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Phish.Net Review Archive

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Here are the 15 most recent reviews submitted

n00b100 , attached to 2014-10-29 Permalink
n00b100 Set 1: A bit more standard as far as first sets go, compared to the last few shows' first sets, although the We Are The Champions tease (is it really a tease, though? They played a full chorus!) in The Moma Dance is one of those moments of sheer kismet you only get once every great while, and is certainly worth hearing. The banter before The Line is a lot of fun, too (man, poor Page, having to live as a Mets fan). Wolfman's Brother, as full of piss and vinegar as it's been the past few years, makes for a nice capper to the set.

Set 2: After a typically blazing First Tube, Disease gets the first jam vehicle call, and they move into a darker version of the usual Disease jam, as Mike (again!) pushes for a different key and Trey peels off some minor chords. Page goes to the piano as loops start buzzing around, then back to the organ, as Fish just blasts away with some inspired drumrolls and woodblock shots. Then, as though bursting through cloud cover into sunlight, the band moves back into a more optimistic key, with a big ol' meatball to boot, then start going into LA-style classic rocking mode before ending with surprising gentleness. Not quite up there with the big Diseases of the year, but certainly nothing to sneeze at either.

A perfectly fine Theme is next, then a very nice second set call with Melt, which builds tension in the time-honored Melt manner before getting really dissonant and nasty, Trey coaxing strangled-cat noises with the whammy, Page hammering away on the piano, Mike and Fish gluing everything together. Someone in the show thread said that the Melt jam didn't really go anywhere, but I'm not sure I agree - for one thing, Melts almost always go to the same anywhere, and that's back to the main Melt theme, so the trick is how they get there, and for another, the jam was so wicked and crazed that it hardly matters anyway. A nice companion piece with the Randall's Melt, and an SOAM to bring back memories of 20 years ago. Heavy Things actually works as the landing pad (dig the breakdown when Page gets his chance to solo!), and then comes Light.

Light, of course, has a good deal to live up to at the BGCA, and they once again offer a companion piece to that silky-smooth version, with a weirdo off-kilter jam similar to 7/14/13 and the Tahoe 2011 version. Out of a darker-than-usual Light jam, Trey starts up a repeating chord pattern, Fish thundering away, and Mike once more really stepping up. The band pushes towards a more warm and upbeat jam, and Page goes to those twinkling notes he likes so much, Fish still urging the jam forward, everybody just working together in perfect synchronicity. But then, with things getting a little plinko-y, Trey gets a bright idea and starts with some sharper chords, Mike hits on a new weird bassline, and they go into a weird, almost uncomfortable jam full of distortion and buzzing effects. And then, so suddenly you have to just laugh out loud, Possum pops out at the end just as neat as you please, and it's a rockin' Possum to close out another darn good set. Contact (with clavinet-driven funk jam!), Meatstick, and Zero close things out.

Final thoughts: A tick below last night, but last night's show is a year highlight, so there's no shame in that. Light and Melt are must-hear material, and the DWD isn't too shabby either. A great way to close out the very good BGCA run before Vegas.
Score: 5
n00b100 , attached to 2014-10-28 Permalink
n00b100 The first sets this tour have been getting better as the tour goes on, and this is no exception, both in terms of song selection (hard to sneeze at a Classic Groove, even if - horrors! - that second Mike's jam still eludes us, Plasma, and a nifty segue out of the usual Gumbo jam into Sanity), and the playing overall (nice and tight, and the Gumbo in particular turns into an It's Ice-like Page showcase before said nifty segue). Wingsuit continues to impress as it builds Skynyrd-style to its big peak at the end, and Antelope is as good as it always is. Lots to like here, if nothing quite stands out the way, say, that really cool Destiny Unbound from Chula Vista does.

Set 2 starts off with Kill Devil Falls, which you easily could have assumed would be a nice energy boost to kick things off (like the next night, for instance), but instead the band moves into a nice groove at Mike's insistence, with Page going dark on the piano and Trey moving to the effects. Fish turns on the Bunson burners and things kick into higher gear, with Trey switching to chords and Mike firing off his meatball effect, then Page switches back to electric piano and Trey moving into a spacey realm. Mike switches to a droning note as loops fly and Fish switches up his beat, and the jam comes to a relaxed close before Mountains in the Mist come in. So that's a pretty good start, right there.

