In case you missed it:
Addressing some comments from Part 2:
1) @RobPJohnson3, I don't disagree that a) Trey has improved from a few years ago and b) 3.0's progress is essentially an upwards arrow on a graph, but I also think that the very top end of every 3.0 year has at least a few shows worth the listen, almost exponentially increasing as each year goes along, and I think that this project essentially captures that. That said, I feel that the baseline for an "average" or even "pretty good" show has risen with each year, and I'd guess that if one actually listened to all 590 sets played in 3.0 and listed them all out (which is an undertaking even beyond my ken), they'd probably find the number of lower-end sets per year decreasing as the years went along as well. Something like 8/14/15, considered a "lesser" show of Summer '15, probably has much more to offer than something like, say, 6/4/09. But that doesn't mean 11/28/09 (a totally random example!) has less to offer than 8/14/15. I hope that makes sense.
2) @ekstewie1441, I don't doubt your understanding of the term "refined" is perfectly sound; what I was trying to say is that 11/1/14 II, to me, improves upon the sort of "shorter jams connected by segues or transitions to create a greater whole" set that 7/27/13 II is. Certainly you don't have to feel that way, especially if you don't think 11/1/14 II is all that great to begin with; I'll look at fourth quarters when deciding which set I prefer, but they generally don't affect my enjoyment of the meat of a set *that* much. But we'll get more into that later. Thank you for the respectful disagreement and the compliment attached.
And, just to make sure we keep things crisp and clean sans caffeine in here:
DISCLAIMER: All of this is just one man's very subjective opinion. Feel free to discuss, disagree (gently), and point out anything I may have missed or ignored in the comments. Vive la différence!
A wonderful multi-part “Disease,” great “Slave” at the end, and that gnarly as hell “Carini” (not to mention the really strong "Hood" in the encore) helped make for one of the era’s finest shows when this was played. That should tell you a lot about the strength of what’s coming ahead, I think.
Five songs strung together with fluid and intelligent segues, with a darned good darkness-into-light “Limb by Limb” immediately afterwards. This is a set that *I’m* not sure I’m not underrating; I loved it so much when it was played.
I suppose you could argue that this is somewhat in line with the 9/6/15 Encore, which is way the heck lower down. But between the specialness of the occasion, the (mostly) faultless playing, the lovely Trey mini-narration in “Forbin’s,” and a really cool “Reba” on top, I think this one deserves a place among the more improv-laden sets that surround it.
The first half of one of 3.0’s biggest deals. A pretty good debate could be had over whether the “Undermind” here or the Magnaball “Bathtub Gin” is the finest Set 1 closer of the era, I think. Maybe I’m wrong.
8/7/09, as a full show, still holds up as one of the crown jewels of the era. “Light” -> “Taste” is the moment that has stuck with me the longest (that calypso jam!), but the A+ “Gin” at the end is probably the choice for most everyone else.
I’d guess that this will probably get as many wrinkled noses as how I feel about 9/1/12 II will. I still think 11/28/09 II is an important set – from what I understand, it started to disabuse people of the notion that this incarnation of Phish wouldn’t jam (which, based on the earlier 2009 shows I’ve heard, wasn’t totally unfounded). To me, though, it’s receded a bit in comparison to the rest of the era since it was played. But that’s more about how good 3.0 has been!
One of the finest examples of the band blowing off steam (which they had to have needed after the Wingsuit set). “Ghost” > “Carini” is an absolutely monster duo, and the rest of the set is more than listenable as well. Random note: how many times in this era has "Ghost" served as a sidecar to a monster jam in the same set? 8/29/14 II, 11/28/09 II, this set, 8/21/15 II, 7/20/14 II, 6/7/12 II...pretty interesting, no?
From the moment the first burbling notes of this truly famous “Disease” start up until the rock star close to “Suzy Greenberg,” a set that doesn’t let up for one second. “Sally” is just so much fun, and a reminder that “Sally” needs to be a more frequent member of the rotation.
Paired with the next set for how they serve as opposite sides of the coin. This one’s a pretty good set raised in quality by one jam I consider an all-time classic...
…and this one’s a really good set that buttresses a jam that I think is pretty good without quite being elite (although I know that people will disagree with me there). Which one you truly prefer is personal preference, and that’s okay! Phish casts a hell of a wide net. Both of these sets, by the way, neatly sum up why Fall 2013 is one of Phish's almighty tours.
Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment below, and look forward to Part 4 on Saturday, March 19!
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