, attached to 2012-07-08

Review by phearless

phearless Well well well, the good ole' fashion tour closing Sunday show. Everyone on tour was so positive, there was a feeling in the air that is truly indescribable. Nothing but smiles, and everyone trying to sell all of anything and everything they can that they had. I mean, this is the last show of the tour! Purchases, legal and not quite so legal ;) , were abundant by my first leg tour group. I myself got a sick 5 dollar print that was initially 15-20 dollars when I had hopped on tour in AC. I had wanted it since then, just didn't feel like dropping 20 on it. Hey, you know what they say, the price is right :) . oh yeah, where was I now?

The first 2 nights of SPAC proved a few things to me: 1) be ready for the bust outs 2) get ready for some very inspired playing and 3) this is the last show of a tour showed 4 guys from Vermont doing that they arguably love most, and the last night of a month straight of doing it. There was no place I'd rather be.

At this point in the tour, it had been made clear to everyone that the first sets were no longer "standard material". In fact, there were several jams to brag of that came in first sets earlier in the leg (c.f. Alpine Fee, AC Wolfmans, Jones Beach Susskind Hotel, Jones Beach SKIN IT BACK!, Deer Creek Tweezer, the Burgettstown Scent of a Mule, just to name a few...) and as well as SO MANY BUST OUTS! It felt like you truly never knew what songs you were gonna get in the first set. Seriously, who saw that Head Held High comin at Jones Beach Sweet Jane at Deer Creek, and Happiness Is A Warm Gun at Jones Beach? It felt there was a constant surge of past Halloween costume cover songs were emerging. Only album left really was Remain In Light. Now personally, I thought we were gonna get some RIL bust outs at SPAC. They never did come though...

Wow, sorry for the distraction. Lol this tour closer at SPAC was just awesome, and let's get to it now shall we?

Set one took a little while to truly get cookin, A short but sweet AC/DC Bag kicked us off, and went into My Soul. It was nice to see My Soul sort of make a re-emergence after not being played since Fall Tour 2010 at Utica and at the 1/1/11 MSG show. It started to lose its spark after seeing it for the third time this tour, but whatever. This went into a very mellow Heavy things. Heavy Things is included in the batch of songs that they are just killing every time they play it now. The Trey-Page jam at the end is beautiful, almost on level with the blissed-out version from AC. The Heavy Things went into Camel Walk. Yeahhhhh buddy, now we're talkin. Camel Walk struffed its stuff, and funked out the lower pavillion. Sample was next, and was sample. Wilson showed up early in the early half of this set, right before things got cookin. Speaking of things gettin cookin, that's where Party Time came in. After the awesome version at Portsmouth with good ol' Geerz on trumpet (still can't believe I missed jedi Trey.. ah well) I was excited to see it. This Party Time also has sentimental value, since it was me and my buddy Marks first time seeing the song together (his first time seeing it) he ripped off his Joakim Noah jersey to show off the tattoo on his back that says Party Time. Party Time indeed.... Trey tore the back end of that one up, really cutting loose for the first time in the night. Gumbo was getting a lot of play in the first leg, so it was fitting to see one at the tour closer. Nice pick, although it was just played at Jones Beach.... hmmm, Nellie Kane shows its head. Nice little bluegrass ditty that I never get sick of. Along with Ginseng and Rocky Top, I just love seeing Phish play bluegrass. I also loved the Old Home Place they busted out at Deer Creek the first night this summer. Nellie Kane was over before we knew it, and lead into a very soft and mellow Driver. It was nice to see the boys mixing up the ballad songs; this was my first time seeing this one, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Foam was up next, and boy do I just love this song. It started to grow on me alot, and seeing the version I saw it UIC in 2011 made me respect this song a whole lot more. Loved it. Great Pick. If I Could, are you kidding me?! YES! Really wanted to cross this song off my list this summer, and at the 15th show of the first leg for me I didn't think I was gonna see it.. but Phish proved me wrong. As always. Loved it, even though it seemed to be adding on to a set that already had a rather dis-proportionate amount of chill songs. Didn't phase me though, I was in heaven. Absolutely beautiful version, even if they didn't do the beautiful return to the chorus at the end as they had in years and eras past. Still great to hear. Split Open and Melt, wow this is some good shit. Me and my tour crew had been chasing this one big time, and after missing Portsmouth, it seemed we weren't gonna get it. My buddy Ben was really chasing this one, so it was great that he finally got to see it since chasing in AC :p. Not the longest version ever, but still a DAMN GOOD SOAM. Great psychedelic jam, just what you expect out of a good SOAMelt. SOAMelt ends, and wait. What's this song they're playing? It kind of sounds like Julius, but wait. What's this?! LA GRANGE!? No way!!! When's the last time they even played this?! Hard rockin La Grange, literally blew the roof of the pavillion. So much damn energy! Now that's how you end a set!

