Friday 06/03/2011 by ericwyman


The onset of summer tour has certainly produced a lot of conversation here on the blog and in the forum. First and foremost, thank you for your participation! Please don't let my conviction deter you from telling me I'm a dumbass, which I am. That being said, there has been an overwhelming discussion on what makes a good review and what doesn't. There's no real answer to that, but all I can say is that for me what follows is my opinion. It's critical in nature, but I'm not attempting to say that this is the de facto version of a show's story. We all have different experiences and we should engage in discussing our opposing viewpoints, not questioning whether they are correct. So please, let me know what you think. I feel very strongly about these ideas, but it's not a doctrine I'm putting forth.

With three shows in Bethel, NY to open the 2011 summer tour, Phish provide several standout moments over the course of last weekend. As the tour moved south to New Jersey, I was interested to see whether they pick up on the momentum of the first two shows or get sucked into the mid week vortex.

After an energy building Chalk Dust opener at PNC in Homdel, things took a dramatic shift into the second song with Roggae. I, for one, love this combination. There are times when the energy builds so high in the first three or four songs that the eventual come down feels like a lead weight. Placing up-tempo and down-tempo together creates an amazing balance, not to mention that Roggae is one of the best choices in this category. When PYITE begins, there’s a sudden uptick right back to post-CDT. Great setlist orchestration by Trey here. By the time that Sand rolled around, everyone took the opportunity to stretch out the jam a little more. Trey provides some pretty little repetition and scale work by Trey around the 6 minute mark, but listen to Page. The layer he creates here is indicative of how awesome he is playing right now and demonstrates an addition to things that I don’t think he was making previously. After this however, the wheels come off the set. While Tube was finely executed, I wholly expect it to be the next popular battle-cry for “song most in need of extending” now that Halley’s has gotten the treatment. From the beginning of Divided Sky, Trey seemed uncomfortable and at the 2:38 mark he loses the handle and just takes a break. Remarking to the crowd “I did that on purpose”. In what had to be a cathartic moment for such an irregular trouble, Trey just lets the rest of the band proceed to a point where he can easily come back in. This is one thing that makes Trey so endearing. At his core, he is still just a guy entertaining a crowd and at certain moments that speaks more to his ability than any extended jam can.

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