Phish (cont'd) NIght One: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged!
I widened my stance early into the first Set to accommodate the growing need to dance. Lingering somewhere below my knees, this ripple was set into existence by Mike Gordon's Bass. Not to beat a dead horse, but given the right set of circumstances, and MSG is ripe for the challenge, implosion could ensue with the immense energy emanating from the stage, the speakers, and the Bass Bombs headstrong and hell bent on forging paths of sonic brilliance past and through any innocent bystander; May ye be warned, lest the vacates the premises, no prisoners of war will be taken, this is a fight to the bitter end, fraught with more than its fair share of casualties, no judgement just carnal devastation.
My mind was engulfed in the mental projection of the bass registering through the amplifier, like a billowing orb of light and heat. Inside this fortress of bass relief, I was free to meander this musical mecca to behold the searing flesh and destruction taking place. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Mike Gordon War Time Variety Show.
With the disillusion of Cities, seeming on the verge of total crowd annihilation, the band blundered to a halt, and before attempting to reset their predilection towards trial and discovery Curtis Loewe let us all quietly survey the wreckage. Stash, while certainly not the cleanest version, song proper or jam, certainly contained musical thoughts that each member grasped for moments at a time, and while this was one step above brushing off the cobwebs-ball of nerves on first night-type shit...The jam remained contained, and certainly poised to energize a intent and focused crowd.
Bathtub, with it's personal mental projection to Bethel Woods Ginteca, held a wealth of promise that paid off like a more or less successful scratch off ticket. I didn't win for life, but I certainly won more than the tickets worth! Paige's early piano work seemed indicative of something more creative, and the jam certainly veered towards outer space, pointing it's head dead set on the abyss, the rocket never took off, and I was left with the recollection that this was night one set one, I had 7 more sets of non-repeated music, and after a nosh and some re-hydration, I would ready for my first second set of the four night stand! (Jesus, they could have jammed that Cities for 25 more minutes and walked off stage and the first set would have been worth the battling of the Exctasy Whores next to me!)
O, and what a set was in store for the collective whole of this hallowed venue. Birds set the tone and lept from the gate hell bent on catching the piece of cheese held form a string lingering in front it's face; I would have been happy to here three songs all week, sprinkled like flurries throughout the four night stand! But to think that these three songs would come in relative succesion bridged by one of my go to "Check Yourself for Signs of Damage" songs (the songs where you are pumped to hear, and allows you to ensure all limbs are still intact and your mind and soul aren't draining below the seats in front of you towards the stomped wrist end of someone's forgotten jacket.
Carini-Tweezer. Need I say more. The layering of the music it's progression from funk and bitter evil, eye's briefly blinking from darker corners of the venue, of the mind, the "Scream Machine" effect, followed by note bending Trey, not to mention a brief lumpy head vocal jam, speckled with Old School Fish's terrifying deathly hallow of a scream. The final outro of Carini, where Trey beings to devise his path into Tweezer, while certainly patient, felt as if risen from the back drop of the aural tapestry being wove, and as the Tweezer Proper was propelled into existence yet again, The Boys were sending a clear message. Don't fuck with too much that might melt your face, because we are the drug of the nation. And the nail on this evening's coffin wasn't even a concept of conceivable reality at this juncture. (Parts of me prayed that this would not a three minute mini-Tweezer, merged toxic avenger style into Julius) oh Fuck no, it was the real deal, and like the murky abyss leaping to bliss ala Carini post apocalyptic Tweezer gave way to My Friend->Rock and Roll. You could tell this was the portion of the set list each band mate was eager to unfold. And yet their patience was palpable, even in the stumbling end of Cities, it was clear, they were here to play the songs, and see what adventurous path one might stumble into-and little stumbling occurred. Rather, intent passages of music americana were burst from the cracked and brimming head of the Godly Unit, and the Thunder Bolt struck many times this enchanted evening. Rock and Roll brought a sense of contained urgency that reconstituted ideas from BOAF and KDF, bringing that menacing break neck speed jamming for the early nineties to within ear shot. As the set began to recede like the known coming of the dawn, Bug appeared, and as my compatriot always says, "wait five minutes, everyone will be loving this!" He was half right, as the lyrics still linger heavy on my mind, does this matter. But I need no soothsayer to ease my mind, a Tube encore, though not the 20 minute opener I was predicting, was a oddly placed delight, like a really good appetizer for Dessert, when you really wanted it all the time as the main course. And through the trips-encore, Tube-Top-Reprise...we burst into the late December Manhattan freezer to barder for Falafel and head home to work, then to play again the next evening. Here's to Phish, my drug of choice!