, attached to 2014-07-29

Review by TimbersGottaRoll

TimbersGottaRoll 7/29/14
Set 1
Timber Ho
First song of the night and already a bustout. Hasn't been played in 32 shows and never as a first set opener. Got dark early in jam with Trey snaking around the theme and Fishman cycling through his toms with precision. This is clearly one of Fishman's favorite song to play with so much of it centered around the floor tom drum rolls. It's a great and somewhat rare cover song that doesn't really sound like anything else in their massive catalogue. The whole band hits a great peak before taking it back down to the verse and the closing of the song. You can tell they want to go places right from the start.

Solid singing from Trey and great pacing overall. Page gets all over it from the jump on his first solo and passes it smoothly to Trey. They are really enjoying the rhythmic interplay, locked in similar to MPP2 Set 1 when they played a rocking but tight 46 Days in the 2 spot. Trey doesn't want to stop ascending, dedicated to sticking to a theme and playing the hell out of it. Playful ending with Fish fills ending on a dime.

AC / DC Bag
Crowd favorite and always fitting early in a first set. "Lets get this show on the road". Mike really letting his presence be known and his funk propels them into a jam around the 4 minute mark of the song. Fishman refuses to go into the double time segment keeping the groove rolling with Trey and Page going higher and higher until it finally segues into 555 at the 6 minute mark.

I like this spot a lot. Its an early to mid 1st set song that gets the funk out. The groove is sounding real thick as they stomp through first small jam segment. Mike's vocals are solid. Trey is playing with incredible focus from the start of the final jam. Great phrasing oscillating between minimal dark themes and spiraling expressions that bring the song to its conclusion at 6 minutes in.

Divided Sky
This song is the perfect choice to play at dawn. They start the song up at 8:15 with sundown scheduled to take place at 8:20. They sound connected. There is a confidence here that is palpable and they are playing this classic with great energy and precision. Page extra loud in the slow part leading up to the note. Place erupts on schedule. Def feels like there is a lot of energy at the venue right now. Everyone is taking the opportunity to recognize Sundays show. Once it picks up Trey misses a small run before the big sustained notes but it doesn't hurt the flow. You can really hear the difference a little more body would make to his tone when he is playing the long notes in Divided. Right now its still a bit too shrilly IMO. Trey doesn't take an opportunity the band provides him to go for a peak. Chooses to stay delicate and patient and they eventually get to some smaller peaks. He then rips a really long note across a bunch of measures bringing the theme back and missing one note in the riff before the song ends. It is definitely a really solidly played Divided that had some headroom in the jam. Almost entirely flubless and played with a lot of passion.

A bit of a breather as this song is just breezy by nature. Trey gets into shred mode towards the end of the jam and is showing the ability to play with a lot more speed than earlier in the tour. In the end it turns out to be an above-average version. Page talk to the crowd mid set with a thank you.

Halfway to the Moon
Page lets everyone know this is his song. Love how proud the band is of their new material. Page sounds great singing and leads the initial jam. Background vocals high in the mix along w the organ giving the chorus a lot of sonic width. Jam has an almost Stash-like quality with Fishman and Mike spinning gears around the melody. Really cyclical and dark jam with a small peak before the end of the tune.

Kill Devil Falls
Would rather see this played early in a first set but they are playing so well and you know this is a Trey fav. He is really singing with vigor. They are ripping this jam like it is Chalkdust and Trey continues to play extremely fast and precise ideas with direction. It is on the brink of a big moment and could go to the next level when Trey awkwardly goes back into ending vocals. Still a real high energy take but could have kept going with that jam.

Split Open and Melt
Great call as this jam can be a mind-blowing display of improvisation when they are locked in and I get a strong sense they feel really hooked up. Played perfectly up to steam dream. Vocals are solid but not outstanding. Jam gets out there in a hurry with Trey and Fishman running counterpoint to one another interweaving an abstract pattern. Fearless playing here and it takes the jam to a real type-2 moment. Fishman and Mike switch the rhythm up but the feel remains lyrical and the band remains dedicated to seeing how far out they can go before they even get to the 3 note flourishes that end the song. Aggressively attacked abstractions woven together through intensely idiosyncratic interplay.

Good Times Bad Times
Fiery from the start and Page really belts out the vocals, embellishing the last note to extend and blend right into Trey's guitar. Trey goes into guitar god mode without hesitation. About a minute into the solo Fishman cuts into the beat to meet Trey and they begin an upward ascent until the drum fills commence to end an exhilarating set with a classic cover. Choosing to forgo the seemingly prerequisite big rock ending to close a first set out they end the song and leave the stage.

Overall, I think it was an exhilarating set. Bustout opener plus a great mix of songs from all periods of their career that were all above-average versions. All signs point to a 2nd set that will be heavy on improvisation and with the way the are hooked up right now, the potential is there for a special jam.
Set 2
Chalkdust Torture
Starting a second set with Chalkdust is now a near assurance of the band's intention to go for a big jam. They did not disappoint and wound up taking this movement to just under the 19-minute mark. It ventured deep into Type-2 and the band quilted throughout most of the jam shifting into many themes without settling into any one pattern for too long. Trey played patiently. The tapestry built and expanded but no big thematic breakthroughs. It is great to see them venture from the structure and even though they now have another long Chalkdust under their belt they still remain on the verge of cracking the sky open during one of these, as soon as this weekend.

