, attached to 2011-07-02

Review by pmc2kd

pmc2kd Day II of SBIX held the promise of the classic festival style treats. Three sets and one (not-so)secret set.

As I mentioned previously the camping was just immaculate. Not over crowded, absolutely stunning weather, a sprawling ground to explore & even easy access to some nice showers!

We headed into the campground for the day set a bit earlier to check out some of the vending and beer tents and grab a nice spot. This was a somewhat foolish move as this was a beastly hot set with the sun just beating down mercilessly on the typically nocturnal wooks.

On to the music.

Set I was very much a set I today. I think it lacked the X factor of the previous day's first set, which had great song selection and great jamming.

That said, the Tube opener was absolutely amazing. We were up close so we happened to be in the middle of all the beach ball fun. They kicked in a hundreds of inflatable beach balls sprung up. The band was clearly loving it and Tube was a nice celebratory opener. It was short though.

KDF lined up in the 2-hole and took it's typical path to a satisfactory peak.

Ocelot captured my mood slightly as I was feeling like the heat had me moving a bit more measured and conservatively. Overall it was a nice jam. I may be in the minority, but I like this song and I like the loping jams that accompany it.

Lawn Boy saw Page emerge and he cleared out some of the beach balls that were clogging up the stage. He crooned well, and Mike's bass solo was satisfying.

Divided Sky was a predictable call for the day set and this one was really well played (unlike the Holmdel version I had caught earlier on tour). Really glorious and a definite high point for the set.

The sun continued to beat down as the band kicked into a sequence of Boogie On > Camel Walk & Cities. Great triplet of tunes. In this heat with the dancing that those three elicit, it was a rather callous call though. Serious funk & fun. Water needed.

>Poor Heart kept up the energy.

>46 days did nothing to slow it down and peaked in fine fashion.

>Suskind Hotel was a Mike tune and they really nailed it. It sounded great, which is kind of a bummer considering they never took it back off the shelf I think. It also had a really nice jam.

When the Circus Comes to Town was so necessary at this point. Thank you for slowing it down. This one was so emotional (as always), and Trey nailed the solo. This was really well placed. After that I felt like I had the energy left to make it through the set (and caught a second wind).

Timber rocked me through to the core and was a great treat.

BOTT>Suzy were both a bundle of fun, but pretty much straightforward.

When the opening keys to Monkey Man kicked in I was ecstatic. I am a huge Stones fan so to have gotten Torn and Frayed and then Monkey Man's only ever performance was great. They really nailed it too. Vocals, arrangement, everything. Great closer.

Overall Set I: It was so hot out.... fun set, everything pretty much by the book so it's not much to re-listen to.
Highlights: Suskind Hotel is really worth a listen

Set II: Expectations were high - after a song based afternoon affair, everyone was hoping for one of those big middle festival sets to provide some serious jams (think middle sets of Went, IT, Clifford, Wheel, take your pick).

They kicked off with Runaway Jim which was a canvas to bring out the 5k winner versus play any serious music. A cool moment.

McGrupp was up next and I am never unhappy to hear this one. Great song, and I thought this one had a pretty good jam section too. Positive sign?

Axilla felt like a first set type placement. It was sloppy, but it rocked.

BOAF was fiery, but beyond a really scorching (and somewhat sloppy) Trey solo, this one didn't break out.

Stash kept the first set flow going, but offered the first chance to open up some deeper jamming. This was actually a really cool and interesting version. Trey and Fishman were working off of each other in some call and response rhythmic playing, just slightly encroaching on one another while still being highly complimentary. I enjoyed this version a lot.

Sample, Heavy Things > Horn was a run of tunes that really solidified the first set vibe and didn't offer much if we are being honest. They weren't played particularly crisp either.

It's Ice, well if you're gonna to a set one I will take it. This is a great song and was much fun to hear.

Mango Song was fun, but also played poorly. It didn't dampen my mood, but objectively, Trey just had trouble with it.

Rift kept the oldies coming - again, it was a bit tough on Trey, who was having a bit of a time up there.

SASS with the intro was absolutely awesome. This song had been hibernating for a while, and the intro, well I don't even recall how long it had been. They did a good job with the song and kicked into a nice building jam that was pretty straightforward but really satisfying after playing song after song for a while. Good and open, full band came together for it.

Run Like an Antelope gave us a nice bonus. This one was fierce too. I really dug it, and Trey did a cool run up during the Rye Rye Rocco section.

