, attached to 2018-10-26

Review by NICU4LIFE

NICU4LIFE Coming into the first night of Allstate, my expectations were filled both excitement and doubt. The excitement centered around the fact that the boys were on a role this Fall Tour and there was more to come. With excellent shows in Albany, Hampton and Nashville, it seemed like that they were letting out all the musical awesomeness that was sadly lost from having no Curveball. However, there was some doubt that they wound not bust out anything extra-ordinary since Allstate was the last stop before Halloween in Vegas. I had a thought that the shows would be on the lighter side to save up energy for the tricks and treats of the following week’s shows. Although no one would have expected the glory that is Kasvot Vaxt, what Phish delivered at Allstate bashed my doubts (I should have never doubted them). The vibe throughout all the nights at Allstate was hard and heavy and the first night was a wonderful musical experience of that energy.

The hard-hitting energy of this night was exemplified in the first song of the show Punch You in the Eye. What made this PYITE so dynamic was the drawn-out improvisation that was done at the beginning of the song. As Trey led this improvisation and there was a sense of a playful spirit guiding him. In many ways Trey’s energy was the highlight of this show. He appeared throughout the night to be loving life and music. And that initial augmentation of PYITE definitely set the tone of that show with an aggressive but also mischievous feel. PYITE segued into Martian Monster which increased and darkened intensity of the atmosphere. It was wonderful addition to already slamming energy established in PYITE. The combination of PYITE and MM was punch in both eyes. The boys then played Axilla which was another hard hitter with a booming sound and felt like Phish was just pounding the audience solid jams. Axilla was then followed by Reba which was powerful but had somewhat mellowing segments. Following Reba was another Lawn Boy companion, My Sweet One, which offered straight playful sound with upbeat bluegrass action.

Then the boys moved to Mercury. I have been slowly growing to like Mercury and this show gave me a better appreciation towards the weird but dynamic subtleties of this song. What was also remarkable was the contrast of Phish playing My Sweet One to Mercury which show cased the genius of this band. There is a sharp divergence to the eerie and bizarre sound of Mercury and the folk jig like feel of My Sweet One. But Phish is able to play these two songs together with such skill that it creates the eccentric but rocking sound which is quintessential Phish. Mercury got unbelieve addition when the song the segued into a David Bowie classic Moonage Day Dream. The combination of Mercury and Moonage was jaw dropping but what really stood for me was Trey’s singing in Moonage Day Dream. Trey’s voice was exceptionally clear, strong and beautiful in this show. I believe his strong vocals was a product of the unique positive energy was guiding him that night. Even listening to recording, you can hear the full sounding vocals from Trey with outstandingly strong vibrato that added to the excellent cover of this song. The first set ended with Walls of the Cave and while it was not the best Walls of the Cave I have ever heard, it was solid ending to a fun first set.

The second set started with a song that I did not think I would hear for the entire Allstate run but was thrilled to hear it, Tweezer. A juggernaut of a jamming vehicle, Tweezer was the flawless fit to show that was bringing playful yet hard hitting energy. The boys did not transform Tweezer into heady or spacy “Type II” style jam but fused it with another song. But here is the problem, I have not seen official confirmation this song was played in middle of Tweezer. Regardless, I swear I heard Party Time played during Tweezer. Frankly, I heard them play the entire Party Time song sans the lyrics and I was certain during the show that Party Time was officially played or at least teased. However, when I say the setlist notes for this show, no reference or mention of Party Time was made. I even asked around online to see if other phans heard Party Time and some did. Actually, some phans heard other songs teased in this Tweezer, but no official recognition of Party Time being played during Tweezer. I am still stuck on my belief that Party Time was at least teased during Tweezer. And with this fact trapped in my mind, it gives me reason to believe that the Tweezer perform that night carried that sublime combination of the mischievous rock sound. With the addition of Party Time into the Tweezer jam, I was leveled by the heavy funk sounds of Tweezer but also animated by the bouncy movement of Party Time.

This Party Time Tweezer then segued into Golden Age. In my opinion, Golden Age has become a cover song which Phish has really made its own. Every time I have heard Golden Age performed, I can hear how much the boys love this song. Golden Age brought a funky/quirky feel to the set and helped steady the energy of the music. Golden Age segued into Frost mellowed energy out. Frost also allowed for Trey to again bust out his angelic voice which was highlight of that song. The last several songs of the second set were somewhat choppy in nature but did not lack excitement. After Frost came Limb By Limb then Sand which both had strong energy. Following Sand came A Day in the Life, an excellent Beatles tune and lovely addition to this set. The second set ended with Possum which of course got the whole crowd going crazy. It was fitting ending because it allowed the set to end on that jumping playful rock energy.

The encored started with booming Wilson and a chorus of unified phans led by the fearless leader Trey. When Wilson segued into Tweezer Reprise, it was expected, but there was a specialness to this song which echoed the feel of this whole show. It was Trey’s energy that really shined through in last song of the night. That same playful jubilant energy that started the show with an improvised PYITE, that gave stunning vocals in Moonage Daydream, that created Tweezer Party Time, and that delivered a smooth Frost was in full force at the end of the show. Trey was literally jumping and stomping around like a kid on Christmas Day. Just watching Trey romping around made me giddy. I could have just watch Trey do that for the whole show and be grateful I came. But watching Trey dance on that stage reminded me why I am grateful to be a phan. One of the most important reasons for why I love Phish is because the members of this band love playing music. I don’t want to follow a band or musician who thinks of themselves as larger than life. Trey, Mike, Jon and Page all have a love of music which transcends themselves and the fame. Phish spent a least the first 7 years of their career in obscurity and what kept that band together was they loved playing music. No fantasies of grander but the desire for the ecstasy of performing beautiful music. Now I am not saying that Phish is most humble band in existence but after over 35 years that mindset still presides in the members today and I would say particularly in Trey. A man who went through the sufferings addiction but came to sobriety and learned to love life and music even more. I recently listened to his interview on Sirius XM radio where he talked about his preparation for shows. I would highly recommend listening to it because it highlights the values that guides Trey’s life and music. There is a gratefulness that leads Trey and allows him to have reverence for his music, the band and the phans. That gratefulness also provides Trey that boundless joy and that joy was present at this show.


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