, attached to 2015-07-31

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: An unfinished Caspian into NMINML is an intriguing start right off the bat, and that start gets all the more intriguing with a Ghost that escapes the "set 2 jam vehicle goes to Set 1 and loses its Set 2 powers" straitjacket with a glorious (if now slightly familiar at this point) major-key jam that really gives Trey and Page a chance to shine. The rest of this set keeps up with that energetic start, and caps off with a Classic Groove distinguished with the band playing around with the intro to Mike's Song (kinda like the super slowed down 7/22/97-aping version, myself, although the Easy Skankin' version is also fun). Weekapaug will never not be a way to get you pumped up, and ending a first set with it only stokes the fires in hopes for a huge second set.

Did we get that huge second set? Well, if that eye-popping setlist doesn't convince you, let me see if I can do the trick:

1. Kill Devil Falls immediately plants a flag as yet another in the long and storied history of killer 7/31 jams, as the band slowly extricates from the usual KDF rhythm (Page switching up his piano playing, Trey flipping on an effect) and dig into a dark and gnarly space, then Page moves to the organ and pushes things in a more relaxed and contemplative direction (Trey's tone again goes 2.0-ish), before Fish picks up the pace, Trey moves to chords, and they hit on a glorious classic-rock groove. But just when you think the jam is going to peter out, Fish starts working his trusty woodblock and some glorious funkiness enters our lives, and then Trey pushes his way to the front and plays Rock God as the tempo picks up and we get the jam's true peak. So that's a exceptional 23 minute jam to open the proceedings, and as the band puddles into gooey ambiance and the embers of the jam fade away...

2. ...one of the great surprise calls of the past few years comes with Martian Monster batting in the 2 hole, and its usual "instant energy" explosiveness is given a new quality by the instrument switching. It's not quite the most musical thing you'll hear in your life, but rotation jams aren't always such, and the sheer craziness of the proceedings serves both as a throwback to mid-90s Crazy Bastards Phish and a sign that Martian Monster continues to mutate beyond its CTSOTHH boundaries. And, after they've gotten the weirdness out of their system...

3. ...they proceed to leap headfirst into the Pool of Bliss with Twist, which does not take long to move into an utterly *gorgeous* jam with Page on the electric piano and Trey playing some of the most sympathetic notes you'll hear. It's actually a very fine companion piece to the 10/28/14 Twist, finding beauty in lightness where that Twist found beauty in darkness, and it once again shows how much 3.0 Phish can do with 10 minutes. As that jam dies away, Trey hits upon a familiar opening riff...

4. ...and they work into Back on the Train (I think a case for -> could be made there; it's no Tweezer -> BOTT from 7/27/14, but what is?), and the band cranks into a fine version of the tune - note that this is the *breather song* for the set - before Trey makes a great call...

5. ...with a fourth quarter Reba, and this Reba is a match for Shoreline's very strong version (Reba has been *great* the last few years, and a pretty reliable indicator of a strong show, as - 8/2/14 aside - it's shown up in a run of very good-to-classic shows from Reading 2013 to this one), with Trey really going off like it's 1994 again and the band matching him step by step. They're really doing a great job switching up setlists in 2015, and as if to prove that statement...

6. ...we get a closing Bathtub Gin, the first such to follow a Reba in 25 years and the first ever Set 2 closing Gin (I can't believe it either), and this Gin is full of hilarity (Trey somehow squeezing Reba's post-jam whistling into the opening, Page hinting at Reba in his piano playing, a freakin' Guy Forget tease at the 7 minute mark) and musical piss & vinegar (the Classic Gin jam here is absolutely on fire) and is one hell of a way to close out Set 2. Farmhouse > Zero is an encore to which nobody will say no.

Final thoughts: if you think your life is complete without hearing this wonderful show, much like dissing Dre, you're dissing yourself. Don't diss yourself.

Bonus final thought: http://forum.phish.net/forum/permalink/1376081146


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