, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by yam_ekaj

yam_ekaj Feels good to be back reviewing shows! Some solid Friday night Phish. Let's get right to it.

Opening with Outlive our Brains settled the 'debate' as to whether the Kasvot songs would be in rotation. This is a nice version that contained a nice jam, especially for an opener. It will be interesting to see which, if any, of the Kasvot songs become true 'jam vehicles.' Martian Monster is standard 3.0 funk, Axilla > Free standard, meaning awesome rocking Phish. always love the wedge (a personal favorite song of mine). Meat next, which is a great call. They've been playing this song more often it seems (I believe 3 times this year), and I am not upset about that. Next, Trey begins the thumping intro to Ghost. Oh boy, here we go - or so I thought. This was a solid 11-minute version that never really went where I thought it might go. After the incredible first-set jams we saw this fall, I was hoping/somewhat expecting that Ghost would continue that trend. Oh well, still a nice rendition. Next is Sparkle, which I will never complain about. After a short powwow, the band begins If I Could! Wow! This was a huge surprise to me, as they had played If I Could just 2 shows ago, 11/2/18 in Vegas. Prior to that, the last time played was 7/29/14 - a 159 shows gap! I was ecstatic, but interestingly, when the beautiful ballad began, there was not much of a reaction from the crowd. This led to an even more delicate playing of the song, which wasn't a problem. I do hope this song stays in rotation. Standard Maze and Walls to end the set with some high energy. On to set 2.

In general, the second frame here was quite nice. SYSF was played a ridiculous amount of times this fall - I believe once at every run. The trend continues as the band clearly loves this song. However, it has always delivered strong versions - a solid one on Halloween and the absolutely brilliant version from Chicago. Here, we get a relatively short but sweet version, with some serious type II towards the end. The jam peters out and Swept Away > Steep begins! Following in the Dozen's footsteps, this version is taken for a slight walk, as Trey solos over the Steep progression. Next comes our second Kasvot song of the night - the famed Final Hurrah. Again, like the Outlive our Brains opener, this one contains a significant jam segment that will hopefully only get more significant as they continue to play it. Fuego next; I will admit that I wasn't too excited when this one started up. It seems like Fuegos these days never quite 'get there,' as it were. However, this version delivers. While short, the jam segment immediately becomes interesting and culminates in a stunning peak. Definitely worth a listen. Shade is next, which did take some of the energy out of the set, especially after the tremendous Fuego peak. However, it's followed up with Bathtub Gin. I love this placement for Gin--too often we see it as a standard set 1 closer. Here, in the 4th quarter, is its chance to shine. While not a monumental version by any means, this Gin delivers, veering away from its standard rhythm and into a beautiful improvised jam before returning to the Gin theme. Finally, a rocking Possum to close.

Encore is Bouncing, which Trey forgot how to play it seemed. After an awkward ending to Bouncing, Trey started up Slave. "I hope they play this one right," my friend joked. Play it right, they did. This is a wonderful Slave, with each band member showing patience on their way to the stunning peak. A fantastic way to end a show. Overall, an "average-great" Phish show. Highlights were SYSF jam, Fuego and Gin peaks, Slave to end. Can't wait to see what's in store for the next 3 nights!


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