, attached to 2014-10-31

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez I wouldn't call myself a 3.0 hater, but I am one of those that has always said that 3.0 just can't touch what they were doing from '93-'99. Like Halloween '96, this show may prove to be THE pivotal show of the era. Trey's playing on this night, and for the rest of this run, had a swagger that I had not seen/heard from him in some time. After spending most of 2014 sitting on rhythm and guiding jams that way, this was the night that he remembered how to grab a song by the throat and just rip it. If the approach he took this run carries over to 2015, I may be singing a different tune when the 1.0/3.0 debate comes up again.

Set 1:

Is there a better way to open a Halloween show than Buried->Ghost? Quite simply, no. Buried got everyone loose and for those that thought the 1st 2 sets of the previous year's Halloween show were not so hot, well, it got some of those concerns out of their head for this year's go at it. Ghost won't stand out as an "all time keeper," but you can't complain about the action you get out of it in the 2 slot. I really like Trey's playing towards the end of this jam. It really has a "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" feel to it. Mule comes in hard in the 3 slot. This may be my favorite version since the 90's. The lumina marimba is cool, but it's nice to hear them lean on some old fashioned weirdness and not that in the middle of the mule jam.

The next few songs have a bit of a "standard first set" feel to them. No complaints on Sample after the 1-2-3 punch that opened. Reba is welcome anywhere. This is a nice pleasant version, but in the grand scheme of Reba's, I'd have to call it average, at best. 46 Days hits a pretty typical rock and roll climax and sets up BBFCFM nicely. Lawnboy provided a nice breather before they hit the homestretch. Trey has some nice licks in "I Saw It Again," which doesn't pop up as much as it should. I'll never complain about a short Tube, and like many, this one packs a punch. Wolfman's lands a bit more on the abstract end of the funk spectrum than most versions, and it sent everyone into break wondering what the hell was about to happen in set 2.

Set 2:
This set was just to SHOCKINGLY GOOD. I have seen some good Phish in my day, but this is the first set in over 15 years where I absolutely could not believe what I had seen. When everyone got their Play Bill, we all knew to expect the unexpected, but man, this was something.

The Haunted House has Trey at his raunchiest and filthiest. This is almost like Phish mixed with Zappa and Black Sabbath. I knew right when he hit that first power break that this set was going to be something. I really didn't give the Longest Fuse a great listen until after the show because I was captivated by the stage antics. It has some nice playing by all the members. This wasn't my favorite song from the set, but it has some nice potential. Dogs and Timber brought the edge back to this set, and lord only knows how these two songs will work their way into the catalog. Your Pet Cat sounds like one long Tube jam. Ship Wreck, Chinese Water Torture and Unsafe Bridge moved like something off the Siket Disc but with a fresh spin. The Birds brought everyone back up as the set started to come to a close. I think "They Attack" is going to be in the Phish lexicon for some time. Then there's "Martian Monster." This puppy is going to be the next Phish-Funk slammer. Get ready kids. Your trip may be short, but this song is not. By the time the band laid this one out, they already knew they were victorious, and this was the victory lap. The whole arena was going balistic.

This set, my friends, was legendary. Unlike the Wingsuit set, where they just debuted new songs, Phish came out and debuted a new sound. Unlike the wingsuit set, this worked. It more than worked. It blew everyone in the room away. There were no talkers. There was no texting. Everyone's eyes and ears were all focused forwards.

Set 3:
For most of this set, it felt like they just couldn't find what they were looking for. You could definitely tell they wanted to deliver some more heat, but they just couldn't find what they were looking for. That said, I don't think there was one person in the MGM that didn't feel like they had gotten their money's worth already, and they did find a little something towards the end.

PYITE was a nice opener. After so much "new," in the 2nd set, Punch brought everyone home. They took Golden Age on a nice long exploration, but this was the one jam of the weekend that they really couldn't find anything. I always appreciate them trying, but even Trey knew it was happening. That's why he gave this jam a little mercy killing in favor of Tweezer. The Tweezer jam started to take some nice twists, and then Fish happened upon Heavy Things. Sure, this killed the Tweezer jam, but I'll be damned if it wasn't a perfect segue. Guyute was well-played, and it fit the mood of the evening. Then they cranked up Sand. Initially, this played out like a normal "dance party Sand." It hit its typical rousing climax, and it made a move like it was returning back to Sand. It was immediately clear that no one wanted to do that. They found a nice funky groove, and Page, Mike, and Fish left it to big red to deliver the goods. Ladies and Gentlemen, the man delivered. He put every jaw to the ground with a classic Trey rock star solo that made sure to touch on Alice Cooper along the way. Eventually, he pulled this one into a rousing tweeprise closer. The segue was less than seamless, but that was more than forgivable.

The first encore song asked "Is this what you wanted?" Hell yes. Halloween was back!! Frankenstein was merely the icing on the cake.

Top to bottom, this is one of the best 3.0 shows you are going to find, and it kicked off what could be the best 3 night run I have ever attended.

Phish....hats off to you guys for this gem.


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