This show featured the Phish debut of I Never Needed You Like This Before. Trey teased Let It Grow in Down with Disease, which was unfinished. Weekapaug was incomplete. This was the rescheduled date from the show that had been postponed due to coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
Jam Chart Versions
Teases
Let It Grow tease in Down with Disease
Debut Years (Average: 1999)

This show was part of the "2021 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by dublindeuce

dublindeuce 17 months after their last live show, Phish is finally back on tour! The band nicely stretched its legs in Arkansas. Notably, this is the first time Phish has played Arkansas. The songs in the first set are well executed, if not a little rusty. Trey nails Limb by Limb in soaring fashion. Wolfman's Brother is the highlight of the set. It has a fantastic, percussive jam that sounds nothing like pre pandemic Phish. .

Down with Disease and Simple both clock in at about 15 minutes, and are the most exploratory jams of the night. I particularly like the Simple, which quickly gets weird and interesting. There's a great transition into a dark and gnarly Fuego which features trance inducing Fishman. Just as Plasma seems to take off, Trey opts for Runaway Jim, which contains an adventurous but brief segue into Weekapaug Groove. The set ends with Slave to the Traffic Light, which has a patient and beautiful build. Trey's guitar tone is killer.

A very enjoyable tour opener. Let's see what the rest of tour has to offer! Read the book.
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Review by yEEt_1331

yEEt_1331 First show back was promising and quite enjoyable, and i was blessed to be in attendance. Good mix of classics and new stuff too. As expected with a tour opener, execution wasn’t perfect (mainly Fuego lol), but the Disease > Simple combo was incredible. All around very good and i’m excited to see what they’ll do next
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Review by mikeisupa

mikeisupa My first show review (I'm definitely a jam-oriented listener, but love the songs):

7/28/21

If you thought Phish sounded different on this night, you’re right. They do sound different. I’m sure there are many pandemic-related reasons—being cooped up for over a year and itching to play live again, Trey’s energy coming off the Beacon Jams and the Divided Sky Foundation fundraising effort, and several pandemic releases (Sigma Oasis, December, and Lonely Trip…not to mention Trey’s many Instagram “releases”). But there are also some tangible differences.

Trey debuted a new guitar, which he has described as the “4.0 guitar.” Maybe a reference to this being Phish 4.0 (although Trey reportedly doesn’t buy into the whole 1.0, 2.0 thing), but definitely a reference to this being his fourth Koa Languadoc (way more on this guitar here: https://treysguitarrig.com/2021/07/28/2021-summer/) . Trey had recently modified some of his guitars to have two outputs, first running to an amp with more clean tone, and the other running to an amp with all his effects. This guitar seems to have been built specifically for this new rig—the first Languedoc built with two outputs. The guitar also has a warm tone, and rich sustain. So Trey just sounds a little different.

Mike’s rig is also modified. He has been using different rigs when he plays solo and with Phish. He has recently been modifying his Phish setup so that he uses the same (or very similar) rig regardless of who he’s playing with. You can listen to him discuss his rig with Tom Marshall on Under The Scales here: https://www.osirispod.com/podcasts/under-the-scales/under-the-scales-048mike-gordon-part-1/ (somewhere around the 25 minute mark).

But the first sign that Phish was going to sound different (other than Trey’s January announcement of his new guitar) was visible during the stage shot of Page’s rig during the live stream, before the show even started. Page made a MAJOR transformation to his setup, moving his Hammond Organ/Nord Stage stack from the left side of his piano to the right of his piano, and moving his Wurlitzer electric piano/Moog synth from right of his piano to left. This is huge. Think of all the classic songs that involve Page playing piano with his right hand and organ with his left—often at the end of big jams like Hood and Slave. I went back and rewatched the Slave from this show, and it looked like Page turned left to find his hand placement on his organ before remembering that the Hammond is now to the right. Then you see him playing the Hammond with both hands (no piano) at the end of the jam. So I’m expecting to see him opting for one or the other during these moments, rather than switching to piano with left hand and organ with right. Page playing organ with his left hand and piano with his right at the end of jams has helped create that “wall of sound” that makes those peaks sound so big. Is that element of their sound now gone? Why would he make such a transformational change? Well, for the past several tours it seems like Page’s go-to keys for jamming have been the Wurlitzer/synth stack (and it has been amazing!). And so I think Page is saying that when the band is jamming, he wants to play these keyboards, while also being able to see his bandmates. And this seems true for nearly the whole tour opener—Page is camped out at his Wurlitzer, and the synth is coming out with far more frequency. So I think we can expect a far more synth-heavy tour this summer. I’d also add that Page just sounds way more out front to me. He is playing very assertively, and taking a lead role during a lot of the jamming. Page-side is definitely raging!

