, attached to 2015-08-12

Review by phrench

phrench Here's one Big Bad Boy. The baddest of the summer? Perhaps so, at least for me right now, although: 1. There are still 9 shows in the future as I'm writing this, including a festival and a Dick's run. 2. One remembers and rates best what one has just seen; I should relisten to Shoreline, Atlanta, etc. 3. Designating the best show is a ludicrous exercise (although we sure love that).

Anyway, the band is on fire, as in: every single moment is pure joy. Not only the jams, or the solos, or the complex composed sections, or the goofy moments, but each and every note. Not everything is the best X or Y, but there is not a moment of slack.

In set 1, for instance, I'll admit I don't care much for yet another AC/DC Bag, but you can feel the energy here, and it translates readily to a powerful Free replete with Martian quotes topping Mike's excursion. Ya Mar is another song I'm not particularly interested in, but here again it's extremely pleasant, especially Trey's solo. The same could be said of Sample, then we hit Cities, a song I simply find utterly boring, except now it's turned into a preview of set 2... actually I don't give a damn in which set we are anymore... a somber Stash confirms this is no common show (if you still had doubts after Cities), loosing no time in entering strange territory, and in case things were not totally clear a ripping BoaF nails it deep. After such a hot hand, The Line could feel like a bit of a letdown, but at the level the band is playing it's just great (I actually like the song anyway). And then, hey, It's Ice on fire again. You know when they play complex stuff as if they were jamming freely? And without a wrong note, too? As if the concept of a wrong note simply did not exist? I'm not sure I'm making much sense, but hey. Zero closes the set in the same way AC/DC opened it: with raw energy.

And now comes the thing that makes you salivate on paper: a second set made of five jammed-out songs.

The Bathtub jam is a standard Trey solo, which means an excellent solo building up to the usual yet no less enjoyable frenzy. NMINML is an irresistible invitation to cow funk, perhaps too much so if you're looking for more adventurous type II. At that point I'm almost missing the first set and thinking that a 5-song second set is not necessarily thoroughly exciting. But I must consider what will happen in a few weeks when I'm back to a normal intake of Phish music: I'll be more than happy to shake my booty on such a terrific groove.

Then there's Twist... Trey doesn't take the lead, so the jam drifts a bit aimlessly until Mike starts threading wonderful lines and the boys weaves a glorious ambient tapestry. When it seems to end, it starts again on a minimalist basis before an energetic finish. That's type II at its best. What I've just said can't begin to describe it. Listen to it at all cost.

Scents is a beautiful song that should be played more often (it's the rarity of the night), and its jam, while not on a par with Twist (if it were this show would be just unbelievable), is still a superb exploration. Hood is standard, but a standard Hood is great music; the composed section is perfect, and there is a nice interplay between Trey and Mike at the beginning of the jam. And Trey's high note is as beautiful as usual. They could have played anything as an encore, the state of bliss we have attained by now isn't going to dissipate very soon.

During a few hours after rating started, this show was at the top of the 2015 list. Now it's second, after 07/31. There is no point in deciding which is best (although right now, as Mike's bass in my ears makes a frightening trip through Stash, I know for sure). But listen to this show now. If anybody asks "What's Phish sounding like now?" make them listen to it. I could go on concatenating recommendations forever, but you're probably quite bored by now, and not reading this, and hopefully listening to the show.


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