, attached to 2022-07-29

Review by Run_Jump_Phish

Run_Jump_Phish First time seeing Phish in person since 10/9/99. It was everything I could have hoped for…even if I am still rehydrating well into the next day.

I thought the first set was tight and well-played. Moma opener followed by Possum in the two-slot had me dancing like I was making up for the last 20+ years, until I remembered that (a) I am not young, (b) I am not in the best shape of my life, (c) the heat index was in triple digits, and (d) I needed to make it through another 2 hours of dancing.

The Steam/Stash sandwich was a nice surprise, with a segue into Stash that was every bit as slick as people are saying. Wish they had taken Stash a bit deeper, but as someone else has said, it was more than enough to make up for the rust the last time played. The duo of Rift songs were well-executed and well-placed to cool off a bit.

It was also threatening to pour for the back half of the first set, with some short spells of rain that never amounted to much…but the lightning! Far enough away that there was no imminent danger (I think?) but close enough to see bolt after bolt. During Rise/Come Together, it was a light show to rival CK5 - and the right in the band’s sight line, so I have to believe that drove the jam that ensued.

I feel like life’s too short to get worked up about individual songs, and so I don’t despise R/CT the way a lot of people seem to. But, I was happy to see it in Set 1 vs. Set 2, and figured it would give way to a rocking set closer. And it did - it just happened to be the same song! On relisten, I don’t think we’re talking JOTY contender, but a solid outing and some great f***ing with audience expectations. All in all, a strong opening set.

BBFCFM was just spot on as an opener for S2. Had to remind myself again that there was a whole set ahead. Couldn’t have been happier to hear the opening chords to Carini ring out - which kept the sinister vibe and adrenaline going. Ol’ Lumpy Head was strong, if not record-breaking, with a heavy emphasis on the Sigma Oasis progression to drive the jam post-10 min or so (I see @RubyWaves caught that, as well). Felt like there was more in the tank, but the cut to Waste said no. I love Waste, but was a little worried about what it would do to the energy so early in the set. Luckily, that concern wasn’t necessary, and after a nice sing-along break, the workhorse that is Ruby Waves decided to join the chat.

It was really useful to listen to RW again this morning. From where I was sitting (lower lawn, Mike side), I couldn’t get a grip on any subtleties that were at work in terms of the dissonant interplay in the back 1/3 of the jam. At the time, it sounded like Trey was refusing to abandon a minor mode when the rest of the band wasn’t buying in…until Mike finally hammered on a single note for about 10 seconds to say “everyone form up on me,” and then the dark dissonance became a bit more orderly. In reality, this only happened between about 9:30-10:15 of the jam. Mike’s drill outro was significantly more pronounced/pervasive in person than on the SBD.

The > into BASOS was a poignant resolution of the cacophony, and I had been hoping to catch this one. They didn’t disappoint. It seemed a bit more driving than the most free-form versions (Mohegan ‘19 is the GOAT for me), but still ethereal at times with heavy Dark Star vibes.

The > into Piper was pretty seamless, leading to a strong version with a well-integrated callback to BBFCFM. And then the best segue into Light I’ve ever heard. At the time, it seemed like they had dropped the tempo for Light, though that wasn’t as apparent to me on relisten. Shine a Light was a great choice for a less-played cover, and felt like a great close to the set.

As others have said, the stretch from RW through Shine a Light was masterful. Nothing way out of the box (besides the end of RW), but great song selection, tight execution, and definitely more depth to each element than the timestamps might suggest, making a cohesive whole. A lot of feels were had, especially as we watched the clouds break directly overhead while heat lightning danced around the venue.

For me, all Phish encores are playing with house money. A great one isn’t going to redeem a less-than-energizing show, and a crappy one isn’t going to tank a heater (IMO, YMMV). This one was fun. Strange Design is one of my favorite slow Phish tunes, and I figured that Heavy Things would be the cap on the evening. Then I looked at my watch and realized we had 15 more minutes. I could tell it was going to be Sally just before they dropped into it, and I was off like a pogo stick again. Great funky energy to send us home, with a nice moment of vocal jamming as all instruments dropped out except the drums. But we weren’t done yet! Wilson closed everything out in a frenzy, with plenty of white light from CK5.

And with that, my first show back was over. Drenched in sweat, probably closer to dehydrated than medically advisable, but extremely happy.

“May every song be your favorite tune…”


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