, attached to 2014-07-25

Review by n00b100

n00b100 One of those shows that just has no luck going for it - a midweek one-off show in the middle of the tour that not only wasn't played at one of the big venues, not only doesn't have a signature jam to overcome the elements that would cause it to be ignored, but has the bad luck to be played 2 nights before one of Those Shows. I'm not going to sit here and tell you this is one of the shows of the year or anything, but I *am* going to tell you that the second set is a hidden jewel from the year and deserves more attention than it's received (the first set is fine and doesn't deserve any particular extra attention).

555 opens the proceedings, then comes one of the year's strongest Chalk Dust Tortures (I'd put it 3rd, behind Randall's and Portsmouth's, but ahead of Vegas and Santa Barbara and even Mann's). Page pushes the band into darker territory before we get a decidedly early "woo" segment (it's usually the signal for a jam ending), but rather than close things out there the band enters a more upbeat space, with Fish still keeping the tempo up even while Page goes to the twinkly notes and Trey starts to kick into gear. The jam then goes upbeat and melodic, Fish continuing to shove things forward, and the bottom drops out in interesting fashion with Trey and Page combining particularly well. Mike gets his meatball in and the jam dissolves into a fog of loops and Trey's guitar squalls, then (with Fish still yanking the band forward) we get one more nice jam segment, Trey cranking out some chords and Page laying down a nice bed on the electric piano, before Fuego comes rolling in. This is keeping in line with the "no peak, all exploration" CDTs of 2014, and a very nice and underrated jam.

Then comes my favorite part of the show, as Fuego gives us its usual jam before dropping to a lower boil and Trey picking out some jazzy (again) chords, then suddenly hits on a good idea and gives us a slowed-down take on Twist's opening riff. It's the same basic idea as the (yes, superior) DWD -> Mike's from 7/22/97, and after four bars they snap into Twist proper and give us a nice relaxed version (I guess I'm not going to let this go, but there's definitely a tease of 96 Tears at the 5:40 mark by Page), before the band slows things down, Trey hits on *another* good idea, and they roll into When The Circus Comes with a stately grace. Sure, there's not a *ton* of improv in this sequence, but the attention to detail is right out of the early 90s and that kind of lovely song-threading should be appreciated. A bog-standard Piper gives way (somewhat less gracefully) to Rift and Waiting All Night, then (in a surprise call that Phish should be making more often) a very nifty Reba - I'd petition @TheEmu to give it another shot for the chart, actually - and Zero close the second set.

Final thoughts: this one's definitely gotten lost in the shuffle, but a keen listen will reveal some moments entirely in line with the best of the year. A great start to a darned good 3-show run.


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