, attached to 2015-07-21

Review by NoWedding

NoWedding Couch toured last night, so I am not sure what the live vibe was like, but it looked like fun was had all around from what I could tell. The Fare Thee Well shows definitely had Trey ready to rip and he did for most of the night! That aside, an “average” show for Phish, but certainly an above average tour opener. So, onto the music:

Sample – great tour opener in my opinion. Short, sweet, but tight inspired playing set the tone. Also set was the longer than normal breaks between tunes.

Sand – I prefer this somewhere in the 3rd quarter where it can really go deep, but this one satisfied. A very tight groove where everyone had moments and was also the first glimpse of what impact the FTW shows had on Trey. He was playing hot and confident ALL NIGHT…and man did he rock out that ending here after the jam.

555 – Sometime, somewhere this is going to get the second set treatment and go for a ride. For now, it works really well as a first set head bopper. Mike and Fish kept the rhythm section in the pocket and sounded good on the mics. LOVE THE STAGE BANTER!!!!

Rift – I turned to my wife when Trey started this up and said “now we get to see how on he is tonight.” He was on, save for a few minor flubs (particularly during the climb at the end), but hardly something to scoff at. Fish crushed this one.

Halfway to the Moon –Nice and mellow with room for delicate swells by Trey and Page taking the lead on the grand. Great way to cool things off from a hot start.

Horn – Man, you just don’t get to hear this one all that often these days. So, when it is played it is a treat. Sadly, this treat got a little messy…kind of like when my 2 year old gets her hands on an Oreo. Tastes great, but is all over the place. Oh well.

Devotion to a Dream – One I like quite a big from Fuego. Fun, upbeat and room to jam. This one has not yet gone to extraordinarily interesting places yet, but as it is, a great upbeat type 1 vehicle.

Blaze On – NEW TUNE!!! The lyrics in this one seem to be a clear nod to the phanbase, which makes it all that much sweeter to be hearing it the first night of the tour. Serious potential here so it will be interesting to see how much it is plugged into the rotation.

Tube – Someday we may hear this one stretched out again, but for now is just a standard funk romp with a cool blues section usually at the beginning or end of a first set. As it was tonight.

Wolfman’s – Pretty standard type 1 Wolfman’s to close the first set out. Not much else to say.

Ghost – When this one started in, I was fairly excited as it appeared that they were gonna stretch the intro a bit in the same vein as some of the early performances (see 7-6-98). Well, not so much, and that kind of set the theme – good, but not great with some missed opportunities to really go for it.

BOAF – sloppy segue into BOAF killed the Ghost jam and this version did not really ever kick into high gear. Better than a BDTNL rip cord and I smiled a few times when page used the “They Attack!” sample, but that is not really a musical note in my opinion.

Mikes Song – Ok here we go! This one was shredded plain and simple. I still miss the second jam section of old, but this one still kicked the first jam into high gear and it roared all the way until…

The Wedge – Didn’t I just see them do this in Chicago last year? Yes, yes I did and this version didn’t even come close to touching what happened at Northerly. I guess it is ok to see them departing in recent tours from Hydrogen, but would rather see something more interesting. Still finely played, but this really belongs in the first set.

Fuego – somehow I knew this one was coming the first night of the tour. Clearly the best composition of the new music, which makes it fun to hear, but there has not really been too much of an effort to take this to type 2 territory of late. This jam patiently melted away, which could have set the stage for some deep cuts but instead we got…

Shade – another new tune. My wife remarked that this was a pretty song. I agree. A nice new breather song for pre fourth quarter. While I am partial to FEFY and If I Could, this one could work out well long term. Inspired solo from Trey that was quite pretty.

No Men In No Men’s Land – this excited me. Save for the last two Halloween shows, when was the last time Phish debuted two new songs back to back…in the second set nonetheless?! I couldn’t say, but you could tell this one hyped up the guys and clearly showed that the music created for Halloween last year was a theme that will be sticking around. Tight, funky and featuring full band groove based jam. This one has big things coming!

Weekapaug – a little stutter in the segue to this, but it worked out, leading to probably the best moment of the night and a very nice cap to Mike’s Groove. The jam was certainly the most interesting playing of the night as it quickly broke from a standard weekapaug jam, slowly working its way to…

Boogie On – another sloppy segue, but once everyone was in the pocket, a very fine version.

CDT – the set closed with a very brief but energetic CDT. In fact, from about NMINML until close, the energy was palpable. I’m hoping that this is a clear indication of how the rest of the tour will play out.

Theme – nice little stock encore that again showcased the energy from the band.

Overall a great start to the tour in that the playing was energetic and tight for the most part, but also seemed to break away from the setlist formulas of the last two tours as evidenced by two back to back debuts between the 3rd and 4th quarters. I so desperately hope that they continue to move back towards the anything goes setlist formulas of the older days, but this is still a mighty fine era of Phish regardless of where they go. Tonight is gonna shred!


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