4-16-04 - Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV

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Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 14:35:10 -0400 From: John Chescavage Subject: Vegas Review, Friday the 16th 1: Seven Below, Rock and Roll, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Back on the Train -> Possum, Strange Design, Gumbo, Brian and Robert, Taste 2: Gotta Jibboo, Twist, Camel Walk > Wilson, HYHU > Love You > HYHU, Waves > Lifeboy, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Loving Cup E: Harry Hood This show followed a very lackadaisical Thursday show that offered very little in the way of interesting jamming and often left me woefully bored. But that was the show before. Friday's show was somewhere around number 70 for me, first in Nov. 95. To be honest, I am going to review this almost without passion because at some point this weekend I just lost my passion to attend these shows. I have gone to these shows for almost 10 years now, and at age 27, I think I have outgrown "the scene" enough to focus on cd's, rather than shows. That being said, this was a very solid show. My theory of the post-hiatus Phish is that they have all the potential to make a perfect, complete show, but they always throw in some of the many weak songs they have toward the ending of a set. This show supported that theory. 7-Below- My favorite of the Round Room songs. Last year's Vegas 7-below was perfect, and the summer Raleigh 7-below was probably even better. This one was not quite as good as either of those. This was pretty standard jamming as had taken place on the jam-ish songs from Thursday. Rock & Roll - Excellent, rockin version of this song. This was an impressive showing no-doubt. I have recently been enjoying the 12/2/03 Boston Rock&Roll for it's intensly enjoyable jam. This R&R was not on par with that one, but probably had more energy and bravado. Page performed really well. Boogie On - Performed well above average. If I can do a run where I get this song, Sneakin' Sally, and Camel Walk I am always pleased. This Boogie On was performed very, very well. Trey seemed solid in his knowledge of the words, Mike sounded great. In fact, the entire intro of the song was a Mike/Page intro that was very cool. The shortish jam was pretty much just Mike solos with the rest of the band coming in on top in an ultra-funk jam. Reminiscent, yet not as good, as the 9/18/99 Chula Vista Boogie On. GBOT->Possum - This was one of the best portions of both nights. The Train was good and continued with a pretty funky theme established in Boogie On. I was hoping we'd finally get something of a jam out of the band at this point and it sounded like it as the jam progressed. After some time I realized that this was Trey playing the Possum rythm over the jam, a little slower than in Possum. This was a great, true segue into a totally rockin' Possum. Nice peaks at the end. This show was off to a GREAT start. Strange Design - You knew we'd get something slow because if they had just played Antelope and ended it it would have been a PERFECT first set. I like this song and it was played well Gumbo - We hoped this was of the same make as the Starlake 97 Gumbo, funked out and goofy. It was neither. It was a short, tight jam that left a lot to be desired. That song has so much potential to jam.... Brian & Robert - I like this song but it effectively killed the greatness of this set. The momentum was lost. Performed well. Taste - I normally don't care much for this song. This version wailed though. Great, loud, hard, heavy jam at the end. Very, very intense version of this song. Trey was solid, the depth of the groundwork for this jam was so heavy. Mike was driving the low end while Trey played the lights out. First set started SO strong, finished very strong with Taste, but that middle segment just left something out. There are too many weak songs that can kill a set these days. Gotta Jibboo - This has always been a fun song, however hard to listen to over and over because of that ultra-repetitive drum and bassline. This followed suit for the vast majority of the song and only toward the end did Mike and Fish loosen up enough to start experimenting. And at that point they decided to end the song. Twist - I normally don't care too much for this song. The "Wooo"s really make me sick. It just feels really cheezy to me. That being said, this Twist was by far the best music of the weekend for me. The jam was finally experimental, textured, and interesting. None of the noodling, ambient boredom that accompanied the Drowned and Disease from Thursday. This was precise and concentrated. This was not simply Trey playing nonsense over background music but Fish was kicking in some beats here. Trey got into the funk, dropped back out of the funk, raged for awhile and dropped back into one of the grungiest, dirtiest, meanest guitar displays I've heard. This was the kind of guitar that made you want to get under your seat and hide. It was like the moaning of a horrible monster on your heels, coming up from behind you and you can't get away. It was really, really, really damn good. Made the whole show. If you want to download this show, listen to this Twist before anything else. Camel Walk - This set was starting off really excellently as well. This was a solid Camel Walk. Everyone loves this song and this was preformed