, attached to 2017-07-25

Review by Tarhead9486

Tarhead9486 When Phish announced the Bakers' Dozen in 2017, it sounded like history in the making...and judging by 7.25.17, it most certainly was. I've been trying to follow up on the Bakers' Dozen shows just now (more time on my hands, I suppose), and seeing 2 years later that the ratings for this specific show is still holding up made it all the more of interest to me.

Quite simply, when downloading it through Live Phish, I couldn't put it down for an entire week. At first, it seemed a bit awkward in some places, but that's how I usually am whenever listening to a new set of tapes or just albums in general. Putting Lawn Boy and Crosseyed and Painless aside for a minute, this show has some good moments on it: Thread and Tuesday are nice interludes after the intense renditions of Fuego and C&P; the debut of End of Session was a nice surprise; and, of course, you can always count on Stash and Bathtub Gin (the latter surprisingly not extended out that much) for a good time. However, the centerpieces are going to be Lawn Boy and C&P.

I've never heard (up to this point) Lawn Boy get an extended workout as it did here. Makes sense, since the show had a "jam" theme to it. Having the show end with Lawn Boy makes you wonder if all the songs in between actually happened...they go by that quick, and they're that mesmerizing. The 33-minute C&P has to be one of their best jams in recent years. What makes Phish compelling is that they're able to take a track and progressively deconstruct it as it goes on (i.e., dispense with each instrument one by one, thus stripping the music down to just ambient sound). They've been doing that with Down With Disease for years (the best example being the 23-minute version from 12.29.97); Simple, Bathtub Gin, and Halley's Comet; Kill Devil Falls got the extended treatment when I saw them in 2015. C&P is one of those countless numbers, but listening to how it disintegrates into space music (not too different from Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream*) made it that much more of a rewarding listen...only for the band to then float back to earth and then go back into the song...and end it! Other comparisons on this particular jam could be drawn to what the Dead did when they'd transition into Space in the 1980s OR Coltrane's improvisations (listen to One Down, One Up from 1965), where the rest of the instrumentalists sit back and let him go absolutely wild on the saxophone. Phish is most certainly worthy of these comparisons, and C&P is proof of that.

All this happens in less than 3 hours, which is no easy feat. However, what emerges is a highlight of the 3.0 years and has motivated me to listen to the other 12 shows. I'd gotten the sampler album released in stores (The Bakers' Dozen), and the other shows just sound like a tasty treat. Although, I must say, it was interesting to see that nothing from 7.25.17 was excerpted on that set, but it's one of those shows where you need to listen to it in its entirety...a song here and there just doesn't do it justice.

*If you don't know about Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream, do yourself a favor and pick up Schulze's Irrlicht and Tangerine Dream's Zeit...there were parts in the middle of C&P that made me think I put those albums on while drifting off into a semi-catatonic state. I wouldn't be surprised if the members of Phish had those albums on in heavy rotation while prepping for the Bakers' Dozen shows.


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