, attached to 1989-06-30

Review by thelot

thelot Amazing sound on this source! The 1st set sounds like a multi-track recording. Set 2 still sounds great but isn’t quite as bright sounding as the first half. The show itself is solid overall but a bit straightforward for the time. Highlights: Bitch, YEM (w/ Fishman adding percussion to the vocal jam), Possum, Fluffhead (The Chase section gets a little sloppy but overall a strong version), Curtain > Slave, Mike’s Groove
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by TIGERMIKE99

TIGERMIKE99 2022-07-05 4:40am EDT -- although i have reviewed this Show's 2nd-Sett Once B-4, Eye Pheel Th' Need-Two-Elaborate Fore-Th'-Sake Of Clarity + Sanity : 'Knuckle Bone' : "Unfortunate Platform" -- 1999-12-24 onn I-55 near Senatobia, Miss.. Eye Heard Uh "Thud" - then Crosseyed and Painless - : 'Get Moore' : Watt-Th'-Settz All-About , inn-awell-itz PHiSHINESS -- Namely TIGER-TRIVIA 4-Peepz -- "Go Vols, Tigers - But VOLS 1ST - And REMEMBER DUI KILLS" - TIGER : 'Egg' : *Sea Previous Blog-Poast .. : 'Thanksgiving' : "Holiday in the Everglades" - 2nd Surgery wuzz-onn 1999-12-31inn The Med { now Presley Memorial } Therr-4 30-Daze : 'Clear Your Mind' : "Arrow with a Square" - Give Your Clarity Space-2-Think, Por Favor .. "Clear You're Mine" + "Clear You'll Mind" : 'Cube' - 'Nuff-Said . . : 'Inner Reaches' - "The Inner reaches about Her" : 'Doubt' : Who Cleans That Up ANYWAY ?? they cant pay enough imo -- *TIGER-TRIVIA* Trey Wuzz-Moi Spiritual-Guru -- : 'Unwinding' : "The Young whining" : 'Something Living' : Inn Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA : 'Howling' : -- February 1993 - Stone Mountain Park - Atlanta, Georgia -- Peepz Spontainously Howling w/Th' Joy Of Simply-Being + Partying Into The-Nite : 'Miami' : *See Previous Review -- Thass-Awell-She-Rote -- T.
, attached to 2016-07-20

Review by RunLikeACantelope

RunLikeACantelope How does this show not have a higher rating? They played a unique mix of songs, definitely not the regular routine Phish show for anything post-90's. Good luck if you're trying to hear them play Demand again. Cry Baby Cry was a huge bust out, last played in 1998. The Mikes Song suite contained Fee, Seven Below, Gotta Jibboo - can't beat that. Any show with a McGrupp is always special. Still one of my all time favorite shows, and I've been at many of the famously good shows.
, attached to 1995-11-30

Review by The_Ghost

The_Ghost I decided to add a review after reading all of the previous ones mentioning the same Tweezer to antelope segment. There is not enough love for this show's first set. I'd almost recommend The Lizards for nomination to the jam chart. This is one of the best played versions I've listened to. There should be a lot more interest in this show.
, attached to 2010-07-03

Review by Smith91

Smith91 This was my first show, and 12 years later it still holds up as a really solid show. Before the type 2 Zero that opened up night 3 of Orange Beach 2022, this was the only ever Zero show opener. Some more rare tunes like Destiny, McGrupp, and Sanity were a nice treat. Great song selections for first set. Second set Caspian through Slave is the highlight of this show. Don’t sleep on that Caspian! Really enjoyed this show. Crazy to think it’s been 12 years since my life was forever changed by this incredible band.
, attached to 1992-12-12

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ One of the better '92 shows for sure, 12/12 at the Spectrum sees the band shine as they ease their way into the tight, consistent jamming of later greatness. Like the rest of the official releases from this year, this show throws out a relatively high number of tunes from all over the catalog, all of which are delivered with exceptional prowess on the part of the individual. The tunes where I hear the band excelling beyond the greatness threshold as a cohesive unit are scattered across both sets: Reba, Split Open and Melt, Tweezer, and YEM. Reba's jam section has wonderful call-and-response interactions between Fishman and Trey, and Page and Mike follow Trey's lead up the energy ladder very well, careful not to spend it all in one place. SOaM features a fun Trey swelling tremolo motif, onto which Fishman latches, forcing a full band synchronization that doesn't end through the remainder of the solo. In the second set, Tweezer settles into a fun pattern of full-band oscillation between blissful major-key measures and absolute face-melting chaos and dissonance. The following jam contains lots of meaty grooving, some '93-esque fragmentation, and a well-executed dissolution a la the studio track. This is probably my second-favorite '92 Tweezer after 4/21. Finally, the Davy Crockett YEM makes for a super fun iteration of the tune that only continues to pay off the more you listen for the thematic motif, and which pays off cathartically with a direct quote in the VJ. Some extra nice fodder tunes in this show are the Ride Captain Ride bust-out and an immaculately pristine Rift--a song which I love but admit rarely stands out in a set. 12/12/92 Rift is a damn fine specimen, though. Overall, very solid show and I'm happy to have it in the collection. This is the 10th '92 show I've listened to in the last couple of weeks, and I think the year as a whole has a hard time living up to some of its neighbors. I won't say its completely missing any essential listening, but it's one of the lower-rated periods for a reason. As I work through a close, chronological listen through the catalog highlights, I'm excited to step into '93.
, attached to 1992-12-01

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ The reason behind this show's status as an archival release escapes me. There are countless unreleased greats waiting in the goldmine, including several from 1992 (April in California!). At first I thought that maybe I was crazy for this opinion, but it seems like the fifty-something phish.net reviewers agree with me on this one based on the sub-4 rating. Of course, all Phish is good Phish, and I'm happy to have more high quality tracks available, but I just don't understand this selection. Alas. Nothing particularly wrong with the show; like most from '92, the band is tight and executes a loaded setlist well on all fronts. Highlights are a strong Fluffhead, a raging Chalk Dust Torture and Llama, and a meaty Bowie that features some really great full-band riffing. However, even these peaks are fairly mundane in the grand scheme of early Phish, earning no "wow" factor in my opinion. I had a great time listening to it, but don't really feeling like anyone is missing out without having done so.
, attached to 1992-11-19

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Like much of '92, this show features some pretty strong and tight playing in a vacuum but does relatively little to stand out in the band's greater musical context. Instead, distinguishing marks for this show reside primarily on paper: a few fan-favorite debuts among Axilla, FEFY, and a sweet reggae Lengthwise; the first Big Ball Jam (which doesn't translate well to audio listening, imo); and a Gordon Stone slide guitar sit-in that elevates Poor Heart, FEFY, and Llama nicely. That isn't to say the show is boring or not worth listening to. Moments like the Those Were the Days jam in Divided Sky, the Johnny Cash x BBFCFM detour in Tweezer, and the vocal jam in Weekapaug offer unexpected departures from the typical formulae of these tunes. Do they make the show absolutely mind-blowing? Would these make the list of must-hear jams? Probably not. But Colchester '92 is definitely a choice selection from this era of Phish that represents the band's strengths of the time, and I'm happy to have it in the LivePhish release collection.
, attached to 1992-04-19