tightly. Toward the end when Trey and Mike are playing off of eachother in the composed section, Trey teases the intro chording for Wilson. Many picked up on it so the next song wasn't much of a surprise Wilson - This rocked as any good Wilson does. It was a bit sloppy at parts, but the Little Drummer Boy section before the "Blap, Boom" section was well received. Trey's voice was really going at this point and I wondered if he'd be able to sing any more songs on the night. HYHU - Love You - HYHU - This was stupid. The sound suit was terribly lame. It sounded very little different than the vaccuum. Waves - I enjoy this song when I listen to it on CD. This is the kind of song I want to listen to while laying in my bed with the window open when it's raining at night. It relaxes me entirely. I don't want it in the middle of a second set, but since we are already ruining it with a really poor HYHU/Love you, why not... This version was standard Lifeboy - Good song, but at this point the show is effectively over. The Horse - SITM - Great songs. At this point in the show placement didn't matter because we knew we weren't going to get epic anymore. Trey played SITM very well and both were admirable. Loving Cup - Honestly, I have seen this one enough to know what it does. We left at this point. I am glad too because I have seen about 40 versions of Hood and only one that is worth a re-listen in the last 38. Overall, this was a solid 7 - 7.5 show. The first set was almost perfect if they'd just closed with a rocker after the Possum. The second set had some absolute magic in the Twist and the Camel Walk-Wilson seciont was great. After that you can toss it and never listen again and you won't be missing much. I sold my ticket for Saturday and I think it was the best move I've made. I didn't miss it for a second while I enjoyed all that Vegas has to offer. I was not alone in thinking that this could have very-well been the last show I see, at least for a very long time. I think I've just grown out of the whole thing and I am just not surprised by anything that happens in a show anymore. I'll continue to listen to the magic on my own, but as far as $50 tickets to go to Alpine Valley? No thanks.
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 15:57:52 -0700 (PDT) From: Ellis Hawes Subject: 4-16-04 Vegas Review wow, what a mad weekend. This was in my opinion one of the strangest phish shows I've ever seen. 7b-low --- The lights went down, the somewhat fruity marching beat came on, and the gaqtes to the floor opened up, at which time I marched right on down into this mellow opener. Nice way to begin the experience. R&R --- Rocked and rolled. Trey was hitting up some crazy shit on this one, then... Boogie on --- At this point, I think that I and a lot of my crew realized that something was "odd" about Trey's voice. He sounded like a circa 1995 Jerry Garcia. I found that from this point on, whenever Trey's voice would get really rough, the whole band would kind of screw up, like they were saying "what? We're phish, and this just doesn't happen to us" Oh, but it did. GBOTT -> Possum --- Possum was slow and loping along, and I liked how it retained kind of the same feel as GBOTT. Rockin' out. Design --- I designed myself a comfortable sitting position for this one, but Page's voice sounded great! Gumbo --- da BOMB! But after all this talk of horn sections, I really was expecting them to come on out, and at this time I thought that a set II Julius opener with horns would definitely happen. Brian and Robert --- zzzzzzzzzzz Taste --- Great way to close the set, even though i couln't hear Trey's creaky voice, the jam was excellent. Spent setbreak tripping hard on the floor, and discussing the Fourier transform and its application to sonic boundaries. Set II ! Jibboo --- Funky as hell, although it seems like the boys don't really practice these kinds of songs anymore, because there were definitely a few changes that were less than confident. However, even though they may not hit all the cvhanges anymore, these guys still can rock out in one key. Twist --- Right on the heels of Jibboo. I heard people saying "man, this sucks", but I thought it was the highlight of the whole show! Camel Walk --- Sweet. Everybody was struttin' their stuff. -> Wilson --- I said to myself, damn this is gonna be rough vocal wise, and it was, but the little ambient scene right before BLAP BooM was one of the most gripping moments I've ever experienced at a phish show. Fish Scene --- Always fun to see something new and unexpected. Really fun. Waves --- Over ground and under Water... Rockin'! Lifeboy --- Hadn't heard this in so long I forgot what it was. Horse-> Silent --- Again, it seems like the boys took advantage of page's good voice this night, and it paid off. Lovin Cup --- Good as always. E: Hood ---> this monster was all over the map, with an enormous glowring war. WOW! Geat composed section and even better Jam, that dropped into this demonic descending riff, at which point I was losin' it! Great Hood demolished any doubts I might have had. Out into the warm Vegas night! Overall, Page's Playing was great, and while Trey's voice sounded less than all that, he made up for it with some great, focused guitar work, and I am still convinced that Phish is the best band around. Mike's Bass was a-thumpin' all around like there was no tomorrrow. Weird show, but good show! Peace!
