, attached to 2022-04-22

Review by rjmasterson

rjmasterson What a show. The Everything's Right->Tube was strong and kicked off what promised to be a splendid, if delayed, New Year's celebration. 555 made a nice appearance, giving way to a roaring "Back On The Train" that suitably kept things moving. Army Of One set up an Axilla (Pt. II) that tore us open, and then we were really going. A nice if somewhat unremarkable Gin preceded a mighty S.A.N.T.O.S. - apt, given we always would remember where we were, even if none of us knew what was in store. One tidbit I've read in a few places that I nevertheless feel compelled to note here, mostly for my own sanity and recollection: the 555 gave way to five more songs in the first set, then five in the second, and finally five in the third, making for the 555 show. These guys!

The second set was forceful; personal highlights there were the Fuego and probably the strongest BDTNL I've ever experienced live, shouting out to Bella's birthday. All the while, though, our minds were on the foretold set III, and everything until that would be an appetizer. In between 2 and 3, we saw the stage cleared, only what appeared to be a giant white sheet left in its wake. We spent setbreak speculating and considering all the possible contexts: no Halloween this year, so maybe a full album cover? The Earth Day shirts and branding was omnipresent, but could it be a misdirection?

Lights go down, and set III starts with a monstrous Free in which it immediately became apparent that the real star of the show would be CK5: Kuroda was absolutely on fire (and ice, and everything in between), setting the stage literally and psychologically with the lighting design. My head was on a swivel. I couldn't stop gawking at everything visually happening. A Wave of Hope gave us some insight into the Earth Day theme, and then, sure enough...that Waves. First, we in the audience simply became the ocean, various shades of blue and green descending upon us. The flying dolphins were one thing, a cool gimmick, and then no less than the Museum of Natural History whale emerged from under where we were standing, capturing everyone's (including the band's, by the looks of the video) attention. The bobbing ambient soundscape blended perfectly with the visuals, and the drone sea-dwelling mammals dipped and dove as if actually in water, nearly interacting with retired Knicks and Rangers jersey banners in the rafters. It was an absolutely unbelievable sight. The two-hitter of Sand and Split Open and Melt, both of which had featured at the Gorge last summer, opened my cranium and deposited severe hits of dopamine. The encore It's Ice was, naturally, icing on the cake.

Overall, an incredible show, if a little heavier on gimmickry and effects than notable for the musical prowess - which isn't to say that the music was bad, either. Quite the contrary, they complemented each other perfectly throughout the show and especially in the third. It was just that the visuals were so astounding, everything else is ever so slightly on the back burner in hindsight. I'll be re-listening to this one for a long time to come, I imagine.
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