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ I'm not really sure why this show's rating is so notably lower than that of the three previous nights and the one following. In all honesty, maybe all five shows of the run deserve something closer to a 4.3ish average. However, this is the only show to actually average in that territory--perhaps because of the tape quality.... Anyway, I think 4/19 certainly holds its own in the run. Buried Alive>NICU (with its old vocal interlude, still) is a strong opener, quickly followed by a strong Stash that teeters on the edge of chaos for much of the jam. Trey teases the main Stash melody around 7:45 for a nice flare. Despite a rough flub in the Reba composed section, Trey guides a smooth recovery and takes things into an awesome jam full of ascending patterns laddering up to a grandiose peak. Trey's CDT solo is another great Set 1 highlight. Set 2's Curtain opener certainly forebodes greatness. This Mike's Groove surpasses that of 4/16, in my opinion, with a more rooted and melodic jam section that borders on Immigrant Song's outro jam. Fishman is berserk. Weekapaug Groove takes it even further as the band moves from utter shredfest jamming to a more timid pattern-based full band groove, and then into a vocal jam to close out. Really excellent showcasing of the entire band here. A dark horse favorite from this era, Tube features an absolutely banging Page solo that I wish went on for a bit longer. The extended Mango Song outro is a spirited and uplifting rarity that marks the second set with a unique highlight. The following Llama may also outshine those from earlier in the week, as Trey's soloing is absolute bonkers (though 4/16 is also really strong...it was a good year for Llamas). Runaway Jim closer displays especially rich and triumphant jamming--Fishman kills it here.
, attached to 1992-04-18

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ One of my favorite '92 shows (if not the one that takes the cake altogether). Both sets feature some really stellar moments, great song choice/variety, and the second set Fishman break is on one of the Syd Barrett tunes I prefer. the Cameron McKinney sit-in is cute, too. Trey absolutely soars on Divided Sky, keeping the jam alive for longer than I expected. SOaM ascends quickly, but there's some real sweet riff-based jamming in the earlier portions. Esther is very beautiful, especially Trey's volume-swell solo. Not sure I hear the notable musical passage to which the jam charts refer here, but it's a strong performance nonetheless. Possum shreds as always--perhaps the most consistently bangin' tune from this year (check out 5/17/92 if you haven't). The It's Ice / Mind Left Body jam highlights some awesome Mike slapping, including great allusions to the top melody of It's Ice. The Antelope that closes Set 1 is one of the best from this era, in my opinion. Plenty of dissonant craziness between Trey and Mike that resolves with intensity and determination. Mike's harmonic movement starting around 5:00 is actually so fucking awesome, and sets up Trey excellently to take a melodic break in his solo. This is repeated again at 5:35. It's moments like this where I most appreciate Mike. Glide opener for Set 2 starts things off on the right foot. This set also sees the first really exploratory Bathtub Gin--a landmark that set strong precedent for one of my absolute favorite jam vehicles from the band. Trey alternates awesomely between melodic patterns, dissonant wailing, and fiery shredding all over Llama. The final highlight and crown jewel of the show is Harry Hood. The extended intro and Linus and Lucy themes make this version stand out plenty. The transition from Peanuts to glorious Hood close is rhythmic and magnificent, done with some impressive tact.
, attached to 1992-04-17

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ I went into depth on my thoughts regarding 1992 (and specifically this five-night run) in my review of 4/16/1992, so I'll avoid re-stating the same sentiments. The entire '92 California run from 4/16 - 4/21 follows a similar formula: high song density, a few shredders that venture into shallow type II waters, a Fishman goof-off, and very consistently excellent playing from all band members. The band's chops speak for themselves in these shows, but because the creativity hadn't developed as far as it would in years to come, it's tough to write about these shows at length without associated anecdotes, of which I have none, unfortunately. Highlights from this show: - Reba features some nice full band play in the beginning of the jam that sounds more like a 93 groove. Trey takes a nice walk to get to the peak. When he finally arrives, Fishman helps deliver a booming energy. - David Bowie / Catapult alternating jam is absolutely killer. Really awesome way to debut Catapult--I'm sure the audience was a bit lost, but this definitely captures the spirit of what the "tune" (poem?) would become in future setlists right from the get go. - YEM features more rhythmic syncopation across band members, including a nice start/stop pattern at the beginning of Trey's solo. A longer than usual VJ closes out a great iteration of the song. - Really tight Fluffhead with an excellent Arrival section from Fishman, Page, and Trey - Tweezer stays rooted in pretty standard territory, but rocks with some extra conviction. Check out 4/21 for more adventure.
, attached to 1992-04-16

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Just on the cusp of the greatness Phish would achieve in 1993 and beyond, 1992 often gets tossed around as an underwhelming year from the 1.0 era. From my own listening, I would tend to agree that, on aggregate, this year pales in comparison to the blooming earlier years and beastly mid-90s that surround it. I wouldn't hesitate to the make the same assertion about 1996. However, as is the case that '96 delivered some really excellent highlights (namely, Deer Creek, Clifford Ball, the Omni Halloween show, and Vegas), so too does '92 contain some special peaks dispersed throughout a year that saw Phish slowly transitioning to the comfortable groove they'd land in the following summer. The height of these moments took place up and down the coast of California from 4/16-21. This five show run (the band took off 4/20 to celebrate ;) ) is an excellent snapshot of where the band stood at this point in time: expanding the catalog with some new [i]Rift [/i] tunes, regularly throwing Fishman on the vacuum, and beginning to experiment with the jam vehicles with a bit more regularity. It's a bummer that none of these shows have an official LivePhish release yet, as I found that Mike and Page were poorly balanced in the tape mix. Nevertheless, I'd say that this run is required listening for any serious Phans. 4/16 Set 1 starts off with a sweet Buried Alive > BLAZING Possum, the latter of which makes heavy use of the band's new secret language (Possum intro is such an excellent place for that). Immediately following, It's Ice features a nice groovy jam with Page's piano squarely in the spotlight. I really love this SOaM too for Trey's particularly melodic soloing and Fishman's drumming, which feels a little funkier than usual. This version of Colonel Forbin's->Mockingbird (featured on Live Bait 18) leans on a compelling narration, an quick unexpected detour into Icculus, and tight, beautiful musicianship (Mike's outro solo is so heartfelt). Set 1 closes with a fiery Antelope, featuring more varied harmonic activity than usual. An extremely tight performance through and through. Set 2 Sanity is a goofy way to launch back in, but the Llama that follows assures that the band still means business. Trey's lightning fast playing here is one of the cleanest and pointed examples of his shredding capabilities...maybe ever. The glory continues in Mike's Groove. Mike's Song has some cool full band jamming and then Trey milks the Languedoc for all it's worth, laying down a lasting, shrill cry into the second jam. The dissonant Mike/Trey play into H2 is foreshadowing for some '93 goodness. As the jam charts point out, Weekapaug is a little more laidback on the energy scales (though that might also come from a mix that has Fishman turned down and Mike way up). Regardless, this is an awesome wrap up to a special early '92 Mike's Groove. The rest of Set 2 is a little less spectacular, as we get a couple stock standard tunes, a Fishman Syd Barrett performance, and three a cappella songs. Moments like these that litter '92 are part of the reason I think the year gets its negative reputation. Of course they're significant to the band's history, and I'm sure in-person attendance adds to the quirky magic these four dudes were aiming to capture, but to the at-home listener, the Fishman show sandwich with Cold As Ice/HYHU bread loses its novelty after a bit (and no GCH to help differentiate the shows). All in all, the first 3/4 of this show are incredible, and it's worth it to stick around for the Suzy closer. Buckle up for the rest of the run :)
, attached to 1994-04-04

