, attached to 2014-07-20

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: One of the better first sets of the tour, nicely balanced between big rockers (the set-ending WOTC, a fierce-as-usual Maze) and relaxed tunes (Ocelot, which is Ocelot, and a never-unwelcome Tela). The set peaks in the middle, first with a crazed Mule that combines the wacky Marimba Lumina antics of the 7/14/13 version with the rhythmic goofiness of the 8/5/13 version before giving way to the band bellowing away into their mics and a fine finish, then a Type I "Classic Gin" Gin that verrrrrry nearly goes Type II when Page drops into a minor key near the end, only to be sadly ignored (still a fine version, though). Certainly worth a listen before the main event.

Set 2: A pearl of a second set, easily a contender for the best of the tour (which has had some really nifty second sets even *outside* the 7/13 mega-set). Mike Hamad on Twitter (aka the man behind those Phish maps that are insanely cool to look at even if you don't have the slightest idea how musical notation works) noted that the set-opening Disease made a move from the key of A to G, which it usually doesn't; that makes sense when you consider the direction this DWD goes, heading for bright spaces not unlike, well, Gin and bursting into a really pretty groove, Trey busting out some sharp chords, Fish holding things down fantastically well. I *guess* you could argue it "goes nowhere", although I'm never really sure why that's a bad thing, as though something this beautiful absolutely needs to dissolve into space or dive into darkness or reprise DWD 12/29/13 style to be worth listening to. I could have sworn I heard a Linus and Lucy tease in there, as well, which is all the more reason to like this Disease.

Winterqueen (in its now-usual jam landing pad spot) and Theme come next (more on that in a second), then things really take a turn. The band fires up Mike's, and it's a typical nice 3.0 Mike's (I mean, yeah, second jam, sure, but have you ever been listening to a 3.0 Mike's and been like "man, I sure am sad I'm listening to Mike's Song?"), then in comes The Wedge, and it's every bit as good as you've heard, dancing from a light Page-driven melodic jam to something sharper and funkier (always a good sign when the woodblock comes into play) to a more muscular driving jam (as Mike goes to the meatball effect) to the already-famous Paradise City/Roll With The Changes clavinet-and-guitar-god hose segment with head-shaking ease. It's not as purely adventurous as some of the other big-time 2014 jams, but it's ridiculous ass-shaking fun from start to finish, the modern equivalent of the 12/3/97 Drowned, and all the better for opening up a previously "closed" song.

And then, rather than take a break from jamming before going into Paug, the band launches into one of 3.0's best Ghosts. I wrote about it in the jam chart entry, so I won't go into it here; suffice to say that it condenses the best of 2.0's jamming style without indulging in the worst of 2.0's jamming style, making for a unique and exciting jam. Weekapaug enters out of the jam's end in yet another great Ghost -> Paug segue, and this time we get one more very nice piece of business as the band slides into a Ghost jam just as neat as you please (I still think it's Ghost -> Paug -> Ghost Jam -> Paug, darn it!), makes way for a surprising Stash tease, and nicely closes a tremendous set. First Tube and Zero (I mean, c'mon, people, it's Zero) end the show with energy to spare.

So, a quick thought here. Now, my personal feeling is that there's nothing wrong with where Winterqueen and Theme were placed - it's not the first time two non-jam songs have been placed together, nor will it be the last, and they established a more relaxed mood before bringing things up with Mike's (taking an audience down and bringing them up is a move every rock band does in a show, y'know). But here's how show perception (often) works - I bet that if they just went into Mike's after Disease and moved the WQ/Theme segment to after Paug, then closed out with First Tube, this show would be a good deal higher rated, at least another tenth of a point (which is a big deal with such a tight rating scale). You know why I think that? Because there's a very similar show to this one that also features great jamming in a strong Mike's Groove, and that show is 6/23/12, which slaps a Bouncin/Julius/Slave combo platter at the end of a fabulous Groove that segued into an equally fabulous Seven Below. Perception's a funny thing, isn't it?

Anyway, final thoughts here: a super show from a very interesting tour so far. This one'll be earning multiple relistens.


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