Comcast Center, Mansfield Ma
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Well, we can make it a bakers dozen. This was my 13th show. I am sure it pales in comparison to many, but from what I could tell at this show I was 12 up on many.
The band had taken a hiatus in recent years, only allowing for their mystique to grow even more. Many younger fans at the show(s) by all accounts. The key will be to see if the young fans can also turn in to the "smart fans".
Having "seats" on the lawn is less than perfect in my opinion. I am a music fan first, so the "masses on the grass" are sort of kept out of it so much. People were fine, cool, fun you name it..but I felt so far out of the event at times it was frustrating.
The band had reformed, cleaned up and are even prepping a new studio album. A show at Fenway Park earlier in the week had fans buzzing they were "back". Everyone was hoping for a really strong show and what we got, at least to me, was a split decision.
Opening set one at about 20 before 8 was "Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan". Sort of a honest to goodness what the heck sort of tune. Don't get me wrong, they sounded good and looked to be having fun but it was sort of an odd set one opener. They played "Nothing" next and that got some bodies moving but I think many were sort of wondering where the band was going to take the music this night.
The band got moving a few songs later on "Golgi Apparatus" and that really seemed to spark the audience, but we sorta went up and down once more. Sparkle was okay and then Gotta Jibbo, a fun song, but just a mid tempo sorta track.
The rest of the set to me was largely forgettable. Sorry to the hardcore fans, but I call em as I seem em. Too many mid tempo, slow tunes. I am all for diversity but it was just wasn't happening.
On the plus side was the solos were tight, the music was even, nobody was way up in the mix..and the lights were great.
Set one ended about 10 before 9 and the set breaks, which before the hiatus got to be really far to long, was pretty short. They hit the stage again just about 9:20. Not sure if that is because of the strict 11pm curfew or what, but I didn't mind.
Set two I figured we'd really get a ripping opener, but once more I was left with a headscratcher in "7 Below". Our patience (well mine a least) was rewarded when "Fluffhead" was played. It was fun, explosive at times and real tight. "Scent of a Mule" was much the same and they kept it fun with "Heavy Things". It felt a smidge out of place, but at least it was uptempo. The one two punch of "Harry Hood" and "Possum" had the lawn just reeling and we were calmed down with an extended "Bug" to wrap up the main set.
The Comcast Center has a history of being the worst venue ever to get out of after a show. I had talked to my buddy before the show about leaving at the encore and we decided to see how we felt.
Both of us were sort of ehh on the show. Set one was sort of a dud but set 2 was really strong so we wanted to see what the encore was.
They began with "Contact" so we started to walk. It being an open air show we could hear a fair amount. They also played "Julius" but we were at the gate by that point. A smart move. We got to see the show and didn't have to sit for hours.
Overall it was a hit or miss affair. I wanted more of a ripping show. I am not the fan that needs to hear a song that hasn't been played in 600 shows. I just want to hear some good tunes and have fun. The best news is that the band seems to clearly be having fun and the playing was very tight. That is a good sign.
Will I go again, sure. One show a band like this can not be judged on.
The whole set:
1: Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, Nothing, Back on the Train, Golgi Apparatus, Sparkle, Gotta Jiboo, Lawn Boy, Let Me Lie*, Taste, Makisupa Policeman, Prince Caspian
2: 7 Below, Fluffhead, Scent of a Mule, Heavy Things, Harry Hood, Possum, Bug
E: Contact, Julius
Notes:* debut Phish performance (from Trey's solo album "Bar 17")
Labels: live review