, attached to 2018-10-26

Review by jwh21

jwh21 Last night's show blew the roof off the building. From start to finish (well... from what I caught of the start, anyway), the band were on top form throughout.

A quick moan to kick things off: This was my first time at AllState Arena, and I didn't really know what to expect. I had a GA Floor ticket so followed the signs to the GA East Entrance. After spending a chilly 45 minutes in line, when I finally reached the front of the queue I was told to turn around and use a different entrance. The ticket checker wasn't backing down, so back out to the cold I went. There were no signpostings making it clear this line wasn't for GA. The "actual" line for GA was about 3 times as long, with only 1 person checking tickets. I must have spent another 60 minutes outside in the cold, and only made it inside for the beginning of Reba. Hopefully things will be improved tonight, as there were still several hundred fans lined up behind me even after I made it in.

Thankfully those frustrations were quickly forgotten about after a beautiful Reba, complete with whistling ending. Page's solo in My Sweet One was absolutely blistering — although this song isn't one you'd usually write home about, I can safely say this was one of my favourite versions I've heard.

The first–set Mercury stole the show for me. After the patient composed section, the jam that followed covered so much ground — ambient, funky, spaced-out, and above all beautiful and cohesive. I think Trey picked the right moment to switch to Moonage Daydream — with the Mercury jam beginning to wind down, Trey shredded the Moonage solo with amazing accompaniment from CK5. Set 1 closed with Walls of the Cave, a song I've never been a huge fan of, so I beat the rush to the bathrooms towards the end. Hopefully I didn't miss out on too much!

Set 2's Tweezer > Golden Age combo was outstanding. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the obvious Manteca (tease(?) / instrumental performance(?)) yet — it feels like they've been teasing this since that notorious night at Dick's. Only a matter of time until it comes back with the lyrics, right? I'll absolutely be relistening to this pair — as another reviewer mentioned, they've been combining the best of their spaced-out 2.0 feel with the latest tricks they've developed in 3.0 — I completely agree. Whilst in 2016–2017 Trey's echo effects kinda started to bore me, it seems as though he's really found a way to make them work well in a jam in 2018.

Frost was a nice quieter opportunity to get your bearings again. Limb By Limb followed, although I don't remember much outstanding about it. However, Sand really turned up the heat — the jam rocked so hard, and is a must-listen.

Day In The Life and Possum were great high-energy closers for the second set, and a Wilson > Tweeprise encore topped off the night exactly as you would imagine.

Overall this was a fantastic show. If there's one thing I'd wish for tonight, it would be for another monster first-set jam — I don't care what song, but after being spoiled by groups like JRAD taking things deep the moment they first walk on stage, it's reassuring to know Phish can still deliver the goods without having to go through the perfunctory first-set warmup.

Have a great show, everyone!


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