Monday 07/25/2022 by phishnet

HARTFORD RECAP: A WAVE OF TRIPS

[This recap is courtesy of Alaina Stamatis, phishnet user Farmhose, Fad_albert on twitter and also Fad_Albert on Instagram as well. -Ed.]

“Hartford is a sacred place, magical things happen here,” whispers a hippie girl as she hands me a red solo cup of what appears to be pond water. We’re standing under a violent sun in suffocating heat, surrounded in every direction by rubble and stickered-up vehicles. She continues: “This is a potent frog extract that will aid in the decalcification of your third eye.” I’m so thirsty that I ignore the last statement, plugging my nose and chugging it down as a hot breeze envelopes us with dust. The Hartford police usher us toward the venue and we head in.

© 2022 Scott Marks
© 2022 Scott Marks

We are greeted by a statue commemorating Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, so beloved by this region, and out of the corner of my eye I swear I notice the ice inside the monument is clanking together.

Phish comes out to a massive assemblage of delighted and somewhat distracted concertgoers, and then they are bathed in blue light. Blue---the color of anticipation! Page's organ starts us off with a very welcoming, "Cars Trucks Buses," an homage to the signs of highway stops across America, cars this way, trucks and buses that way. Joints are handed every-which-way.

"Breath and Burning" makes its first appearance since Mexico 2020, a controversial bust-out, but regardless of any reaction, it'll be over soon. The "B&B" is shreddy and has a tiny peak---let's call it a hill. As this tour unfolds, Phish has been granting jamminess to songs that have not traditionally had jams, at least of late, and there's nothing controversial about that. It is followed by "The Final Hurrah," which elicits big cheers for the command "Taste the humidity," because everybody's crotches are clammy.

© 2022 PHISH Rene Huemer
© 2022 PHISH Rene Huemer

The band then drops into "Free," as a crack in the heat allows a breeze to flow in. The audience becomes a glittering ocean of gem-tones, whirling and splashing with neon foam, until I come-to and I realize it's just a bunch of sweaty shirtless nerds flailing their limbs with selective regard for tempo. The big reggae energy of "Yarmouth Road" hits in a downright summery way---is this a beach show? Is Phish coming to us live from the glamorous beaches of Hartford, Connecticut?

An average-great "Plasma" oozes into "Sigma Oasis," which leads us into a dank and dewy cave of sizzling and crackling synths, scrambling sequencers, stalagmites dripping with bass lines, and a major-key Trey, like a light at the end of a funky tunnel. We emerge with a big, white-light peak and we really are in the Sigma Oasis, but then, we were already there. This is biggest "Sigma" since Orange Beach.

When you're tripping on frog extract at a Phish concert, you truly believe that the band is singing directly to you. What are they prescribing with "Limb by Limb"? A Taste for Cannablism? Objectively speaking, Phish plays on a normal stage, sometimes under normal lighting, shredding palatable musical interludes, and then they sing such insane things. And we are taken far away as the notes seem to twirl in the breeze. The set closes with an average-great "Sand." I become paranoid that the audience is all hired actors and that the band is using them to spy on me. I have myself to blame!

© 2022 PHISH Rene Huemer
© 2022 PHISH Rene Huemer

SET BREAK IS WEIRD.

Thankfully my ego-death-spiral is interrupted by cheering and blue light and Jonny strikes up with the band with "A Wave of Hope," quickly becoming a favorite of the hand-sanitizer-and-toilet-paper-tunes of Trey's time in lockdown (AKA the Lonely Trip album). This too shall pass, they tell me encouragingly. But before I could be comforted by Page and Trey's iridescent solos, elegantly buoyed by Mike, an extraterrestrial spacecraft appears above the stage exuding bright beams. Small doors flip open and from them emerge shiny moving walkways carrying petite-but-menacing beings. Fish is desperately trying to push them back up into their vessel by departing from his human metronomic role and drives the jam into a zone where murkiness and bewilderment can thrive, and Mike is right there with him, but the aliens are not deterred!

The donuts start peeling off of Fish’s dress.

