, attached to 2014-04-26

Review by ProfJibboo

ProfJibboo From the start, something was just off. The show started out fun enough with Kill Devil Falls, Moma Dance, Rift and Wolfmans...but the KDF was fast, Moma slow, rift fast, wolfmans slow - it felt very up and down. I wondered how the crowd, packed with n00bs, would react because it seemed - well, - flowless. The whole set, in fact, each song had a clear stop and the song selection continued to be curious throughout...never quite ever getting into any sort or rhythm. There were some highlights - nothing too memorable - wolfmans was a beautiful rendition and 46 days and ocelot really bring fire - and all three have been relative unsung heavyweights of 3.0. But something was - off - lacking. At the show, and listening back, I felt Fishman's drums didn't sound very deep and powerful to me - they sounded a little faint to me, perhaps eaten up in that expansive field not designed or particularly well-suited for concerts. They had practiced, but they are all working on different projects and they do have some stylistic differences with their side band (orchestra playing is a whole different world from Treys different style) and Mile was straight out of his own solo tour where he is churning out some great music.

The reality heading in was "festival phish is festival phish." But, I'm not entirely sure that rang true. The fact is, this show was pedestrian but it had nothing to do with it being a festival. ...because they did jam. In fact, they gave us two jams. DWD and then later Light. A 16+ and 13+ minute jam are not characteristics of festival Phish. They represented earnest efforts by the band to give the crowd a true taste of what they offer. These jams, simply put,were a relative miss with this reviewer. But I appreciate the effort. Not every jam turns to gold..or silver...or anything truly memorable. Some jams just aren't for me - that's not to say they're duds or bad - but that is to say that neither "did it" for me. But fact that they were creating music is what I go to these shows for. I care for the different takes on the songs - and I got that. So I found the jamming rather standard and meandering, fine - it was just fine by me. Just please...keep on playing....keep on exploring...they don't all have to be innovative or appease the internet vocal minority - just keep playing ...and I'm a happy fan.

Perhaps there is something to be said about the inclusion of only one song off the recently recorded album, and perhaps there is something to be said about the lack of bustouts or some musical flubs....but this writer got what I was expecting: a band playing one-off show - on a break from there other projects - glad to be there - clearly having fun - and clearly not setting out to set the fanboy audience on fire - putting on a respectable if not terribly original show - highlighting many 2.0 and later songs. We all seem to know the story: the Jazz Fest President saying, essentially, in an interview that he flew in to New York for NYE and was basically begging them to make this happen. They did this for two reasons: for them and for us. They conquered a demon of their past while giving us what I consider to be a bonus show. An unexpected, very welcome, April show - in a new environment. I am forever thankful for that. The community took a break for a few days and came together for a party that we never thought we would have and it was awesome to be around our extended family under the 80 degree sun for one outstanding day of music.

Not to be understated was the absence of the fifth member of the band. Technology for concert lighting has reached new heights and comes with all sorts of bangs and whistles and there are many concerts out there now that put on a light show Spectacular that far trumps what we see on tour - but what they are missing in these other shows is the heart of a lighting director so in tune with the four instruments that he seeming knows where they are going next. His lighting is superbly matched to the music and presents a canvas that Trey often gets lost in. It arguably is the secret ingredient. Standing under the bright sun, you could feel the difference. I missed him terribly.

In the end, Phish was the 6th or 7th best band I saw that weekend down in NOLA. ...and that's ok. What draws me to Phish is their understanding of music, their ability to listen, their ability to branch out and come back together as one, to communicate,to find that simple happy place in the midst of musical chaos. They are musical poetry in motion to me and there is no question that they are at a new peak...not the same peaks of 1.0 but a new peak, a different peak. And I'm grateful for every note.
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