Note: In our constant efforts to bring you the most compelling Phish coverage anywhere, we offer two points of view on Phish's first California show in over six years. First we have general reflections from our Editor-in-Chief Kayceman, followed by a fresh perspective from our Associate Editor Dennis Cook. Enjoy.
Words by: Kayceman | Images by: Susan J. Weiand
Phish :: 08.05.09 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre :: View Mountain View, CA
Kayceman shares a few thoughts on Phish at Shoreline:
Since when is this Gordo's band? Don't get me wrong, dude's been dropping bombs forever, but I've heard lots of chatter about individual band members, how great Trey is playing now that he's sober and focused (true), how strong Page sounds (no doubt), but after watching Mike control the entire show last evening I am compelled to champion his cause. Whether he was challenging Trey on "Chalk Dust," crushing the funk on "Cities," or pushing his fat bass notes into truly dark territory on "Down With Disease" and the hard-earned "Mike's Song," Gordo was the dominator at Shoreline.
| Mike Gordon :: 08.05 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre|
Alright, no sugar here, let's tell it like it is. We got a lot of new songs at Shoreline and we didn't get the good ones. And I get it. A band always wants to play what's new, and any healthy band has to be engaged in fresh material, but overall the selections from last night didn't do it for me. Here are the new ones from Shoreline:
"Time Turns Elastic" – Time turns boring. Like many of their new ones, there's a really strong jam at the end, but the set-up is too formulaic, almost like they are covering themselves in a way. Put it back in the oven, I bet it bakes into something nice, but it's not ready yet.
"Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan" – I dig it, and definitely the best new one from Shoreline. A little like "Character O," but I also like that track so we're doing okay. The "got a blank space where my mind should be" chorus really works and Trey's guitar is mean. More like this, please.
"Backwards Down The Number Line" – Not bad. I hated the placement as set two opener, but it's a nice song that like "Time Turns Elastic" built up steam as it went. At the end of the day, I'm just not into the introspective songwriter thing with Phish; it's not why we go to Phish.
"Let Me Lie" – No. No. Seriously, no! I don't want to think of Trey riding his bike or taking off his shirt to feel it burn or using the brakes when he goes down hill. The metaphors are all wrong. At a rock & roll show we don't use brakes, we want to fly off the rails because we're going so fast.
KEEPING IT AFLOAT
For all my shit talking I actually really liked the show and think the band sounds really good right now. Song selection wasn't my favorite but a few incredibly well played numbers kept the night afloat. The set one combos of "Chalk Dust"/"Divided Sky" (where Trey nailed the shit out of it) and "Suzy"/"David Bowie" were more than enough to satiate the packed house. Set two was carried by a spacey "Down With Disease" and then the "Maze," "Mike's" (a lil slow out of the gate but definitely worth the wait) > "Simple," "Weekapaug." The "Maze" was completely demented and likely the song of the night. If "Maze" wasn't the highpoint, then "Mike's" was, as shit got primordial in the back section. And just hearing "Bowie" and "Maze" on the same night is enough. Never in all my years have I seen both in the same show. Well played, lads.
| Phish :: 08.05 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre|
For their efforts at Shoreline, I give Phish a solid B. And coming off Red Rocks and going into The Gorge, two mammoth sets of shows, a solid B on a Wednesday night with flashes of brilliance ain't too bad.
Continue reading for Dennis Cook's review of Shoreline...