Review by Shadowfox0

Shadowfox0 Debut of DWD, If I Could, and Wolfman's Brother . . . 2 of my favorite songs. . .ironically the latter WB is NOT in my top ten list but it is in my top 25 . . .I think WB is over rated but everyone seems to love it including the band. . .and we know this because of Coventry choices . . .I agree w them on most of their choices if they would stop being a band thanks to opiates and alcohol but Fishman being the name of the band and the WB does not matter as much to us Phans as it does to Trey . . . it has amazing potential but WF always gets the same standard 9-13 minute treatment w no REAL jam imho . . . but this being the first is not to be under stated and If I Could FEFU in that same vain w the 1994 year being devoted to BLUEGRASS like my favorite BG artist ever not just because she is HOT and reminds me of my Mandy wife for life who I left Chicago to be her Jesus for . . .Christina Ricci is a hot woman and so is Black Widow ( Natasha Romanoff aka Scarlett Johansson . . .my favorite 3 films Lost in Translation, The Case For Christ, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. . . ) DWD is best when it is NOT second set opener i know that IS Blasphemy but it is best in the first set like 2-21-03 and played w a Mellow Mood jam just saying
, attached to 1995-06-25

Review by rachelmolly

rachelmolly Six twenty five ninety five. Words that drip off my lips like luscious liquid sugar. It was my first show, and from the first notes of Ya Mar, I knew that I was all in. As I write this on the day of my 27th Phish anniversary, I can't remember the exact details of that show at the Mann but I can recall some highlights. Having had listened to Phish for a couple of years prior, and being aware of them as early as 1989 when I admired their t-shirts in my New England high school parking lot, having been on the phish.net and reading Rosemary's Digest and the name Charlie Dirksen would just light me up because I knew something good was about to appear before my eyes, I was so happy to finally see a Phish show. No more living vicariously through the Schvice! I was actually seeing Phish! Yay! The flying hotdog band was finally one I would get to see! There were some songs that were familiar and some totally new. So when they opened with Ya Mar, a catchy and danceable tune, I had a nice smile on my face. I wasn't at all familiar with AC/DC bag, and by this 2nd song I could tell that the band's playfulness was exactly my cup of tea. Of course I had heard of AC/DC but I wasn't much of a metal head. So when they got to the line of "brain dead and made of money, no future at all," it really hit home. I was a year out of college and still feeling that feeling don't-want-to-be-an-adult angst. I was working a corporate job in NYC and all I wanted to do was just go on tour, even though I never did go on tour for a whole tour. I was 22 years old and not really sure about my future so those lines really hit home. Going into Theme and If I Could, both beautiful slow songs I just felt so connected to Phish and knew I never wanted to leave. Any angst that I was feeling was somewhat washed away and my emotions just felt so connected to our Phish community, one that I had no clue really I'd stay connected to all these 27 years later. Sparkle...I am not at all ashamed to say that I was dancing so happily that that tune ,of course I was sort of confused, and definitely flying high elated with joy at this amazing rock and roll show like no other show I had been to before, so when they got to "laugh and laugh and fall apart" I couldn't tell if it was that or it was "laughing laughing fall apart" but it didn't matter because it was just so fun. I knew I was in the right place. I Didn't Know really summed up all my emotions and then going into Melt it was as if they were reading my mind. I was fully blown away and face melted before I even knew the expression. Slumping into my pavilion seat I kind of couldn't believe what just happened. I can't even recall if I went for a bathroom break I was just so mesmerized. 2nd set: all these years later it's true that when you're a Phish head (ok ok Phan) you will never get out of this Maze. One of my favorite examples of how the band does a layering of the voices in the round, something I always love the sound of. the end notes of the song remind me of a common tune so it struck a chord. Then they launch into that good ole Sample and that is of course a tune that is not only a crowd pleaser but probably the 1st tune that I actually had heard before this show. So I was thrilled. Also it echos the thought in Ya Mar where they talk about an Oh KeePah which I instantly heard the word "kipa" which is the Jewish word for "Yarmulke" so in my outlook I was already very Jewish-centric about their music, and then the references to the marketplace, Elihu and Limor all very Jewish / Israel vibes I was like ok this is my people. SOAM - I don't know about you but I wasn't exactly sure about the laser beams and never experienced such a psychedelic dream of a real life rock and roll show as with this song. It was super fun and I was also confused exactly but in a good way about this fun music and laser beams. What the heck is a scent of a mule, also going back to the Israel vibes I was already thinking about. What kind of game is this band playing with. me, anyway? I wasn't quite sure but I knew that I was in the right place for me. Also what kind of a girl named Kitty Malone , presumably a girl who was from Hotchkiss or Choate, doing on a mule? This Mike's Groove was stellar - I was blown away by the lyrics Me No Are No Nice Guy because these guys all seemed like geeky smart guys and how is it that he was dropping bass bombs like this and morphing the English language? Whatever it was, I loved it. WDWDITR was super cool and of course a familiar tune. A high school boyfriend put this on a mix-tape for me so it was great to hear Phish singing it. I was aware of the Beatles very early on in my music listening life ,probably in 1983, so it made me feel connected to hear this tune at a show that I was fully sold on by the first tune. Sharing in a groove was something I was fully doing and then when they articulated this in a song I just felt so happy, it was a very unique feeling that I had never experienced before at a concert where I felt like I was part of a larger whole and that special feeling that keeps bringing us back to seeing Phish. I loved looking around at other folks during Weekapaug, and also being that New Englander it all felt strangely familiar because I already knew of this town in Rhode Island (?) It struck me as very interesting these this band from Vermont would write a really danceable tune with the name of a town in it. It just felt right and it felt like home. Amazing Grace is a tune that I was not at all familiar with, being a Jewish girl. It's possible that I heard it once or twice before but I do recall that it was beautiful to say the least ,and very special. The whimsical lyrics of Cavern really put a smile on my face and I appreciated that famous Phish recommendation of whatever you do take care of your shoes. It left me simultaneously perplexed, happy, joyful and amazed. I knew that this band wasn't just fun but terrific musicians that could get a whole room dancing and super into great music. My friend Mike who took me to this show at the Mann already informed me that they would come back for an encore so I pondered that last song of Cavern as I tried gathering my thoughts together, like what the h just happened and can we please start up again because I.Never.Want.to.Go.Home. So when they played another Phish pop tune of Bouncing' it just made me so happy. Not so much as because I knew the song but because I wanted to just stay in this Phish show. "That time and once again" is a feeling I could go home with and feel happy about and mull over many times and again. Who knows, maybe *I* was that woman in the dream he had though rather hard to keep for when my eyes were watching his...I mean I knew that it was not me because I never met the members of the band at this point but I could imagine that on some level that was me on some time space continuum. Folks like to disparage Bouncing but I thought it was nothing but sheer gold and song that I will take with my in my heart for years to come. Like the proverbial Dayeuni, if only they would have played Bouncing for the encore, it would have been enough. But then they played Slave as if a send-off to us all. What can I say other then this was a magic and perfect set list for a first show and it fully cemented six twenty five ninety five into my my brain forever, thank g-d!
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by TIGERMIKE99

