After a fairly late evening night one (including a noise complaint from our neighbors at the hotel, haha), we got up bright and early Wednesday morning and walked into town, enjoying an outstanding breakfast at Tupelo Junction Cafe. Later in the morning, we met up with a dude with the oddly familiar name of "Tudd" to hook him up with our SBB2 extras. We spent the early afternoon on the shore at Butterfly Beach, just a couple of miles out of town. Absolutely amazing, and I'm just going to let the next few pictures speak for themselves.
Afterwards, we returned to our motel so Salvador could catch up on some much needed shut-eye, while I baked in the sun. Chatted with a couple of our neighbors on the motel's elevated sun deck thingy while blasting Earthless and enjoying some Dale's. Not too shabby!
Hit the bricks walking towards SBB (about a mile and a half walk from our motel) by 5:15, finding our way to our seats by a little before six. I had lamented night one's lack of energy (as well as my own), and we immediately noticed a certain electricity in the air preshow on night two that seemed to be forecasting great things. By the end of the night, we'd be openly marveling at how incredibly different nights one and two were in every way - from the the overall atmosphere inside the venue to the enthusiasm of our seat neighbors, and most importantly to the quality of the music.
The first set featured great song selection and nice versions of several first set standards. "Soul Shakedown Party" opener (first one in over two years, although I was surprised to learn that now there have been more "SSP"s played in 3.0 than 1.0 and 2.0 combined) referenced the previous night's reggae-infused outing, and peppy versions of "Undermind" and "Ya Mar" kept the mood buoyant. "Jesus Just Left Chicago" showed up for the first time this year, offering steamy blues soloing from Page and Trey in a manner that was totally different than typical Phish blues-rock soloing. "My Friend" is an old personal fave and was actually the first Phish song Salvador and I ever saw performed at our first show ever just over 18 years ago. The set closed down with a pair of true first set classics in "Melt" and a tight, rippin' "Walls."
This first set really hammers home the importance of great song selection. Was there a ton of great improv in this set? Of course not, but nearly every song (*coughexceptWinterqueencough*) was something I legitimately wanted to hear. Again, so much of a different story compared to night one that we could barely believe our eyes (and ears).
At setbreak, we ran into one of Salvador's friends from Oregon, who promptly covered us with glitter - as of the time of this writing, about 12 hours after said beglittering, I can report that my beard, hair, clothing, and especially my sunglasses still bear many tiny, glittery specks.
Set two burst out of the gate with a massive "Drowned," the first one played since the excellent DCU2 version 361 days prior. This jam was incredibly diverse, wandering into and out of several distinct jam styles which in turn induced me to try out many different noodle-dance variations, haha. The second jammed "Theme" of 3.0 was the evening's highlight for me. "Theme" has long been a favorite of mine, and, along with other warhorses like "Free" and "Moma" it's one that I wish was afforded more opportunities to be an improvisational centerpiece. This one had a distinctly Floydish vibe - some folks are apparently saying "Echoes," which I didn't notice at the time, but which makes perfect sense. This "Theme" was very much different from the also-excellent AC '13 funk-infused version, but equally danceable and IMHO even better.
The rest of the second set featured song lengths and intensity often associated with "party shows" - no shame in that label when the boys are as "on" as they were on this night. "Steam" and "Waves" were sweet, condensed versions - all killer, no filler, although "Steam" did suffer from an abrupt ripcord courtesy of Trey. (Possibly a nod to the ripcord-fest during night one :->) The "2001" > "Mike's" > "Jim" > "Paug" run to close the set showcased the heavy hitters and still yet more stellar song selection. "Paug" was another of the evening's highlights for me, with "Jim" and "2001" teases, and with Mike shamelessly trying (and failing) to elicit "WOO!!" from the crowd during his bass solo. And the "Antelope" that burns this whole place down had everyone grinning thanks to the goofy "SSP" reprise tucked within. Really a wonderful show, with many water-themed songs as befitting our proximity to the ocean, and great enough to firmly put to bed the complaints of JadedVets (myself included) who were a bit underwhelmed by the tour's first three shows.
Post-show, we wandered back towards the State Street area downtown, encountering some great "tandem" acrobats (?!) the guy, lying on his back, balanced and twirled the girl using only his feet, and the girl contorted her body into impossible-seeming configurations above him. We then met up at Eureka Burger with some folks from our row at the show for excellent burgers and beers - the fig burger (Salvador's choice) gets a high recommendation from me, as does the Tortilla Burger I ordered. Headed back to the Presidio afterwards and encountered a few kind souls winding down after what waas
Love you Santa Barbara, and I'll miss you as I head back down the coast to LA - staying in the 'hood the next two nights, where neither the scenery, nor the food options, nor the people will be anywhere near as hospitable as what we encountered here. 'Till next time...