, attached to 2013-12-31

Review by shargroov

shargroov The following is a couch tour review. Honestly, when I first saw people writing couch tour reviews, I used to think "really dude, you weren't even there". But after doing a good bit of couch tour myself, I've really warmed up to the idea that it's really more about the show itself than whether you're watching it at home at a bar or live at the arena. I mean, I was live at the 20th anniversary show in Boston (12/2/03) and this experience blows that one out of the water. (And this while I'm still recovering from the flu and occasionally coughing my lungs out!) And as I kept glancing over at my Facebook page, and seeing all my fellow couch tour phans posting glowing statements of glee, I can't help but be reminded of how couch tour has changed everything. Thanks to couch tour, that incredible communion between band and phans extends far beyond the exit doors of the arena, spanning all across the country, and hell for all I know the world. Couch tour is probably the best thing to happen to Phish Phans since, oooooohhh maybe around 12/2/83.

Anyway, I'm not doing a song by song review. You've seen plenty of those. I really just want to focus on the second set, because that was really to me what defined this show. There the band was, playing on top of a truck, no room for all Page's funky clav, organ, or any of that. No pedals, no loops, no effects. Just stripped down Phish in its purest state, as if it were 1990 again. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the funky clav and the loops and tricks and effects and all that stuff, but there was something just really clean and pure about seeing the boys stripping it all down and going right back to their roots. I hope this set, and the crowd reaction to it, is a lesson to the band for future NYE's. You know guys, you don't need to decorate the stage with grass, or have big broadway productions with dancers and singers in all sorts of costumes on stage. Just be Phish.

As for the music, the newest songs in that entire set were the first two: Glide (debuted 1991) and Llama (debuted 1990). Everything else was first played 1989 or earlier. So of course this means that many of these songs were pretty rare these days. It was a delight to witness. Even from afar, you can just feel that ever famous band/crowd connection. Especially, I felt, during the Forbins>Mockingbird and even more so during Icculus.

Sure, I was hoping (though not expecting by any means) that Trey might tell just a tiny little story, or at least say a few words about the anniversary, during the Forbin's>Mockingbird. And yeah, I noticed some flubs, particularly the climatic guitar solo in Lizards. But you know what, none of that stopped me from smiling from ear to ear. And from what I was reading from other friends around the country, it was clear everyone else was getting it too.

After this, they could play anything in the third set and I don't think most of us would complain. Hell, they could even play a late set Bouncin' and a Show of Life Encore and people would STILL be blissful. A really nice exploratory Light jam and a smokin' YEM set closer didn't hurt things though.

Thank you, Phish for the last 18 years (for me). It's been a fun ride, glad it's still rolling. So happy to be there with all of you on this special night, even if it was from afar.
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