, attached to 1995-06-17

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround PHISH, SATURDAY 06/17/1995 NISSAN PAVILION AT STONE RIDGE Bristow, VA Soundcheck: Johnny B. Goode SET 1: Divided Sky: Really long, and annoying pause in this one with a very weak crowd reaction. But get that out of the way and this is one of the most inspired openers Phish has EVER played. This is absolutely electric! This is Trey at the height of his powers. He just goes off. Easy all timer and highly recommended. Suzy Greenberg: Funky. Trey playing some porno funk behind Page’s incredible solo. This might be the earliest in the bands career I can recall Trey playing those porno funk licks that became all the rage during Fall 97. Dude just goes nuts! Taste: Standard. Fee[1] Standard -> Uncle Pen: Standard. Julius: Standard. Lawn Boy: Standard. The Curtain: Seems really late in the set for this tune but obviously welcome anywhere, anytime! -> Stash: Only 14/447 times has Stash closed a first set, most of those were 1.0 shows. Brief major jam appears around 7:40 and disappears just as quickly. Super sick. Check out what is going on around 11 and a half. Very psychedelic stuff. Would have put me on the moon. They start building serious tension in the early 12’s. From here, it just gets incredible. Peaks for days and days. This is one of the best versions they have ever played. Easy all timer and highly recommended. SET 2: Wilson: Standard. > Maze: A very solid offering right here. Mound: Mike forgets this lyric: “and frozen through” > Tweezer -> Johnny B. Goode[2] -> Tweezer: -> Trey has some scintillating pornofunk licks in the beginning of this jam, very nice. The JBG segue is stupendous. Not long after they go back into Tweezer it sounds like Page and Fish are trying to recreate the ‘Montana’ jam from A Live One from the Bozeman Tweezer. Eventually, this gets quite ethereal and spacy. Love it! It hangs in there for awhile and then they ratchet it back up into a raucous affair. There is even a brief vocal jam at the end. Easy all timer and highly recommended! McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters: Acoustic Army: Standard. Sweet Adeline: Standard. Harry Hood: Everything but the actual peak is money. Would recommend. Trey building the jam is a great listen. Sample in a Jar: Standard. ENCORE: Three Little Birds[3] Tons of fun. Summary: Replay Value: Divided Sky, Stash, Tweezer, Johnny B. Goode, Tweezer, Harry Hood [1] Trey sang verses through megaphone. [2] Phish debut. [3] Phish debut; LeRoi Moore and Dave Matthews. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Johnny B. Goode and Three Little Birds made their Phish debuts at this show, the latter with a guest appearance by LeRoi Moore and Dave Matthews. Tweezer included a tease of A Live One’s Montana. JAM CHART VERSIONS Divided Sky, Stash, Tweezer, Johnny B. Goode, Tweezer, Harry Hood TEASES Montana tease in Tweezer
, attached to 2012-07-06

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout July 6th, 2012 was day one of a three-night Phish run at one of my favourite venues, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). This was the weekend that m’lady and I stayed at the nondescript and relatively unfun Holiday Inn, which was just close enough to the concert shed to make you think you should walk and just a little too far to be comfortably walked. We walked. The show was super. We were inside the pavilion (ie not on the lawn, thank ye gawds) pretty much dead centre. The band kicked things off with a blood-pumping[i] Runaway Jim[/i] and 20,000 of us jumped to our feet together and stayed there for three straight nights, shaking our bones to seventy-nine of our favourite songs over a half-dozen sets. The first two nights were absolutely riddled with cover songs; we’re talking twenty covers out of fifty-two songs. Nutty. First came [i]Funky Bitch[/i] which is so standard you could be excused for thinking it was actually a Phish tune (it’s by Son Seals) but then a couple of songs later they played the Talking Heads’ [i]Psycho Killer[/i] for just the fourth (and to date, final) time (I’ve seen the last two). They invariably play [i]Hold Your Head Up[/i] as an introduction to some cheesy-ish cover and in this case it bled into Neil Diamond’s [i]Cracklin’ Rosie[/i], which was followed by a killer [i]Stash[/i], which is one of my favourite Phish songs. The rest of the set was back-and-forth between covers and originals, the second set kept it up with the barrage of cover songs (including an especially great [i]Roses Are Free[/i]) and they encored with, you guessed it, another cover. But can you actually guess it?* M’lady did. But all that aside, in my brain this show is famous for a rather jarring late-night snafu. M’lady and I were sharing a double room with a friend of hers and his girlfriend. Sometime in the wee hours I was sawing logs in one of the double beds when I found myself being scuttled over to make room. Shaken into semi-consciousness it quickly occurred to me that the bed already had two people in it. I popped open one bleary eye and was surprised to see Bernie squeezing in for a snuggle. “Um, dude…” “Huh, wha?” he muttered, suddenly awake and sitting bolt upright. “Oh, sorry man,” Bernie said, getting up and retreating to the other bed. “I crawled into the wrong bed.” You can say that again. “My bad.” You can say that again too. It made for a continental breakfast jam-packed with jokes and teasing at Bernie’s expense, which was pretty fun. But the final joke is on me (isn’t it always?) because I can never ever remember who it was that crawled into bed with me that night. I only know that it was one of the many, many guys I’ve met along the way that I haven’t hung out with enough for my brain to put into a solid memory-box. As I was writing this m’lady reminded me that it was Bernie – as she always has to – but that info will surely slide away again by this afternoon. As a result, whenever I run into any of the aforementioned guys on tour I always think it was them that had tried to share my bed, and when I lean in with a funny comment making reference to it – as I usually do – I get a blank stare (at best) and have some explaining to do. Which is probably one of the reasons why I spend a lot of time on tour by myself. *e: [i]Loving Cup[/i] by The Rolling Stones. https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout Ah…SPAC. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, a wonderfully unique indoor-looking outdoor amphitheatre nestled smack-dab in the middle of the forest in the gorgeous Saratoga Spa State Park, which is itself attached to the beautiful and historic City of Saratoga Springs, a town well-known for its near-ancient harness racing track and horse-racing tradition and (as I am always quick to point out) for being the birthplace of the greatest snack/dinner-substitute in recorded history: the potato chip. Ah…chips. No…I won’t let myself get distracted. Back to the task at hand: I suppose an indicator of how much I love this music venue would be to point out that I’ve been there fourteen times, once to see the Outlaw Music Festival (Willie, Neil, Nathaniel, Sturgill, and Lukas) plus a lucky thirteen Phish concerts; single, double, or three-night runs that brought me to Saratoga Springs a half-dozen times over the course of fifteen years. That represents a whopping 11% of my total Phish concert tally so yeah, I like the venue. (Okay…yes, SPAC is the closest regular stop to Ottawa on a standard Phish summer tour so there’s that, admittedly.) When I think back I guess I’ve stayed at, what, five different places? The Hilton, a non-Hilton near the Hilton, a mysterious downtown motel where I broke the bed-frame, the cheapo strip motel next to the barbecue place out by the highway, and the old downtown farmhouse B&B-looking place with the big friendly front porch and the auxiliary building out back. I think the strip motel is my favourite. I’ve stayed there twice – maybe three times – and the food next door is quite great, the venue is just a hop, skip, and a jump along a pretty, forested path through the park, and most importantly the motel is just so darn social, with pretty much everyone pre- and post-ing in plastic chairs in front of their open doors. On July 3rd, 2016 I was at my second-favourite – which by no coincidence is also the second-most social – of the resting places, that old farmhouse with the big deck that steps right down to the busy downtown sidewalk. I really love sitting out there with a beer and a guitar and speaking with the tie-dyed and smiling passers-by and stoppers-in, of which there are legion. This was the third evening of a triple-header and if I’m not mistaken this was the threefer where m’lady and I went too far the first night and were left to pay our dues in subdued numb reverie on the second night, leading us to hit our stride for this: a perfectly executed final night. It’s the sort of strategy borne out of plenty of experience and constant trial-mostly-error. Anyway, we came out on top on a good night, because Phish was rockin’ a Saratoga dance party. The first set had a fun [i]Lawnboy[/i]–[i]Sparkle[/i]–[i]Sample[/i] one-two-three punch and ended with a [i]Possum[/i] singalong while the second set kept the vibe going from the opening[i] Soul Shakedown Party[/i] and [i]Moma Dance[/i] through [i]Twist[/i], [i]Theme[/i], and [i]Hood[/i] right up to the liberating [i]Rock and Roll [/i]encore. I don’t know if my life was really “…saved by rock and roll…” but it sure feels like it was when I sing that line at the top of my lungs in one of my favourite venues along with my favourite band and 20,000 good friends at the end of a fun-filled weekend of music, friends, and very good times. Ah…SPAC. Ah…Phish. Ah…music. Ah…chips. Ah…life! https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 2011-07-02

