, attached to 2017-08-01

Review by Troutman

Troutman I attended four BD shows: 7/28, 7/29, 7/30 and 8/1. There are so many highlights from those shows but overall, start to finish, 8/1 might be my favorite of the four. Maple was deeply intense and emotional for me. And as far as re-listening goes, 8/1 has received the most playbacks of the four shows I attended. I've really been enjoying listening to the entire show, start to finish, whereas with the others, I just go to certain highlights. I have read that a common critique of the show is that it "starts off slow" and I think people are referring to the tempo/song choice. I'm assuming this is in reference to Sugar Shack, Circus and Army of One? Personally, I love slow, patient, contemplative Phish and I forget that there are a lot of people who do not.

I felt the O Canada>Crowd Control pairing to open the show was done with a slight wink but also a great deal of intention. Trey's vocals and Fish's playing in Crowd Control are intense and I got the sense that they needed that release as much as a lot of Americans do right now. I know I really connected to that opening sequence and was singing along loudly and pumping my fist to Crowd Control. It was very cathartic for me. Sugar Shack was the obvious pick and solidified the Maple theme and I always enjoy that groove. I love it anytime Phish can surprise me so when "Circus" arrived in the 4 spot, I was thrilled. It was unexpected and again; so patient, quiet and intense. The crowd cheers after Trey sang "I never thought I would make it this far" brought tears to my eyes and still gives me chills. I'm sure a lot of people had Jerry on their minds as well. The fact that a Gospel tune followed next just seemed so appropriate to me. The BIG crowd reaction to Daniel was great. I love the personal nature of Army of One and the themes of struggling and just trying to survive (again, big fan of slow, contemplative Phish). And I thought Page was so present and felt his vocals and playing were really great. I'm assuming everyone loved Guelah, McGrupp, Limb and Walk Away as much as I did. The fact that they played a Scott Joplin tune in between just pleased me to no end- especially after hearing them do "In The Good Old Summertime" this tour. The fact that they are paying homage to tin pan alley and such an old form of music is so cool to me.

I know the second set has been talked about a lot. I'll just say that the transition from the Golden Age jam into Leaves was one of the most intense moments I have ever experienced with this band over the past 20 years. It stunned me how quiet it got during that moment. The energy and intensity around me was palpable- very tough thing to achieve in a room the size of MSG. I love the lyrics to Leaves and really enjoyed this performance. Again, thematically I thought Leaves fit so well as a continuation from Crowd Control, Circus and Army of One. I loved the build and jam out of Leaves and when they went into Swept Away I was stunned once again (and excited, as this was my first time seeing Swept Away>Steep). Again, the fact that the band would be so patient and slow down and get quiet again, I think is a big risk. It's a risk that really thrills me when I hear it live. The Steep>46 Days>Piper>Possum was wild and I think represents some of the most dynamic jamming of the BD run. The Rock N Roll Suicide encore was so appropriate to me and again, kept with the lyrical themes that started in set one.

When I consider some of the lyrical lines from this show, beginning to end, and then consider how beautifully the music and jamming moved along with them, it adds up (for me) to one of the most emotional and intense shows I have ever experienced. I am so grateful to have been there. And grateful for the ability to listen back and re-connect to it.

"Show us why we came here before we lay on the ground" (Crowd Control)
"Never thought I would make it this far" (Circus)
"'Cause now if these wings should fail me, Lord I want to hitch on another pair" (Daniel)
"Comin down to redeem a mighty world" (Daniel)
"I just can't compete with the weight of it all" (Army of One)
"It's the salt that's in our tears" (Wedge)
"Up or down it's up to you" (Limb)
"Someone's always telling me to breathe" (Leaves)
"We built a kingdom out of lies and we blindly fanned the fires" (Leaves)
"The crowd intrudes all day..." (Swept Away)
"Lets turn on and be not alone. Gimme your hands 'cause your wonderful" (Rock n Roll Suicide)


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