(Fairly anti-climactic given the NPR track releases, then the album stream, and then pre-orders arriving. But I guess that's where we're at with that kind of stuff...)
Band archivist Kevin Shapiro presented a nice little introduction of the album. I don't know that he said anything specific that's not out there in the body of knowledge for those of us that stay tuned in to all the details on this kind of stuff, but here are a couple of the points that stuck out:
- Thanking Nectar's as the "home of phish since 1984."
- He really emphasized the album as a home-grown, Vermont project. That a huge amount of work and creativity and development took place in the Barn.
- The full-band collaborative nature of the project. His comparison point was "not since Story of the Ghost" has the band worked together so fully on an album.
- The fact that 5 different recording locations were incorporated into the album - The Barn, Boardwalk Hall (at the "dress rehearsal" on 10.30), 2 studios in Nashville, and Fame in Muscle Shoals.
- There was particular note of the band covering themselves on Halloween, and so at the dress rehearsal, were dressed as themselves. In line with what was noted in the "Wingsuit" Phishbill, everyone seemed very happy and satisfied that they were able to incorporate a substantive chunk played live by the 4 of them at Boardwalk Hall into the title track.
- He characterized the trip to Muscle Shoals as a "road trip" in a way that I thought connotated an element of spontanaity. After the album was done playing I asked about that a bit - the genesis of the idea to head down that way and add some horns and backup vocals. Like, were they in Nashville and just hopped in the Voyager, or to what degree was that all scheduled and planned in advance? He didn't have any specific knowledge of how that came to be.
- Then, it was kind of funny, as an afterthought, or perhaps more accurately, a forgotten main point - he did his introduction of the album, thanked a bunch of people and organizations, and I think had actually dropped the needle and stepped away from the turntable. Ran back real quick before the music started, and was like, "How can I forget...?" and thanked the band for continuing to make music. Of course.
Sound was fantastic. Nectar's, as one would expect, has a real-deal sound system (2 of them actually) and an exceptional sound engineer.
The couple main things on the album that stood out (over repeated listens to the NPR stream) were:
- Some electronic sounds behind Waiting all Night which I had not noticed at all. I have no idea what instrument or effect they are.
- The massive bass and tympani (I think) behind Winterqueen, which are a great juxtaposition to the delicate guitar and vocals.
- The power of Wingsuit - there's a stretch at the end where it sounds like it could merge into Tweeprise
- And the huge pickslide (again, I think) right at the end of Sing Monica. I knew that was coming because I got a kick out of it on the stream, but that to me is just an extremely fun and rockin addition there coming out of the bounceback vocals.
The main room was relatively empty. There were only about 20 people there, most around the bar. I soaked up most of the album from the sweet spot in the middle of the floor, and was alone there for most of it. Continually surprised how few people turn out for these things. I find them quite enjoyable. Kevin said something like, "Even if I wasn't 'supposed to' be here, this is where I'd be."
Nice raffle prizes from Waterwheel, including a pair of "VIP" tix to SPAC, 3 signed posters (Rochester, Glens Falls, SPAC), one of the flags from Superball, some CDs, and a year's supply of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. After the raffle, Kevin once again thanked Nectar's and Waterwheel for making the event happen, and the band for their "Devotion to their Dream" of making music, and in turn, our dreams. Warm fuzzies on a beautiful Burlington evening.