, attached to 2014-07-18

Review by n00b100

n00b100 I knew this show was going to be underrated (and it will be, make no mistake) from the moment a very fine and jazzy Julius wrapped up; it's a show that doesn't fit into any neat categories, doesn't have an all-timer jam, and gets messy and weird at times, but boasts a second set that is well constructed from Piper on, includes some very fine playing, and is just sheer fun to listen to all throughout. The opening Golden Age slots in quite well with the monumental Fall 2013 versions, with Fish's superb rhythms underpinning a jam that oscillates between galactic space-funk and upbeat hose before turning dark and ending in an ambient haze that Mango works perfectly following. Yes, the transition from Sand to Piper is quite abrupt, the set's low point (Trey easily could have let Sand run its course instead of just barging in), but the resulting sequence is pure joyful gold, as:

a) the resulting Piper is more powerful than the usual 3.0 versions, with Page in particular doing fine work, leading to
b) a surprising super cool Billy Preston-esque groove emerging out of the end of Piper, which suddenly and hilariously segues into a unique version of Halley's Comet, as neat as the Rochester Golden Age is, which puddles into gauzy funk noodlings and then, on Trey's call
c) segues perfectly into Wombat, and Wombat finally makes its long-awaited debut as a jam vehicle, dropping out of its usual wah-wahed zone into something darker and more contemplative, finding a blissful haze (thanks again to Page, who owned this show), and coasting beautifully along before Fish picks up the pace and the band gallops to a nifty Runaway Jim-like close, which leads to
d) a ferocious CDT and relaxing Slave bringing the set to a fine finish.

To me, this is as close as 2014 Phish will get to early-90s Phish (which, lest we forget, was not exactly bursting at the seams with 25 minute jams), mixing in their usual strong improv with loads of funkiness, surprising segues, and a palpable sense of fun. Make sure to catch that first set Reba and Stash/Coil duo, too. Highly recommended.


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