, attached to 2000-09-11

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

September always sees Massachusetts in its best mood (if all is going as planned, of course). The leaves are turning just right, the air is crisp but the sun hangs on until early evening, the Red Sox are clinching a spot in the playoffs, and Phish is ripping it up at Great Woods -  a place that will never bow down to its newer corporate name. Great Woods has a way a capturing the energy of a Phish show and holding it out in the palm of its hand. Maybe it's because Boston and the surrounding area is Phish's home away from home; there's so much history between the Commonwealth and the band. It's a relationship filled with loyalty and admiration on both sides.
You can always count on Phish to make you feel special, and they begin the show by paying homage to the great state and their loyal Masshole fans (yep, I'm born and raised) by opening with "Roadrunner": a Jonathan Richman tune that references such Massachusetts inside jokes as 128 and Stop & Shop, declaring "I'm in love with Massachusetts!" Ah, aren't we all.
The set continues to flow in waves, from energetic highs to gentle lows. Next stop is "Moma Dance", and the funk is unleashed, only to be topped by "Rift", a perennial crowd pleaser. The energy is high and "Rift" is tight. "Brian and Robert" follows, with its lullaby-like soothing quality, only to transition into a dark and stormy "Vultures". And then, of course, "Horn"! I think my body reacted like an exclamation point, I was so excited.
It's a back and forth of song moods. Bluegrass emerges as "Beauty of My Dreams" takes hold, and the crowd relaxes as it gets its fix of Page. "Ya Mar" is complete with a choppy stop and go jam that leads into a "Stash" that swells with musical improvisation. Trey has the crowd under his thumb, and we all know how much he enjoys that.
The sky is dark now; the air cooler, and the second set begins with "Chalk Dust", a rare placement for a common song. The set continues and is reminiscent of the lazy summer days of Tour 1999, as "Twist", "Piper", and "What's the Use?" follows. No one complains as the night melts into "YEM" and they jam the set to a close. The boys encore with "Good Times/ Bad Times", and the crowd reciprocates the energy. Everyone goes home happy.
On this night that was to be my last show pre-Hiatus, the boys proved to me why I keep coming back, year after year, show after show. This magical night at Great Woods exemplifies all the best of Phish's qualities: humor, mad genius, simplicity, solidity, and timelessness.
Exactly a year later our world took a horrific, unimaginable fall"...I realized a while ago that I had seen a show on 9/11 before "9/11" even existed in the way it does now. I think of this night and I'm reminded of a time before "that": happy, careless, and innocent. Just like the feeling of getting lost in the spirit of the music or the energy of a pre-show Lot.
Perhaps that's why I hold this show so close to my heart (though it could just be because I'm a sensitive and emotional chick).


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