, attached to 2019-12-30

Review by FunkyGumbo

FunkyGumbo I don't even know how to begin this review (of 12/30/19). Phans are in the habit of throwing out superlatives in praise of most any show. And although I'm as guilty as anyone on that front, I lament the linguistic results: when a show or jam is truly SPECTACULAR, BLISSFUL, EXOTIC, and AESTHETICALLY AWESOME, the use of those words, in this context, comes with less of a punch. The words become watered down from overuse. Weaker. Less impactful. Aldous Huxley once said that words can be like X-rays, you read them and you're pierced. For just this once, I ask you to suspend your sensitivity to the linguistic norms that have corrupted language within the phish community. Let Huxley's observation apply. Let these words pierce you once again, because last night really was one of those nights. I mean it.

First set all around was very strong, as seems to be the pattern this 2019 NYE run. Highlights for me included a very well executed Ballad of Cutis Lowe. Trey had near-perfect tone on this one. Bluesy, lazy, and wailing. A 17-minute Blaze On was the clear highlight. Starting in funk soup, this one soared around for a while, eventually morphing into a funky jazz-fest that rivals any at Newport. And in a first set to boot! Wow! Corinna followed to bring us all into a gorgeous headspace of lovely vocal harmonies. Page shined on the Whirlister, sending soft tones out over horizon. The set ended a bit strangely with uber-short renditions of Mike’s and Weekapaug, sandwiched around a Contact, which itself is, admittedly, always a rare treat. The real sublimity came in set two. A four-song set tells you almost everything you need to know. Almost. For this tweezer was without doubt the most artistic and interesting jam I have ever heard live. After launching out of a beautiful section of on-point tweezer-based jamming, they pressed onward and outward, first into wide and titillating staccato space explorations. At around 21 minutes, they land into an absolutely transcendent post-rock anthem, reminiscent of Talk Talk’s beautiful album Spirit of Eden. This is post rock at its finest. Move over Sigur Ròs. The Phish are in town. All jokes aside, however, I cried during this portion of tweezer. It was one of those really spiritually motivating chord progressions. Know what I mean? Emotions ran. More funk jazz psychedelia followed, into standard bluesy phish rock, into happy happy rock music, eventually taking us all to a “lets go blue” chant to finish it all off, reminding us that even after producing renaissance-quality art, the Phish don’t take themselves too seriously, and we love them for it. "Pan story" antics made us laugh. Ruby Waves jammed too, alluding to the summer’s epic version at Alpine. Back into tweezer. Back to Waves. Wow. A gorgeous if standard version of Slave capped the set. Rock and Roll encore brought the dance party back, with lots of feel good vibes to send everyone home. This show will go down in Phishstory. And I mean it.


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