, attached to 2013-10-25

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Fall 2013 is (to me) my favorite jaunt in Phish's long and storied career since Fall 1999, but that wasn't written in the stars or anything; after the disappointing Rochester show, we'd essentially had one damn good show, two reasonably good shows (the other Hampton shows), and a below-average show (although I still have a soft spot for Light -> GA) one-third of the way in. It is only with this show - after a pretty good "brake-testing" show in Glens Falls - that the tour really achieved liftoff, as everything from here to Atlantic City boasts strong second sets. With the tour having concluded, it's worth going back and looking at the four show Worcester-Hartford-Reading run, as good a four show stretch as the band has put together.

Set 1 is probably the most diverse song-wise of the run, with a bustout in MMGAMOIO, an always-welcome Cities, another very good Type I Wolfman's (which feels like a way for the band to work their chops into form for the second set), and a Curtain With to boot. Set 2 starts off with a truly overlooked jam sequence, led off with a "Charge!" tease just so we know the band means business (and were keeping up with the World Series). Waves, which deserves a much better fate than the marginalization it's received in 3.0, leads things off, and the outro works itself into a mid-tempo rock jam that dissolves into space and then rebuilds into a Mike-led SPAC Melt-esque jam, powerful without being ponderous, before Trey pushes into Carini. And this Carini, while short, is my favorite moment of the set, as Fish steps into a driving beat and the band locks into a groove, with Trey offering some nice licks, before things get weird and plinko-y (a weird effect randomly entering like the Tahoe Light), Page takes over, and things ride out to a fuzzy, atonal finish.

Caspian and #L come next, and any disappointment over two "song" songs taking up 2nd set real estate is washed away as Ghost steps up to the plate. Ghost dips into a minor-chord pool, in which the band wades for a spell while searching for a next move, then go into a big-time hose jam (which they did in Hampton, but hey), Trey ripping off his usual trills with Page leaning hard on the organ, then as the jam dies away the whistling notes of Dirt are heart. Dirt is a nice landing pad to give the crowd a breather, then the fog of noise that means DWD surprisingly starts up (surprisingly, since we are nearly an hour in), and the band takes DWD for a short yet no less welcome ride. Fun standard versions of Sally, Cavern, and Antelope close the set, then comes another surprise - a four-song curfew-busting encore to really send things out on a high note.

Final thoughts, part 1: the weakest show of the 4-show run, but you can surely see the scare quotes around "weakest". A very good show to set up the next three nights, with a second set that keeps up its energy from open to close and features a very good jam sequence in Waves/Carini.

Final thought, pt. 2: how is it @deceasedlavy heard one thing, and yet everybody else on this review page heard something else?


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