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout On July 2nd, 2011 I woke up in the temporary upper New York state campground that was the Watkins Glen Speedway and emerged from my tent ready to start the day. At least I assume so. It’s not like I actually remember waking up on that day over a decade ago. I do, however, remember my situation, and it was this: m’lady and I and our great friends Kyla and Jay and Chris and Jennie were parked on a small piece of grassy real estate in a vast field just out of view of one of the farther reaches of the extended non-oval auto racing track. We were camped in a trio of tents straddling my Mitsubishi Outback a fair stroll away from the main concert pitch, where Phish had played the night before to kick off Superball IX*, their ninth self-styled festival and their first of almost three solo Phish fests** at the Watkins Glen NASCAR track. If I remember correctly m’lady and I spent a fair chunk of the morning waiting in line for posters and a couple of records and we spent the bulk of the afternoon getting out-and-about, visiting friends in the RV section and perhaps making a point to watch a wee bit of the Runaway Jim 5K footrace. In between meeting new friends and visiting old ones the remaining daylight hours would have been taken up revelling in the inevitable art installations, eating m’lady’s campstove quesadillas, and making sure the beer stayed cold. However, I do recall the evening’s musical sets with unexpected clarity; all four of them. Halfway through the first set the band played [i]When the Circus Comes to Town[/i], a song written by Los Lobos. Phish played the song quite often – at least they used to – and though I’ve never actually heard the original version I’ve never really liked the tune. So much so that I really couldn’t imagine why Phish even played it in the first place aside from the imagery in the title, which is very tour-ish. But somehow, some way this version was pretty great, and it bode great things. The second set started off with [i]Runaway Jim[/i] and included Trey awarding ribbons to the winners of the 5K run. Later in the set the band did it again: They went into [i]Birds of a Feather[/i], another of my lesser-favourite Phish songs (this one is actually written by Phish) and once again they played it so well that I was forced to reconsider my opinion of the song. Didn’t hurt that they went into [i]Stash[/i] straight after, which might very well have been the first time I saw the band play[i] Stash[/i] since I had learned how to play it myself. I’d spent several hours figuring out the slithery guitar parts and even longer getting it together (I even learned the lyrics) so I had a whole new appreciation for the song, and then I got to experience it live. I played along in my head. Set three (yes…set three!) was just killer all around. [i]Piper[/i], [i]Tweezer[/i], [i]Julius[/i], [i]Backwards Down the Number Line[/i], [i]2001[/i], [i]Hood[/i], [i]Golgi[/i], [i]A Day in the Life[/i]…my word! But get this: the very best was yet to come! Without fail, Phish festivals always include a secret set on the Saturday night, and also without fail I find these droning, improvised, instrumental jams unendingly entertaining. To say the secret sets are consistently my favourite live Phish is as accurate as saying that [i]Space[/i] is my favourite part of every Dead show. Which it is…err…they are, especially (or perhaps: only) when I am standing there in person. In this case the secret set took place inside a mock storage shed that was near the back of the concert field. Sometime in the early wee hours of Sunday morning lights, dry ice, and ethereal music started bleeding out of the storage unit, which I and thousands of my friends immediately encircled. Inside and out of sight the band grooved and jived, forsaking songs for sounds. It was exactly like the late night jam at The Great Went, or the drive-in theatre jam at Magnaball, or even the tower jam at Coventry, and totally unlike any Phish you’ve ever heard. I loved it. I loved everything. This being a camping music festival, the end of the music was just the beginning. I can’t possibly tell you what went on next***, but I assure you it went pretty late. *Why do you suppose we still sometimes use Roman numerals? Is it purely due to style? Don’t get me wrong, for reasons that I can’t at all understand I quite like it when Roman numerals come up, but in all honesty I can’t think of a practical reason why they should. They make even the most basic math rather confusing (XLVIII ÷ IV = XII or X x V = L or even X x X = C) and take a lot of time to decipher (MCDXCII being the famous year that Columbus went poking around Central America). Is it really possible that society as a whole can still figure out this obviously outdated system (with the exception of D. Why is it hardly anyone knows that D is 500?) solely because “Rocky IV” looks cooler than “Rocky 4” (a turd by any other name…)? Really?!? I tell you, if Roman numerals are mostly still in use mainly for movie trilogies and eye-catching advertising graphics then I think they are all-too often under-utilized. Take for example Superbowl 40…err…Superbowl XL. Not one ad used the phrase “Extra Large”. Where were the Dominoes ad people? And of course the entire porn industry should always be aiming towards their 29th sequel. **When I say “almost three” I am of course making reference to the summer of 2018 when a Phish festival scheduled at the Watkins Glen racetrack was aborted at the 11th hour due to a county-wide boil-water advisory. It would have been their third fest at Watkins Glen but the whole shebang got shut down before the band could play a single note. Though not before m’lady and I had showed up and giddily pitched our tents in the VIP section. We had been onsite for a solid twenty-four hours before the festival got cancelled. That non-fest had the most appropriate name of all of ‘em though. It was called Curveball. ***Stunted memory or unexpired statute of limitations? You decide. https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 2009-06-06

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout On June 6th, 2009 I went to Mansfield, Massachusetts to see Phish at Great Woods, a venue that was by then officially called the Comcast Centre, an icky corporate name that just doesn’t have the quite same homey feel as “Great Woods” if you ask me (or anyone else in the world besides the tiny fraction of soulless human money hounds that sit on the board of directors at either Comcast or the centre that unfortunately bears it’s name*). Anyway, it was a lovely evening and the band put on a great show. They played a bunch of my favourites ([i]Hood[/i], [i]Makisupa[/i], [i]Fluffhead[/i], [i]Golgi[/i]…they even encored with [i]Contact[/i]) and I had a really great time. The previous night we had seen the band in Jones Beach during a steady downpour. The rain had been literally ankle-deep and though it was a still good time I gotta say I prefer the non-rainy concerts. And so do my posters! Those first couple of years after Phish returned from hiatus I was pretty seriously into buying posters. (I’m glad I got over that; in retrospect it’s pretty silly that I looked forward to waiting in a crushing lineup so I could spend $50US on something that I had to carry around and worry about for the rest of the night, just for the privilege of either a) spending a further $400 getting the thing framed or b) putting the tube in the closet with all the other posters that will never, ever make it onto the wall.) This concert was so early in my poster days that I walked through the gate knowing I would be buying whatever they were selling, but it turned out I really liked the print for this concert after all. It’s by a poster artist named Micah Smith and it’s a tri-coloured ink pressing that shows a forest in splashy green, yellow, and black with small cursive script along the bottom listing the band’s name, the date, and the venue (though it reads “Comcast Centre” I’m glad Micah chose to honour Great Woods with the overall design concept). Strangely, the print has always been poo-poo’d by the Phish poster community in general but like I say, I quite like it. When I got back to Ottawa the next day (or so) later I took the poster out of the tube and noticed that it was neither signed by the artist nor numbered. The posters were usually signed but c’mon now, they were always numbered. I checked the poster geek sites and sure enough they all came that way. So disappointed was I that I emailed Micah Smith and asked if he would sign and number the poster for me if I mailed it to him with return postage. He said “sure” and he did, although not until he procrastinated so long that he felt compelled to throw in four more prints as an apology (three Mike Gordon’s and a Page one from NYC, three of which I love). And so it is that I have framed up and hanging in the hallway by my back door the only signed copy of Micah Smith’s Great Woods poster (I don’t care! I’m calling it “Great Woods”). That said, he didn’t number it (though it is a limited run of 750 posters), choosing instead to label it “AP” for “Artist’s Print”. Great show, great poster. (By the way, I did buy a poster at that Jones Beach concert and it made it home in mont condition, but if I remember it right there was an opportunity to return the poster to the car before the concert started and I took it. Either way, I sold the Jones Beach print a couple of years ago after I bought a house and had to finally admit it was never going on the wall.) *After a five-year run as the Comcast Centre Great Woods was rebranded as the Xfinity Center. May they all rot in the Dairy Queen Brimstone Fun! Zone (formerly called “Hell”). https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 1987-08-10

Review by dr_strangelove

dr_strangelove Good show. In addition to the highlights below, The Curtain With and YEM are well-played: 1) [u]David Bowie[/u]: Son, this version cooks, especially towards the end. The energy built up in guitars solo is stored and he unleashes in... [b]2) [u]Jesus Just Left Chicago[/u]: [/b]BOY, I was trying to work and now I have to stop what I am doing to rage. I listened to this lil smoky twice and both times, Trey's fire solo got my "hand in the air, shaking head down, foot stompin'" reflex to kick in. Show highlight for sure. Oh damn, and I am just now reading that this was the first known performance?! 3) [u]Whipping Post[/u]: Always a rager, they really take the middle segment of this one for a ride. Trey and Mike dominate the middle jam, they reel it back in for a peppery return to the final verse/chorus, and then for the outro the whole band just flays. Trey mostly holds the groove while Page, Fish, and Mike turn up the flame. Great version (to be honest, I can't recall a time I didn't go nuts for this tune).
, attached to 1988-03-12

Review by raygaylord92265

raygaylord92265 Imagine Frank Zappa warming up for Phish playing Gamhendge with narration. At the time my friends and I called the Jamfantasy "Trey's Story Time." I always thought about the neat little story songs and reflected that "he should put all these cool stories together". Little did I know. Of course we all found the "thesis" recording not too long after this show; hearing narrative and music in either ear helped me to clear any static from the full "movie" in my brain. I have always enjoyed plays and cinematic endeavors, but none have ever equaled the movie in my brain produced by reading, or listening to story songs or albums. Trey's fantasy songs took me places only approachable if I were reading authors such as Asimov, or Zelazny, and yes of course, the favorite of every kid who painted trolls and orcs to move through a dungeon drawn on large square graph paper using the largest collection of dice known to mankind, Tolkien. Thus, this was the best Phish show ever. It put it all together. The recording is poor, I think I can hear Skinner counting quarters, his sister Co... giving a patron drinks and bar music, but I am telling you people that this show/ night was the best Phish show ever. Ask anyone who was there. Btw, I asked a friend who was there, and they incorrectly replied Beecher Hill Farm (Hinesburg); he did confirm my memory of the night, seeing Zappa at the Memorial, then the band hurrying down to Nectars followed by fans.
, attached to 1991-04-04

Review by thelot

thelot Decent SBD source available for this show. There’s some buzzing sound noticeable when the band isn’t playing. Possible loose cable? Jason Miller with the EMU Cultural Forum starts off the show by introducing the band. A straightforward Oh Kee Pah>Suzy gets the party started. Rock solid YEM with a short but fun VJ…Oh Yeah! Decent Llama. Forbin>Mockingbird features another Gamehendge Rap. Tape flip after Mockingbird. Very enjoyable Possum. A well played Golgi wraps up Set 1. There’s still some buzzing sound in the background for Set 2. A Curtain>Jim combo gets the set started off right. Solid Bowie! Nice mid set Sky. Mike runs from the messages in BBFCFM to close out the second half. lol Double encore highlighted by a decent Magilla.
, attached to 2019-06-18

