Glad tidings from Phish.net to all of you.
Much has come to pass since this summer, including recent human tragedies that have underscored how reliant we are on each other as human beings, and how blessed this community is by the generosity and passion of its members. In no official capacity whatsoever, I would like to thank you for being here and taking part, whatever that looks like for you.
Now let’s pick up where we left off three months ago and change, with a short and sweet look at night one.
Tonight’s first half, bluntly, is as predictable and rote as any since Bonnaroo.
No, the set is not without highlights. There are flashing passages of brilliance like the plinko interplay during Fishman’s verse in “Moma Dance,” and Mike’s scarf. The concluding “Wolfman’s” is playful and powerful from start to finish, and the “Little Drummer Boy” improv manages to dance on the thin line between loose and reverent. Page commands individual attention for much of the first ninety minutes, most notably during his solos in “Funky Bitch” and “Tube.”
But the rest is safe business.
For those following along at home, setbreak affords some saucy guitar porn, as Trey curates a tour of his rig. We’ll provide a link as soon as we’re able, but trust me when I say this is obligatory viewing for guitar geeks and laypersons alike. [ed. note: here's that link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XtQYhs4WUP0]
To open set two, Phish unpacks the “Tweezer” that many expected to see tomorrow, just as winter storm Freyr bears down on Manhattan. This version wends its way patiently to a satisfying peak before bleeding into “Maze.” Page delivers yet another scorching organ solo, emphatically icing his MVP status for the night. More “Little Drummer Boy” quotes during the final throes of “Maze” grease a segue into a typically strong “Twist” that builds deliberately and pays off well.
“Theme From The Bottom” is plagued by its typical FTR (failure to rehearse) issues, and arguably by faulty placement, but the “Fluffhead” that bubbles up next is something else. The composed section holds together well and the whole band sticks the landing in the outro solo. It’s the first time that the audience’s energy is palpable via webcast.
Unusual as it is to hear “Maze” and “David Bowie” in the same set, I’m a sucker for the unexpected, and so I am grateful for this set-closing “Bowie” (the last few minutes of which arguably boast the most spontaneous and interesting jamming of the night). The double encore of “Bouncing” and “Good Times Bad Times” leaves “Tweeprise” on the table for the rest of the weekend, and there are certainly worse cards to stash up one’s sleeve.
Much like the band we love, we’re just getting revved up here. Happy New Year... we hope you check back a lot!