Phish.net welcomes Tim Kelleher - @timkell - to recap Night 7 of the Baker's Dozen.
We’ve made it through a good number of donuts, and here on night seven of The Baker’s Dozen our long anticipated cinnamon donut gets the call - Cinnamon Glazed to be precise. There’s been so much great music so far, I’m no longer the least bit anxious about whether we will see a good show each night. These are going to be good. And we will be happy. This much I know.
We walk in plenty early through our secret fast entrance no one’s yet found (woohoo!) and see our usual crew in 118. It’s nice getting to know everyone in our section over the run, and I’m genuinely surprised at the number of people hitting so many nights. Chatting before the start, we are all positive we will hear Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” tonight. Other than that it’s wide open, and I’ve become completely clueless about what to expect each night. All I expect now is a big smile when the show is over. That’s a given. As the lights go down, we are advised by a creepy voice to not eat the brown donuts. No problem, Phish, I hear you ran out of donuts at 6:15.
And here we go!
Always nice to start a show off with a rip roaring “Llama” and this one didn’t disappoint. Next comes “Wilson”, which didn’t get the bonkers reaction that 12/30/16 did, but it was a great version. I don’t think we were quite ready yet to scream our heads off. Sorry Phish. Once the “Wilson” lyrics finished, I leaned over to my brother and said, “and fifteen minutes later, "Wilson" ends,” because ... Baker’s Dozen. Not fifteen, but we got six minutes of darkness that maybe you could even call type II? It was a blast. Don’t sleep on this “Wilson.” Awkward transition into “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” but it settled in nicely. “Stealing Time” always works for me, so I was glad to hear it. Next up, “Ya Mar!” Great tune and a fun groove, but never one to anchor a set, right? At this point, I’m thinking we’ll have a nice light set with nothing to write home about and we’ll look for the real mustard in Set II. Fine by me I’m more than satisfied this week already.
Silence, anticipation, debate on stage, Mike and Trey talking earnestly, and what comes after this debate? “TELA!!!” My white whale. Tela!
Long time Phish fans know what it means to bare those scarlet letters of shame. Yes, I’ve seen 74 shows and some great ones. My first was way back in 1994. But open my closet and there sits the shame of zero “Telas,” disturbing my slumber. After five years you notice and think, “That’s weird.” After ten, you tell yourself you don’t even like that song and who cares. After 20, you just don’t bring it up and you HATE that song! No more! Show 75 and I finally got me a Tela! I tell everyone around me how awesome I’ve now become having seen “Tela,” and they can’t help but agree. I insist they stop genuflecting, and we all dance our merry dance. These are the fun random events of Phish fandom. Well played, patient version. Happy to check that box off my list and everyone within twenty yards pretended to be happy for me as well. Still waiting for the free beers guys.
“The Birds” is up next with far too many “They attacks” for things to get weird at all. Perfectly fine and quickly onto that all time classic “The Line." I have no complaints - they’ve earned it.
Next we blow through a straight played “Water In the Sky”, and before the pee breakers even have a chance to flush we’re into “Vultures”, my first since 1999. Definitely got the crowd excited, but we’re still generally in the “nothing to write home about” phase of this show.
On to “Train Song”, which was well played and very pretty I must say. Next up, “Horn”. OK Phish, that’s a bunch of straight played songs to end this set. And it must be over because it’s late. Eh, that was decent, but nothing like last few days. Wait. Another one? Hmm, it’s probably “Antelope” which is fine by me. But I hear the spooky organ line, come to a realization, and check my boxers … No way!!! “I am the Walrus” - for the fourth time ever! Huge roar all over MSG. They nailed it and the crowd ate it up. Total surprise and it worked great. Killer finish to set 1!
Set Break: We get our fixins, take care of business. We get back to our seats and chill to the sounds of The Beastie Boys - The in Sound From Way Out. Nice choice guys.
Set two: “Blaze On” - I have not grown to love this song, but the jams have been amazing, so I accept it. I suffer through the composed section and at 5 minutes I proceed to dance my fool head off for 18 more minutes. This “Blaze On” is fantastic. Put ‘er in the bin with the other classics for this run. Nice really chill and interesting back and forth with Trey and Page here. They stay pretty even keeled throughout and just keep the momentum going without forcing a peak. My favorite kind of Phish. Mid tempo and avoiding the huge peaks as long as possible. No idea is explored for more than two minutes until someone adds a new wrinkle. Endless subtle changes throughout. Not much bliss here for you bliss bashers! Plenty of space for everyone to do their thing. Great stuff here.
“Twenty Years Later“- We need this and "46 Days" to make friends. I’m obsessed with dark Trey and bird-screech-screaming-guitar Trey, and he’s got it in spades in this one. Love it.
Next is “Alumni Blues.” Meh. Saw this last summer for the first time ever. Old hat. Kidding! There were smiles all around for this little sandwich of “Alumni” and “Letter to Jimmy Page." The second “Alumni” section had some extra mustard.
First notes of “Meatstick” and my groove is on! I keep hearing rumors that lots of people don’t like “Meatstick.” Who are these people? They need to be… corrected. The crowd loved “Meatstick” and the funk was flowing.
Next up is a quick and beautiful “Dirt”, but we all know something else is coming...
“Harry Hood!” We got a tease of the end of “Hood” last night in that “Chalk Dust Torture” and here it is again! Guess they liked that feeling last night. Beautiful. Surprising. When was the last truly surprising “Hood?” Trey nailed the composed section right up until the last bit which he really crunched, but man this jam is beautiful. I think I’ll pick this as tops of the night, but if you want to pick “Blaze On” you are welcome to.
Encore time - what will it be? Oh, we all know by now. We need some Cinnamon. Here it is! “Cinnamon Girl!” Last time I saw this was the last time Phish played it, two days less than 20 years ago. 7/31/97. One hell of a show. Not a surprise at this point, but it was more than welcome. Definitely proto-grunge. It is a great tune and a totally satisfying encore.
Night 7 is in the books and what else needs to be said about this run? Our favorite band is in peak form. Enjoy it folks.
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