, attached to 2011-06-08

Review by OhOhFee

OhOhFee I have tried to think of how to summarize my Darien experience, and the best word I can think of, without sounding to simplistic, is FUN!
WifeOhFee and I arrived around 5:15, in time to get on a couple of rides in the park before it closed. Missed out on the .net Ride Of Steel meetup, and rode the mind eraser, which was outstanding, and the Motocoaster which was the most surprising roller coaster I have ever been on.
The looks on some of the Spunion faces coming off of both were HILARIOUS.
Had a brief encounter with @mmetch and @captainpookie in line at the Motocoaster.

We headed back out to our car to hydrate and eat before heading inside. Once in the pavilion, we were stopped almost immediately by a girl who asked us very excitedly to take a Nellie Kane sign that she had made, 1 of about 20. We gladly accepted and said we'd be nice and close, so she gave us two. We got to our seats, and strapped in. When the boys came on, we held up our Nellie signs as promised, along with probably 20-25 others in the pavilion. After the Jennifer Dances sign mention by Trey, I knew the pre-opener chatter would lead to the Nellie opener! This was a premonition of the fun that the band would have this night.
The Nellie--Buffalo Bill (also a nod to a sign that was up front and center)-Mellow Mood opener was not at all what I expected, but it perfectly matched the feeling of the venue. The first set, obviously, was chock full-o-songs. Wolfman's was slower than I have ever heard, with a poised and quick jam. KDF was standard, Undermind was tight, and Fishman's fills brought huge smiles to Trey and Page's faces. Rift felt a bit choppy and off to me. Ride captain Ride really seemed to be the launching point of the show and the dance party feel that would continue throughout. It's Ice was typically outstanding and concise. I was glad to hear Dog Faced Boy and Brian and Robert--two of the Phish ballads that I enjoy the most. Brian and Robert is often stuck in my head, so I was happy to sing along. The closing combo of 46 days, Limb By Limb (which I had been singing on and off for the better part of the last week) and Character Zero was solid and strong, especially the rock ending of 46 days (hear Trey screaming the chorus) and the short LxL jam. Character Zero was as it is and should be.
The 2nd set was where the down and dirty came in. Golden Age was a wonderful opener, and seemed to speak of the current state of Phish, which is a new Golden Age coming in. The transition to Mike's was quick but welcome. I didn't necessarily feel like it was forced, as some other reviews have mentioned, but it wasn't necessarily fluid either. It just sort of happened. FEFY was a great Groove interlude, and the Weekapaug was just plain dirty. Mike's intro was a wonder to behold, and the groove that ensued was funky and filthy. What's The Use was a great treat, and a great segue to the 2nd half of the 2nd set, which was all dance party. The Theme was just beautiful, and, while BDTNL gave me a good chance to retrieve some much needed cold water, I was glad they kept it brief. 2001 was super funky in the way it was in the early parts of this decade, and the Hood closer was typically spectacular. GTBT was really the perfect encore for this show.
A couple of notes:
Throughout the second set, I really started to hear how the band's recent unearthing of Led Zeppelin tunes has influenced their playing. I felt like there were a lot of heavy Fishman fueled tight funky jams, with a metal edge to them--the kind of jams you want to simultaneously get down AND bang your head to. This is a welcome evolution in my world.
WifeOhFee, who, though a music lover and getter of all that is good, has never been a Phish fan so to speak. She saw them a few times in the late 90's and early 00's, when the shows were more of a party then anything else. Long noodling jams are not her style, and Darien had none of them. for her, sober Trey makes all the difference. Darien provided her with her first real "Wow, now I GET IT" Phish moment, which is a beautiful thing for this head of 17 years!!! In fact, she couldn't wait to download the show, and was online last night seeing if there was any way we could get to another show this summer (there's an outside chance at Chicago...).

All in all, this show, while not one that people may rave about, was as outstanding as I could have hoped for, in so many ways. Oh, did I mention that this was the first night the two of us have spent away from our children since our first was born 3 1/2 years ago? TABOOT!


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