, attached to 2015-12-31

Review by Hamphish

Hamphish This show along with 12/30 saw some of the most interesting music I've ever heard, live or otherwise.

The first set was very solid in that there were really no dull moments -- others have listed the highlights but I highly recommend the Wolfmans and the Walls. Reba is one of my favorite songs and while not the best of 2015 it was a real treat live. Great song selection indeed.

I see people complaining about the first half of the second set but everything from Wedge to Yarmouth was well-played and I particularly enjoyed ASIHTOS, which threatened to expand beyond the norm but I was just fine with the result.

As others have mentioned, KDF through Bowie is simply stellar, with each tune bringing something different to the table. I'll just throw some thoughts out...

KDF>Piper: gets out there. Like the previous night's Chalkdust, the mood quickly shifts to textured, futuristic space rock in a minor mode, driven hard by fishman. It doesn't quite build to a peak but is very fluid and never boring; everyone is throwing out effects and ideas left and right, resulting in several mini-sections all within the upbeat dark space vibe. I love this stuff and was pleased to hear Piper emerge out of the ambient outro. While short and type I, Trey slays the solo. I complain about Trey's hesitation in 3.0 sometimes but none here -- a perfect bridge to Twist.

Twist: There is so much confidence in this right out the gate. Contrast this with the delicacy of 7/31 and 8/12 and appreciate that any song can be a completely different animal on a given day, but always just as appealing. After a brief reprise of Twist (who really thought they were ending it there?) a patient staccato groove gets going. The unity in this jam is off the charts and you can tell how well they are hearing each other. Liftoff occurs when they start a "The Dogs" esque jam that builds to a dark Tweeprisey peak, kind of like the 7/31 KDF but with a more full sound. It's really almost humorous coming back to the Twist riff after that peak because it's so innocuous and playful -- what a jam!

NMINML: Put your headphones on and you'll find yourself floating on rafts of Trey and Page's watery effects and the lazy groove pioneered by Mike and Fishman. Such color and yet so simple. This is ambience perfected: I love me some '99 space but this achieves the same effect while constantly evolving, eventually coalescing in a cacophony of loops that transitions into the pre-recorded segment (there was no loop as they moved back to the main stage). Really really epic.

Blaze On: Whether or not they listened back to the Magna Tweezer I don't know, but it really builds to the same theme. But there's a reason people love that jam: it's a beautiful and uplifting theme. Far from a one trick pony though, this is my favorite Blaze On so far and a perfect sendoff to 2016.

Carini: probably the most underrated jam of the night. Definition of short but sweet. Slick slick slick bouncy groove turns into a new song on the spot, if only for a few minutes. Only Phish can do this stuff (and out of a heavy metal song...).

Bowie: Really interesting struggle between major and minor here that has a solid peak, although Trey is a little tentative navigating the experimental waters. It's so clear how much fun they're having playing with jam structures, even for oldies like Bowie.

Horse>Silent>#line was a little bit of a relaxed way to end but I say let them play what they want -- after the previous 90ish minutes they owed us nothing more. A pleasant way to end before the standard but rocking tube>cavern encore.

The relisten value on this show is crazy, but this was a special night to be at besides the music -- the gag, the people, the balloons, the lights, everything. I'm so glad this is a thing that happens!


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