, attached to 2014-10-31

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: The Ghost wasn't too bad for a 1st set Ghost and they played Buried Alive & BBFCFM and Reba was quite nice and Mule was scary and spooky and blah blah blah just get to Set 2 already. Okay.

Set 2: So, here's one way to look at this set - "I love the tradition of playing classic albums, because it's an established 90s tradition, they play albums I'm generally familiar with, and it's a lot of fun to listen to live. This? This is sabotaging that tradition just to play original music, which isn't all that great to begin with. It's the Wingsuit debacle all over again. Just imagine all the pissed-off people that paid $300 and got this? I really hope they finally play Eat A Peach next year."

Here's another way to look at this set - "Phish has played 6 musical costumes, 7 if you count last year's (which you should). They want to continue the tradition, but they want to do it on their own terms. Not only did they find a clever concept for said musical costume, but *they actually composed their own music*, ten totally new pieces of music, without those pesky 'lyrics' and 'vocals' getting in the way. They're playing a structured soundcheck, AND they're playing it with CK's lights and a fun theatrical bent to it. Oh, and did I mention the music generally sounds fantastic?"

I know which of those ways of looking at things seems more appealing.

So, the music. The first two songs, to me, are meant to ease the listener into a hot bath, more about introducing the concept of "musical accompaniment to spooky sound effects album" than exploring musical ground. But from The Dogs on, it's all about hearing 3.0 jamming at its finest, its most experimental, and (most importantly) its most fun; every band member is loose and on point with their playing, showing how much work went into this piece of music. The Dogs utterly soars, Timber swaggers with menacing 70s-rock energy, Your Pet Cat is a crazed funk-fest that apes the 12/7/97 Tube in the best possible way, Shipwreck is a Page-driven effects-laden trip through fog and darkness with a great Trey solo at the end, The Unsafe Bridge is Phish Does Ennio Morricone, The Chinese Water Torture bounces energetically (Fish has a great drum part here) and peaks nicely, The Birds (the set highlight) is a heavy jam that Page goes sample-nuts on (petition to exchange "They attack!" for "Woo" during stop-start jams), and Martian Monster lives up to its name with trippy vocal samples ("your trip is short!"), a wicked groove that Page splashes clavinet magic over, and a droning finale not unlike Halloweens past. Trust me, you would have been quite happy to hear any of these songs come out of any jam from the last six years. And once the crowd figures out what's going on, about 3 songs in? They're totally on board. It's a joy to hear their enthusiasm, a far cry from the hands-sitting of the Wingsuit set. Add it all up, and it's one of Phish's boldest moves, and a set of music with ridiculous replay value.

Set 3: Save Trey getting a bit too antsy moving into Tweezer and Guyute having some fugly moments, a "second" set on par with the last two wonderful nights. Golden Age rediscovers some of its Fall 2013 mojo thanks to Page on his 70s organ and clavinet, Tweezer kicks into a tasty groove SB-style that suddenly reverses course into a sweet major-key jam before Fish speeds up, finds the Heavy Things opening drum part, and everyone else shrugs and nicely segues into Heavy Things with him. But the real drawing card of this set (other than how nicely it's structured, another great aspect of the last few shows) is Sand, which starts life as a fierce Type I Trey soloing showcase (think 10/20/13 II), but instead of ending in its usual manner (Fish has gone back to the usual Sand beat, note) Page and Trey keep things at a low simmer, the band moves into a disgusting funk space (with plinko-y notes meshing with that dang clavinet), they bring on the "woo"s (which you gotta expect with this kind of danceable jam), then in one final surprise rebuild into a ferocious blues-rock breakdown, with Page still wailing away on the clavinet, before Trey catches onto Tweezer Reprise, the rest of the band catch up with him (Fish stumbles a bit, but recovers nicely), and we get another great segue into a fiery Reprise to end the set. The surprise cover (give the lyrics a listen and think on them) and Frankenstein round out a superb, superb night.

Final thoughts: I'll step aside from any debates about this show's place in history and the Phish pantheon and all of that for now. All I ask is you give the show a listen and make up your mind for yourself. I think you'll like what you hear.


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