Saturday, June 30, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/30/12 Alpine Valley #1

The Phish returned to Alpine Valley and the massive slope of a lawn for a two show run. Here's the Saturday fiesta...
Le Phish, 6/30/12 Alpine Valley, WI

Set 1: My Soul, Daniel Saw The Stone, AC/DC Bag, MOMA Dance, Runaway JIM, Let It Loose, Reba, Kill devil Falls > The Sloth, Ocelot**, Poor Heart, When The Circus Comes, Timber Ho!, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Soozy Greeeeeenburg

Set 2: Backwards Down The Number Line > Carini > Wilson > Golden Age***> 2001 > Rock 'n Roll > Steam > Piper > Quinn The Eskimo, HOOD, Character Zer0

E: Good Times, Bad Times
** I'm raging in pit, Trey saw my Ocelot shirt, smiled, then played it...
*** Golden Page Jam

Deer Creek #2 Recap: Master Blaster

For a second day in a row, phans braved the elements to see Phish throw down at Deer Creek. Outdoors shows are always a gamble because of unpredictable weather. The day after we survived brutal triple digit temperatures, a storm ripped through Indiana and fierce winds decimated everything in its way. Luckily everyone camping out got a warning before the storm reached Deer Creek and no one was injured.

Phish always cranks it up a notch whenever their phans get caught up in shitty weather. It's sort of their way of honoring their loyal followers, who will stand through a tornado just to hear their heroes urinate in their ears.

We arrived at the lots and found Snailtrax and Meg. I hit Shakedown and sold a bunch of 2001 and alien stickers. I found a wook slinging high-quality liquid, but he was so far spun he thought I was an undercover cop. I decided to fuck with him.

"I'm actually CIA," I softly whispered. "You have two choices: give me your entire stash and crystals, or you spend the next five years locked up in Gitmo where you'll do the naked pyramid with terrorists and Jihadists."

He babbled nonsense for a few minutes before I let him off the hook. I love messing around with spun-out wooks in the lot. BTW, despite the rumors, I do not have ties to the intelligence community, although whenever I fly to South America for work, without fail someone will accuse this "gringo" of being a CIA spook.

A lot of people see Phish sober. I've had my fair share of those shows in 3.0, but I got snookered last night. Every once in a while I go off the deep end and let it all hang out. I ingested a dose of killer liquid sunshine and must've tore through a half gram of molly by the time the show ended. I hadn't been that spun since I got puddled in the lot at UIC. As a result, I had the most fun out of eight shows I caught this summer. Tripping balls at Phish with my friends. You can't beat that experience. Heck, almost 12 hours after the show I'm still schwilly (as I write this review on my CrackBerry while Mr. Fabulous navigates us to Alpine Valley... oh and thanks to my crew of copy editors back home on couch tour fixing all my errors).

Phish resumed their quest for 200 songs by treating the crowd to a slew of first-timers (this tour), but they continued their trend of smoking the shit out of the second set. This magical night was anchored by a DWD-Sand tsunami.

I had a crappy pav seat but all my friends had lawn tickets so instead of raging solo, I joined a group of 8 or so folks from Cincy. I had pavs the rest of the tour so I decided to have a lawn show for the first and only time this tour. I had an out...if everyone around me was too fucked up and too chatty, then I could always run into the pav. We had a good crew around us, so I didn't have flee the lawn.

Last week Iggy wanted to know what Crowd Control was all about, so I showed him "Specimens of Beauty" mini-documentary. He has an odd quirk at mixing up song names. He thinks Carini is "Caprini", and referred to Crowd Control as "Crowd Confusion." It was odd that Phish opened up with that 2.0 tune instead of a slew of rain/storm songs to choose from. I was convinced Harpua and Water in the Sky and Drowned were coming so I loaded up on those for my phantasy pool (I also picked Rock and Roll but got stiff-armed by Page when he opted for a different tune from Velvet Underground's "Loaded").

