, attached to 2015-01-01

Review by menoareno

menoareno If the first set of this show and the second set of NYE were instead paired as a standalone show, it would be one of the best of the year. Every song in the first set was very well played, and had ample space for the performers to throw in a few gags and interesting musical moments. You could really feel how excited the band was and this set high expectations for the second set.

There's no denying that the second set was tight, however, it was simply unremarkable. Twist had a very nice little jam come out of it, but Trey cut it short with perhaps the most awkward ripcord of the year. The band was in some flowing ambient space and Trey just started smacking away at the Piper chords at a different tempo for a bit, then abruptly stopped. It sounded very off. I thought it could have been a tease, and that we were about to have a musically exciting, tension filled jam. He then came in again, cutting short an excellent jam as the other band members reluctantly joined him.

The same thing happened to Piper, it again reached a very nice space, with some interesting overlapping lines and watery chords from Page and Trey, and just as it began to morph into something potentially interesting, we were treated to Prince Caspian. The foolish optimist in me hoped that this, one of the few phish songs I actually just don't like would at least hint at some interesting new musical ground, but a simple type 1 noodle fest gave way to another one of the few phish songs I actually don't like, at which point I realized there was probably no more new music to be had that night.

Velvet is a great song, a real treat and way to cool down after a firey set. It had no business here. Being at the arena must've been really fun, but since I was at home I could have easily forgone the shaky vocal harmonies of this rendition for the immaculate studio recording. The same goes for the next two songs, the only difference between this RLAA and the one on Lawn Boy is that the one on Lawn Boy is more polished, and the version of RnR on the Velvet Underground's Loaded contains a primordial Piper like jam and much better vocals.

All in all, the playing in this show was excellent. However, I already know that phish are excellent musicians. Attending a show is one thing, usually a beautiful experience, but I personally only follow the couch tour to hear new music. Tonight Twist, Piper, 20YL, Antelope and RnR could've gone new places, but they didn't. As a musician I understand that Phish doesn't owe me anything and can and should play whatever the hell they want on stage, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Someone told me that Trey has the flu last night. I'm not sure what his source was, and Trey LOOKED fine and smiling and bouncy last night, but that could definitely account for the just over an hour sets, early start time, and frequent ripcords. I hope he feels better, not because I want to hear a 3 song second set, but because I care about him as a human being
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