Monday 09/04/2023 by phishnet


[We'd like to thank Rachael Wesley for recapping last night’s show. Her debut (and very Phish-filled) memoir, SECOND SET CHANCES, is forthcoming (April 2025) through Vine Leaves Press. Follow her on IG rachael_wesley_writes or check out her website: for writing and book updates. —Ed.]

Growing up, Sundays were never my favorite day of the week. I was raised in a secular Catholic household, which meant if my parents woke, sans alarm, in time to attend Mass, we would go. My brother and I almost always arose before Mom and Dad. We would tiptoe around the house like mice, turning on Rugrats at the lowest volume possible, whispering together, holding our breath every time we heard a noise, anticipating our parents rising. Any second, we would be summoned to dress for church.

This happened about 50% of the time. Whether we made it to Sacred Heart of Jesus or not, our afternoons always ended with family time and sauce (never gravy) at my Grandparents’. Sometimes, it felt like forever before the spaghetti was served.

Though I never learned to enjoy church, I discovered that if I just surrendered to the routine of that day, Mass would go by a lot quicker, and the pasta at Gram’s would arrive sooner rather than later.

It’s been decades since being forced to attend a Mass I had zero interest in, but as Matt, yesterday’s reviewer, so beautifully said, Phish IS Church, and I’ve been a willing member of this congregation for over twenty years. A Sunday show day includes many of the same elements of the Sundays of yore: church, family, and food, and, for good measure, throw in the lessons of my youth to remember to surrender to what the day throws at you.

© 2023 Mike Gordon
© 2023 Mike Gordon

After the magic of the last two nights, anticipation and expectation for this Summer Tour (and summer) ending show were high. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. Lining up before 6 PM, my crew and I were poised in good position to nab our corner Page side stands in 122, but with a divided sky of blue, clouds, and sun shining West and dark, ominous lightning-flashing skies reminiscent of Stephen King’s “The Mist” to the South, it would be over two hours of standing before it was deemed safe enough to open the venue.

Rather than complain, I chose to surrender to this predicament, and those one hundred and fifty minutes passed quicker and with a lot more joy than a Palm Sunday mass (the most dreaded of them all). The synchronicity of Phish also prevailed, for while sharing laughs and a few extra drinks outside Gate E, I randomly ran into several beloved friends: a buddy who was celebrating his 40th birthday, my favorite tie dye artist, and a friend I raged Thursday night with to name a few.

When the venue doors finally opened, we made a beeline to our coveted spot and found it open. Winning! We claimed our spots and waited some more, this time for what would now be one long-ass set of music. Again, I tried to take on an attitude of surrender for our abridged show. There was nothing else one could do about it.

The band took the stage at 9:27, approximately ninety minutes later than the previous three nights. With a half-filled floor and hordes of fans still waiting to get in, they opened with “Sigma Oasis.” Not my favorite, but the lyrics were apropos of our situation, and I swayed along to this perfunctory version. As SO ended, a deep rumble sounded from Mike, and an extended vibration that could only be “Down with Disease” reverberated through the crowd. Though this sixteen-minute version isn’t all that exceptional, I had fun getting down to Trey’s guitar charge against a strong supportive cast, first a bouncing back and forth between him and Page, then Mike came to play, answering the force of Trey with a steady blast of dance grooves, all while Fishman pounded out an unbelievably fierce and frenetic pace. Towards the end, the jam vaguely resembled “No Men in No Man’s Land” before shifting back to the lyrics to properly close the song.

The hoarseness in Trey’s voice was apparent as he sang about being on his way, and I wondered if sitting around waiting for the lightning to pass allowed the tiredness to settle in. It’s quite possible that these 60 and almost 60-year-old musicians were already tired after rocking the fuck out for the past three nights. Maybe there was even some disappointment felt among the band that their last show of the tour had been cut in half.

Whatever it was, the show must go on.

As the band went into “Moma Dance” I gave a little groan. Blerg. I’ve been sick of hearing this song for years, but the last version I saw (Hollywood Bowl) may have changed my mind. Would tonight’s do the same thing? Everyone around me was smiling and grooving, and, remembering to surrender, I didn’t stop moving either, so I guess that’s settled.

