[We would like to thank user Suzy Barros for recapping last night's show.]
Being a relatively new resident of SC I was especially excited when the Charleston shows got announced as a 3 night run at the end of this fun unexpected Island toury 2019 revamp replete with wildly controversial Sirius XM “OH MY GOD PHISH IS SELLING OUT WHAT WILL WE DO” gig. I thought all of the shows thus far had had lots of good playing and fun song selection (especially once it was figured out that there would be no repeats). The drawback of no repeats being of course that you have, say your "Ghost" which I enjoyed the hell out of as a Nassau opener and thought it had a really lovely bliss jam thrown in there but now there won’t be any 18-minute dark mind expanding/exploding "Ghost" to look forward to. The other drawback being (and you can call this a drawback or a plus depending on what songs are played I guess) but it makes for an even more schizophrenic than usual setlist as in tonight’s situation. With Phish you just gotta take what they give you and hope for the best.
Last night turned out to be one of the hottest tix in recent memory, this wasn’t a tickets on the ground situation at all. Coupled with the fact that the GA element makes for an especially crazy tension at doors there was an especially keyed up pre-show atmosphere. The opening strains of “Fluffhead” drew a big roar from the crowd, with any technical flubs easily being able to be excused for giving us such a beloved fan fave old school treat right out of the gate. I am apparently not expressing a super popular opinion when I say that I love “Ocelot” but whatever, I love that little slinky feline. Nice little bluegrass break with “Nellie Kane” into “The Dogs” and I forget how much I like that song, it’s a hot as hell jam, sheeet. Finally the second monster tune everybody had been expecting and waiting for, Ms “Reba” herself. Nothing so exceptional about it, but very well played composed and a lovely as usual jam. Page took us “Halfway To The Moon” before passing us off to Mike to take us on the “Train Song”. Then (sad trombone sound for me), “Guyute” which, I don’t know. I’m happy for everybody that loves it, I really am. Yay "Guyute." Then another sad trombone sound with “Strange Design” which I spent the entire duration of trying to figure out what they would play for set closer, my prediction of "Walls of the Cave" getting knocked out by a killer “Moonage Daydream”. Why the hell don’t they play that more often?? Sure it’s rusty but I feel like it could turn into a welcome setlist rocker if they played it more. Anyway, solid enough first set, nothing like the first night but not bad either.
I was literally just thinking about “The Connection” recently! And it was in my head all day and was the most annoying thing in the world. So obviously I was super happy they decided to kick off 2nd set with it (kidding kidding all you "Connection" fans out there I can deal with a "Connection" every five years or so.) I got to catch the “Mr Completely” in Camden this summer which was only my second time seeing it not being a big TAB person so I was very pleased when they dropped into it although there seemed to be some type of tempo issues going on at the beginning. But Finally! A jam. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I was ready for a jam at this point. And a long and lovely jam it was, getting pretty nasty and funkified and then pretty spacey and trippy. The other solid second set jam vehicle many of had been calling and hoping for came next with “Crosseyed and Painless”. I feel like it didn’t have quite the punch or excitement like it would have if it had been the set opener but hey it’s still "Crosseyed." Jam got a little weird, Mike was doing all these funky ass bass moves and then it was like Trey started signaling to go into something else, but maybe it was something they had already played and he was like oh shit, can’t do that, let me just noodle around for a second. Kind of a mess. The good thing about finding your way out of a mess is sometimes it inspires you to play "Little Drummer Boy" (words to live by). They full on played it, no teasing (literally). Then the "Little Drummer Boy" had to go to war or something instead of drumming for Baby Jesus because shit got way dark for a couple secs and then I guess the "Little Drummer Boy" died and had to go be buried in the “Dirt” which was an extremely odd juxtaposition of songs but hey Phish. I think of all the Kasvot Vaxt songs “Cool Amber and Mercury” was my least favorite, which was something I felt even during it’s debut, it was the least oddball of all the tunes, like they couldn’t do just ten wacky tunes, Trey had to have a little cheese situation going on, but they took this version out for a bit of a walk which was nice. Started getting pretty interesting towards the end and could possibly have gone deep but I obviously had no issue with what came next. I had one of two personal freakouts of the night when they dropped into “Split Open and Melt”, something I was soooooooo excited they hadn’t played yet, it being one of my all-timers. I don’t even know what in the hell is going on at 6:30 but hello aliens, welcome to Charleston, I recommend brunch at Poogan’s, get the deviled crab omelet. Surprise surprise the wackiness continued and wound up remorphing back into "Little Drummer" before more just hard core alien chilling, at around 12:15 Trey starts doing a little noodling and for a sec sounds like he wants to go back into "Mr Completely" before hitting on wanting to go back to "Crosseyed." Anyway, it needed to be returned to after having been waylaid by the "Little Drummer Boy," so we get a little "Crosseyed" action before dropping into the "SOAM" ending. Mwah, perfection. More sad trombone for “Life Beyond the Dream”, which they redeemed (or at least attempted to lol) with a “Wilson” followup and then a “Squirming Coil” closer which was lovely as usual.
Return to stage in the acapella formation which my seatmate correctly called as “Grind” and now they’re 80,000 something days old, ok boomers. Second freakout of the night commenced with the emergence of the keytar for a SICK AF “Frankenstein”, yes!!!!! So happy to have gotten a "Sloth" and "Frankenstein" in this run, I miss those songs.
Anyway to answer your questions, yes we were at the same show, yes I can still have fun, yes I do actually love the band and their music and do I think this is going to wind up being the weakest show of the Charleston run? Yes and am I totally 10000% fine and happy with that? Yes yes and more yes. Thank you Phish for doing this fun mid fall-winter run whatever it is, it has been a blast and wooot can’t wait for tonight.
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