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Review by waxbanks
This show's second set is the best of a very good run. For one thing, it's not marred by any segue calamities like 8/6. On the contrary, there are a few HOT DAMN transitions and juxtapositions here, not least the soaring 2001 > Suzy > Orgasmic Suzy Reprise > Slave run to close. The Wilson > Light segue is less interesting than the Light > ambient chillout/meltdown > 20 Years series, transitions-wise, but the playing within each song is so good that such comparisons just don't matter.
Phish is miles beyond 2009 at this point. There are points in the Berkeley run (on this night, e.g.: Hood, 46 Days, Suzy Reprise, the magical jam out of Light) where Trey plays with the directness and purity of that local shaggy bearded guitar fella with the nine fingers. (Y'know, old what's-his-name, now gone...) Meanwhile the other three players have far surpassed themselves over the last year and a half; Fishman in particular has kicked off all the rust that accumulated during the breakup, and is playing in a version of his rollicking 2003-04 style, but with the precision of his late-90's work and a brand new openheartedness. Page and Mike are at a peak, *again*, and the ensemble's center of gravity has perceptibly shifted; Mike's taking a lead role in several jams, and Page can take more of the texture/rhythm responsibilities than ever before, so Trey can afford to breathe more - to be a part of the evolving moment instead of needing to generate all its energy himself.
Trey's finally able to be just a guitarist, instead of the nuclear reactor that powers the whole band - not to mention the organization, the traveling circus, a whole latter-day youth subculture in farcical rerun...
And he's a fine guitarist. Whaddaya know.
This is a wonderful show. I hope you enjoy it.