, attached to 2017-08-04

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: A bit of a dog's breakfast, honestly (the no repeats gimmick was taking a bit of a toll around here, at least for Set 1s - none of these songs are bad, but there wasn't much in the way of flow); the Blind Lemon Jefferson cover was interesting if nothing else (I called it!), and First Tube had some real extra rev to it. Perfectly good first sets are entirely forgivable when you get second sets like these, anyway.

Set 2: Dem Bones, the first acapella Set 2 opener in (I think) 20-odd years, kicks off the proceedings, then NMINML busts on in, and the band seems ready and willing to luxuriate in the usual jam, with Page going to electric piano to add some warmth to the proceedings. The synths worm their way in as the jam ratchets down to a lower boil, and Trey really begins cranking out some filth with Mike and Fish dancing around the song's usual rhythm. The jam comes to what feels like a satisfactory close, but (in a running theme for the set) the fires keep burning and they appear to maneuver to a new key, but instead they gently wind down and (with the unmistakable sounds of an egg shaker) Phish finally take on Radiohead with a cover of Everything In Its Right Place.

EIIRP is absolutely amazing, all the more so for how obviously Trey had studied Radiohead's live versions (I don't quite get @Philbombs77's complaint about Fish's vocals - nobody in the band is matching Thom Yorke's original vocals, and the off-pitch nature is kind of obviated by the electronic manipulation anyway); the crowd roar is enough to warm one's heart, and the looped vocals of "yesterday I was sucking on a lemon" would be put to good use throughout the rest of the set. WTU? pops in for a few minutes (with Trey rather hilariously making a meal of the intro), then comes the set's main event with an absolute MFer of a Scents that first bursts into a hearty and fast-paced race-to-the-peak (with Trey shouting out NMINML lyrics, the goof), then shifting to a *relaxed* semi-tropical Mike-led groove as Page goes to work on the organ and Trey lays back and adds color (seriously, this jam is so relaxed it's like they're playing it in Barcaloungers), with an EIIRP quote just for funsies.

Caspian slides into the fray in that Caspian way it has, but instead of the usual chill Caspian jam Trey just starts hammering away on his strings like he's possessed by Joe Satriani or something, then builds up a torrid storm of noise as Page goes to work on electric piano and the rest of the band gently fades away. A cloud of industrial grinding spookiness floats across the stage, as demonically dark and crazed as anything from 2003-04, the sort of truly frightening music the band only whips out when they're really feeling it in the modern era. That darn EIIRP quote pops up again, and Page wanders over to the theremin to add another level of craziness to the proceedings...and then Trey gently leads the band into Fluffhead, of all things (apparently Page was none too pleased he had to move away from his favorite toy, but curfews and all that), a wonderfully performed version to cap off a killer set. Frankenstein, with one more EIIRP quote for the road, sends everyone out into the NYC summer night with huge grins on their faces (I'd guess).

Final thoughts: Look, man, Radiohead's probably my favorite non-Phish or Beatles band. They could have played Everything In Its Right Place and Alaska 12 times and I'd be cool with it (well, probably). Instead, they played Everything In Its Right Place and a tremendous set of music that ranged from funkiness to major-key joy to calypso-esque groovin' to whatever the fuck the end of Caspian was, AND quoted it extensively on top. This one's going in my personal Phish time capsule.


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