Overall Set II: Hopes of a legendary middle set were dashed. If this were a set I of a "normal" show I'd be pleased. McGrupp, Stash, SASS, Antelope were all great. Throw in a rocking Birds and a fun run through Ice, Mango, Rift, and I'd normally be saying pretty pretty good. However, this is set II of a three set festival show and we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. There were also a bunch of flubs.
Highlights: McGrupp, Stash, SASS

Well, the sun had fully set during SASS/Antelope so it was time to get serious, particularly in light of the first two sets.

They opened with Golden Age - my first version. I enjoyed the song and thought they did well with it (vocal strain though). Plus I felt as though it had good jamming potential, which delivered in spades here. They broke it down into some good funk with Page hammering away. They soon entered the plinko zone, which was bundles of fun, and Trey moved to an effects laden plinko style throwdown. Mike was an absolute monster here just throwing out some serious dirt. This one turned evil quick and clocked in at a very respectable 14 minutes or so. If you were looking for hints of what was to come in the late night set, well, here's you're clue. Just terrifying, captivating, and utterly unique. This is music from the future. They peeled back the layers of effects towards the end and Caspian emerged.

Caspian did get the treatment at Watkins Glenn...in 2015! But 4 years prior they played this version, which wasn't the expansive type II beast of Magnaball, but was actually quite interesting. Trey played really well throughout the jam and I thought this was a good version.

>Piper brought some renewed jamming promise. This one was fairly short (I think under 10 minutes), but it did pack a punch and a really strong jam. Fishman was driving the bus with wreckless abandon, Trey was kicking in some heaters, and page was teasing Tweezer. So they took Page's idea after a strong Piper and kicked into the crowd pleaser.

Tweezer's opening lick is a tonic like no other. It's like discovering the fountain of youth. It hits and you know for some time you'll be treated to the magic that only music can conjure up. This one kicked into the jam in snarling dirty fashion, with Trey hitting that deep wah growl and the band getting minimal. Eventually a bit of stop start happens and Trey hits the absolute tastiest of licks during the one of the final pauses and a pulsating dance party ensues. Trey drives home a couple screeching notes during a cool middle segment and then they drive into some nice waters where Mike sees fit to teases SASS (woah that was cool..what a tease!). They find there way into some new space but you can hear it coming as Julius emerges.

That was a really nice run of tunes, with GA and Tweezer being really solid jams. That said kicking in Julius was kind of a bummer and I was hoping it wouldn't signal a horse>silent moment from the previous night.

Julius was a good sing-a-long bit of fun.

They came in with #line next and this one was pretty subdued. I'd caught some fine versions at Bethel and Holmdel, and this one was firmly below par in comparison.

Twist came in and was well poised to bring back the set a bit. This was a really fun version. Type I for sure, but really good jamming and the ended was really neat with Trey hitting the progression sort of backwards and the band shouting What? (a joke from earlier in tour).

2001 up next and more dancing ensued. Standard version (which does not mean it was bad!). Nothing too notable but everyone was getting down.

They kicked into Hood, which I was hoping would be very patient and well peaked. This one didn't really stand out for me. It was satisfying and beautiful as ever, but it just didn't feel "Festival Patient". Either way I was feelin' good by song's end.

Cavern>Golgi>ADITL was a good run of tunes to end it, but it did complete the set in a sort of fitting "songy" manner.

Loving Cup>Tweeprise was great as always.

Overall Set II: After the two previous sets I was hoping for jams. They delivered a really fun set overall with lots of good jamming, but nothing transcended and the set itself had some ups and downs I thought. GA and Tweezer were immensely fun - although I feel like Tweezer was one of those in the moment / present jams that doesn't quite translate to re-listen as well. Similar to night one after a strong run of tunes they sort of veered in an off direction and never quite recovered (although Twist>2001>Hood was a valiant effort).

Overall: Day II for me was the weakest day of the fest. But seriously am I going to complain about like 7 hours of Phish music.... uh kind of.
3/5 (gets a bump based on sheer quantity)

I won't touch the Secret Set, because it's impossible to describe in any adequate way. It's the peak musical experience of my life. I liked it even more than the Drive In Jam, I think because the music was so unbelievably weird. The way they positioned the speakers and the risks and sounds they took and made are things I don't think will ever be paralleled.

Hooray for Phish!


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