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We’ve been hearing about Utica for weeks.

Trey’s been counting down, Mike threw subtle hints into his vocals at the Irving Plaza show and the message boards were abuzz all week with unsubstantiated rumors and claims like “My friend knows this guy who fluffs Trey’s pubes and he says…”.

Would Utica live up to the hype? Following Tuesday’s “Halfway There” show, anything was possible. The boards on Friday teemed with fans glued to their screens in search of the latest updates. And reports from the show make one thing clear: Whoever believed the hype and put together last minute plans to travel to the show made the right call. This show looks magical on paper.

As of post-time, the setlist has yet to be confirmed by either Phish.com or Trey’s From the Road section of his website. But all accounts rolling in say the show started with the PA playing Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” followed by 70 Volt Parade kicking off the first set to a big balloon drop with Mr. Completely and a promise of a “special night” with “special guests.”

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After Mr. Completely came Spin, Drifting, Dark and Down, Night Speaks, Shine, Money Love and Change, Push On Til the Day, and Come As Melody.

Trey then introduced Cactus for the start of his acoustic set, and Mike came out for Access Me, a number I thought would really be well-received at Phish shows had they played it more. The boys went into Divided Sky, and Fishman came out and to play the cymbal hit before prancing off stage to thunderous applause.

Back on the Train followed, then Heavy Things and ol’ favorites Bathtub Gin and Ghost. Finally Trey, Fishman and Mike (and I’m guessing 70VP) finished the night with Boogie On Reggae Woman, which could only have been amazing. I can’t wait to hear this.

We may never know why they chose Utica (maybe because Fishman lives close to the city?), or why Trey says he wants to separate himself from Phish and then figuratively sleeps with his ex, but I’ll take these shows any day. Any day. I don’t care if the message boards seethe with anger at the blue balls they were left with, or if people think Trey is contradicting himself, or if this causes the world to explode (I don’t care if the world explodes…).

This is fun. This is great. These are musicians with whom mostly all of us had deep, intense relationships. So who cares if they’re teasing us, or if they’re going back on their word, how could you say no to music that makes you say to your friends, “I know it’s Friday, but I gotta be near a computer right now.”

Gotta love the Phish.

Multimedia Update:
Download the torrent from Friday’s show here. Man, that’s some quick turnaround.

Some short YouSendIt videos (Quicktime or WMV): Divided Sky; the pause in Divided, pre-Fishman cymbal tap; Fishman tapping the cymbal in Divided; Ghost; Access Me; Drifting .

Some YouSendIt audio (hopefully these are still working whenever you click on it): Access Me, Divided Sky, Get Back on the Train, Heavy Things, Bathtub Gin > Ghost, Boogie On Reggae Woman. Warning, at 14 minutes, they kick into high gear of that Boogie On and tear it to pieces. Dear Lord.

And here are some great photos from Mike Wren over at State of Mind Music. The one below is my fave…

Thanks to the People of the Boards for making these vids happen. Pic of Trey, Fish and Milke courtesy of TreyAnastasio.com.

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