, attached to 2013-08-05

Review by DemandOpener

DemandOpener Note: This was my first Phish show. I've been listening intermittently to live stuff and excitedly poring over setlists for years, but I decided it was finally time to get out and do it. Because why not? I don't have a lot of money, which is probably my best excuse for why I've never been to a show before yesterday, but I'm going to try and find some money so that I can see them again sometime in the future.

Having this be your first show is a lot like your wedding night if you've waited your entire life to have sex, but have watched a crap-ton of porn prior to it. I've listened to a ton of live stuff over the last four years as a Phan, so going to my first ever show was almost underwhelming in the sense that there wasn't a whole lot that blew me away. There's no doubt in my mind that I enjoyed the experience supremely, but I'm anticipating that this will not be the finest show I will ever see as a Phan.

Bag: The opener. My friend called it, and while I was admittedly hoping for something else (a Llama" rarity, perhaps), I didn't mind at all. I was finally seeing Phish, and that was all that mattered. As the clouds rose up around us, we enjoyed a standard, short version of Bag that featured some really tight playing from Fish. Trey's vocals were a little off, as they would be all night. I didn't really notice it while I was at the concert, but listening to the show this morning, it's overwhelmingly apparant that his voice was exhausted from the summer tour.

Does that matter? Ultimately, no, because it's all about the jams anyway, but it's definitely a bummer to have your first show somewhat marred (at least in the minds of the community) by subpar vocal performances.

Moma was "very" standard.

It was funny to see people taking bathroom breaks this early in the show, but the band was just getting warmed up. And I actually kind of like Sparkle. A repeat from Tahoe, this Sparkle is really tight and they nailed the end, which is always awesome. In fact, I can't remember if I've ever heard a Sparkle besides this one where they really nailed the end, but whatever.

The first real exciting moment of the show for me was the playing of STFTFP, which was really rocking. Not a whole lot else to say about it really, because it was as standard as standard gets, but I love the song, so it doesn't matter.

Lawn Boy was hilarious. I think it's fair to say that this song can't be captured in an audio recording, which I never realized until actually witnessing it. Page is such a ham. Mike's bass solo was soulful and very thoughtful. I dig it.

WB provided the first true universal highlight of the show, despite the weakish vocals. The jam was even better than I expected, considering it was a first set Wolfman's. Really great example of an awesome Type I jam which the band really locks down on and annihilates.

Very cool to hear Roses Are Free at my first show. Near the end of the tune, I could have sworn they were about to do something really special and jam on it for a little while. It was not to be. Oh well. The build that the band was working on was suddenly pulled out from under them to head straight into Scent of a Mule. I was really excited to hear this. It's always been one of my favorite set I tunes because of the shenanigans. And I'm a sucker for fast bluegrassy type songs. In terms of the shenanigans, this Scent didn't disappoint in the slightest with Fishman's bass solo along with the full band drum solo. Listening to it now, I'm delighted to hear that it turned out very nicely in the recording. An awesome surprise, and an awesome memory to take home.

Ocelot isn't my favorite song, and Phish didn't do much to change that on this evening. It was fairly standard and safe. It was at this point that the light show had really started to capture my attention. I never knew just how good the lights by CK5 actually were. I had only heard about it.

Cavern and Guitar Gently Weeps were okay. The former was kind of expected, but it was awesome to see the crowd reaction and to sing along with everybody during the outro. Mike owns this song, by the way. As for the latter, I'm not a very big Beatles fan, so I wasn't thrilled to hear this to close out the set.

The second set was, as expected, completely different. Leading off with CDT was a bit of a surprise, and I expected it to be jammed out a bit more than it ended up being (not at all), but whatever. I was just happy to hear one of my favorite Phish tunes.

Golden Age was next, and it was awesome to hear it, but the jam never really went anywhere, dissolving into an ambient soup before blasting into an blistering BOAF. The only downside to this BOAF is that it never really amounts to much besides a roaring guitar solo and a face full of white light from the stage.

Sand was next, and this is where the show starts to earn the 4-star rating that I gave it. In fact, I feel very priveleged to have witnessed this (inevitably underrated) Sand > DWD > MFMF >Hood. The MFMF in particular was highly enjoyable, as well as the Hood which will hopefully (and deservingly) be talked about for a while. It was truly the closest the band came to explorative, creative jamming on the night. Also, "Myfe".

Character Zero was rocking. Loving Cup was not, and has never been, what I look for in an encore. Oh well. A great time was had, anyway. I'd say it was a good show for noobs to get their feet wet with.
But wait! Aren't I a noob? Yes, but I've also listened to a ton of shows that were better musically. I have mixed feelings about this show because I was expecting it to blow me away, but it didn't. I had a fantastic time, but I think that might have been due to the experience more than the music itself, which was simply solid rather than excellent. There were a lot of great moments, but overall, it really never came together as a relistenable, memorable show. Here's hoping for a better go around for my second time.

-Walter


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