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 16:22:38 -0700 From: Mike Indgin Subject: Phish show review 4/16/04 ----- "Why isn't it Friday today?" 4/16/04 Thomas and Mack, Las Vegas Oh, but setlists can be deceiving. Contrary to other reports, this was easily the strongest show of a run that left something to be desired. Overall the shows were a blast for all involved, but not epic. One thing I have to commend the band for is the length of the shows. VERY generous. But the gaping hole caused by the absence of Kuroda, a short-attention-span, goofy-acting Anastasio and the odd song selections took away from the energetic crowd, some great peak moments (Thursday's Drowned!) and very solid playing from Page, Mike and Fishman. Friday was the best show because Trey stopped monkeying around with guitar tones, silly hand signals and dance moves and just took care of business. Plus the lighting Friday was adequate as opposed to the first night where it was so inept that it seriously affected the overall experience, literally leaving the band in the dark while blinding those on the floor and straight back from the stage. How can you compare the lighting of the man who has expertly created the perfect mood to fit every song at every show for 19 years with the knob twirling of a total newbie? I wasn't expecting Fenton Wiliams to hit every cue, but a couple would have been nice. The ever-rambling, ever-changing light configurations were constantly distracting from the action on the stage. He used too much red during non-Guyute type songs and he had no rhythm. Lastly, he displayed every effect during the Buried Alive opener the first night. It was like a fireworks display if they were to light all the fuses all at once right at the start. Where do you go from there? Hopefully back to Kuroda in time for Summer tour. Chris is truly the fifth member of the band and I will seriously think twice about seeing a show without him in the future. All three nights the setlists seemed like they came straight from a comprehensive Phish song ipod playlist set on "shuffle". How else can you explain a run without so many heavy hitters? There are too many missing big songs to name. It's not like they were saving it up for Utah... Getting back on Friday, this show was by far the best because Trey was focused on delivering strong solos. The other two shows suffered greatly from way too much guitar tone shifting within a song. It was like a kid playing with all his toys all at once Christmas morning. Trey would hit a tone that sounded good and then switch out of it a few bars later to something with too much fuzz or echo. On this night, he played the right tones and kept them going longer. There were scorching solos in just about every song. This show felt seamless to me up until Henrietta's Musical Suit Suite. Rock and Roll back to back with Boogie On? Sheer cover song perfection. The transition between Train and Possum was nailed nicely. Gumbo was extra spicy. The Taste to end the first set was the peak of the three days and one of the best jams I've seen in my 11 years of shows. The Jibboo jam hit some great peaks and Wilson>Camel Walk was flawlessly executed. The Hood had a great little jam in it. Just lots of tasty treats throughout. Other nights had great moments here and there but this is the show that's going on my ipod in its entirety. Few more random thoughts: So glad the bluegrass is back! Crowd Control is a great song, reminding me of Buffalo Springfield. The Control>Slave was delicious. Secret Smile is so mellow, it makes "Friday" seem like a balls out rocker. If Kuroda is not at the controls, do not play 2001. If your name is not Marshall Mathers, do not rap. If you are going to organize your entire section to sing a request to start the second set, make it Fluffhead, not Meatstick!!!!!! No matter how hard up you are, do not stay at the Super 8. And if you try to unload an extra moe. ticket, do not do it inside the Mandalay Bay (SO sorry to the dude who didn't get his ticket when security pounced on us. I begged with him to give it to you all the way to the back room where they broke both my kneecaps. Kidding, But I did sustain a severely bruised ego). No matter what anyone, including me, says in any review, Phish is still the greatest live concert experience on the planet since Jerry passed and Zero broke up. Get those Summer tickets ahead of time or you will be shut out. But if Chris is not at the light board, be prepared to close your eyes a lot during the show. Mike "no cents" Indgin
