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Review by MiguelSanchez
The first set kicked off with the classic Jim>Foam pairing. I've always been a fan of this opening sequence, but I had yet to see it in person. It was executed well, and they made it evident that they were on point again this evening. They did follow this with one of the biggest turds in the catalog, Mexican Cousin. I'm always a bit surprised to see that people actually like this song. Whenever Trey opts to play this, I wonder where his PO is to drug test him. At least it's short. Ocelot started to shift things back in the right direction. Then came Sugar Shack. This another I do not really care for, but they did buried it. Trey in particular seemed to have actually put some time into learning the changes. I'm not sure I've seen a cleaner version. SIHTOS worked well here. It gave this set a tinge of darkness, and you could tell by Trey's wailing that he was ready to wallow in it. Halfway to the Moon was a solid selection after SIHTOS, but it wasn't a pick that really blew anyone away. BT Gin, on the other hand, pulled everyone's focus right back in. This played out like many 3.0 1st set versions, but they took it for a slightly longer ride and gave it a little more pop. As the jam wound down, they cranked up Free. I always feel like Free feels out of place in the first set, but it worked here. Trey was booming with energy as they moved through this one. When they started dropping the "Your Trip is Short" lines, the band and crowd went crazy. Like BOAF the night before, this may not be the most musically adventurous version, but it was full of energy and tons of fun. WOTC sent everyone into setbreak happy and anticipating the final set of the run.
I was certain DwD was poised for the opening spot, but instead, they offered me my first live taste of their new 2nd set opening jam darling, CDT. I've seen CDT plenty of times, but I have never caught one that went deep. This version pushes through almost every genre Phish loves to borrow from, rock, jazz, funk, etc. Fishman keeps the beat like a champ thoughout bringing several fresh twists. Right when you get comfortable with this jam and think you have a handle on how it will play out, Trey comes over the top with one of his most riveting guitar lines of the year. After that, there really is no reason to keep pushing this jam, so he delicately directs them into one of the most consistent improvisation vehicles of the last five years, piper. Piper explodes out of the gates but quickly lands in a ambient funk land when Gordon fires up his space bass to signal the rest of the band to let the bottom fall out. They conjure up a jam that feels like it came from one of the best parts of Fall '98. Trey slowly bends everyone towards Theme from the Bottom. It was a pretty straight forward take. I'm a fan of Wombat, so I really enjoyed it's placement here. After a mind bending sequence to open the set, this centered everyone for the homestretch. Bowie, despite being past its peak, fits just about everywhere for me. This concise version really felt like a set up for a set/run closing Mike's Groove. Then they drop The Line? At first, this was a bit of a head scratcher for me. Then it hit me. We aren't closing this show with a standard old Mike's Groove. They are going to close this down with a bitching YEM. I love being right. For the first time in over a decade, they played a YEM with some freaking muscle. Trey played like he had balls the size of grape fruits through the composed part. I feel like almost every other version I've heard in 3.0 either felt rusty or like they were just walking through it. They were focused on making this version count. They made sure to hammer home the dance party funk on the back end and even left time for some good phishy mayhem. Trey chased Mike around the stage while they were both jamming. I have to give it to Mike. The dude was still laying it down despite having a ginger hot on his heels. The jam concludes with everyone trying their hand at percussion over at Fish's kit, and it only seemed fitting that the last song of the run ended with all of them so close simply having a blast.
Moma Dance was the perfect call for the encore. As "the moment ended," the dirty funk of Moma made it less of a bummer and gave everyone one last chance to get down. Slave is, in my opinion, the best way to end a run. It's delicate beauty, even if played in an unspectacular manner, sends me out the door in a nice blissful place. After they finally brought it to a close, I was certain we'd get one more song. I have never heard a crowd so insistent in my life. They left the house lights on for just long enough to believe this wasn't done yet, so when the lights finally clicked on, all you heard was a low "Ahhh..." from the audience as it became clear that this fantastic time was over.
I have seen a lot of Phish. I won't say this is the best 3 night run ever, but I will say, it's probably the best 3 night run I have seen. Summer '15 has not started, but I have a feeling that they laid the groundwork for a mindblowing year in Las Vegas.