This show was webcast via Live Phish and featured the Phish debut of Drift While You're Sleeping. Trey teased Plasma before Stash. Trey teased Gloria (Laura Branigan) in Theme From the Bottom. The Final Hurrah was quoted in Tube and at the end of Character Zero. Page teased The Very Long Fuse in NMINML. Piper contained a Rhapsody in Blue tease. Trey and Page teased We're Off to See the Wizard in Limb By Limb.
Well...tour opener, how about that, in the books. Phish came out swinging. Sounding both well rested and well rehearsed the boys sounded as confident as ever showing very little rust in the first set. Each song was played with precision and each had some extra mustard added. It was a set of old reliables sandwiched between two new tunes and two that I was really excited to hear again.
Second set was at times choppy, which was only noticeable because of the flawless first set but is forgiven because hey...its the tour opener. However it bodes well because it shows how badly they want to stretch there wings and go deep. Second set had some awesome song choices and most were heavy hitters, however there were a few transitioning moments that felt rushed or miscalculated but again they are reaching for the stars rather than retracting to the 2016 timidness.
The encore was equally fun, Turtle in the Clouds is such a quirky song and it really looks like Trey and Mike truly enjoy doing the dance. Finally I want to touch upon how excited I was to hear the "Drift while your sleeping". I love that song and have since I first heard it. When Trey played it I immediately thought it would fit perfectly in the Phish repertoire and I am happy to see it pop up night one. Id love to go into more detail but others will dig deep so I will leave it to them. Just happy to see them this confident right out of the gate!
wow! so excited to be back reviewing shows. every time i'm about to begin another run of phish shows, i think to myself "i've never been more pumped to see phish," and this time was no different. in fact, i felt especially pumped this year, as the band has shown over the past few tours that they are really capable of anything.
anyway, on the to the review. this was a very good phish show. it was clear at times that the band was still easing back into playing together, but that's to be expected. also, if this is the show that the band plays rusty, i can't wait to see what will be going on in the next few weeks.
set 1 was excellent. it begins with kasvot vaxt--a very well played cool amber. jam section here really sets the tone; the band is still locked in, even after months away from touring. next comes 46 days, which was extra-meaningful of course, considering the passing of leigh fordham. i found it to be a classy move for the band not to reference this explicitly, instead letting the music speak for itself. next comes the highlight of the show for me: stash. an absolute must-listen version!! i think it has to be the best version i've ever seen live. begins with some standard stash-y jamming, but rather quickly, it takes off into type-ii territory! there was a beautiful blissful section, followed by a bluesy, crunchier section, and then finally a return to the stash structure. truly a remarkable jam. nellie kane is next, followed by a standard free and theme from the bottom (although standard versions contain a lot of excellent improv these days). tube is next, and it could've definitely jammed harder, but this was pretty good. finally, the set ended with the phish debut of drift while you're sleeping. i'm a big fan of this song, and it suits phish quite well. the rousing end section is a great set closer; i wouldn't be surprised if this is played a few times this summer. we'll see what other ghosts of the forest material they break out. all in all, an excellent first set of the tour. really tight all the way through and some brilliant type-ii jamming. also, the sound in the chaifetz arena was superb, particularly during the first set.
set 2 was a bit clunkier than the first, but certainly contained a great deal of inspired playing. the entire first sequence (No mens > gin > ghost -> piper > blaze on) was quite exciting, and while none of the jams are particularly long themselves, taken together, this is a fantastic sequence of improv. No men's contained some beautiful hose, gin roared to peak, and both ghost, piper and blaze on contained some dynamic, rhythmic jamming. while i wouldn't necessarily point to the individual versions, this is a great set to spin as a whole, as each song ramps up the energy. that being said, there were certainly a few ripcord-y moments, particularly the ghost -> piper. joy comes next, continuing its renaissance of late (it was played once in 2017, but four times in 2018, and now the first show of 2019). can't say i'm upset; this is a beautiful song, of course. simple comes next, which i'll never complain about; however, i would rather see this in a marquee slot as they tend to jam it so well. but again, can't complain about a raging 4th-quarter simple. LxL keeps the energy high and features some great work from Trey. the set closes with Slave, and boy can they play this song. trey sustains a note for what seemed like forever, before crescendoing into the typically-stunning peak.
turtle in the clouds encore is fun - honestly, while the dancing is hilarious, it goes on for a little too long for me. but to each their own! certainly love watching the boys have so much fun up there. a standard character zero closes it out. overall, a really awesome tour opener. as i said, if this is a warm-up show, we're in for a great summer!
What a way to kick off the summer. I thought that sounded really good. I wish that No Men’s jam would have lasted way longer; it was a great vibe. They seems to have their chops ready for the summer. No doubt they will tighten the composed sections up, but they were ready to roll their sleeves up and get funky. It’s gonna be a great summer!
