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Review by SawItAgaaain
I try not to pop-psychology the band too much, but I couldn’t shake the sense they were trying to bring it for those who made the haul from Jones Beach and the happy souls on the only southern stop this summer. First time to Walnut Creek and I have to say it’s got perfect summer amphitheater vibes. Lot of green, good lawn sight lines, and relatively open and easy ins and outs.
The weather was a background character in the melodrama of the day. Humidity was a beast (that’s what’ll get ya), pressure was low, and the temperature didn’t drop to tolerable till mid-set one when a distant lighting storm closed out the set with us with natural drama.
Moma and Possum to opened with groove and the punch to start the show. The Steam->Stash->Steam was so slick it makes me want to become a segue chaser. They’re playing so damn well this tour that the strong Funky Bitch, Wedge, and Horn felt “average”. I know all the Tweezer Bros of the universe can’t handle sincerity (yeah, I said it) and rage at Rise/Come Together. They’d do well to calm that reflex, cause it it beautiful and this 21 minute version was instant classic. Good shit, man.
The shot across the bow of BBFCFM into Carini to open set two gave me the jitters that they were gonna *unload* on us. It took some time to explore the contours of Carini’s head and there was arguable more investigating to do when Waste showed up. On a relisten today, it doesn’t sound near as ripcord as it felt in the moment. A heavy Ruby Waves jam that eventually petered out in the low end and BASOS was a subtly strong call that channeled beautiful, twinkling Jerry. Straight into Piper continued and they kept with the darkness jams that defined the evening, motoring into a BBFCFM vocal and melodic callback subsection. (Confession: Mashup callbacks is my favorite way to Phish.) Slipping into a Light that also found the darkness, then a clean and clever move to Shine a Light to close out what was a dirty, deep set with a return to the surface. Not the all-timer that it was shaping up to be, but fantastic set worth rotational listening.
The four(!!!) song encore was in order pretty, fun, unexpected, and slamming. All-in-all, a badass show for a Friday night in North Carolina. 10/10 would travel to this show again.