I was thrilled to hear deep cuts like Dinner and a Movie, MOUND, and Mango Song. Those were tunes were in heavy rotation when I first started following Phish in college circa the early 90s.

Sweet Jane came out of nowhere. I had not seen it since the epic Halloween show in Vegas in 1998. For a second night in a row, Phish covered a Velvet Underground song. Rock and Roll is a popular track for the boys and Page unleashed a few "Sweet Nuthins" in 3.0, but Sweet Jane fell off their radar. I was just happy to hear it. Sure, it was rusty but nothing will ever top the Vegas version of Sweet Jane.

Photo courtesy of @Phish_FTR

We got a little stage banter and the band addressed the "sign" issue. Trey mentioned that the band sees phans' signs from the second they hold it up, so the selfish sign people don't need to hold up their requests for long periods of time because it obstructs the view of other phans. Trey picked a sign from the crowd but said he didn't want to encourage others to keep bringing signs. Apparently Page is very anti-sign. Trey held back Page who could have gone on a PT-inspired vitriol-laced rant, but the message was clear: leave the signs at home.

Oh, the "Chinese Warhol" sign was for Limb by Limb. Fishman is always the MVP of that song when he unleashes his inner octopus.

"Possum? Already?" snarked Iggy.

Hey, at this point you just have to sit back and enjoy it. Despite the high frequency of Possums, at least the band knocks it out of the park every time.

It was time for a cover song -- David Bowie's Life on Mars (which was soundchecked along with Joy). The Mars theme continued with BBFCFM.

"I love the hard-rocking head-banging shit," said Iggy. "It would be interesting to see Phish do an entire heavy metal set."

After a raucous and rowdy BBFCFM, the band took it down several notches with Strange Design. Iggy bailed to buy beers. I smoked tough, while Page crooned the crowd. He makes Phishy chicks get super damp with love ballads, essentially guaranteeing post-show booty.

Birds of Feather has become a monster jam vehicle this tour, but I figured a first set version would be very tame. Indeed, it was a quickie...just like ripchord Halley's Comet. They got it cooking then stopped on dime in favor of the Beatles' While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

"I was pissed about ripchord Halley," said Mr. Fabulous, "but they made up for it with WMGGW."

Trey tore up the solo and the boys ended the first set with a third cover song of the night, and the 8th first-time-played song of the summer.

The lights went down for the second set and we were ready for some master blaster action. My brain was fried but I was nowhere close to peaking. I kept rising higher and higher during the set...and the band kept up their frenetic pace.

Gordo kicked off the second set with the squishy bass intro to Down with Disease. Glowsticks exploded in the air above the lawn and I was bugging out on crazy visuals with thousands of multi-colored tracers zig-zagging throughout the Indiana sky. This savory version of DWD clocked in at 15 mins and had a couple of nods to Coltrane again (but nothing concrete like Pine Knob's DWD). Gordo was laying down the law with his master blaster badass bass playing. I was putting out the vibe for 2001. CK5 tried to egg the band on with a series of UFO-inspired lights. The band shuffled through an ambient layer of fog before Trey introduced the opening licks to Sand. The boys patiently made their way into a thunderous Sand with an extended, yet stripped down intro. Trey was holding back notes and Gordo was en fuego with his bong-rattling bass. Page milked the clav as the band delved into corn-funk territory. Trey maintained his sparse playing, thereby allowing plinko Page and Gordo to swap off leads. I swore I heard a Weekapaug tease from Trey at one point.

They wrapped up Sand and took a sharp turn into Twist. I caught a couple of sizzling versions this tour (AC and Cincy). They couldn't match either of those high-water marks with a Deer Creek quickie. That was the only time I was bummed out in the second set. I wanted them to explore another Twist jam, but instead they forced Rift on us. Sure, it was a rocking version, but my mind and body was jonesin' for a jam-tastic Twist.