Other differences I heard were hard to tell if it was actually different, or just a byproduct of the live stream mix (or my tv’s sound bar vs. usual headphones). But it sounded to me like Page and Mike’s vocals were louder in the mix. I’m not an expert on this stuff, but it also seemed like Mike is singing harmonies more frequently in his head voice than his chest voice. Both Mike and Page sounded a little more assertive with their singing, and I wondered if this is in response to how much Trey’s singing has developed in recent years. I think they may be hearing that change and stepping up their games as well.

Now let’s talk about the jamming. Yes, there was maybe some rust on some of the early songs, especially around endings (Bouncing Around the Room stood out). What I was actually hearing was some nerves, but also I think there was some very close listening by the band, and maybe they were trying too hard to pick up on cues from each other—triggering some mis-cues. But none of the rusty moments bothered me one bit because the energy was hot. Set one was pretty much all straight versions of songs, but with a nice intensity. Limb By Limb and 46 Days stood out to me as great “straight” versions of “type 1” jams. Wolfman’s was “type 1,” but the most stretched out performance of the first set. It was funky, and rocked hard. A great listen, but definitely not a big “type 2” exploration jam.

Set two was a different story. The first 4 songs (Disease, Simple, Fuego, and Plasma) all featured “type 2” jamming, and segued—so this was sort of one big block of music. I’ll return to this part of the show in a moment. The rest of the set was pretty straight. During the first jam section of Jim, Trey transitioned into Weekapaug, and they actually played a whole chorus before snapping back into Jim. Call it a segue, call it a tease. On the Live Phish app, they only list it as Jim, so I guess that makes it an extended tease. And there was some sort of vocal sample going on during Slave. During the jam, Trey was holding this one long, extended note, and there was some sort of vocal sample that kept playing. It sounded like Page at his Nord, but on re-watching, I can’t see him anywhere near the Nord. I’m still not quite sure what was going on there. Fish seemed to be smiling, and Trey seemed to be totally into the jam and not responding at all. It seemed a little distracting to me, but I’m curious to know more about it.

Returning to the first four songs of the set, there was a lot of jamming! Down with Disease and Plasma were both great. The Disease was much more exploratory than the Plasma, and would have been the standout jam in a lot of shows. Trey seemed to surprise his bandmates with the end of Plasma, but it was a great version nonetheless. Both jams were moody and the band sounded locked-in a la pre-pandemic late 3.0. Fantastic! But the highlight for me was definitely Simple. This was an EXTRAORDINARY jam. I hate to say “the first” about anything Phish, because who knows. But I heard something I hadn’t heard before, and I hope to hear again! During the “type 2” jamming, Trey improvised a theme—and in that sense, it’s similar to some of the huge major key “bliss” jamming of the late 3.0 era—but what was different was that he didn’t keep playing the theme while the band laid down an incredible groove. Instead, he played the theme twice, then re-joined the exploratory jamming with the rest of the band. Then as the jam went in a new direction, he revisited that theme over the new groove. He did this several times. It sort of reminded me of Chopin’s nocturnes…developing a theme, then exploring variation on that theme. If you listen along with the Live Phish version of the song, I’ll point out the times for the original theme, and its variations. The jam starts to go into “type 2” territory around the 5:25 (or around 6:00, depending on how much of a purist you are). Then the theme makes its first appearance at the seven-minute mark, playing it a few times between 7:00-7:40. That part of the jam still had a very “Simple” sound to it—and had that been the entire jam, it would have been noteworthy. Then we go through a slightly darker, synth-heavy passage before Trey’s theme emerges again at 8:43 and 9:06. Then, just as the jam starts to brighten up, Trey plays his theme at the 10:06 mark, this time through a gnarly, distorted tone (followed immediately by another run through a cleaner tone), and one more time at 10:34. From here, the jam goes into another movement—sort of reminiscent of a Light jam (?)—and Trey bounces around the theme several times, without playing it directly, at around 11:00. Then at 11:37 he plays it again through another effects-laden tone (followed by a variation of the theme by Mike). The theme emerges again, this time coming out of a fairly abstract jam, right at 12:45. And at 13:01 Trey plays it a final few times, through VERY heavy effects. Again, I’m not saying they’ve never jammed like this before, I just can’t think of another example. This was simply brilliant playing.

