, attached to 2022-04-20

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ To echo the sentiments of some of the other reviews on this show, I left feeling slightly disappointed in N1 of the April MSG run. By no means was the show bad (though the band had a little bit of rust to shake off, as is usually the case after a dormant period), but there was plenty of opportunity for a grander return imo. Perhaps I expected too much because of the 4/20 timing, but I was really looking forward to a massive Makisupa Policeman, maybe a Soul Shakedown Party, or something else a little bit more tailored to the "holiday." Instead, we got a couple of subtler references through more commonplace tunes like Stash, Blaze On, Twist, and Leaves.

Overall, I thought this was a night of peaks and valleys. Big boy Carini opener set the tone off right and it quickly became clear that the band would be continuing the early onset exploratory improv trends established during Fall Tour. The transition into Possum kept people amped, and CK5 put in good work to help build the climax on this one. Moma Dance got a nice little extended jam treatment as well, remaining mostly Type I but dipping into something that sounds a little bit more like a synthy Gin jam than Moma.

Leaves -> Strange Design killed the momentum, imo. I am not a believer in "bathroom break songs," because I do believe the band has the potential to perform any tune with enough conviction that I have a good time. That said, Leaves is definitely one of my least favorite tunes and this one felt pretty uninspired and drawn out. Strange Design alone could've given the band/audience the breathing room Trey was going for, but after a 7-minute Leaves, this fan-favorite ballad seemed to fall upon tired ears.

Stash was the highlight of N1 imo. Though the composed section had some flubs, the jam displayed some excellent departures from the typical Stash template. Page's piano riffing, Mike's phrygian slop bass, and the rhythmic interplay between Trey and Fish really added some unique color to the build-up. Once Fish explodes, things really take off in a blues-scale-heavy direction. the band transitions back to Stash to wrap up with excellent execution. Blaze On was a fun Set I closer, but left a lot to be desired in it's tight-leash solo section.

In Set II, Sigma Oasis--like Blaze On--didn't stray too far from the beaten path. However, the band definitely took their liberties in DwD. This jam may have lingered a bit, but offered plenty of opportunities for all members of the band to show off. Trey really shines in the last few minutes as the jam climaxes and he takes us back to finish DwD. My biggest complaint here is that Fishman slowed the groove back down...would've loved to see the new heightened energy carry into the final reprises.

The rest of Set II felt relatively devoid of highlights in my opinion. Howling->Twist was a nice jam, but didn't push too much in terms of improvisational prowess or crazy peaks. Mountains in the Mist was another longer slow tune, though one that I'd been chasing for a bit. I thought Trey sounded pretty good here. Reba had some unique jamming where Mike shifted the mode from lydian to dorian for a bit. This provided a nice distinguishing factor for the tune, but ultimately I didn't feel like the jam soared as much as I'd hope a late Set II Reba might. Drift While You're Sleeping to close left me thirsty for something a bit more grand.

Gumbo was a bit of a surprising encore and, with a Slave to follow, crushed my hopes for a 4/20 Makisupa. I love both of these tunes though, and even though neither felt like a particularly strong performance, I was happy to accept this as the finale to N1 and looked eagerly toward an awesome N2 (which did not disappoint).
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