Sunday, August 10, 2008

This Weekend in Phishtory: Aug 7-9, 1998

I was browsing the interwebs last night looking for some updates on how things were going at All Points West and the Radiohead set. I got a couple of texts from friends that were there, and no doubt Radiohead played an amazing show again.

For me, it is almost a little boring. There is another big festival this weekend, and some kinda ok bands played that are good but maybe they aren't quite in their prime...followed by the massiveness and precision of the Radiohead show. Radiohead plays a different setlist every night, but its still the same thing: their songs.

Well 10 years ago this weekend Phish was playing in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. You know what? People are still talking about it. Phish played their songs amazingly well. AND, in '98, the summer of the cover, they played some incredible songs that weren't theirs.

First I read the great writeup by Bready guesting over atLive Music Blog. Here is an excerpt:

"The band nailed a bread favorite, “Waste” – Trey’s Languedoc work on the melody hook was spot on. The band segued out of “Waste” into a gorgeous instrumental version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” The 82 minute set ended with the acappella “Hello My Baby.” What would the band do to top the two sets of awesomeness? Only bust out a tribute to Jerry Garcia on the third anniversary of his death. No one, I mean no one, really thought it would happen…we hoped…but could we really think they would do it? Trey played the first notes of “Lady With A Fan” almost cautiously…which quickly moved to confidence as he heard 20,000 fans losing their shit in excitement. Literally, the first two minutes of the song I could barely hear because the crowd was THAT loud. There were numerous people around me crying and cheering at the same time. All relished what was sure to be a one-time appearance. Not a note perfect performance but that was easily forgiveable….c’mon, it was Phish playing Jerry!!!"

Then, I headed over to The Weight, and read a different take on the same exact run of shows. Here is an excerpt:

"Phish has consistently been able to produce epic peaks of energy in their live performances, but never before and never after have I felt the wave of exhileration that was produced during and after Sabotage. Summer '98 was the season of odd covers, with Running With the Devil, Ramble On, and Been Caught Stealing making very rare appearaces in the previous days. But when this encore started and the crowd gradually realized what the band was trying to tackle, the next two minutes and 50 seconds was complete pandemonium at Merriweather. We all spent more time in the air then we did with our feet on the ground."

I was excited to read both of these accounts and it made me realize why I love Phish and why I want them to come back. I want a chance at moments like these again. Not the same moments, but new ones.

Comparing apples and oranges, Radiohead is amazing- but they give you a similar moment each time. Phish may fall on their face once in a while, but they gave you moments that you never knew were coming, and you will still talk about them with your friends 10 years later.

The Weight
Part I Part II

Live Music Blog - Download Mp3's of the weekend

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