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Tuesday, July 9

Review: Phish - Darling's Waterfront Pavilion - Bangor, ME - July 3rd, 2013

On July 3rd the boys return to our lives for the first time in 2013, for their 30th year anniversary, and I couldn't have been more excited. Phish kicked off with a version of Possum that was never fully turned on. Trey’s riffs were repetitive and the Possum never hit hard enough to reach my soul.  Runaway Jim was next and they took a step towards the direction I was hoping for.  A lengthy and free flowing jam. After Jim came Stash.  I know when Phish is really doing well when I start to lose myself in the music, when I start not distinguishing who is playing what, and it all just sounds blended into beauty. NICU was next and when Trey asked Leo to play it, Page went off on the clav. Excited glory flooded our ears and left me wanting more and more Page.  Trey flubbed the lyrics as the chorus switched words, saying, “appearing is the first thing that I see,” a small mistake that most likely went unnoticed by most.  Wolfman’s was next and it was nothing short of awesome. A long, funky jam that showed off different members at different times.  Rift, Theme, and Chalk Dust were all standard, well done but not mind blowing.  The Mike’s>Silent In The Morning>Weekapaug was very nice, both Mike’s and Weekapaug jammed in unique ways.  And no Horse before Silent? Craaaazy.

Set two was a rollercoaster.  It started with an epic Golden Age, definitely the best I’ve personally seen, if not their best version ever. The jam was beautiful, leaving space for everyone to show off where they thought it should go and for the other three to respond to that idea. Page called for a Manteca but Mike shot it down and pulled the jam back. With such an amazing second set opener, I expected very big things out of the set. They followed up, however, with a completely average Twist into two songs back to back off of Joy.  Backwards Down The Number Line and Ocelot.  Number Line packed absolutely no punch.  It sounded muffled and was rather boring.  Ocelot was the real disappointment though.  Last year, Ocelot was a song that really built over tour, leaving us with an amazing version at Dicks.  Hopefully that will happen again this year, but the song that night was simply not good and included an extremely botched chord by Trey in the second chorus.  The show seemed like it was regaining momentum when they started Rock and Roll, but they cut the jam extremely abruptly to move to an overly empty space jam into 2001 that was obviously premeditated to everyone in attendance.  2001, a song that normally gets me beyond amped up, was entirely lackluster.  They moved into an average Cavern in which Trey teased the “foggy captain” lyrics.  The Cavern seemed as if it would be the set closer, but we were surprised with a Run Like An Antelope, and what an Antelope it was.  It clocked in at just under 14 minutes and went places I haven’t heard them go since 3.0 began.  It was exploratory, innovative, and nothing short of beautiful. They played perfectly off each other and explored different keys, leaving me happy with a set that started so strong and went downhill pretty rapidly.  They encored with Harry Hood, a song I should have seen coming considering the show’s location.  People loved it, although I personally thought it lacked energy.  Page played with his new toy, which certainly was cool though.
 I have unconditional love for Phish just as my mother has unconditional love for me. My mom praised me when I did well, called me out when I didn't, and always expected the best. There is no point in reviewing the show if I can’t accomplish those three pieces of unconditional love. The show was good. It had its moments, and was definitely better after I re-listened to it. Honestly, I blame a lot of my distaste for the show on us. Yes, the venue was rough, with one staircase to get to food, a giant soundboard tower right in the middle of the lawn, not amazing sound, and a wet mucky lawn.  None of that however is an excuse for us to not give back what Phish is giving us.  In multiple recent interviews, Trey has stated that they feed off of us.  Our energy was poor, especially for the amazing gifts that we received during Golden Age and Antelope.  With the SPAC weekend on its way, a larger crowd with more energy and less mud, I think we are in for a serious treat. (proven true- Sammy)
Words: Jesse Harlan
Poster: Julia Rothman

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