, attached to 2019-06-19

Review by SplitOpenAndMalt

SplitOpenAndMalt Finally getting around to writing a review for my first show.

Prior to going to Blossom this night, I had zero exposure to the genre of 'jam' music whatsoever. No Phish, no Dead, nothing. My buddy invited me a few weeks prior to go with him and his family to the show and I had heard of Phish, so why not? The day of the show I got a call from my girlfriend of 2.5 years ending the relationship pretty unexpectedly. I'd committed to these tickets though and I wasn't going to flake so I begrudgingly fought my instinct and showed up at my buddy's house. As we made the 40 minute drive to Blossom, we talked about everything. His dad is a seasoned vet who has been going to shows since the early '90s and was catching me up on all the terminology and basic etiquette-- no talking during music, make friends on lot, all of the beginner stuff.

We show up and my first impression is an absolutely massive Shakedown. I hadn't seen anything like it and knew the environment was different than any live entertainment I'd seen before. The vending and communal sense of acceptance blew me away as I walked past unfamiliar faces and people from different aspects of my life alike. After strolling around and making our purchases, me and my buddy headed to our seats in the pavillion on Mike's side.

Set I opened with a nice Soul Planet. In hindsight, my lack of exposure to Phish or the genre made it difficult for me to differentiate when they were bringing out the 'magic'. After listening to this show on LivePhish 40+ times, though, I'm grateful for an mid-length Type I to start the show. Moma is what got most of the crowd going around me and the dancing really ensued. This was my first exposure to the wonders of what Page McConnell can do. Kill Devil Falls and Your Pet Cat were the first two songs that my buddy didn't inherently recognize due to the (relative) recency of KDF and the lack of play of a lot from Chilling, Thrilling since Halloween. Back on the Train was my highlight of the show at that point-- there was a more mainstream appeal and the funky-bluegrass sound distinguished the song from others; I also think it was the first display of Trey's true vocal work. On the way to the show, my buddy's dad explained the Kasvot Vaxt costume from Halloween to me which I didn't really get (was it a cover or not?) so I thought it was pretty funny that they played one of those songs. After About to Run, Divided Sky was my first Phish 'classic', all unbeknownst to my ignorant self. Upon relistens, I've found the bulk of the jam to be a little technically sloppy compared to other Divided Sky versions, but I will always be grateful for its appearance that night. To be totally honest, though, I Didn't Know was my first REAL introduction to Phish-- who the HELL is John Sullen Melancholy and why is he playing a vacuum on stage? And why is everybody going nuts? A nice Walls of the Cave took us to what I thought was the end of the show. Wait, these guys play two sets for THAT long?

Set break we went and caught up with my buddy's parents and saw a couple more extended friends out on the lawn with them. Got a little more spun and headed back down to our seats and I wasn't quite sure how a band could play THAT much improvisational music for a second set. I was in for a treat.

Set II I was a little underwhelmed by Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan. At that point, it was because of the lyrics. Now, it's because I don't think it set the proper stage for the upcoming set with a low-key jam warmup. Obviously, the 20+ Birds of a Feather is the peak of the show. This was my exposure to what true chemistry can do to a band-- all four guys continued to feed off each other's energy and providing each the opportunity to take over the jam in a seemingly unending cycle of free-flowing creativity. I STILL listen to this version and am impressed and have yet to come across another BOAF that's quite as impressive and funky (but I'd love any show recs to prove myself wrong). I couldn't even tell when the band changed to Crazy Sometimes but I think it was a great follow-up from the extended jam that maintained the feel of the show. The tempo rested up with Miss You (I'm sure they were probably GASSED at this point) before Everything's Right ramped it back up seamlessly transition into an overly aggressive start CDT that mellows out as Trey takes over succeeding the vocal selection. The set ends with a high-energy Slave and everyone's face is properly melted by the completeness of the entire set.

We met up with my buddy's parents prior to the SOAM encore that was just on brand with the entire second set. They found their rhythm immediately after coming back out and jammed out the version for nearly fifteen minutes before making a debut of another song???? Kind of an unheard of and unbelievable introduction to the band.

We headed back out to the lot and ate some hummus and met some of our car neighbors before leaving the show. I gotta admit, I had LOVED the environment but hadn't exactly caught the bug for the music yet. There was something about being there, though, that made me forget about reality for a little bit, let alone the fact that my relationship had just ended, and all I was thinking about was being there.

That feeling didn't exactly leave. About a year later, all I could listen to was this show. I'd scanned my ticket and listened on the LivePhish app on repeat before buying tickets to Summer 2020. The pandemic hit--Then I started chugging through all of the free featured shows, then the DaaM streams, and eventually downloaded Relisten to listen to 2-3 shows a DAY. Fastforward to now, I'm reviewing this as I get excited for a Indy>Hershey>AC run (my second show) before hitting Vegas which will bring me to double digits. The band instrumentally changed my life: this show introduced me to my happy music, my sad music, my everything music. I cannot imagine how different my taste in music would be without that introduction. Regardless of what happens in the rest of my Phishtory, this show will always be 'my' show.

5/5 because I'm a sucker for nostalgia.


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