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout On June 18th, 2019 m’lady and I went to see a Phish concert. Certainly nothing unusual about that – but the fact that we didn’t have to cross the mean old scary US border to do it, well, that was a rare and special treat! Yes, Phish was playing in Toronto at the Molson Amphitheatre (which had recently been re-dubbed The Budweiser Stage) again, and by “again” I mean like they did in ’99, ’00, and in ’13, so it’s not like Toronto is a regular stop for the band or anything. I had been at the ’99 and ’00 shows and had intended to see the last one too, but it had been postponed (due to beautiful weather) to a day when I would find myself committed to be on another adventure almost a thousand miles away. Anyway, it’s safe to say I’ve seen Phish almost a hundred times since I last saw them in Canada, and I was pretty psyched for the day. (I was even brazen enough to bring my few remaining Capitalism Sucks t-shirts to sell in the lot. It’s mostly performance art [“End capitalism now – buy this t-shirt” and “Change the world for just $10”] but I did sell a couple. M’lady didn’t do as well selling her Kasvot Växt/Häagen-Dazs shirts, but she wasn’t trying too hard.) And so it was that we showed up at the lot nice and early and immediately hooked up with my great old friend Anne-Marie, and in short order associates and acquaintances started appearing out of the woodwork. The next three hours were spent hugging friends and sharing smiles; the weather was great and everyone was in a super-great mood. Heck, the pre-show was so fun I hoped showtime would never come. When the sonic deadline finally loomed I said goodbye to Anne-Marie (who, along with her friend Kim had come to the lot solely and specifically to hang out with yours truly. I am humbled) and headed for the gate. In the short and fast line we discovered a few more handfuls of friends – same story once we got in and hit the concession area – and before you knew it we were on the lawn raising plastic cups and cheersing with still more familiar faces. The show itself was…what can I say; average? No, that doesn’t work…an average Phish concert is pretty off-the-hook. Let’s say the show was: somewhat underwhelming but still pretty darn fine. And while that doesn’t come off as a ringing endorsement I think it’s both accurate and not overtly critical. But really, that’s irrelevant. As it stood I had (at least) six more opportunities coming in the next few weeks to hear a stellar Phish concert, but this was my only chance of the summer to see such a great number of fun people before and at the show, and I had a super-duper great time start-to-finish. The next day when social media pointed out to me just how many of my friends I didn’t see at the show I got a feel for how fantastic it is for all those lucky Americans who always get to see the band play in their homeland. To think that I’m only getting half the experience… (In the lot before the show my friend Dave was kind enough to offer m’lady and I a pair of free electronic tickets for this concert, which we thankfully accepted.) https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 2016-07-02

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout I won’t say whether the love of m’lady outweighs my love of Canada but in 2016 she once again managed to lure me away from my home in the nation’s capital city on that greatest of all Ottawa holidays: Canaday™, and for what? Another Phish run of course. The trio of Phish shows were running consecutively at my favourite outdoor venue in eastern North America (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) which made the exodus a little more attractive, and securing a booking at that nice old farmhouse-style hotel on the main drag along with a bunch of our ‘merican Phishy friends only sweetened the pot. The hotel sported an inviting front porch with three wide steps leading down to the sidewalk, and I spent every spare minute sitting on that porch with a guitar (or was it a mandolin?) in my lap and a beer (it was definitely a beer) at my side. It was never boring watching a phalanx of friendly strangers and even stranger friends parade up and down the sidewalk heading to or from something homey and fun, for all things in downtown Saratoga are some combination of homey and fun. At some point during the weekend Trey’s bus got stopped at a light right in front of our porch (or was it Mike’s bus? Funny that I can’t remember, and even funnier that the four band members each have their own busses. I‘m sure it’s not because they don’t get along, ‘cuz I think they do. Do you suppose every once in a while Page decides to ride along with Fishman, or maybe all four of them squeeze onto Trey’s bus and watch a movie together while the other three empty buses follow along behind? Oh, the questions I would ask…). Anyway, what happened there…did the bus door open or did we just get a celebrity wave from the window? Was I even there? Did it even happen? Gosh…probably and for sure, and I’m pretty sure it was Trey after all. Or Page. There was definitely a wave, I remember my friend Rachel talking about it with a circle of friends afterwards. Hmm. So maybe I wasn’t there? Or was it Rachel? Either way, stay tuned for even more mind-numbing and potentially accurate vicarious tales of pedestrian by-sighting. After all that gibberish it will come as little surprise that I don’t remember much specifically about the show itself, although I do recall really enjoying the new Mike Gordon song [i]555[/i] that came near the top of the show. It has since become one of my brain’s goto earworms – probably because the lyrics are so simple (“Five fifty fi—hive!!!!”) – which has in turn led to me over-noticing clocks striking 5:55, such that I think I always look at clocks at five-to-six even though logic says I don’t*. To be honest not a whole lot jumps out at me from this concert but that doesn’t diminish how good of a time I likely had. I’ve seen That Band From Vermont well over a hundred times and I only had a less-than-stellar time at a very, very small number of them. And I can assure you, I remember those concerts quite well. This wasn’t one of them, so I must have had a blast. I certainly had a good time back on that porch after the show with a frosty beer in my hand and my mandolin in my lap. Or did I bring my guitar? Doesn’t matter. Good times. *I had an ex-girlfriend (still do I suppose) who was convinced that the numbers 2 and 7 came up in her life with unnatural regularity. Which basically meant that she noticed a 2 and/or a 7 every time one or especially both of them appeared somewhere in a friend’s phone number or in her new credit card number or on her take-a-number slip or…anywhere. I thought that it was rather telling that she didn’t seem to notice when the numbers 2 and/or 7 didn’t come up. Never mind that by having two “favourite” or “coincidental” numbers she had a pretty large chance of having at least one of them come up in any random string of numbers. But my main point is that if she only and especially noticed when her numbers came up and particularly didn’t notice their absence when they didn’t appear (perhaps even to the point of evil-eyeing her future ex-boyfriend when he pointed out things like, “Hey, there’s no 2 or 7 in this bar tab…”), well, her lucky numbers are sure to follow her around forever. But I won’t. (I am a bit embarrassed to admit that to this day my brain momentarily takes note when I am assigned hotel room 527, say, or my expected wait time for something is seventy-two minutes. The reason it’s embarrassing to admit is because it seems to happen all the time.) https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 2019-07-05

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout On July 5th, 2019 m’lady and I pulled in to Boston after spending a splendid three nights in that wonderful little upstate town of Saratoga Springs. We were in town (well, both towns really) for another couple of Phish concerts (of course) and were happy to be staying with some of our bestest American friends ever, Joe and Dee. They were the mostest of hostest and went all the way out of their way to make sure we had a great time, and of course we did. Heck, J&D made life so darn agreeable that I even agreed on sushi for dinner and I gotta admit, I enjoyed it. When we got to the lot outside of Fenway Park m’lady did a walkabout trying to sell her brand new, hot-off-the-presses Kasvot Växt/Häagen-Dasz t-shirts (I won’t even bother…it’s a Phish thing) but she didn’t do very well. She didn’t do as poorly as one fellah we saw who somehow drew the attention of about thirty police officers who mounted a frantic chase through the makeshift marketplace, eventually taking him down and dragging the poor sap off to some misdoer’s stalag. Bet he has some story to tell. My story is probably much less dramatic but I’m sure it’s a whole lot happier. It was my first time inside one of America’s most famous ballparks. We would be sitting with Joe and Dee the next night but for now we bid them farewell until the end of the show and headed in the direction of our seats along the first base line. Traversing the labyrinthic bowels of the classic building one could feel history bleeding from every riveted girder. The foyers and hallways held little rhyme or reason – unlike more modern stadiums with their cookie-cutter concessions around every bend – except to offer a plethora of food and beverage items in an Escher-esque cacophony of railings, stairways, ramps, and escalators. We filled our boots and made it to our seats ten rows up from the field. This was the 25th anniversary of my first ever Phish concert (July 5th, 1994 in Ottawa) and here I was 114 Phish shows later still not knowing the names of the damn songs. Okay, in my (very weak and meagre) defence there were little-to-none of my favourites played in the evening’s pair of sets (except maybe [i]Character Zero[/i], but I mostly like that one because it makes m’lady cringe*) but just like that first show a quarter-century before I didn’t need to know the songs to have a great time. A funny memory of this concert: just below our seats was a field-level bar that was very, very busy all night. It was set up to serve the floor – our section was along the back of the makeshift bar – but even still I noticed several people ordering drinks from our side and getting served with no lineup at all. It was unspeakably more convenient than going up to the concession area behind us for a drink and I almost went down there, until I noticed that every back-door order came with what looked like a very, very hefty tip. Okay, let’s call it a bribe, for that’s what it was. It went on all night and those bartenders made a killing. At the end of the show m’lady accidentally left her USA-only cell phone** under her seat and by the time we found Dee and Joe and discovered it missing we were already well on our way back to their place, so it remains lost to this day. But that didn’t stop us from getting together with friends! Get this: We ran into a our good friends Steve and Rosie from back home in Ottawa right in front of Joe and Dee’s building! They had been walking from the show back to their hotel (which turned out being just a block from D&J’s apartment), they recognized m’lady and I from across the street and joined us for hugs and a nightcap. I love serendipity. And that’s one of the main reasons I don’t like cellphones. They are serendipity killers. “Huh?” you might be thinking (as you quickly check your messages). “What are you talking about?” Don’t even get me started. *It sounds like I’m liking the song just to spite her, but nothing could be further from the case. Though I initially didn’t care much for [i]Character Zero[/i] either I once found myself air-guitaring along to it at a concert and I instantly came to appreciate the song’s blatant rock & roll nature. So, in an effort to spread my hard-won enjoyment of the song to the woman I love I have played up my enthusiasm for it (and my air-guitaring) to the point that I have convinced myself to count it as one of my favourites. Hobby-Phishing can get complicated. **Being anti-phoney I cringe at the mere thought of m’lady owning a cell phone, even if it is just for when she travels south of the border. But then, I have an archaic cellphone of my own that I use when I’m in Africa, so I bite my tongue. Hard. https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 1999-07-20

