, attached to 2011-12-28

Review by ProfJibboo

ProfJibboo The anticipation to the moment that the lights first went down was greater than anything this phan has ever experienced. Demand had never felt greater. The community never felt grander.

In hindsight, I'm not sure the band could have done anything to live up to the hype in the minds of their faithful followers. But they certainly tried. And night 1 set 1 might very well be the best set of the run.

The great debate of what song will open was answering creatively. They took a second set staple, a song that has opened up a set maybe 5 times in its 16 year existence, that has never opened a show and ...started the show with it. And it worked. Those opening notes indicated that the band wasn't going to be taking time to warm up tonight. They wanted to set a tone. While Free was not a party, it was an almost symbolic song choice - the work week is over - the year is over....lets party.

Glide is always a treat. In the two times they've whipped it out in 3.0...both at MSG, it just gets the room bouncing. It needs more cowbell. It matched the mood and spirit of the room.

Curtis is always welcome in Got Jibboo's house. Its timing felt off, because I tend to look at it as one of there better ballad covers and I'm used to it coming after a rock out. So, at this point, I'm enjoying the set but realizing that its lacking momentum. The energy was not building. Stash tried to boost the energy....but what little ground it made was lost immediately by Contact. Perhaps I was intrigued by the odd placement - Contact has not appeared in a first set since 1993 - but I liked it. I've always loved the song...and I felt in the back of my mind that this was the turning point of the set....a set so far marked by some relative bust outs, a few rares, some creative set list changes....

and I was right. Sample did exactly what it needed to...kept the room dancing after the climactic end to Contact. And it paved the way for a tremendous - an really overlooked by the net - rendition of Kill Devil Falls which really did a great job of showing how far the song evolved since its debut. The jam was strong, deeply played, with stronger pacing than I'm used to from the band....less urgency and more pounding of each string and key. Kill Devil Falls rocked the house in a way that only the newer Phish songs can - a question of: what comes next.

I've said in a thread on .net that bathtub gin has suffered in 3.0 up until the very end of 2010. It was hardly jammed...and went from set showstopper to mid-first set generic with the NICU's, sloths, and bouncing round the rooms of the world. But right around NYE 2010-11, the band found the bathtub groove again. Culminating in a banner year for the song in 2011, including the Bathtub Manteca Gin at Bethel and this show's version - which had the house rocking. It was uncontrollable dancing. I couldn't stop moving even if I had wanted to. The song was an unquestionable highlight of the band's ability to shred a rock concert whenever they want to and however they want to.

While my focus is entirely on the first set. The second set is not exactly unworthy of mention. Most notably: Rock & Roll. One of my least favorite songs Phish considers mid-second set material....until 12/28/11 - when my impression of the song forever changed. This one was a masterpiece. It again, like bathtub, shredded....not like a jammed rock song....but as a wicked dance number worthy of the most intense techno clubs. A must listen.

There is much debate about this tour....but as far as tour openers go...and night 1's of a planned epic run --- this show was memorable and the first set particularly, had several twists and turns that made it exciting at the time and now still on tape.

Highly recommended.


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