Jamming For the Benefit of the Green Mountain State Page 2
Carini Adding to the intimate nature of this special home state show, Trey dedicates this song to Pete and Tara Carini (Pete Carini is the band's former drum tech). A song that rarely gets drawn out to any sort of length, it's a testament to the friends and family aspect of this show that this one gets to some crazy places. Page bends out some sick dirty sweeping sounds before Trey rips into some bizarrely rhythmic dissonant fretting. Mike capitalizes nicely on the chaos to wander around in the lower registers and Fishman keeps a fire lit underneath everyone. The massive barrage of sound is for me, and anyone else listening in high rez a massively deep barrage of sound. A little over 7 minutes in they transition into a bit of Type II territory building a delicate theme over which Trey lays down a mid-register search pattern of sorts. Then Page comes in with deliciously rounded waveforms before moving to the piano, while Trey plinks out on his own a bit and the whole beautiful thing fades into the deep low growling intro to. . .
Down With Disease A perfect place to go after that "Carini," the guys seem to be in a better place than they were in set one. They dig in and attack the beginning with gusto. Fishman and Page team up a few minutes in and really push this "Disease" hard which seems to be just the push Trey needs to mix up his tones and add some angular sounding grit to this version. I don't like to let other's opinions color mine, but I did read the Phish.net wrap up for this show before I was able to listen and they were right to say that this "Disease" has hints of a "Piper" jam to it with Trey's staccato strums leaving Page to really go off while Fishman mixes up the rhythms with lots of cowbell and urgent meandering tom work in between moments of leaning back in a crisp solid beat. A massively solid group effort that I would've loved to hear go on for another ten minutes or more longer than it did. Still, it's among the best versions of "DWD" we've seen in 3.0 without a doubt and segues lovingly into. . .
Slave to the Traffic Light The intro gets an amazingly deliberate and delicate sounding treatment before the first verse settles in after which the song swaggers through the first instrumental portion with a very wide open sound. Mike holds his solo appropriately in the higher end of the bass's notes with plucky, well-defined notes. Trey and and Page lay down perfect accompaniment that demonstrate just how beautifully emotive this song can be when the band is really feeling it. Not overly complex, the parts variously lay out boldly side by side or weave in and out of one another with a majesty evocative of grand orchestral compositions, visiting musical territory that almost no other current act dares to tread. And then, before you realize you've been enjoying nearly ten minutes of blissful music, it bops itself to a close.
Rock and Roll Picking up on the poppy ending of "Slave," in bounces this recently oft-played always-fun Velvet Underground cover. Trey has a couple of missteps, though given the last half hour or so he's delivered, who cares? Plus, he redeems himself by deftly ascending the fret board toward everything being "all right now" for everyone. The ensuing jam is strictly Type I and holds all the energy of this fast paced song. Mike signals the end about a minute before they let the song devolve into a funky transition into. . .
Twist The sparse beginning of this song really highlights Phish's versatility while the big "wooos" that punctuate the rhythm are a great example of the playfulness of the band. Trey's soloing here pay a bit of homage to Carlos Santana without really directly quoting him. Fishman and Trey have fun with some rhythmic call and response interplay while Page finds room to weave around on the piano a bit. This jam constitutes a bit of a left turn for this set with a mellow bit of lighthearted fun before speeding things up again for a wonderfully appropriate for this show. . .
Backwards Down the Number Line What better setting for a song about long term friendship than a show that amounts to an act of kindness toward a place that remains as rooted in this band as any good friend would in any of us? The beginning's composed section bounces along faithfully before Trey lets out a swerving, largely legato solo interrupted by a strange pause that Page fills in nicely and leads to some high pitched, frenzied fingering on Trey's part. Easing toward the ending we get the song's usual scratchy strumming and fits of wailing from Trey on top of big chords from Page and straight ahead rocking beats from Fishman. A big rock and roll ending marks the first real pause between songs we've seen in this set.
Theme From the Bottom Gently easing in, it's no surprise the band chose to slow down a bit here. Again, the main composed part of the song is well executed leading into a soaring kind of solo from Trey, as though stepping, or at times sprinting, up stairs that plateau in places before reaching the top, "from the bottom, from the top, from the bottom, from the top." Fishman marks the coming end with swishy triplets on loose high hats before sliding into. . .
Suzy Greenberg Though the most overplayed song of 3.0 since Festival 8, thy do have some fun with it this time. Page keeps the intro funky and waves out a sweet solo early on. Trey false starts his next solo before handing the reigns right back to Page who pounds out some very satisfyingly rhythmic piano. Fishman does a great job of showing the crowd that he's still fierce, though Page really does dominate most of this one.
Character Zero This song always feels like a cop-out to me when it closes a second set, though I know it has its fair share of die hard fans too. This version does have its charm with a watery sounding tone from Trey for some of his soloing and spurts of dexterous phrases punctuating a dense buildup by the whole band that might be able to be compared to a swirling storm at times. The latter part of the jam becomes just dirty and chaotic enough to win me over, though hypercritical fans prone to complaining might wrongfully dismiss it as wankery. The ending evokes an uncomfortable darkness that's absolutely what this particular show needed.
Loving Cup A slightly sappy selection for an encore on this occasion, but what can you do? Mike's bass has a wonderful deep warm tone on the HM-801 with my Shure SE535 buds (I've been on the road all week) and I can't overstate how rewarding the high-rez recording is when Page is pounding out the rich chords he seems to love. It's as though you can track each finger on its own amidst the big texture of rest of the sound that's going on. Maybe the band was just tired after a wonderfully high energy show, or if they were all choked up from being in front of this special crowd, but this verison of "Loving Cup" was a tad too loose sounding and had a few awkward moments.
Despite some less than awesome song selection to close the show (what? no 20+ minute "YEM"?) this must've been an incredible show to attend if only for the first 35 minutes of the second set. I know I'm going to be revisiting this one quite a bit as we wait for the next dip into the Phish tank.