, attached to 2015-01-02

Review by ProfJibboo

ProfJibboo DANG! We need to talk about that second set. Holy cow that was a set for the ages. This second set is a must hear, an absolute must hear. Holy smokes.

The second set started emphatically and it was clear that the band wanted to send a message: THEY ATTACK! They came out and went on the musical offensive - launching a jamming juggernaut masterpiece that included the best Weekapaug I could remember hearing.

Mike's song started with a brilliant free-style section - intense - with Mike hitting a particularly nice groove from the very moment the jam section began - backed by a cowbell beat courtesy of Fish before Trey chimed in with some a nice laid back groove. This was a Mike's we dream about - where you forget yourself - forget where you are and just jam out. It ended naturally but criminally soon, but all is forgiven because it gave way to a sublimely powerful 46 Days - the most unique we've heard in years - the first time ever that 46 Days has followed Mike's Song. Page particularly sunk his teeth in to the introductory verse before the song dove into Type II territory (even building to a Manteca tease) - before giving way to Weekapaug in a three-song Mike's Groove that arguably blew Ghost/Theme/Cities from NYE away - as well as almost anything from 2014 - and that is no knockBon 2014 at all but a testament to the strength of this Mike's Groove. Again, Page and Mike just got down and dirty into Weekapaug while Trey kept laying out incredible lick after lick...starting simply and growing more and more intense to the point of the mind melting we all so long for and cherish.

And then, still talking Weekapaug here, came the Woo's - love them or hate them - it was clear during the ultra-funked up Weekapaug ending that Trey was calling for them. And the audience gave them. And the smile on Trey's face was priceless. One could be forgiven if they believed Weekapaug was coming to an end when they reached the refrain after a nice jam....but that was just the start of a musical excursion that would take us on a trip to Type II on the backend of a Weekapaug like we haven't seen before - then came "The Attacks" - then came Trey
over to join Fishman at the drum set to play the Marimba Lumina asBMike slid over to center stage and switched to lead guitar. By the time Trey picked up his guitar again ----- about 40 minutes into the set - the crowd was as pumped as its ever been. The music was reverberating off the walls of my living room - one could only imagine the utter electricity in the room. A must-hear sequence.

The Phish Attack Offensive didn't end with Weekapaug. After a quick moment to catch their breath, the opening notes of Fuego sounded. So few songs have captured the hearts of so many as rapidly as this song
has. As was the case all summer tour, the moment this song starts, the energy in the room climbs to 11. The audience wants to sing along, the embrace the lyrics as their own - and they are a fitting lyrical tribute to the momentum of the set - "we keep it rolling" - rolling all the way to a patient (a theme of the set) slow build ending that leads into to a picture perfect setup into one of the more upbeat Slave's I can remember (thats the third song I'm saying that about this set - which speaks volumes about the set). Slave, normally a tranquil and serene end to a night was far more than that tonight. Tonight it seized its mid-set home and threw down an almost cheerful...downright blissful...Slave. This was a victory Slave - an ode to the triumph that was this second set. The ending was as electric as Slave gets....and then the power just kept going...

2001 started off with a nice, slow, Page-lead build - again backed by the cowbell and some MVP drumming Fish as Trey slowly, patiently, built up to the 2001 theme line. Seriously, go back and re-listen to this set and pay close attention to Fishman he is absolutely amazing tonight. The funk on this version was off the charts and the ultimate punctuation on a set that will long be finding play on by stereos.

If the show were to have ended here...or even after Slave - I don't think you'd have heard one complaint from anyone - but the band had another trick up its sleeve - Walls of the Cave - more cowbell! FIshman killed it tonight, absolutely killed it. This truly underrated Phish classic killed it - making its first second-set closer appearance since Dick's 2011. It was the second victory dance of the night as Machine Gun Trey came out to absolutely nail it, with the precision we all dream about - ripping whats left of our melted feet apart.

Going back, because its just a distant memory after that second set that could very well be among the best I ever heard - and I was webcasting - the first set was a standard but solid start to the night - with two distinct parts - starting off very powerfully with funk and energy before taking a turn for what I would term as "danceable mellow" - focusing on songs that are best described as "chill," or "easy going" - tempting for your muscles to move to, but absent of jams and intense peaks.

Trey's playing well but vocally he isn't quite there, still definitely sounding like he's got laryngitis or some sort of cold, so - like last night - they tended away from Trey's more vocally strenuous songs with one exception: Free. Free is a great show opener - uplifting - almost therapeutic - and this time was no exception, with a very deep, bass-heavy take on the song. It was clear that Trey's voice was still not quite strong enough for it, with Trey noticeable backing away from the mic for some of the high notes - but he was still clearly stronger than last night and his playing more than made up for the singing.

Trey's strong playing was on display for the first few songs - with a little something extra behind a Moma Dance that kept the funky vibe going. Mike found a particularly nice groove early before they kicked the energy up to what was probably the set's energy peak with a concise but funky Possum. Roggae calmed it down and began the transition to mellow set though Trey did a masterful job adding subtle tiny notes in the groove that are worth going back for another listen. Again, it is worth repeating that Trey was really, "popping" for lack of better word - his playing had a vibrancy throughout that was missing from much of fall tour.

Stash was compact but well played, a little more relaxed from the intensity we saw on summer tour - and a Stash that never quite peaked and Get Back on the Train provided some great head bobbing and easily danceable beats before a random back to back to back grouping of Sugar Shack, the Line and Ocelot (also a much tamer, laid back version than we are accustomed to of late - but at points felt like a Grateful Dead song tonight) fully ushered in the mellow vibe that would close the set before the king of mellow beauty, Squirming Coil and the Page walk off solo, took it home.

The unlikely combo of Sleeping Monkey and Rocky Top ended us on a fun note.

Overall a standard first set, but a second set that we will be appreciating for a long long time to come. One for the ages and a must hear.


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