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout On July 20th, 1999 Phish played Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre for the very first time. Phish playing in Canada is a rare event (and it gets more and more rare all the time) so of course I made the trek. I drove down with my friend and university guitar instructor who was seeing Phish for the first time. We gave the lot a quick peek and headed in for the show. We were in the pavilion and though I kept running into people I knew we stuck to our actual, assigned seats for the whole show, another Phish rarity. The show looks fairly standard in pixels but I remember it being a bit of a rager. [i]Chalkdust Torture[/i] is a pretty standard opening song and I love it. Is there a greater two-chord guitar riff out there? EE-AA (little G pulloff riff then back to) EE-AA; it’s perfect. Trey must have asked himself where that one came from and why nobody else had thought of it, to which I would suggest that there’s no reason to question divine inspiration and/or intervention. Yes, I think the [i]Chalkdust[/i] riff is a gift from the god of rock, and only the most pagan of heathens would disagree. [i]Sample[/i] was next, which I always love because it gives me a chance to wheel around and see who is standing behind me. A few more songs in they hit us with [i]Divided Sky[/i], which probably is more impressive when you figure out that it’s not improvised – they play it that way every time (except at Coventry of course). [i]Waste[/i] was up next, which made for a good bathroom break, though unfortunately I didn’t realize at the time how good of a tune [i]Ghost[/i] can be so I probably went to the bathroom again when it followed [i]Waste[/i]. You can never be too sure. Following along the lines of[i] Chalkdust[/i], the opening notes of [i]Wilson[/i] (open E string, open E string, times two) are another stroke of brilliant simplicity. If you graphed out simple riffs versus audience reactions you would probably find that the [i]Wilson[/i] riff rises to the top of said graph. It is hands down the simplest riff that generates the biggest crowd reaction in the world of rock and roll. And then: [i]YEM[/i]. The intro might as well have been written by Bach. The second set opened with [i]Twist[/i], a very basic power chord progression that runs throughout the song punctuated by audience “woo”’s (long before Tahoe Tweezer reared its ugly head), then [i]Moma Dance[/i], [i]What’s The Use?[/i], and [i]Train Song[/i]. Back in the day I caught an unusual amount of[i] 2001[/i]’s, so it became the one song I never wanted to hear. Luckily the law of averages eventually took over and the song got spaced out enough that I came to love it, especially as a canvas for CK5’s stellar work. But at this show I think I just rolled my eyes and waited it out. Ah well. When the band launched into [i]Misty Mountain Hop[/i] the crowd went nuts, including myself and my guitar teacher. Led Zeppelin is never, ever a disappointment. Ever. [i]Guyute[/i] encore and a little barbershop closed the show, in the form of [i]Hello My Baby[/i] (which always makes me think of Michigan J. Frog). What a great time it was. My friend agreed, though I don’t think he’s seen the band since. Ah well, some people only need to see things once. That’s something I don’t really get but no matter, to each their own. https://www.toddanout.com
, attached to 2013-07-26

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout When m’lady and I were planning our entire-west-coast Phish+ tour she pulled a Phish-ninja move and suggested that we order tickets for every show except the two night stint at The Gorge. She had been to The Gorge many times – in fact it was m’lady’s favourite outdoor venue (“Have you been to Red Rocks?!?” I asked her…she just nodded solemnly) – and she said there were always a million extra tickets floating around. If we didn’t score tickets for free in the lot surely we’d get them for ten bucks a night; twenty tops. Shortly after we pitched our tent on July 26th, 2013 we realized that things had suddenly changed. Everywhere you looked was a sea of other Phish-ninjas with their fingers in the air. After countless stops at The Gorge the Phish fans all collectively decided to not buy tickets and the entire camping area was scrambling. We quickly finished up our self-imposed welcome-drinks and headed straight to the box office, where we knew plenty of tickets were waiting. We found ourselves a few steps behind about five hundred other ninjas who had come to the same conclusion and found a heck of a lot of people waiting for all those waiting tickets. And astoundingly enough, there were only two ticket windows open to fill this massive insatiable need for service, alongside an insulting row of closed and shuttered ticket booths. As we waited (and waited) in the line it became increasingly clear that some or all of us us were going to miss at least the first major chunk of the concert. It also became increasingly clear that some people were sidling up to the front of the crowd ostensibly to check out the situation and were then squeezing themselves into the edge of the haphazard line close to the front. I saw this happen several times and soon had enough. Then I did something I’ve never done before; I called out one of the butter-inners. “Hey, hey you!” I yelled. “You,” I said, pointing, “In the white t-shirt.” Dude glances at me and immediately looks away. “Yeah, you man! You can hear me. You weren’t there before!” Still he looks away. “C’mon man, you weren’t there before, you know and I know it. You…in the white t-shirt!” I kept at him and finally, again he looks at me. “We all learned it in kindergarten man,” I said, exasperated. He shrugged and walked away, his head down. One tiny victory. The nervous energy had me vibrating inside. I was happy to see that from then on whenever someone tried the old sneak-in the collective line would loudly boo them into submission. That limited the butter-inners to only the most brazen and shameless. At long last m’lady arrived at the window and scored a pair for both nights. She also bought an extra pair, specifically to sell to some random person at the back of the line. As we snaked the long line to do so m’lady found a friend in need and sold her the pair (at face value of course) and we raced to the gates, leaving hundreds of people still waiting in that impossible line. So many ninjas. The show was about to start and there was no way most of them would get tickets in time. It was my first time at The Gorge. Approaching the venue all you can see is blue, blue sky, and then you reach the rim. Stepping over the edge the whole scene hits you at once: big, big sky falls into dusky mountains, between which the mighty Columbia River has carved a gulch that spans endlessly along the horizon in both directions. Below sits the stage, facing a series of highly sought-after rocky terraces filled with early birds clutching their precious cardboard poster tubes. There were food and drink kiosks everywhere. The choices were plentiful and the wait nonexistent. We got a few drinks and a burger and had walked well away from the concession area before it occurred to us that we had been heavily undercharged. We found our way to the middle of the lawn, hooked up with some friends and got ready for the music. The band started while the blazing sun was still up and doing its work. It was only a few songs in when the grand life-affirming ball of heat finally hit the mountain across the gorge and sunk out of sight. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the crowd applaud the sunset, just like back in the old days when people applauded when movies would end or planes would land. The collective joy in ridding the sky of such a monstrosity of swelter was very understandable. It was finally cool enough to consider some serious drinking! The show was great, and what a joy to stand there completely unconcerned about the rain. Was it possible that the tourpocalypse of extreme weather had come to an end? After the concert we got back to the campground in short order and did a bit of hanging about before hitting the air mattress fairly early on. My earplugs got a workout contending with the blasting stereos competing with the live bands outside my nylon walls, and sleep eventually came. Overheard after the show: “Gotta love Phish! It’s 75% the music and 75% going to the show!” https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 2013-07-30

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout After spending a day off at Crater Lake I pitched my tent in a state-run campground that charged on the honour system. I’ve always thought that if the honour system was called something else like, oh I don’t know, the “sucker system” or maybe the “who-cares system” it wouldn’t be nearly as effective. But it isn’t so it was; I did the honourable thing and dropped $18 in the box (which was ironically locked up tight with a huge padlock – clearly the honour system is a one-way street ‘round these parts). And so it was that I woke up on July 30th, 2013, opened my tent to a wide blue sky and pointed my car towards Lake Tahoe. Pulled into town and wound around the lake past cottages big and small to the Embassy Hotel, kitty-corner across the street from the venue where Phish was playing a two-night run. This was my first time staying at an Embassy Hotel, and it certainly wasn’t my last. Not only is full free breakfast and impeccable customer service standard procedure, the chain offers free happy-hour cocktails to guests every afternoon. And we’re not talking a few beers in the cooler here, this is full bar service, all 100% gratis. Skipping dinner, I raced down to the bar to take full advantage. Lake Tahoe borders California and Nevada, and as we were (barely) on the Nevada side open liquor was permitted in the streets. Also, based on Phish’s last time playing here, everyone was saying you were literally allowed to walk into the venue with open drinks in hand. When I walked up to the barman for my last round of happy hour I told him in no uncertain terms how much I appreciated the free drinks and how if not for this courtesy I might well have stayed elsewhere. He smiled as he handed me four more drinks for the road, “We’re very happy to have you staying here, sir!” Across the road I go, slurring another drink into my undernourished shell. Steps from the venue word quickly comes down the line that drinks are NOT allowed into the venue this year, so drink up. At this point I was a little too tipsy to argue so I quickly pounded the three remaining double Jack and Cokes and stumbled into the venue. I remember the space quite well, a luxury I was afforded because the mass influx of Jack Daniels would take a few minutes to kick in. It was a small outdoor venue holding maybe 6,000-7,000 people. Basically a parking lot surrounded by pop-up bleachers that rose up maybe eight rows, it looked like I was seeing Phish behind my high school. Now as the Tennessee whiskey seeps into my blood let’s take stock here (something I probably should have done at the time). I had risen thousands of feet in elevation over the course of the day, eaten just a pittance if anything at all, started into free, strong drink early on, and was bombarded with a four-drink-double slam-a-thon just before the show. Things were unsteady. I needed food. During the first set I went to the concession area and ordered a hamburger. As an afterthought I added fries, and there was my downfall. The lady hands me a normal burger, and then presents me with a paper plate on which balanced a monstrosity of fried potato that was the size and shape of my head. I think it was all one or two potatoes fried together in a long snakey bundle and it was completely unwieldy. With one hand cradling a cranium of spuds the other hand tried to unsheathe the burger from it’s foil wrapping, and all the while my legs struggled to keep the rest of me upright. I tried biting into a french fry that proved endless and forced me to chomp away like I was a dog eating spaghetti in Lady & The Tramp. I struggled back to my posse and tried to pawn off the potato and was met with looks of shock and horror with no takers. I ended up dropping the potatohead into a trash bin and devouring the hamburger with both free hands. I’m sure it was a pretty sight indeed. Then I guess Phish played songs. Oh, there was a shooter bar in there too. The afterparty was a prodigious undertaking that went down at a sweet house rental about a kilometre from the Embassy. I spent most of my time mutely hungover in the corner and slowly limboed my way home at 6am through an invisible, unoccurring windstorm. https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 2013-08-04