The crowd lapped up Gin, which was compact and high-octane. They kept the jam brief but never went too far off the reservation. The band threw the crowd another bone with Fluffhead. Yeah, they pulled out of a Gin jam in favor of a crowd-pleasing Fluff. Much like the one I caught in AC, this version was smoking.

A late-set Ride Captain Ride appeared out of left field. I love it when Page shreds covers like the one-hit wonder from Blues Image.

"Ride Captain Ride kept up the high energy," said Mr. Fabulous. "So happy they didn't kill the vibe with a slow tune."

So true. I would have been miffed if they threw in a slower song like Joy, which would have destroyed all the momentum the band built up over the first hour of the second set.

A searing Antelope closed out the set. We got some Marco Polo hijinks during the Marco Esquandoles segment, including a Twist lyric. The Trey wank factor hit a new high during his superfluous shredding.

Sometimes Phish plays a smoking set, only to ruin it with a shitty encore. Not this time. We got a trifecta that included a blistering Cavern, a nod to Junta with Sanity, and the big red machine's explosive, masturbatory-filled First Tube. Trey was jumping up and down like a downtrodden sailor with a bad case of crabs. First Tube knocked me on my ass. That's how you end a show...with a ducking exclamation point!!

It's always a positive sign when phans (skipping Alpine Valley) walk out of the venue thinking about how bummed they are because they're gonna miss the next show.

Shakedown was raging after the show. The federales were busy trying to chase down the nitrous mafia, but the balloon mongers won out once again. They walked away with fistfuls of cash while destroyed whatever brain cells phans had left after the two-night run at Deer Creek. I was tripping balls so hard after the show that Zeke and I were fascinated with the grass in the parking lot. Intense visuals. The ground was breathing. Whenever a car drove by, the shadows cast from the headlights made it look like an army of snakes were slithering through the grass.

By the way, the "master blaster reference" came from an inside joke from the Cincy crew. I had seen someone in the lot selling a "master blaster" burrito and mentioned it a couple of times.

"You know what a Master Blaster really is?" asked Zeke.

We didn't know.

"It's when you're getting a blow job and smoking a hit of crack at the same time," Zeke explained.

That summed up the second night at Deer Creek perfectly. Master Blaster. The first half of DC-AV run is over. We survived Indiana. Next stop...Wisconsin.

* * * *

Check out my previous recaps:
Deer Creek #1: Heat Wave Hijinks
Blossom: Tweeze Away
Burgettstown: Tweakpaug
Cincy: Can You Still Have Fun?
AC 3: Mothership Extraction
AC 2: Manteca-Light Sand Funk Fiesta
AC 1: Satan Standing on the Beach
Also, don't forget to check out our master index page of all of our Phish summer tour 2012 coverage.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/29/12 Deer Creek #2

Deer Creek by: Isadora Bullock

Phish finished off the second of two nights in Deer Creek. Here's what you missed...
The Phish 6/29/12, Deer Creek, IN

Set 1: Crowd Control, Dinner and a Movie, Sweet Jane, Limb by Limb > Possum, Mound, Life on Mars, Mango Song > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Strange Design, Birds of a Feather, Halley's Comet, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Set 2: Down With Disease > Sand* > Twist > Rift > Bathtub Gin** -> Fluffhead > Ride Captain Ride > Antelope***

Encore: Cavern > Sanity, First Tube

* with DWD tease
** unfinished
*** with Ride Captain Ride teases, Twist quotes, & "Marco Polo" hijinks between band and audience

Deer Creek #1 Recap: Heat Wave Hijinks

Sometimes you have one of those days on tour when everything works out because the stars are somehow aligned perfectly from the start of the day to the end of the show. For the first Deer Creek show, I originally got a lawn seat through lottery, which I miracled to some kid claiming to be seeing his first show. The karma was paid back immediately when I upgraded to the pav, courtesy of a cool guy named Tom B. He's just one of thousands of generous phans Ive encountered during my weird and adventurous journey following Phish over the years.

