[This recap is courtesy of Aaron Presuhn (@presuhn). Please note that the opinions expressed in blog posts like this one are not necessarily shared by any of the volunteers who work on Phish.net. -Ed.]
Merriweather Post Pavilion. It’s kinda my home venue. I live closer to Star Lake in Burgettstown, but the Phish have ignored that shed for a while now (please come back!). Haven’t missed an MPP show since my first one there in 2000. Quite a few fun shows here!
I went in expecting a downpour because, you know, all it’s done for the past month in the northeast is rain. But we ended up having a beautiful, sunny day. It really felt like summer for the first time this year. Parking was weird, and the police presence was more than I remember from last year. There are assigned lots now, but everyone seems to ignore them. My lot was blocked off anyway, so we just drove around until finding something open.
After chilling and having a few beers, we headed in. Walking through Symphony Woods is always a nice little break from the urban sprawl that surrounds the venue. We bought a beer and walked up the end of the lawn as “Undermind” started. I’m a 2.0 mark and thought this was a great way to start the set. Dancing began immediately and continued as the band flowed smoothly into “Tube.” Was it jammed?! Not particularly, but it still featured a nice little low key groove and some cool page and mike interplay.
After this we made our way down the lawn to meet up with some friends. The lawn is small, and was packed...more so than I remember from past years. “Funky Bitch” was up next and continued the dance party. Always a welcome tune. And “Steam”? It's a personal favorite of the newer songs. Groovy and slinky, this one clocked in at about 11 minutes and had some fiery Trey riffing at the end. We slide smoothly into “My Sweet One” and then quickly into “NICU.” Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember a "PLAY IT LEO!!!" from Trey in this version.
Up next was the Phish debut of “Friend.” I have to admit I’m not as familiar with Ghost Of The Forest material as I probably should be at this point, but the song was a pretty little Trey ballad. I thought the lyrics to this song were particularly poignant.
Time for Mike’s Favorite Song To Play..."NMINML!" Trey seemed particularly on fire in this version and it was 10 minutes of great first set type 1 jamming. We were then treated to “The Horse” and “Silent In The Morning” before what I thought would be the set-ending “David Bowie.” Is it "Bowie?" Is it "Maze?" Yeah . . . super quick intro established the former.
But that was not to be the closer. “The Squirming Coil” to end the set was beautiful. Page took his solo and left the stage to thunderous applause. I didn’t, however, get my dream of a Coil solo -> Nobody Home.
I actually had a pavilion seat, so for the second set, I went down. I was in line for a beer when “Ghost” started up. It’s my favorite Phish song, sooooo . . . I didn’t need an overpriced beer. Found my seat which was about halfway back and center right of the stage. Great view and great spot to rage, which is what this ghost did in spades. It quickly moved into some major key bliss jamming. Back into great Fish-led percussive beats with Page doing some cool synth sounds.
A rocking ending to Ghost led into “Axilla.” If you weren’t raging hard already, you were then. That song f**ks. Hard. Next up we have “Set Your Soul Free," the second centerpiece of the evening. I’m not particularly a big fan of the song itself, but the ensuing jam was nice. Patient, full-band jamming for about 14 minutes winded down into “What’s The Use.” I will never NOT love this song. It’s experienced a renaissance in the past few years, and the band always seems to place it perfectly.
After that gorgeous song is “Billy Breathes.” Only the second time I’ve seen it and it was a nice breather. See what I did there?
“Death Don’t Hurt Very Long” is absolutely my favorite Kasvot song. It jumped out at me the moment I first heard it and it was a treat to finally hear it live. Page being all dirty on the keys, a screaming Fishman...what’s not to love about this song?
“Backwards Down The Number Line” is fun to hear. Sometimes they don’t play it when I wan’t to hear it, but it worked for me in this slot. “Harry Hood” was great as usual. “Rise/Come Together” is a fun song. I think Trey forgot some lyrics at the beginning, but we’ll forgive him. I can’t leave my house without forgetting my car keys most of the time.
“Golgi Apparatus” put a rocking cap on the set. For the encore I left my seat and went up to the end of the pavilion for some space. “Bug” was danceable, and I rocked out so hard for “Character Zero.” I like to give that song crap, but man, in that moment I loved it.
Overall I thought it was a good show with a few standout songs, some great jamming in "Ghost" and "SYSF." I’ll give a shout-out to Kuroda and the lights. They’re always awesome and on point.
Onward to Sunday. You probably don’t want to miss it.
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