The jam gets pretty abstract towards the end. The time isn’t standard, and Trey and Mike are both using a lot of effects. And out of this abstract moment, Trey starts playing the opening chords to Fuego. But Trey’s still using tons of effects, Page is playing a synth, and the time doesn’t seem to be quite back to standard as Trey starts singing the first verse. It’s like they didn’t quite fully segue out of the crazy Simple jam into Fuego, and are now playing Fuego half-standard, half in a different (fully improvised) arrangement. Man, what an incredible band! Somewhere around the 2-minute mark, it sort of pops into a standard Fuego (albeit very effects-heavy). From there, it’s basically a “type 1” jam, but a really good one. I’ve listened to the Simple>Fuego several times, and it’s sort of hard to listen to the Simple without listening to the Fuego. For me, the Simple>Fuego is the clear highlight of the show…and it could turn out to be a highlight of the tour.

And all this on my birthday—happy birthday to me! https://treysguitarrig.com/2021/07/28/2021-summer/ https://www.osirispod.com/podcasts/under-the-scales/under-the-scales-048mike-gordon-part-1/
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Review by Lambo_Lambo

Lambo_Lambo *On the couch until Atlantic City*
The band takes the stage and takes it all in. Those few extra seconds of them gazing at the crowd was a nice way to say "welcome back, we've missed you." This is a nice opening for "I Never Needed You Like This Before" which for me is one of the standout new Trey tracks. I'm a big fan of that hard opening riff. "Tube" nearly gets to "Did they jam out tube?" territory much like 12/1/19 with Trey quietly using the POG and Wah. A nice first set "Free" leads to a cute "Bouncing" and a heavy "46 Days." Fishman takes the lead on "Limb By Limb," ending with a "blahblahblahblah." "Wolfman's absolutely soars. You can tell the band has as much fun exploring that jam as we do hearing it. I'm always here for a "NICU." I think the audience and band are fully ready for "DWYS" to become a regular first set closer. After the past year and a half, those lyrics are hitting different.

Set two opens in the murky depths of Mike's flanger; an expected but wonderful "Down With Disease." Interpret the lyrics however you want nowadays. The vaccine has been created! This leads to a happy "Simple" until it doesn't. The band gets dark. "Disease -> Simple" becomes the most experimental 30 minutes of the show. Life hasn't been so simple. The best part of the night leads into the most rocky in my opinion. "Fuego" is a face-melter but this one was a little goofy. For me, "Plasma" was the lowest part of the night but was quickly supplanted by a "Weekapaug Jim." I do love when they sneak-a-paug and the band seems to have a "uh oh we're being silly" expressions on their face. We end the segues with "Rift." "If I Could" caught me by surprise showing up this late in the show but, to me, it worked. "Rise/Come Together" got some hate on twitter but by that time I was feeling the love, which led into a wonderful "Slave" to close it out. Trey says before "Santos" that this is the first time they've played Arkansas and they want to come back. Big shout out to the people of Arkansas. You deserve every show you get.
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Review by Outlive

Outlive Phish Is Back and Trey Would Like a Word with All of You

The day before my 6-year Phishiversary I was able to catch Phish’s first-ever show in Arkansas for my 26th show overall, a milestone I had hoped to reach last year, but, well, we all know what happened. And, yeah, about that. Trey’s got something to say to you. And me. And, apparently, to Sara Huckabee Sanders.

This show actually reminded me a lot of my very first show. With me in attendance was my wife (who was not with me for my first show; this was her 23rd show overall) and my buddy who got me into the band in 2015 (after multiple attempts to convert me in the preceding years) (who was there with me at my first show. And he brought his 19-year-old daughter for her first show (who dug it!)). He is a true ambassador for Phish Nation.

We arrived early (about 4:00 PM) to do Shakedown. My wife found a great pair of earrings and pendant from a purveyor of wares we have frequented on tours past @lilydrivestoofast on Insta—give her a follow and check out her tent on tour). My wife was so happy, at least until the sun started baking her to a crisp (she is actually allergic to heat, and it was brutal. Hottest of my 26 shows (though Austin 2018 is a close second). She suffered through, enjoyed the music, but is still hurting today. Such are the sacrifices of a true fan (though she tells me this is the last outdoor summer show she will do (other than Dick's)). You know what that means: hello NYE run!

The venue was OK. Not too much trouble getting in. No real hassles with security. Ushers (in our area, anyway) were friendly and reasonable. We had a bunch of aisle dancers next to us, and they were a blast to watch. The concession choices sucked, the lines got long after about 6:45, but the folks running the concession stands were among the friendliest I have encountered anywhere. We were hoping that having seats would keep us out of the sun, but the way the venue is configured, that didn't really work out (to my wife's dismay). I avoided alcohol, and was drinking water as fast as possible, with multiple trips to the water-fountain or concession line to refill and replenish. But it was hard to stay hydrated, especially as I was rolling on both Delta 8 and classic gummies, which kept the thirst-meter pegged at an unquenchable 11 all evening.