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout August 4th, 2013 wasn’t much of a day. Not for m’lady and I, at least not in terms of minutes. Spending several of the previous night’s wee hours at a very happening party kept us in bed for much of the day and we didn’t emerge from our hotel room until about 6pm, squinting in the soft light of the hotel lobby like we had just emerged from his and hers comas, and moving half as fast. We were too hung over to feel hunger but years of survival experience told us that we had to eat, so we crossed the street to a pizza joint and pep-talked each other through a couple of slices. Arriving at the Bill Graham Auditorium we tried to get it together before going into the venue. My pockets overflowing with posies, I got strangely hassled in the security line and had to line up again, only to be ushered in with a hurried wave from the same security/policeman. That near-fiasco made us late for the show but neither of us cared much about that. This was night three of Phish’s run in San Francisco and this was what…our sixth consecutive night of live music? After all that (and the previous night’s extra-curricular’s) we were physically spent. Physically, we spent the first set bouncing between the outer fringe of the vast floor section and – to be perfectly honest – the plush red couches in the venue’s bar. Sometime during the second set we found some friends in the balcony and finished off what turned into an absolutely raging show curled up like sleepy kittens in our newfound seats high above Page side. After the show there was no question what was in store. We found the fastest possible way to get back to our posh room at the Hyatt (I think we took the space shuttle) and fell into our king-sized marshmallow bed like we were filming a television commercial, where we slept like dead angels. https://www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 1998-08-08

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout August 8th, 1998 was the first night of a little Phish run I did with my good friend Jason. We had driven down from Ottawa in his 1993 Volkswagen Jetta, the back seat loaded to the roof with guitars, coolers, and camping gear. I remember the make and year of his car because at the time I had the exact same car in the exact same colour (black). Back then Jason and I lived across the street from each other and one morning I got in his car by mistake and almost drove it to work. That’s when we discovered that my key worked for his car and vice-versa, which came in very handy on this trip when Jason’s keys got locked in the car (twice). Anyway, this show was in Baltimore (basically). It was my first (and to date only) time seeing a show at the rather impressive Merriweather Post Pavilion and I remember it well. The show had a lot of great jamming and a bunch of fun covers, like [i]Sweet Jane[/i] and [i]Sexual Healing[/i]. But the moment of the show for me, the very first thing I think of when I hear the word “Merriweather” (which admittedly isn’t too often) was the first nanosecond of the encore. After closing the second set with Harry Hood (a personal fave) Phish came out for the encore all innocent and acting like they weren’t about to cover the best Beastie Boys song ever for the first time. Waving meekly at the crowd Trey strapped on his guitar and kicked into [i]Sabotage[/i] and I swear to all that is holy, I was two feet off the ground before the second note was played. And here’s the funny thing: I had never heard the song before. All I knew was that I was hearing the greatest intro of all time and my body reacted with the speed and energy of a grasshopper on high alert. Then the scream came and I melted. By this time the rest of the crowd had caught up with me and the band and we were all going completely ballistic. The place was raging above and beyond the energy of even the most oomphy Phish encore…heck, comparing it to any Phish encore I had seen before (or since, frankly) feels silly; this was a flat-out balls-to-the-wall musical force akin to Coltrane’s (or The Dead’s) wall of sound and it was astounding. Best. Encore. Ever. After the show Jason and I followed our map a long way down a country side road only to find that the State Park we were hoping to camp in had closed down. It was late and we were so far off the beaten path we decided to bunk down right there in the driveway of the shuttered park. I suppose it was about 6am when the police knocked on the window. Without hardly a hello they got us up and out of the car and had Jason and I stand in the field across the road about a hundred feet from each other. Can you believe they didn’t even bring us coffees? Oh they searched and searched. Then they waited and waited while the K9 unit showed up, which took a while what with us being so far off down a country road. They finally showed up and the dog went through the car sniffing the prodigious amount of aromatic gear we had piled up in the back. He (or she – it was hard to tell) went around the whole car and checked everywhere except inside the trunk, which saved us a significant amount of time. I thought that was odd; I mean the guys (and their dog) were thorough. Eventually, almost reluctantly. the officers called us back over to our car. Turns out the only thing the dog found was a bag of President’s Choice Decadent chocolate chip cookies, which he (she?) devoured. Apologizing about the cookies, the officers told us we were free to leave (they didn’t mention anything about us being free to go back to sleep) so we hopped into the car and attempted to speed off, only to instantly hear metallic banging and crashing behind the car. I thought the trunk had fallen off or something, but in fact the cops had left our tin camping plates on the roof and they had fallen to the pavement as we pulled away. Jason jumped out to grab them (I was driving) and in doing so caught the top of his foot on a metal bracket under the dash that had formerly held a stereo EQ, cutting his foot quite badly. Like a trouper he grabbed the plates and with a wave to the cops he hopped back in the car, put a napkin on his gushing wound and suggested I get us out of there. I did, we stopped at a 7-11 for coffees and Band-Aids and did the best we could do to stem the flow of Jason’s blood in the land of not-free health care. He certainly needed stitches, and he most certainly didn’t get them. The Band-Aids worked about as well as the thin, tepid coffee did, but at least we got an early start on the day. www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 1998-08-09

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout On August 9th, 1998 I had a very rude awakening. After the previous night’s show my friend and I drove pretty late into the night towards a state park that we had found on the road atlas. It was well off the highway up a dark, lonely road and when we got there we found the place locked up tight. Hotel money was pretty much out of the question so with few options in front of us we pulled the car in front of the park gate and hunkered down for the night. I think it was still dark when the cops arrived. They knocked on the window and asked us a bunch of questions, then they told us both to stand in the dew-soaked field across the dirt road a hundred feet away from each other. We watched the cops search the vehicle and tried to look nonchalant, stealing occasional mute glances at one another. The back seat of the car was packed to the roof and it took them some time to go through things. Unsatisfied, they brought in a dog who went around and through the car and found nothing aside from our cherished bag of PC Decadent cookies, which the beast devoured without mercy. Curiously, thoughout the whole ordeal they never opened the trunk. Phew! The cops brought us back to the car, apologized about the cookies and told us we were free to go. They didn’t have to tell us twice. As we pulled away from the cops there was a loud, clanging crash. My heart stopped as I slammed on the brakes. We quickly realized that the cops had left our metal camping plates on the roof of the car and the sound we heard was the dishes falling onto the trunk. My buddy immediately jumped out of the passenger seat to pick them up as the cops gave us an apologetic shrug. Such was our rush to get away from the whole scene that when he leapt out of the car my friend cut the top of his foot quite badly on a metal bracket that once held a stereo EQ under the dash. At this point we weren’t stopping for nothin’, so he bled while I drove. We found a variety store and I ran in for napkins and coffees and the like and we sat in the parking lot in the stark morning light, my friend applying pressure to his gaping wound while I sipped coffees and searched the car for Band-Aids. We eventually drove to the Phish show at Virginia Beach and found the concert medical tent, where I learned how to apply a butterfly bandage. Though my friend could have certainly used four or five stitches this would do the trick, so back out to the lot we went. Which was a nightmare. The venue was very, very interested in shutting down any vending and all fun in the lot and they were using a legion of local officers to crack the whip. Mounted police patrolled the scene constantly. What a day I was having…dog cops, horse cops, cop cops. I literally had to cook my own grilled cheese sandwiches on the sly, for fear the police would confiscate my Coleman stove out of concern that I might be selling sandwiches. Inside the show we found ourselves on the lawn. Rumours were circulating that this was to be the band’s 2,000th show (or was it 1,000th?), which, mixed with the universal knowledge that this was the third anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death created much pre-show and setbreak speculation. The band started with [i]Punch You In The Eye[/i], and punch me they did, serving up [i]Bathtub Gin[/i], [i]Lizards[/i], [i]David Bowie[/i], [i]Sparkle[/i], and a pretty [i]Over The Rainbow[/i] by Trey to lead off [i]You Enjoy Myself[/i]. What a nice pile of songs for a guy like me. By the end of the second set my friend was finished. An evening standing on the grass while his body frantically tried to manufacture more blood had done him in. He headed for the car. Which was a real shame, for it was time for all the hubbub to come to fruition. As Phish began their encore with the first notes of [i]Terrapin Station[/i] a wash of joy blanketed the crowd. The band did a great job weaving their way through one of the Grateful Dead’s finest suites. I can hear the whole crowd now, crying as one: “Inspiration…” After the show my friend assured me that he’d heard everything just fine from the parking lot. With no post-show lot scene to enjoy we started ‘er up and became part of the outro traffic jam. I have no recollection of where we slept that night; I suspect we set up the tent in a private campground somewhere. We certainly didn’t stay in a hotel, I’m sure of that. www.toddmanout.com
, attached to 1991-04-03

Review by thelot

thelot Really poor sounding audience recording for this show. The pitch sounds a hair slow for Set 2 as well. Something is better than nothing… Pretty straightforward first set for this tour. Highlights include Llama, Tweezer and Weekapaug. The second half kicks off with a well played Chalk Dust. A-Train makes an early appearance in set 2. Another solid Stash. A good but straightforward version of Bowie closes out the second half. All in all an average show with sub par sound quality.
, attached to 1998-08-15

