, attached to 2017-07-23

Review by Shafiq

Shafiq Wow. Let’s try to put that one into words. I’m couch touring so I can only imagine what it was like being at MSG.

With the announcement of red velvet being the doughnut of the day (I think red velvet everything is overrated and that will determine if we’d be friends. Don’t @ me.), we spent our day wondering what songs would show up. Everything from Loaded was open, Rock and Roll was all but certain to make an appearance (until it didn’t!), Velvet Sea for sure. Sunday Morning gets the first slot call and makes sense in retrospect. Fishman taking us to church and blessing us in a bishop’s hat, spreading incense around in a thurible, and tossing water at people to open the set makes for a fun opener.

Back on the Train stays type 1 but this is a great version within its structure. How Many People Are You also gets a nice treatment that’s worth listening to. The real highlight you’re looking for here in the first set is definitely the It’s Ice, which clocks in at 15:13, making it the longest version ever (just by glancing at the .net jam chart for It’s Ice).

A quick aside, I’m thoroughly enjoying how Trey is having a hard time playing things like the chords to Your Pet Cat, but then goes on and does a great job with Glide, Ice, or solos/playing like he did in the second set.

The second set opens up with a Bag. At the start of the freeform, the band drops to an area similar to the 12/30/97 Bag and has us thinking we’re in for a deep one. Instead what we get is a typical Bag played relatively quietly that finds its way to a proper ending.

Initially disappointed, the band makes a great call with Wolfman’s Brother. The jam starts in typical type 1 territory and starts off patiently allowing room for the build. The jam peaks in type 1, then Trey drops chords on us to let us know they are not ready to go home with this one just yet. They reach a really pretty space/ambiance point that I can only explain as something like a cross between the 8/17/11 Crosseyed drop before No Quarter or the Coventry soundcheck. You’re assuming/waiting for this to get ripcorded into something else, but it doesn’t happen. The crowd realizes what’s happening and starts cheering. They stay in this space for a few minutes before Trey THEN ripcords it into Twist.

Again, initially disappointed that they’d take those pretty sounds away from us, Twist goes to a place that makes me realize I need to stop doubting Trey Anastasio because I am a mortal who knows not of what is right, and he does. Almost immediately, Twist drops into a quiet space and goes type 2 about a minute or two in. This Twist goes into a major key direction, Trey starts playing chords that seem like a signal back into Twist (might just be me), but the jam keeps going into a high energy disco funk section with Page leading us to a place that sounds like a 3.0 version of the Riverport Gin. The funk builds to a peak for a bit before Fishman leads Twist back home to a proper finish.

Trey starts up Waves next. As soon as the song proper ends, and yet again, they immediately drop into ambiance and minimalist space. Sounding blissful at first, the effects take a dark turn, building up like you were in a scary movie and the antagonist was about to jump out of the bushes.

Miss You fits nicely here after all that, allowing us to collect our thoughts after the band took us to outer space and back, leaving us vulnerable enough to allow the song to hit us deep. Boogie On keeps things going, and the set ends with the Velvet Sea we’d just been Wading to hear. The Sweet Jane encore is really fun and Velvet Underground bookends the show. At the end of the show, I realize two things:

1) Rock and Roll is being saved for later in the run, and I’m ok with that with hopes that it’ll be a second set jam vehicle.
2) I forgot that they hadn’t played Tweezer Reprise yet.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself because we still have TEN more shows left in this run, and I definitely thought night 2 was a heavy contender for show of the year… but night 3 made its own statement. I had to rewatch the webcast after attempting to gather myself. Let’s just say I should stop worrying about whether their best music of the year is behind them (Too soon and bold to say career? They are playing some stellar shit, though.), and should enjoy what’s happening night in and out this summer.


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