Trey musters threatening tones from his rig and shoots back at them! Page compliments these with traditional keyboard sounds, then almost seems to duck down to reload, and then reemeerges with darting synths. Lights are flashing wildly as the band becomes one big flagellating multibeast, pulsating and whirring, as the aliens realize that the love-and-light-and-breeze band that they had planned to conquer was actually murderous and untamed. The aliens try to leave but Trey won't let them get away. He destroys their craft like a boardwalk carnival ride being slapped by chaotic tsunami waves mercilessly until it finally crashes into the ocean.

As soon as the last alien is destroyed, the effects are shed from Trey's guitar, and he takes an incendiary minor key solo across a landscape of driving psychedelic krautrock. The aliens came in evil. Phish gave them evil right back. If you only listen to one track from last night, check out the one where the band saves humanity.

© 2022 PHISH Rene Huemer
© 2022 PHISH Rene Huemer

I’m beginning to feel normal again. This too shall pass, they tell me once again, as I was beginning to hope my mind was stuck forever tripping frog balls.

I start scanning the ground for discarded poisonous amphibians, perchance to lick. That was the longest "Wave of Hope" ever, eclipsing the one at Deer Creek by about 4 minutes.

The band segues into "A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing," as a local confirms for me that Hartford is not a beach town, and that Hartfordites (Connecticutensians?) travel hours to Rhode Island for seaside sun. I ask another question and realize I've been talking to a pole. And yet here we are again splashing in the sea. Instead of simply taking a vibey victory lap after a 23 minute jam, the boys start tearing it up. Mike and Fish lead the way for some sexy exploration, with Page adding lots of color and light, and it becomes clear that the band had quickly rigged some of the electronics from the spaceship into their onstage gear and were letting it rip. It culminates with Trey articulating their discoveries and creating a wholly new little major key ditty.

© 2022 Scott Marks
© 2022 Scott Marks

After 18 minutes the band finds its way to "Blaze On," which grooves in a "Blaze On"-structured groove for a few minutes until Trey hits us with a buttery, sustained note, and then starts slathering and lubricating our already-whetted ears, and the form of "Blaze On" starts to slide apart from the corners that kept it in place. More butter, some sugar, add vanilla with golden honey synth rays. The concoction onstage heats up and starts bubbling over and burning. Mike throws a few peppercorns on the fire and the meal is briefly ablaze. These three first songs of the second set jammed out make for about 2,700 seconds of recommended listening.

It could’ve gone so very far but after 13 minutes they segue into "The Wedge." I look at the jumbotron for the first time and see Gritty riding the rail. Whether I've stopped tripping remains unclear. And because I requested to review this show I essentially willed-into-existence a cool-down-and-light-up first "Farmhouse" of the tour. And by the way, if you don’t want Phish to play "Backwards Down the Number Line" then you should stop singing along and hugging each other and punching your fists in the air, and all the other things you guys do to show that you actually love "Number Line."

© 2022 Alaina Stamatis
© 2022 Alaina Stamatis

The band leaves the stage and we collectively wonder how much more music we'll be treated to in the encore. We're rewarded with an average-great "Tube," followed by an average-great "First Tube." TWO TUBES. Last time they were together was 2009! (Tube-thousand-nine?)

The concert ends in an ovation of Trey holding up his you-know-what while everyone cheers. Hartford is a sacred place, magical things happen here.

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Comments

, comment by yEEt_1331
yEEt_1331 Awesome review. I’ve heard lots of negative comments about song choices, but the deep jams more than made up for that. Solid show.
, comment by Wolfenhaus
Wolfenhaus "surrounded in every direction by rubble and stickered-up vehicles"
"flailing their limbs with selective regard for tempo"
This review was spot on and HILARIOUS. Thank you.
, comment by ForgeTheCoin
ForgeTheCoin Phenomenal review. Sounds like the frog potion paired well with last night's offerings. Those who avoid this show due to the setlist on paper do so at their own peril. The first few songs of Set 2 are as good as it gets in 4.0!
, comment by FrontMan
FrontMan Fantastic review!
55 minutes of inspired and at times downright possessed improvisation followed by a breather and a couple hug and high five your friends tunes. And finally two tubes. Anyone who complains about this phish show…my condolences. For the rest, we’re already there.
, comment by Halftimehobo
Halftimehobo Willie the Pimp teases around 10:56 from Page during A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing and Trey quickly joins in. Check it out!
, comment by Cornbread
Cornbread Review delivers
, comment by pureguava
pureguava This review was a delight and I can confirm that it’s not what they play, it’s how the hell do I get back to earth now.
I need to revisit that 2nd set opener.
The heat was downright tropic.
, comment by Uncleebenezer303
Uncleebenezer303 “Talking to a pole” Hahah. love it!
, comment by sharutunian
sharutunian The author has removed all text from this comment.
, comment by Nomidwestlove
Nomidwestlove Thanks Fad Albert (Alaina) for the recap. You’re easily my favorite reccaper. Hope to see you and Nick at Alpine or Dicks. I’ll bring the toad smoke to balance you out!
, comment by BestBandEver
BestBandEver Best. (Magical Realist) Review. Ever. Well played.
, comment by mgolia6
mgolia6 Unreal review. Such a great account of the alien abduction. Funny the last two tube show was 6/7/09 and the Sand to open set two incited the same alien riot on Camden the way WoH did last night. Again, the band came away victorious.

