, attached to 2009-08-05

Review by benjaminjam

benjaminjam The only show of the summer that I got to see. Since I was there for all three Hampton shows, I didn't feel any let down whatsoever, and it was honestly my own personal schedule that prevented me from hiking north to the Gorge or trekking east to Red Rocks.

Some people seemed let down by this show, but not me and the posse I rolled in with. Among us were my buddy Eric who had convinced me to come to my first show in this self-same venue in 1998 and then we trucked it on down to Venture County Fairgrounds where what remained of my psyche was funked out during one of the best Bathtub Gin's I've ever borne witness to.

But I digress, Myself, Eric, Matt and Christi all were on the lawn. Very mellow scene, as always, at a Cali show. Seeing as we're all from the Long Beach area, we drove up and back in 48 hours. Awesome.

Set one opened with a welcome Golgi (my friend Eric named a pet lizard and it's one of his favorite tune, I mention this as his faith in the band had been steadily falling since the first hiatus). As mentioned above (and in my mind worth mentioning in the show notes as it may have a bearing on what the Musical Costume will be played in Indio) were the giant planes, reminescent of c-17s. During Halley's they returned and again later in the 1st set. A prelude to Hunky Dory? Only time will tell. A short Comet ride brought us into a blistering Chalkdust Torture, a song I have never heard a bad version of yet. I just wish they'd do the Torture Reprise again, I find it hilarious and rocking, which is generally Phish at it's best.

Divided Sky was solid, I like that they're not over doing the deedelah part at the end as much as in versions past. Not that I don't like the deedelah, but when you know it's coming it's anti-climatic like if you whip out the handcuffs every time it's time to lay down with your girl. I like to be fooled when I'm dancing to some live Phish, take the left when we're all thinking right, not the easiest thing to do, but this band does it more than most. Better, too

I will never be bummed to hear When the Circus Comes. Ever. It is a great song and Trey's voice was beautiful and I don't often think or say or write that. If sobriety has brought the crooner out in Mr. Anastasio, add it to the list of positives.

As well as this song should be added to that list. Some people don't like Time Turns Elastic and that's fine, but I happen to love it. I love it's progression, I love it's lyrics and I really love how it ends. The whole last 8 minutes of this epic composition are some of the most beautiful, dark moments in rock that I've heard in a looooooong time. Like Backwards Down the Number Line, people dissing this song now will eat crow in the future, mark my words. To be honest, the band is still finding it's footing in this song live, but only in certain sections. I also find it strange that folks have been clamoring for an epic Anastasio compostition since Guyute, they get one, and promptly complain. Enjoy the moment or hit the head, but leave me to my dancing!

Enough finger wagging. The band continued grooving with a thick, syruppy Ya Mar, got us going again with another of my favorites off the new album (I actually like the whole album, there's not a weak song on it. Like Hoist, people will throw it on and think, "How come I didn't like this the first time?" 'Cause in the words of Mike Gordon, we're 'Jaded', conditioned to experience disappointment before Joy.) Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, just about everyone has reviweed this song positively and throw my hat in that ring too. It just flat out rocks. So much so I was banging my head and flashing my devil fingers. Suzy was sweet, funky in places, but was wrapped in too neat a package for this fan. I like a little slop here and there and this song has been too clean, for me. So far.

One thing about Phish 3.0 that should be remembered, there are no longer 45 minute set breaks. It feels a lot closer to 15 minutes. As you may guess, I was in the beer line when I heard the opening strains of Backwards Down the Number Line. I got back to my lawn spot just as Down With Disease reached the outro jam and rocked my buns off. This Disease was sizzlingly hot! It moved nicely into a great Limb By Limb. This was a song that in the 90's I'd be a little bummed at first when it statred but by the end would always find myself jumping and dancing like the jumpin' dancin' fool I am. This time I wasn't bummed at all, it's a solid Phish tune with some soaring parts that can either crash and burn or get the crowd amped for what's next. Tonights was the latter.

Oh! Sweet Nuthin' was from way out of left field. It was a perfect slow/not slow song. It was almost like Phish was trying on all of their old musical costumes during the tour as if to see what would still fit and this beauty fits like a glove. Scan the setlists and you'll see Drowned (a not uncommon tune), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (not as common, but played), Rock 'n' Roll (commonish) and Crosseyed and Painless (not common enough, dammit!). One from every costume, seeing as they played this later in the tour I'd expect a few others to pop up every now and then.

Or maybe not.

After some soothing rock we got a bomb dropped on us Cities>Maze and it was all that and a cup of coffee. This was a great combo and it got the whole crowd right back into it. The Mike's>Simple>Weekapaug proved, once again, that this band can still kick your teeth in while shaking your hand and making you an herbal smoothy. Or something like that.

The encore left us all wanting a little bit more as the energy in the arena fizzled like a dying balloon at the opening lyrics of Let Me Lie. I like this song (mainly because I like bikes and songs about bikes), but I thought it could have come earlier, say after Oh! Sweet Nuthin' and been better recieved, especially given the epicness that luirked around the corner. But again, that's one of the aspects of this band that I love, their 'damn the torpedoes!' attitude. They'll open the encore with a sweet song about baring one's soul to the world and not asking for anyone's approval. Then we asked the Axis and he took us home.

Aside from an abbreviated Halley's (the first one I ever got was the mega-funked out one at Venture '98, it's still my favorite) I had narry a critique of this show. I danced, I grooved, I missed Backwards but there'll be more. My friends had a great time and so did everyone around us. Now Indio beckons and I think I'll see you there. Look for the Giant Mole yelling "Andelman's Yard!" Mike side.
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