, attached to 2023-04-17

Review by SawItAgaaain

SawItAgaaain This is the Band of Life.

When you look at this as a celebration of life show, it feels cohesive, intense, and revelatory. Most directly an aching and gorgeous memorial for the day-before passing of Frenchie, the superfan and Naked Dude from Dick's 2022 who inspired the incredible NYE Carini gag. (Go watch video of the two-dozen naked-in-boots-and-beards dancers that anchored the third set.) To me, Trey took this moment to craft a show that was an ode to all those we've deeply loved and lost in the last 40 years.

From that viewpoint, The Curtain With is a perfect opener as a gorgeous metaphor about beginnings and endings. Trey leaves no doubt that the Carini is for Frenchie and plays like a celebration of reckless wisdom. All of These Dreams is a poem to life and afterlife. The remainder of set one is mostly simple, mostly fun, and a little meandering. The cold seemed to manifest tech challenges, but hey, life is a series of challenges and the result of what you make of them, right?

My Soul opens set two and continues the rumination on life, but signals the start of the celebration part of the service. With the opening chords of Tweezer, even from the couch, one felt that this was going to be the big exploration for the night; the first several minutes were spent circling the gravity well with warm-up riffs and nuance to set the scene. Once we hit that event horizon, though, memories of life and afterlife merged. Joy, pain, tedium, patience, delirium, and more were all explored with curiosity of youth and the wisdom of age. Phish is at their timeless best when the music itself feels out of time. I was stunned when afterwards I saw it was 45 minutes; in the moment it felt half that length.

The seamless transition into Simple created a part two, of sorts, to what just happened. It got to the point with a swiftness and soared like a requiem crafted in warmth and the beauty of a sunlit cathedral. Rock and Roll truly has saved some of our lives and this night it served as scripture, delivered with extra-honeyed vocals from Page. Miss You speaks for its gorgeous self within the theme of the night. Some of our people may be gone, but really they are everywhere still. Sand was an unexpected but perfect "fare thee well" delivered with energy and hope that keeps us bouncing, touring, and striving.

Nothing but gratitude to the band and our community for giving us the space and place for a night like last night. Hug your people, love yourself, and maybe let's all live with a little bit of that reckless wisdom of a Naked Dude.


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