6-7-03 - Memorial Auditorium Burlington, VT

review submisions to me at dws@netspace.org, dws@gadiel.com, reviews@walfredo.com

please review the show, not the other reviews....

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 20:15:38 -0400 From: mikelyons mlyons4@cox.net Subject: Review of 6/7/03 Burlington VT So, almost a week later and still no review of a legendary performance from the man we all respect and admire.  Well, I've planned on writing my thoughts down before, the Hampton run was going to be my review debut, and then I thought about doing a little journal on the four shows I saw on winter tour, Continental through Nassau, especially after that Tweezer, but it never happened.  So I went to my favorite site to read other people raving about the first night of Trey's Burlington stand, and there's nothing.  Now either Dan is slacking, (which I doubt), or not one person at these two shows felt compelled to say anything about it, (which I'm still amazed by).  So you're all stuck with my opinions and perspective, unless you've downloaded the show, in which case you have your own ideas, and if they can't be summarized by simply saying "Holy Shit!" then you're a jaded bastard who needs a 7/13/99 every night.  Okay, that's not entirely true, but there really was nothing to complain about at these shows.  To give some idea, not that you care a whole lot, of where I'm coming from, I've seen 29 shows, not a whole lot, but enough, and there are a few classics mixed into that list.  My first show, my first taste of Trey, was 7/8/94.  Some of you will recognize that date, but to clarify, that was the last time they played Gamehendge, and the Stash from A Live One is from the second set.  I was on seven hits of acid, I swam in the lake, danced with the Lizard people, flew on the back of the Mockingbird, and drank a few beers with the Sloth.  I kid you not.  And the next time you listen to that Stash, imagine not being prepared for the clap and tripping balls.  I thought I was going to melt into a pool of liquid bliss, coolest thing I ever heard.  Anyway. a few other shows among that 29, Providence 12/29/94, thank you Mike for Live Phish 20, 12/9/95 Albany, the best show I've ever seen was Binghamton 12/14/95, again tripping, but this time so hard I thought the air in the arena had turned into an amorphous blob, basically my pupils were so dilated I could see the heat and sound waves and energy from the people on the floor congeal the air, again I kid you not, 12/29/96 Philly, the aforementioned 7/13/99 Great Woods, 11/29/97 Worcester, and 6/30/00 Hartford. The reason I bored you with all those dates was simple.  I can honestly say that 6/7/03 was as good as any of those shows, if not better, with the exception of the Binghamton show, but that stands alone as a singular event in my mind for other reasons than the music.  I've never seen Trey so animated, so on, so in control of his genius and his vision, so expressive, I've never heard him shred like that, I haven't felt him create that much energy in a building since Binghamton, it was just awe-inspiring.  After reading the reviews of the Chicago shows, I see that he was just continuing the high level of performance he had achieved during that run, and I'm interested to hear those shows to see if they were a warm-up or a contender for best gig of the tour.         So I'll get to the point.  Drove from Providence on Sat afternoon, love Vermont, the mountains, stoned, listening to Live Phish 19, the GCH show from Keene as a warmup, got to the hotel about 2:30, and took a nap, had no idea we were missing Jazz Mandolin Project as we dozed, me and my show buddy, but I found out later from someone who was there that Fishman wasn't sitting in, which made me doubt my earlier assumption that Fish would sit in with the band one of the two nights.  This would be my fourth and fifth Trey shows, I was lucky enough to be at Great Woods for Gordon and that emotional Mike's Groove, and I was even more pumped because we had driven up last summer for the Essex Junction show, which was rained out, or should have been, I think that's why Trey chose to play at the Auditorium, because the weather definitely dampened that performance as well as all of us in attendance.  I knew this would be the show I had anticipated last time, even better because it was in downtown Burlington, and when we drove down to the city through the UVM campus and saw that Memorial Auditorium, Nectar's and the Flynn Theatre were all within a stone's throw of each other on Main Street, I was humming with the history, the energy, the excitement, the possibilities.  