“Moma” rolled straight into “Kill Devil Falls,” which provided lots of opportunities for head bobbing and air guitar among sections 122 and 123. My experience at Dicks this year was exceptional, perhaps the best of my ten years going, and I must give credit to the fans all around me. For four nights, there’d been little to no chomping, straight moving and grooving, smiles and cheers for song selections, and primal howling because it felt so fucking good. Even on this final night of music, so many must have also decided to surrender to the flow (and forget about how tired they were), for the dancing DID NOT STOP.

“Free” followed, another song I could do without, just from the sheer number of times I’ve heard it. Or were these the lies I’ve been telling myself? While "Free” took a little swim, I flowed with it, though I’m sure attendance bias helped.

“Everything’s Right” clocked in at 16:22 and tied with “DWD” for the longest song of the evening. Like “DWD,” the jam wasn’t brilliant, but I settled into a trancey groove as the waning moon, past its glorious full but still a sight to behold (perhaps a great metaphor to our band tonight), rose above the eastern pavilion.

I sat for “Roggae.” It’s a new move for me to take a load off during the slower songs and one I think I’ll continue so I can properly bust a move all show long. I can sway on my bum as expertly as on my feet. If you haven’t mastered this art of sitting, I highly recommend it, especially if you are past forty. But once “The Wedge” started, I jumped to my feet to properly respect that two-car garage.

The ”Gumbo” so many of us expected on Saturday in tribute to Jimmy Buffet sounded for song number nine, and there were lots of wiggling crawdads surrounding me. Though Page’s solo at the end wasn’t as rollicking as usual, I still wiggled my hips and shoulders a bit extra. Play it for me, Keyboard Cat!

“2001” was met with its usual cheers. Time for Kuroda to shine (as if he wasn’t all night and weekend), and twenty-five thousand fans gyrated as one while he displayed his prowess.

2023 has proven to be my year of opening to whatever the band throws at me. My initial thought when they started playing “Fuego” was another blerg, but with Fishman’s drums pounding away and igniting Trey’s guitar, I found myself bopping along to it.

Standard versions of “Runway Jim,” “Twist," and “About to Run,” seemed rushed and added little to this late hour, but my section continued to dance, dance, dance the night away. A penultimate “Harry Hood” clocked in at under ten minutes, and though glowsticks were present, it was no ultimate war of dayglo.

The set closed with “More.” While I’ve spent this review espousing my newfound ways of surrender and open-mindedness, I think I’ll always struggle with this one. Though I think Judy Gemstone could make it a number-one hit, all this vibrating with love and light is a bit too cheese for me. Alas, I swayed along to it, all the while turning around to make faces at friends in the row behind me.

The two-song encore of “First Tube” and “Tweeprise” allowed for a raucous ten minutes of dancing ourselves clean to finish the Sunday show, year twelve at Dicks, and Phish’s 2023 Summer Tour. Though while walking out into the circus-like antics of Phish Lot post-show I didn’t register any disappointment on people’s faces, the Phish socials afterward reflected this sentiment.

One of the most uttered phrases within our community is “Never miss a Sunday show.” Of my last three Phish runs (Dicks 2022 and 2023, Hollywood Bowl 2023), only one (guess which) ended with the expected auditory fireworks. When compared to the mornings I spent as a kid trying not to wake my parents, I had greater odds of missing church than I did of catching a spectacular Sunday show.

Sunday was, in my opinion, the weakest of the last two Dick’s runs (though it must be noted that four nights of music is the most taxing of music marathons). With that said, I had a far better time last night than I did on 9/4/2022 (though I don’t think either show is worth a relisten). This is due to several reasons, but much has to do with this sense of surrender. With so much out of control, we can put the onus on ourselves and our own expectations. I honestly think it’s the best thing one can do for maximum enjoyment.

Or maybe we just need to rethink what it means to never miss a Sunday show. It’s a final opportunity to spend time with loved ones in our chosen church before a weekend of reunions, fun, music, and escape comes to an end, and we should never skip out on this. Besides, if you already did the other shows, why miss out on the final one (even though it may not be the best musically)? There is still a chance (33% in my recent experiences) it will be the show to rule them all.

One final “glass is full” thought for you (because I am a forever optimist): So last night’s show wasn’t the punctuation mark most of us would have chosen to end Summer Tour with, but we don’t have too long to wait for Fall Tour.

