, attached to 2013-07-27

Review by two_more_times

two_more_times Might as well put the TL;DR up top – This show is by all means worth the listen. It’s definitely in the realm of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and the parts are pretty damn good.

Here’s the unabridged version:

If you’re looking at this setlist and thinking “I wonder if this is as good as it looks,” rest assured that it is. The second set is where this show certainly shines (and that’s where I’ll focus my review), but there are plenty of highlights in the first set as well. Don’t skip over Curtain (WITH!), a nicely peaked Maze, the debut of Say Something, and the After Midnight homage to JJ Cale. The first set is otherwise pretty standard fare for 3.0.

The show really breaks loose with magnificant flow in set two. Don’t worry that it starts with a flub from Mike in the intro to Down With Disease. That will quickly be forgotten when the song gets underway. The jam stays firmly in Type I territory until about the 8:30 mark (all of my timestamps are my best guess using the livephish app). The band takes about a minute and a half to settle things down, finally dropping into some smooth interplay between Page on his Rhodes and Trey on his wah. Fish just kills it through this entire section, utilizing every inch of his kit. At about 13:00, Mike and Fish lock into a jumpy groove that sets the stage for a really slick segue into Undermind.

When the first jam section starts up in Undermind, it’s like a continuation of the DwD jam. It has the same kind of feel and tone, but Mike holds down that distinct Underline bassline. The second jam starts off again revisiting that same DwD jam idea, but Mike starts taking over with some wet filtered bass riffs at 6:30-ish. Within another minute or so, Trey takes the reigns with some slow melodic lines before they head back into a rhythm based jam with some nice dissonant guitar riffs thrown in for good measure. At about 10:45, they drop into ambience, Mike jumps all over his Taurus, Fish moves to his Marimba Lumina, Trey lets the feedback sing, and Page lays down a dark pad for everything to lay on. This ambience allows Phish to make one of the most smooth transitions into Light that we’ve seen to date. The opening chords to Light are jarring, so having them start up out of ambience is much easier on the ears than the others that I’ve heard.

Light being the 3.0 jam vehicle that it is, I was really happy to hear those chords kick in after that DwD->Undermind sequence. Light starts to sound like it isn’t going to disappoint from a jam standpoint, with Trey leading the liftoff at around the 6 minute mark. The band fairly quickly pulls back, sounding like they’re about to revisit the Light theme. BUT NO! That’s just the intro to Sally sneaking in. This Light has to be one of the shortest versions in recent history, but the placement and segue into Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley makes it totally worth it in my opinion. It’s just the beginning of my personal highlight of the night: Light->Sally >2001.

Back to Sally… Page OWNS this song, driving the groove with his clav through the entire structured portion of the song. Right out of the vocal jam, Mike opens up the funk with some really nasty riffs through his envelope filter while Trey holds down the groove with some rhythmic wah-laden chords. They start to head towards plinko-funk territory, but they never quite get there, opting to settle things down for just a second at about 6:30. This is the first point that I hear Page indicate that he wants to take this jam into 2001. Before they can do that, however, Trey indicates that he’s ready to bring the heat and starts take this jam on a journey to a raging peak. They all know where they’re going into after the peak, so Mike and Page almost instantly settle in on the telltale drone intro of 2001, playing with the it just long enough to make you question whether or not they’re going to actually do it.

At this point, the setlist basically speaks for itself, but Phish drops one funky groove after another in this jam. This isn’t the tightest 2001 I’ve heard, and Mike flubs the last time around on the theme, but it just doesn’t matter. It’s all about the groove and flow right now… and we’ve been grooving and flowing for almost 50 minutes straight at this point.

After that opening sequence, EVERYONE needs a breather, but I’d be hard pressed to find many fans who expected Walls of the Cave to fill that role. This is just perfect placement. Take your breather quickly, because it’s about to rage again… real soon. I think this version is much cleaner than the [date]7/7/13[/date] version, particularly the harmonies. The jam is no slouch either, and it flirts with Type II territory at the end before opting for a transition into FLUFFHEAD!!!

Fluffhead isn’t perfect, but it’s very good overall, and we get a fun “Pillhead… Fluff Hen” lyric switch. Phish has everyone in the palm of their hands at this point in the set, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing in the closing half of the set. I really don’t know how anyone at the venue was standing this deep into such a great flowing set.

Antelope closes it out. At worst, it’s just going to put a huge stamp on a really great setlist. At best, it will ensure that no one is left standing at the end of this set. In my opinion, it’s somewhere in between. I think they kind of missed the peak in this Antelope, but it certainly did its job in the set closer slot.

Show of Life is definitely not at the top of my list for encores, but I don’t feel like I have any room to complain after that set… Especially when they follow it up with a firey Good Times Bad Times.

This show is most certainly a highlight of 2013 at this point (and the year isn’t even close to being over yet!!!).


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