Crowd energy did not disappoint, though the oppressive heat had to dampen the reaction compared to what it might have been had we been enjoying cooler temps. The crowd went nuts when the band took the stage. I got chills and bumps and maybe a few tears welled in my eyes. It would not be the only time that would happen.

My first impression, given the setlist (in which we essentially were treated to “two first sets” with no “monster jams”) was that this would be one of those shows that would be much better in person than listening back. One of my favorite things about going to shows in person as opposed to listening on headphones or whatever is that certain songs I never listen to are really a lot of fun at the show (I'm looking at you NICU and Fuego). I'm a terrible dancer and actually enjoy standing fairly still as I lose myself in the music. But I love watching people who can really dance get down to the danceable tunes. One of my favorite things about a Phish show--seeing all that joy being expressed is such a beautiful buzz. This was a very live-audience-friendly show. And since I was so fortunate, blessed, privileged, and beyond grateful to be numbered among those in attendance, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I will never, ever take for granted the wonderful gift of live music generally and Phish concerts in particular. But as much as I enjoyed the surrounding atmosphere, I have since discovered in listening back the last two days that this show actually sounds even better in the recording than it did in the venue (for me).

There were no big, long jams. But there was plenty of jamming. Was it a “rager?” Not really. Any jams that will make it into the JOTY Final Four six months from now? Highly doubtful (though maybe Wolfman’s will get into the tourney). Were the vocals hit-or-miss? Yup (but, honestly, when is that not the case, really?). Was there rust? Sure, a little, but not nearly as much as some are suggesting, and to my ear they were more in sync than in many other tour openers of recent years past. Yeah, there were some flubs (Bouncing was sub-par; the first three minutes of Free were a little rough; Fuego had some issues; the laugh/cough samples from Fishman in Slave were jarring). But overall, the play was tight, the band was clearly having a blast and was happy to be there (one of them said at the end of Slave, “Oh my god, it’s good to play again.”); there were some interesting and novel new jamming sounds, and Trey’s new guitar tone is simply glorious. I cannot wait to hear what he does with that over the course of the year.

I really liked the new light rig with the angled running lights and rainbow of colors, and CK made good use of the canopy ceiling (is ceiling the right word?) covering the pavilion. I'm really looking forward to what he has in store for us as tour goes on. I’m sure he has many tricks up his sleeve. There were times when the light combinations seemed to create an almost three-dimensional sphere around the band members on stage. It was truly spectacular.

Trey’s guitar tone, Mike’s grooving, Kuroda’s lights, Fish’s excitement, Page’s moody keys, the band’s love for the fans and appreciation for the gift they have in being able to go out on the road again—all these things bode very well for not only the rest of summer tour, but the whole year. The show is an auspicious sign of things to come.

In the context of when and where this show was played (and even who was in attendance) and all we have been through the last 18 months, this was quite a remarkable show. I believe this show will long be remembered, and it will grow in esteem as time marches on (bucking the usual trend of an initial flurry of high marks followed by inevitable decline). I think it will age well. And part of the reason for that is this: lurking beneath what on the surface appears to be a prototypical “3.0 show” that looks like it might have been churned out by an algorithm that was fed all the setlists from the last 7 years, there is a clear and consistent (alternatingly subtle and, um, not-so-subtle) message from Trey. Yes, he wants us to know he loves. Yes, he is glad to be back and happy to see us. But, goddammit, he wants us all to stop fighting and start treating each other with equanimity. And he wants us to ne smart. He is gently telling the few of us who are still not with the program to quit being knuckleheads and follow the science, get vaccinated, and wear a fucking mask already. He also has some criticism for those who are continuing to divide us, continuing to harm the body politic, and continuing to resist the message of peace, love, and understanding. Trey’s looking at you, Sarah Sanders!

How do I know this? Well, he told us. In virtually every song the band played. Each song is like the piece of a mosaic which, when put together, forms an image, the message of which is clear. Let’s go song by song and we will see that this show was equal to far more than the sum of its parts.

1. I Never Need You Like This Before. This one is obvious. Trey is pleading with us to not continue to let the twin diseases of Covid and hyper-partisanship divide and conquer us: “There's something in this silent wood That won't, although I know it could, Ensnare us in a veil so black We'd never find the passage back.” Oh, and also, he loves us and missed us, and is glad to be back because if had to make one more dumb Youtube video from his house with his cat he’d go nuts. (For Trey’s wonderful tone, check out the 2:51-3:30 range).

2. Tube. “give myself to science, I felt that it could help.” Hear that, anti-maskers? Anti-vaxxers? Science. It can help if you’ll give yourself to it. Try it. Please. It’s “stupendous, living in this tube.” So let’s not fuck it up, OK? We’re almost to the goal line. Let’s not fumble this. Get vaxxed already. Yeesh. That’s what Trey is saying. (For Trey’s tone, check out 2:38 to 5:49—it’s like melted butter).

