We live in a world where I have seen/heard easily 100 shows live from home and this was another. I personally have never been to Jones Beach, so this review will not be about the vibes or the lovely breezes, or any interstellar interactions. I’m sure the (insert classic Long Island food item) tasted extra sweet/savory and the beverages were flowing like the nearby Carmen’s River.
We start the night with "Mike’s Song," which is noteworthy mostly because what follows is the longest jam of the night instead of opting for a more traditional "Mike’s Groove" segment. Wolfie finds a chill funk groove with a bit of swing from Fishman as Trey starts to layer some effects into his tone. He pulls back to a cleaner tone and Page finds some energy on the baby grand, extra mustard seemingly emanating from his shirt. When Page switches to the organ, the band turns a corner through a heavier, more evil zone. The jam heads into a "Sigma Oasis" feel and then continues evolving. Page begins to add some sonic textures that hint at a spacey take-off point but instead we find ourselves in "Ya Mar."
"46 Days" immediately locks in from the instant the jam section starts. Fishman really comes alive here, building a beat that incorporates the toms while Page hammers on the bb grand again. After the return to the lyrics it looks and sounds like Trey wanted to start another jam. Fishman didn't get the memo, and his beat falls apart as he looks for a clue about where to go next.
"Something Living Here" appears for the first time since Halloween. A very active Fishman on the wood blocks and more funk pushes the end of this song into an "Undermind" kind of feel.
"Axilla (Part II)" doesn’t find the creepy sonic space that recent versions do, probably because Trey invites Kuroda to shine that thing in his face as a belated birthday treat. CK5 has earned all the treats because even from the couch, the lights have been absolutely phenomenal on the larger stages of this summer tour. "Axilla" fizzles into an oddly placed "Circus."
"Antelope" begins with Fishman exploring what I assume are some of the factory sounds on his drum pad. He fully commits to the bit and keeps it up for almost the entire first section of the song. The delicate midsection jam has more samples from Fish, who is unable to crack Trey's concentration as he continues his lead story. Purple tones lead to red as the dissonance picks up. The lights in this section are insane; chasing each other around and flickering until the tension splits and leaves us “right near da beach, boyyy” Get it? Jones Beach? Trey finally smiles at one of the samples and the song and set conclude.
No mens jam begins with lots of energy from Mike and Page and Trey plays rhythm…for a bit. Groove fully established, he begins patiently building a new story. The band collectively turns a corner and Trey plays a familiar pattern reminiscent of "Blister in the Sun." Everything locks into place. Fish tickles the snare drum and ride cymbal, leaving space for the others to find their vocies. They achieve "Type II" territory and it feels "Crosseyed" adjacent for a bit before dissolving into a more spacious place. This gives way to "Down With Disease."
The highlight of the "Disease" is the periods of modulation between minor and major and then back to minor. Mike starts making noise similar to the opening of the song and it gets really evil and spacey for like 5 seconds and everyone thinks, “Great, the aliens are finally here.” (they weren't)
"Don’t Doubt Me" becomes the second song from Sci-Fi Night to make its second appearance. Two humans in the front row were wearing Genuine Asshole shirts. Later they would toss one of the neon shirts to Trey. Don’t doubt me is the 200th unique song played by Phish so far in 2022. This song feels unfinished and unpracticed. Fishman mumbles about doubt and “how can anyone keep up?” The jam takes off quickly and Mike, Page, and Fishman begin to rumble in what feels to Trey like "Golden Age" so he pushes it in that direction. This felt like a missed opportunity to explore the space they had just found.
"Golden Age" is chill(?) for several minutes and finds a nice quiet space to funk in. JB2 ‘22: Chill funk. The band searches for a while and when nothing comes, we land into "Lifeboy."
"Fluffhead" follows and is played well. Fishman grunts “Life is just a bundle of joy?” etc.
The song finishes and "Weekapaug Groove" starts. Oh I get it, from before. The decision to make the whole show exist inside "Mike’s Groove" only works if the 'Groove comes at the right time and with the right energy.
In "Slave," Trey jumps the gun and sees the city and zoo a lil bit early.
The last several shows have seen some great jams and growth that just didn’t happen tonight. There were four jams in the range of 12:20-13:36, but nothing longer. I don’t think there is really anything that will pull me back for another listen. This was kind of the chill funk night on tour. If you were going to choose a night to eat a bunch of edibles and chill this was the perfect night for it. Classic Wednesday night in Long Island tbh.
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