Friday, October 29, 2010

Phish 24 October 2010 @ Mullins Center in Amherst, MA

Although Sunday night has gotten a bad rap, I left the concert thinking it had been a great show.  And I'm sticking to my guns.

I hadn't gotten a chance to tailgate the night before, so I was eager to check out the lot scene and the Shakedown.  The temperatures took a major plunge, and for the first time in my life I was jealous of the wooks - they had so much insulation! 

Healthy noms before the show!

We love our glowsticks!
I got inside and settled in only after being thoroughly checked and double-checked: they made me take off all my jackets, my bag, my scarf... what do I look like, a drug monger?  It was unsettling, to say the least.

But once I finally made it through security, I was ready to boogie.  Phish opened with AC/DC Bag, which is always a welcomed, albeit oft-played tune.  

The funktastic Camel Walk followed.  The first thought in my head was: Good fortune!  They overheard me singing this one in the lot this afternoon!  Then again, probably not.  Nevertheless, Cactus held it together with the interesting-yet-grounding bass lines while Trey jammed on. 

Then delicately came the Divided Sky.  The boys took their time with the first part, which is carefully orchestrated but seems different every time I see it live.  It seems to me that the pause Trey milks before delivering the last note of the main guitar motif gets longer and longer every show.  It's fun for the first thirty seconds; after fourty-five seconds it's sorta funny; but after a minute?  I'm getting bored. 
The remaining part of the song definitely made up for my momentary lapse in excitement.  Not only was it very well-played, there was an energy about it that made me feel as if I was listening to a late 90's show instead of one more than ten years later.  There was that organic quality to the music where it felt like it hadn't been played about a thousand times.  I found this jam to be engaging - lots of interesting note choices on Trey's part. 

Everyone has been practically gushing about the breakout cover of the 1970's hit Ride Captain Ride that followed.  This is one of those songs that just leave you feeling so happy it's almost disgusting.  Page took over the vocals for this one and the combination of the organ and piano he used made it feel like a real blast from the past.  
Time Turns Elastic was another one I was hoping to hear this weekend and - surprise! - I got my wish. I was a skeptic at first; it took me quite some time to come to terms with this tune.  This video I found of Trey doing it solo acoustic really helped me appreciate it as a composition and not just some new (slightly boring) song from their latest album.  Who knows?  Maybe it'll do the same for you.

The second set proved to be an eclectic array of songs - all were good, but did they quite fit together?  I'm not so sure.  
I've said before that Backwards Down the Number Line is a new favorite song of mine, and I'll say it again (no shame!).  Not only is it catchy, but I find myself relating to it on a personal level (Goodbye, prep school friends: will we keep in touch?  Here's hoping.)  It's no YEM, but every once in a while it's a good listen.

There were at least three Phan-made signs in the audience calling for Lizards, and Phish kindly obliged.  Everyone went nuts.  
I love the funky, upbeat song Brother.  I saw it at SPAC on Father's Day when the little members of the Phamily squeezed into a small metal tub.  Hah.  
Mostly I love this tune for it's crazy fast and funky bass line (but faithful readers, you could have probably guessed that one by now).  It's a short, fun dance tune.  I regret to inform you that it sounded like Trey was spazzing out a little during his guitar solo.  Most of it was well and good, but there was this one moment where his timing is the tiniest bit off, but it makes all the difference.  To err is human, but this guys are jam gods.  So what gives? 

David Bowie provided a solid end to second set.  If I had to rank Phish songs in order of my favorites (don't make me!), this would be in my top three or so.  I love that first eruption of sound that opens the music up to be played with.

Ya dig? 

This has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way.


  1. Another great job of reporting on a show, Elizabeth. Keep those reviews coming!

  2. Great read. As a west coast kid, I was lucky enough to couch tour this show and enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.