, attached to 2011-09-04

Review by ColForbin

ColForbin After hearing the soundcheck (curiously a SBD leak - how did that happen?) where the band was working out Gillian Welch's The Way it Goes, I made a last minute decision to buy the webcast. Couldn't find my DVI->HDMI cable, so it ended up being desk tour instead of couch tour for me.

Maze and Back on the Train were very well-played, and made for an extremely high energy/danceable start of the show, but I'll admit I didn't really start feeling this set until the Gin. This Gin was really smoking, not quite as amazing as the Golden Age Gin from Bethel, but a top version to be sure. Neat little Low Rider tease from Trey at the very end, didn't catch it live but clear as day on re-listening. The Way it Goes had a cool arrangement (on the album, it's only 2 guitars), but Mike and Trey's voices don't quite live up to the original. It's clear this version was played with a lot of love, however, particularly on Mike's part, who has covered Welch with his solo project before. Halfway to the Moon is such a great song, great use of Page on vocals, just hope it shows up more in the future. The rest of the set was somewhat typical set 1 fare, although some of the transitions between the songs were cool.

Set 2 is where this show really shines. Rock and Roll was spectacular, with an incredibly surprising and random and cool segue into Come Together. As I wrote on twitter when it happened: *jaw drops*. It was a pretty messy version, but for a song they've only played once before, it was a hell of a lot of fun. Twist is relatively short, but the extended tease of Low Rider was awesome - and in retrospect, after noticing the brief tease by Trey in Gin, it is one of my favorite things Phish does - take an idea and reference it repeatedly through a show (i.e. the Wipeout show). Piper has to be heard to be believed; whether or not the jam is teasing Roadrunner (I think not) it is still great when the band latches on to a theme like that, and whenever you start getting incomprehensible vocals from Trey in a jam you know it is a good one. I love that the Page's theremin has gone from being a novelty to showing up in awesome jams and lending some spacey textures. Harry Hood and Roggae with both played at a very high level, and shouldn't be overlooked given the greatness in the rest of the set. Ghost started off at an extremely high tempo and continued to rage and then Fishman started singing the words "Guy Forget." Eventually the band caught on and played the second version of Guy Forget ever (might have to turn in my fan card for this, but I had never heard the original up to this point). Just a great segue. Walls of the Cave is one of my favorite 2.0 songs, and they have really breathed new life into it this summer to the point where it is an appropriately high energy set closer. The Rock and Roll "all rights" during the jam from Page sealed the deal - spectacular set. The Number Line encore, while not one of my favorite choices for an encore, fit nicely with the end of tour vibe.

This set is a great example of what top-tier 3.0 Phish can be, while it lacked a really long epic jam a la some of 2.0 and 1.0 every song played was at such a high level that the sum was greater than its parts. If this is 3.0 going forward, put me down for another 18 years of fandom.

8.5 on the SJCRS.


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