[That's right! PELICANS!!]
So, my last MiYEMless writeup may have come across as more than a little bitter and whiny, and I'm OK with that. After all, I had only fled Miami mere hours before I typed that one up, and the foul taste that that city left in my mouth had not yet been cleared away by excessive overuse of assorted Halls products.
It's most important to remember that, above anything else, although I never have to go back to Miami *EVER* again (YAY!!!), my NYE Run mp3s will exist in perpetuity throughout the universe, or at least until my next castastrophic hard drive crash in about 15 minutes. Make no mistake - there was some damn fine music played over the four nights, although my previous post may have marginalized that crucial aspect of my trip.
Also, I want this post to kind of serve as a bit of a palate cleanser between MiYEMless and the rest of music in the year 2015. It's nearly a month since I got back from the Sunshine State, and it's (mercifully) time to finally close the book on NYE Run '14 - 15. Ok, let's wrap this up.
1.) Night 1, 12/31/14 - after a standard first set (anchored by the third straight outstanding NYE run "Wolfman's,") the boys dropped a legendary second set on us. One needs look no further than the "Ghost" > "Theme" > "Cities" segment for arguably the finest 40 minute stretch of music in 2014. (Close competition for that title comes from "Chalkdust" / "Light" / "Tweezer" from Randall's 3, the entirety of MPP2 set II, and the "Crosseyed" > "Light" > "Dogs" > "Lengthwise" > "Twist" > "Lengthwise" > "Twist" > "Manteca" > "Twist" sequence from Vegas 2.) In a year of stellar "Ghost"s, many of them followed a similar general blueprint: composed section > spooky-ish jam section > glorious major key jam. Well, this one skipped the weirdness, got straight into the pretty stuff, and included a *second* jam after a brief return to the "Ghost" theme. The "Theme" that followed was arguably the finest of the three relisten-worthy "Theme"s that have been performed during 3.0 (along with the 11/2/13 AC "Shaft"-quoting funkfest and SBB2's incredible Floyd-esque jam). And the "Cities" was possibly the best of all, jampacked with slinky funk and surprising melodicism. It was also great to see a couple of the Haunted House songs played in their entireties ("Martian Monster" to close the second set, and "Dogs" as the first song played in 2015), and folks went bonkers for the "The Birds" tease that linked "Theme" and "Cities."
2.) Night 2, 1/1/15, was probably the worst Phish show I've seen since the days when time still regularly turned elastic. It shouldn't ever speak well for a show when, in summation, one can report that the highlight was a "20 Years Later" with some extra length.
3.) Night 3, 1/2/15 started off with yet another tepid first set, but the "Mike's Groove" that started II is unquestionably the best that's been played during 3.0. For all of the recent talk about restoring the "second" jam to "Mike's," I have to say that one of the things I expected least from this tour would be the best "Weekapaug" I've ever seen live. If you haven't watched / heard this one multiple times by now, get to it.
4.) Night 4, 1/3/15... I mean, just look at that second set. LOOK AT IT, GODDAMN IT!!
5.) As mentioned in a previous post, I was fortunate enough to catch on with Boston's SteelCrew in the absence of any of my own crew being in Miami. We had so much goddamn fun 12/31, 300 level, extreme Page side, speaker worship, that we chose to spend all four nights in that exact same section, up in the rafters, hootin' and hollerin,' with plenty of room to hop around like jackasses.
6.) Heheheheheh, oh yeah. Before first set 12/31, I totally split my cheap-ass Old Navy cargo shorts right down the crotch. Thank goodness I was wearing a hardy pair of knit boxers, otherwise my junk would've been on full display throughout the rest of the evening. Anyway, sometime during the first set, I wound up groundscoring a bright pink feather boa and donning that for the rest of the show, which thankfully diverted people's attention away from the gaping hole in my groin. As a result, SteelCrew dubbed me "(My real name) with the Feathers" which is way better than "(My real name) with the exposed genitals."
7.) Also just prior to Set I 12/31, we noticed that the group of folks in the row directly in front of us had given one of their friends a "time out" (he appeared to have been a tad, uh, overserved) by shooing him to a few seats away. When I returned shortly after my third of 20+ bathroom breaks on the evening, the guy was gone, his friends were nowhere to be found, and all that remained in their stead were a few quarts of vomit on the floor. The row remained (understandably) unoccupied until the lights went down signaling the start of the show, at which point a gaggle of sparkly dressed girls gleefully flooded into the empty row despite our protests. Fucking gross!! Anyway, the guy who had done the puking came back later and wound up being a pretty decent guy, if a bit too remorselessly shame-free for my tastes.
8.) Not tryna narc anyone out over here (well, maybe a little), but an usher near our section was in cahoots with one of the bathroom mop guys and they were openly selling weed. That's the first time I've seen that at any venue, ever.
9.) While the food in Miami left a whole lot to be desired, I managed to actually have a pretty decent meal at La Casita, which in a nutshell was described as "where locals go who don't want to deal with (the self-proclaimed "World's Most Famous Cuban Restaurant,") Versailles. (I found Versailles to be massively overhyped. Service was indifferent, and the food sucked.) Anyway, here's a picture of the delicious chicharron de pollo appetizer, and below is a picture of the oxtail stew, which was pretty damn good, but still not as good as the Jamaican oxtail I've tried.
10.) Shakedown was a total frickin' disaster. The police presence rarely stretched across Biscayne Blvd., and when it did it was minimal. Sure, they made a few halfhearted attempts at shutting down the odd nitrous vendor every so often, but generally the wooks were left to their devices. What resulted was the most uncomfortably packed shakedown that I've ever experienced. Although I remained sober throughout the very vast majority of the run, I did notice that all manner of contraband appeared to be readily available. And yes, cans of Heady Topper were available.
11.) I had heard (possibly inaccurately) that the '09 New Years shows were so oversold that there were literally tickets on the ground outside the venue. As a result, I foolishly chose to travel to Miami with zero tickets in hand (something I hadn't done, to the best of my blighted memory, since Chula Vista '03). All this despite the fact that in the weeks leading up to the shows, ticket prices on StubHub had plummeted below $20 for a couple of the shows, in some cases cratering to as low as $12. Although I wound up getting tickets below face for each of the shows (paid between $30 and $50 for each night), coulda saved about a hundred bucks had I bought tickets beforehand. Whatevs, no biggie.
12.) All in all, a great run, and I'm glad I went. Sure, night 2 may have kinda bit the big one, but they can't all be winners, can they? When returning home from a run like this, it has to be considered a smashing success if one's biggest (musical) complaint is that they didn't play "Your Pet Cat."
Toodle-oo for now. Stiiiiiilllll Waiting on those Summer Tour dates........