, attached to 2013-12-29

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1 didn't have anything on the level of last night's Wolfman's, but was constructed very well, featured much more confident playing all around, made room for two Wingsuit highlights, and ended in strong fashion with a nice Stash, a nasty funk breakdown in It's Ice (with Trey and Mike having a Laser Floyd-off as Page abused his trusty clavinet), Page getting to show off at the end of Gumbo, and a WOTC with Trey just throttling his guitar and leaving it for dead. That's a pretty darn good start to a show (and it's nice to see that The Line and 555 fit in just as snugly as anything off of Hoist or Rift).

Set 2 was being heralded as an instant classic more or less from the moment the lights came up after the encore last night, and the big-time duo to lead the set off makes that praise entirely justifiable. After a quirky and very short ambient jam, DWD steps up to the plate, and the band delivers a version that surpasses not only every version from this year, but last MSG run's spectacular version as well. Things book along at the usual DWD pace until Trey hits upon a neat minor chord sequence, which then leads to a dark rumbling jam as Page goes to his bag of tricks and Trey matches him step for step while Mike and Fish hold things down in the boiler room. Trey then shifts to land of bliss mode as things open up and become more optimistic, and the band floats along before the tempo picks back up, a light bulb goes off over Trey's head, and we make our way back home (with a "Rhapsody in Blue" tease by Page at the very end just for funsies). There are multitudes in this DWD jam, exceptional cohesion and communication between the group, and yet another killer jam.

Did I say "yet another killer jam"? I meant "yet more killer jams", as the Carini that follows puts an enthusiastic exclamation point on one of the finest years any song in Phish's catalog has ever had. Things get dark and contemplative right off the bat, with wah-wahs melding with a thick bassline and Page on the electric piano, and the band steps into a nice relaxed groove as Fish mischievously plays games with the usual rhythm. Trey hits upon yet another cool repeating chord pattern, which allows Mike and Page to take the forefront (Page, in particular, is having a blast conjuring up alien noises), until Trey starts hammering out chords and Page goes to the organ to take things to a new level. Mike pushes his way to the forefront and things build to a demented peak, then the jam ends in glorious fashion with a "woo" segment (yes, the "woo"s work here, especially as the band drops down a step with each new stop-start). Carini has a lot to live up to at MSG, and after that monster it now has even more to live up to next year. Waves and Twist both step up and deliver very nice Type I versions (the Twist, in particular, really makes its usual Santana affectations count, thanks to Page having a scorcher), Golgi gives the band a breather, and Bowie nicely finishes off a superb set of music that was every bit as coherent as last night's set was disjointed.

Final thoughts: Yet another winner from what has been a very special year indeed. The first set is a very nice hour plus worth of work, and the entire second set flows remarkably well (nearly as well as Hampton3 II and AC1 III do), with two *massive* jams thrown in. Go listen!


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