, attached to 2014-07-27

Review by Shafiq

Shafiq I’ve made no secret of it to everyone I know that 7/27/14 is my favorite show ever and the best one I’ll ever go to. Though I think Big Cypress tops it, the second night at Merriweather is the 2nd best show Phish has ever played. I don’t think it’s an argument.

There are two different feelings, though.

With Big Cypress, it truly feels like that is it. You always ask the band to play more, and that night/morning they left it all onstage in the 8 hours they played. It is a rite of passage into being a fan of the band, but be careful because it might taint your experience for all future shows to come. There isn’t and won’t be any show like it to compare to. It’ll always be on the Mount Rushmore of Phish shows.

With MPP night 2, you still walked away really wanting to go to the next show. It was still in the middle of the summer 2014 tour. It was like, oh my god these guys might play shows like this at Orange Beach, Tuscaloosa, and Alpharetta, we’d be dumb to miss out. Though you also walked away thinking you could never go to a Phish show again and be happy (my buddy Dave felt that way after the first set!).

Though Big Cypress is on a level of its own and MPP2 is a standard 2-set + an encore show, both have something in common. It’s that you step away after listening to the show thinking, what in the world just happened???
You were there. You knew the songs. They’ve played them many times before.

But they did it again.

Left completely speechless, there’s pretty much nothing to say in the moment because you’ve never experienced anything like that. All you know is you are extremely overjoyed.

A year later, I have some thoughts to share that I couldn’t muster up at the time.

That was the night where I realized the music in and of itself can leave you floored. It can take everyone in the room to another realm and take every individual on their own fun little journey. It wasn’t the words, it was the instruments that were doing all the talking.

But this is also why people have a hard time explaining the band.

Not many people are well versed and fluent in musical language. We have to try to translate what literally happened to what figuratively happened.

I couldn’t even begin to try to explain to you the modulations in that set. Nor could I begin to explain to you why they made me put my hands on my head. It just did.

Also, because music is subjective, it’s hard to show someone a feeling. We understand love, we don’t fully understand why a band going from A -> F -> A makes us go insane. Someone might prefer D major and you might prefer minor. But we don’t speak that way.

At the same time, I’d feel kind of nerdy if after the show people talked about how key changes made them put their hands on their head.

My mother, brother and sister in law came to Maryland that night and I didn’t care. I had work the next day but I didn’t care.

What I now know is that it’s not worth trying to share my experience with people who don’t share the same interests as me (it’s a waste of energy), but that I should share in the groove with people who do. That will make me happier. That will make me present.

For those five hours, this was all that mattered and this was my escape from everything.

I walked in hoping for either something similar to Bomb Factory or Tahoe. By God did I get it, and by God was it everything I asked for and more.

The night before, I took a bathroom break in the second set during Sing Monica.

That night, there was absolutely no good time to get up from your seat outside of set break. From first note to last, you were captivated. The band was locked in. The crowd was locked in. The energy was unreal. It was a musical spectacle unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I have met people since then in the DC/Maryland area and somehow we get to talking about Phish. And somehow someone will ask if one of us went to that show. And somehow both of us start freaking out and talking about five Tweezers and a Reprise.

It’s something special. None of us who care will ever forget it.


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