, attached to 2015-08-23

Review by raidcehlalred

raidcehlalred I wrote about Set I, but for the sake of space, I’ll enter here…. What a great time—

Reba:

My favorite. Been waiting these past couple days. Back in the first set. Let’s see what happens. The playing really pretty clean, actually (sans that one little spot, I think). And then into the jam. More of that really pretty stuff. I’ve always liked Mike here, and there is a lot to like. Lately I’ve been hearing Jerry in Trey’s Reba soloing (that great full sound and warm straightforward confidence). Electric Page going quiet, hitting his notes. And then busy on his piano. Of course Fish playing his own song. Trying to wish away those toms for a few measures, a few minutes longer. They love each other. Whistling. Nice.

Set II

Martian Monster:

The Dogs got First Song of the Year treatment (going back to the New Year’s run), but Martian Monster has garnered the most love. For some time I’ve waited for a song with a ‘natural construct’ to really push the boundaries and demonstrate that total control the band has exhibited of late. With fewer ‘lyrics’ than Bowie or YEM, I always wondered if MM might morph from a structured piece into a true jam vehicle, absent camp and over-the-top affect. Tonight the version moves in that direction—and quickly—with heady, ‘serious’ playing, the tune offering, organically, any number of points for the band to depart. This seemed to be happening…. Page hitting his sample late into the song spoiled my ‘expectations.’ Still a cool listen. While something totally cosmic and over-the-top extraordinary wasn’t necessarily the case, promise yet remains (and, as always, it was a cool way to enter a set of music.) Moreover, the song did allow an interesting segue into….

Down with Disease:

Which, finally on its way, is rife with momentum and sustains all sorts of energy. Trey shifts pitch, Mike enters his space, and the playing, for a time, is fine. Then Trey finds a nice little theme, with Page on his piano complimenting perfectly, and the music is fantastic, Trey not letting up, skipping about through passages with Fish pushing him on, Page really, really on, and Trey finding yet another lilting little bit of a line that he takes, trilling, on and on. And this into a thrilling section rocking. Per these sorts of jams we’ve grown accustomed to waiting for that bit of calm, that space where they play, as I’ve heard it put, ‘without the net,’ and we’ve arrived…. Page off the piano now and playing those chords, the question being is if we’ll take off, and maybe not, but man, talk about a totally AWESOME, FLAWLESS segue into….

Scents and Subtle Sounds:

Which has (at least to me, tonight) this totally cool 70s sort of rocking into. Insert acoustic guitar and it could have been the Eagles (or something). But only for that moment. With Trey’s playing becoming really, really great. It’s now you start to get the feeling that, from this point forward, anything really, really great could happen. And it’s a bit more of that ‘snake charming’ sound before really stylized, mesmerizing playing. And then those huge Gilmour licks. With Trey shifting pitch and then some sound, Trey, as if channeling his MPP, sliding into….

What’s The Use?:

Teased heavily, the band (I hope) coming to the realization that this song absolutely rules this spot. A total thinking-man’s (and by this I mean Trey) breather…. Awesome noise, could just as easily hear the band going into Us and Them, and then the YEAR’S MOST BEAUTIFUL PASSAGE OF QUIET (How Dead Can You Get?) before the beautiful melody sliding back up if only to fall, and this into….

Dirt:

Just a really nice spot for this song…. A perfect melody for the vibe, the sentiment…. Great bass…. Pretty guitar…. Like it’s Europe 98.

Mike’s Song:

Great set. Mike’s now like its own sort of irony. Phish irony. Dramatic yes. Only it is the agents ON stage in control; it is the ‘players’ who understand what the audience wants to know. And here they go…. The band jamming. Trey employing cool effects. Introducing and revisiting ideas. Where to go from here but Hydrogen? Such great theater; what means to create anticipation as Trey with a freak out leads the band into….

Fuego:

A nice segue with its dark Floydian intro. A cool choice, PARTICULARLY if the band explores the evening’s established theme, as opposed to stringing along a set of tunes…. Not meant to be—BUT—Trey opts for what many consider the tour’s MVP….

Twist:

Waiting on the end result, as the song’s always great to hear. More great noise and cool effects into great Trey stylings with more Mike flipping the switch to make of this version something slow, thoughtful and ‘percussively’ musical. An end of the summer special with a freak the f out swing. There’s Page! He was patiently waiting his turn. And then more driving music, I sort of forget where I am at the show. Probably still playing Twist but yeah, you can hear the Immigrant Song and there’s the screaming and then there are those chords and here we are, that’s right….

Weekapaug Groove:

And it’s what you’d expect. Fun. Upbeat. Lots and lots of Mike. And then it’s Trey leading. He’s latched on to a great idea. You wish it wasn’t 11.30. That they’d keep on playing. And they do….

Martian Monster (Reprise?):

Well we’re certainly back where we started…. Trey not only shifting pitches but voices. The end of the night, the end of the festival….

And so it’s a wild series of effects, a different sort of irony to cap things off.

Before:

YEM

We love Phish.

Consider the sonic, straightforward majesty of Simple—with its passionate playing evoking those unhurried shades of grandeur reverberating from 10/31/94—chasing those raucous Dogs which will, like any of its ‘hallowed’ brethren, forever bring a smile to your face (and energy to a set), when, not from a jar, but from Page’s kit, a sample rises. There is another dazzling Roggae—my vote for 2015’s MVP (and still harnessing ‘who knows what’ in terms of potential)—only to precede a Gin that will long be considered a festival favorite.

Consider the Dust and its ongoing ability to wow with its energy and charming (in the ‘snake’ sense) inventiveness. There is the festival-staple Hood, the band swinging freely and modulating easily, all but shoving that crab in my shoe mouth.

—Then—

Discuss all that hasn’t been discussed (What’s the Use? in tracking all the ‘bust outs’ and teases?).

And then take Divided Sky. Last kicking off a show at Red Rocks, but etched in my mind as opening Deer Creek in ‘96. The sun wasn’t setting. It wasn’t even cloudy. Trey simply stating,

—I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again….

before leading the band into one of the tune’s very finest versions.

Day Two beginning with THAT sort of energy.

And then take into consideration all that happens—enough by others has been well written. (Although I must mention the beauty of the rolling, hug-your-neighbor, 70-degrees-with-a-tropical-breeze, Tweezer. A Version which drifts into the buoyant, floating, forget-me-not triumph that is Prince Caspian…. Which all but invited the Reprise…. Which contains a different ‘sort’ of Reprise….)

I have just ‘revisited’ The Clifford Ball. For me, this is the show that, in its pieces, and in its whole, epitomizes the band…. and the best of what we heard this weekend.

All that they were; all that they became; all that they can be, stretched out before the band upon a tarmac; true beacons of light in a world of flight….

There is joy back in the music….

Pure, unmitigated, accessible joy, ethereal and bright.

On to Dicks.


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