, attached to 2015-06-27

Review by lincolnfrog

lincolnfrog First set was really disjointed and very poorly mixed. It seemed like the band and crew needed to warm up and we weren't sure whether things would ever work at all at set break.

Then set 2 started and all of that immediately changed. Band suddenly sounds tight and connected - Trey's reverence for who he was playing with and the responsibility of shepherding these final shows was palpable - his face was full of focus and intensity while his fingers flew like we know they can. I have seen many phish shows and this is probably the best I have ever seen him play - impeccable tone and phrasing.

We were discussing before the show whether Trey would treat this like a musical costume and come as Jerry or whether he would just be himself. To my utter surprise, he seemed to be doing both simultaneously. I have been listening to the dead for a few weeks straight to get as familiar with the music as possible and I would be hearing elements of Jerry lines mixed in with Trey's signature stylings and phrasing. He has clearly been practicing and was just rock solid for the band.

They were improvisationally turning on dimes and transitioning into tunes with ease, led by Phil and Bobby with Trey and the other guests completely on the same page and propping up the transitions with the appropriate riffs. Dark Star into Saint Stephen back to Dark Star back to St Stephen, just heaps of treats with Trey's soaring leads being picked up by the keys and turned into Trey-like armies of melody. He was just completely on fire and connected to this aging monster of a band, breathing fresh life into its once great but now tired frame.

After 45 minutes of non-stop improve the likes of which we don't get at Phish shows anymore - seriously if Phish had dropped that section of jam we would be calling it the best show in ages - the majority of the band leaves the stage and the drum solo starts. I figured this would be a 3-5 minute thing and then the show would be over. 30 minutes later after being blown away by the most intense drum experience of my life - this was a seriously psychedelic experience, especially given that I was spun - the rest of the band reemerged and took us slowly back from the astal plane. The dead can clearly deliver on the trip music. So this is why our parents were obsessed with these guys...

When they started morning dew, I could feel the weight of the performance. Such reverence all around with Bobby doing a bit of a Jerry impression on vocals and Trey just dripping glorious tenderness from his axe in a way Jerry could never have accomplished. A combination of his tone and perfect phrasing pushed this one over the top and delivered the "classic dead song writing with accurate guitar perfection" that I was hoping for to juxtapose Jerry's sloppiness. Listen to these solos that he drops and look and the faces of the other band members as they gaze in awe at how ridiculously he is crushing it. What a beautiful performance all around.

This show was legendary. I wonder if they realize the weight of each note they play as they weave rock and roll history up there. I wonder if Trey will be more famous in 20 years for these shows than for his entire career in phish. This may all be hyperbole, but I do think Trey uplifted them in these shows. They were all clearly having a great time but Trey is there playing with his heroes and not only making himself but the entire phish community incredibly proud. The way he lead most of the heavy improvisation in these shows with a deftness and intensity not seen in many years brought chills down my spine. Easily my favorite show of all time. Miss Chicago at your peril.


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