3. Free. A song to express what we all feel—the joy of feeling the feeling we forgot for the first time in ages. This was the first time after the band started playing that the goosebumps hit and the tears welled up. But it would not be the last. The crowd sang that particular line with a little extra mustard each time.

4. Bouncing. Always a good pairing with Free. Again referencing how good it is to be back together again: “that time then, and once again, I’m bouncing round the room.” The crowd picked up on this reference and sang this part with gusto.

5. 46 Days. “sit yourself down when you’re ready to stay” but also “taste the fear for the devil’s drawing near.” A perfect encapsulation of the current moment: the joy we feel at being together again because of the miracle of modern science giving us the vaccine, but also the warning that the present moment is tenuous. Let’s not fuck this up, mmkay? (Second nice little jam of the night. Check out the 4:00-7:00 segment for the highlights).

6. Limb by Limb. “I never want a hacking cough.” Yeah, me neither. Any initially skeptical readers still have doubts that Trey is using the setlist to send a message? Oh, and we get our first dig at Sarah Huckabee Sanders and those of like mind: “Left is where I always turn.” Heh. (Trey’s tone is just so gorgeous in this song, which may become my favorite LxL ever. I had an out-of-body experience as my gummies really kicked in. Check out 3:17-7:00, especially 6:17-6:55. Just glorious).

7. Wolfman’s Brother. If things are gonna get better, there’s gotta be some big changes. From all of us (but some more than others). Not little changes. A complete metamorphosis is required. And what better symbol of metamorphosis than the Wolfman (yeah, yeah, I know. Butterflies. But Phish does not have a song called Butterfly’s Brother, so this was the next best thing). Song of the night. Early JOTY tournament contender. Check out 3:50 to, well, the end, with one ridiculous note in the 8:40-9:00 range).

8. NICU. How many stories have we been subjected to over the last 18 months about hospital ICUs? And now with Delta variant, NICUs are starting to overflow in certain areas: “nice evening at home I dread even more” (could Trey be telling us he really, really didn’t like being holed up in his NYC apartment all that time? I think so, yes). “Would you please make clear to me I’m peering through your opacity Though you rehearse tomorrow’s verse Forgive me if I don’t sing in your key.” Another dig at the folks who are “opaque” to facts or reason. Another dig at Huckabee? Perhaps.

9. Drift While You’re Sleeping. As we all know, this is a song about losing loved ones, and how we deal with the aftermath of that trauma. 4.2 million people have died of Covid worldwide since the pandemic began 18 months ago (probably more: does anyone think China has only lost 4,000 to the virus?). Here Trey implores us to “turn the page” from the wars we wage while giving us a nod to the terrible heat we are suffering through with “the sun feels warm and that heat there is truth. And he strikes a hopeful chord at the end: “love will carry us through.” (Check out Trey’s tone at 3:10-4:50; 8:42-9:10, and 9:29-11:25 (chillbump alert!))

10. Down with Disease. Boo disease! Boo! “Nothing I can say to make it stop.” It has certainly felt that way at times, hasn’t it? So what’s the answer?

11. Simple. D’uh. This ain’t that hard, folks. When confronted with a plague, perhaps you should try avoiding it like, I don’t know, the plague? Another message for the thickheaded numbskulls who haven’t quite figured it out yet. Get vaxxed, etc. Quit being a dumbass. This is pretty simple stuff, actually. (Trey’s tone from 4:00-9:45 is just wonderful. The DwD>Simple part of the show is certainly a highlight)

12. Fuego. Definitely a nod to the heat of the evening. But also there is this: “I see guilty people, angels blowing horns.” Perhaps he spotted Sanders in the crowd? Or perhaps he is simply lamenting the massive loss of life and the accompanying “angels blowing horns” to welcome them to their eternal rest.

13. Plasma. Another Covid-laden title, as plasma has been used to treat Covid patients. I think Trey really hated being cooped up for so long, as did so many of us (I didn’t leave my house but maybe ten times in over a year. “No matter how you slice your day or dream of places far away or try to set your world apart You always end up where you start.” If that doesn’t describe the frustration of every day being like the movie Groundhog Day while I was working from home in my PJs in that lost year, I don’t know what does. From the history of this song on this site: “Plasma is apparently a conversation of sorts (perhaps between Tom Marshall and Scott Hermann) with one voice taking the view that people don’t change despite their best efforts, and the other expressing a belief in personal evolution.” Sense a theme here yet?

