, attached to 2019-12-01

Review by Museummouth

Museummouth Before I begin let me preface this with some backstory on the night so anyone reading this in the future will know. It was a miserable cold and icy rain night in the tristate area, and driving to Uniondale from Philadelphia was an awful experience. I was ready for Phish to throw down to make the trip worth it and lo and behold, they did.

The lights go down, and we start with a crunchy Ghost, one that finds its way and peaks, with some nice trilling action from Trey quite quickly. This will be a theme throughout the night, shorter jams (in the 10-15 minute range) that get to where they need to faster. It seems the band is being able to cut out 4-5 minutes of meandering in the mid section of long jams and get to the point with ease.

Ghost ends and Trey launches right into Rift, which is played with fervor and intensity. The band is tight and Treys guitar lines are hit perfectly. TMWSIY comes next for a little cooldown and it's airy arpeggios waft throughout the building, until Avenu Malkenu arrives for a jaunt and the crowd swells are joins in the singalong. Another theme for the night seems to be massive crowd singalongs during certain songs/choruses (Timber, Cool It Down, Cities, SANTOS).

The wedge comes next with a nice micro jam in it with more focused playing from Trey. Words are then exchanged between Page and Trey, and Martian Monster launches into deep space. It's a grimy, dirty version with some different than usual sampling from Page building into a cosmic noise before crashing back into the main riff.

Timber arrives next, and although I've caught 3 of the last 4 Timbers, it's always a nice time which good band interplay. Cool It Down is after, and the crowd joins to singalong especially in the chorus. The band looks happy and rocking, and there's some good instrumentation in the back half of the song. Roggae follows and is serviceable, nothing to special about this one but it's played nice enough before jolting off into Poor Heart which grabs the crowds attention straight ahead. The energy is back and high after that and some more words are exchanged between the members and Tube begins.

Can we stop here and appreciate how good of a song Tube is? It always brings good jams, whether short or long, and tonight is no different. This multi-peak jam is joyous and upbeat, with more trilling from Trey. It's the highlight of the first set and a must-hear, before landing back into the bluesy-bridge to finish out the song.

At this point we all thought the set would be over, even though the ending of Tube wasn't the big rock closer as usual. Trey talks to Mike and the band launches into Character Zero. Feeling like a victory lap on a great set, the energy is high and both and crowd and band are rocking. Overall a wonderful first set, with some classic sounding Phish, bookended by two great jams (Ghost, Tube). The second set hype is real now.

Set break goes by and the band takes the stage promptly at 10pm. Seeming unsure of what to start with, there's a little hesitation before choosing Everything's Right. But alas everything is right as the song delivers yet another great jam. ER is becoming the most consistent jam vehicle of the past few years and I have no problem with that. And this time we get another deep spacey cosmic version. It's dark and gyrating, and unique without any traditional peaks. Mildly reminiscent of 12/30/18's ER at times. Mike hits some bass bombs and Trey and Mike exchange words and a drone begins before Mike slams the intro to DWD. It's a feverish version with no wandering around. Peaks are hit high and fast and a deep groove is landed on when....

Okay this is the weirdest moment of the show by far. Trey starts singing Cities over the groove and it fits and the band lurches into a slower groovier rendition that's continued through the chorus and second verse and jam before catching up to speed later. It's a completely unexpected transition and took everyone by surprise, even the rest of the band. This is why we Phish though, you never know what you're going to get. The groove settles down and Carini crashes in like a truck to a brick wall. It's heavy and dark and gives a short but sweet jam before fading into Ruby Waves. RW is becoming another nice jam staple and this version is another one for the books to check out. Another cosmic jam which settles nicely.

20YL starts up and the crowd seems to not be too pleased with it, but then I remember 6/30/19 and how great of a jam came out of that... The main portion of the song reaches the darker bridge and we can all tell it's only going to get darker. More cosmic untraditional jamming as the stage feels like it might lift off and blast into space. It's a great version and might be the highlight of the second set. Number Line follows with a joyous type I jam but we're not over yet. SANTOS closes the set with high energy. A perfect cap to a weird and unique second set with lots of interesting, yet untraditional jams.

Encore begins with Roses Are Free, a nice tip of the hat to 4/3/98 and we close the show with Slave, which is always a good choice.

Overall a wonderful show. It might not have been an upper echelon classic show, but it's a standout of the year with a tight and focused first set and an exploratory second one. Attendance bias leaves me to give it a 5/5, although if we had half star ratings (WHICH WE SHOULD) it would be a 4.5/5.


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