, attached to 2015-09-06

Review by NoWedding

NoWedding If there were any questions about whether the Dick’s “gag” had run its course, I would say those were put to bed last night. Quite literally. In fact, maybe last night is not the right perspective to look at things from. Perhaps, we should dually note that every night of Dick’s 2015 had an encore worthy of praise. Perhaps we could even say that the true gag this year were those inspired encores played each night. Typically one would not be excited by Phish shows that only boast strong encores, but these shows may be the exception. After all, what better way to thank your fan base than to turn the obligatory “a few tunes to send you home with” into something with some genuine meaning. Using that lens, the last 3 nights make sense. Using that lens also makes what happened last night have incredible meaning for this writer.

See, last night for me (from the couch) was about Harley. Who is Harley? Well Harley is my 10 year old, black, long haired cat. Harley has been with my wife and I since we were first married. Harley is what made us “a family” before we started having kids. Unfortunately, this past week, we found out that Harley would not be with us for much longer as he had developed cancer that the vet said was terminal. So we made the decision to make him comfortable for the long weekend so he could spend some time being spoiled by his family: tuna, catnip, all the good stuff. After the weekend, we would make the call that every pet owner dreads.

So, this whole weekend I was telling my wife that there would be a Harpua for Harley. It only made sense. The last Harpua was played in Chicago after a monsoon. I was there braving the rains and lapping up the reward, although one could argue that the Northerly Island Harpua was...well, let’s just call it interesting. No matter. Just as Phish had literally done then, they would surely do figuratively now: the storm would be gone. Well, after the show started and ended late, there was nearly an hour set break and the encore fired up with the expected tweeprise closer, I was resigned to thinking that maybe it was not meant to be. And then it happened...

Every Phish fan dreams of hearing Oom Pah Pah emerge from the PA. When it actually happens, it is a bit of a surreal moment. Now, I’ve been lucky enough to see one in person, but was no less excited to hear one from the couch. I literally jumped off the couch and started yelling for joy while running around my basement last night. I WAS getting my Harpua for Harley (figuratively of course). Even my wife, who finds my adoration of Phish to be a bit obsessive, couldn’t believe what had just happened and decided to share in the moment. What continued on for the next 40 minutes was nothing short of remarkable for me. For posterity, just reflect: Harpua>After Midnight>NO2>Keyboard Army (!!!!!!!)>Your Pet Cat>Once in a Lifetime (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)>United We Stand. Yeah people, that is pretty absurd.

Typically I am not one to try and find higher meaning in Phish shows. I go, watch, listen because the music is the higher meaning for me. It’s always been that way for this fan. Last night however, I can’t help but feel that deeper meaning. Its hard for me not to put that final piece of music for 2015 (no fall or winter tours coming) up on a pedestal as something more than the normal. Quite frankly, as so many have noted, it is hard to not put Summer 2015 on a pedestal in general...it really has been a great tour: We got some great new tunes in NMINML and Blaze On (I also dig Mercury) that almost immediately found a home in the jam rotation, we got some great shows (Atlanta 1, Blossom, Alpine Valley 2, Mann 2, MPP 1, Magnaball...all of it), we got some great summer Tweezers, we got the MuTron, we got a band that was clearly invigorated and inspired to come out night after night and tear the roof off amphitheaters nation wide. I’m rambling now...

What I am saying is Harley will be survived by his feline brother Wilson and his distant, distant second cousin Penny Lane (the dog), but for me, his memory will always be carried on in the encore from last night. The story of a cat spun together a magical musical moment that capped off a wonderful summer of music. As it were, I found some deeper meaning in the music last night, but that is just my story within the story of Summer 2015. It may not even be the most memorable moment of sumer 2015 for me - Alpine 2 was literally a greatest hits of songs I had never seen in person played in one set...with my two best Phish buds...who also braved the rains to see Harpua in Chicago 2 years ago. So...maybe I can buy in to the whole deeper meaning after all...maybe the band really did understand the need to cheer up a downtrodden fan halfway across the country...maybe this is all coincidence. Who knows? All I know is last night meant something to me and ended a great tour in a great way.

Oh, and the rest of the show isn’t half bad either.


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