Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12/30 Phish review

Author's Note: This review was written after viewing the webcast of the event. I was not in attendance.

Last night’s Phish show at Madison Square Garden proved to be quite the as the second set took of to a variety of different textures and emotions over the course. Not getting ahead of ourselves though, the first was a raucous affair that had a few rough patches but was overall entertaining. Highlights included the anticipated return of Wombat, of course minus one Abe Vigoda and his dancers. This however allowed the band to have some more space to operate and lead to a very funky endeavor. Yarmouth Road seemed to hit its stride. The tune got some much needed fine tuning since fall tour. Lawn Boy saw a rare outside the kit appearance by Jon Fishman as he joined Page McConnell and Mike Gordon during Mike’s bass solo. A hard pill to swallow was Punch You in the Eye which found Trey not hitting the notes during the Landlady section. The band could use a but more practice on those lines. However, a valiant effort on their part and great song placement if not 100% executed.

The second set began with the always rocking Chalkdust Torture. However, as if recalling the best of 2013, the band pushed down a dark road reminiscent of the version of Dicks’ earlier this summer. The band left Chalkdust all together and instead of landing back in it ended up in the riff from Mike’s Song. Mike’s was standard yet rocking. Fans wishing for the 2nd F Jam were left hanging though as the band decided to rip into a new tune and played Devotion to a Dream. The pop song seemed off in the typical Mike’s Groove but was well placed. The following sextet was a real highlight though, kicked off by a glorious Ghost. This Ghost was a Type II delight with a perfect segue into Weekapaug Groove. Weekapaug seemed a little slower than usual but was fun nonetheless. The band then tore into an unexpected Simple and may be the first time ever Simple has FOLLOWED Weekapaug rather than gone into it. The opening wood blocks of Harry Hood followed and man was it bliss. A very blissful version kept the momentum of Harry Hood in 2013. It is truly one song that has gotten better with each performance this year. The band then hit typical showstopper Cavern and rocked it out. Trey then said thank you and good night. However, instead of finishing up, Fishman hit the drumbeat to First Tube and the band launched into it with gusto. Closing with a such a high enegery number could have send everyone out happy but there was one more trick for the encore. Phish came back out and played a buoyant Slave to the Traffic Light, hitting those slow builds and playing the tension and release to a T.

Overall a very good night, still no covers after 75 songs, and plenty of tasty material left! What will the last show of Phish’s 30th year bring? Let the speculation begin!

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