You nailed it!
, comment by dschvice
dschvice Great review! No need for negativity from anyone as WE ALL should be GRATEFUL Phish is even playing. Was fantastic watching from home!!! Second set just oozed...…love it all!
, comment by Phishky
Phishky I love the review! I couldn’t stop reading parts to my wife, while laughing! I luv it and I lub PH!
Thank you for being awesome and descriptive ????????????
, comment by labuz
labuz Please review every show
, comment by BigCypress
BigCypress Best review ever, great Jams and not a bad selection at all. Aliens got me good at MSG. I needed this review
, comment by mgolia6
mgolia6 Oh oh oh oh…and I forgot. The fraggle rocking lights were just unreal during those dark and ominous sections. I mean they added a level of fright that could only be captured by a review as solid as the one above. The layered effects that then started cascading and billowing and tracing and then morphing. They built to a terrorizing climax repeatedly. They were almost hypnotizing and I stayed out loud to myself, do not forget to tell someone, anyone, about them! I’ve now made true on that promise to myself.

Mahalo and Namaste,
Matthew
, comment by mikeytnyc
mikeytnyc ????
I mean
????
No, Alaina, you’re the ????
Love you guys and hope to see you soon!
, comment by Buddhaboy19
Buddhaboy19 Great review, we watched the show live-stream and Sigma Oasis is becoming one of my faves after taking a 5 year Phish break. Some amazing things going on in 4.0.
Thanks for keeping the aliens at bay , for now. . . . . .
, comment by BushwickUuuugh5000
BushwickUuuugh5000 This was... the most... important show review... of the entire summer!!! Loving the battle imagery. Singularly the most magical thing I've read in a long while. More please and THANK YOU!!!
, comment by RunningSoprano
RunningSoprano Stunningly perfect review! It was an amazing show and you're a fantastic writer!
, comment by Jansen_in_the_Street
Jansen_in_the_Street Great review, that was so fun to read
, comment by cannabination
cannabination Phenomenal review. 11/10.
, comment by adam42
adam42 I don't usually comment on these, but this recap was AMAZING. Kudos!
, comment by JAG67
JAG67 I don't usually comment on these but after 30 years of shows I can honestly say this was the absolute worst show I ever went to. Bored to death
, comment by Thief
Thief This is really such a great review -- I'm laughing as I re-live the show through your words, knowing exactly what you mean and every moment you describe.
, comment by Beaser
Beaser I haven’t taken the time to comment on a review for some time but this is fucking spectacular. Thank you for this it made my day!
, comment by RobPJohnson3
RobPJohnson3 That was very entertaining! The bar has been set high, future reviewers.
, comment by TBirdRockin
TBirdRockin Excellent review! You’re a fantastic writer…frog warts and all! Thanks for the fun recap.
, comment by CTHOKIEPHISHin
CTHOKIEPHISHin This review is fantastic except for you missed out on an outstanding Character Zero which ended the 2nd set.
, comment by avborden
avborden "And by the way, if you don’t want Phish to play "Backwards Down the Number Line" then you should stop singing along and hugging each other and punching your fists in the air, and all the other things you guys do to show that you actually love "Number Line.""

The best! that's me!
, comment by MamousFockingbird
MamousFockingbird This is- excuse me- a DAMN fine review.
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