TIGERMIKE99 i am Writhing-Thyss onn June 25th, 2022 inn Oak Ridge, Tennessee in th' Summer-Heat of the SE .. so, Eye havv-haddthyme-2 Refleckt + Believe Thee-Boyz Did Their BEST w/Thee-Knew-Material onn th' Nite In QUESTion !! The Crown Seemed 2-B Recptive-Too-Thee-Message . There Were Mistakes Made BY Every Body { ther-arr Phleeting-Glimpses Uhvve-Beauty inn h' Imperfeckt :) } 'Dont Doubt Me' + 'Thanksgiving' arrr Personal-Favours Two-Moi-Earz .. dont-phorget to Phind our Sweeties when inn Miami ( Unhh-Huhh!! ) [url=http://facebook.com/vols1st]TIGERMIKE[/url]
, attached to 1992-05-18

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ I'll start with the caveat that I haven't heard the whole show--only the selections included in the LivePhish release of 5/17/1992. Though this list excludes the jam charted Antelope, it does give a nice sample of highlights from both sets. The Suzy opener is a great showcase of Page chops and exceptionally groovy Mike slaps. Maze offers some nice Trey shredding, though the build-up feels rushed and I miss the tension present in most other great versions of the tune. This shortcoming is compensated for with a lengthy Divided Sky outro jam where Trey flies around like a kid on the playground, having the time of his life. The Mike's Groove features some experimentation on both sides of Hydrogen, foreshadowing some great '93 versions to come. Lastly, we get a spirited Jim that wraps up the collection (and Set 2) quite nicely. Fishman and Trey bring this one home with compelling energy and flash.
, attached to 1992-04-21

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Some really good meat dispersed throughout both sets off this Spring '92 show. I've heard whisperings of some other tremendous performances from earlier in April of this year, which I'll have to check out, but I think that this does a fairly good job of representing the peaks of the band's abilities at this point in the timeline. Great diversity of tracks and jams that cover ground from tried and true compositions (Suzy, Rift, Tela), quirky interludes (Eliza and a standalone Catapult), gimmicky Fishman tunes, fun Forbin narration, shredfests (Possum and Weekapaug), and jams that include cacophony (SOaM, Bowie, Mike's) and beauty (Tweezer). The clearest highlight of the show is the second-set Tweezer which, through a series of modulating legato motions, meanders into a glorious and melodic A major - D Major jam. The transition out of this section hits hard as the band hits on a Tweezer Reprise-esque movement. I'd round out my top three with SOaM and Mike's, which both showcase some really excellent dissonant shredding from Trey and the band's ability to keep up and follow the leader. Weekapaug has some nice type II moments baked in as well that distinguish this Mike's Groove suite as a particularly meaty specimen.
, attached to 2022-06-03

Review by Pinhead_Larry

Pinhead_Larry This was my first show of 2022, and happy to be back to the Ruoff/Deer Creek (I prefer the latter). One thing I've since learned about Deer Creek is it is a world-renowned outdoor amphitheater. And, at least according to Wikipedia, is also consistently one of the world's top-grossing concert venues despite having a standard 25,000 capacity (compared to, say the Glen Helen which more than doubles its seating capacity). All of this to say that I am certainly not as well versed in other musical venues as others on this site, but I've never been anywhere else that was of such ease of access for tens of thousands of spinning hippies, and with campsite directly across the street taboot. We drove into the venue from Cleveland the day of, only stopping once in Springfield, OH for a pee break/coffee refresher. As soon as we landed in town, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and hurried to the show. Got in around 7, got tee-shirts and beer at 7:30, found a spot Mike-side on the lawn at 8, and the electricity was certainly palpable. I had a feeling a birthday show, and us being Mike-side, was going to lead to something special. But I was not expecting what I got! This is probably the least jammed show of tour (that still contains a 16-minute Disease and 17-minute ER), and I won't lie and say I was disappointed slightly not getting my 20+ behemoth jam like the Simple from the night prior. But instead what I got was an incredibly tight and well-executed 2 sets of music. I also got my first Fluffhead, so who am I to complain? And don't even get me started on that Ruby Waves. 13 shows in (yeah yeah, rookie numbers, I know), and that is the biggest peak in a jam I've ever witnessed. They all went into that one with a mission. Listening back on this show, I definitely appreciate it more in retrospect. This feels like the most handcrafted show of tour, and it's surprising the best was yet to come for us in Indiana. In not so many words: excellent start to the run. Highlights: ER, Mull, Disease, Ruby Waves>...CDT. This one is HOT.
, attached to 2022-06-20

Review by PageSideRageSide17

PageSideRageSide17 Always a delight to get to see Trey do one of these solo shows. The FMG venue is amazing -- I really hope Trey finds his way back here at some point. The highlight everyone will talk about is Jovi coming on to sing Bug. What a cool moment that was. Really got that moment when the whole venue kind of shares that energy we all know and love. Trey truly seemed to be having a fantastic time. Such a cool experience....honestly teared up re-watching it again this morning. The funny thing about these FMG shows is it's a lot of older season-ticket holders who probably never heard of Trey. I'm sure they were a little thrown off by the Phish crowd, the singalongs and the general goofiness but I really think by the end of the show everyone was loving it. Brought my old man, my sister and her husband and they all had a great time. Thanks again Trey. You've done it again, you magnificent SOB.
, attached to 2022-06-19

Review by pictureof_OtisRedding

pictureof_OtisRedding My first Phish-associated show. A really good one! I got in and there were a lot more people than I expected there to be (especially in the merch line!) which was really good. I was worried it would be empty based on the last time I had checked tickets and I'm really glad it wasn't. Unfortunately I got stuck next to chompers and obnoxious shush-ers, but Trey's parents were a few rows in front of me which was really cool to say. As for the show itself - there was great banter involving Trey's new hobbies of fooling the algorithm and sucking without caring. He told cool stories, notably before My Problem Right There about his involvement with Hands on a Hardbody and the feelings of failure. I think starting with Numberline and continuing up until the end of the show, there was an audience member with confetti that would launch it up into the air during the chorus or during a particularly fun moment in the song. This eventually led to Trey remarks ("go confetti man!") and at one point confetti falling from the ceiling while Trey was talking. Setlist wise, also really great. Bathtub Gin was a great opener and the songs with the loop pedal (Sigma Oasis, Possum, Prince Caspian, Twist, Maze, and many more) all rocked. Was nice to see Hood sandwiched in between a great Chalk Dust closer (I thought it was And So To Bed at the show. I was very wrong lol). Maze was played slow-er as the Fast Lawn Boy gag was brought up once again. Trey let the crowd sing the chorus of Sleeping Monkey, swinging the microphone around so it pointed at the audience. It was just a magical first show. I loved every minute of it. Hope I can catch another Trey show soon!
, attached to 1989-06-23

Review by thelot

thelot The SBD source available for this show is ok. Unfortunately there is tape warble in spots throughout the recording. There’s some great footage available on YouTube from this night. As for the show, we only have Set 1 and the encore to review. Set 1 is pretty straightforward. The two highlights come in YEM and Antelope. Antelope is fantastic! Set 2 looks pretty nice on paper. Hopefully this makes it into circulation at some point. The GXBX is short but strong.
, attached to 1997-06-16