14. Runaway Jim. Another song about loss (obliquely)—this time the loss of a beloved dog. Trey’s “singing for Jim who’s swimming in the fountain” which can be heard as another metaphorical elegy for the many souls we have lost in the last 18 months.
15. Weekapaug Groove. OK, I admit I’ve got nothing on this one. Other than it was really cool to get a ‘paug on its own, unattached to Mike’s Song. Do we call this Runaway Groove or Weekapaug Jim? I’m gonna go with the former.

16. Rift. Ok, here we go. Rift in a prime second-set slot. That ain’t no accident or coincidence. “Through which I could spy several glimpses beneath Of the darkness the light from above could not reach I spied wings of reason, herself taking flight And upon yonder precipice saw her alight And glared back at me one last look of dismay As if she were the last one she thought I'd betray” A clear-eyed observation of the lunatic fringe that emerged over the last 18 months—the Covidiotic death cultists who abandoned reason and covered the land in darkness, seemingly completely impervious to the light of reason. ”And silence contagious in moments like these.” Did someone say contagious? “And shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite.” All reasonable people have been shocked by what we’ve witnessed during the last few years and the last six months in particular from the mouth=-breathing dipshits who have exalted stupidity above science and reactionary recalcitrance above reason. The inclusion of this song can also be viewed as the band’s lamentation on the “rifts” that we’ve all seen and felt in our communities, our families, and yes, even in our “phamily.” In retrospect, Rift might be the most powerful song of the night—and its placement in the center of the second set seems designed to emphasize the centrality of the message.

17. If I Could. A song Trey wrote for a close friend who was struggling and who Trey wanted to cheer up. It’s especially poignant in the context of this show, as it perfectly captures the yearning and longing for normality we felt during the pandemic. How often did we want someone to just take us to another place, to get out into the whispering breezes. And how often did we have to say to ourselves and our loved ones during this time “if I could I would, but I don’t know how.” I think, in particular, of the health-care workers to whom we owe such a debt of gratitude. How often have they felt the plaintive longing to be somewhere other than the hellscape that was their day-to-day existence during this pandemic? (Check out Trey’s tone from 4:45-end)

18. Rise/Come Together. Another dig at Sanders. Or at least the people who are tearing us apart with lies, disinformation, and sowing seeds of discord and division. In case the more subtle approach had gone over some heads, Trey decides to apply a more direct approach, bopping us over the head with the message. This one actually sounds a lot better to me on re-listen than the night of the show. (Beautiful Trey tones from 3:45-5:00).

19. Slave to the Traffic Light. A final nod to what we have all been going through collectively. The traffic light is perfect metaphor for the two steps forward, one step back we’ve had to endure. The desire to just move forward with total freedom and abandon, but not being able to because, well, reality has a way of halting our progress, forcing us to stop and start, then stop again. It’s frustrating. But you know what makes it less frustrating? Blissy jams! And Fishman’s nonsense! Both of which can be found in this beautiful set-ender.

20. Say it to Me S.A.N.T.O.S. Another nod to the rifts that have developed with “we are divided.” But also: “You’ll always remember where you were.” This is true of the first time I saw this song live on 10/31/18. And it’s true of this one as well. No lies to be found here. I will always, always remember this night. I have seen hundreds of live shows over the last forty years all across America. Live music has been a ginormous part of my life. Having no live in-person concerts the last 18 months has taken a toll on my mental health (though, of course, I realize that I am privileged and fortunate in so many ways to have not suffered much more in so many other ways, as so many others have). Finally, one last nod to those we have lost: "Like everyone else, you will always be remembered, even life itself.”

What a beautiful, artful, cohesive, brilliantly designed and executed show.

Bottom line: Every live show is a gift to be cherished. And this one is certainly no exception to that rule.
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Review by Drewthedevilstickinglawnboy

Drewthedevilstickinglawnboy For a tour opener pretty strong show. Alittle rust here and there , but it was a great mix of new and old songs . I'm a pretty big fan of the simple and down with disease in this show for sure, the rift and if I could placement was a bit strange , but all together this show had alot of energy and alot of promise for this tour.
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Review by johnnyd

johnnyd Rift, If I Could, Rise Up Come Together

Did anyone here observe (or see/hear in the show thread/laht or elsewhere) ... to me this was clarion-clear their "political" (societal?) statement for the evening.

Rift was such a weird call in that slot. If I Could even weirder to follow. Then Rise Up totally pulled the room together as a 3 song suite.

They know the country and even the fanbase is in a massive rift. They wish they could do something to fix it, but really don't know how. But Rise Up Come Together is the best plea they've got.

Basically Gamehendge Part 2.
That's my story, I'm sticking to it.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by bakersdozen

bakersdozen I came down from Vermont for the first four shows of the run. Southern phans are always very accommodating folks and are great to see shows with.