If I Could
Next, they segue into this Hoist classic that hasn't been played in 68 shows! Thats two big bustouts already this show. They play it exceptionally well and if Im not mistaken they had sound checked it earlier in the day and it showed.

The Line
Trey takes the opportunity to play a new one in this spot with the crowds energy so high coming off of a 20 minutes jam and a bustout. The song is improving but the jam still hasn't had that aha moment, until now. Trey finally reveals the songs potential during the jam section. He whips the main theme into a frenzy, wrapping intricate phrasing ideas around its axis. Creating a moment that was both sonically and emotionally present. It took a while to get going but that solo by Trey had moments I wanted to hear again right away.

Birds of a Feather
Solid composed section with energetic from Fishman. Trey starts the jam off with the main theme instead of building to it. Branches off into jam and Page continues to all all the right flourishes. Fishman playing propulsively throughout with Trey building and building until one of the biggest releases of the night. Page shines throughout this song and the show.

A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing
First time played in a second set since 2009. Band really pushing the limits, oscillating between types to unfold a sea of space. Page takes the lead and begins the push towards the unknown with the rest of the band following suit. Mike's notes get louder and louder until they are generating a great rolling mountain of sound that shifts and struts like a glacier in fast forward. Trey scratches rhythmically while Page bangs out dissonance. Fishman starts to shuffle the beat until the whole band winds into what sounded like it was going to be Possum then turn into Mike's Song.

Mike's Song
Solidly played Mike's with a dark and heavy jam that was a bit longer than the standard version. Mike's time to shine, his second opportunity for lead vocals tonight. Solid playing and singing before the jam which swerves into a "Birds of a Feather" tease from Trey before segueing into Prince Caspian.

Prince Caspian
A Caspian played mid second set has the opportunity to feel like the perfect call or too chill for the spot. This one gets off too a tepid start with the band taking the volume down and looking to build slowly. Fishman is eager to take it up a notch and stays at the crest of the wave until stage volume climbs and he settles into a beat on the ride that Trey smartly segues into Waves. Fishman stops playing the ride for a couple seconds before realizing what Trey is playing and heads back to the ride and the song takes off.

Always flashing the potential for extensive Type-2 possibilities, this carries the water theme forward after ASIHTOS and Caspian. The ride cymbal is the catalyst into heavily psychedelia with the melody undulating above its lilt. The jam floats down until it is buoyed up by Fishman segueing into Weekapaug Groove.

Weekapaug Groove
Mike and Fishman own the intro and the funk is extra thick. Its a hard edged groove and Trey and Fishman start singing Shock the Monkey by Peter Gabriel for a couple seconds before going into jam. The jam is straight ahead and unwieldy and builds some of the most tension of the night before a big peak release moment into the songs ending.

With Cavern you know what you are getting, a chance for the band to sing silly lyrics and rock out with a smile. Mike tries to color it a little more brightly with some upper register funk and other than that it is a stand version.

Cavern and Golgi back to back is odd due to both of them being songs that serve the same purpose. A short rock song with funny lyrics used to close sets. I much prefer Golgi though with its composed middle section that, to me ,embodies the classic Phish sound from Junta-era. Only the 2nd time played this tour and the ending build was perfectly played.

Run Like an Antelope
With the curfew being a half-hour later than usual the band had enough time to turn to the real 2nd set closer of the night, ensuring another big tension and release moment. The jam builds in signiature Antelope fashion until Fishman goes into double time and Trey goes absolutely machine gun crazy until the jet engine disappears into the tropical grove.


First time played as an encore. Sung very well by Trey as he had to be excited about putting this song in the encore slot for the first time, the last climax of the night. The challenge in this song so far has been to keep the momentum of the jam going when it is so static rhythmically. This is a strong version but doesn't go far passed where it has been so far. Trey gets a chance to shine and solos for about 5 minutes right up to 11:30 so it looks like that is it.

The Squirming Coil
Curfew be damned! They choose to finish the night off with a classic. Fitting ending for an evening in which Page really shined and is now the official spokesman for the band onstage. His piano outro was even more extended than usual leading to an audience clap along segment that Page seemed to dig. Even when that was through he still took his time to bring this great night of music to a rousing conclusion on the wings of his ivories.


All together it was a really solid show top to bottom. One of the most consistently hot and well played of the tour. They had extra time to play and made the most of it, even going beyond the curfew by 10 minutes.

It is great to see that are continuing to build momentum. They played two bustouts and a 18+ minute jam with other Type-2 jams popping up in every direction. The ASIHTOS being one of the biggest highlights of the night especially the Mike-lead steamroller funk section.

The biggest change I have noticed about the last two shows compared with the majority of the tour to this point was the intensity shown in the first sets. Both at MPP2 and tonight the band came out of the gates wanting to play with a level of immediacy that had too often been conserved until the second set.

Here's hoping tomorrow night continues the momentum they have built. With only a handful of shows left before Dick's, it feels as if the band has turned the corner and now has a full head of steam heading into the home-stretch of summer tour.
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