"It was a dud, plain and simple. Better luck next time, assuming there is a next time."
—Me, in my concert review after seeing Phish at Darien Lake in August.
Well, there was a next time, and the luck was most definitely better. I saw Phish again on November 29, and it was possibly the best show I've ever been to. This one was in Syracuse at the War Memorial at Oncenter, a minor league hockey rink with only 6,700 seats. It was by by far the smallest venue I've ever seen Phish in, and the intensity was off the charts. The band was super tight, the light show (aided by the small room with a shiny roof) was superb, and the setlist was relentless. Phish's "From the Road" entry has the setlist and several photos.
My main criticism after the Darien show was that the mix was terrible: Trey's guitar was piercingly loud, the drums were inconsistently present, and the keys were either EQed poorly or lacking altogether. The mix in Syracuse was spot-on. I could hear everything really well, and even when Trey stacked his overdrives and hit his wah, it was just loud—not painful. As a bonus, Page was using the Hammond a TON, which gave it a very Rift-era feel.
My other problem in August was that the band never seemed to get into a groove, and again, the Syracuse show was the polar opposite. The first set in particular seemed to go on forever, like they were having so much fun that they didn't want to stop. And they stayed tight right up until the very end, when they came out and kicked Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times" right in the teeth. All in all, a great night—the most fun I've had in ages.
Here's to a nice long run with Phish 3.0!