A nice and muscular Type I Fuego is next, then a surprise call with Julius (which I like as a second set energy boost, as it was back in the day), then the highlight of the night in an unbelievable Twist. Out of the usual Twist jam (and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Smoke on the Water tease), Mike starts going to *his* effects as Trey fires off sharp wah-wahed notes...then the band suddenly find themselves in a different kind of jam space, Mike taking the lead with a contemplative bass line, Trey adding sympathetic notes with Page going back to the electric piano and Fish dancing around the rhythm as he so often does in the best 3.0 jams. Trey nearrrrrly teases Long Tall Glasses, but this isn't the place for it; the jam rolls forward with the inevitability of the tides, with Trey's gorgeous playing melding seamlessly with Page's also-gorgeous playing and Mike (who has entered a 5/22/00 Ghost-like zone of serenity) underpinning everything. This is just unbelievable music, one of the most truly unique jams the band has played in this era, and all the more so because they trend towards upbeat and melodic and not this kind of "groove out of the 10/31/98 Wolfman's" downbeat and dark that they would have reveled in during 2.0. I wouldn't say it's the jam of the year, not in a year where the 7/13 CDT exists, but it's real high up there and demands hearing.

Trey kicks into Runaway Jim next (adhering to his usual "take 'em down and bring 'em up" 3.0 policy), and it's kind of weird with Fish taking a bit of a break at the start, a few kick drum shots and cymbal taps aside, and it's a fine version with Trey on point once again. And then, just to cap off a brilliant set, Hood almost immediately moves into a fierce rocking groove (again thanks to Mike), with Trey machine-gunning chords and Page tickling the ivories, then shifts into a nifty dance rhythm as Page goes to the organ and Fish brings the woodblock into the mix. This is some truly feel-good music, Page really having a ball Billy Preston-ing it up, and then as though a switch has been flipped the band slides back into Ye Olde Hood Jam and comes to a nice finish. Loving Cup is Loving Cup, but who really cares at this point?

Final thoughts: a thoroughly enjoyable show, easily the best of the Fall run pre-Vegas. The second set, in particular, is built like a Swiss watch and features two very good jams and a "slap headphones on your head like Natalie Portman in Garden State" Twist. Find you some spare cash, and head to LivePhish tout suite.
Score: 2
winterland6977 , attached to 2014-10-28 Permalink
winterland6977 This was the best show at BGCA since 8/19/12. KDF, Twist, and Hood all spectacular and the first set is no slouch whatsoever. Loved, loved, loved this run! The Mike's Groove in the beginning of set 1 was such a treat, as was the Gumbo->Sanity. They really took the gloves off for set 2, however, coming out blazing. Probably the best KDF to date- I'm not usually a huge fan of this tune, but this version made me a believer.
Score: 1
tubescreamer , attached to 2014-10-28 Permalink
It's an oversight to not label this Kill Devil Falls as a "highly recommended" version. It broke from its common and conventional form immediately and with incredible results. Reminiscent of some of the recent places Chalkdust Torture has been going over the past year, this version still blazed a trail, but most particularly because this is NOT a song where the unexpected is expected. 10/28/14 is a high watermark for the band thus far this year, and this tune set that second set up. It's place among versions of itself as well as 2014 jams should not be overlooked.
Score: 4
CreatureoftheNight , attached to 2014-10-28 Permalink
CreatureoftheNight One thing I have really appreciated this tour is the band not taking the easy way out when jamming. I mentioned this after the first two shows and the theme has continued. Trey and the boys know how to bring the hammer down, build tension or funk things out, but this tour has a very fresh sound. Listen to the Twist last night or the Ghost from the night before for two examples. Many of the cliche licks and riffs played during the summer and in year's past have given way to a quest for something fresh. When taking big risks, you're not going to hit the mark every time. When forging a new sound, there are going to be times in the wilderness. The band is playing with less ego, but that can sometimes lead to a directionless search for the sound. This was not the case last night. I applaud the boys for challenging themselves and continuing to grow, even after 30 years together.
Score: 10
jsauce , attached to 2014-10-28 Permalink
They spit hot fire all night. I am a cynical phish head, but I have been very impressed with their playing, especially Trey. This band is at its best when it has leader. It really sounded like they felt in control of the music instead of wrestling with it. Gumbo sanity antelope was a nice way to end the first set.
I'm honestly glad I'm not going to vegas. By the time they get there it's going to be too much to handle. I'm even scared for tonight!

Btw, trey did a very obvious Tweezer tease at the beginning of Julius.
Score: 5
ThomasFunkyEdison , attached to 2014-10-28 Permalink
Highlights of the first set: Gumbo>Sanity>Antelope
Highlights of the second set: whole thing (but especially KDF, Twist, Hood).

