, attached to 2017-08-06

Review by phishphan1984

phishphan1984 Where to begin? This is my first show review. In Canada, the band is not a known commodity, but I was introduced to them at summer camp in the mid-90s and have been a phan ever since. Still have the tapes that were shared with me of the famous gamehenge show :)

Unfortunately, as you can deduce from my year of birth, I wasn't old enough to go follow them in their golden years. Then I pursued a long medical training and unfortunately, couldn't commit the time or money to travel to the US to see them. I had deep regret when they broke up, knowing that I had my chances but would never have the joy of seeing them live in concert.

So I sure wasn't going to make the same mistake again after they got back together, but kids and more training delayed me a few years before I finally made my first show, at tender age of 30, a few years ago. It was a euphoric experience, but I'll be the first to admit I had been hoping for some greater/longer jams, some of that older magic.

Fast forward to the Bakers Dozen. The kids were finally old enough that I wouldn't feel guilty leaving them with the grandparents, and I ably convinced my wife, a casual fan, to take a 5 day vacation to NYC. I need to gather my thoughts a bit more about the awesome shows we attended (Powdered and double chocolate) but as many have noted, it's been an incredible time to be a fan and each night may hold an extra special meaning to you for a unique reason.

But this show, which I did watch as a webcast... left me floored. Even though I knew which classics were still left on the table, I was still surprised with how good they were and how much jam was still being packed into these donuts. I had predicted the last night's flavour would be original/old-fashioned, and it might as well have been, given the bust outs of side project songs, Izabella, YEM, etc. Was there even a nod to glaze tonight? I don't think anyone cared, myself included!

Set 1 was great. Rift maybe had maybe 1-2 slight hiccups but was really tight. The camels seemed to have a bit of extra bounce in their step. Crazy Sometimes was a nice rendition, well rehearsed. If you had told me prior to tonight that a 15 year old Vida Blue song would be the highlight of Set 1 on Night 13, I would have predicted to be disappointed - and would have been dead wrong! Great energy throughout, nice interplay there on the jam. Trey has seemed genuinely proud and pleased when showcasing a Gordon or McConnell song during this run, trying to make them work as best as he can, and these 2 were hits tonight IMO. Sanity, Saw it Again, and I Been Around were all especially fun and lighthearted. Even a straight forward bouncing around the room was music to my wife's ears, an all time favourite for her, and I've always enjoyed the sweet melody of Bug. And Izabella, come on! I had just listened to the Auburn Hills version yesterday, and would respectfully put this one up there.

Someone has presumably already ventured to break down all the factors that came together to make a stellar Set 2. Simple really had it all contained in its jam, riding high throughout much of its course. Starman and Rise/Come Together were nice, but really helped build tension for the song we all hoped, but knew, was coming... YEM!!! Have heard plenty of YEM over the years, but as my seat neighbour at Double Chocolate and I had previously lamented, we took it for granted. For me, not hearing YEM live will likely be my punishment for years of missed opportunities, now that it seems to come all too infrequently. Nostalgia aside, it was an amazing edition to hear from my couch, and I was so happy for all who got to hear it live. If synchronized trampoline was an olympic event, Trey and Mike would not be able to compete because they've long turned professional... vocal jam was solid. Smiles from band members from here on must have been highly contagious! Loving Cup was an intense and pleasing end.

Suddenly, it was Encore time and I couldn't believe this was all ending... Classy to raise a well-deserved Phish banner to the MSG rafters, extremely well earned. I was thinking Tweezer Reprise was coming but... Lawn Boy reprise? Shut the front door! Hilarious! Now I wonder if we will have to choose between 2 reprises to end future shows, but I am instantly proved wrong with a (Weekapaug tease?) base solo into the most fitting end to one incredible show lasting 13 nights. Lest I forget the tug at my heartstrings watching an emotional Trey and Page singing "On the Road Again," which is what I will certainly be doing more of in the future to see this band. I'm just glad I could finally be a part of this live magic from both near and afar. Thank you for an incredible few weeks that I will surely remember!


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