, attached to 2014-08-29


FACTSAREUSELESS I'm giving this show five stars as it was underrated at the time of its inception and has aged beautifully with a little distance. The entire show is well-played (for the most part) with little down time and lots of inventiveness and gold nuggets tucked away in all the right places.

Of all the songs known as classic openers over the years, Llama reigns supreme in my view. How can you go wrong with a rockin Llama? This version was not as sharp as either the Truck Set version or the Holmden, NJ version for that matter, but it fed the vibe and blew the roof off the roofless venue nonetheless.

Undermind was a nice, compact and funky rendition which got everyone dancing and the race was on to figure out if the boys were going to "spell something". Stash and Halfway followed, and most astute observers were guessing Lushington at this point. This Stash is top-shelf btw. Not an all-timer, but much sharper and entertaining than some others from earlier in the year. This Halfway is marvelous and obviously benefitted from time on the road and on stage. Trey really pumped some needed life into this number on this night, which was welcome as Halfway was sounding like a threadbare sportcoat which doesn't match any of your clothes before this. On this night, this beautiful Page tune seemed to finally reach the heights that its beautiful lyrics beg for.

The next sequence was delightfully playful and represented classic Phish. It also catapulted (bad pun, sorry) the set into the top ranking as being the best 1st frame of the year (in my view at least). When you can get a vacuum solo (an excellent one to boot!) mixed in with the frivolity of Nellie Kane and the psychedelia of Guyute together in one 20 minute segment, you have found a good night to attend a Phish show. The Guyute was really nailed and you could never tell that it was the first one in (how many shows?) a long time.

The Line, a song I don't like, actually worked well in the next slot and gave way to a particularly Alice-In-Wonderland trip through the land of Ocelot and then an extremely well-played No Quarter cover. As a huge Led Zep fan, I often cringe at the sophomoric treatment this cover receives from the boys but this version was worthy of its namesake.

Ha Ha Ha was wickedely delightful and the Suzy with horns was terrific. Loved Trey turning to Jennifer Hartswick, who is the very definition of HOT and asking her if she loved Dick's. Classic.

I don't agree with the sentiments expressed above that this set was tame except for the Simple. To my ears, the entire 2nd set was trip down memory lane. The band sounded like a more mature version of '97 throughout the frame. I close my eyes during Simple and it sounds like the late nineties never left. This entire set is a complete throw-down. There is no down time. Because of this view, I will eschew a song-by-song on this set because to me it represents one long song. Even the BDTNL is played with genuine verve and intensity and only a dead person would not be tapping, dancing and maybe even crying during this passionate rendition.

I repeat, this set has NO DOWN TIME. It is on par with the Tweezer-fest and other great shows. Every song has some special moments, even if they don't go completely "out there".

Of course, the Simple is a complete work. It has everything. I'm becoming lazy at this point and don't want to put the work in to describing this song. Also, I feel to do so somehow diminishes it, in the same way I felt somewhat askance at trying to do so to the Tahoe Tweezer. It just IS. That's all. This Simple is something to get lost in. It's as if the band becomes larger than Mount Olympus for twenty minutes and you feel like a grasshopper hiding in the reeds while the mountain rumbles and blows soot and magma into the starry night.

If anything was a downer in this set, it was Trey signalling the end of the jam with the employment of his Echoplex as he readies to segue into Ghost. The Simple jam could have become the modern day 50+ minute Runaway Jim if they had ridden it home. But I quibble.

What a show.

Character Zero, by the way, has become the new Loving Cup. Deal with it.


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