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout On August 15th, 1998 I woke up on the tarmac of the Loring Air Force base in Limestone, Maine ready for day one of my second Phish festival (their third): Lemonwheel. My friend Jason and I had arrived onsite the day before, having driven in from Vernon Downs, New York, the previous stop on our ten-day run of concerts south of the border. On the way in (or as Jason remembers it: on the way out) we were cruising along the interstate behind a hippie-van that was clearly bound for (or coming from) Lemonwheel as well. When all of a sudden a moose bolted out of the forest at a full gallop, running straight across the highway directly in front of the microbus! It happened in such a flash that I think the van’s brake lights didn’t even light up. Luckily, the moose was a millisecond ahead of the van, which missed the massive beast by mere inches. I had never seen anything like it. The van immediately pulled over and so did we. The driver of the van was freaking out, hyperventilating and amazed that he and his friends were still alive. Close one, that was. Anywho, with that either safely behind us or ignorantly ahead of us*, we pulled onsite at the festival just as the exhaust system fell off of Jason’s ailing Volkswagen Jetta. Well, not entirely. While it was the entire exhaust system, it didn’t entirely detach. So if the loud, rumbling mufflerless engine wasn’t loud enough we also had dangling, clanging metal bits scraping sparks against the pavement. We pulled into the first available spot we saw. We pitched our tents right there on the asphalt, shook hands with our festival-neighbours and plunked ourselves down on the tarmac. We pulled out our cooler full of leftover duty-free Molson XXX and a cardboard-box of synthy-burgers that had been marinating in vintage icewater, cracked our first beers of the weekend and threw a bunch of burgers on the Coleman stove (our theme for the tour – and our argument for eating things we definitely shouldn’t have been eating – had been “fire kills everything”). The weekend had begun. The band played a soundcheck on the Friday evening but to me it was only rumour. I’m confident I was drowning it out with my Coleman-side acoustic Bon Jovi jams, which went over better than you might expect. Regardless, the concert field remained closed to mortals on Friday night. The Saturday (and the day in question here) was a whole different situation, let me tell you! More beers and pre-poisonous burgers held the day until The Phish From Vermont began their mainstage musical glee that compromised of three full-on sets of jammy rock and roll before closing out with a candle-lit space-spa hour-long musical interlude-to-nowhere ambient set that I enjoyed immensely from my comfortable spot lying on the grass. (Though logic tells me we probably watched the concerts from paved runways my memory tells me that we were in fact on a vast lawn. In this very moment memory is wrestling logic to the ground forcing it to say “uncle” and agree that Phish would not logically have made the crowd stand on concrete for the concerts. Looks like we can score this one: brain 1, brain 0. “In your face, brain!” sez brain.) As I was still (barely) in my twenties at the time I’m confident that I spent the post-show hours drinking, guitar-roaming, and making new friends until sunlight forced me down for a short count. And while this is pure conjecture, it is based on a historical pattern that makes it almost certifiably true. Festivals are fun! *Jason has since convinced me that the moose incident was indeed on the way back to Canada after the weekend, but I’m not going to change things now. Nor will I add that he got strip-searched when we reached the border, another fact he reminded me of. No surprise that he remembers that bit more than I do. toddmanout.com
, attached to 2015-08-21

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout Magnaball was the second Phish festival held at Watkins Glen Speedway, a massive turn-both-ways NASCAR track that should be much more famous than it is for hosting the largest concert ever*, a legendary show that featured the Allman Brothers, The Band, and The Grateful Dead back in 1973. I guess Woodstock had better PR people. My crew and I had such a good time at the last Phish fiesta in the ‘Glen that we decided to drive down to New York a whole day early this time around so we could get ourselves set up in the campground and get nice and comfortable before the festival even began. We also kind of figured that this strategy might afford us the primest of camping spots. We were woefully wrong about that. But when we woke up onsite in the morning of August 21st, 2015 we were all still blissfully ignorant to the situation we had parked ourselves in. It wasn’t until we decided to saunter down to the stage to see what sort of installations the band had installated that we discovered the Marco Polo-like distance we had to cover to get there. When we finally got to the site I plunked myself down in the merch line to buy a poster and some records and by the time I got through the line it was time to head back to the site to drop off my purchases and get ready for the show. So back we went, and then forth again; gosh it was far. By the time Phish went on I felt like I was near the end of my own second set. Luckily the band and the crowd exuded more than enough energy to keep me on point for the night. If there was a lull left over from setbreak it was immediately brushed away by set two’s [i]Chalkdust Torture[/i] opener, and people still talk about the[i] Ghost[/i] that they played after that. Then [i]Rock & Roll [/i]by the Velvet Underground and one of my eyes-closed, hands-in-the-air favourites, [i]Harry Hood[/i]. Okay, I might have nodded off for a moment during [i]Waste[/i] but I’ve been known to do that even on my peppiest nights. Then [i]No Man’s Land[/i] and another raised-arms anthem of bliss to close the set, [i]Slave To The Traffic Light[/i]. At that point we were just a [i]Farmhouse[/i] and a [i]First Tube[/i] away from embarking on our epic trek back to the faraway, where my cooler and my guitar awaited my consistent attention. I don’t know when I went to sleep or when I woke up but I knew it didn’t matter. All I had to do the next day was the same thing again, and as taxing as it might be I was up for the challenge. *With 600,000 people in attendance, many claim that the 1973 concert was the largest gathering of people in the history of America. On that single day one out of every 350 people in the United States were at Watkins Glen. Taking demographics into account it has been estimated that one out of three people aged 17-24 living between Boston and New York attended the event. I recently read that there is a concert film doc about the show slated for imminent release. Can’t wait to see it. toddmanout.com
, attached to 2015-08-22

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout August 22nd, 2015. It was the middle day of Magnaball, Phish’s tenth weekend-long music festival and their second of nearly* three held at the enormous NASCAR track in Watkins Glen, NY. M’lady and I were camped with our friend Jeff on the farthest fringe of the massive site, literally miles from the stage. Jeff was a cooking professional and he had brought along hundreds of home-made chocolate chip cookies which had been laced with hot chilli peppers**. They were curiously delicious and we placated ourselves with them again and again over the three+ nights as we woefully contemplated our prodigious walk(s) to and from the main festival pitch. (“From” was the rub, of course. Walking for a couple of miles to the fest wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It was daylight out and sober in; there might have even been a bit of bounce in our step as we eagerly approached the weekend’s main attraction. But from was a whole different story. Walking from the stage back to our campsite would inevitably happen very late at night; in the dark, in the drunk, and with more of a traipse in our plodding march than a “bounce”.) This was the Saturday and it was a big day indeed. Phish played an afternoon set in addition to the standard two-set evening and all of it was capped with the band’s well-known regular irregular standard non-standard secret festival set, which in this case came in the form of a drive-in movie theatre. But I’ve gotten way, way ahead of myself here. So we woke up and made coffees and I jammed with people while m’lady made everyone quesadillas and we all ate handfuls of chocolate chip chilli cookies and with mouths full and crumbs spilling we whined and complained about getting snookered into the farthest camping spot despite having arrived at the earliest allowable opening hour of the Magnaball campground, a full day (and then some) before the concerts even began. Then we set off on our trek with a subtle-yet-still-discernible bounce in our steps. (As we plodded along on our hour-long trek to the stage we couldn’t help but to notice that every single car we passed had a better spot than we did, from our next-door neighbour all the way to the lucky souls who had been directed to park right next to the stage. They have a better spot than us, they have a better spot than us, they have a better spot than us…the whole way. In both directions.) We left early enough to ensure we’d have time to explore the site once we got there, which was a fun treat. There was a central building of weirdness, actors dressed up in lab coats walking around and writing things on clipboards, the ubiquitous Phish fest ferris wheel, and of course a giant drive-in movie screen casting a long foreshadow over the far end of the concert pitch. Phish festivals are always at least a bit Dada-esque, and always tons of fun. I recall the afternoon set with great clarity, made even moreso by the fact that I held my GoPro over my head and filmed several snippets of the crowd’s extended cheer during the pregnant pause in [i]Divided Sky[/i], the opening song of the day. It was sunny and beautiful, the crowd was pumped, and there was nothing left to do for the rest of the day besides Phishing. I specifically recall the band playing [i]When the Circus Comes[/i] during the afternoon set and I further specifically recall wondering why in the hell they cover that song. Aside from the title – which is just so tour – I can’t recall ever standing in the crowd during the Los Lobos cover thinking, “Wow, this is deadlywickedawesome.” And you know what? You never have either. Admit it; we both know it’s true. Trey must just really like the tune. Anyway, in all it was a lovely afternoon and after the set-closing [i]Run Like an Antelope[/i] (which I once again couldn’t place until the “…high gear of your soul…” part) we stuck to the concert pitch and caught up with every friend we could find, especially the ones with beer coolers. And after several hours of lulling in fun the evening sets were upon us. The bulk of the first…err…second set was a fantastic [i]Halley’s Comet[/i]>[i]46 Days[/i]>[i]Backwards Down the Number Line[/i]>[i]Tweezer [/i]that ushered the daylight into a delicious darkness that CK5 was free to decorate with his Impressionistic masterpieces of light. I recall the [i]Tweezer[/i] being pierced with cascades of glowsticks before the band jammed masterfully into what people are still calling the best [i]Prince Caspian [/i]ever. The set break begat set two (three) which begat an encore that wrapped up the evening (nudge, nudge) nice and tidy with a predictable and raging [i]Tweezer Reprise[/i] before begatting even further with the aforementioned secret not-secret drive-in theatre jam, which was – if I might self-borrow a term here – deadlywickedawesome. To wit: An hour or so after the [i]Tweeprise [/i]encore the large, looming drive-in movie screen that skirted the edge of the concert field began to light up and make noise. Like, Phishy-type noise. Was there a smoke machine? Probably. Swaths of people soon congregated, laying down on the wide lawn gaping and ambient-grooving as silhouettes of our jamming heroes flickered on the screen interspersed with shots of understated weirdness and odd, obscure live closeups of the hidden musicians. As per usual the secret jam was just that: a jam. There were no Phish songs that I recall, no teases or snippets. Just the sort of thoughtful, stream-of-consciousness improvising you would expect when well-rehearsed musicians that are very, very warmed up bounce soundscapes off of one another. It was a calmly glorious way to cap an extensive, wonderful day of fantastic music and overt fun with great friends. The laborious drudge back to our site at ?am was a weary slog to be sure, but oh the joy! when our tents finally rose out of the horizon. We fell into a heap and gorged ourselves stupid on spicy cookies before staggering to our beds with well-earned exhaustion. Phish festivals are fun. *Sadly Phish’s third festival scheduled to take place at Watkins Glen had been cancelled at the nth hour. It was rather ironically called “Curveball”, especially for those (like me) who were already onsite with his tent pitched under sunny skies when the cancellation announcement came. And we were super-close that time too; camped in the very shadow of the stage, having shelled out for VIP camping passes. Rats bananas! (pardon my language) **This is not a euphemism; for realz Jeff made hundreds of super-spicy chocolate chip cookies to hand out to one and all over the course of the weekend. toddmanout.com
, attached to 2015-08-23

