25 in 25 of 2015 #3 07/24/2015 Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA (Brendan McClain, @bcmcclain)
I had a great seat for this show, right in front of Page.
The only reason I went to Shoreline 2015 was because it was my twenty year phish anniversary of my first show, which was Shoreline 95. It wasn’t a show in my backyard (I live in San Diego), I didn’t have any close friends attending, and there were no other shows in the area so it would require a special trip. But with Southwest flights along the coast being so cheap, I pulled the trigger and went. It was the kind of trip I really don’t need to be making, and I had some traveler’s remorse in the days leading up to the show. But I’m glad I did, because it really was a special show, highlighted by the six song second set. Here’s a shot from my window seat as I flew over the venue headed to SFO.
As I said, I didn’t have any close friends at the show, just some minor acquaintances that I could have forced the issue and tried to meet up with, but I decided not to and just go solo. Try to surrender to the flow.
I got inside the venue a bit late, and I am that dumbass SoCal kid that wore a T-Shirt and shorts to a bay area show, so I made a beeline for the merch table and had to custy up for a hoodie. Now comfortable, I headed to my seat when I heard the crowd roar and I got a pep in my step to hurry up. The band started with “The Line”, and I turned around and hit the beer line. Got a cold one and then made my way down to my seat and settled in for a very solid first set, anchored by a stellar “Reba.”
At setbreak I introduced myself to my seat neighbors and everybody was talking tour, and magnaball, and Dicks, and wow how about that “Reba!” I love setbreak talk after a strong first set. Everybody so happy, everybody good to each other. Good times.
I’m not going to dissect the “Blaze On” that opened set 2, other than to say it was very good and worth hearing as is the entire show. It was the second time this song had been played and everybody around me knew all the lyrics, which was pretty cool.
A decent (for 3.0) segue into “Twist” and the band seems determined from the start to keep the quality up. The lyric section seems patient, restrained, but in a good way. Near the end of the composed part, Trey flips some switches and plays the last few “Twist” riffs through some filters. Page gets up on his Hammond for just a bit, and we get down for the next two minutes or so. Almost before I realize it, they get into Type II territory. There’s no messing around here, they know what they want to do, and they want to jam.
At 7:30 Page leads them from the nether regions back into the “Twist” structure and they play with it some more, looser than usual, and off they go into Type II again, just as smooth as the first launch, although Trey lays back a bit more on the second “Twist” jam. The second twist jam that develops is a bit Slave-esque. It’s blissful. I even saw Cactus smile. I did, I swear. Trey gets out in front and leads the way. This is happy Phish. This is the type of jam that reminds you why you made the trip. It was worth it. The trip was worth it. They are throwing down a Phish jam as only they can, and they crowd was digging it. Trey goes rock god for a little bit, just enough to take the jam to some satisfying peaks before it meanders. This whole jam, there seems to be a purpose. They aren’t just playing around looking for the groove. They knew they were going to jam this “Twist,” they started right away and they knocked it out of the park.
After the peaks that brought the crowd jumping in their spots, there is some exploratory playing and bam, right into “Light.” Another jam vehicle? Yes, please. The composed section gives the crowd a moment to catch their breath and perhaps reload their heads for the close of the 3rd quarter. As the “Light” grows brighter, Trey starts happily shouting the lyrics. He is feeling it. He keeps playing the “Light” riffs and then as a unit, the bands shifts into jam mode. Listening to this set again, I am struck by how fluidly they slip into Type II. It’s something that at times in 3.0 just doesn’t develop. But it sure did at Shoreline last July. And yet in Light, as they did in “Twist,” they are able to return to the structure of the song to help them “redirect” the jams.
This “Light” jam evolves into an almost-but-definitely-not Plinko jam. There is a bit of staccato back and forth between Trey and Page but the backing rhythm is always there, and then Trey takes it a different direction. What Trey and Page do with this jam is something that is a quintessential 3.0 sound. And I mean that in the best way. This jam does not sound as if it came from any other era. They are hitting on all cylinders and I was yelling and wooing my ass off to let them know we were loving it.
To end the 3.0 phish jam they have going here, Trey plays a riff that sounds A LOT like “I Know You Rider.” So much so, that with this being Shoreline, it’s too similar to be coincidental, this is a Dead jam! The bay area crowd loved it, but to be honest, this jam doesn’t really do much and Trey brings it back by playing some Twist phrases to bring it all together. As “Joy” starts up, I looked at my new best friend, the dude I had just met and who I had already forgotten his name and said, “That was some great music we just heard” and gave him a high five.
All in all, great show. Even “Joy” was pretty good.
Brendan McClain is 39, and caught the phish bug again at the Gorge in 2013. He’s very excited for this upcoming west coast run. 7 shows in 9 days from Gorge thru Chula (plus Dick’s!) ending with sleeping in his own bed sounds pretty cool. Still looking for a Forum Floor ticket if anybody has one.
His favorite “2001” is the one from Fukuoka because he played the hell out of that CD in his car.