, attached to 2015-08-21

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: It's rare for *any* set to be bookended with jams, let alone a Set 1, but that's what we got tonight - a Simple that wanders out of its usual jam into a droning, low-key space to start, and...well, let's hold that thought. The rest of Set 1 features some well-played songs, the magical TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY sequence (not too bad, either, for 3 years unplayed), a roaring The Dogs, and yet another gorgeous 2015 Roggae. Not too shabby for the first frame, I say.

Oh, yes, the Gin. Not only is this one of the great first set jams of any era, but it's easily one of the 2-3 finest Gins of the modern era, and an easy contender for the jam of the year. Rather than the Classic Gin snapped-into groove of usual Gins, Fish opts to take things slow, which leads to Trey digging into his effects and a darker space being explored at first. The resulting jam could very well have been ported from a 2003 Gin, Trey's tone nastier than usual, Page sliding to electric piano, Mike absolutely on fire all throughout. They build out of this into a huge peak, then switch on a dime to something busier and funkier Dick's Simple-style, as the clavinet makes itself known and Mike flips on his envelope filter. They seem to be closing things out with a quiet puddling, but that turns out to be a red herring, as the band instead builds to a *second* glorious peak, before Trey decides to go into the usual Gin ending and they sorta collapse into that to finish (funny how many "regular" Gins end so cleanly and this Type II behemoth ends with a semi-whimper). I wouldn't compare it to the Went Gin, but that's because the Went Gin is essentially one thing (a great one thing, make no mistake, but one thing), while this Gin is the sort of multi-part masterpiece you've come to expect from 3.0. Either way, it's an immediate classic and makes the show worth listening to all on its own.

Set 2: Ignore the somewhat abrupt turn into Ghost out of CDT and the much more abrupt 2/20/93 Mike's Song style "I'm the boss here" muscling into Rock & Roll, and the opening 4 songs delivers damn near an hour of impressive music. Chalk Dust Torture continues its unprecedented run as one of Phish's Set 2 anchors, immediately making a turn out of the last verse into a hazier take on the CDT jam, then build to a low-key melodic space, Trey and Page melding as well as they always do, Fish pushing them forward with some thunderous drumming. Trey then moves into a Phrygian mode (that'd be that "Middle Eastern" space you occasionally hear about), and starts tearing off some nasty riffs, then Fish starts Manteca-ing it up as Trey switches to chords and you can start really hearing Mike asserting himself. Page had been pushing for major key for much of the jam, and they finally decide to follow him, absolutely locking in to a really beautiful jam segment, until Ghost pops in.

This Ghost is an updated version of the 7/16/13 Mighty Mouse CDT, packing in at least 3 different discrete jam segments into 11 and a half impressive minutes, digging in its heels with some real nastiness (Trey, in particular, is cranking out filth like he relistened to the 11/16/94 Simple they played on the first FTA show and got inspired), they rebuild into a slick dance-able groove thanks to Fish, and then head for pure rock-based hose, which probably gives Trey the idea to dig into Rock & Roll (he doesn't do it well, but much like Bluto's Pearl Harbor speech, forget it, he's rolling), which they absolutely *demolish* before (in a moment that lets you know they're on one) they come to a near-hush and then rebuild into a wicked funk space, Mike's loping bass meshing with Page flashing on the keys. Harry Hood (mid-set!) comes in, and for the second time this year they worm their way out of Hood into something new, this time a 10/28/14-style rockout, Page keeping us grounded on piano, Fish flipping through every page in his playbook to add spice to the proceedings, before they head back home as they always do and then gently slide into Waste. NMINML continues its push towards a full-on jam, adding a charging rock jam to its usual funkiness (with the occasional nod to Can't You Hear Me Knocking), then they gin up a neat little ambient jam and segue into Slave, which is a glorious close to another superb set. Farmhouse and First Tube are a great duo as the encore.

Final thoughts: I think a lot of people would be satisfied if this turned out to be the best show of the festival. As the opener to the three-night run, all it's gonna do is whet the already ravenous appetites of the fanbase. Yep, you guessed it - Phish wins again.


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