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MPP2 Recap

Posted 4 years ago by pzerbo - 28 comments Link: http://phi.sh/b/4df76a2f

Sunday night, MPP1 is in the books, and you know the drill so let’s get right to the action.

Phish Destroys America. Phish Severely Bruises America. Tour of Signs. Phish, The All-Request Band, continued their march down the long-neglected east coast on Sunday by staying put at The Pav Known as Merriweather Post. Phish opened with more “sign language,” this time with a crisp and punchy “Buried Alive.” Dipping back into their 1998 musical costume, The Velvet Underground’s Loaded, Fish assumes one of several leads of the evening with “Lonesome Cowboy Bill,” the first in 141 shows (7/30/03 Camden).

Fish’s literary masterpiece “Ha Ha Ha” is next and leads into a stock “Sample.” The first substantive highlight of the night, “Divided Sky” follows and continues to mature like a fine Bordeaux, combining decades of depth and tradition with ever new and innovative spices. On par with the moving Great Woods version of a week earlier, let’s just say they have this one nailed at the highest level... great work!

This already smoking first set gathers even more steam with “typically killer” versions of “Wolfman’s” -> “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” a heaping of extra mustard on each, please! A totally legit “->” segue, the “middle” courtesy mostly of Michael “Soft GJordan, with an especially strong outro to “Boogie On.” “Gumbo” and “Halley’s” follow and are sure to please fans of 3.0 precision and brevity.

Bathtub Gin” is up next, a song that continues to bring IT, and in this case Phish wastes no time getting the the heart of the jam: ~four minutes on the theme and then, bam! No radical Type-II here but a killer and focused full jam with Trey dancing along the tree-tops! A rival to the GoldenGinTeca of Bethel? Perhaps not; but all heat, all the time. Strong if “typical” versions of the recently infrequently played “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and the über-frequently played “Character Zero” round out this excellent first set, on a tour chock-full of same. Even if you are “all about the jams” that typically reside more in set II... set I matters. It’s almost half the damn show, it matters a lot! This one crushed, bravo! Fifteen minutes.

Act II. Can we sustain the momentum of Act I? Roll tape! [WARNING: if you can’t handle nuance and mild but good-natured criticism, please just skip down a few paragraphs. Bring the pets inside].

Party Time” opens, returning to the ancestral homeland of its 8/15/09 live debut. The rare Fishman Exacta of “Ha Ha Ha” and “Party Time” paid $27.60; please check your tickets before leaving the venue. “Crosseyed and Painless” follows. Great news, if our heroes follow form. Rocking? To be sure. Innovative, exploratory, and risky as it so often used to be (see 10/31/96, 11/2/96, 12/31/99, 7/29/03, 9/14/00, 7/31/09, etc)? In a word: no. “C+P,” a song that has so often provided the loading dock for a truck-full of kick-ass has of late disappointed (and yes, I’m even looking at you, 1/1/11). Honesty moment: this song has gradually but clearly lost a lot of steam in 3.0 compared to earlier versions. Big deal? Nope. Does even the most crusty and “jaded” fan still think the circa-90s glory can be around the next corner? You betcha, eh! As it stands, it is just filler dance track. Sorry!

Tom Marshall’s latest contribution to the Phish canon, “Steam,” makes its second appearance after the debut @ Blossom. While many fans are on the fence on the actual “steam effect,” this song is pregnant with possibilities, there is a lot going on here musically and lyrically so let’s hope it sticks around and gets some play. The work-horse 3.0 jam vehicle “Light” follows, and sadly falls almost incomprehensibly flat, one of the only true duds in an otherwise shining albeit brief history (try 8/7/10, 10/22/10 or 10/26/10 to witness “Light” soar at its interstellar best). “The Wedge” is up next and brings back a brief interlude of energy and spark to a set that really is in need of a shot in the arm at this point.

Right about the time this set is screaming for a “Ghost,” “YEM” or really any song with some serious improvisational punch, Trey turns things in the opposite direction with “Alaska.” A perfectly fine Phish tune that make me laugh and smile just thinking of the endless trove of Sarah Palin jokes, let’s face it: this is a horrible call in this spot. I’m all for mixing up the setlist, and I loved “Tennessee Jed,” too, but this one is a total energy killer. Dear Trey: please reconsider, this is a first set song if there ever was one. The wonderfully sweet “Halfway to the Moon” is next. Page nails this and it is a great and welcome song... but again, the placement. As a sublime interlude between rockers? Absolutely a great call. Following “Alaska?” In the prime cut of the second set? I’m as patient as they come but someone grab me a puppy-upper!

