Having raged the pit on Night 1 at Grand Prairie, our seats in the 200's, far Mike's side, sounded like shit. My partner @farmho_se and I cruised the venue for unconventional dance zones in the theater that had dank sound, settling on a back wall beneath the 300's, Page side. The security guard there let us flail about, partially because we showed up first, and encouraged anyone who tried to copy us to find their seats to prevent congestion. Someone was burning Palo Santo and we were blessed.
At set break we introduced ourselves to the guard, Darrell. Darrell said that he was enjoying the second night more than the first. We remarked that it was warmer in the theater than it had been on the first night, and he told us that performers set the room's temperature.
We asked Darrell if we could rage the central aisle that crossed behind the sound/light booth, and he granted us permission as long as we stayed against the wall.
So there we were for the second set, totally dead center, cosmic-eye-level with the band in a long walkway by ourselves. Everyone else who tried to dance near us was hit with flashlights and asked to leave. The most intimate VIP-shit, courtesy of Darrell.
Grand Prairie was definitely a drinking crowd, with plastic beer cups far outnumbering roaches on the floor at the end Night 1. Shot girls were carrying trays of viles filled with neon blood thinners. Did the band pick up on this when they were taking the room's temperature? To quote 'Friday', did they "notice the danger"? Trey openly speaks of being a sponsor in AA, and Fish said in the recent Rolling Stone interview that as the tide turned for Trey, it's his turn to help out others. With GP 2's song selection, was this agenda brought to the stage?
My partner and I have been in recovery for a little over a year and are attending ten shows on this tour completely sober.
"Got a blank space where my mind should be"
"You can see a different point of view"
"Tangled in the remnants of the knot I left behind"
"Trapped here as my senses bleed"
"Clinging to the notion you'll be fine"
"When you're lost in the darkness..."
"I can see through the li(n)es"
"Notice the danger..."
"Instead I'm stranded on my knees"
"Don't blame it on yourself"
"Good times, bad times..."
In our private aisle we had the sensation that Phish was playing to us. But maybe they were also playing to the guy we met at the Phellowship table in recovery, trembling with nervousness at his first show "back." Perhaps that set was "perfectly planned" for anyone who was willing to receive its message. And as a light rain of glowsticks fell on us during the encore, I thought that while the set might seem "completely insane" to a fan listening at home, from our vantage point it was truly the Show of Life.
The current rating (2.36) places this show in the select club of worst shows ever; "beyond abysmal", said a reviewer. So what happened? Trey started using again? Fish was drunk? Mike was only interested in his upcoming tour? Page wore the wrong shirt?
No, simply this: no jam.
Does it mean that the band played badly? No, they didn't. Actually they played very well, better than usual. Does it mean that there was a lack of musical interaction? Listen to that Taste and I think you'll agree the boys were clearly listening to each other. So what, they were tired and there was no energy? Julius, among others, disagrees.
No, again, simply this: no jam.
This is not a bad concert, it's a jamless one. And obviously ratings on .net rate jams, not show themselves, because this was an excellent concert, and the rating doesn't reflect that at all. Quite the contrary. It's almost insulting how this show isn't even appreciated for what it is.
So maybe you don't like Phish when they go "adult contemporary", as another reviewer said, but that's part of what they do now (and have been doing for quite some years). Trey is a great composer (the recent Petrichor is proof of that) but also a great songwriter (Mike too, for that matter). And his songwriting often verges on the cheesy, but that's what makes it so good. He's just sincere. Phish is not just a jamband, it's also a progressive rock band, a goofy band, and yes, an adult contemporary band.
Now, maybe I'm just trying to redeem a bad show because I can't stand the idea of my favorite band doing anything wrong. Except I readily admit that there are tons of boring Phish shows out there. To me, however, they generally include a perfunctory 20min DwD or whatever run-of-the-mill spacey section followed by a shift to major mode, etc.
I will not listen again to many of the shows containing good jams, because there are killer shows that simply make listening to others quite irrelevant. But nothing compares to this show, like it or not, and I'm certainly going to listen to it again. I sometimes like an hour of extremely well crafted songs, especially when they are played with such gusto.
And oh, of course, only the second set is in dispute. The first is just great.
Weird show. I'm worried Taste is going to develop Stockholm syndrome in that 2nd set.
First set is about as much as anyone could hope to ask for. 2nd set is an utterly baffling collection of songs. So baffling that the encore raises the real spectre of a joke.
"It doesn't have to be all about the 20 minute jams" is such an easy copout. If you liked the song selection and flow of the music wonderful! Nobody is trying to take that away from you and I'm legitimately ecstatic that it landed for some people. As for me, it's a 2nd set/encore with 12 songs, 2 of which I've ever walked into a venue actively wanting to hear, 5 of which I've walked into a venue actively hoping to avoid. Can't be anything but honest about it.