I had been told by a couple from Vermont that I met at the Vida Blue show in Providence in April that the Aud was the size of a high school gym, and upon entry I saw they weren't kidding. It was a high school gym, complete with raised basketball hoops at both ends, and retracted bleachers on the sides of the floor.  There was a wooden balcony about five rows deep that circled the room, so my friend and I went right up there because we didn't screw around and got in early. We got great seats right above the horn section on the left hand side, and these were the best seats in the house for one reason.  We were looking down on Trey and we could see everything he was doing, his hands, his facial expressions, his hand signals to the band, his non-verbal cues, it was a joy to just take that all in, hard to do at a Phish show sometimes with everything that's going on, even when you have seats close to the stage.  One of the coolest things about that view was that the dressing room door was off in the wings on the other side of the stage, so we could see everyone before they came out, and Trey's wife and younger daughter Isabella were hanging out right before they took the stage.  Isabella was sitting on an equipment case and Trey was leaning over whispering in her ear and she reached up and put her arms around his neck.  It was really cool to see them interacting like that, a father-daughter bonding moment.  She hung out and watched about half of the first set, and then gave up and disappeared backstage.  Because I'm not sure if I'm going to review the next night, I'll take this chance to share that Eliza, his older daughter, was in the wings watching the next night, and was noticeably more involved, dancing around, grooving, checking out the show, sitting in her mother's arms.  It was chill to watch her check her father out while he did what he does best, create beautiful music.  It was also cool to think that these magnificent nights will be part of their childhood memories.      So back to the show itself, MONEY LOVE AND CHANGE; Good opener, though this has never been one of my favorite Trey songs I gained new respect for it after the sizzling first set closing version from Great Woods last summer.  It stretched out into a sweet jam, and I noticed that you could hear everyone, which hadn't been possible with this band before.  I had a debate with a friend once about Oysterhead, who he thought sucked, and I defended them, one point being that you could hear Trey, whereas at that point he was kind of lost in the groove with his band.  Everything was much clearer, and I wonder if that is a conscious effort from Paul to make a better mix now that he has some experience with their music, or simply the musicians giving each other more room.  I could hear everything Trey was doing, which was really the most important thing, so I was happy already.  Also there was very little yapping going on around us, which was such a relief and just added to the incredible atmosphere.  Also, and I know this is an experience a lot of us think we've had, during the jam Trey was looking around, checking out the crowd, and he looked up at me, locked eyes, and when I smiled he smiled back and then looked down the rest of the balcony.  The smile was what confirmed he saw me, but I could be crazy, I've been accused of that before. CINCINNATTI; Okay, so I didn't know this right away, but as soon as I heard the chorus I recognized it from the set lists I had been keeping up on from the beginning of the tour.  I have to say I LOVE this song, it has an energy, a drive, a propulsive groove that's impossible not to dance to, I was hopping up and down going apeshit.  Very cool song, and closure in a sense to the whole Cincinnatti hotel fire thing, at Worcester, most of you have probably heard, the Makisupa lyric was "Woke up this morning, my hotel was burning down,"  well I hadn't heard the story yet, and I was tripping, and it was less than a week after the tragic Station fire, so it left a bad taste in my mouth for a little while after that, Trey just wasn't thinking, even after the explanation.  This was a fitting way to acknowledge the event, and a song I could see him doing with Phish on the summer tour, I hope anyway. MAGILLA: What else can I say besides, NICE!!!, pleasant surprise, short but nice, everyone took a solo, very sweet. CURLEW'S CALL: This version was better than the album version, my first time hearing it live, nice snakey jam, again it give everyone a chance to show off, the horn section really displayed their percussive chops here, and I have to point out Peter Apfelbaum is a one man band, sax, flute, percussion, even when the others are playing their horns, he has a rig that has bells and pans and pots and all kinds of surfaces to bang on, and he plays a little keyboard now, like the one Trey used to use, that adds to the textures in the groove.  