, attached to 2019-07-06

Review by zwhit

zwhit Compulsory “you had to be there” caveat. Musically, the show was fine! But this show ended up being about more than just the music (which might already mean we’re starting from behind, but I digress), so let’s start there.

Rain delay. Tarps are out, people are sardines in a 100-year-old concourse, and everyone’s getting sweaty and antsy. Chants to be let into seats are starting every couple minutes, interspersed with groans of disappointment as lightning strikes the Boston area with decreasing frequency as first 7:00 then 7:30 pass. Spirits are high, but the Phenway Phaithful are growing restless with the discomfort and anticipation. They’ll play, right? Right?

Around 7:45, we’re finally let into our seats, rain still coming down but lightening up. Being released from the concourse “prison,” the energy in the stadium has taken a turn for the better, and fans who might otherwise not have interacted much are chatting with each other. The band has tweeted an 8:30 start, so folks are counting down.

8:30 arrives, and the band comes out. What rain pun song will we see? Plenty of guesses, but none were Carini. Opening notes blast out, and the crowd loses it. A short Carini smoothly gives way to Possum. Fenway is rocking. We settle in to SYSF with a decent little jam to accompany. Thread’s a good one. Great selection, easing out of SYSF back into the darker energy we started with...until Wolfman’s pulls us into a joyful, funky place. My whole section was grooving, and CK5’s lights showed plenty of others were too. REBA! Think Trey was excited too, as he made some flubs throughout, but combine the complexity of the composed section with the events of the day, and it’s not disappointing, per se.

After Reba goes off the rails in parts, we get Back on the Train. Nodding heads abound. Another brief but rocking jam, the theme for much of this tour, it seems....clapping overhead (the timing of which not a single person in Fenway could get right)...it’s Mound! Fun time time for all. I’m personally unfamiliar with the GotF material and generally skeptical of anything new, but About to Run rocked. Given how my section took it in stride, you’d have thought it was a song Phish had been playing for 10+ years.

Swirling bass, then silence...the crowd starts to hum, and Mike slaps that DWD intro. It’s on. Nice little jam and a short-feeling 14 minutes later (including one instance of dancing on Trey’s lawn turning into dancing on his field), we learn how to compose a band: cymbals, saxophone, bebop, and skyscrapers. The math is Simple but profound. But the math counts BDTNL? Weird. Not the song I was hoping for in this spot, especially as we thought there was a 10:30 hard stop, but the gang brings me around, and I’m happy happy with all my new friends by the tune’s end.

Ok, here’s where I seem to diverge from everyone else in the universe: I don’t like DDHVL. Well, I didn’t. It starts. I pout. It rocks. I come around, no longer a curmudgeon on this one but glad it’s kept short in favor of...46 Days! Which I’d been hoping to see. Disappointing to see it peter out way earlier than it could have gone, but What’s the Use in hoping Phish does what you want with a jam? Happy to have gotten these two, and we’re blowing past 10:30. How much longer will we go? A few minutes, or to 11:00? Or longer? Are we going to keep Boston up past its bedtime?

One fine but joyful Mexican Cousin later, and Fish is taking us back 18 years on a space odyssey. Heck yeah. The Phaithful remain engaged as the band goes through a fun but not particularly standout version of 2001. Every song past 10:30 is a gift, though, so we are eating it up. And then another drum-led song starts up, and it’s SOaM. Yum. I really enjoyed this one in the moment! It went a little somewhere before coming back to a rocking solo calling back the tune’s main three-note structure. Surely that was the set? Suzy had other plans. Put that woman in the loony bin.

By the time this one’s over, it’s 11:00. The gang bows and heads off. Is that it? The house lights aren’t on... Back out we come, and it’s Rise/Come Together. That’s fine! Not my favorite, but good vibes abound. Then Trey makes a half-flub(?) and hits that E we all know and love. Wilson? Wilson? WIL-SOOON. Phish must’ve won the pennant tonight because the whole place is going nuts for a rocking but compact rendition.

Off come the guitar and bass, and now we have closure on the night. What started with unanswered questions, anxiety, and discomfort gave way to much more than 7/5 had to offer. That was it. And it was a party.


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