Review by duggy

duggy [b]25 YEARS AGO I WENT EURO-PHISHIN' ...[/b] [b] - SET II -[/b] Limb by Limb to open sounded like a distant cousin to Taste, BUT also oozed influence from the '96 Halloween musical costume -- the layered vocals and rhythms seemed born out of the Talking Heads study the band had done the previous fall. I remember marking the title of this song on my setlist as "I Am Taken Far Away" because I really focused on Mike's vocal in the chorus ... next up began my love affair with Ghost -- the 2nd live performance of the tune, unlike Limb which was played for the 3rd time after 2 Irish renditions -- but back to Ghost: WHOAH! When that hard funky groove began I was hooked right into the Story of the Ghost ... I don't feel they ever told me before ... and this Ghost, moreso than Ireland or any since, is closer to the Tom/Trey version we got to hear in the demo released on 'Trampled By Lambs & Pecked By the Dove' - this is a VERY raw Ghost, returns to a more heavy rockin' "I feel I never told you!" before sliding right into the debut of I Don't Care -- what is this?!? The band is sounding HEAVY to my ears but I'm digging! At this point in the set my head is swimming a bit trying to grab onto what I know about this band but loving the overwhelming new sounds ... then Reba sings out so beautifully in this old building, really wonderfully, one of 3 we'd hear in the coming weeks, all found in different spots in a show's 1st/2nd set and all building in a different way ... this London version has a nice groove section before the final build that I just love ... then the 2nd live performance of Wading In the Velvet Sea (or as I noted the title in my setlist, 'I Am Taken Far Away' -- again focusing on Mike's part) and this song really sang well in the space of the Royal Albert Hall and I welcome this side of the PHISH sound into the overall repertoire, but again the layered vocals and such seemed like a lesson learned from the Talking Heads ... same with Dirt ... a lesson then applied to ballads, the band involvement overall in the vocals really helps sell these songs to me ... and then the set-closing Harry Hood, like Reba earlier, was a nice reminder of the PHISH I knew but now with different ears and played with a new energy, that '97 energy, it again just soared out through that space ... just wonderful to hear and think back on ... The encore of Cities ("Think of London!") seemed appropriate and was VERY cool to hear! Wasn't expecting the band to pull this out again but happy they did ... this version would end up being the most straightforward funky version of the tune I'd hear this year (Amsterdam and The Great Went being my other live experiences with the tune in '97). At the time the tune was a rarity so I was stoked to hear it at all, let alone have the band weave it so wildly the next couple of times I'd catch it ... and Poor Heart was a hilarious tune to finish on in the fancy room we were in ... we waded out into the London night, made our way back to our campsite and then ... onto Vienna! Seeing the band in The Royal Albert Hall was a unique experience for me, for sure, and would turn out to be the largest venue we'd see them in, by far, over the coming weeks ... the sound in the Hall was epic and beautiful ... moving onto Vienna, this tiny club, was a whole new unique experience ... such an incredible time to be following the band, in restrospect, hearing these sounds and new tunes develop ... very grateful for the times I had ... #dugEuroPhish97 enjoy the grooves, dug http://theshackproject.com - [b]Live MMW streams/downloads![/b]
, attached to 1997-06-16

Review by duggy

duggy [b]25 YEARS AGO I WENT EURO-PHISHIN' ...[/b] ???????????????? PHISH in Europe. PHISH at the Royal Albert Hall ... the adventure begins! After passing some time camping outside London before tour, playing tourist around London and surrounding area (Stonehenge was a cool place to stand and explore the area around the tourist trap that is Stonehenge), then foolishly missing the Ireland shows (had to meet friends, made plans to meet in London at a specific time on the 14th and no cell phones to notify a change of plans, I stuck with meeting my phriends), and then it was finally time to begin the PHISHin' excursion across from the British Isles and across the Continent. The London show was surreal -- as much of the tour felt to me. I'd been getting deeper into the band for about 5 years at this point but walking out of the Royal Albert Hall, my 13th time seeing the band live since late '94, it felt like I'd just seen a new band, a band I hadn't seen before. [b] - SET I -[/b] Opening with The Squirming Coil was an oddly beautiful choice that rang out sweetly in the old Hall ... and the night progressed from there into many *new* songs that had debuted in Ireland, and one that hadn't ... Dogs Stole Things, of course, tricked us into thinking we were being treated to Mound ... Taste had become a favourite of mine and we'd hear it a number of times over the coming weeks, and LOVE it every time ... the original slow Water In the Sky plodded along nicely, digging the band writing a tune in this vein and the lyrics seemed cool ... Sample is a tune I can rock to for 4min any time ... I knew Beauty of My Dreams from the few shows I'd acquired from the Winter Euro tour, so it was fun to hear it live ... Theme From the Bottom, like Taste, was a fav so always welcomed that watery groove into the climax ... Chalk Dust was fun and rockin', but the following Wolfman's perked my ears up to some of the new sounds I had on tapes from the Feb-Mar Euro tour (Amsterdam, Marktehalle, for example), I just loved the funked out sounds I was hearing -- the band had found a way to play this tune live without horns! -- it really is a nice little jam and very cool to hear in the development of Wolfman's live and the band's sound at the time ... the set-closing Oblivious fool was a fun romp (10 months later reappearing as the slinky Shafty). Whew ... it was quite a set to swallow, first for me of the tour and with a small collection of local East Coast Canadians in attendance, 8 of us in total all from home, with only 4 of us moving on after this show to carry on to Amsterdam ... but pre-show the group of us all got together in Hyde Park for some phun and chillin', then we were in different spots inside ... the set break allowed us to chill in this beautiful building, I was with my other 3 fellow Canucks on Fish's side in the lower bowl, about halfway back (2 of us were really into PHISH, one was kinda into them, and for the other London was her phirst show!) ... I was especially glad to still be inside after almost getting tossed during 1st set for following our usual PHISHin' ritual of sparking up, only to be grabbed by an usher, drop the offending item, plead I don't know what he's talking about, and then got to stick for the remainder ... glad I did because 2nd set is where this show grabbed me completely, the power of the band's new sound ... #dugEuroPhish97 ???????????????? enjoy the grooves, dug http://theshackproject.com - [b]Live MMW streams/downloads![/b]
, attached to 2022-05-29

Review by FiveBranch

FiveBranch Best show of the tour. Micro jams I believe they are called. And that Tweezer?? Please! Take it even [i]stranger[/i]. I could break it all down but there are enough surprises tucked in there that it would be perferred if you discover them for yourself. After all, that's what the fun is all about. So do I have enough words now for the bot to allow me to post this? Don't consider it a review. It's just thoughts of a fan that keeps coming back to this show more than any of the others. A keeper.
, attached to 2022-05-22

