, attached to 2014-11-01

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez After the previous night's show, everyone at the MGM Grand was still a little bit flabbergasted. A lot of questions were out there. Did they blow their load last night or is this going to be one of THOSE runs? What about the Halloween songs? Are these one and done are are they going to be back? Will Trey stay in the driver's seat or is he going to go back to the 2014/rhythm guitar norm? By the end of this evening, all of these questions would be answered.

Set 1:
We all knew Fuego was getting played this weekend, but no one saw it opening the show. Going off how the previous night played out, many were thinking that this would be the next big/jammed out one after the versions from SPAC, MANN, and Portsmouth the previous summer. It was not. It was still well-played and served as a great opener. Plus, I like to get the predictable out of the way early. My Soul, 555, and Back on the Train were all pretty straight forward, but they were playing well and these songs had good flow. Dog Faced Boy was the first of a few rare scores. Fuck Your Face got the crowd rowled up again, and horn kept the rock vibe going. Frankie Says felt a bit sudden, but hey, it's Frankie Says. It's just one of those songs I always feel like works best coming out of a spacey jam. It did lead nicely into MFMF, which sent the crowd into the stratosphere. I always feel like Roses is about to take off at the end. No matter how many times it doesn't, I always find myself saying, "Ah, I thought they were about to go for it..." Either way, this one fit well after MFMF. Roggae has been sounding pretty good the last few years, and this one kept that trend going. The set took on a mellow lean, and then they crank up BOAF. It was here that we got our first sign that "The Haunted House Songs" weren't going anywhere. They hit several "They Attack's" in the middle section. Musically, it didn't do anything spectacular, but it was fun none the less. I have become a big fan of the Wingsuit set closer. Trey's playing was very tasteful on this take, and at this point, I'll take this over another Antelope that just shoots from point a to point b.

After a set that couldn't decide if it was a rock set or a mellow set yet still flowed, no one really knew what to expect next.

Set 2:
I don't get all the possum hate, but personally, I love a good 2nd set Possum opener. I think it loosens the band up, and typically, big things follow. As this possum came to it's rousing conclusion, they crank up crosseyed. This has to be the best "party song" in Phish's catalog, and it worked perfectly on this crowd in Vegas, which was probably the most buzzed yet attentive audiences i've been a part of. This is version does not try to be very exploratory. It focuses on simply shredding over the crosseyed them. They accomplish exactly what they set out to do. As this version fades away, Trey actually transitions quite nicely into Light, which has proven tough for him the past. The band gets in sync right out of the gate on this light jam. They navigate several twists, turns, and narrow passage with ease covering a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time. As they come out of the final twist, Gordo and Fish settle on a pretty rocking groove setting Trey up perfectly. He jumps on the opportunity and segues cleanly into The Dogs. Boom!! One night later and it appears the Halloween songs are going to be worked into the repertoire. This version is a bit more free-wheeling than the previous night's, and just for good mearuse, they keep rocking out of the back end. They eventually take their foot off the gas and slow it down. As Trey moves through the space, it sounds like "No Quarter" is poised to pop up, but then comes another major surprise, Lengthwise!! This song is about as rare as they come, and this is one of the few times that you actually find in an interesting spot. This seamless stretch comes to a close when Trey strums out Twist. Just to keep things spicey, they work in a fair amount of Manteca, including lyrics. Personally, I'd call it Twist w/ Manteca teases, but I can see how some would want to label it Twist->Manteca->Twist. Velvet Sea fit well, and I don't think I was the only one needing a quick breather.

This is the point in the show where I think Phish had definitely delivered enough to call this a great show. Everything beyond this point is house money. I don't think the rest of the show shined like the first 3/4's of the 2nd set, but it really didn't matter. After a massive resurgence in 2014, this version of Hood seemed pretty average. It would probably be looked upon more favorably if it had been played anytime between '09-'13, but in a year that brought us the Great Woods, Northerly Island, and BGCA Hoods, this just comes off as average. Being already very pleased with the night's performance, I was actually happy to see Golgi, Numberline, Monica, and Waiting All Night pop up. These aren't songs I aim to see, so it was a good time to cross them off the list of songs that could pop up tomorrow. The Star Spangled Banner was a great back drop as we eased out of the MGM and hit the Vegas night life hard again.....

They followed up a legendary Halloween show with a very strong outing. Everything between crosseyed and twist was gravy, but some will argue that the best of the 2014 Vegas run had yet to come.


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