The first set started out really strong with an awesome Cool Amber and Mercury. Trey has some really nice playing in this song and it is one of my highlights of the first set. The 46 Days is good, but not excellent and the Stash is interesting and taken for a ride. In my opinion, the set lost a lot of energy after Stash with Nellie Kane, Free and Theme not doing too much for me. The Tube is has a nice jam in it, per usual. There aren't many ~10 minute Tubes I don't like. The GOTF song is one I haven't listened to much, but it was played well, especially for a debut. Doesn't sound like a Phish song at all and is kind of a dull set-ender, but I might change my mind on that the more I get into the song. Who knows.
Second set starts with a strong NMINML with a really nice and mellow jam. Segue to Bathtub Gin is a bit rough, but no complaints with this song because it's your typical, good-yet-not-incredible Bathtub Gin. Fun, but nothing to write home to mom about. They explore a lot in Ghost, but to me, it never quite gets there. The segue to Piper is also a bit rough, but the Piper is solid. Blaze On is also solid. Joy is fine. A quick run-through of Simple is fun. Another rough segue to a fun and blissful Limb by Limb. Slave is a nice set-closer.
Turtle in the Clouds to Character Zero is a fun encore.
Takeaways from night 1 of summer tour: Cool Amber and Mercury and NMINML were my two highlights with Piper and Stash being right behind them. Don't know how I feel about GOTF songs becoming Phish mainstays, but they might need time to grow on me.
Overall, it was a good, not great night. A solid 3.5 out of 5 in my books. It's about what I expected out of a tour opener. Looking forward to the rest of summer. Cheers.
Admittedly my seats were on the couch, and admittedly I'm only going to offer a few thoughts, so here goes:
I'm not sure there's anything that rises to relisten status in this show. Example: Stash. For starters, I could have walked faster than the pace they placed it at. It being the tour opener, one would think that they would have rehearsed this beforehand. It sure as heck didn't sound like it- Trey flubbed basically every line in the instrumental section. Badly. The jam almost immediately detoured into major key territory, far away from most Stash jams, which in and of itself isn't disappointing, it's just that it felt like very familiar territory with not a lot of creative umph behind it. When Trey got tired of this, he abruptly switched back to the D minor and wrapped 'er up. None of the tension and release that marks so many classic versions of this tune.
Example 2: Free. I love this song. I always want to hear it. I will never get tired of it. That having been said, listen to the jam. Just go back and listen to it. Trey just disappears for almost all of it. I'm not joking. It's bizarre. He looked visibly uncomfortable onstage, like none of his neurons were firing or something. Page did his best to save this with some eerie synth stylings. I know this is tour opener and all, but yikes, dude. Yikes.
No Men's had a snappy jam that didn't do much, but at least it put some pop back in the proceedings. Ghost and Piper similarly went nowhere.
I hate to be negative about my favorite band. I really do. But honesty dictates that this was a real bummer of a show. You can never tell the vibe present in the actual auditorium. I hope everyone had fun, but I hope you get something much different and much better tonight.
So, I'm unveiling something new for this tour. Starting with last year's summer tour I began playing with a more "analytic" way to assess shows and their relative merits. I developed a proprietary (to me, at least) algorithm for measuring the contributions of song selection and jamminess of an individual show. Each of these two categories offers a numeric contribution to an overall score. It was happenstance that the range of values for the combined score went from 400-1600, sound familiar? This leads me to name this score the "Show Assessment Test" or SAT (cute, huh?) I figure that for this tour, I'll share out my values and if anyone's interested they are welcome to chime in with feedback.
So, the SAT for this show ends up being almost exactly 1100 (exactly 1100.11) with Stash (192.90) and NMINML (147.35) being the biggest contributors. A Google search for an 1100 SAT Score yields this desription:
Is a 1100 on the SAT a good score? A 1100 is a little better than average. It places you in the top 59th percentile nationally out of the 1.7 million students taking the SAT this year.
I thought that this description matches this show to a tee! Hence my decision to go ahead and post this on .NET. Hopefully, some of you might find a little value in this experiment... I know that I have.
I was at both St. Louis shows with @Flutterbye and instead of reviewing individual shows, I thought it would be best to drop some thoughts here, mostly referring to N1.
We had a 4 - 5 hour driving distance (nod to Cam, who I regret not getting to meet up with, along w/a few other great .netters) & all went well getting there, staying at the Parkway hotel & prepping for the 2 night run.
We'd never been on the floor for a show before & it was definitely a surreal experience.
During 46 Days, Trey & I nodding together for around 5 min. of the first part of the jam section. Or at least it felt that way, including energy transference. I sh*t you not.
I completely blanked out the start of the hand claps during Stash (what a noob) & I totally enjoyed Page's low note keyboards vibrating to my core Chakras (or whatever).
We talked with a couple nearbye us before the show started and they were about our same age & had been following Phish since the early 90's.
