, attached to 2015-09-05

Review by n00b100

n00b100 A BRIEF HISTORY OF PHISH AT DICK'S SPORTING GOODS PARK: I jumped on the Phish train for good right after the first Dick's run, and I remember the fanbase having almost nothing but good things to say about it (especially 9/4/11, still one of the finest shows of the modern era). Coincidentally or not, that run had come on the heels of Superball, the last festival prior to this year, and one that hadn't really lit the world on fire (though that's a debate for another day). With the band eschewing festivals, the Dick's run sort of became a de facto festival, which raised its profile for a lot of people; after the defining 2012 Dick's run, now the expectations were not just for a big festival atmosphere, but for quality music as well. I pre-ordered the Dick's 2013 run; after the three days, I have yet to pre-order any shows since. Expectations are this fanbase's worst enemy.

CUT TO: Summer 2015. With the announcement of Magnaball, Dick's recedes into the background; now it's just a 3-day run that happens to fall after Magnaball, not dissimilar to if they'd decided to go back to Randall's Island or the UIC Pavilion or some such. Then Magnaball happens, and suddenly the Dick's run becomes even *more* anticlimactic (cf. > 1 uncharitable thread on the forum to that very effect). Of course there is Dick's hype, as there always is, but I can't imagine anyone would think it's on the same level as even last year, let alone 2013.

Which brings us to these shows, three shows that (other than the 3rd one, mostly) will need serious historical reevaluation once the smoke fully clears from this tour (shoot, some of the reviews of the first two nights damn near put this run at NYE 2011-disaster levels). For instance, Set 1 is more or less a Set 1, no different from others played even in this tour (everyone quibbles with Set 1 song selection, and everyone wishes they'd jam more in Set 1, so those criticisms kinda slide by me nowadays). But you are surely missing out if you do not give that Melt a listen; it's nasty, deep, full of Trey effects (a plus or minus depending on the listener, I suppose), and the finest of the year. It sounds a bit Drive-In adjacent, actually. More on that later. Oh, yes - if you can't find it in your heart to hear another absolutely stunning Roggae, that's on you.

Set 2: ASIHTOS kicks off the set, and then comes my favorite CDT of the year (kinda funny how all of Trey's fidgeting or weird looks or whatever don't translate when you have the tape, and you can just hear the music). Page pushes for major key, but instead of heading that way Trey starts cranking out some effects-laden filth while Page stays on electric piano, until Page finally wins out and Trey switches to a new key as Mike neatly holds everything down. The jam heads towards Upbeat Blissful Hose (Trey's solo is a bit Devotion to a Dream-ish) as Mike gets off the meatball and Fish picks up the pace. They enter a zone that sounds like Hard to Handle (!), Page hammering away on the grand piano, then the jam turns hazy and Lil' Punkin enters the mix. Things get dark and it sounds like they're teasing Mike's Song (the ending, at least), but instead Trey pulls out the opening riff to Twist, patiently waits for the band to catch up (as opposed to just going ahead Magnaball Rock & Roll style), and we get a very nice segue.

Twist doesn't really break out like it has all summer, but instead it dies away into a more contemplative zone as Mike goes to the envelope filter, then gives way to Mercury. I think Mercury is great, myself - it's their 3.0 version of a composed monolith like Fluffhead or The Curtain - and it's played very tightly (as one would hope, given all the work they put into it during soundcheck). Then comes another big highlight in a marvelous Light, one that really goes to Drive-In Jam spaces and delves into gruesome, cavernous darkness (Page playing some carnival-esque organ lines helps add to the atmosphere). Wingsuit > R&R closes things out in fine energetic fashion, and an extended encore really hits home (two fun Sleeping Monkeys in a row!).

Final thoughts: a thoroughly underrated show, to say the least. CDT through Light is well worth your time, as is that opening set Melt.

Bonus final thought: to @Philbombs77 and anyone else thinking to give the fanbase a lecture on what they can and cannot do, you may want to think twice about trying to big-up yourself by anecdotally bringing up a conversation with other Phish fans, fans that undoubtedly love this band as much as you profess to do. You may not get scolded for your sanctimony, but you will definitely look like a bit of a jerk.


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