Set 1: Eat, Words, FF > Anchor Drops, 1348, Slacker
Set 2: Wizard Burial Ground, Hey Nineteen > The Linear > Phil's Farm -> A Love Supreme > Blue Echo > Phil's Farm, Bright Lights, Big City
Encore: 40's Theme
Support: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Purchase via UMLive: 01.30.2011, Rams Head Live!, Baltimore, MD
Reviews: 1 review(s)
2011 was a year that featured one or two really good pieces of improv in almost every show, and this one did not disappoint. The standard Eat followed by Words was really the only slow part of the show. FF and 1348 were easily the highlights of set 1, as both contained quality improv and approached the 15 minute mark. FF had a very patient jam, beginning as spacey dub before shifting into more driving territory and closing with a Stranglehold jam before Anchor Drops started on a dime. 1348's jam started out with a heavy BB riff complimented by nice Rhodes work by Joel. The B section was uplifting, with a nice soaring Jake riff. The return to 1348 was very patient; they really eased into it, almost like they do with the intro. Slacker had a brief jam and brought a satisfying first set to a close.
Set 2 started very strong, with a Bloodline of Merlin sampled quote leading into WBG. The Hey 19 through Phil's Farm segment is undoubtedly the show highlight, with about 40 minutes of uninterrupted playing including several strong improv sections. Hey 19 featured a Midnight Hour jam with vox by Jake. My girlfriend presciently observed that it sounded a lot like Funkytown, which I scoffed at, only to be shocked and served when the band snuck in a brief Funkytown jam next! The Linear featured a spacey jam that followed FF's template and picked up in pace, highlighted by Jake's fingertapping that recalled PF's On the Run. For my money, Linear was the jam of the night. Linear dissolved into Phil's, which quickly took a turn into the space-dance sort of improv featured in this show. The ALS theme begins early on in the improv out of Phil's and led smoothly into Blue Echo. A hauntingly beautiful jam after the Echo section featured a Joel piano progression and very restrained but powerful playing from all band members. This stew was very similar to a 2006 version of Blue Echo (4/19/2006 possibly? The date escapes me at the moment.) Echo did not return to the "Techo" section, but rather dropped back into the second half of Phil's before a BLBC set closer. BLBC featured some funk jamming around the main theme, a solid version but rather ordinary when compared to the best versions of the song from 2011 (year of the massive Bright Lights?) 40's encore was welcomed but not particularly notable.
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