Soundcheck: Funky Bitch, Blues Jam
SET 1: Evolve, Free, Ocelot > My Sweet One, Cool Amber and Mercury, Halfway to the Moon, Water in the Sky, Theme From the Bottom > Suzy Greenberg > Fluffhead
SET 2: Mr. Completely > Birds of a Feather, Ghost -> Bathtub Gin > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Split Open and Melt
ENCORE: Character Zero
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Review by Laudanum
Island vibes rule the first set, as laid-back a set as you'll find. Not that it's lazy, or isn't well-played, it just wants a mojito.
Cool Amber and Mercury feels like the lynchpin, providing the vibe for everything that follows. Listen to Page's excellent work here, but also in Water in the Sky. Theme contains more of a wave swell than a peak, and the whole set just floooows.
Even Fluffhead is relaxed and digging toes in the sand, at least until the end, which does provide a pretty explosive peak, foreshadowing what's to come in set two.
Yeah, set two.
That friendly beachside from set one is long gone. Dark jazz owns the night here and Mr. Completely ramps into a why-are-aliens-landing-in-Tennessee churn before settling into Birds of a Feather and turning the amphitheater into a smoky lounge.
Ghost is next and soon the aliens are back and so is Mr. Completely, the whole thing becoming a dark soup of jam at this point. The transition into Gin is so astounding, so twisted that it infects the whole song, much like the transition to Fuego from a few nights earlier in Arkansas.
Mike propels the Gin > 2001 combo to fits of sci-fi disco fury, like the end of Kubrick's film, but with a disco ball and fierce grooves. The only place this possibly ends up, of course, is Melt. No Trey ballad could withstand this psychedelic storm.
And what a Melt it is. A portal opens mere moments into the jam, the band steps through, and we're treated to music of some other place, some other time. An alien landscape, an alien biosphere. More like a Yes album cover than Yes ever was. It is, in a word, phenomenal.
Even the damn Zero encore twists and oozes. They just couldn't stop.
Here, for the record, is something no other band can do: string five seemingly random old songs together and tie them up with sticky jam so they sound like they were brand new and always meant to be played in that order, with that arrangement, with a cohesiveness rivalling the best albums ever produced.
Listen to this show and be astonished. This is one of the greatest Melts *ever* played.
And it's 2021.