Our Deer Creek-Apline Valley run began when Mr. Fabulous picked up G-Money and I, and Mr. Fabulous was exactly one minute early. Good omen. When we swung by Iggy's horse farm, Iggy was also ready to go. I convinced Iggy to score horse tranquilizers from a local "large animal vet" whom we'll refer to as Dr. K. Anyway, we made an ice run that went super quick and were on the road without any delays. We didn't encounter any traffic from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, however, we were horrified at a massive drug sweep on the highway. Sad to see phans targeted by the fuzz. At least six or seven cars were pulled over.... all of them en route to the show including a huge white van with seven bummed-out Phishkids in zip cuffs sitting on the side of the highway. For some reason, everything was going right for us and we didn't get pulled over. Then again, Mr. Fabulous is our ship's captain who takes pride in getting us to our intended destination safely without any incidents with the local federales. Mr. Fabulous is cagey tour veteran from back in the his days following the Dead and always watches his speed (unlike the AC show and crazy Igor speeding on the Garden State Parkway while doing key bumps of mescaline).

Things could have gone haywire when we checked into our hotel (someone on their end fucked up the reservations, and my conversation was something out of a Seinfeld episode) but I sweet-talked the assistant manager and she hooked us up. It was waaaay too hot to hang out in the lots on the hottest day in Indiana in almost 80 years. We pre-partied at the hotel and watched the end of the Germany-Italy soccer match mainly because I had money on the game (I bet the over 2.5 goals and won, but lost on Germany).

We arrived to the vast Deer Creek lots without any headaches and ran into Snailtrax -- an old friend from Indiana (he's a rough and tumble Hilljack boy that I used to play online poker with but we met for the first time at Deer Creek in 2004). Snailtrax is fearless and will consume almost anything (especially pork products and any brown liquor). We offered him the horse tranqs. He gave most of it away to one of his Hilljack boys in the lot, and that unlucky focker fell into a nasty K-hole. G-Money found the Hilljack kid after the show wandering around Shakedown with blood stains all over his body, but shoeless and only wearing underpants and babbling about chewing the natty dreadlocks off of a random wook.

I swung by the VIP lots to pick up my ticket from Tom and he hooked me up with a wristband so I could go in the special entrance and didn't have to wait in line with the sweaty masses. The wristband was clutch because I had access to a much shorter bathroom line, just in case Phish decided to play something that I couldn't stand.

Tom also miracled me primo seat... about three rows behind the pit and dead center. I was behind a couple of people holding signs for "Harpua" and "Magilla" (with "We Love Page" on the back side). Meanwhile, Snailtrax was somewhere raging somewhere on Page Side, and the Cincy crew was hanging out in the "moat" (the DMZ between the lawn and the pav) for most of the show.

I got to my seat as the band took the stage at 8:08pm. I couldn't stop sweating as everyone huddled in front of Page's rig and belted out an accapella version of Birdwatcher. That was the first of over a dozen songs that were played for the first time this summer tour. Also, the "neon vagina" loop lights were noticeably absent at this show because the stage is kinda small at Deer Creek.

G-Money was impressed with Trey's playing on The Curtain With. I was impressed with Trey's short sleeve Flyers shirt instead of being usually clad in hipster plaid.

Iggy particularly enjoyed the instrumental, "The bonus is no bad lyrics... just four great musicians playing."

Fuck Your Face was a fun quickie. Some guy was carrying around a sign for Old Home Place most of this tour (but I didn't see him today). Mr. Fabulous was interested in hearing some Round Room songs. He got Pebbles and Marbles... something I really didn't like hearing in 2.0 but it's grown on me over the last couple of years.

A pair of old-school favorites were next with Weigh and Chalk Dust Torture, which included a high Trey wanking factor. By that point, my party favors kicked in and I was struggling for a few minutes.

The guy behind me was tripping balls and kept screaming, "Page's house!" Later in the show he'd relentlessly howled, "Tuck it, Fish! Tuck it, Fish!" Next time, try only eating half as much acid.

