SET 1: Buried Alive > Runaway Jim > Torn and Frayed, Funky Bitch, The Moma Dance > Rift, Nothing, Ocelot, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Possum, Rocky Top
SET 2: Carini -> Taste > Ghost > Boogie On Reggae Woman > If I Could, Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) > Harry Hood > Cavern > Buried Alive Reprise
ENCORE: Loving Cup
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Review by waxbanks
Heartening display of patience, focus, and empathy from the whole band, all night long. No single 'jamming style' seemed to take precedence -- nothing resembling the 'Storage Jam,' only a moment of those addictive staccato polyrhythms (cf. 2/26/03 Stash, 12/28/10 Hood), the occasional textural Hendrix-inspired 'space jam' riff from Trey recalling those antarctic late '97 nights. But we did get an unusually high dose of old-fashioned funk grooves -- Moma was, as I felt the need to point out to some poor tolerant bastard standing next to me near the stage, 'some prehistoric shit right [t]here.'
Torn and Frayed is a heartbreaking song, coming from Trey.
Rift was muted, Bitch and Moma were *nasty*, Ocelot(!) and Possum(?!) were early jamming highlights.
Page didn't flag for a moment all night. None of 'em did -- though I wanna relisten to Fish's performance. He sounded a little different from his usual sprightly self. Last year he was at peak performance. For some reason I had the impression that he'd lost a step over these six months. Maybe it's nothin'.
Beauty of a Broken Heart should be played at every show. I say this with love: I wish Trey were putting as much work into his arrangements these days as Page put into that one. On the other hand, I thought If I Could was subtly reworked(?); it was devastating, regardless. Trey writes incredible four-cornered tunes for guitar/piano rockers and I wish he were building songs of that complexity now.
Maybe there's more to come tomorrow, I dunno.
You had to figure the band would take Carini for a nice long ride, given its prominent placement starting the summer's first set, but its sweet MLT/WTU-esque ambient jam was an unexpected delight, and segued gracefully into what felt like a slowed-down Taste. Which Page proceeded to demolish, though Trey was anticlimactically sloppy in the backstretch after a strong start.
Definitely one of my favourite Carinis -- and that song's been no slouch since the band came back!
Ghost > Boogie > If I Could: Trey let Mike carry on and on and on during Boogie, then hopped in to complete the two-chord hose jam that Ghost, in a kinda scattered (though still awesome) version, hinted at but never quite reached. Carini through If I Could was an amazing run of tunes that flowed organically on the night, even if Trey called for Boogie On just for kicks after Mike switched on the ol' filter.
I mean it about 'scattered,' by the way, though this Ghost's gonna have a lot of fans and I'm one of them. It really did feel like Boogie On offered the Forget/Suzy-like orgasmic I-IV jam that Ghost never quite generated, that they were (or Trey was) still looking for release at that point. Trey was throwing a LOT of stuff at the wall during that Ghost jam, and not all of it stuck; I remember thinking to myself, 'this is a preview of everything to come this summer.'
Maybe it was actually more coherent than I'm giving it credit for. Hard to trust one's judgment on such a night.
Well, so anyway.
Two sets filled to bursting with energetic, creative playing, and an hourlong run of unexpectedly rich, multifaceted jams to open Set II? That's a good portent for summer. A damn good show, top to tails. The only important detail is this: Phish came to PLAY last night, and if you've learned anything at all since George H.W. Bush's presidency, you know that a focused, determined Phish is pretty much the best rock'n'roll show what am. Thinking of seeing a show this summer? See a show this summer.