David Fricke's Year in Rock 2017

Tom Petty's final tour, Phish's Bakers Dozen, the rebirth of the Dream Syndicate and other musical highlights from the year that was

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Baker's Dozen, Madison Square Garden, New York City, July 22nd

I went on the second night. But even knowing the evening's designated donut flavor – strawberry – did not prepare me for the playful nerve and barbershop-harmony invention of the opening number, the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" in four-part a cappella bond. A cover of Shuggie Otis' "Strawberry Letter 23" was further, savory icing, while the determined, ascending advance in "Down With Disease" – 19 minutes at the front of the second set; another seven in reprise at the end – was a vivid measure of how far Phish hoped to go across the entire run. In the encore, Anastasio appeared to sing the chorus in Talking Heads' "Cities" – "Find myself a city to live in" – with extra, loving bite. He and his band were settling in nicely – with 11 donuts to go.

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