A by-the-books “Harry Hood” is followed by a “Backwards Down the Number Line” that finally injects a little spark into the set, with great lead work by Trey. Not a “top-x” version or jumping out of the song’s core structure but an excellent version. “Loving Cup” gives set II redemption one final bid. Rocking to be sure, but no extra mustard here. So what do we have here in set II? Not a whole lot to write home about. Basically we have Bethel3 II: Phish are pros, 1x,000 people forked over a good chunk of scratch, and Phish plays a perfectly respectable, professional rock and roll show every time, so bravo! Worth every penny compared with basically every other act on the shed circuit. But this set... for Phish? Weak sauce. Go ahead, tear me down in the comments, tell me how I “don’t get it and should get out of the game” etc. I can take it... hater, please! I’m a fan-boy not a critic, but I call them like I hear them.

Apparently the guys may well have agreed with this assessment, because they came out for the encore with a bag of kick-down. “Sanity!” It never came my way, either, and a perfect kick-down in a surprise spot. Boom! Pow! Keeping the surprises coming, “Makisupa” is up next and keeps up the fun and the “WHAT?!?” “Bundt cake... with essence of lemon and stuff!” lolz, you slay me, Trey. Nobody messes with PAGE’S HOUSE! WHAT?!? “First Tube” takes it on home in typically rocking fashion.

Verdict? I’m not the judge, just a fan who loves The Phish. You. Make. The. Call. I’m a big fan of set I and the encore and let’s just... leave it at that. What a set I and encore! :-) Having missed all previous theater and webcasts (because I was in attendance at all), I’m enthused to get into fan-boy mode and rock the living room for the Alpharetta webcast. Get your dancing shoes on... WHAT?!?

Comments

ZapRowsdower Reply
ZapRowsdower Long-neglected east coast.

Ha.
Score: 0
macey66 Reply
Merriweather rocked!! Never a dissapointing show at this venue. It's become a reunion and a melting pot for many of us in the Northeast. It's always a great party, despite the presence of the entire city of Columbia police force being in the lot. But we all know the routine of those shitty lot shows by now. First Buried Alive in 95 shows so this will always be one too remember.
Score: 1
London_Oakley Reply
London_Oakley "To be sure. Innovative, exploratory, and risky as it so often used to be (see 10/31/06, 11/2/06..."

I think these should be 10/31/96 and 11/2/96.
Score: 0
GhostlikeSwayze Reply
GhostlikeSwayze Was the "long-neglected east coast" line sarcasm?
Score: 0
pzerbo Phish.net Staff Reply
pzerbo @London_Oakley said:
"To be sure. Innovative, exploratory, and risky as it so often used to be (see 10/31/06, 11/2/06..."

I think these should be 10/31/96 and 11/2/96.
Thanks you, nice catch; fixed.
Score: 0
phrankG Reply
I actually had a better time on Sunday as opposed to Saturday just because the sound quality on Fish side on Saturday night was really poor. I was on Page side Sunday and it was a lot better. I am with you on Alaska....like Number Line it doesn't really have a place to fit where it won't ruin the flow of the set. Whatever...I had a great time. This is Phish's M.O. now, so we all just have to live with it. I got my creativity out in the Midwest so I really didn't mind a pair of straight ahead rock shows at Merriweather. All creativity and exploration aside, I've been really impressed with how much energy the boys exude on stage lately. Taking requests for openers has been really fun (and has made for excellent openers). Looking forward to Super Ball IX, where the playing should be loose and unhurried.
Score: 0
RobesPierre Reply
i agree with everything you said...

this summer, set II is consistently disappointing.

kinda sad, but true.
Score: 0
Halden Reply
I am starting to agree with your assessments more and more. The second frame is good but nothing to really remember.
Score: 0
tubedss Reply
tubedss if trey wants to play those tunes in the 2nd, then it's his band. i didn't think it killed the energy. it may have for some but i was okay with it. #Line seemed forced but again, it's their choice. it's all extra gravy....remember coventry?
Score: 1
J_D_G Phish.net Staff Reply
J_D_G The Gin is a hidden gem! Oh my, Page decides early on to just ditch his sometime-sidecar status, and Trey clearly responds. Trey's approach during much of this just doesn't sound like what he'd do in Gin; he plays with rapid, spider-fingered precision more akin to the composed part of, say, Bowie or Divided or Reba. Quite stunning. Trey may be full of #lined baked Alaska, but PAGE AIN'T GONNA TAKE IT! Shiver-inducing.
Score: 1
pzerbo Phish.net Staff Reply
pzerbo @RobesPierre said:
this summer, set II is consistently disappointing.

