, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by touchbellini

touchbellini Very solid jamming (of both types) tonight. "Ghost" was a standout, lifting us out of the Cowfunk pasture and into the clouds before diving into the water and then emerging into a "Sparkle". Speaking of the ocean, we spent a lot of time there this evening. The first chord of "Free" always sounds like plunging into a wave to me, and tonight Trey let us swim around in the quiet sea for a few extra bars before singing the first line. The rarely heard "Swept Away/Steep" happens to be a personal favorite of mine. "Steep" is not often a jam vehicle, but tonight its placement in the set sort of made it feel like one, growing as it did out of a pretty length-y "Set Your Soul Free" jam which elegantly soft-landed into "Swept Away". Trey and Page took the chord structure of "Steep" that could be bizarre and dissonant and tonight turned it into something triumphant; the finale to the first third of Set II.

There were a lot of things in this show it was nice to be there for. It was nice to be there for that Martian Monster, which was full of energy and showed off how well Mike and Fish are locked in to one another. It was nice to be there for the Kasvot Växt stuff getting taken out to play; they have the effect of adding new flavors to the night. It was very nice to be there for some very solid "The Wedge" and "Bathtub Gin" jams. "Walls of the Cave" is a song I haven't generally connected with up until now, but it was very nice to be there for that tonight, too- it crescendoed so beautifully into a set closer.

Phish spent most of this evening in a very solid, very comfortable middle-ground area with a couple of notable peaks and valleys. Solid, mid-tempo grooves were favored, with Fishman and Mike as steady as (faceplant into) rocks. The high energy parts of the show were left to safe bets like "Possum", "Maze" and "Fuego", which were solid, not spectacular. There were a couple of fumbles here and there, but the jams showcased that Phish are locked in, playing as a unit, giving us the peaks and valleys and exploring new terrain with old tunes and new tunes. I'm psyched for the rest of this run. Happy New Year!


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