Mentioned I played music years ago but didn't understand Phish until right before Fuego.
They were intrigued that I'd jammed with Shannon Hoon before, years ago before he was in Blind Melon & we also talked a bit about the Grateful Dead's last few years. Alas, they did not have .net accounts
(Isn't that weird when you hear a true Phan say that?)
To each their own, but Phish is my #1 band without a doubt now, & I owe nearly all of that to .net.
Anyway, the songs...
My wife enjoyed the choice Kasvot Vaxt songs, as did I.
We weren't the biggest fans of those at first. Now, we're hooked. @Flutterbye had some health problems we weren't totally aware of until later, along with a sore foot, so we had to leave the front of the floor before 1st set was done & watch 2nd set from behind the stage (I wonder how few of the people who go regularly have had this interesting perspective of a show? Prob not many).
All of that, thanks to a couple great friends who had the extras (you know who you are).
Elseways, we woulda had to stand in the far back the rest of the night. Ugh.
We'd hit the record store over by Chuck Berry's place the next day & I'd score some VG Leon Redbone (RIP) & Dr. John (RIP) vinyl along with the amazing BBQ restaurant nearbye keeping our energy levels high.
Prob not as high as Fishman's, but still..
Also, I'd heard about the crazy scavenger hunt that Cactus set in motion while I was chowing down on said BBQ.
(Thank for keeping me up to date, @MShow96!)
Slave To The Traffic Light was an enteresting way to go out - we went thru hell trying to get a taxi back to the hotel.
We did run into some friends from back home there, though, so all was well, for the most part (crazy sometimes driver driving 90 down thru the streets past the Oyster Bar at 2 in the A.M. ~haha!)
Also of note:
Carrying around the 2 posters I'd bought was a bit scary (thought for sure we'd be mugged before a taxi got us) but those were unfounded fears. As most are in life.
I just remembered I'm off topic and not getting to the songs.
Oh well, I'm weak sauce right now...nod to someone else...hehe.
And but so, From Theme -> Drift, we were trying to give my wife comfort, so although they were great performances, we were not 100% there. The rest of the show(s) had it where we were able to concentrate better. Up Mike side about 15 rows during N2.
I'd been hoping for an Antelope & Llama at the same time, but what we got was great. Gin was one top song I was wanting.
Suzy was a treat, to me for some reason I can't quite convey..
The whole sports theme during N2 was amazaballz, even though I don't dig sports like I used to once upon a time.
I'd seen Colorado Avalanche games in the past & totally dig it, but I've yet to see a replay of night 2's game. I will! I will!
LxL was cool to me for my wife and her foot problems that trip.
It's as if they play songs just for you sometimes, right?
Anyway, @Flutterbye has other things keeping her from making any more shows this summer, but I will still hopefully make it to at least 1 Alpine show (prob N2).
Appreciate all vibes/prayers for her. Thank you so very much.
The duality of a 2 night run is without a doubt something to never to be missed.
What you may have hoped to see, you just might.
What you expect to see may be surpassed.
Thank you Phish & .net community.
In attendance with my right hand man Bob. What a great indoor arena, with little to no security. Lots of energy once again, coming of the 12/29/18 show for me. Cool Amber was a perfect song to kick it off (Faceplant into Rock samples are so freakin awesome) followed by 46 Days for Leigh. Next came Stash, which was most certainly and surprisingly the highlight of the show. I was expecting a standard Stash, but got a gem. Tube was awesome and once again was stretched. Are Set 1’s now better than Set 2’s?? Drift while sleeping is such a great tune, and Phish nailed it. The second set kicked off with a great NMINML. Which lead us through a line up of 10 min jams. Not lengthy but plenty of pop. Piper gets the second best song of the night with its killer peaks. LxL started for which I hoped for a set closer similar to recent SOAM’s. We got Slave instead, first world problems. I love TITC and we got the dance rendition as well. Character Zero closes us out. Awesome opening night. About an easy 15 minute walk back to the hotel, and we do it again tonight.
Back to lack of security- one issue. What was with the Nitrous balloons everywhere?!? We can do better.
Pussy drop interrupt !!! To start was a mellow ok way to get the tour started pussy to the face fuck your face still better of the 2. Then again teased in a very decent Tube but recently yet again not nearly long enough jam funk part. It only was in 98 and once at cinci in 03. The drift while your sleeping was actually the highlight of the night for me. I love that song much lyrically like rise up come together but way more Melodic and less dissonance off key on purpose notes and much like some of their other shorter progressive songs like guyute or pebbles and marbles. Actually the 1st set was a bit better which is rare making for a bad show overall. The Ghost has a nice mellow jam flowing into a quick piper. A nice off to see the wizard tease in LbL and a great closer to any set Slave. I hate turtles bad song and album but never a bad Zero so all in all 3.7 from me
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