kinda sad, but true.
For the record, I don't think that, at all! The second sets at Bethel2, Pine Knob, and Blossom were all outstanding, borderline classic Phish set IIs, and every set II has *something* to offer for long-term listening enjoyment... except, perhaps, Bethel3 and MPP2. YMMV.
Score: 0
J_D_G Phish.net Staff Reply
J_D_G @tubedss said:
it's all extra gravy....remember coventry?
If it's your position that no Phish show post-Breakup is subject to any kind of review or critical analysis, then you should probably just stop reading and commenting on reviews, don't you think? For those of us not willing to simply say that, since Phish was once broken up and now they're back "it's all good," we enjoy hearing about the nuances of shows and comparing them with each other and seeking out the best examples of 3.0 Phish so we can listen to it.
Score: 3
weekapaugrooven Reply
weekapaugrooven @J_D_G said:
@tubedss said:
it's all extra gravy....remember coventry?
If it's your position that no Phish show post-Breakup is subject to any kind of review or critical analysis, then you should probably just stop reading and commenting on reviews, don't you think? For those of us not willing to simply say that, since Phish was once broken up and now they're back "it's all good," we enjoy hearing about the nuances of shows and comparing them with each other and seeking out the best examples of 3.0 Phish so we can listen to it.
Thank you. (!!)
Score: 0
fly_phishn Reply
I absolutely loved the 10.16.10 and Bethel Crosseyed and Painless performances so I'm definitely not ready to give up on that tune. The Merriweather version was arguably better than both of those for 11 minutes, just needed another few minutes of exploration (still waiting...).

Agree with your review though, song choices in the second set were a little odd, but overall I left really impressed. 1st set and encore were some of the best I've seen, and 2nd set had plenty of songs I love. Trey is playing his ass off, so, can't really complain, but it would nice to see some more flowing second sets, cohesive stanzas of music. Come on Phish you can do it!
Score: 1
HighGearAntelope Reply
HighGearAntelope Pretty much agree with Pzerbo that the 2nd set was lulling, and I think the crowd seemed a little out of it as well. Good show and all, but the first night was IT for me.
Score: 0
Sprachtor Reply
Sprachtor Important point: The Encore. If the encore is insanity (get it?), they feel they owe the crowd something.
Score: 0
VictorWootang Reply
VictorWootang what the hell... am I the only one that thought the Crosseyed was GREAT?

It wasn't a spacious, long, experimentive version like old ones such as Coral Sky, but Trey absolutely killed it. Mike was dropping bombs and the whole band worked and peaked at the same times. I love it.
Score: 0
Edgar2 Reply
So.... Alpharetta tonight. This is good news. I'm not going to have to sit through Alaska. I'm happy about that.

Now, can someone please explain why Phish is playing in Alpharetta again instead of at Lakewood in Atlanta? Everybody in the state (who doesn't live in snobby, rich and extremely inconvenient) Alpharetta hates going to Verizon Amphitheater. There's no good way to get there, no option for public transportation and the sound sucks compared to centrally located, convenient Lakewood (and its far superior parking lot). I just don't get it.
Score: 0
joechip Reply
joechip Nice writeup as usual. Some of the second set song choices have indeed been puzzling over the last week. Very interested to see what happens over the stream for the next two nights. I have to disagree with the other commenter who says this tour's 2nd sets have been "consistently disappointing". Bethel 1 and 2, DTE and Blossom, and even Darien have had very good second sets which flowed nicely for the most part.
Score: 1
erikdhoward Reply
@VictorWootang said:
what the hell... am I the only one that thought the Crosseyed was GREAT?

It wasn't a spacious, long, experimentive version like old ones such as Coral Sky, but Trey absolutely killed it. Mike was dropping bombs and the whole band worked and peaked at the same times. I love it.
not at all.... I absolutely LOVED the first set, but C&P by far took the night for me. I don't really care that the rest of the second set was lackluster. C&P by itself reminded me why I love live Phish. It was musical perfection in my opinion...
Score: 0
Lee_Fordham Reply
Only 27.60 for the Ha Ha Ha / Party Time exacta? I think you are under-paying, sir.
Score: 1
killdevilfalls Reply
Got a last-minute Pav ticket and had a great show. 1st Set was a Funk Train gone wild, and the C&P was ripped in 2nd, which had a great sophomore Steam. Glad that Loving Cup was used as a 2nd Set Closer instead of usual Encore placement. Speaking of Encore, my 2nd 3-song encore, and while I liked Portland '09 for its diversity (Acoustic Freebird bust-out sandwiched between Carini and Waste), this is the top Encore triplet of 3.0. What?! Page's House!
Score: 0
deBebbler Reply
deBebbler Not at Pine Knob, Cuyahoga, nor Riverbend, and now played before Alpharetta.

Man, I can't buy me an Alaska. Nosiree! ;)
Score: 0
ssp_saratoga Reply
To hear some of the complaining in here is astounding. Not every show can have an 11/26/97 Character Zero > 2001 > Cities, an Albany 11/28/09 Seven Below > Ghost AND an Alpine DWD > What's the Use.

For pete's sake - the Bathtub was great, the Divided Sky was nearly flawless and the C+P absolutely ripped. Throw in a JJLC, the best Loving Cup I've heard in a while and a blistering First Tube to end the show I have no complaints whatsoever. I'll deduct a few points for Sanity and Alaska but as I ventured out into mall parking lot to find my ride, I did so with a huge grin.

Score: 0
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd "Phish continued their march down the...east coast on Sunday by staying put..."

Gold.
Score: 0
darricale Reply
1/1/11 Cross-Eyed says.....LISTEN AGAIN KID!!
Score: 0
Leo_Trio Reply
was long-neglected east coast a joke?
Score: 0

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