, attached to 2014-11-02

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: An amusing juxtaposition between Runaway Jim and Foam (which could have opened a set in 1993) and the next 5 songs (which, well, could not have), Halfway to the Moon is a quite strong version, and the Gin > Free combination features the now-usual (and rather peppy) "Classic Gin" jam in the former and some very charming Martian Monster quotes to spice up the latter. Possibly the best first frame of the Vegas run.

Set 2: Remember when Chalk Dust Torture was just a sweet energy booster for either set and not one of Phish's current mightiest jam vehicles? CDT kicks off the set here, and right out of Chorus 2 the band drops into a lower Page-led boil before making a quick move into major key land, a beautiful segment akin to the now-famous Randall's version. Page then moves to the clavinet (even this is low-key!), and the jam starts developing some hip-shaking swing (I should note that Trey is mostly hanging back and letting Page and Mike shine, which maybe explains the two reviews at the bottom, maybe?), until the tempo picks back up and Trey starts hitting on a neat guitar line and Page switches back to the grand piano until they build to a low-key finish, and then Piper kicks in.

Piper revs into a nice groove with Page going to work on the organ and Trey building a fog of noise, then things slow down as Page heads over to the clavinet and Mike takes over. Fish starts urging the band forward, and then they make another move into major-key bliss, more effects moving to the forefront, everyone playing with a gentle intensity (if that makes sense). This resulting jam is one of the beautiful highlights of the entire Vegas run, Mike bringing the power drill (I think) into the mix, loops flying and Page playing his trademark twinkly notes and the sort of thing you'd hear in 2000 when the band was feeling it. So that's 30 minutes of very nice music to start a 2nd set.

A sharp Theme comes next, then Wombat (of all things) to keep the party going (remember, this is a tour-ending set as well as a Sunday set), followed by a nice call with a mid-set Bowie that doesn't break any new Bowie ground but lets us know that they're still willing to kick it in the 4th quarter (gotta love Trey's Martian Monster quote while he's nailing the Trill-Off at the end, too). The Line follows, and Lord knows I enjoy The Line and defend it on this website, but this was not the place for it at all. Shrug emoticon.

Fortunately, YEM comes bounding in to close out the set, and this is a YEM for the record books, one of the strongest since the return. The jam out of the tramps section is stripped-back and relaxed, as minimalist as the standout Reading 2013 version, with some Laser Floyd effects thrown in on top. But that's been done, so the band picks up the intensity, Page returning to the clavinet one more time, Fish firing away, loops flying all over the place. This YEM jam is just pure energy, an absolutely thrilling jam that moves to another level when Trey puts his guitar down and decides to dance...well, until he gets a better idea and grabs his Fee megaphone to fire off the siren. The resulting few minutes, with Mike chasing Trey around the stage, don't quite translate (although Mike does keep playing his bass, which is a pretty nifty feat when you stop and think about it), but then comes the Drums segment, where Mike goes to the fight bell, Trey adds his input to Fish's kit, and then everybody convenes on Fish's kit to clang and clatter their way to a fine finish. The vocal jam, again full of Martian Monster quotes, closes out one hell of a YEM, and Moma > a nicely peaked Slave ends a great show and a great run.

Final thoughts: one of their better tour closers, headlined by a glorious second set that features sweet improv, a YEM for the record books, and our good pal Wombat. Highly recommended.


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