, attached to 2018-10-16

Review by DrewG

DrewG These were shows #62 and #63 for me, and interestingly enough, they were my first non-MSG indoor shows and my first shows that weren't a New Years run or summer tour. Fall tour, nice to meet you. Tom Marshall, nice to meet you as well before night 2!

The room itself was great, feeling a whole lot cozier than its 17,500 capacity would suggest. People were clearly fired up from the get-go—call it tour opener, call it upstaters trying to get over Curveball, call it the surprise banner, really call it whatever you'd like—but this was a rather solid show, tour opener qualifier or not. Moma gets things going with some very fiery Trey-led playing, before jumping into a very fun version of Tube. This one packs a lot into its 11 minutes: crazy alien sounds and synths from Page (more on that later) before kicking into an awesome Trey and Fish led climb that ends with a nice peak packed with a few Mike bombs.

Theme was standard, with the > into Free not so much a strange little segue as it was a biffed re-entrance (a lyrics flub in Cities would also show a little rust). Free gets flexible in the Mike funk section, leading to a minute-plus of deconstructed face-to-face riffing between Trey and Mike in the vein of the Camden or Baker's versions of Character Zero. Cool and unique little twist on an old favorite. Army of One and Halley's served as a bridge to the other notable segment of set one, the Everything's Right -> Cities combo, complete with stellar segue. Coming off a summer full of great versions, this Everything's Right delivers the goods, with a serene patient build capped by a nice Trey sustain into some more massive Gordo bombs. Great start.

Ghost-No Men-Piper is definitely a nice trio to start on paper and the crowd was definitely into it, but these versions are mostly standard fare with flashes of something great—the 9 to 11~ minute stretch in the Ghost is a good example. After this follows two curious highlights: Twenty Years Later and Show of Life (huh?). Clocking in at just over 14 minutes this 20YL goes to some very surreal sonic spaces in its final 4 or so minutes: weird sludge-y bass, angry and dissonant Trey riffing, Page trying to communicate with aliens via synths, and then a nice slide back into the song proper. Ya know, the dark evil Phish shit people have been begging for. Combined with Kuroda blasting deep reds into the crowd and the entire lighting rig hovering just a pinch above the band—this reminded me of the jaw-dropping Camden Split Open and Melt Kuroda work—the Albany 20YL will almost certainly end up on the jam charts.

While Show of Life elicits the standard groans (listen to the 12/31/13 soundboard and hear the guy scream "OH NOOOOO!" at the start of it), this version is really serene, with a spirited vibe and patient playing (very quiet out of the composed section) that serves as an effective counterpoint to the darkness of the 20YL. 2001, Zero and Hood were all high-energy crowd pleasers to send everyone home happy, with 2001 really making the people go loco as always.

Fun one, and a good omen for fall tour. Stuff worth checking out: Tube, Free, Everything's Right -> Cities, 20 Years Later.


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