curious about it as well, and let's see how my math is:

2009: 50 shows, 101 sets (Bonnaroo's first show is cancelled out by 11/1 having 3 sets, and 12/31 accounts for the extra set).
2010: 48 shows, 97 sets (Austin City Limits is cancelled out by 10/31, and 12/31 accounts for the extra set).
2011: 39 shows, 80 sets (12/31 and 7/2 account for the extra sets).
2012: 37 shows, 75 sets (12/31 accounts for the extra set).
2013: 41 shows, 84 sets (7/19 is cancelled out by 7/20; 10/31 and 12/31 account for the extra sets).
2014: 40 shows, 81 sets (the Letterman set - which counts for stat purposes, so I consider it to be a "show" - is cancelled out by 10/31, and 12/31 accounts for the extra set).
2015: 30 shows, 63 sets (8/22 and 12/31 account for 2 of the extra sets; for the purposes of this exercise, I'm counting 9/6's encore as a set, even though it's really not).
2016: 5 shows, 10 sets (so far).

Grand total of 3.0: 290 shows, 591 sets (590 official ones). Pretty close, @PhDCandidatePhishology.

So, for the purposes of these blog posts, 61 sets represents just over 10% of all sets played in this era, so we're talking the 90th percentile and up of all sets played between 2009 and 2015. The best of the best, so to speak.
, comment by fhqwhgads
fhqwhgads Bring in the 2'd (I.e. I'm ready for parts 2-5 already!)
, comment by RobPJohnson3
RobPJohnson3 On the first set tangent, Set 1 of 7/31/15 is a very, very strong set of music, including a 13 minute Type 2 Ghost that would already have a statue in its honor if it was played in the 2nd set of a festival or NYE run.

The Kill Devil Falls and Tweezer jams get most of the love from that Atlanta run, but you could argue 7/31/15 Set One was the best set of the weekend.
, comment by gingerphish
gingerphish Thanks @n00b100 this is definitely going to inspire me to check out more early 3.0. My knowledge is most '12 and on. As also much appreciated.
, comment by gingerphish
gingerphish *always
, comment by bptw331
bptw331 @RobPJohnson3 said:
On the first set tangent, Set 1 of 7/31/15 is a very, very strong set of music, including a 13 minute Type 2 Ghost that would already have a statue in its honor if it was played in the 2nd set of a festival or NYE run.

The Kill Devil Falls and Tweezer jams get most of the love from that Atlanta run, but you could argue 7/31/15 Set One was the best set of the weekend.
, comment by bptw331
bptw331 That Ghost was killer and that first set really set the stage for the rest of the southern run. MY favorite of the tour by far
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 @RobPJohnson3 said:
On the first set tangent, Set 1 of 7/31/15 is a very, very strong set of music, including a 13 minute Type 2 Ghost that would already have a statue in its honor if it was played in the 2nd set of a festival or NYE run.

The Kill Devil Falls and Tweezer jams get most of the love from that Atlanta run, but you could argue 7/31/15 Set One was the best set of the weekend.
Trust me, man, you don't need to convince me on the worth of that Ghost (http://forum.phish.net/forum/show/1376404510), and I certainly agree that 7/31/15 I is a strong set of music. As far as it being the best set of the weekend, well...
, comment by bfy222
bfy222 Wondering if 6/3/11 is higher than 6/4/11 or left off the list entirely. I would disagree either way
, comment by harroldHOOD
harroldHOOD Way too much 2009 for my taste but I enjoyed the write up.
, comment by cerqs
cerqs Nice job
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 @harroldHOOD said:
Way too much 2009 for my taste but I enjoyed the write up.
I chuckled.
, comment by Junta83001
Junta83001 Hard to fathom not *loving* the Dick's 12 Light but to each his own. In my estimation the opening 46 minute segment of that set is up there with anything they've ever done...and Light anchored it...
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