Movies: Phish 3D

We were so worried about getting tickets to this thing. It consumed us for a week or more. “It’s not showing up! The Phish email says it’s playing here, but it’s not showing up!” Finally, the theater listed the show times on its website and we were able to purchase in advance. Had a tasty Mexican dinner with Swamp, Josh, Jess, Lizzy, Taper, and Jen before heading over — the hippie posse in tour shirts and a lot of hemp, rolling up to the ticket window on the same night as Kenny Chesney 3D. People in Wranglers beside us in line squinted up at the marquee and said, “What’s Phish 3D?” No surprise, then, that we were seven of maybe twenty people in the auditorium. If only we’d gone to Asheville, Swamp said, we could have been packed in like sardines with all our hippie brethren and drinking beers at that one theater that serves alcohol. But it was not the worst thing to have the theater practically to ourselves. We got some laughs from fellow movie-goers by shouting along to “Wilson.” The best, most comprehensive review I’ve seen is here. I highly recommend reading it. But I’ll give you a few pieces of personal feedback. I know you care so much what I think! 🙂

The acoustic set was the highlight of the whole thing. “Strange Design” was so honest and emotional, I almost cried. I loved seeing them play in daylight. I loved the set list. It was the one part of the movie where I forgot about the whole 3D thing and stopped being dizzy and just felt immersed in it, like I was sitting on the stage with them. Unfortunately, I was a little distracted by Mike’s huge blue jean bulge. He needs to invest in some looser pants. That shit just doesn’t look comfortable. That was definitely not something I needed to see in 3D.

The “Shine a Light” cover was excellent. Loved the backup singers. Loved the horn section. Even though the trombonist reminded me a little too much of Barry Gibb. Loved Trey’s faces of ecstasy and grins of sheer joy. Loved seeing his eye crinkles in 3D. “Suzy Greenberg” was entertaining but way too damn long. I wanted to smack that backup singer going “SUZY! SUZY! SUZY!” over and over and over. The first portion of the film had some great Page close-ups, where he was looking totally in the zone and deep in his groove. And it was kind of interesting to see Fish’s set up so close. I had no idea how huge his kit was. And I enjoyed playing “Where’s Waldo?” with everyone’s copy of the set lists.

Overall, I would have preferred less camera motion. Towards the end, we were all feeling sick and taking off the 3D glasses. I liked elements of it, like the balloons floating by that Swamp and I pretended to bat at each other. But as far as the show footage, it was more effective when the camera actually paused on something long enough for you to kind of savor being up close and personal. I could have done without “Maze,” which is possibly my least phavorite song. I have a little anxiety freak-out every time I hear that chorus. But everything else I was really happy to hear. And I will totally be purchasing the DVD.

Bottom line: A-. Could have been better in some ways, but I left with a great big smile on my face. And I’m totally pumped for summer tour!

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