, attached to 2018-08-11

Review by dmartchek

dmartchek I hope this show's rating improves with time. Nearly two years on, I still associate this show with many exciting personal moments, but the music holds up. While not an all-timer by any means, this would be the perfect show to take someone for their first taste of Phish (as I did with a group of skeptical friends).

The first set is lazes in with a Blaze On opener before Party Time gets taken out for a "jamlet" rather typical of 2018. Breath and Burning brings a "Gin"-esque double-time jam that leads to a well-played Sugar Shack. Trey does well with the quick changes towards the end of this one. Home>Joy is a breather, for sure, but hey, the sun is 45 minutes from setting by then in Columbia, MD and we were all lazing into a late-summer's fog anyway. The Stash that follows lands on the Jam Chart, and rightly so. While not as melodically dynamic as the 07/14/13 Stash from MPP, it's covers a lot of ground for an 11-minute rendition. The 46 Days that closes out is fiery and worth another listen as well.

I'll remember the 2nd set for my first-timer friends boogeying in a circle during Sand. I see some complaints about lacks of peaks in these 2nd set jams, but I'd like to ask those phans if they would've said the same things in the late 90s. Sand is our 2nd relaxed introduction of the night, while Mercury amoebas into Ghost that actually rages pretty hard and serves as a wonderful centerpiece 2nd set jam before returning to the Ghost theme and petering out into Fuego. Fuego provides some structure before meandering for a few minutes into Slave. Now, I've never been a huge fan of Slave (please don't hurt me!!), but it does serve as a great set closer. Twenty Years Later offers a few more minutes of the pensive, moody jamming that has bubbled up throughout the night before a downbeat transition into Martian Monster. A dance party ensues before Rocky Top and Golgi close the show with some 1.0 staples.

This show was beyond enjoyable for anyone who was expecting to see Phish through some jams in between a duo of song-light sets. Each set includes fewer than 8 songs, with each one being taken out for a little ride. Even Martian Monster and Twenty Years Later get some breathing room in the twenty minute encore. No ripcords to be found (OK, Mike and Fish didn't see Ghost coming out of Mercury, but Trey really snuck it in there at first), no enormous rippers neither, but an even-keel flowing show from start to end. I'll take that over a sloppy, ripcord-ridden, 25-song show any day.

And if you disagree and were expecting something like any MPP N2 from recent years, then that's why you never miss a Sunday show..especially at Merriweather Post Pavilion!
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