Saturday, December 30, 2017

Phish wielded sonic sorcery Friday Night as they continuously amaze. Friday night the crowd simply split open and Melted.

I may have attended more Phish shows than High School classes my senior year,  but my expert analysis has been off more this year than Harvey Weinstein’s past  judgment with the ladies. Damn though it's never sounded so good to be so wrong. I’m  the genius that forecasted that the Baker’s Dozen resistance would be akin to four bad New Year Eve runs. I did redeemed myself slightly, by flipping a 180 following night one. I even boasted  that it would be their career defining run and the musical    achievement that followed did not surprise me. It's actually a joy to be wrong when it sounds so good. Predictably,  I repeated the same mistake forecasting four Saturday night specials over this New Years run.  After 2 fantastic  nights of music, I am once again ecstatic to be wrong. Phish is turning 2017 into the year of the Garden. They continuously have made profound musical statements on a nightly basis this year at the Garden and last night was no exception. It's certainly a rewarding time to be Phish fan, like a fine Pinot they are improving with age. Friday nights  show continued where Thursday night left off, with the band seemingly creating historic jams without any negative ramifications or flubs. Trey  inserted himself early and often over the course of the two astonishing sets. He wielded his new rig with complete abonnement all evening leading to musically peaks that electrified the Garden all evening.

  A smoking “Cavern” paired next to an  extended ‘Blaze On” kicked off the festivities. Trey was masterful from the first note, beginning an intriguing and more inspired first set than the previous nights  first stanza. It still lacked continuity but the band’s unpredictable versions of beloved staples proved enough to carry the set. The stanza ended on an extremely tasty note with an adventurous “Ocelot” that showcased several solos by Paige. The rarity “Destiny Unbound” was executed perfectly, has many fans finally caught the elusive gem. The complex ‘Walls of the Cave” which has received more plays over the last few years, ended the set with a frenzy. Trey’s chops ensured  the peak exploded into musical insanity with his rapid fire licks. When placed at the end of the opening set this gem is quite effective. Last night version  was no exception. Spirits were running high between sets as the faithful knew the next half was bound to deliver the goods but few could have foreseen the immaculate set that would send everyone home satisfied.
 The second set was a dream Setlist played to perfection. My favorite funk fueled tune “Sand” began the set of destiny and the tune soon veered into a filthy jam that had the sold out venue dancing in a hypnotic state as the music washed over the venue. Then with the timeless jam out of Chalk Dust things got plaid.  This is a set you have to hear, I could explain the unexplainable but it seems like an act in futility. The set consisted of a “Ghost” for the ages. While the set ended with a “Simple >Split Open and Melt”.  You goddamn right! I seen Phish since 1991 and I struggle to find a year as profound or consistant as 2017. My only complaint was a poorly placed  “Julius” encore. Following the energetic sonically pleasing second set. I believe the show would have been better served with a “Lifeboy’ or “Coil” encore. But, I am splitting hairs, a slower tune would have aided the crowd to find their jaws following the disgustingly beautiful  “Split Open and Melt”.  Two shows are still on deck with New Year’s Eve falling on a Sunday night.  Can this band get any better?  Damn Right!  After this year, I am considering moving back to New York. I need to be close to the house Phish built.
Kevin Long       



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