, attached to 2019-06-26

Review by aybesea

aybesea So, this is the type of show that is bound to get me downvoted after I review it. I've just got too many issues with it. But, being the stalwart kind of guy that I am, I'm going to go ahead and review this show anyway... after all, I set out to review the entire tour. So here goes (please be gentle).

In my opinion, there are kind of two phases to being a Phish fan. In the early stages, people are all about learning the songs, singing along, just basically getting immersed into Phish. If this is the stage that you find yourself at, you are absolutely gonna love this show. There are a bunch of sing along type songs, many of which don't show up on a regular basis allowing you to collect a bunch of songs that you've now seen... you can tick off those boxes.

Then there is the second, more mature, phase of being a Phish head. In this stage, it's all about the things that are exceptional and outside of the norm. Getting a Chicago Simple or a Utah Mr. Completely or a Hampton Halley's... absolutely transcendental live moments that you will never forget. The fact that this show has 1.5 of these is the only thing that saves it from absolute mediocrity (you can downvote me now). Remember that mediocrity is defined as being "completely average", and that's exactly what the vast bulk of this show is... totally average, unexceptional, well played Phish songs. Crowd Control, Army of One, Alaska, Kill Devil Falls, Saw It Again, Caspian, Farmhouse, Number Line... the pure definition of Phish mediocrity. Occasionally, when one gets one of these as a respite during a smoking show, it can be really refreshing. But put enough of these in line with each other and this is what you get.

So, let's examine the 1.5 highlights (and the other almost highlight) of this show. First, the lone true standout from this show is the exceptional Fuego (SAT 208.24). This jam is the only reason that this show is really worth spinning long term. It is an exceptional jam well worth your attention. It goes type II and explores a whole lot of territory. The half point goes to the Cities (88.93) that segues out of Fuego. It is not as strong a jam as I'd prefer, but being on the heels of that smoking Fuego it makes for a really fun and wild ride. Whatever you do, take care of... err... put these two jams onto your long term mix tape and enjoy this one-two punch for many years going forward. The "almost" a highlight from this show is the first set Petrichor (141.51). It's very well played and a great example of this delicate, intricate, intoxicating song. But, as we all know, when Phish plays the highly technical songs there isn't all that much improv going on (think YEM, Divided Sky, etc), and Petrichor lands firmly in that camp. Definitely worth listening to it, though!

The total overall score for this show is a subdued 920.59. Some quick math tells you that the three aforementioned songs account for half of this score. The encore and CDT take up most of the rest of the slack. There just isn't much left besides sing-songy Phish. I'm sure that those in attendance had fun (when have you ever gone to see the boys and not had fun?), but aside from the party in Maine and the few songs above there isn't much else worth going back to... at least if you are a vetted Phish fan.


Some people have asked for me to post a note regarding SAT (Show Assessment Test) scores and what goes into them. So, there is a whole lot of math and a little personal bias as well. Essentially, the song itself (bias here... though probably a lot of prevailing bias from the Phish community... i.e. Gin is rated higher than The Line), the length, presence of a jam and whether it's type 1 or 2 (2 scores higher), momentum from song to song, and any special notes (like Gloria from St Louis) are all modeled mathematically.

I'm a math wonk and a Phish addict (actually goes back to my GD days with Jerry & the Boys from my first shows in 1976 when I was already trying to evaluate their shows "objectively")... and I was destined to try to do this. I've been tweaking this for almost 2 years, and for me it seems to be reporting pretty reliably these days. The idea was to try to get as objective as possible, although I still had to assign ranks to the songs themselves... hence, still a bit subjective. Oh well. I will keep trying to fashion a truly divine system of evaluation.
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