Why does everything need to be Type II? Why does every show need to have 20+ minute jams? It should be abundantly clear by now that it's no longer 1997. The band plays exactly the kinds of shows they mean to play, and there are many different types of shows. These Dallas shows weren't about the huge jams. They were about intimacy. They were playing to the kind of fan who comes out on a Monday or Tuesday night to a half-full theater. As much fun as I had in Alpharetta, I would have loved to be at these shows. Lifeboy, Dirt, and Friday in an intimate theater sounds amazing to me.
When you look at the band's history, shows anchored by jam odysseys are only a portion of that history. They had something else in mind for these shows. At this point, expecting HEADY TYPE II BRAH all the time is only going to disappoint yourself.
Something about being a phish phan I've never understood is the complete inability to understand why people can't admit that a) there have been elite shows since 2.0 and b) phish off nights are not "still better than any other bands best night!"
Neither are true and tonight was a perfect example. Phish is at its best when they go deep into improv, create a sense anything can happen and whip a crowd into a frenzy. They don't have particularly good voices and their ballads are on par with bands at a way lower tier than phish.
Yet without reading other reviews i know there will be a stampede to "redeem" this show. We tend to do that. Just look at how frequently someone tries to redeem 1996.
Fine moments for sure but this show wasn't good. That's ok guys. There will be an elite show here before you know it.
This show was their way of saying suck it to all the complaining fans. The slow songs exist because they want to play them. The Line is not my thing but I've always liked Friday. # Line is good. I'm happy with a Foam bust out. A Lifeboy bust out. Waves. Taste. Tight 1st set. I think they just played what they wanted and I love them for doing so.
They are up there doing whatever they want. It's totally on purpose.
Twice bittens review is spot on. He caught what was being thrown out there that night.
They showed us at dicks they can play 6 second sets in 3 days if they want, it's not a matter of age or ability.
Go to the shows and listen, those guys are great and there is a lot going on if you pay attention. Be happy that you can still get lost in this thing that has been created and almost broken and it's still here.
WHATSTHEJUICE is being a little harsh, in my opinion. The energy where I was at was great, loving life. I though BDTNL was nice; all my friends, indeed! The band was loose and having fun, More as a set closer rocked out.
Okay, no type II jamming, but more (rest?) of new songs got a chance to breathe. Moma Dance not up to par, Cities did not lift off, STFTFP a bust. I was up close and seeing all the new songs (and "I Didn't Know") in an intimate setting was a treat.
An extra star (again) for good energy, new friends, and good times.
I actually quite enjoyed the first set. Quality choices with Moma, Chalk Dust, Foam, Divided Sky, and Walk Away!!
Not the best Moma I've ever heard, but I never complain with this early first set choice. Nice groove, leading into a solid Chalk Dust.
Cities was exciting and quite good, as was Foam!
I got truly excited when I heard the beginning of Divided Sky. The live stream on Mixlr was breaking up a bit at this point in the show, but did I hear Trey stop the song for several minutes and ask some girls in the front row to kindly shut the fuck up? Then he delved right back into Sky and started shredding?
My audio was skipping quite a bit but I'm pretty sure that's what I heard, and if so, that's absolutely hilarious.
Walk Away was awesome, probably my favorite tune of the night. Tight, classic rock and roll!
The second set was a total disappointment to me. The energy just wasn't there, and I was actually pretty bored. I enjoyed Meatstick and The Line was surprisingly pretty good.
But yeah, after a pretty decent first set, what the hell happened with the second set? Totally surprised by this one.
I'm catching them at MSG 12/28 and 12/29, I'm so excited!
Was this my ideal setlist, or show? No. Would I have loved some Dicks-esque, bellowing, arena rock moments? You bet your ass! But given this was my 48th show, and only my 4th in my home state, it gets "extra credit".
For me, not having to buy flights, hotels, camping, etc, a short drive up from Austin, and Pit tickets that close to the band with all my friends that might not travel to see the boys = Automatic 5 star show.
Kudos to people willing to speak their minds and admit not every show is a great one. I've been doing this since '95 and I'm a bit alarmed at some of the new songs. I think bands get so good sometimes that the bubble that surrounds them becomes nothing but yes-men and goodie-goodies. nobody is willing to say "hey, guys, waking up dead really sucks" or "the show of life is killing people, maybe don't play it any more." i don't really do the albums, so i had no idea what to expect when i hit this tour. 2/3 of the new ones are in my list of "never-agains." god bless the band and their ability to really create a mood musically - they are playing very well and have been for years now. i miss the silliness of the old songs, but yeah we all have to grow up. i get it. i don't write songs about farts anymore (but i do want to sometimes). but i feel like Phish has gone adult-contemporary on us. i'm not saying things suck - shows are still a lot of fun. but does anyone else miss the adventure and silliness of the 90's??? in my perfect world they would abondon the first half of songs like Wingsuit & Mercury and make them instrumentals. (actually, i'm in the process of taking some of those songs and editing out the lyrics now so i can just hear the music in their 2 halves.)
go ahead and dislike the hell out of my review, i'll sleep ok at night. i still want to go to phish shows for at least 20 more years. i'm glad Trey is sober. my heart is in the right spot.
