Saturday 07/29/2023 by Icculus


[So I effed up and the person who I thought was recapping last night's show uh it turns out had told me three weeks ago they couldn't do it, so now I'm punishing myself---and all of you---and posting a hastily composed recap in a format similar to (but much less thoughtful and considerate than) the one that earned me venom and spite from our beloved community many years ago. You're welcome. -Charlie]

Phish began their seven-show, half-baker's-dozen run last night with a smooth performance of the serene "Evening Song," followed by two spectacular improvisational gems in "A Wave of Hope" and "Cities," both of which are sure to make their respective jam charts. You read that right, we were only three deep into the FIRST SET and yet Phish had performed a 21+ minute "AWOH" and ~15 minute "Cities"! Simply stated, fun was had by N00B, VET and JADEDVET alike, and I offer three perfunctory, insensitive, and devastatingly ignorant "recaps" for each of these types of fan.

© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

FOR THE N00B: Yaaaay Phish!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!! "MY SOUL" can you believe it!?!?!?!?!



I simply have no words for how mind-blowingly awesome every single thing they played was.


© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

FOR THE VET: Everything in the first set was well-played (yes, yes, even the "My Soul" set-closer), and getting a ~21 minute AWOH and ~15 minute "Cities" so early in the set was incredible.

The "Cities" is inarguably one of the best versions performed in Phish history (check out the highlighted versions on this handy chart for other stellar verisons).

"Free" contained some call-and-response work between Mike and Trey that I don't recall hearing in recent versions, though I could be forgetting about something because I'm almost 53 years old, and have obviously lost my mind because I am taking time to recap a show on a jamband website that, nowadays, everyone with a "smartphone" can easily listen to for themselves and reach their own opinions and conclusions about. And "Stash" was average-great, fine. In any event, arguably last night's first set was the sickest first set since, oh, a few weeks ago 7/15/23.

The second set last night was also excellent. It really was. It began with the (like it or not) exceedingly popular "More," and while it was a straightforward version to be sure, the "Ruby Waves" -> "Plasma" > "Simple" trio that followed were not. Each featured superb musicianship and expert, complementary "type II" improvisation from the band, reminiscent of the "hey hole" days of 1.0. And the segue from RW into "Plasma"? A magnificently smooth transition, gorgeous. Suffice it say, if this music didn't do "IT" for you, Phish is not (or no longer?) for you.

© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

"Mountains in the Mist" was beautiful and perfectly placed, and the second-set-closing SOAM!?!? The greatest version I'd seen since Coventry, hand's down, and imnsfho one of the best versions of the last twenty years as well; it's likely, nay, almost certainly, making the jam chart. Show closed appropriately with an (albeit average-great, but always great) "GTBT." Worth your time to download and listen to---seriously.

FOR THE JADEDVET: What can I say, the hype is legit, get the tapes... even if only to hear the "Cities" and "SOAM" as they are MUST HEAR versions. Yes, yes, I know you haven't liked "Simple" in decades and you think the lyrics to "A Wave Of Hope" are garbage, but Phish is improvising as well as they ever have in their fucking career. So whatever man, I really dgaf whether you check out the show or not, it's fine that you've quit Phish, just quit them for real and stop being butthurt about the fact that they're still out there killing it and earning new fans left and right.

© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2023 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

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, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Devastated I didn’t get the last minute call to recap—had a great view from Section 2!

Serious hose (Mountain jam?) in Wave of Hope. Cities was fantastic—but not as good as 4/23/23 imho.
, comment by PhillyPhilly
PhillyPhilly “Phish is improvising as well as they ever have in their fucking career”

, comment by mgolia6
mgolia6 ROTFL from this review. Icculus for the save. Stash and SOAM. Cities and My Soul. Well on paper this one was a heater…and it lived up to how it looked on paper. FACTS!!

My feeling regarding Stash and SOAM is that those two franchise players should never be put into the same lineup cause it just ain’t fair, especially if they both get the treatment…and though SOAM took the W, the Stash was no Slouch. The emergence from the abyss that was SOAM, though, like a phoenix rising from the primordial ash and ooze evoked some fearful laughter from yours truly.

Do also check out this 7/28 Show Review from from @Laudanum. Nailed it!
, comment by ckess22
ckess22 Spot on. Fun fun show last night. Last nights cities exceeds 4/23 in quality, imo. Just explosive down the stretch with a sweet delicate groove in the windup.

