, attached to 2022-04-22

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ This was my first time attending an entire "NYE" run, as well as my first time catching a gag / three-set show. Let me just start out by saying that I had a fucking BLAST and would recommend the experience to any Phan that can swing it. I had only been to ten shows before the run started and was amped to scratch off a ton of tunes I'd been chasing, catch a bunch of killer jams, and relish in the energy of YEMSG.

It's really tough for me to definitively say which night of the run was my favorite, as 4/21-23 were all spectacular. At the end of the weekend, I left feeling like N2 stood out as the strongest for a combined rarity factor with some excellent performances. However, after re-listening to this show, I think it might be N3. The actual NYE show is usually known to be one of the weaker performances, leaning more heavily on gag mileage than musical content. In this case though, I was consistently impressed by the output of the jams, even those which did not transcend time and space (but those, too!).

Set 1 starts off with a really sweet Everything's Right that morphs and grows, ebbing and flowing very smoothly for a >15-minute opener. Tube has a tasty extended groove section where Mike and Fishman lay down some really excellent funk sauce. Trey's effect play here is pretty dope, as well, especially when combining the synth pedal with the delay. After a fairly standard 555, Fish and Page pull off an extended and gradual ascent that serves excellently for a developing Trey solo--I loved this one. Army of One was a nice choice for a run that was relatively lacking in Page vocals. One of the more unique jams I've personally caught, Axilla II's outro is harmonically and sonically rich, digging into some very deep textures as Fishman lingers on the laidback groove. The jam chart's choice of the word "hypnotic" is apt. I've never met a Bathtub Gin I didn't like, and though this one remains fairly straightforward, I thought the slow increase in energy was great. Fishman specifically drives this jam, ripping on the set even when the dynamics are bit more subdued. A VERY strong SANTOS closes out Set 1--one of the most spirited performances I've seen.

This show only gets better in the second set, beginning with a big ol' SYSF that spends some time dabbling in shallow waters before fading to a space with slightly more murk and swirl. Around 12:20, the band sets on the foundation of a groove that'll take us to a phenomenal peak in which Trey is using his looper to duel soloing phrases with himself. The Happy Birthday teases are just icing on a cake that had the whole room in a state of euphoria. Light achieves some pretty sweet heights as well, landing in a groovy and celebratory jam space for the final minutes. Fishman is excellent all the while. Next up, Fuego is absolutely epic. The main song is executed spectacularly, and then we get an extended outro jam that establishes some very industrial tension, to use jam chart's verbiage again. The > into WTU? feels all too appropriate here, and the second half of the tune is absolute bliss (please just listen to Fish here). Finally, a special birthday BDTNL for Bella wraps up Set 2.

And then the gag came. A buddy of mine came with me this night for his first show (what a first show to catch, lol), and his only request was "I hope they play Free." As soon as Trey started chugging away, we blew up. The stage setup was pretty low key for this tune, but the jam section was nice and tasty. When the band turned around to face the back of the arena, you could FEEL the excitement in the room (this would be repeated again during the Divided Sky pause the next night). I wasn't super familiar with A Wave of Hope before this show, but CK5 and the rest of the choreographers really helped me get into it with a spectacle waterfall/laser light show. When the dolphins and whale came out for Waves, it was game over: fucking killer gag. Waves itself was a bit drawn out and stagnant, but being there in person was mystical and enchanting, as Trey's playing emulated aquatic sonar calls--someone in that building had to be tripping way too hard at this point, hahaha. Sand moves through a number of excellent motions, most notably landing in a powerful, descending harmonic pattern established by Page. Set 3 closes as SOAM gets an atypically amorphous jam that creates a deep tension as the band explores the depths of the ocean floor. Very dooming and lurking. The It's Ice encore was a bit slow and the "underwater" section pretty short-lived, but the complex compositional pieces were nailed, so I was happy with the finish. Definitely an odd end to a show, as there wasn't your typical Hood-like peak or anything, but I found this show super refreshing and entertaining.


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