Phish fans are loyal–so loyal they are willing to stand and wait for their band in monsoon-like rain showers. These buckets of rain didn’t relent as Phish got their first set underway. Until the fantastic Reba and Bowie to close the first set out, nothing seemed to really pop out as noteworthy other than two songs that were probably a nod to the rain the crowd was enduring: ASIHTOS and Water in the Sky.
Fans were putting up with miserable weather–it wasn’t the fun kind of summer rain that cools you down–hoping that Phish would treat them for their loyalty. The beautiful, patterned, and inspiring Reba paired with the melodic and fresh Bowie jam would have been enough of a treat but that was simply an appetizer to the second set.
In what is ANOTHER example of relentless, non-stop, creative, unique, and fresh jam songs strung one after the other with no filler, this second set just raised the bar again for 2013, Phish’s 30th year of playing. In what sounded like a late-90′s throwdown show, Phish demonstrated a cohesiveness that has never looked better this era. Often in 3.0 shows you can point to a few awkward times or sour notes from Trey in a show–these moments seem to be completely gone now and this set was further proof.
It almost feels to me that Trey is finally 100% embracing what Phish is again. Is it the fact that the hard work he put into his Broadway production, Hands on a Hard Body, got shut down early? Is it the fact that he’s having a revelation knowing that his baby is 30 years old now and he’s blessed to have all members in great health (both mentally and physically)? Whatever lit the fire, I’m thankful.
I honestly don’t even know where to start. This was one of those forever-memorable sets. I suppose chronologically would make the most sense:
Rock and Roll is awesome. Out of the gates it gets attacked by Trey’s blood-dripping chops, each note crispier than the last. Normally a Rock and Roll jam would reach it’s rock peak and then sink into typical 3.0 funk with a close of the hi-hat and strumming of the guitar but this version meshes perfectly into a peakless plateau of this sort of trance-rock/funk. It rolls along like a train that can’t be stopped, the momentum is too great. It’s one of those Phish jams where you can’t point to any specific example of awesomeness–it’s just an awesome Phish jam. Period. I don’t care if Trey is strumming a repetitive lick if it’s a well-played and nice sounding lick; Trey has had ADD in recent years when it came to jamming, always onto the next song. I welcome Trey surrendering to the flow and just playing what sounds right. Aside from the groovy rock of this jam, it proves Trey’s in the right mindset for quality Phish. Again, something is honing his attention on Phish again–perhaps it’s the fact he’s been working on a Phish album again?
The dives into a deeeep 2001. Fish and Mike dig low with each other, Fish switching over to the wood block at one point and Mike picking out choice notes that almost sound like he’s going into the Michael Jackson series from the 6.25.10 2001 again. The loops at the end of the 2001 carried over into the Tweezer intro just so everyone could make sure that they’re not leaving us a second of time with no music being play.
This Tweezer is awesome. The subtle groove gives way to a climax that many people are comparing to the peak in Theme from the Bottom. The layers of notes created once you reach the top of this is life-changing stuff. Stuff that will turn a non-fan into a phan. Stuff that you remember listening to over and over to on tape in your car when you were in high school.
The seamless segue into Cities is an awesome Trey-led transition. They have been NAILING segues this year so far! Tweezer -> Cities?! What is this, 1997?? Nearly the entire Cities has Fishman playing the beat to Wedge and it works nicely. The throbbing jam that comes of the composed section shows more cohesiveness from all four members and gives you plenty of time to dance. Just as Fish stops the Wedge beat, Trey starts strumming it and the entire band drops into it.
I’m short on time right now and have to run. I’m going to leave it at this for now. The bottom line is: if you did not make the show or you have not heard it yet, listen to it RIGHT NOW! I can’t stop smiling after last night.
What you got MPP?!