, attached to 2022-04-22

Review by SawItAgaaain

SawItAgaaain Overlooking midtown Manhattan, Planet Earth from the 37th floor of the hotel. Still waiting to come down from experiencing the Waves, Sand, and Ice tonight.

We may never know what the number games leading up to NYE were about, but the way this band chooses to move with the changing terrain of 2020-onwards (and really since Curveball) is what keeps me coming back. Inspired creative and bright resilience.

Some thoughts by set while I’m still deflating:
First Set was exactly the pull you in, build you up, then pay you on the head that a first-of-three should be. Everything, if you will, was Right. Especially at 17 minutes of bubbling jams to show how the night would go. I’m somehow always ready for a 555 and Army of One. After no Mike or Page lead songs last night, this felt good. When we realized it was another Axilla (Part ll), I begged my neighbor for the boys to take outro out for a walk in the dark, night rain. And they did. I could have stomped in that mud for 20 min, but the 6 or so minute jam was still a personal highlight.

In the second set, some may be about deep and pumping Set Your Soul Free, and they’re in the right. But you were already where that Fuego took you, then show us all the way cause that’s where I want to stay. Until they pull a What’s the Use like that. Trey looked up into CK5’s blue light wash like an about-to-be-abductee, descending not too many feet above his head, then lingered long in the total dark during the pregnant-as-a-whale pause. At the time, it felt like a short set but looking back that’s just a testament to how well paced and real those jams were.

The third set, though, is why they hang Phish banners in the rafters. The stage was struck bare and replaced with smaller rigs and sets in a line across the stage. No other giveaways and with the obvious lack of rafters overloaded with balloon nets, no one knew what was coming. A rock and roll Free elevated us all; the band came along, too. The long middle of Madison Square Garden stage rose up about ten feet in the air, draping a white pyramid all around the skinny rectangle to connect with the perimeter of the main stage below.

Suddenly, the word “FREE” was popping out of the angled front and sides, then disappearing again, creating entire new canvasses for the lighting and design masters to paint. Then came the lasers on special for this show scaffolding surrounding the standard donut light ring. When Waves kicked off, you could hear and feel the mumbled hopes for a tsunami. For only ten minutes, they packed it in, with the lifesize silver dolphins and how-did-they-get-her-in-here big humpback whale soaring and diving through the air. It was……just so MSG N3. They kept with an earth and ocean theme, with Sand and Split Open and Melt, with an It’s Ice encore each taking a loving turn under the fog and bubbles and seaweed strands.

Happy New Earth Day, everyone. Take care of your planet and your favorite band.


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