Review by Shadowfox0

Shadowfox0 GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN GET MORE DOWN I think you get the picture Trey you need to play that song at Blossom with Phish So far no one has saved us from the moss piglets except in Sin City Vegas and NYC the dirtiest most sinful places on earth . . .the rest of PURE America needs to hear from the year 4000 in the year 2000 in the year 2000 anyone love Conan O'Brien and his brand of comedy idiocy and frivolity as much as i do . . .the masturbating bear meets Harvard grad who worked on Simpsons that is comedy GOLD We love you Conan and we HATE you Leno Love of Cars is like loving Metal and fiberglass and high speed crashes which makes zero sense to me I love comedy and farce as much as Phish does and I also have a serious side which is why I hate the songs Friends Bug Lifeboy Death Don't Hurt Very Much and Time Turns Elastic the first 4 because they are sacrilegious to my Jesus who made me and never left Chicago but always was in Jerusalem closer than a brother and a mother whenever you needed him he was there in the SPIRIT not the SOUL planet or the Holy GHOST ethereal nonsense but in Prayer you can actually call God on your iphone in your new heart and spirit but you have to be remade and reBORN but people think that is cult shit like Tom Cruise and Miscavage lies in Scientology RELIGION is mostly terrible and evil sin but the TRUTH is not evil or mean or cold or judgemental it IS BLUNT though and will cut deeper than a 2 edged silver sword from Witcher 3 mythology or David reality in the bible. . . 66 books of truth are not evil they are the opposite of evil they are good and cool and you need to read the fucking book!!! S Not the Gamehendge book but 66 books that will change your life like it did the Possum man Jeff Holdsworth who HELD onto you Jesus Christ the way the truth and the life he HELD on to his last name and the only real thing in this world of lies games cons scams phishing Trojan horses . . .is the Lamb for the Offering of Suffering. . .where is the Lamb that can open the scrolls and is white as snow blameless and has never committed a single sin on the 10 commandment list of rules from God the Father. . .Jeff on his Camel "cigarette" Walk that is why he left this hippy band of Trey says half of what i say is lies so 50% bullshit and sin and smoke and mirrors and STEAM and distraction and confusion and look here shitty David Copperfield and Blaine and Chris magic lies they are just look here so i can fool you over here which is exactly what Satan does to us 24/7 the ruler of this earth is a mass deceiver
, attached to 1987-08-10

Review by Shadowfox0

Shadowfox0 first ever debut of Jesus Just Left Chicago enough said ZZ Top to me is a nothing band but they know Jesus and they understand BLUES and Eric Clapton and BB King and Taking Care of Business is his easy name on easy street it must be recalled that BLUES are the easiest music to MIMIC and the hardest to master Jimi and BB and Eric and Sheryl will tell you that it takes one minute to get it and a lifetime to understand it But that is why Jesus said Pray for the least of these and Blessed are the broken heart ed the lost and the cold and the lonely trip heart ed and blessed are the peace makers the lonely and low in spirit blessed are the sick blessed are the POOR the poor financially and in spirit and in soul and in GHOST and in SOUL planet blessed are all those that feel lost but only need to read 66 books of HOPE TRUTH UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and GRACE and MERCY that cover a multitude of hippie sins To break it down song by song Zappa of course is epitomized in Peaches at least to Phish for they only cover that one REGALIA song. . .onto bragging and being proud about having a degree I get that but only if you have the LOVE OF MONEY the root of all evil which i guess the fab 4 of Phish have in spades which is why they have a great song like YOU NEVER KNOW that they are afraid of ever playing again because it is a little too true for such a half of what i say is lies band Degrees are expensive as fuck and should be valued and treasured like fine gold and silver Golgi is on Junta the best and first album of a jazz band that forgot it was really just a great jazz band in 1985 after expelling the rockstar that stood in the way of Trey and his Rockstar Gold he loves for Trey pretends to love music but what he really loves is being Jerry Garcia ROCKSTAR where all eyes are on him Secretly Trey is a closet NARCISSIST in love with ONLY his own smell and touch and taste secretly trey is as creepy as Robert from 60 days in Trey and Robert are soulmates they are both pedophiles in love w themselves and they are so good at selling their lies that we buy their crap for 120 dollars a pop to have piss in our ears jazz and genisis prog rock is great and all but eventually i ask for Jesus for leave Chicago and go back to the NEW Jerusalem and fuck these lies and let us get on w Jeff HOLDSworth truth even if the inferior rockstar maybe he can shed light on why Trey only loves himself and sees the people around him as VILLAINS like in his lyrics from Ruby Waves I know I hate people too Trey but we are told to LOVE our enemies not shit on them So that means Trey you have to love Donald Trump and real douche bags like you?? I know it is hard but Jesus never said life would be easy he only promised eternal life for Jeff Holdsworth and people that hate money but LOVE people UNLIKE YOU who loves ticket sales and once heroin and now the POWER OF NOW bullshit lies from Satan your new or old or same father from birth because Trey Anastasio tells 90 % truth and 10% lies just like Johnny Depp a great CELEBRITY a POPULAR moron I love BEING UNPOPULAR because then and ONLY then i know i am telling the fucking truth
, attached to 2017-01-15

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout As I stood in line at the omelet station at the Barcelo resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico on the (late) morning of January 15th, 2017 I still had not decided whether or not to use the free dolphin experience I had won during a lackadaisical poolside deckchair daiquiri-fuelled BINGO game the previous afternoon. Discussing the issue over breakfast, I rebuffed m’lady’s argument that I should do it if only because it was free and it was something I would never, ever pay to do, but she finally convinced me when she reasoned that if I utilized the coupon I would prevent a paying customer from taking my slot and hence I would be taking $120 or so out of the pockets of Big-Dolphin. And so I made my appointment and lo I discovered that I had taken one of the last two spots available that day, so I suppose it’s true that I ate up a chunk of their daily business after all. When I arrived at the resort’s onsite dolphin pool the dad in front of me was holding his two children by the shoulders, staring them in the eyes and asking them; pleading with them, “Now you’re absolutely sure you really want to do this, right? You won’t get bored and want to leave, right?” before shelling out almost $700 for their full-on experience (yes, almost $700 – of course when you have to pay such an outrageous amount of money for a family of four to do something you’re going to opt in for the ride-the-dolphin upgrade and the full photo package). I was handed a lifejacket and directed towards a shower for a pre-pool rinse before meeting the dolphin handler. She was very nice and did a lot of explaining before I jumped in the pool along with and a couple from Regina and their one-year-old son, who I would be sharing my dolphin experience with. And then I met Alex. I suppose Alex is just his human-name; I never asked what his actual dolphin name was. He was surprisingly big and thick and very friendly. The handler showed me how to stand so that Alex would swim up and rest buoyantly in my arms. He laid still while I admired the remarkable lines of such an amazing, aeronautical creature. I looked into his goop-covered eye (the goop protects his lidless eyes from the seawater) and apologized for the situation that brought us together. I found out where his ears were (tiny holes behind his eyes) and whispered that I’d do what I could to get him out of there. He responded, and though I couldn’t make out his accent at all I did learn that his response came not out of his mouth, but out of his blowhole. All dolphins (not just Alex) make their dolphiny sounds though their blowholes. Crazy, huh? Petting Alex was weird for several reasons. First, petting a strange dude who is in his twenties and is pretty much as smart as most humans and smarter than many of them is just a strange thing to do in the first place, but the fact that dolphins shed their entire skin every two hours means that when you give one a little belly-rub you come away with a handful of dead skin. So yeah, weird. I only did a minimal amount of petting. I also bailed on what I considered the more demeaning enforced contact, like shaking hands and having Alex come out of the water to “kiss” the side of my face. A couple of belly-rubs aside we didn’t know each other nearly well enough for that sort of thing. In all I was in the water with Alex for over an hour, which surprised me. And while I’ll freely admit that there’s no reason at all for resorts to resort to imprisoning such wonderful and intelligent beings and conditioning them to perform on cue, I did learn a heck of a lot. Like, the only thing you ever see a dolphin do that they don’t already do in nature is interact with humans. Wild dolphins naturally jump around together and do that tail-dance thing out in the ocean, these people are just teaching them to these natural acts on command. I also learned that enclosed dolphins generally outlive wild dolphins by twenty years, and at the age of forty the dolphins are retired from interactions and spend the rest of their time at the same facility, just swimming around. Oh, and it turns out that dolphins aren’t fish, they’re mammals. Crazy, right? You’d think that a prerequisite for being a mammal would be to have hair, and if you thought that you’d be right. And dolphins don’t have hair. But they used to! Dolphins are born blind, and for their first week or so they feel their way around using short hairs growing out of their snout. Once their eyes open up they lose the hairs but it’s enough to get them in the club, so mammals they are. Apparently catfish on the whole are up in arms about the whole thing, or at least they would be, had they arms. Maybe they do…I’ve never won a catfish experience so I don’t know a lot about them. But now I know a lot about dolphins, which aren’t fish*. And speaking of not being fish, after bidding Alex goodbye and good luck I ate a heck of a meal (not seafood, out of respect for Alex and the fact that I don’t eat seafood) and sauntered down the beach for the final night of Phish Mexico. And it was glorious. Bouncing between parties after the concert I found myself outside the dolphin enclosure in the wee hours of the night. I was about to start calling for Alex to see about busting him and his buddies out Bless-The-Beasts-And-The-Children-style when I noticed a couple of drunken loopy-lous hop the fence and approach the pools. Who knows, maybe they had the same idea, but it turns out the dolphins have their own security detail so I got out of there just as the barefooted chase commenced. And thus ended Mach II of Phish Mexico, except for the fact that m’lady and I had been astute enough to tack an extra day onto the end of our resort stay so we got to sleep in the next morning while the majority of our fellow Phishy-friends groggily checked out of the resort. And so – after one more day of super-relaxation – thus ended the aforementioned Mach II of Phish Mexico. Which was nothing short of magnificent, all-told. *Them just jokes! Of course I knew that dolphins are mammals. I grew up watching Flipper. Faster than lightning. More ticket stories: [url]https://toddmanout.com[/url]
, attached to 2016-01-16