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 13:38:53 -0700 (PDT) From: patrick omalley Subject: Vegas Review 4/16/04 This Vegas run was by far the most bizarre experience I've ever had going to Phish shows for the past ten years. The band seemed to be experimenting a lot more than they have in quite awhile. The first set opener, 7 Below was well played , but sort of a slow start to a Friday night. And then to switch from first to fourth gear with Rock n' Roll felt a bit awkward. Mike was playing dirty all they way through BoogieOn. GBOTT> Possom was the best transition they had the whole weekend but the lights just weren't on at all(Chris, we need you buddy). Trey was really feeling Gumbo but it didn't really go anywhere. Brian & Robert was well played and Taste was...... well, it was Taste. The Jiboo opener for the second set was a good way to start. Twist was unlike any Twist. EVER! Spacey jams wher the lights were actually on. Trey was playing the lowest and dirtiest tone I've ever heard from him. Camelwalk was short and it seemed like Trey tried to bing in Wilson a liitle too early so it took the crowd a little while to catch on. The Fishman Musical suit is a bit rough on the ears. If Fishman wants some center stage time, stick with the Vac. Waves and Lifeboy were both average but the Loving Cup ended the set on a rockin' note. Hood was a good end to the night with glowsticks pouring out of the upper deck on Mike's side. Overall everyone was having fun and I really enjoyed how they stretched Twist. Chris has definitely got to come back. Valiant effort from Fenton Williams but not even close to Chris. P.J. O'Malley
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 10:53:56 -0500 From: O'Malley Ryan Subject: 4/16 Review Just returned from the Vegas shows.  This review isn't a song by song, but more a general analysis of the weekend.  First and foremost, these shows should be considered an ode to Chris Kuroda.  While the DMB guy did an okay job, these shows were testament to how important Kuroda is to not only the fans, but to the band as well.  The band was CLEARLY limited by what they could and couldn't do, and in addition to the limitations, the lights even messed them up more than a few times. Friday 4/16: Opening with Seven Below in Vegas just wasn't enough to keep the energy that the crowd had.  Overall, the song selection on Friday night was completely random with little to no flow at all.  The highlight was probably the Twist, which was only the highlight because it got totally off the Twist progression and onto something pretty dark and "twisted" so to speak.  The Fishman "new dress" segment was pretty poor on the Phish side-show bits.  Overall though, the lights just limited what the band could do and where they went.  For instance, on Camelwalk, the time signature of that song is just too difficult to keep up with if you don't know their breaks and stuff.  So, things just never seemed to flow.  Talk to those who were there, and you'll probably hear that Twist was the highlight though. Ryan M. O'Malley
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 08:23:07 -0700 From: find_greg Subject: please........never play without kuroda again!!!!!!! i heard the first nite was crap from some friends who have seen like 200 plus shows....the 16th was my 117th, and it was by far, the worst show i have ever seen. i think it is obvious that the boys should never try and play without chris ever again. and i think it was obvious that they missed having chris there. the music was so un-inspired, and it seemed like the boys were holding the hands of the lighting director replacing chris, almost holding the band back from what they are truly capable to achieving. it must've been hell for the boys to be playing along with an LD that doesn't know the music well enough to land the changes, or know the lighting rig well enough to use all the lights, because it was hell for us to watch. thank you phish for everything, but you're not phish without kuroda on the lights....nuff said.....   hugs n' nugs, g money
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 17:18:23 -0700 From: Dan Diebes Subject: Phish show review Of the 20 some odd shows i have attended this was in the top 2. They were all on, individually and as a cohesive unit (Twist Jam). It was refreshing to see the energy level at a max. The crowd was so loud at times I couldn't here. Most of all they played their hearts out. Trey was the smoothest i have heard in a long time (Taste). Mike on Boogie on was insane. Page on Rock and Roll and another piano solo in second set pumped the crowd up. Fishman spoke for himself. Lifeboy was perfect to set the mood and vocal harmonies were great. I wish i was still there for Sat, but man what a show!
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