, attached to 2022-04-22

Review by itsice88

itsice88 I don't write show reviews too often, but this night struck me so much in its singularity that I felt I needed to put some thoughts down. Much of this show's legend going forward will revolve around the stunning visual display in set 3...and rightfully so. It was probably the best "gag" the band has performed in several years, and arguably one of the best ever.

However, I think what makes this show so great is its musical depth. Phish has often used 3 set shows in the 3.0 era to showcase their catalog in a more straightforward fashion, often forgoing deep improvisation. This show is the diametric opposite of that. Phish goes deep in each set from this night...and often. Set 1 starts with a super relaxed, super confident 17 minute Everything's Right into a 9 minute Tube. Other highlights from this set include the deep take on Axilla II into a particularly spirited Bathtub Gin. All in all, an excellent opening frame.

Set 2 here...talk about something that looks one way on paper, but in reality is totally different in reality. This set is masterful (outside of Fuego's rickety composed section). This thing is a masterclass in flow. The band is completely in the zone and nothing is stopping the improvisational ideas from flowing. SYSF>Light>Fuego is one of the best hour-ish segments of music the band has played since returning last year. Ideas upon ideas with Fuego producing some of the most unique improvisational music I've heard in quite some time. Throw in a perfect WTU placement, and a spirited take on Numberline, and this thing gets wrapped up with a bow. I love how this set weeds out the casuals and the setlist-focused people. This is likely the best set of the run and it has the "worst" setlist. Classic Phish with a capital P.

People have written quite a bit about the stunning visuals of set 3. I'll only say that I was in section 111 right behind the stage...and it was basically the perfect spot to take in the breathtaking visuals. It was incredible...but as always, I'm focused on the music. And the music...was great. Free starts the set with a very solid straightforward take on the song. A Wave of Hope is a pretty inspired new mid-tempo rocker that I actually dig quite a bit. This Waves/Sand/Split Open and Melt segment though...this is what pushes this show firmly in the "legendary" camp for me. All three of these songs are performed with exuberance and boundless creativity, marrying the stunning visuals with legitimately great music. Again, this show manages to avoid the trappings of a normal "gag" set where the band forgoes musical depth for the spectacle. This set and this segment in particular marries the two in way that Phish rarely if ever, has accomplished...at least not in many years.

The spectacle continues into the encore with a strong version of It's Ice, its first appearance in the encore slot...and this marathon night is finished. I'm left with gratitude from this show, and it's provided a packed treasure trove of musical highlights to listen to for years to come. This for me is one of the best shows the band has played in the 3.0 era. I'm endlessly surprised and delighted that the band can still top themselves in their 39th year of existence. Long live Phish.
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