, attached to 2023-04-17

Review by DevinB

DevinB Let's win one for the naked dude!

Man, what a show.

A few months ago, we all smiled and laughed about a naked guy in the rain at Dick's. About his boots. About his spirit. That seemingly innocuous stunt — one not terribly uncommon in the Phish world, mind you — transformed a rather damp evening into a celebration of life and body and spirit for all 27,000 people in attendance and countless others at home. I never knew Frenchie personally, though I enjoyed the hell of his stunt. I'm sad to hear about his health struggle and I mourn his loss with this community. He became a legend tonight, forever immortalized in Phish lore. What a champion.

And if you go there
and after you do
All of these dreams
would be yours to pursue
The rest of your lifetime
devoid of a care
If you keep your eyes open
you may find yourself there

Had that beautiful Curtain With, Carini -> Dreams combo been the best thing they did all night, this still would have been an all-time classic show. But can we talk about THE REST of this MFer for a minute?! What kind of send-off would this be if it didn't capture at least a little of that freewheeling spirit? I'm sure Frenchie would have been proud to know this one was all his.

We have a flawlessly executed Stash with palpable energy amongst the crowd. A certain electricity in the air. There's a slow burn to this Halfway to the Moon that carries over to Mike's lovely little oddball, Mull — a cool, simmering energy that you can feel in your fingertips and toes. You sense something powerful rumbling just beneath the surface. Undermine coalesces this feeling into a nervous lilt that builds to a minor frenzy — a climax, of sorts, before the big dance. Theme proves to be an unexpected triumph. A lovely little epilogue on a beautiful chapter.

The next one begins in a rather unassuming way. A solid, groovy My Soul. No frills, not much of a jam. It does its job reenergizing the crowd and gracefully steps aside. A workmanlike introduction. A pair of good boots.

And then there's that Tweezer.

Good God, what a Tweezer. I picture Frenchie sitting up on one of those rail-shaped clouds, wearing nothing but his boots and smile, as this absolute behemoth of a Tweezer enfolds and unfurls like some great cosmic snake sent to carry his soul off into the ether. It peaks early and it peaks HARD. Heavy metal gospel à la No Quarter. This would have been a perfectly suitable volta, but Phish wasn't ready to call it quits just yet. Maybe it's being in this holiest of holy Grateful Dead chapels. Maybe it's a nod to the free spirit in boots who decided to break the all rules one rainy evening. In the end, the motivation isn't nearly as important as the end result. We have this beautiful, messy, experimental, jammy, JAMMY Tweezer. They drop in a couple reminders here and there that we are still listening to Tweezer (thanks, fellas!), but never stick with the main theme for very long. By my tally, this jam included a raging heavy metal blowout, a dextrous rhythmic game, a warm, washed out ambient interlude, a clunky stop-start section with some delightfully awkward wooing, a triumphant major-key climax, and a loopy rhythmless afterglow that bleeds into what can best be described as an intro jam into Simple. This Tweezer is going to merit multiple listens and close study. It's not the most elegant one you've ever heard, but it's gotta be one of the longest. Tahoe, eat your heart out!

Now here's part where I tell you not to sleep on this Simple. And it's a really important part. Believe me. DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS SIMPLE. I realize that Tweezer, that great sloppy cosmic oddity, is a really tough act to follow. I don't envy the task before this Simple. We are talking about and all-time classic jam in the heart of an all-time classic show! Had this Simple been a fun little sing-along, I suppose we all would have left the show content and happy. But c'mon, man, we're doing doing it for the naked dude! The pressure is on and Simple has to come through BIG.

Well, it does. It really does. It's probably already blasphemy to say so, but I think Simple might be the better of the two big jams. It's streamlined and laser-focused. There's no deep searching here. No noodly experimentalism. This Simple runs downhill and a brisk clip and crosses the finish line like a pro. The Yin to Tweezer's Yang.

And if that all isn't enough, with eyes fixed firmly on the clock as we race toward our hard 10:00pm curfew, the band decides to give us one final hurrah — a celebration of life for those still living. It's always hard to lose a member of this community, but the band has made our mission crystal clear: live on behalf of those who are no longer with us. Live in their memory. Do big, bold things just for the hell of it because life is short and you never know how much time you've got.

In other words, win one for the naked dude.

Now, of course, the show's not over. What good memorial show would be complete without a good memorial song? Miss You is just lovely here — a poignant reminder of this show's emotional core. And it would have been a perfectly serviceable ending, too, on any other night...

But have we really learned nothing here? If we're going to live on behalf of those no longer with us, we need to go out DANCING. Thank Sand for that. We were still dancing out the exits. This show is already such an embarrassment of riches it's hard to believe they'd do something so brash, so BOLD. But, goddamn it, we've got a free spirit to honor here!

Thanks, Frenchie, for being THAT guy last year at Dick's. Thank you for making us all laugh and smile. I hope the band did right by you tonight. You will forever be a part of Phistory. Your passing, in its own weird way, has become a beacon for the rest of us — a reminder to keep on dancing to the fine, fine music while our lives are saved by Rock and Roll. Thank you, brother, for bein' you.

And thanks, Phish, for making my first trip to the Bay Area so goddamn memorable. I'll be smiling about this one for years to come. I can't believe we have two more nights!


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