With the huge La Grange bust out to send us into set break, there was nothing but excitement. Not the excitement that you constantly talk about (not for this guy anyway) but rather a calm, quiet excitement. Because I knew what was to come was about to blow my mind, so I figured might as well just take it all in. Like I said, it took a while to get cookin, but overall it was a very pleasing set of tunes. And rarities.

Lights are off, and its the last set of an awesome tour.

Axilla gets us up and dancing, and quickly slammed into a Light. Light had been one of if not the jam vehicle of 2012 first leg. Every reading of the song turned out to be a keeper, extended type 2 improv all over the place. All starting with the infamous Lighteca at Bader Field. Light was par for the course though, meaning it did exactly what all other Lights did on the first leg. Quick composed part, quick shift to a somewhat extended type 2 jam. I prefer Burgettstown and AC over this version, but this Light was still pretty good. Light eventually faded and Twist emerged. Very standard Twist, if anything very average. Twist twisted around into a wicked awesome Kill Devil Falls. Some people hate on this song, but boy... 2nd set KDF's turn out to be the real deal! Type 2 exploration and jamming, starting with the first set 2 KDF I saw at Dick's 2011, KDF had proved to me that it could be a serious 2nd set jam vehicle. Especially the now infamous KDF outro jam --->Twist from Riverbend earlier in the tour. The Twist was a real psychedelic masterpiece in itself, but the KDF outro jam truly was a thing of its own. Type 2 improv everywhere! So this SPAC KDF was another highly exceptional version, which did contain a type 2 jam at the end, and eventually fizzled out into a high energy and psychedelic My Friend, My Friend. Bringing back memories of the AC goofiness. God, this tour was an awesome one to be on. The first half of this tour closing set sure did appear promising, and only went higher IMHO. The MFMF was followed by a mini-bust out of itself, the quasi rare Swept Away>Steep. The only one of the tour, and year of 2012 if I'm not mistaken...? Excellent choice. And perfectly played. Loved the little jam they tacked on at the end of Steep. Up next is Piper, and this is your type 2 jam of the night, along with Light. Piper was an extended version, longest Piper of the tour (and year if I'm not mistaken) was very exceptional. I prefer this one over the recent monster MSG 2011 version, but that MSG one was very exceptional nonetheless. This Piper was very experimental, I thought it went out of the box and into type 2 territory very quickly. Just for Trey to start playing some serious awesome rock riffs around the 10 minute mark. Full band peak, glorious shit. Please listen for yourself if you haven't. Good stuff, definitely worth the listen. The Piper jam eventually faded after some rather ambient and psychedelic yelling and playing by the band into a hard rocking Free. Not much to say about the Free though, other than Gordo tore his solo up and Trey brought down the house with his solo. Out comes Kung. Foreshadowing the NYE gag maybe?? Lol, kung is always so goofy, and I'll take it whenever. Kung went into a very high energy Hood. Last show of the tour, a beautiful rippin Hood is par for the course. However, this par was a birdie ;) lol average-awesome Hood. Nice peak at the end, came a little too soon, but whatever. This is one awesome set, and must be wrapping up soon. Out came Cavern, the FORSURE set closer I thought. Nope, the boys busted out a bonus David Bowie! Which they knocked out of the park, all-the-while staying in the type 1 box. Great Bowie. Top notch playing by all.

What an awesome high energy 2nd set, with some killer jams taboot. Now, let's put things in perspective. 2012 first leg saw the band hold back on some of the more renowned and beloved tunes, such as Divided Sky, SOAMelt, and YEM. Divided Sky only got 1 play on first leg, and 1 on second if I'm not mistaken? SOAMelt only appeared at Portsmouth, and YEM only appeared at the guns blazing Star Lake/burgettstown show. That said, I think everyone and their grandma was either hoping or expecting a YEM encore. When the boys came back out for the encore, they meant serious business.

After a quick thank you from Page, the boys kicked off into a KILLER YEM. Tons of cheering and hugging going around, the way it should be. The YEM was so damn glorious, even if it wasn't 30 minutes long with an extended type 2 jam. It was everything you want out of the composed part, beautiful, thoughtful playing by all 4 and especially Page during his runs. This is how you end a tour boys...

All in all, it was sort of a bittersweet walk to the car. We had just seen 15 of the best concerts any of us had ever seen, and it was a damn blast. This tour closing show at SPAC was a damn masterpiece, from start to finish. I would definitely place it in my top 10 shows attended, along with the first night at this place.

Seriously, what else could you want from a show? It's got bust outs, it's got extended type 2 jamming, it's got 5 star playing, and great song selection. Highlights are IMHO of course the SOAMelt, Party Time, If I Could, and La Grange in the first set. Second set highlights are the nice Light jam, the Piper jam, the Swept Away>Steep, and the YEM encore of course. Definitely worth the download if you haven't heard this show.
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