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout By the second night of Phish at Riviera Maya in Mexico I had already faced the shock and amazement of how fantastic the entire experience was and on January 16th, 2016 I blissfully walked to the Phish concert on the beach in swimming trunks and bare feet, the powdery sand sifting between my toes. With no poster crush to deal with, getting into the show was easy-peasy. I quickly got my first drink of the day and was surprised to see a big lineup for food. No worries, I was happy to wait until the show started at which point I was able to snack at will. I quickly got my second and third drink of the day and just as swiftly found my first tequila shot of the day. I parked myself by the ocean so I could see the light show projected into the water and in no time the show started. Unlike the previous night the staff was keeping people out of the water and as I stared at the ocean-lights it occurred to me the water-light tech was covering three roles: in addition to the obvious entertainment value the lights also provided security and safety. Soon after the show started we saw some people coming along the shoreline with inner tubes and bam, the lights were on them. Security had no trouble shooting them down (metaphorically I hope). When Velvet Sea started the crowd jumped in the water en masse and when it was clear there was no stopping the masses the security gave up and lights played off the waders for the rest of the night – safety. It kills me that I didn’t have the wherewithal to wade into the sea for that particular number. I did, however, spend a good part of the second set waist deep in the ocean and I can tell you it was an experience of unparalleled awesomeness. Prince Caspian was a highlight (which it usually isn’t, Magnaball excluded) and I dunked my GoPro into the waves. I spent the night bouncing between hanging with friends near the back and up closer to the stage on Page side with m’lady and bunch more friends. Closing the second set, Harry Hood was my first favourite tune of the run and I sang it loud and proud in tribute to my late friend Chris Hood, as I always do. I ran into some jammers from the previous night who encouraged me to join them again after the show and I eagerly agreed. As soon as Character Zero ended the concert I scooted back to my room to change out of my wet clothes and grab my mandolin. The jam never materialized but I sure had a good time hanging out with a thousand people in a dozen different rooms. I recall a late night stroll where three of us, strangers all, sang Little Feat’s Willin’ loud and proud. I knew the chords and the other two knew the words; it was a magic moment. With the greatest of ease I found m’lady outside of the sports bar as the wee hours approached and we had some more drinks and a few snacks before calling it a night. Crossing the resort we were back in our room by 2am. More ticket stories: [url]https://toddmanout.com[/url]
, attached to 2009-03-06

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout This ticket marks a significant blip on my life trajectory. Basically, there is life before March 6th, 2009 and life after March 6th, 2009. I’m not saying that life began on this date for me, not by a longshot, but the return of Phish has certainly had a measurable effect on my life, and I guess I have m’lady to thank for that. Before we met I considered myself a Phish fan. I had seen the band about twenty times starting in ’94, and some of the shows I saw were pretty legendary. Heck, despite the fact that I knew m’lady had about a hundred Phish shows under her belt including tours of Europe and Japan I figured we were both fans, just to varying degrees. Phish broke up a year before m’lady and I met and this concert marked their reunion; before this show I had never known her and the band to co-exist. And I was about to find out that we were not fans “to varying degrees”. This show, this weekend, and over the course of the band’s first year back I would come to learn that as far as Phish fandom was concerned m’lady and I weren’t even the same species. When we arrived in Hampton, Virginia it was like a whirlwind. While I started to unwind after the long drive from Ottawa m’lady started punching numbers into the phone in our room at the Hampton Inn (yes, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Hampton) and before you knew it we were back in the car and on the prowl. Amazingly enough it was me who spotted Jess and Frank on the side of the road from just a verbal description – I had never met either of them before. The four of us went for drinks at an Applebees or some such place and I made new friends while m’lady caught up with old ones. Soon enough we whisked off to someone’s hotel room for more handshakes, hugs and introductions before heading off to another for more of the same. I must have met thirty of m’lady’s American Phish friends before the show, many of which I am good friends with today. Standing in line to get into the show seemed like the first time I actually got to relax since getting to town. Someone was pushing a cooler down the row of people so I bought a couple of beers. So did the kids behind us in line. Noticing the beers weren’t twist-offs they asked me if I had a bottle opener. I handed them a lighter. “Um, no, we don’t need a lighter, we need a bottle opener,” the guy said, eyeing me suspiciously. Of course I grabbed the guy’s beer and quickly opened it with the lighter and handed it back. The guy looked at me like I had just done magic. “Holy cow! Hey guys…guys…check this out!” the guy yelped. “”Here, can you do it again?” he asked me, handing another bottle towards me. “Watch this!” he said excitedly, poking his friends. And to a man, every one of them were flabbergasted by my beer-popping wizardry skills. I couldn’t believe they had never seen the open-a-beer-with-a-lighter thing before. I’ve been watching my dad open beers with everything from lighters to a seatbelt buckles as far back as I can remember. Inside the Mothership (as Phish fans lovingly refer to the Hampton Coliseum) the anticipation was mounting. To say the show was sold out was an understatement. Thousands upon thousands of serious concert fans had been waiting five years for this night and those of us that made it in knew we were in for something epic. And when the lights went down, the epic began. The roar of the crowd was really quite incredible; it was a sustained thrust of thankful joy screamed at the band from every seat and it sounded glorious. I couldn’t believe that 9,500 people making that much noise could get any louder but when Phish played the first notes of their opener Fluffhead the fans went momentarily nuts. Y’see, when the band called it quits at their Coventry festival the weekend of concerts had been one musical trainwreck after another. The fact is Trey was too messed up (both at the festival and in general) to play any of his intricate composed guitar parts with any accuracy whatsoever (though I remember his improvised jamming from Coventry having some definite highlights). In short, the weekend was a musical disaster. And now here it was a half-decade later and the band confidently launched their return with Fluffhead – one of their most beloved composed masterpieces – an epic journey of a song with more than it’s fair share of intricacies and hairpin turns. This was the band’s way of telling us, “We’re back, we’ve practiced, we’re confident, and everything’s gonna be okay.” And if that wasn’t enough they played Divided Sky for the next number, another conglomerate of deftly played snippets wrapped up in a joyous one-line singalong. When Phish followed up with their straight-up rocker Chalkdust Torture the crowd seemed to calm down and settle into the groove. I did too, and it’s a groove I’ve found myself in ever since. Since then I would see the band about a hundred more times. Every tour announcement since this Hampton run has been pored over and scrutinized and applied to our own lives and vacation plans whenever possible. Show rumours invariably precede a flurry of online hotel bookings “just in case” while flights are sourced. So yeah, things are quite a bit different since this concert. Sure, life before the return of Phish was simpler and much cheaper but it involved a lot less Phish concerts, and Phish concerts are fun. And they’ve only gotten more fun since I started going to them with my in-house superfan. And while I still find myself flailing along far behind m’lady in the Phish fan category I have to admit I’m really starting to get into these guys. More ticket stories: [url]https://toddmanout.com[/url]
, attached to 2009-03-08