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout August 23rd, 2015 was the final day of Magnaball. Phish festivals are always a great time and this one was no exception, but I’ll tell ya, by day three my gams were beat. My reward for showing up at Watkins Glen nice and early on Thursday night was a camping spot as far away from the concert field as you could get. To get to and from the main site was a hike of mythic proportions, made all the worse by the constant stream of campsites I would walk by, each and every one that much closer to the action than mine. The end result was that I spent a lot of time around my site, and when I went to the mainstage area I tended to stay there, while others with more advantageous spots were free to meander from their tent to the centre of the madness and back on a whim. By this time I had scoped out the best musicians in my camping area and I spent the afternoon revisiting them all and taking part in some fine, fine tent-side jams. Loaded down with beers I made the hike to the stage and settled in for the final evening of music, a pair of sets that were right up my alley. Big personal faves like [i]Stash[/i], [i]Maze[/i], [i]Theme From The Bottom[/i] and [i]Character Zero[/i] were capped with a fireworks-fuelled [i]You Enjoy Myself[/i], which I did. Lots. Hugs and handshakes and a slow, steady tent-bound stagger marked the end of the show, but I’m sure there was more campsite jamming out in the outer reaches at the end of the night. The next morning brought an easy, friendly pack-up and a steady drive home. Gotta love a Phish festival. toddmanout.com
, attached to 2017-09-01

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout In 2011 Phish started an annual tradition of playing a three-night stint over Labor Day weekend in Denver, Colorado at a big outdoor stadium sponsored by and named after Dick’s Sporting Goods, and up until 2017 I steadfastly avoided attending. Not that I had anything against the place other than its obvious spatial disadvantage, sitting as it does nearly 3,000 kilometres from my home. I guess an added deterrent was that it was always the summer tour capper, and generally by the end of summer tour I felt like I already had enough Phish concerts under my belt for the season and could do without the expense of travelling to Denver for more. However, weighing against all of this was m’lady’s consistent habit of going to the Denver shows without me, and her equally consistent habit of returning to tell me how awesome Dick’s was. “Please refer to it as ‘Denver’,” was my usual retort. And so it was that I found myself sitting on the tarmac in Ottawa bright and early on September 1st, 2017 waiting for takeoff. Unfortunately, when we decided to take the plunge together m’lady could not have predicted that she would fall ill the day before our departure, a victim of bronchitis and other related unsavoury maladies. As we were taxi-ing down the runway preparing for takeoff she closed her eyes and slumped her head back. “I shouldn’t have come,” she mumbled weakly. Ho-boy. But you know, if she’s anything m’lady is a trouper, especially in situations like this. She sucked it up pretty good and tried in vain to get some rest while I watched movies. We made it to Denver where we were met by our Ottawa friend Rob (lots of Ottawa folks make it to Dick’s…err…Denver for these shows) and his rental car carried us from the airport to a nice Mexican restaurant for tacos 9m’lady’s favourite, even when she’s sick) and then on to our room at The Embassy, where we would instantly meet up with literally dozens of other friends who had flown in for the concerts from all over North America. Phish shows are fun that way. If you’ve ever stayed at an Embassy Hotel in the US of A you probably know that they are known for good customer service. All the rooms are suites and the hotel offers a free, unlimited happy hour every day, which can be decimating, especially when one has recently found themselves at a significantly elevated elevation. Like in Denver, for example, the Mile High City. But that’s okay, we’re veterans, plus m’lady spent most of her pre-show time curled up in bed. Of course that didn’t stop her from socializing all the while with a parade of well-wishers who were virtually lined up outside our room waiting to say “hello”. Finally showtime began approaching and we made our way to the venue; I believe we took a cab. The stadium is 100% general admission, except that tickets are dedicated to either GA field or GA seating. Despite having tickets in the former we parked our weary selves in the latter* and waited for the concert to begin. When it did it was already about 11pm as far as our Ottawa-set internal clocks were concerned. And while the show was great – exceptional even – by the second set our legs started giving out on us. While everyone (everyone!) stands up for the entire duration of a Phish concert every time, as the show started to wind down so did we. Not only were we sitting down for much of the last half of the show, fatigue (on my part) combined with illness (on hers) had us both nodding off, even as the band tore through several of my favourites, including [i]Ghost[/i], [i]Harry Hood[/i], and the show-closing rager [i]Character Zero[/i]. On the up side, we saved lots of money on concert beers. Also on the up side, we still had two more concerts to go and a whole suite to ourselves in which to recover. In the end m’lady had to battle her bronchitis all weekend, a fight she undoubtedly won, and while I won’t say I completely caught up on my sleep (not by a long shot) we both made a much better showing at the final two shows. Gosh, there’s so much more in here that I am omitting for brevity (believe it or not I do try to keep these things reasonably short) or I’m just blatantly forgetting to include. Suffice to say that even sleepy-time Toddman came away from Night One realizing that yes, there was indeed something special about Dick’s. I mean “Denver”. *People are generally not clamouring for the bleachers, ergo GA seating won’t get you on the floor but GA field tickets will get you anywhere. toddmanout.com
, attached to 2010-06-20

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout Ah, SPAC. Apart from being a pretty upstate town with a vintage-style Main Street and a serious love affair with horse-racing, Saratoga Springs also is the purported home of a fountain of youth. People have been making pilgrimages to the isolated little town for well over a hundred years to soak in the healing groundwater that spouts from these parts. Personally, I go to SPAC pretty much exclusively to see Phish concerts* which I’m guessing does as much to keep me young as soaking in any tub would, though I’ll admit I don’t usually come out of the run feeling very spry. SPAC is where I woke up on June 20th, 2010, having already experienced an excellent night one of a two-night stint. M’lady and I spent the afternoon visiting several of our friends on the broad front porch of their old-school hotel along the main drag. SPAC invariably attracts a huge pile of our Phishy friends and it’s a great opportunity to spend a whole lot of quality time catching up with good people. When showtime arrives it’s into the woods we go. The venue is in a beautiful state park and as long as you’re not on the lawn it’s a fantastic place to see a show. We weren’t on the lawn (a rule we’ve broken but once, ne’er again) and we had a great time. It was Father’s Day and the show started with all the band member’s children onstage in a bathtub while the band played [i]Brother[/i]. That felt nice and homey. Never miss a Sunday show. The second set had a couple of songs I like but don’t hear very often, Mango Song (for it’s silly super fun-ness) and [i]Makisupa Policeman[/i] (for it’s reggae feel; I really like it when Phish tries to play reggae). And they closed the set with probably my favourite song to hear them play, [i]YEM[/i]. For the encore Page brought out his keytar for a romp through [i]Frankenstein[/i], a song that scores very low on the awesome scale for me but always gets big points for fun. And speaking of fun, there are few venues better than SPAC for the walk-out. Though it can be quite a trek to your hotel the bulk of the journey is through the woods with thousands of happy, like-minded souls along for the stroll. And when you do get back to your room there are always lots of fun people around to help celebrate your arrival. Ahhh, what could be better… *And eat potato chips. Saratoga Springs is the birthplace of my favourite snack and my goodness, do they know how to make potato chips. toddmanout.com
, attached to 2009-06-21

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout June 21st, 2009 was the second of two nights of Phish at Alpine Valley and was the last show of the first leg of their summer tour. It was also the end of a four-night run for me, having caught the band in Deer Creek and Star Lake leading up to this pair of shows at Alpine Valley. Luckily it generally takes more than four straight shows for me to tire of this band. They are such a fun little pocket of the rock and roll world, and they come surrounded by a really cool scene and generally pleasant fanbase. The hotel I was staying at wasn’t quite as enamoured with the scene, employing security guards to roam the parking lot perimeter checking for wristbands and ensuring no nonpaying customers set foot upon their property. Fortunately this sort of situation is getting rarer as more and more hotels start to see the serious cha-ching in welcoming touring music fans with open arms. At the show I found myself at the base of the steep lawn section, Page side. The stage really is in a valley with sizeable hills all around. It’s impossible to stand there and not think of that fateful night in 1990 when Stevie Ray Vaughan and four others died in a helicopter crash departing those hills. sigh Ah, but this was not a night for sad memorials, it was an evening geared towards outlandish fun and revelry with 37,000 of my fellow Phish-following compatriots. After two jumpy, dancy sets the band closed out the run with Edgar Winter’s [i]Frankenstein[/i] featuring Page McConnell front and centre on the keytar. Not to be outdone, Trey amped up the silliness by donning a five-necked Hamer guitar very reminiscent of (identical to?) Rick Neilson’s exaggerated axe. I wonder Trey’s guys called up Cheap Trick’s guys and arranged to borrow it? What am I saying?!? It had to have been Neilson’s guitar. There’s no way there are two quintuple-necked Hamer guitars in the world, right? Back at the hotel I spent the evening revelling and proudly showing my wristband to the increasingly wrinkle-browed security staff at every stumble. toddmanout.com
, attached to 1997-02-22