The show itself was awesome for a tour opener. The first set got the crowd going, vibes were particularly high when the band broke out Bouncing Around the room after solid renditions of Tube and Free. However, the highlight of the first set was a particularly groovy Wolfman's.

Second set got off to a hot start with the highly anticipated Disease, followed by a solid Simple, then an dark jammed out Fuego (Make Phish Evil Again). Plasma was a pleasant surprise and the Runaway Groove had the crowd excited and ready for more.

After the Runaway Groove, I felt like the band lost the crowd (or at least me) a little bit. I'm all for changing it up in the second set and having a song that reset's the energy. However, I do get disappointed when the band plays two or three lower energy songs in a row - especially when they were on fire at the beginning of the set. Rift > If I could > Rise just doesn't do it for me.

This second set digression reminded me a lot of the Bangor show on 6/26/2019 where the band was off to a similarly hot start then broke into Caspian->Farmhouse->Number line. FWIW, Caspian is a favorite of mine, but not when it's followed by two other lower energy songs, but I digress, much like the band did.

Finally, the Slave to the Traffic Light set closer followed by the Santos Encore brought the crowd back into it. Based on the scoring, it was somewhat too little too late to make this one of the great shows. All that said, the band sounds great for having taken more than a year off. I think the shows where the setlists are stronger have the potential to be some solid shows. Looking forward to seeing them through Alpharetta!
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by emkeyone

emkeyone I think there is a tendency to under appreciate tour opening shows. The current ratings on this show support that theory.

Was it one for the ages? Only in context, but it was still very good.

The first set was solid with a good mixture of older and newer material.

The second set is where things got interesting. Lots of segues and a really weird/cool rendition of Fuego were highlights.

The opening songs in both sets sent some fairly clear messages as well, as did some of the other song selections.

I think this show will grow on people with a second listen.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by Drewthedevilstickinglawnboy

Drewthedevilstickinglawnboy For a tour opener pretty strong show. Alittle rust here and there , but it was a great mix of new and old songs . I'm a pretty big fan of the simple and down with disease in this show for sure, the rift and if I could placement was a bit strange , but all together this show had alot of energy and alot of promise for this tour.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by heathen

heathen Set 1: Sloppy and boring. The new song they debut, I Never Needed You Like This Before, is lame. They play NICU slow, with more of a reggae feel. I hope this isn't going to be a permanent change to the arrangement for that song. I suppose it's expected that they'll need to shake off the cobwebs so it shouldn't be surprising that this set is so mundane.

Set 2/e: DWD starts to get into some interesting territory about halfway in, but Fish isn't really keeping up. He seems to be phoning it in while the other guys are being more adventurous. I hope this turns around, but given his playing in recent years this seems to be the norm for him. Sure enough, Fish plays basically the same pattern for all of this DWD. Sad. Simple is more of the same, but with less energy. This version of the song itself feels slow and understated, and as they go into the jam Fish is once again just laying back on one drum pattern. At least this time he starts to change it up a bit about halfway into the jam, but he doesn't change it much. Again, we've got the other guys charting a course for outer space while Fish is just strolling in the park. He does start to wake up in the last few minutes of the jam though. The transition into Fuego is great, and I'm not even a fan of Fuego. At least it brings the energy up though. Not much to say about the rest of the second set. Sloppy and low energy for the most part. The Slave isn't anything special, but that "oooh ooh ooh" sample that gets dropped several times is absolutely awful. That's something I'd expect to hear coming from Future Man's "drumitar" circa 1996. Say it to me SANTOS is yet another lame song. I'm trying to think of the last time they wrote a song I really enjoy, and I think it hasn't been since Farmhouse (the album, not that song in particular) unfortunately.

It's the first show back in a while so one can't expect too much, so I'm trying to not dwell on this one. There were some good moments (second half of the Simple jam and the transition into Fuego), but overall a sloppy and low energy affair.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by Museummouth

Museummouth A sold enough tour opener. A little bit of rust here and there but a fun enough show. Wolfmans is a nice first set microjam with some good peaks. The LxL is also worth checking out. 2nd set doesn’t quite go that deep. There’s a nice exploratory Simple that has a cool segue to Fuego but that’s all that you really need to listen to if just skimming for highlights.

Accurately rated at 3.3/5.0.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by timber02

timber02 Just to touch on the Simple -> Fuego in this show, which IMO was the highlight (DWD included). Simple trudges deep into the sludge and confusion, harkening back to when phish was evil. The jam kind of took me by surprise, and I think they kind of let their curiosity take the wheel in either an aggressive act of shaking off the cobwebs or purely from excitement to just be playing again. "Hey guys, we're back. No rules on this one, let's get weird."