These are really nice lyrics too, I love Marshall's recent stuff, very emotional and mature, I think the lyrical genius of the new stuff on Round Room has been overlooked, just because the music is raw, especially on the slow songs. THE WAY I FEEL: Saw this last year, funk mixed with blues, good stuff, but no crazy jam to speak of, no stretching out, seemed like a bridge into...  PUSH ON TILL THE DAY: I've always loved this song, and tonight's version lived up to expectations, furious, dense, thick, swirling jam, condensed into ten minutes, but more would have been unnecessary.   As Trey walked off, Isabella jumped into his arms and he carried her backstage, as I noted before she never reappeared.   LAST TUBE; Predictable but powerful choice for a second set opener, it settled into a nice jam for a little while but didn't offer as many opportunities for improvisation as one would think from this tune or the show so far.  Good for getting the blood flowing again, and I was relieved because there were old people in the row above me, there for the jazz festival, unfamiliar with Trey, and at the beginning of the show, I was worried that they would say something to the usher when I fired up, but they were chill, and I heard one of them, a woman, say to her husband after the first set, "That was beautiful music!" First time but she got it, even at her age;)  DRIFTING; My favorite song off the Trey album, saw it at my first Trey show before the album came out in the summer of 2001, stood out then, he didn't play it at either show last summer, and then I got a miracle, he played it with Phish as part of the side band set at Worcester on winter tour.  I love the words, the "stars above" part is genius, I get chills with the way they trail that out and it moves like a wave over the crowd, but the jam out of this version, words cannot describe it, I've never heard Trey pluck such gorgeous melodies from the strings of that Languedoc, it wouldn't stop, the catchy beat with endless variations of the sweet guitar line, those notes, I cried, like a little girl, no I'm not a sap, well okay maybe an emotional wreck, but those notes were the sound of all the longing, loneliness, power, depth, sadness, joy, passion, and hope in my heart, I cried and damn it I'm not ashamed, I let the music do what it wanted to with me, and that was the result, bliss, pure emotional bliss, an epiphany, the most beautiful thing I've ever heard Trey play.  At the end I stood there staring at the band with my hands over my mouth, dumbfounded. AT THE BBQ/OLIVIA; I'll make this short, I didn't recognize either of these, knew the names when I checked the setlist, but wasn't aware at the time this was what I was listening to.  Trey put down his guitar to conduct the band through At The BBQ, and Olivia I remember digging, but not much else. NIGHT SPEAKS; I won't try to describe this jam, too much to accurately convey, but suffice it to say the definitive version of this song was the 6/22/02 version on the live album, that is, until tonight.  Much better version, a little longer, more going on, tighter, more focused, easier to follow from beginning to end, Trey just shred the hell out of this, I was amazed, great way to end the set, get the show and see if you agree. ENCORE: THE INLAW JOSIE WALES; Beauty, just beauty, too rare a thing when it's just Trey and his acoustic, I love the changes in this piece, I love this song, I saw it in 99 when it was still called Minestrone, nice version, a little loose, but I like the raw emotional power  DAZED AND CONFUSED; I was expecting this the next night, but I was thrilled that it was the cap to one of the most pleasurable evenings of my life, I love Jen, big beautiful woman that she is, what soul, what style, what power, what sass, what spunk, damn she sang this like she owned it, and the guitar parts were perfect, wish the middle jam was stretched out a little longer, but that's small potatoes, it was a great end to a great night.  Any opinions, ideas, feelings about this review can be sent to mlextacy@hotmail.com I'd love to hear from anyone, I've established a few good friendships responding to other reviews and met one such friend at Hampton for the first time after she wrote a review of the Bonner Springs show on fall tour 2000, and I wrote her to tell her how much I loved her story.  If not, I sincerely hope this gave you a taste of what it was like, and made you smile and most of all, made you want to hear that ridiculous Drifting, Take care and stay safe.
click here to return to the 2003 reviews page