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, comment by mgolia6
mgolia6 Gorgeous recap of an underwhelming show. I think you captured the “a phish show is always a party” feel while being critical of the soundtrack for the party. A phish show is about the music, but it’s the one thing you really cannot control (okay well the weather) so you must consider the things that are in your control, who you go with, who you sit with, who you dance with, what you imbibe (if that’s your bag), etc…I felt the critic in you doing an expert job at being critical while highlighting an equally powerful positive!

Now on a more important subject I spent my youthful Sundays at Church (much more than 50% of the time) then the afternoon at Mama and Baba’s waiting for the sauce to simmer (f@&$ gravy) and too have traded a lot of that for the experiences seeing music with family and friends. Those experiences shaped us and, like this show, taught us how to see the silver lining in just about everything. But also not to just happily lap it up.
, comment by Scissortail
Scissortail Rachael, I appreciate your shout-out here (I’m Matt) and I couldn’t agree with you more. In mine, when I said I was dreading a “Saturday Night Special” kind of show, this one was exactly what I meant by that. Phish is always fun, and I had fun, but yeah. Still a weekend I’ll never forget. Great recap!
, comment by InTheQuagmire
InTheQuagmire This show was hot ???? the floor was raging!
, comment by InTheQuagmire
InTheQuagmire @InTheQuagmire said:
This show was hot! the floor was raging!
, comment by The_Watchful_Hosemaster
The_Watchful_Hosemaster You nailed it with your comment about Roggae. I recall seeing this song way back in 2000 (Albany) and it was the perfect tune to take a seat, spark up a bowl, and enjoy the chill music. I do the same thing when I hear this one and have extended that practice to the slower songs.

Any Phish show is a good show. This one was definitely underwhelming a bit from the stream mostly because some of the jams felt rushed. I'm sure being there was a great experience. They were trying to pack in the songs instead of going for fewer tunes and longer explorations. A 9 minute Hood? Might as well skip More and let Hood come out to play a little bit!

This show is better than the alternative of not having a show, though. Better than getting blue balls like the fans down in North Carolina got earlier this year!
, comment by Mexi_Cob
Mexi_Cob The whole "never miss a Sunday show" is a bit worn at this point, I've been to plenty of Sunday shows that were good, but by no means would I have been upset if I missed it, when the band cam on at 9:20 the floor was not half full, we were sitting i the stands in Sec 119 and the floor was over 3/4 full, yes the Sunday show was the weaker of the Sat/Sun shows, but after the Sat show ANYTHING they played on Sun was just extra to me. They seemed a bit rushed at the start, but once the show settled in a bit, so did they, this was my 4th rain delayed show in 4 years, Fenway 2019, Pine Knob 2022, Dick's 2022 and now Dick's 2023, I have been to Dick's now in 2013, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, no rain delay in 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21 and now 2 years in a row.
, comment by minkin555
minkin555 "Never Miss a Sunday Show" holds zero value these days. The last handful of Sunday shows I've attended have been disappointing and underwhelming. Saturday shows are the real party these days. Oh well... Trey seems to be overworked by Dickie Scotland. LAY OFF ZAMFIR.

If I had traveled more than 2 hours for Dicks this year... I would have requested my money back. This may have been one of the weakest Summer tours since early 3.0. Except MSG but that doesn't count as Summer tour in my opinion. The band just does not seem inspired. And you'd think that a one set show would have SOME bust-outs or once-a-summer tunes (Tela, Mule, etc) but nope. More More, Everything's Right, etc. Even Fuego and KDF are overplayed now. I guess I should start lowering my expectations.
, comment by bradenwright
bradenwright People are funny, I really enjoyed the show. Probably my fav of the weekend, friday was close followed by sat. From my perspective Mike sounded like he was turned up in the mix, and was using a synth / space funk type tone more often than normal that had a lot of bounce to the tone. Mikes my fav and I love bass so that alone made the show for me. It continued throughout out the night. 2001 was one of the best I’ve seen again bc of the bass, super funky. Best one I’ve seen since Merriweather 2019 (maybe 2018). Free that bass tone again, the bass tone in Seattle this year was incredible too. It’s something that the recordings don’t quite do justice.

Spilt Friday followed by 2001 this show were my favorite songs of the weekend
, comment by Mikingbird
Mikingbird A grand review indeed! Thank the Church I didn't buy the webcast. Here's a tour ending quote: "There must be something more than this crappy song". Eh? Eh? No charge.
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