Wingsuit jam in simple, tho I haven’t heard anyone mention it and I am not in the Phish literati, so I could be wrong :)
, comment by SonicYouth
SonicYouth HA! I love this review. This 52 year old, 30 Year Phishing Phan feels all those elements here!
From the NOOB enthusiasm, to the VET with ranking and finally the sometimes surely JADED VET, I definitely had a time of my life in section 109 last night.

I love that one of my favorite bands still continues to PROGRESS FORWARD, while also delivering the goods of old time yore in one night. The only other band out there that delivers like that is Yo La Tengo.
, comment by Scott
Scott 1000x yes. Relistening to AWOH and Cities and they are both jam droppingly historic quality phish. Being jaded really just isn't an option at this point - just go to MSG and shut yer piehole o ye jadedocracy.

The variety of jamming styles and a couple of setlist choices makes me wonder if the band / Trey revisited some of Baker's Dozen recently - I feel like good things happen when they plan out setlists more in advance, but still allow themselves to take detours and right turns within that framework.

Regardless, it's shaping up to be a great week ya'll! I don't want to go home on Monday.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Not that it’s required now, but managed a recap all the same in some spare moments today between driving half way back to Montreal and down again to pick up my son for his second show and first at the garden.

The New (Old) Home Place

Not sure if this one puts me in the Vet or JV category but SO pumped to have this n00b next to me tonight!
, comment by Grande_Falcone
Grande_Falcone Nice review, and I love the fresh approach!
, comment by jaredprox
jaredprox Haha. Well done, Charlie, as usual. Thank you for your “almost 53-years old” review and shared obsession love for this band. Your insanity commitment has provided me with much entertainment over the years.

How happy and loose is Trey and the band? They have been for awhile now, but shit, really? This fun little jazz quartet just keeps delivering. Cheers to what’s next.
, comment by Brain_of_Brass
Brain_of_Brass "I'm almost 53 years old, and have obviously lost my mind because I am taking time to recap a show on a jamband website that, nowadays, everyone with a 'smartphone'can easily listen to for themselves and reach their own opinions and conclusions about."

Man, I howled (not quite like at Wilmington 1 encore but nicer) at this review and quip.
Thought you nailed it all in a pinch. So right about "Cities."
And seriously, I'm not sure at this point of my phandom I can live without the wise words and forum chatter and clues about great listens. Too much to learn and too little time without the Ph.D.s (Phish Deconstructionists) helping me.
All of y'all should know how much many of us appreciate the academics of this amazing musical force.

A 62-year-old NOOB aspiring to be a VET.

P.S. Is there some reason this show was a good bit shorter than my Southern tour this summer? Hell, even with a deluge and wrath of Verizon kicking us out, Wilmington 2 was close in time.
, comment by BozakAxel
BozakAxel I came her to razz you about your review, but it was actually hysterical. You win, Dirksen.
, comment by herbpowell
herbpowell I walked a noob in to the floor, his first show, I asked him what he wanted to hear and he said he never heard a song before. He had such a good time, you would never know it was his first show. Great show
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Noobs and vets alike agree, Phish the band is fun to see
, comment by MikeKsGroove413
MikeKsGroove413 Admittedly I was bit skeptical pre show. Was wondering if I was gonna get “warm up” Phish. But kept saying hey Trey told those Goose fellahs, “we don’t do that.” So they won’t do that right? But they do..and of course, not intentionally..then we rip them for it…
But N1 this run was NOT easing into anything. And continued with the pump from Mann and Alpha at least.

Review is spot on…show was legit. I got what I asked for- which was the experience of feeling like a noob during the jams as they go into different places, the energy of songs with punch like My Soul and GTBT…and yes Old Home place that reminded me of the year I started and Worcester 98..
My only whine was opening Set with More…I know some folks dig it…I can sometimes too, but has to be placed proper…We were basically waiting for set to start, and Ruby Waves did it’s best to get us back up, but nrg wasn’t there again until Plasma…
But I asked for evil as they started SOAM…and boy shit did I get it.
It’s why we phish. 4.5
, comment by bakersdozen13
bakersdozen13 That wave of hope and cities set the bar for this run and even after the two other shows I am still relistening/thinking about that night the most. Also, they did evil phish right on SOAM, really tapping into their classic approaches with controlled chaos. Unbelivably locked into eachother and were listening soooo well to eachother throughout the course of the night.
, comment by Nicup79
Nicup79 Amazing show....I was so psyched to hear Cities.

Great review!
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