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround PHISH, SATURDAY 02/22/1997 TEATRO OLIMPICO Rome, Italy SET 1: Walfredo: Standard. Also Sprach Zarathustra: Cool placement. > Funky Bitch: Standard. Theme From the Bottom: Standard. > NICU: Standard. > When the Circus Comes: Standard. Talk[1] Standard Split Open and Melt: Standard. I Didn't Know: Standard. Character Zero: Standard. SET 2: Chalk Dust Torture: Interesting to close the first set with Zero, then open the second set with another rager. And this one definitely smokes. Type I all the way and red hot. Would recommend. Bathtub Gin: Standard. > Sparkle: Standard. > Simple: Cool transition into Jesus. > Jesus Just Left Chicago: Standard. Harry Hood: Below average. > Free: Free has never been played before Hood. Free has been played once after Hood and this was that one time. Hello My Baby: Standard. ENCORE: Johnny B. Goode: Standard. Summary: First set is pretty meh. Second set has some spice too it though. Just nothing that I would necessarily replay. Fun though. 3.5/5 Replay Value: Chalkdust Torture [1] Trey on acoustic guitar. 2001 contained Super Bad teases from Trey. Talk featured Trey on acoustic guitar. JAM CHART VERSIONS Chalk Dust Torture TEASES Super Bad tease in Also Sprach Zarathustra
, attached to 1995-06-16

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround PHISH, FRIDAY 06/16/1995 WALNUT CREEK AMPHITHEATER Raleigh, NC Soundcheck: Caravan, Three Little Birds, Free, Funky Bitch, Jam SET 1: Halley's Comet: Standard. > Down with Disease: Standard. > Esther: Treys ending solo is on point. > Ya Mar: Standard. Cry Baby Cry: Nice – not to be seen again until 11.21.98. It's Ice: Standard. > My Mind's Got a Mind of its Own: Standard. Dog Faced Boy: LOL, they try and start up SOAMelt twice and Fish screws it up, so they do this instead. Fish “Sorry, trying to get my foot started. -> Catapult: Standard. > Split Open and Melt: Chunky and muddy middle passage. Intense. Mad dash ending. Strong Melt, would recommend. SET 2: Runaway Jim: Incredible. Gets way, way out there. Intense. Dark. Creepy. Evil. Scary vocal jam. Easy all timer and highly recommended. The segue into Free is awesome. -> Free: Below average. Slow and uninspired. Carolina: Standard. You Enjoy Myself[1] Fun special guest. The Squirming Coil: Beautiful Page solo! ENCORE: Bold As Love: Awesome in this slot as always. Summary: Cool and unique first set. All timer Jim. 4/5. Replay Value: Split Open and Melt, Runaway Jim [1] Boyd Tinsley on fiddle. Halley's Comet was preceded by "Charge!" teases from Trey. Dog Faced Boy was preceded by several false starts of Split Open And Melt by Fish. YEM featured Boyd Tinsley on fiddle for a portion of the jam. The YEM vocal jam contained a Lovin' You (Minnie Riperton) quote from Fish. JAM CHART VERSIONS Esther, It's Ice, Split Open and Melt, Runaway Jim, You Enjoy Myself TEASES Charge! tease, Lovin' You quote in You Enjoy Myself
, attached to 1997-02-21

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround PHISH, FRIDAY 02/21/1997 TENAX Florence, Italy SET 1: My Soul: Standard. Foam: Standard. Down with Disease: This is freaking incredible in the early going. It’s like they are deconstructing what would typically be the hyper spazz jam that comes out of the composed section. Not sure how I have over looked this one over the years! Super cool. From here this goes into a funky, jazzy type of jam for a few minutes. Trey then wrestles control back and guides the band back into the original theme and closes out the song proper. Would recommend. > The Lizards: Standard. Crosseyed and Painless: Standard. You Enjoy Myself[1] The Firenze stuff is obviously awesome. But outside of that, this is a standard version for me. SET 2: Ya Mar: Standard. Run Like an Antelope[2] Blue balls as it’s not finished but the segue is super cool into Wilson -> Wilson[3] Notable for the heavy metal stuff, would recommend. Cool segue into Oh Kee -> The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony: Very sloppy. > AC/DC Bag: Standard. > Billy Breathes: Standard. Reba[4] Another unfinished banger gives even more blue balls. > Waste: Standard. > Prince Caspian: Standard. ENCORE: Character Zero: Standard. Summary: Interesting show, especially the first set. Not a ton to chew on though. 3.5/5 Replay Value: Down with Disease, Wilson [1] During the “Wash Uffize Drive Me to Firenze" section, Fish exclaimed "this is a dream come true!" [2] Unfinished; heavy metal jam rose from "Rye, Rye, Rocco" segment. [3] Heavy metal style. [4] No whistling. During the “Wash Uffize Drive Me to Firenze” section of YEM, Fish exclaimed “this is a dream come true!” Antelope was unfinished and a heavy metal jam rose from the “Rye, Rye, Rocco” segment. Wilson was subsequently performed heavy metal style. Reba did not have the whistling ending. JAM CHART VERSIONS Down with Disease, You Enjoy Myself, Wilson
, attached to 2009-06-18

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout With summer tour in full swing, on June 18th, 2009 m’lady and I started another little mini-run seeing Phish in the distant-but-drivable northeastern United States. Our first stop was in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. This was my first time seeing a show at the Star Lake Amphitheatre; we camped fairly close to the venue and I’m guessing we walked to the concert. It’s always fun going to a show where there is no need to worry about a designated driver or getting anywhere but to your tent at the end of the night. It’s liberating and generally makes the entire experience that much more fun. Surely that was the case here. The band was rockin’ and we had a great time. They opened with [i]Golgi Apparatus[/i] (the first Phish song I had ever heard, courtesy of my friend’s stereo back in 1994) and followed with a little facemelting chord-riff gem called [i]Chalkdust Torture[/i]. Then[i] Bouncin’[/i], [i]Wolfman’s[/i] and one of their compositional masterpieces of randomicity, [i]Divided Sky[/i]. So good, and that only brings us to barely halfway into the first set! The second set was equally fantastic, with a [i]Harry Hood[/i] (a song that I’m always game for) and a set-closing [i]You Enjoy Myself[/i] (ditto). The encore started with a couple of barbershop butcherings and continued on with a [i]Bike[/i]/[i]Hold Your Head Up[/i] sandwich before closing with their great cover of The Rolling Stones’ [i]Loving Cup[/i]. Ahhh. At this show I bought what is still possibly the ugliest poster I’ve ever had framed, an infantile crayoned nightmare that is printed on stock so thick it couldn’t be rolled without creasing. I was pretty new to poster collecting at the time and of course I rolled it. Now I’m stuck with it forever. At the end of the night we had a very, very liberating walk back to our tent-on-a-hill, as it proved to be pretty far away after all. In fact it was so far to the campground that when I think back on it now I’m surprised we’re not still walking. toddmanout.com
, attached to 2016-10-19

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout The first night of Phish’s 2016 stop in Nashville will forever be the Sirius to night two’s Canopus, the shining bright star of the binary-night run that darkens the second night in comparison. And all that because we were lucky enough to watch Bobby Weir sit in with the Phishies for pretty much the entire second set of that opening show. That said, night two (on October 19th) was pretty darn fantastic too. Once you put together the great joys of waking up in Music City USA, enjoying the wonderful Southern food and excellent warm weather on offer, and getting to see the band in a great, new venue right downtown, well, it was already shaping up to be a really fun evening even before the first note was played. And when the first note did get played, it was Mike starting off one of my favourite Phish songs, [i]Theme From The Bottom[/i], a bit of an odd show opener and one that got me locked in immediately. They followed up with [i]Camel Walk[/i] (a bit of a rarity for me) and then [i]My Soul[/i], which I always enjoy. Next up was Trey’s brand-new orchestra-friendly epic [i]Petrichor[/i]. It was the first time I heard the band’s compositional feat and it instantly became one of my favourites. I was shocked to discover that most fans seemed down on the song, though I got to admit the “When the rain…” lyrical bit comes off as a bit cheesy. Suffice to say the show was off to an excellent start and it just kept coming. There was a live debut near the end of the first set ([i]Running Out Of Time[/i]) and a super-fun second set taboot, with rollicking rockers [i]Tweezer[/i], [i]Harry Hood[/i], and [i]Suzy Greenberg[/i] making up half of the six-song set. Sure, when the encore started with [i]Walls of the Cave [/i]it didn’t seem like the most burnin’ way to end the evening, but I had forgotten about [i]Tweezer Reprise [/i](as usual), which is of course what they actually closed the show with. And as always, [i]Tweeprise[/i] was the very definition of “burnin’”. I walked out of the show feeling like I had won the lottery. These were the only concerts on Phish’s fall tour I had purchased tickets for and to my mind both shows had been super; it seems that I had chosen my shows wisely. Especially since it was just the shortest of walks to the Nashville strip, where the rest of the greatest music in the world was presented on a nightly basis. It’s curious to note that while this ticket indicates that I was in the General Admission Pit area – right up front – I have no recollection of ever being in the pit in Nashville. I asked m’lady and she’s agrees; she doesn’t remember having pit tickets either. In my mind we were near the back of the seats on stage right. Strange. That said, when I mentioned[i] Petrichor[/i] to her we both had visions of hearing that song from the pit. And so we are still left to wonder. toddmanout.com
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