Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Live Review: Phish MSG, NYC Summer 2023

July 29th, 30th, August 1st and 5th 
Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY

RtBE was lucky enough to attend 4 of the 7 shows Phish played recently at MSG. The band is clearly in love with the venue and the venue loves them, as sell out crowds and a joyous atmosphere is felt by all any time the Vermont jamband legends come to town. Each night, Saturday July 29th, Sunday July 30th, Tuesday August 1st and Saturday August 5th were enjoyable shows with highs and lows as the band continue to play with a free wheeling abandon that is intoxicating. 

Back in December we did a top ten list of the New Years Run. To celebrate the four shows we caught at MSG this summer, here are four points we would like to expand upon. RtBE has lots more thoughts on the band, but for now these will be the four we touch on and they may overlap a bit.

1) "There've been times when I wander..." 

As we stated after the New Years Run (point #8) the group still likes to let it all hang out and "jam", maybe more than they ever have. This run however it seemed that certain jams/exploratory operations missed their mark as well. This is a pleasant fact though as the band truly plays without a net and not everything always works.  

The final nights "Tweezer" moments were more OK than world beating, the elongated "Sample In a Jar" would have packed more of a punch with a tighter version and the thirty odd minute "Fuego" took about half of that run time to really get going to these ears. Much better was the pumping "Kill Devil Falls > Golden Age" combo and a great "Light" which had real energetic moments. "2001" seemed to be ready to take off when they abruptly shifted gears into Jon Fishman silliness with "Cracklin Rosie", that is the epitome of Phish.

2) "And the light is growing brighter now..."

Kuroda.  CK5 is just simply amazing. Watching the band from three distinct vantage points in the Garden (the first two nights were the same seats) allows one to just marvel at the work Kuroda does. The light program works with the band to create such special visuals that are almost as intoxicating as the music. 

The NY Times goes deep into this as well. 

3)  "You always end up where you start..." 

None of the shows we caught we full on burners the whole night, the band were trying out too many things for everything to click, however, each first set seemed to shine brighter than the second set every night we saw.

The best was the old school jaunt of Sunday which didn't have a song written after '94. Each song was excellent and worth hearing, yet none truly exploded. Tuesday may have had the better highpoints as "Wolfman's Brother" and "The Walrus" were top notch while "Timber (Jerry)" was the best version I can remember hearing live. 

The final Saturday started amazingly with "Loving Cup" a blissful "Divided Sky" and "Prince Caspian" which was the highlight of the whole night. The first Saturday's climax was also at the start as "Get Back On The Train" > "Down With Disease" were electric while "Moondog Matinee" closed strong.   

The second sets lent themselves to a bit too much wandering at times as mentioned, but the band was ready to go each night at MSG from the first notes. 

4) "And many subtle sounds..."

Speaking of the venue, it needs to be noted that the arena sound at MSG is truly phenomenal.  Kudos to Phish team and the Garden itself as speakers are everywhere. RtBE sat in the 100's 200' and 300's and each location was perfect when it comes to the audio quality at the Garden for Phish. 

There is a clear love affair between venue, the fans, and band, odds are everyone will be back in December and RtBE will be back to partake in the flow as well.
Support the band, see them live and peep some video below:


No comments:

Post a Comment