, attached to 2015-08-22

Review by FACTSAREUSELESS

FACTSAREUSELESS I listened to sets 2 & 3 on the bunny and didn't hear the first set at all, so I'll keep my comments brief here and save the space for more complete reviews, but at first blush, having only had a night of sleep to separate me from the experience of this show, I wanted to offer a comment about Phish's playing in these last weeks which I think merits consideration.

The Tweezer>Caspian segment of set 2 is incredible. I offer no breakdowns of why it is so. It is, in short, the best of all worlds we call Phish, all thrown together into a skillet and boiled down to a steak sauce that you want to bottle and sell at the Farmer's Market with the caption reading "should've been there when we made this!". What an incredible stretch of music.

But something happened in that second set, which transferred to the third set and that's what I want to talk about. Over the last five or six years there has been much talk about the "quarters" of shows. We have the opening quarter and the second quarter, which for most of 3.0 (with only rare exceptions such as 8/31/12) has been a Dead-esque jamless and perfunctory run-down of old favorites, a cover or two and if we're lucky a curveball to keep it interesting (see MPP '13).

It's been the "third" quarter which we all get on the edge of our seats for. The opening 45 minutes of the second set is what we would term "business time" in Phishland. However, a trend began developing in the Fall '13 tour, which I think has fully matured now. And it's glorious. This is the trend of the "fourth" quarter of the second frame building steam and exceeding the "third" quarter. This is glorious because now the set construction is resembling the song construction of our favorite Phish music. The Tweezer>Caspian is the "peak" of the second set. Everything else in that set built up to that point. This is a far cry from peaking in the first 30-40 minutes and then "running out the string" with a series of crowd-pleasing footstompers and going home, as has been the case for most of 3.0.

The third set of this show is the same. The intricate and funky Blaze On jam was not an aberration or spike in the evenings' proceedings, but was a portent of what was coming, as the set kept building in intensity and punch, not letting up. The Walls of the Cave had not just it's own energy, but was being jettisoned forward on the wave which had built up for the previous 70 minutes. Just phenomenal. Two shows in, this represents two of the finest shows they have performed since the reunion. Some of the jamming last night surpassed that of 12/29/13, which I have contended is the finest "third quarter" the band has performed since the reunion. Last night was very, very, special.


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