, attached to 2015-08-07

Review by macandcheese

macandcheese When you can only attend one show of a given tour, you go in either with an expectation that will almost never be met, or just happy that you get to go. In my younger and more cynical days, I was often the former. Now that I’m an old working stiff with a family, I just feel lucky to hear my favorite guys do their thing.

“What are you really hoping to hear?” is a question I was asked several times. I don’t know. Who cares? There are some songs I love and some songs I don’t. It doesn’t matter. I want the show to be good. I liked Kramer more than George, but episodes heavy on the Costanza storylines were still great.

So with that in mind, it would have taken something unprecedented for me to walk out of (the absolutely gorgeous) Blossom Music Center with anything other than a huge grin on my face, my bones vibrating like so many tuning forks. Still, this show was objectively great. Where it ranks in the pantheon of 3.0 Phish or among the other 1600+ shows is irrelevant. It does occupy that tier on which other outstanding efforts (especially of this era) are mentioned. Was the CDT -> Tweezer better than the Tahoe Tweezer? Would you rather have Toews or Stamkos? It doesn’t matter, they’re both incredible.

The first set was not without its flubs, and I got the feeling that during Tweezer they couldn’t quite work out which one of them was going to drive that beast into the Uncle Ebeneezer line and went round about a few more times than initially intended. This is about as disappointing as seeing someone pitch a no-hitter instead of a perfect game. And those first set flubs ranked somewhere between stubbing your toe and dropping a french fry between your couch cushions (which is to say that if you are going to get caught up on something so superficial you’re probably better off at a Mumford and Sons show).

And about those flubs - it occurs to me that they wouldn’t happen if this band wrote the kind of top-40 pabulum that I suspect most all of us avoid like we would a hornet’s nest. You’ll probably hear a perfect technical show from one of those factory-made, I-IV-V, pentatonic-only-soloing, 3:30-or-less outfits more often than not. I’d rather have my brain chemically altered by Phish. And to expect them to play It’s Ice with anything other than some minor scrapes is to live in unreality. Everyone knows that THEY don’t give a shit, and that they are able to recover from those stumbles in a measure or less is something amazing in itself.

This show was relentless. And it seems to me that, at this point, Phish is about about being a great rock ‘n roll band as they are being a great jam band. We got elements of both last night, delivered with overwhelming force.
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