Not sure why the above poster said the KDF seemed to "first-setty," but this one was a nice jammed out version that very quickly became "second-setty."

The loving cup encore fit in perfectly here. Most people gripe when they hear the first notes from the chairman, but last night everyone seemed to be feelin it.

Can't wait to see what they have in store for us tonight.
Score: 8
gankmore , attached to 2014-10-28 Permalink
I like to spin the the dead center of the back hall of this venue. When all goes well you can see every member of the band enough to see smiles and nods from that spot and also see all of San Francisco unfolding right outside the doors. I think I've done that nearly every set of every show at this venue (except for 8-19-12 II where my friend Casey talked me into a balcony seat, and that went really well -- the Way is not an unvarying way).

There's this wonderful spot in the middle of the venue which is a line of symmetry roughly at the I in phish on the marquee of the venue that's a perfect place to ride huge waves of phish kinetic waves. It's not my spot, you can dance there too, but man do I like it.

It's a perfect spot to spin circles of devotion and healing through the crowd, but then again I've always had an over inflated view of the importance of that sort of thing (and probably my own role in it), having come up in the grateful dead scene when there were many more folks who had this practice all spinning in unison.

Last night this spot made a terrific viewpoint for a huge scene outside, filled with far more freaks than our own little circus: The Giants were suffering a major game 6 defeat in Kansas City, broadcast in technicolor right outside Phish's grand San Francisco tour perch last night to tens of thousands, many of whom had long since left for home when the band started into a down right triumphant Crowd Control. The Mike's Hydrogen Groove was stellar and a sign we were in for a series night of fireworks fit to lose a world series game by.

Wingsuit is the least favorite of my new phish tunes, mostly because as an avid Squaw Valley skier, this one always takes me a little too vividly towards the memory of Shane McConkey one of the gods of my sport who died far too early in wingsuit crash. So much to lose. A good metaphor for the need to "make good decisions" (as I always like to heckle phans to try to remember outside the show -- something I was doing last night a lovely young man pointed out how hard it was to take me seriously saying that when I was so completely covered in glitter, but I'm getting ahead of myself). Maybe the metaphor is a little too close to what I do by putting phish right in the middle of a high functioning otherwise pretty boring existence. It's my way to fly.

Wingsuit isn't my favorite bit of psychedelic dim sum, but I certainly did not spit this one in my napkin. Even my least loved new tunes are incredible monkey bars for the band.

Man do I love Water in the Sky though. No complaints on the song writing here or the mental image it conjures in me, because you know, that stuff matters?

Plasma made another surge around it's new found stomping ground.

And then into Halfway, which *is* my favorite of the new tunes, though it really is older sibling to the other Fuego songs and has the confidence and swagger to make the old family truckster hum down the road.

Poor Heart was a mid set victory lap somewhat akin to Rocky Top 8-19-12 II, but you draw your analogy where you want. This was fun.

The Gumbo was strong and Sanity loaded the bases for Antelope to knock at least a few RBIs in for a first set that had everyone talking phish over sports at set break.

It occurs to me that I've got to head off to work here in about half an hour, and this long and rambling review is almost better deleted.

Kill Devil was a rocking second set opener, even though this one seems first setty as did the very beautiful and well executed Mist.

Fuego seemed at home in this set and didn't make me cringe a bit in terms of selection . It just worked.

This whole show really did Twist everything around including song orders, and the results are just incredible. Every single song in the first deserves it's own set of analogies and hyperbole, but you'll want to make sure not to miss the Twist > Jim > Hood. Yowzers. I caught SPAC and Mann this summer and know I'm west coast biased but the Hood took us somewhere close to the level of raw and open true improvisational incredibleness we found last summer in the Tahoe Tweezer.

And the only way to defend that comparison is to point out what my old friend one said

but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Next time you're at a BGCA show, stop by and spin a few circles with me in the back.

Root root root for the home team, if they don't win go see phish!
Score: 20
Toe2323 , attached to 2014-10-27 Permalink
Very good show and a solid 4/5 in my book. 2001 is the highlight of the night though and will get MANY repeat plays from me!

Seven Below was also excellent.

The Ghost did not do much for me to be honest. Much better Ghosts from 2014, but it's very subjective of course.
Score: 0
Slanty , attached to 2014-10-18 Permalink
Slanty I love this band and this community, and I hate to be this negative, but if you truly believe that "Meatstick" --> "Character Zero" is "a fun way to end the night" and not "the epitome of the most phoned-in encore ever", I am not super convinced that you have ever actually seen this band perform live.

