, attached to 2016-09-02

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads Dick's, where have you been all year? This show reveals the potential all of 2016 prior seemed to barely shy from. There's speculation that this year's Dick's gag (since we're now 2 nights into the 3-night run) involves unconventional openers followed by jam vehicles. Ghost has opened shows before, if I'm not much mistaken, but not very recently. No Men in No Man's Land is the big jam of the night (though the Tweezer in Set II is also wide-ranging and stylistically a bit more colorful) with an absolutely thrilling climax involving Trey and the Echoplex. You might've thought from the Ghost opener and Fish's wide-open leading role in it that he would be the catalyst for the night, and of course we're dealing with Phish so it's a Hydra of sorts, four-headed and all that, but Trey really shines this show in a way that I haven't heard in some time. He seems very comfortable taking jams in directions that suit his inimitable style, moreso than usual and certainly moreso than earlier this summer. Trust me, this NMINML has to be heard to be believed. 46 Days kind of reprises the peak of that jam in an oblique manner that is quintessentially Phish--they're extending the territory, rather than re-covering it.

Antelope is also an unusual Set-II opener, and this one is played well. Next we have the return of Mercury, many phans' favorite of the newest songs. As implied in @pzerbo's official rundown, the jam over the thrilling groove ending the song isn't very long, but it satisfies. I hear Trey approach a Third Stone From the Sun tease in Seven Below, which seems to perk Page up in that song's jam, but it's not noted in the setlist or show notes--and probably rightly so, since the full phrase is not consummated. Another new rarity, Wombat, returns to us... surprised the "You know, with Abe Vigoda!" line didn't get more of a reaction, what with his death this year IIRC. Tweezer is next, and is the other big jam of the show. I agree with Phillip (@pzerbo) that it's not as revelatory as the NMINML jam, but it boasts an interesting aside(?), i.e., Trey plays the opening riff with a descending pressure on his Wah, effectively toning from bass through wonk to treble, later in the song proper also employing the wah, the former of which I think may be a first. I was reminded of the 7/6/98 Ghost with its Whammy tension-release ascent into its peak, listening to this Tweezer. Trey is really establishing his mastery of his newer effects, especially the Echoplex, in my opinion. Jim is neatly tucked into the outro of Tweezer, and we have a fun, comfortable conclusion to the show--after a Jim peak--with Suzy, E: Bug, Tweeprise.

I am really enthusiastic about this swingin' Dick's run, and I can confidently rate this show 4 stars (though I might give it at least a quarter more if we could rate with quarter- or half-stars.) I felt there was something off about the grand parade of Summer 2016, but Lockn' and now Dick's have me firmly believing that if we're not already seeing another peak form, that we very soon will (and this is the year after 2015, which in itself was basically one long peak--though really, the entirety of Phishtory is a big peak, but I digress.) It may just be exactly where I'm at, personally, but you can feel good about this show.


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