, attached to 2021-08-11

Review by ForgeTheCoin

ForgeTheCoin This run was a hell of a good time. Very chill vibes on lot both days, next to zero negativity - no hassles with security - the only challenge were the big thunderstorms prior to each night's show, which abated leaving a rainbow over the venue two nights in a row. Night one's rainbow had forked lightning going through it at one point - something I've never seen in my life.

Capacity for the arena was 30,000 and I would guess it was only at 2/3rds capacity which left lots of dancing room on the field - much appreciated during a time where social distancing mattered.

Heard the drop into You Sexy Thing while in line to get into the venue, and grooved to Wombat walking onto the field. It was a hell of jam to start the show with - as funky as you please, with a golden-orange sky enveloping the venue. A very strong Free and ASIHTOS to follow... and then the bouncy-happy Halley's which proved to be a winner - a 2nd set type of jam as a set 1 surprise. A beautiful and natural segue into the Lonely Trip debut. A tasty Jibboo, a very funky Meat with the return of the 'You Sexy Thing" theme and an absolutely ripping Maze to close the set. The peak of the Maze had me jumping in the air with pumping fists - just glorious. What a set!! Could Set 2 follow suit and make this a real deal, complete top-to-bottom show?

We stayed towards the back of the field for set 2, plunked right in the sonic sweet spot of the central speaker stack which provided some of the loudest and most clear sound I've ever experienced at a Phish show. First Set 2 Theme opener since 95 - which immediately gave the set an old school feel - I'm always stoked to hear this tune and this was a sweet one. One of the things that has become a constant for me with Phish is that as soon as you proclaim "I don't like this song" or "They always/never do this..." the band will surprise you by doing exactly the opposite and changing your perceptions. Within the past weeks I re-watched the Polaris 99 show with some friends, and while watching that absolute behemoth of a BOAF I said "Man, I wish they would jam out BOAF like this again - it's top shelf Phish and they never do it anymore!" Well, ask and you shall receive - the BOAF that followed Theme was a true gem - heady, mind-blowing, face melting - I literally had moments of my jaw hanging agape at what I was witnessing. The sound was so MASSIVE. The 'Bug' to follow seemed like a cool down but with the triumphant power chorus, complete with Kuroda white lights and fists in the air, it was pure rock n roll. A beautiful 'Light' as always with another seamless segue into Party Time which I never think of as a Set 2 tune, but it worked. The Ruby Waves that came after proved again that it's one of the consistent jam vehicles of the modern era - always sure to send the band into a psychedelic space reserved for only a few tunes. While not a match for the Alpine version, this one got into some really interesting terrain, and along with Halley's and BOAF was a top 3 jam of the night. Chalkdust was Chalkdust, with some different vocal inflections than usual. 25 years ago, Chalkdust opened the first show I saw, and almost to the date all these years later, it closed this one.

The encore was a nice 'Thank You' from the band, but neither added nor subtracted to my feeling about the night. All in all, it was a VERY solid show - one worth re-listening to in its entirety - and arguably one of the most cohesive shows of the first leg of summer 2021 tour. I found a group of about a dozen like minded folks also in the sonic sweet zone, and we danced HARD all night - it was a like a Zumba workout - drenched with sweat by the end of the night. Going that hard with a mask on isn't easy, but we did it, and it added some level of comfort considering the virus in our midst. I had as much fun this night as I've had at just about any show - absence does make the heart grow fonder - and with some 20 months since my prior show I really soaked this one in. Give it a listen. The psychedelic alien space funk of 2021 is on full display and its absolutely fantastic.


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