That being said, the second set of this show was very fiery (especially "Cities") from start to BDTNL.
Score: -1
Slanty , attached to 2011-08-05 Permalink
Slanty First set from MFMF onward was ridiculous.... Watched security drag out a kicking and screaming spunion during Walk Away. I had my own spunion moment when, speechless after Roggae, Walk Away, Funky Bitch, Roses are Free, and Bowie, I insisted that surely the show was over and the band had simply neglected to take a set break.

Luckily, that was not the case. Three words for the second set: Rock. And. Roll.
Score: 0
Slanty , attached to 1997-08-16 Permalink
Slanty My second show ever was Night 2 of the Clifford Ball, where the band encored with the first half of Harpua, the honor of which the significance was lost on me at the time. Anyways, fast forward 364 days later, to my very next show, my third show ever, and after a quick Makisupa opener the boys finished the Harpua that they had left me hanging with. It was then that I began to realize that this band would dominate my life in ways that I was just beginning to understand.
Score: 0
jsauce , attached to 2014-10-27 Permalink
First off, I don't know what the reviewer above is talking about. They didn't play Kill Devil Falls last night.

Soooo....This show was really good. Really, really good. I never dreamed they would play Stash, Rift, and Maze in the same set. Stash got pretty wicked. The strongest first set I've heard yet this tour.

I agree with the sentiment in the second review that there was a sense of relief...They WERE going to show up and play excellent music, something we used to never have to worry about, but after sets like Santa Barbara first set of first night, it's always on the back of our minds, and probably theirs.

The Sand>Birds pairing is where the real meat of the show is. Sand got really wicked. Very deep freak rock in the vein of Rock n Roll from the Gorge in 2011. The energy in the venue at this point was sky high. So they decided to play Waiting All Night. Sometimes I just don't get this band. I mean, they've earned the right to play whatever they want, but the crowd was just looking for a reason to explode and it didn't come.

There's no other way to say this: they totally fell apart during Ghost. They kept screwing up the changes. At one point Trey turned around and glared at Page. They did redeem themselves with a gorgeous gam that went dark and eventually turned to a very bright place. Definitely worth a listen. What followed was the best Bug I can remember. Trey played with an incredible amount of emotion.

All in all, this was a very good show. If you don't listen to anything else, listen to Sand>Birds. I left remembering why I love this band so much. We're very excited for tonight. And with the city playing the World Series on the lawn in front of the venue, it's going to be NUTS.
Score: 1
Slanty , attached to 1997-08-17 Permalink
Slanty The Best Phish Show I Have Ever Seen. And this is almost exclusively due to the second set (a.k.a. The best set they have ever played, IMHO). The waves of pure musical bliss that enveloped every single person at this enormous venue during the Bathtub Gin jam simply cannot be conveyed with words. Watching the band reach an enormous musical peak, then kicking it up another notch, then yet another notch, repeated until the euphoric bliss was almost too much to handle. And oh yeah, by the way, the 23-minute 2001 that followed almost immediately was also a best-ever. Throw into the mix two versions of DwD and Hood that are certainly no slouches, and.... Seriously, what more could you ask for?
Score: 0
ItalianSpaghetti , attached to 2014-10-27 Permalink
ItalianSpaghetti Long time fan here, making to journey to SF to catch night 1. I'm often a little too critical perhaps and definitely an intense listener to every note of our favorite band.

Last night was really really good folks. Set one was very well played and consisted of a strong song selection throughout. it had - a serious bust-out, a sweet Axilla - ode to the road to 10/31, and a rocking Party Time.

Set 2: Here are my thoughts. BOAF was played with some serious authority here - to make up for the previous version which had some weird energy surrounding it's ending. So glad they pounded that nail in - Waiting all night features the line "I said I'm sorry" which I thought was a subtle humor to it all. Ghost's intro might have continued the theme - with the band having some fun with us and reminding us that "It doesn't matter." Great Ghost.

7 Below was FIRE. I personally didn't know that I was that far gone until I was reminded.

Okay, 2001. Absolute. Monster. A fire breathing dragon. Shared some qualities of Dick's Simple, imo. The place was absolutely insane. Paige hit us with one or two "Shakedown Street riffs" (no one has mentioned this yet, I haven't re-listened, but pretty sure it's there)

Wonderful show. Tightly played, Loose when it needed to be, FIRE through most, and close to perfect playing throughout.
Score: 3
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