, attached to 2014-10-18

Review by Ez_and_not_so_Fast

Ez_and_not_so_Fast From Couch Tour, deal with it:

This date seems to be a rather unorthodox show. I disagree with the assertion that it doesn't deserve another listen. On the contrary, this is a show where we got to hear two different bands on stage, both of them somehow called "Phish." It's quite a cool show in this way:

The first set treated us to a well-oiled machine engineered by a bunch of Germans or something. Gear issues aside (and I did't think they were all that noticeable, really) Phish the Machine - the Phish of the first set - can be described with one word: Precise. But I'll use some more because adjectives are cool like that. Phish the Machine was fast, clear, with steady tempo, interactive on an incredibly quick, micro level, and precise. It was intense in a sort of Rush / DreamTheatre / RussianCircles / Tool sort of way. For this set alone, Fishman gets the MVP. It's a tight set. It's an incredibly tight set. It's impressive and worth not just one relisten but many. They performed those songs like they would for a live album, very professionally, accurately and quickly but with the added bonus of the live micro-interaction between the bandmates. 1st set was everything I love about Round Room with the added bonus of some very, very strong coffee.

This was not the band we saw for the second set. When Phish in Space came out, it was quite a surprise; the approach and purpose of this new band was completely different. I agree with none but one of the alligator mouths from the official setlist as of the moment I post this, hopefully someone will listen to what an unusual masterpiece this second set is and concur with my assessment and change the official list. If you want to understand what I heard, it looks like this:

Set 2: Down with Disease[1] -> Golden Age -> Fuego -> Light -> Cities -> 46 Days -> Sand -> Backwards Down the Number Line, Bold As Love

The segue from Sand into Backwards Down the Number Line was especially nice, smooth, polite and was a very appropriate shift. But Fuego -> Light is ridiculously exellent, too! The only two songs in the second set that have a clearly defined beginning are DWD and Bold as Love and the only two songs that have clearly defined endings are Backwards Down the Number Line and Bold as Love. Nothing else in that 2nd set ends, per se.
-The intro to Fuego, for instance. It's a whole cool thing that Page made as a segue to bring Golden Age to a piano pivot straight into the opening chords of Fuego! Cool, isn't it? A really neat moment, you should hear it and decide for yourself if it is a segue or not. (It is.) But it's undeniable that Page played a whole new Fuego-specific intro and yet nobody here mentioned it yet? Hmm... Maybe give it a listen and then you can decide on the veracity of the negativity of the critics on this page. It's really cool, it so is.

Point is, Phish in Space was certainly not the Phish the Machine we heard in the first set. All the songs, except for #line and Bold as Love just jammed themselves up into some ethereal space, where they often lingered before giving birth to a new song. The VIP for Phish in Space was nobody because it's impossible to isolate one single true leader or lynchpin. Phish in Space is the MVP of the second set, maybe. I dunno.

Finally, what often unfortunately goes unmentioned is how much goes right when it does go right. Intelligent people, such as we are, are habitually accustomed to being incredibly critical. It's important to recognize our most common bias, that frequent error we so often make when we fail to notice all the things that are going right. A case in point (and to the point) is this show. Phish's harmonies are killer spot-on. It is joy to hear them sing. They're really on top of things, executing them very well. Lots of things. Lots of things that, it seems, many of the critics on phish.net fail to notice. Phish is killing it here, don't let the haters confuse you.

What's especially amazing is that Phish the Machine and Phish in Space were performed by the same four guys, old Nor'easter friends from way back.

If you expect every song to be the Bozeman Tweezer, you're doing it wrong.

-You're gonna have a bad time.
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