, attached to 2014-10-28

Review by thegarbageparty

thegarbageparty The morning of Oct 29 was chilly and overcast in suburban St. Louis. Hump day was upon us and Halloween was in the air. Despite the bustle of commuters and students, the day began rather calmly.

The previous night, however, saw its share of commotion. Across the river The Insane Clown Posse rhymed and shuffled about to the delight of hundreds of Juggalos in Sauget, Illinois. Across the state The Kansas City Royals had forced the World Series to go to a game seven. Across the country Phish was deep into their fall tour. Night two of a three night stay at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was in the record books.

However, Nick went to bed early that night seeing how he still had a bit of a cough. But expectations were high the next morning as Nick downloaded the no-spoilers MP3s.

Nick thought, 'If these files sound half as good as they look, we are all in for a treat.' His pen and paper were ready to go (see attached) and he gave his coworkers a look that let them know he is not to be bothered today.

Set I started out with the infrequently played, but still poignant Crowd Control. Nine times Crowd Control has been played in the 3.0 era of Phish and nine times it has kicked off the show. Nine times. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F0rPFASUXY ) The lyrics may not have the same impact they had in 2004, but the message is still clear: Whether or not there's a devil in the crowd, Phish was in control.

The vibe of the night was set with a vintage Mike's Groove in the second slot. No experimenting with slower songs in the middle; no spreading out the songs across sets; no half-assed segues into the Groove. Just a classic Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove the way mom used to make. The jam out of Mike's was short but packed a punch. Weekapaug Groove allowed the people to get their dancing feet warmed up but unfortunately didn't give them time to break a sweat.

Some short-sided fans may say the opening piano notes of Wingsuit killed the momentum the band had going for them. But I'm sure they shut their fat mouths at the 4:30 mark when Trey leads the band into a wall of sound which stayed erect for the next 4 minutes of this underrated song.

Water in the Sky gives everyone a light breather. With a brief mention of the 'everglades' the crowd lets the band know they still have not forgotten the Florida millennium show that took place almost 15 years ago.

The centerpiece of Set I came in the form of a song Trey and his side projects have been playing for a decade. However this would be only the second time Phish has played Plasma. The lyrical portion is bouncy and engaging. But by minute three the extended jam portion creeps in and brings the energy into darker territory. Hopefully this new Phish version of Plasma is here to stay.

Halfway to the Moon gives Page the opportunity to be in the spotlight while keeping the tone of the show somewhat somber.

Perhaps feeling that crowd was getting bored with all this feel-y stuff, Trey forces in a brief and oddly placed Poor Heart.

The serious vibe returned with Gumbo. But with every Gumbo comes head bobbing and then all out dancing. Page returned to the spotlight around 3:40. He and his clav brought chunky bits of groove down from the sky in a very rare (these days), but very welcome ending to Gumbo. It took a couple listens to realize the rest of the band was secretly setting up a segue almost no one would have predicted. Gumbo sneakily and successfully segued into…

Sanity, which brought the set back around to silly-town. In the brief space after the first verse Trey laid down a tease of the main Gumbo theme. From the crowds reaction, it was clear they were paying attention. After we are reminded that 'stars suck' and a series of 'boom-pows'...

The band caps off a huge set with Antelope. Luckily in 2014 this song has not overstayed its welcome. We are taken high up the mountain and dropped close to the peak. It was here at the resting spot and before the lyrics that we are given another Gumbo tease. The crowd eats it up. The band sets back into high gear and closes the set with an impact.

It was at this point the house lights probably came back up. Jason was probably sweaty and had to remind Dot and Walker there was still another set.

%%%%%%%%%% SET II %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

A dark figure approaches the front door of Set II.

VISITOR: Knock knock…
SET II: [nervously] Who...who...Who's there?
VISITOR: kill...
SET II: oh my god
VISITOR: ...devil...
SET II: oh please no
VISITOR: …falls
SET II: Kill Devil Falls! What are you doing here at the front of Set II? What a surprise!

Yes it was. The band ensured this wasn't a typical, first-set, type-1-jamming Kill Devil Falls. Because as soon as 3:50, the typically fast-paced, energy-driven jam took a turn for the dark side; the type-2-jam side. By minute 10 it was clear our jumpy little rookie had been called up to the main roster. The jam veered completely away from any familiar structure. Then the last three minutes of this impressive jam went full ethereal.

While not a full-on segue, KDF broke down and devolved into the rare Mountains in the Mist. We didn't realize it in the moment but the last several minutes of the previous jam was settling us up for this gentle landing. The vibe was calm. The song placement was perfect.

We come to a complete stop, but the band decides to get us back into space one step at a time with the intricate Fuego. The whoo-ohh-ohhs reestablish the crowd/band connection. Then the jam begins. This song is less than a year old, but the jam is very mature for its age. After the band feels like it has launched the crowd high enough, it lets go. The last couple minutes we drift about happily while the band decides the next destination.

It sounds very clearly like Julius, but wait...Trey changes his mind and it starts to sound like Slave to the Traffic Light, but they played that the night before...Ok, back to Julius. This song seems to usually camp out at the end of sets or within encores. The placement here is welcome and I'm genuinely interested to see how it affects the balance of the set. Upbeat and soulful, Julius always delights.

Twist. Placed in the second half of the Second set? That's what I call Twist: After Dark. This will be big. I feel it in my bones. As they say in the song: "Whooo!" Early on in this jam we get those held notes from Trey that recall the Wingsuit jam last set. But then we start heading into a free-for-all. The Twist theme is held loosely while each band member goes off. Soon they settle back into a mutated version of the Twist theme around minute 8. This theme flails around for a bit. But they quickly get tired of playing with their monster and put it away all at once. The whole band jumps into a fairly serious tone around minute 9 like we're tip-toeing around graveyard and don't want to wake anything. The serious tone sticks around a couple minutes and goes from reflective to ominous to enchanting...This jam has it all!!

Continuing to experiment with the placement of songs, the band dissolves Twist into Runaway Jim! The mood picks back up into bouncy and hopeful. Before they even get to the 2 minute mark, we get Jim-Jam-One. It's the quite, focused type. BLAM BLAM BLAM back to reality. And onto verse two. The band presses forward and the crowd sings along. It's soon time for Jim-Jam-Two. This one is pure creative chaos. Right when it seems we've spiralled into the nether regions, the band reigns us back in with one more refrain...but the outro gets dark and...slow....and unnerving...what's happening you guys...

Bam! Bursting out of the muck is Harry Hood! They stretch out the intro because they know we'll listen. Harry! Hood! Harry! Hood! The composed part does its thing and then drops us off for the build. What a build it was. It starts a bit faster than normal getting right to the point. Some weird teases/notes occur early on. Then there is a whole shift. The pacing of the build stays the same but we end up on a much darker path. Then they just jump off the path completely. Fuck it. Let's see where we end up. After a couple more minutes of exploration you would have no idea this is still Harry Hood. Somehow around 12 minutes they band finds a dimly lit path. It's new and small but feels familiar. It still manages to bring us right to the finish line. The guys made it sound like they knew about this back road the whole time. The outro twinkles with noises but decends heavily. Now its a free fall back to earth. That's the end of Set II.

A brief 'thank you' from Page is followed by the opening piano notes of The Rolling Stones' Loving Cup. While this song can feel like an afterthought at times, the placement here was what we needed. After all this show's ups and downs, twists and turns, mix-em-ups and joke-abouts, this straight-forward, meat and potatoes, familiar rock song was the perfect closer.
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