, attached to 2014-10-17

Review by Penn42

Penn42 I’m blessed with good first sets. And I don’t say that in an ambivalent way at all. For me, the end-all be-all of Phish is not the 4 song second set. A solid song selection, clear flow, and direct, pointed jamming are far more important. These things can culminate in the form of a 4 song set, but they don’t have to.

Much like in the days of old when they’d open shows with Caspian (or just last year when Architect opened at the Gorge), Waiting All Night is somewhat of an anti-addundum, just a smattering of music before the *actual* show. To be fair, Waiting is a far better tune than Caspian, but still not much of a show opener. Any reasonable fan won’t have anything much more negative than that to say about this first set. Momentum builds toward Reba, the peak of the set, and proceeds to plateau for a solid 40 minutes with the closing Roggae > Simple -> Maze, Coil stretch. That’s some damn fine first-setiness goin on right there. There's some damn fine second-setiness here as well.

Big jam vehicles like Carini almost always have a “first jam”, the beginning of a jam directly following the conclusion of the song itself and directly preceding uncharted waters/abandonment. While this Carini doesn’t super out-there, the first jam is far and away my favorite one coming out of this particular song. Trey hits all the right melodies. Some super melodious; others more jagged. They’re all wonderful. Then Plasma appeared oh so smoothly, gleefully, and completely out of left field. It was awesome.

The set-breathers come early, though not necessarily unwarranted, this time around. The turns Twist takes heavily foreshadow the sublime transcendence that would go down ten days later in San Francisco. Crosseyed finds itself a rollicking little drone jam complete with “still waiting” quotes taboot. At one point Trey almost tries to go all 46 Days style rocking chunky-chunk all over the place, but it lands itself in the far more interesting drone-space. Hood continues down its path of renewed creativity and Rocky Top closes things out high-energy, if not a little off-kilter.

For me personally, this show was a major success. Show 20, a hometown show, and I added three songs to my never-before scene list. Plasma, of course, was one. Strange Design and Sleeping Monkey were the others. While this show never hits legendary territory, it hits its stride early and holds it more often than leaves room to complain. I recommend it.


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