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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Phish Brings Old-School Heat to Blossom Amid Era-Defining Summer Tour

Concert Review

Posted By on Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 6:09 PM

click to enlarge JOE KLEON
Delivering another gem in a tour not at all short on such things, Phish dropped a titanic show in Cuyahoga Falls last night. And with only two songs in the setlist that were debuted post-1998 (see below), the show was a wild trip deep into some of Phish's more classic compositions and jam vehicles. 

The mood swung up and down during the first set, which opened with a fine A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing and then dove into a variety of tour debuts and upbeat, if constrained, jams: Timber, Roses are Free, The Moma Dance. The set's final trifecta of Wingsuit, It's Ice and Bathtub Gin was stellar — with a dazzling Gin jam that ranks among the best of the year so far.

The second set was pure, complex gold, with Chalkdust Torture evolving into a strong, ambient major-key jam before slipping smoothly into Tweezer, the undeniable highlight of the night. This Tweezer got very weird, contrasting the more blissed-out guitar-led Atlanta version. Around 12 or 13 minutes, the band took things into some very thick atmospherics and began building a mountain of haze on top of a simple three-chord progression. After several minutes of chaos and ecstasy, the band stripped things down before segueing nicely into The Lizards. Right there you have a contender for the deepest and best three-song sequence of 2015.

A fun and funky Makisupa Policeman (feat. "vape" lyrics from Trey) bled into a raucous, Pyscho Killer-ish Ghost and a strong type-I Harry Hood. Tweezer Reprise is always welcome as a set-two closer, giving the encore an air of mystery.

The party raged in the lot for a few hours after the show, so my crew and I grabbed some gyros and took in the fireworks from a perch along Shakedown Street. A friend who had only seen the band once before at Bonnaroo a few years ago pointed out how this whole thing — this show, this crowd, this tour — was a very rich and involved cultural experience. He's right. There's nothing quite like a Phish show, and they tend to treat Blossom very well. 

To be blunt, Phish is riding one of several career peaks right now musically. My advice? Go see the band and see them often. Magnaball is but two weeks away!

Set 1: A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, My Sweet One > Wilson > Timber (Jerry), Roses Are Free, Rift, The Moma Dance, Ginseng Sullivan, Wingsuit, It's Ice > Bathtub Gin

Set 2: Chalk Dust Torture -> Tweezer > The Lizards, Makisupa Policeman > Ghost > Harry Hood > Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Good Times Bad Times

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