, attached to 2014-07-11

Review by solargarlic78

solargarlic78 https://medium.com/the-phish-from-vermont/house-money-review-7-11-14-8cd8712f9734

House Money? Review — 7/11/14
Two Transcendent Jams Can Make the Night

Can two amazing jams make up for an otherwise pedestrian night of the Phish? For some, no. These people are all about setlist flow, song choices, and jams to create a “show” as a cohesive whole. I’m in the “House Money” category which feels like if Phish throws down a really special jam or two, I’m “playing with house money” and whatever else they do I’m fine with. I think last night was one of those nights. The Gin and Disease jams were so good that it made up for a second set that was like a killing field of ripchords. A very solid Set 1 overall (including another great “Stash”) helped the cause as well.

“Moma Dance” — I like this song in the opener slot. Fun, funky start to the night. The song is basically the exact same every time out and last night was no different. I’m in the “Bring Back Black Eyed Katy” camp. BEK was so great because it was pure nasty funk from start to finish. I’m OK with the lyrics added via “Moma” but what bothers me is the decidedly unfunky rock&roll guitar solo that ends the song. Should’ve kept it funky!

“Kill Devil Falls” — This was your standard KDF. Nice quiet start to the jam, but not much of a finish.

“Ya Mar” — Yes! A great summer evening tune. This one also had a special ‘Cactus’ solo. Has this ever happened before? In the 90s it would be Leo solo and then Trey, but in 3.0 it is usually just Leo who solos (my dog is named Leo btw). Cactus tore it up per usual.

“Bathtub Gin” — Most of us probably thought. Well, here we go, Gin is back in its comfortable set 1 placement, where we will get the standard Gin-build-to-a-peak-and-finish. But, as Trey discovered at SPAC (and what Phish did with regularity in the late 90s and 03-04) is that all it takes to take Gin “out there” is to start playing rhythm chords out of the peak rather than going back to the “head” Gin refrain. And, shockingly, that is what Trey did last night. First of all, this Gin jam got off to a remarkably quiet and patient start — with Trey sustaining notes into really nice melodic phrases. This built to a trilling peak that if it had finished there would have been a top 10 3.0 Gin (I get annoyed because everyone says every Gin is top 10, but this one’s peak really was spectacular). But, instead of ending it Trey started the rhythm in a different key and laid down some interesting chordal phrases while Page went off on the Rhodes (I believe). Then Trey switched to a really glorious — bordering on 7/10/99 Chalk Dust glory, 15 years and a day after — melodic phrase that was repeated a few times before Trey once again laid back into chordal phrasing. The only awkward part of the jam was its return to the “Gin” refrain which could have been smoother. I’ve been waiting all 3.o for a first set Gin like this. Given that the SPAC version didn’t go anywhere really, this is easily the best “Gin” of 3.0. (yes, I’m considering the Gorge 09 and Manteca Bethel Gins as well).

House money. Imo, this “555" was the best yet. Seemed slower which allowed a more textured groove to emerge in the jam section. Really tasty licks from all involved.

This was the best played “Rift” in recent memory. Sure, Trey fell apart in the Page solo transition riff per usual, but he played the rest of his solos with remarkable authority and confidence.

“Sample” is one of those songs that is a blast to play, but less fun for jaded audience members.

“The Wedge” — The David Madigan stream (thank you!!!) really had drums high in the mix and it made me realize just how awesome Fishman is on this song. It really is a complex groove and Phish was playful with it last night.

“Waiting All Night” — I really like “555" and this song — I will tire of them much later than songs like “Devotion” and “Sing Monica.” This one feels more appropriate in the second set, but it added a different flavor to this set 1.

“Stash” — The first version at Mansfield had a truly “hose” moment where the crowd erupted. This one was less about the one moment and more about building dissonant tension for the length of the jam. It got to mid-90s dissonant weird territory for a long while (using some loops), but what this 3.0 Phish lacks is the ability to build this tension into a seamless “landing” to the Stash chords that resolves all that tension and then peaks out for a while. This version’s landing was really pretty uncertain/awkward, but the tension section was top notch. Odd choice for a set closer. Last time that happened was 7/31/13 and I gather something special happened later that night.

Set 2 opened with “Steam.” This song is such a slow, open groove its amazing it really has not yet developed into a jam vehicle. This rare opening slot I’m sure got a lot of hopes up. This was an excellent version that got really weird and dissonant. Starting with Trey on the wah, he established a trilling loop, and switched to his octave pedal that plays notes an octave higher than they really are, and Page was simply going off on the piano. Then Trey oddly started playing what sounded like “Llama” chords which felt a bit disjointed. The jam started to open up out of these chords, but then, inexplicably, Trey ripchorded this groove and played the “Steam” riff. He ripchorded “Steam” with “Steam.” Oh well, maybe we’ll get a 15-20 minute version some day. Still, this might be the best version yet.

“Down with Diseases” was once again in the rare “two” spot of Set II. This means it still holds potential for a long and interesting jam. That is what we got. Trey was particularly energetic in the type i A mixolydian part of the jam, playing really expressive rock licks. Per usual, he ended that by switching to chords in a minor key to signal it is time for the jam to exit the structure. This one really settled into a groove that rhythmically reminds me of the Pete Townsend song, “Let my Love Open the Door” — not a full on tease but the same feel. It starred Page McConnell who provided organ color for the first part of the jam. When Trey started playing really tasty bluesy licks, Page switched to the piano and really went off. Then, Trey started playing more punchy rhythms that signaled some ‘stop-start’ jamming, which, post Tahoe Tweezer, means — “woooo!” I’m fine with it in moderation. After a few “woo” rounds the jam collapsed into some utterly beautiful chords from Trey with once again Page going off on the piano (including some “Simple” teases from Leo). This bliss section remained mellow until Trey went into “Golden Age.” Great jam and more house money!

We thought Summer 2014 would be the summer of no covers. Maybe its the summer of not jamming out covers? Like Crosseyed and Sally, this version didn’t go anywhere for very long before the jam ended. It did feature particularly melodic and expressive soloing over the “Love….don’t you falter” chords prior to the funk jam that usually lasts for 5-10 minutes. This ripchord was brought to you by “Limb By Limb.”

If the SPAC version was amazing and weird, this version was mellow and completely pedestrian.

When “Fuego” hit next, a lot of people wondered if they would explore it like the previous two versions. I knew a late set version was much less likely to do much. And that was the case. Just when the jam started to go out there and get interesting, the next ripchord was brought to you by “David Bowie.” I sincerely wonder if we will ever hear the composed end section of “Fuego” again? Maybe if they throw it in a set 1 again?

“David Bowie” was a solid type i version that would venture off into weird tension territory before always resolving back to the Em-D vamp of the jam. The end section was played with exceptional fire and energy.

The band encored with “Character 0" which seemed more funky than usual, but was over by 10:50. Those of us that heard of a 11:00 encore wondered what might come next. Nothing. I guess Phish wants to save their energy for the next two nights!

All in all, an average show, but the Gin and Disease jams were so great that they elevated the show to average-great territory. So good that we can overlook some of the other unpleasant factors.


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