Monday, June 03, 2013

New Phish Box Set: Ventura, CA - 1997 and 98

The new Phish Ventura box set features six CDs and some of the best Left Coast Phish from the summers of 1997 and 1998. The Ventura box set includes both complete shows at Ventura County Fairgrounds on 7/30/97 and 7/20/98.

I lived in Seattle in 97-98 and juggled a couple of jobs and scheduled my vacation so I could go see five West Coast shows that kicked off summer tour (Portland, Gorge, Shoreline and Ventura). At the last one in Ventura, CA, I was having such a blast that I wanted to stay on tour and keep the party going. We've all been there... you fall fast and hard and you're completely mesmerized by the music as Phish kicks your ass night after night and you love being in constant motion on the road and chasing the high and hooked on the scene and you don't want to leave especially because you met a groovy girl with butterfly wings and hope you run into her in the lot at the next show, but you're jealous that the circus is moving onto a new city without you. In the lot after the Ventura show I made a bold move and decided to go to the next show in Arizona. I was scheduled to drive back to Seattle with kids I went on tour with, but they understood my desire to go to one more show. Anyway, I caught a ride to the Phoenix show with a bunch of Oregon wooks and they had $3 among them and no gas money (yet of course, they had 1.5 pounds of homegrown blueberry and had a few zips of shrooms). I paid for gas on my credit card and we blasted James Brown the entire way to Phoenix and the Ore-wooks tried to talk me into doing the rest of the tour with them. Tempting, but I couldn't. I had to get back to work and even though I was broke, I luckily had enough room left on my Discover Card to buy a plane ticket back to Seattle. I didn't miss any work, had a blast at Desert Sky and actually got back to Seattle a half day earlier than my original friends who drove back from the Ventura show.

Ventura brings back fond memories. Both of these shows capture the breeziness of Phish as they blended their Vermont cow funk and embraced the laid back nature of Southern California. The 1997 Ventura show is highlight by a monster Bowie > Cities > Bowie. Meanwhile the 98 Ventura show is kicked off by a 20+ rendition of Bathtub Gin, and you also get to hear some incendiary Trey shredding during the Drowned jam at the start of Set 2. Oh, and the Halley's Comet encore only clocks in around nine minutes but it slowly and gently drifts off into the cosmos.

BTW, the stellar art on the Ventura box set is vastly underrated. Some of the best I've seen from other Phish releases with ornate and magnificent artwork on the individual discs. Perfect visual compliment to the music.

The Ventura box set officially comes out on June 18th. You can pre-order it right now over at Dry Goods. If you pre-order, you get some cool extra funky stuff like a bonus CD from Ventura 1993.
Phish "Ventura" 1997 and 1998 - Tracklist:

Disc 1 - 7/30/97 Set 1
1. NICU >
2. Wolfman’s Brother >
3. Chalk Dust Torture
4. Water In the Sky
5. Stash
6. Weigh >
7. Piper >
8. Cars Trucks Buses
9. Character Zero

Disc 2 - 7/30/97 Set 2
1. Punch You In the Eye >
2. Free >
3. David Bowie >
4. Cities >
5. David Bowie

Disc 3 - 7/30/97 Set 2, cont.
1. Bouncing Around the Room
2. Uncle Pen
3. Prince Caspian >
4. Fire
5. Encore: My Soul
6. Filler: Ventura ’97 Soundcheck Jam

Disc 4 - 7/20/98 Set 1
1. Bathtub Gin
2. Dirt >
3. Poor Heart
4. Lawn Boy
5. My Sweet One
6. Birds Of A Feather
7. Theme From the Bottom
8. Water In the Sky
9. Moma Dance
10. Split Open and Melt

Disc 5 - 7/20/98 Set 2
1. Drowned >
2. Makisupa Policeman >
3. Maze
4. Sea and Sand
5. Prince Caspian
6. Harry Hood

Disc 6 - 7/20/98 Encore
1. Sexual Healing >
2. Hold Your Head Up
3. Halley’s Comet
4. Filler: Ventura ’98 Soundcheck Jam

 Pre-order Phish's Ventura box set now.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yay! It's like a warm-up review for this Summer's tour from Dr. Pauly!