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout March 8th, 2009 was the third and final night of Phish’s comeback run at The Mothership in Hampton, Virginia, and while this show was really great on it’s own merits* (they played a bunch of my goto Phish favourites like Maze, My Friend, Slave To The Traffic Light and perhaps especially Contact, not to mention a couple of really great covers: While My Guitar Gently Weeps and George Jones’ She Thinks I Still Care) their first post-hiatus show from two days previously had so much going on I’m going to use this space to add a couple of stories about that night instead. First of all, on that first night m’lady succeeded in one of the greatest sneak-it-ins I’ve ever seen up close. As she was getting patted down and having her purse inspected by security she had a jean jacket slung over her arm. She had tied up the end of one of the jacket sleeves and inserted into the arm of said sleeve an enormous magnum of champagne. With gritted teeth and subtle movements she slung that jacket around like it didn’t weigh ten pounds and scooted right through security with me right on her heels. We ended up sitting in a corner section with a bunch of her friends and just before the lights went down she popped that bottle of champagne with a loud, unmistakable champagne pow! that sent the cork soaring towards the roof of the coliseum until it almost hit one of the twenty or so hugely oversized balloons that were hung from the ceiling. I’m really glad the cork didn’t pierce one of those big balloons because they almost stole the show. Phish’s lightguy Chris Kuroda (CK5) had bright multicoloured lights pointed at each of the giant dangling orbs and he incorporated them into his light show brilliantly, creating an utterly unique visual experience that suited the short venue perfectly. Early in the first set I went for a quick bathroom run. On my way back up to my seat I spotted a lonely merch table that sold only posters. It was a really cool poster that showed the Hampton Coliseum being pulled underwater by some multi-tentacled beast and they had it in three colours, one for each night of the run. Hmm. I have always been a sucker for merch (t-shirts mostly) that has a specific date on it so I was intrigued. I had heard a bit about this Pollock guy who did posters for Phish and that they often sold for a heady profit. I assumed (wrongly) that these posters were by Pollock and bought my two favourite colour variations. I ended up framing the blue one (it’s on my wall to this day) and selling the other to the couple that was travelling with us (at cost), but most importantly this purchase is what started me into being a bit of a poster-geek. Sure, I don’t usually line up for posters, but I generally buy them whenever one is available (often whether I like them or not, so obsessive am I. Gosh, I have one Mike Gordon poster from Higher Ground that is so horrendously ugly; so inhumanly amateur…it astounds me to this day that I bought it. But it seemed such a great deal for only $20US…). I recall with retrospective horror being in someones hotel room after the show when they asked if they could see the poster. “Sure,” I said, and I happily went about pulling and tugging and wrenching on the poster inflicting untold creases and nicks trying to get it out of the tube. I was going at it with such wanton ferocity that the friend was telling me – begging me – to please stop. “I don’t really need to see it that bad.” But I did get it out. Back at the show, (again, the first night, not the one that this ticket is actually for) Phish played their epic You Enjoy Myself (after a false start) to close out the second set, a song that tends to really throw the spotlight on the spotlights. During the vocal jam at the end of the song CK5’s lights combined with the eerie vocal improv and became downright frightening. I recall the stage being lit with only darkness and blinding white lights that flashed in a way that made them seem to move in directions that they couldn’t possibly have been moving. In fact, the next night I happened to be near the light board and just before the setbreak ended I saw CK5 come out to man his station and I strolled over. Standing at the metal barrier I called out, “Hey Chris! Chris!” until he looked over with a questioning nod. “Hey man, last night when you landed that one airplane on top of that other airplane during You Enjoy Myself, well, that really freaked me out,” I yelled. That made him laugh. He smiled at me and nodded, and held up his index finger as if to say “watch this”. At exactly that moment the house lights went down to start the second set and he went back to work. To date it’s the only time I’ve ever spoken to him. Which is too bad because (I’ll say it again) CK5 is one of the main reasons I keep coming back to see this band. The guy is just so darn creative. Take for example those huge balloons hanging from the ceiling. Midway through the encore the band started playing Bouncing Around The Room and didn’t that CK5 guy press a button that released those massive balloons from the roof and had them fall droopingly onto the crowd. Gosh, it was so beautiful. Of course the intention was that the balloons would proceed to bounce around the room during the song but can you believe people were purposely popping them?!? With mine own eyes I saw people grab at the balloons and intentionally rip holes in them, ruining the whole gag. I think the problem was they were obstructing the view of the patrons on the floor, who were either unaware of or unconcerned with how cool the whole thing looked to the rest of us up in the bowl. It was still pretty supercool though, but it sure could have been supercooler. And finally, I can tell you I was overall very impressed with the small beloved coliseum itself. It felt like I was seeing a concert inside a UFO. *As a matter of fact, I gotta call the first set of this third night the second-best pile of music of the weekend, second only to the first night’s second set, which comes first. Overall the weekend was a great show sandwiched between two unbelievable shows, though I would accept many arguments to the contrary. Bottom line is Phish worked hard to meet some very high expectations, and they easily surpassed them. All in all the band delivered a spectacular triduum of music and (with the help of we, their fans) sponsored a helluva good time over three nights in Hampton, and they proved that they can be at least the band they once were, perhaps even more. But most importantly Trey, Mike, Page, and Fishman (and CK5) left little doubt that we may just have Phish as a permanent distraction again again. And the fans seemed willing to keep up their end of the bargain. Welcome back everyone! toddmanout.com
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