, attached to 2014-07-27

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Some scattered thoughts:

1. Make sure you give the first set a listen - lots of energy, very good song selection, a nifty transition from Saw it Again to Fuego, and a chilled-out YEM given a little extra oomph by Trey playing around with his Fee megaphone. C'mon, do it. You gave 5/7/94 I a spin back in the day too, I'd bet.

2. I think you can draw a pretty neat demarcation line for this tour between the epochal Randall's 3 show and 7/15; up until Randall's 3, they'd been hewing to their 2012/13 battle plan for the most part, kicking off with a big jam (or a high-energy opener into big jam), mainly blowing out the 3rd quarter, and so on. Randall's 3, with three huge jams as the centerpiece of Set 2, is the logical conclusion to that kind of set-making. So where do you go from there?

One thing people had been mourning as 3.0 has progressed has been the loss of the segue - we all love them, since they show the band's paying very close attention to each other and just sound cool on top, but they'd been appearing with less regularity the past few years. Starting with Northerly 1, you could see segues coming back, the band tying segments of music together (even without jams in them), maybe scaling back the improv a bit without totally forsaking it to explore this new/old avenue of doing things. I think those shows, without the big jams of SPAC or Randall's, have been a bit underrated and undervalued. Hopefully, after last night, they won't be anymore.

3. The reason I bring all this up is because I don't really think this show occurred in a vacuum, like the band found one segue, decided that (much like kissing a girl) they liked it, and just rolled with the changes, so to speak. Sometimes a show happens in a vacuum like that (the Moby Dick show definitely did, as did Tweezeppelin), but I think in this case the band was working towards something new, and tonight was the logical conclusion. Which is funny, because we've still got five shows left in this tour...so where do they go for those last five shows? Back to big jamming? Continuing with segue-driven sets? Combining the two?

One hopes it's the last option, because the last time they combined segue-driven sets with big jamming, the phrase "cow-funk" was bandied about more than once...

4. Okay, the music. Every seguefest the band has played hasn't *just* been about the segues, but have included some thrilling improv passages as well - think the HYHU jam in the Bomb Factory set, the magical Hood of 2/20/93, the flaming-hot Antelope jam that rolls into Fixin' to Die on 11/30/94. And then think of the glorious Tweezer jam after the second BOTT segment, hinting at Golden Age as it moves from beautiful semi-hose to stomping powerful rock to hilariously goofy free jazz to a perfectly placed Waiting All Night. There's an alternate universe where they stuck with this Tweezer jam and it went 25-30 minutes. That show was probably a pretty good one, too.

5. Also, like every seguefest, there's a few segues that aren't quite as smooth as the others - the second -> into BOTT and the first Free -> Tweezer are a bit off, esp. when Page is totally caught off guard, and DWD sounded like it was going in 15 different directions (definitely Tweezer from Fish at one point) before they settled on NICU. Hey, if you're making an omelet this tasty, you're gonna break a few eggs.

6. That said, Catapult -> (a mid-set!!) Slave is breathtaking.

7. To go back to the whole improv thing, I'll always remember the goosebumps I got when Trey started fiddling with the Simple riff and the band just dropped into the right key on a dime, but I'll also remember the goofy funky jam they kicked into after NICU ended (that's probably a -> jam, right? NICU, for all intents and purposes, was over), Page in particular dropping some funny organ stings, before finding its way into a very, very clearly unplanned HYHU (man, Fishman is a good sport).

8. If ever you think that this band isn't self-aware and doesn't know its own reputation and history (even when they say they don't), give this show a listen again and behold the funniest (to me, at least) HYHU/Fishman song/HYHU of all time. This band knows, trust me.

9. Of any segment I'd like to see released as a video from this show, I truly hope it's I Been Around. You want to see the band just enjoying the hell out of themselves? That's a segment to watch.

10. This is a show to treasure forever. I'm glad I got to hear it. I hope you all are, too.


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