, attached to 2019-07-05

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks (Saw the show from the field.)

Last night's first set was tight, interactive, good-time Phish: an ideal summer set, the sort of hour you love hearing live and needn't race to hear. I was so happy with how well the band was singing(!), the clean execution of 'Rift' (and everything else), and the unexpected breakout jam in 'Tube.' I've no idea whether this sort of thing is considered a 'standout' Set One anymore, but it was perfectly satisfying in the moment -- every song felt just right to me, and band and audience had energy to spare. 'Tube' fans take note.

Page and Fish were monstrous throughout.

Fenway franks and highway-robbery bottled water at setbreak. Why not.

'Sand' is barely a song, and its jam didn't quite achieve liftoff as I recall; foolishly hoping for a long journey to begin the set, I was momentarily disappointed -- and I have no use for the perfectly enjoyable 'Axilla.' One of those paradoxes of Phish fandom: they were playing music that was by any sane standard brilliant and weird and groovy, nailing every note, but I thought the night 'needed' something else. And I'd have told you that 'else' was 'more.' Paradoxes of ego-desire in general, I guess.

Anyway, 'Mercury' kicked off and it was astonishing. My old show buddy Mike and I turned repeatedly to each other with those smiles-and-nods that say 'We'll need to talk about this later, but right now I'm in too deep for talk.' Trey seemed to step back at times throughout the show -- his lead/follow moments were a bit more polarized than I expected -- and the extraordinary heights of the 'Mercury' jam saw him receding completely into the group soundscape. They played with such patience and empathy... Everyone comes home claiming to've seen something special, and whaddaya know, I swear I did.

After seeing 'Wading' at the triumphant, climactic SPAC run in June '04 I will always have time for that song. They played it well, if unexceptionally, and the singing was again spot-on, with a little bit of interpretive wiggliness from Trey on vocals.

'Fuego' is 'Fuego,' until it's wonderfully not -- last night's outro jam flowed effortlessly through patient transformation. This was our other shared second-set moment of respectful gratitude. Phish make the extremely difficult seem as simple and inevitable as sleeping or waking, drifting, dreaming.

The rest of the set was the rest of the set -- thank you Phish -- and the encore's one twist was a sprightly little full-band groove in the 'Coil' outro, ultimately giving way (as it must) to the sweetest little diminuendo in all of Phish's catalogue. 'Thanks everybody.'

Was it a great show? Hmm. Why do you ask?

See you tonight.


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