Sitting in the midst of the vast sprawl of an outdoor amphitheater during an encore when thousands of like minded fans held Zippos or Bics in the air was an indelible image that became ingrained in many concert goers minds in days gone by. Later, glowstick wars became one of those incredible visual memories seeing all the wild fluorescents fly through the air in orchestrated syncopation.
Now, developer and Phish fan, M@ - aka Matt Sheppard, thinks it is the time for smartphones to take over with an iPhone & Android app called Crowd Lights.
Phish left the confines of the East Coast following two shows in New Jersey that produced mix results in the final date. The show had great parts, but completely failed in the second set where Trey seemed to rush through every song to successfully cross it off the setlist. Heading west for Clarkston, MI the band unleashed an unparalleled performance that contained all the pieces for a great show. Fun vibe, good songs and deep jams.
Now the 72 hour rule is still in effect here, but I am very comfortable in saying that this is the best show Phish has played since 2003/2004.
Audio downloads of Phish's 6/3/11 show at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI are available from LivePhish.com here. The jammed out DWD clocks in at 24:54, longest jam in 3.0 (including YEMs).
The onset of summer tour has certainly produced a lot of conversation here on the blog and in the forum. First and foremost, thank you for your participation! Please don't let my conviction deter you from telling me I'm a dumbass, which I am. That being said, there has been an overwhelming discussion on what makes a good review and what doesn't. There's no real answer to that, but all I can say is that for me what follows is my opinion. It's critical in nature, but I'm not attempting to say that this is the de facto version of a show's story. We all have different experiences and we should engage in discussing our opposing viewpoints, not questioning whether they are correct. So please, let me know what you think. I feel very strongly about these ideas, but it's not a doctrine I'm putting forth.
With three shows in Bethel, NY to open the 2011 summer tour, Phish provide several standout moments over the course of last weekend. As the tour moved south to New Jersey, I was interested to see whether they pick up on the momentum of the first two shows or get sucked into the mid week vortex.
After an energy building Chalk Dust opener at PNC in Homdel, things took a dramatic shift into the second song with Roggae. I, for one, love this combination. There are times when the energy builds so high in the first three or four songs that the eventual come down feels like a lead weight. Placing up-tempo and down-tempo together creates an amazing balance, not to mention that Roggae is one of the best choices in this category. When PYITE begins, there’s a sudden uptick right back to post-CDT. Great setlist orchestration by Trey here. By the time that Sand rolled around, everyone took the opportunity to stretch out the jam a little more. Trey provides some pretty little repetition and scale work by Trey around the 6 minute mark, but listen to Page. The layer he creates here is indicative of how awesome he is playing right now and demonstrates an addition to things that I don’t think he was making previously. After this however, the wheels come off the set. While Tube was finely executed, I wholly expect it to be the next popular battle-cry for “song most in need of extending” now that Halley’s has gotten the treatment. From the beginning of Divided Sky, Trey seemed uncomfortable and at the 2:38 mark he loses the handle and just takes a break. Remarking to the crowd “I did that on purpose”. In what had to be a cathartic moment for such an irregular trouble, Trey just lets the rest of the band proceed to a point where he can easily come back in. This is one thing that makes Trey so endearing. At his core, he is still just a guy entertaining a crowd and at certain moments that speaks more to his ability than any extended jam can.
Having missed Bethel, last night was my first show since the First of the Year. I was excited to make it to at least one this summer, and it was a perfect evening to be outside enjoying the Phish. All in all, I liked the flow of the first set, at least for the first few songs: (predictable) energy of "Chalkdust," breeziness of "Roggae," crowd-pleasing of "Punch," funk into rock of "The Moma Dance" . . . did it really segue into "Rock and Roll?" Always a fan of "Sand" and this one had me moving a bit. The too-short "Tube" was the turning point, though. With the fubar'd "Divided Sky" (complete with Trey claiming it was on purpose, and stopping to hold out the mic to the crowd and just laugh at his flub) and the anti-climactic "Character Zero."
For set two, I really enjoyed the "After Midnight" and it's reach into Type II territory. It didn't get spacy, like the later "Drowned," but it clearly left all resemblance of the melody. (Anyone give the "After Midnight" a re-listen? And do you hear "Runaway Jim" near the end of the jam? I am interested to see if it holds up on tape . . . ) "Possum" was a bit of a let down, if you ask me. Only to be brought up by the "Drowned" and the subsequent space. Sure, it meandered, but I was happy they at least went there. "Maze" could have been something different, but it was actually really well played with what seemed like an extended solo from Page. I was expecting "Circus"; but "Dirt" worked just as well as a breather. "Alaska" was quite a downer, if you ask me. I find the song boring and monotonous. Blah. "YEM" was quite tight and very well played (especially when compared to the "Divided"). It was fun to watch Trey getting down while Mike closed off the song pre-vocal jam. But it was short and standard.
I was hoping for an "Axis: Bold as Love" encore (hey, if Possum could get repeated, why not this one?); we got Hendrix, just a different one. "Fire." Nice walk-out music.
All in all, for what might be my only show of the summer? Really fun, with a couple instances of Type II balanced with flubs and a downer or two. Enjoyed the flow of the first set, and the bit of exploration in the second. If I had to apply a number, I would say 4.5-5.5.
When Phish left the stage of Madison Square Garden on the first of this year, fans would have scheduled a ticker tape parade for the following day if the city of New York would allow it. Reviews were glowing and opinions on their musical prowess were never higher, and rightfully so. The shows were well played and filled with highlights.
Fast forward to the end of May and, I'd imagine, many people were ready for amazing energy, but probably a series warm up performances. And while that held true, there were several standout moments that carried on the efforts last winter. Probably so numerous in fact, that many fans left Bethel, well...surprised.
We rolled into Bethel early friday morning, and from then until we left this morning we encountered only friendly citizens embracing our community. A very special thanks to the people of bethel, the staff at bethel woods, the state troopers and anyone else I am forgetting. We had a great time ans sincerely hope we get the opportunity to visit again..."
It's Monday, so it must be time for the Mystery Jam. As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). The hint will come on Tuesday and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Wednesday Answer:First off, apologies for the lack of a Tursday hint, but we really didn't need one this week. RebeldyNugs joins the four-timer club by nailing the 6/20/04 "Waves." We'll be back on Monday...
NOTE: This is hopefully the beginning of a regular Phish.Net feature where one of our esteemed bloggers will post a short paragraph or two containing their take on the previous night's show. We encourage further discussion and interaction in the comments section.
If Bethel2’s first set was a welcome departure from the 3.0 norm, Bethel3 was more of the same. The set wasn’t offensive or bad in any way; it was just unremarkable save for relative rarities like “Timber” and “Curtis Loew.” One minor outlier was the “OKP” > “Suzy,” which was especially feisty for a non-jammed out version. Unfortunately, the second set followed suit. The highlight was the “Simple” that went outside the box for a bit but did not match the beauty of the 1/1/11 version (never mind 8/6/10). The “Slave” closer was quite enjoyable – as “Slave” closers usually are – but was not enough to make up for the largely lackluster show. 3.0/10.