, attached to 2021-08-27

Review by life_boy

life_boy I thought the show overall had a great feel to it. "Torn and Frayed" set a great tone for set I and what a great set it was. I loved both the laid back stylings and the playfulness they showed. Within that vein, "Ha Ha Ha" and "I've Been Around" felt perfect. "Mull" brought some heat and I hope we get to see more from that song. Who knows exactly what happened with that "Split Open and Melt" (was it planned or not) but what we got treated to felt like a perfect lean-into-the-mood choice that had the opportunity to feel forced but turned into some deep space exploration that returned to the joyful dance party romp of Tube.

Let me just say that I LOVE "Sigma Oasis" and love what the feeling of it brings to a set. I think there's a reason it leads off the album and is establishing itself as a set opener. As @FunkyCFunkyDo said so well in the immediate reaction thread: "I lived a thousand lifetimes within WTU. Wow. What an introspective journey. Beautiful. The set took on a dream like feel."

He is exactly right. "What's the Use?" was something else. I was not expecting for it to emerge out of the feedback sustain at the end of Sigma but that's where they decided to go and the whole set was impacted. I was also not expecting for them to scale it all the way down into silence and then bring it back to earth. After that, the whole set was absolutely colored by what we experienced there. I just love that there's a Siket Disc track still making regular setlist appearances.

"Camel Walk" -> "Chalkdust Torture" > "Slave to the Traffic Light" was phenomenal. "Drift While You're Sleeping" felt like such a great choice to encore this kind of set and this kind of show. There were moments of this that felt like a very intimate acoustic performance. Elements that left you floating. Still plenty of dance-worthy funk but if there's a song or moment that stands out to me it is the Melt jam from Set I and the WTU ambient passage from Set II.

People will probably complain about this list of songs but listening to it, nothing felt off or forced. The choices made sense and were both guided by and propelling the overall mood. Everything made sense in the world they were constructing on that stage last night. It may not be the all-time rager some people want every time Phish go out there, but I think this band is capable of giving us more than that. Sometimes we need to be reminded that they can give us more than that.

Setlist construction is such a delicate thing, an in-the-moment feeling and I although I could construct what I would WANT to hear, they are constructing something that is within the moment. I didn't feel like anything here was "off the mark." Everything made sense in the world they were constructing on that stage last night. It may not win any JOTY awards but the show was cohesive and may surprise people with some vibey replay value.
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