Flowed a little chunky into Fuego, and the emphasis is really on chunky here. This thing kicks off pretty unusually without much adherence to how Fuego "should sound." Expect some wonky tones and spooky sounds coming from mike and page, complete with a good ol' wailin' fishman. The breakdown leading into trey's solo has an overall dark undertone, and the solo that followed matched the mood. Again, leaning back into the chunk (maybe some slop) on entering the jam-field after the girl began levitating. I really enjoyed where this one went with trey coming in with big psychedelic vibes - I don't know what that switch he flips is or pedal maybe, but it goes totally "I'm only sleeping" or "strawberry fields forever" and blew me away in the moment. Some nice little pockets of bliss/world-spiraling confusion here to be enjoyed/feared. Moves right on into plasma here, which I personally like a cool-off song.

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the Jimapaug which was just fun all around and should not be missed if you haven't given it a spin yet. I hope we get a real monster Jim this summer. That would be sweet. Anyway, a decent start off to the tour - I must agree with a previous poster, 3.7 would be my vote given the option. It's going to be great to have some new jams again to listen to with a critical ear. Gotta keep those muscles strong.

Can't really comment on the vibe of the show in-person as I was planted on the couch, but I just wish we could've had the joyous reunion we deserved without all the loss and sickness looming overhead. Stay safe out there everybody.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by DanthePhan42

DanthePhan42 A solid show at a great venue. My friend and I both hung out in the convention center parking lot prior to the show to explore the small shakedown and what it had to offer. It was his first Phish show and both of our first times hitting shakedown. After meeting some great folks and a few .netters we decided to get in sooner rather than later to get a solid spot on the lawn. Very comfortable lawn at a good angle with plenty of space to boogie. The first set started off a bit underwhelming. I liked the opener but felt something with more energy would've really kicked things off right. Could've done without Bouncing, my buddy on the other hand loves that song and was thrilled it was played. All in all a good first set. Second set was great. DWD to start off was awesome and to follow it with Simple? Fantastic. Fuego was jammed out well and the Runaway Jim->Weekapaug->Runaway Jim was insane, and no Mike's?! Cool little setlist rarity. The Rift was played much better than expected, and fast too. The Slave to finish the set was great, was really hoping to catch that song. Encore seemed underwhelming, like it could've gone longer. A solid show with some great classics and good jams, but definitely not five stars. The energy of the crowd and anticipation to see the band play really made this show something special. Really glad and thankful I was able to make it.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by 90MinuteJam

90MinuteJam Do bubbles carry covid? Maybe. Did phish rock out at this show? Absolutely. The boys did exactly what they were supposed to do… deliver a solid performance after a 17 month band interruption. Great song selection, trey has a nice newer sound and peddle(?), and rust was minimal, all things considered. Amazing crowd & energy the always boosts a show rating imho. Impressed on how many people I met that flew in for this one show; Ain’t no easy flights into Rogers. They tried to go deep in the second set and couldn’t get there, still sounded good tho. Body language suggests covid announcement and precautions might be on their minds. For sure let’s not throw things on stage, boys need to stay healthy and seems that made them a bit uncomfortable. A lot of shows ahead of us!
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by DownWithSteam

DownWithSteam Couch toured for the opener with very little expectations (any tour opener I am not expecting a perfect show, especially one with a 16 month gap in between)

That being said, I did think this show was solid. Didn't hear many flubs and the energy was there. Highlights of the first set include the Wolfman's and Limb by Limb.

On to the second set, which everyone and their mother called the opener correctly - Down With Disease. I can honestly say I enjoyed this version and the jam... a great start to the 2nd half of this one. During the middle of the jam, I found myself laughing off any notions I had of rust. The band seems ready for this tour. Was cool to hear "If I Could" but I certainly didn't understand the late 2nd set "Rift" This show is worth a 3.7 and if you're putting context into play it's a 4 star affair.
, attached to 2021-07-28

Review by schwitze

schwitze First set was average to good, nothing particularly spectacular. The welcome from the crowd when the band stepped onto stage was phenomenal. Second set was a rager. The one-two punch of Disease->Simple took us in some dark and interesting places. Speaking of dark, that Fuego was intense, almost creepy. Would have loved for them to explore the spaces it was going a little more, but I can never complain with a segue into Plasma. The segues for the first half of the set were smooth and buttery. They came out to play for set 2.

Of course the Weekapaug Jim was the standout of the set for me. It seemed to come out of nowhere when they went into Weekapaug and just as seamlessley, they segued back into Jim. At this point, I am absolutely in love with this set. The rift was strong, but don't sleep on the If I Could. Great vocal and instrumental interplay between Trey and Page throughout.

Solid show, 3.5-4. Would be a clear 4 with a stronger first set.
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