, attached to 2014-10-31

Review by aybesea

aybesea First off, I wasn't there. I'm rating this solely from the music presented on the soundboard. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.

Okay, so when I look at the Top Rated shows this one shows up in the number 21 spot of all time. I get that it has a really compelling second set (more about that later), but my real question is... is this show a one trick pony? In other words, take away the second set and how does this show hold up to listening scrutiny. So let's look at it and find out.

Set 1:

An 11 song first set is not always a great sign. Chances are that the jams won't go particularly deep. But the song list is compelling.

Out of the gate, the Buried Alive (wonderful opener) > Ghost (short, but really well played) > SOAMule (wonderful version) is a great sign of a highly rated show.

Sample is meh, but the Reba is, again, short but really well played.

Then the set settles down until the Saw It Again provides yet another spark (nice).

The rest of set 1 is fairly generic. On its own, set 1 is a 4 star [for a first set].

Set 3:

Just looking at the song list, I'm pumped for this set... lots of potential. PYITE is one of my favorite set openers and while this one is no Island Tour version, it is brief but respectable.

Next up is >Golden Age, which is one of the newer songs that I really look forward to. The body of the song itself is about 6 minutes, which leaves us time for a 5 minute, strictly type 1 jam. It is very danceable and well played, but really nothing to write home about. BTW, does anyone else think that the Phish version of Golden Age sounds a lot like a Bowie song? No... I'm not confusing it with Golden Years... to me it is reminiscent of Heroes.

And then the >Tweezer, the list entry most likely to make or break the set. Much like the Golden Age, this short Tweezer (10 mins) is half taken up by just playing the song. That leaves only 5 minutes of jamming and it's a pretty unexceptional (though solid) straightforward affair.

While I've heard others complain about Heavy Things, I've always liked the song. But coming on the heels of two potential jams that never materialized, this was pretty much the end of any early set 2 jam hopes. True to form, this five minutes made for a nice sing along, but no real wow factor.

And next... Guyute. Really? I have a love/hate thing with Guyute. The first section is just silly, while the composed section that follows is some really intricate playing. But my real problem with this song is that they never, ever jam on it! True to the rest of the second set, it is played well enough but without anything particularly memorable.

So with just two songs to go (1.5 really because the second is a Tweeprise) we get our last real chance to jam in a Sand. Now I'm a big TAB fan and I absolutely love Sand. The first thing that I note is that at 18 minutes it meets the "weight criterion". Turns out that this is a really, really good Sand! It never really goes type 2, but it does go through several entirely different postures before we get...

->Tweeprise... and it's a powerful, rock star rendition to close out the show proper. Hard to argue with a great Tweeprise to close out the set though, again, it's not really a jam vehicle per se.

So, set 3 has a super looking set list but, for my money, only one real jam. Other than that you get strong renditions of some great songs. I'll give this set a 4 star rating, up from the 3.5 I was going to give prior to the Sand... but that Sand is... WHOA!

Next, we'll check the encore. Two covers, the first one a debut.

Is This What You Wanted is a Leonard Cohen song chosen (I believe) as much for its title and references to ghosts as for the song itself. I find it an okay selection, though I probably won't be seeking out the original any time soon.

The show closer is an apropos selection of Frankenstein, both for its on topic title and the infectious, party atmosphere that it leads to the show. Nice!

So, I'll give the encores a solid... you guessed it... 4 stars.

So... now the $64,000 question... does set 2 somehow have enough magic to take a decidedly 4 star show to the next level (or 4.699 at the time of this writing)?

Set 2:

I'm not even going to try to do a play by play of this set. You need to listen to this thing on your own and form an opinion. That is what I have done [over and over and over] and I can honestly say that I find this set to be among the most creative, musical, enjoyable, jamworthy, unique, inspirational and downright entertaining pieces of live music that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. It seems to have infinite replay value because the original music is exactly that... original! I love this thing in much the same way that I enjoy a multifaceted mega-Tweezer. And every time I hear a Martian Monster, or Dogs, or Pet Cat in a subsequent show, I just smile and remember how fucking good this thing is!

So, can a single massive set take 2 set and an encore from a 4 to a 4.699? Probably not. The correct rating for this show is probably a 4.3 or 4.4, but set 2 has earned a well deserved spot in my permanent rotation. It is at least as good as any of the other musical costumes and better than many. Nice!


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