"First set is about as much as anyone could hope to ask for. 2nd set is an utterly baffling collection of songs. So baffling that the encore raises the real spectre of a joke."
Couldn't have said it any better, Nichobert. I was at this show and to say that everyone's expectations after that first set were at an all-time high would be an understatement. Especially coming off the 2nd set from the previous night. The 2nd set last night was so bad that one must assume the band was doing it on purpose. I don't know if they were upset that the venue didn't sell out or they were trying to make some kind of statement, but I just don't know what Texas did to deserve that. For a state that rarely gets to host this band (except for last year), I would think they could at least pretend to care about what their fans would want to hear. What is most frustrating is that I know they are going to blow the roof off in Vegas. It's almost as if you have to "pay the price", i.e. travel and spend the money, to witness Phish in their phinest form. I don't get how phans in Texas, or anywhere else they don't travel to often, should be held to a different standard. The shows the past two days were objectively bad, especially for someone doesn't travel to the northeast, Vegas or MSG to see their favorite band every year. The "Show Of Life" encore to boot... I just couldn't believe it.
This is not Boreal Ridge by any means, folks. That was the stinker that the Dead dropped on expectant fans in 1985. I only bring that up because it was a venue with high expectations. Grand Prairie was a venue imbued with high expectations. Not many of us get to see a show in a venue of 6,300 any more.
The band, it seems to me, was almost practicing perfection in a small venue, dialing their sound in for *songs.* Is that making excuses? I don't think so. Rather, it's my interpretation of what was happening, what it sounds like on play back. I also have to say that the Taste is as sweet as can be with what I perceive to be Third Stone from the Sun teases (ever so slightly around 6:50).
We can't have a 10/28 every night. On the other hand, difference is what makes those nights stand out. These guys have chops, and what better way to hone them than to do so in a venue with sweet sound?
This is not an aural disaster, no matter what they say. (3.0)
"Yet without reading other reviews i know there will be a stampede to "redeem" this show......"
I agree KingDisco. Its hilarious, the way certain people reflexively defend a bad show. I personally think its directly related to how much more expensive tickets are than they used to be. Between increased face value and the explosion of the secondary ticket market, going to a show can often be a huge expense now. People (not just Phish fans but everyone) have a really hard time admitting to a lost or "sunken cost." Devoting a lot of money (and a lot of time) to an event increases your expectations enormously and it's really difficult to admit to oneself that you didn't get your money's worth.
I try to listen to every show of a tour, though I always read the setlists and reviews first to see if it's worthwhile. Just looking at this setlist I think one can tell the show was a dud. Definitely happens often these days
Second set has to be a joke or some "troll" mindset by deliberately dropping a horrible show on us with the Halloween show or the 3000/6000 crowd in mind. Which is quite interesting given how good they have been playing lately.
Basically they played all of their "slow", unenergetic, "annoying", "unjammable", and Line-themed songs all in one set. With a Meatstick (which is a crime for that good of a song to be in this set). Then they put on 2 show closers.
This has to be a "Time-themed" set with a clue to the Halloween album or just a practical joke "comparison" show.
Listen to the soundcheck if it comes out. Stay away from the second set.
Bad show for different reasons than the bad shows in 2003 2004 and i actually think i am the only Phish fan that likes Friday (just the mellow to crescendo jam at the end semi orchestrated) and Show of Life (whole song). I i like counter point. So i love Petrichor. I hated Time Turns Elastic but Trey is hit or miss w his attempts at Guyute greatness. MFMF Horn and Lizards are my personal top 3. . .but YEM Slave and HHood are close 4 5 6 favs.
I think Trey was feeling the blues . . .bittersweet meloncholy on this night. These songs were on purpose for some unknown reason. He was feeling like experimenting but not w jams but song selection. I mean Friday wtf. I never thought id hear it again live. I listen to Miami 03 version and see the song has potential on certain nights but this was not one of them. Trey was ANXIOUS all night and you can tell in his hesitance playing certains. Sober Trey is shy which i love but some nights shy does not work right w certain versions. We need balsey asshole 1993 Trey . . .sober but fully rocking energy. This night had no energy. Can't win them all. Still the best live band on the planet. I can handle a few bad shows w most nights 4.0 or better rated shows. I still had fun listening the utter weirdness of Texas Phish
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