, attached to 2014-12-31

Review by n00b100

n00b100 So what are we supposed to make of this show, a show currently sporting a rating that would wedge it firmly in Summer 2009 territory, yet a show also sporting 4 jam chart entries (two, as of this writing, given the coveted green treatment) and boasting a second set that was being touted as one of the sets of 2014 as the clock ran out on 2014? We can most likely agree that a) the first set featured mostly standard (whatever that means) song selection, with the only true highlights a typical-for-3.0 funk-rock hybrid in Wolfman's and a pitch-black ASIHTOS that apes the 10/27/14 -7 in its "explore the usual envelope quite nicely" MO. We can also most likely agree that the third set loses a bit of gas after LxL and enters crowd-pleasing mode, which is certainly no great loss, as NYE third sets are generally not as improv-laden as their second set brethren (12/31/95 III is an exception, not the rule). But then you've got the second set and a glorious Tweezer to account for, and (IMO) that should be enough to turn the tide on this show's reputation.

Let's go with the Tweezer first - the jam out of Tweezer proper is lovely and pushed forward by Trey (who owns this show, it needs to be said). Page goes to the organ 8/19/12 Light style as Fish starts taking things down volume-wise, then Page hits upon a nice repeating pattern on the piano as they go into major-key and start playing something reminiscent of Golden Age (or, possibly, Manteca). Trey starts his own beautiful chord pattern as the jam turns gorgeously melodic (and a bit Cities-esque), then the group builds to a pretty nice peak before puddling into a beautiful, twinkly close. I would say this bad boy is at least on the level of the 7/13/14 version (the best of 2014 that wasn't a segue-fest, to my ears), and a heck of a jam to ring in 2015.

The second set - man, what a sequence of music. After Birds kicks things off (not a bad spot for it, actually), Ghost quickly moves from a disco-y beat into a superb up-tempo groove that morphs into a triumphant piece of hose, as powerful to my ears as the great Holy Ghost, thanks both to Trey really going off and Fish holding things down expertly. The jam dies away into gauziness, and Mike and Fish start to lead back into the Ghost ending, but Trey has other ideas, and instead keeps on riffing, which leads the band to pick the tempo back up and burst into one last triumphant piece of hose. It's such an unexpected, thrilling moment, and one of those things that can hook you to this band for life.

Theme comes up next, and even the plain old Theme between-choruses jamming is infused with a little extra magic, before right out of the final verse the band hits on some semi-deranged funkiness, bring out the "woo"s in a surprise moment, and then blast into some seriously dirty business as Page goes to work on the clavinet and Fish really shows off what a damn good drummer he is. Cities starts getting teased pretty early in the jam, but the jam starts turning muscular and reminiscent of The Birds, which leads Page to start breaking out the samples, but Trey knows a good idea when he hears one and we get a perfect segue into Cities. And Cities shows that the band still wanted to play, moving from sharp staccato Trey playing into a low-key James Brown groove and blooming into a warm and lovely final jam. Trey starts hinting into CDT, and we get an oddly fast version, and (apparently realizing they still had time on the clock) Trey honors his promise in the Boston Globe and Martian Monster triumphantly closes the set (the roar of the crowd at hearing the Narrator says everything you need to know about 10/31/14 II's reputation). Add it all up, and you've got a set that lives up to NYE's sterling reputation.

Final thoughts: I dunno what to tell you - there's a lot of music you might never listen to more than once, and a good deal of music that you are going to want to listen to again and again and again, along with a second set that shows off everything that makes 3.0 so great. That sounds like a dang good show to me.


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