Even though Trey flubbed the lyrics, he made up for it later on in Wolfman's Brah, which might have been the jamming highlight of the first set. They patiently crafted a corn-funk layered jam and Trey sat back and let Page lead the way with some funkified Clav action.

"They got it off the ground," explained Mr. Fabulous. "Sometimes a jam just falls flat, but it took a while before Wolfman's took off flying."

Sometimes Phish feeds off of its natural surroundings and like Hemingway, they find inspiration in the weather. In 2009, we were treated to monstrous Drowned at Deer Creek when we got caught up in a freak storm. But on Thursday, Phish focused on the uncomfortable temperatures peaking out at 105 (man, that's Vegas-like weather) and so they played a couple of chilly-themed tunes would soothe the dripping wet audience. The Velvet Underground's Cool It Down appeared before a much-welcomed Tweezer. I have to listen to Tweezer again, but nothing Earth-shattering struck me in the jam.

Late in the first set, Phish served up a rare Tela, which set off a series of bad inside jokes with G-Money and Iggy. They were making Cartman-like voices and uttering stuff like "I think this song is off of 'Game-Hedge'. You know how I know? Because it sucks."

The all-over-the-board first set ended with Stealing Time. Sometimes I dig it, sometimes I think Phish stole my time for playing a mediocre version of the song. I enjoyed the first set because of Cool It Down (I picked it in my phantasy pool with the G-Vegas boys), but mostly because I got to hear a lot of songs for the first time this summer.

The second set kicked off with a promising, yet standard Mike's Song before an unexpected segue into McGrupp. Always a pleasure to see something different in the middle of a Mike's Groove, especially McGrupp. Page stepped it up during the McGrupp jam with some silky smooth playing. The second part of the McGrupp jam had the potential to delve into the dark side, but it never quite crossed the line into "evil jams" territory.

I had a personal epiphany during Back on the Train and the simplicity of the lyric "it took me a long time to get back on the train" had a profound affect on me. I couldn't have thought of anywhere else on the planet I'd want to be that sweating my balls off in the middle of Indiana. The jam out included lots or corn-fed funk and I thought I heard a couple of sullen whale calls, and plethora of teases including Five to One to No Quarter to 2001. G-Money was convinced he was hearing Psycho Killer. Instead of unleashing a 2001-ufo dance party, the band opted for Fishman hijinks and Page tooted out the intro to Hold Your Head Up.

Depending on your Phish palate, Fishman hijinks either make your show or it utterly ruins the vibe. I'm catching a bunch of shows this tour, so I didn't mind the hijinks. However, I totally understand if this was your only Phish show...then why you might be bummed that a chunk of the set was devoted to theatrics instead of getting your face melted off by the incendiary jamming we've heard thus far in the second sets all summer long.

Trey wanted Fish to croon the audience with a sexed-up version of Sexual Healing, but Fish didn't remember the lyrics. Instead he went to his old standby... Syd Barret's Bike. Fish's vac solo reminded me of jazzy flatulence.

Courtesy of @Phish_FTR

And yes, I drop everything in my life to travel long distances to watch a chubby forty-something dude in a muumuu whale on a household appliance. There's a fine line between art and insanity, and Fish flirts that line with his vac solos.

Gordo grew tired of the hijinks and tried to get Fishman to wrap things up when he slapped down the intro to Weekapaug. Instead of returning to his kit, Fish tucked in his dress and went right for Trey's axe. He slid it around his neck and gave his best Trey-wank face and noodled around for a few minutes. I couldn't stop laughing. It was atrocious guitar-work but it reminded me about some of my friends who hate Phish, because that's what they think Trey's most smoking solo sounds like.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Timmermans © Phish 2012

Fish ran back up to his kit, but Trey stuck around to help out in the drumming department before he settled back into his usual spot up front and finished off Weekapaug. When Phish has fun it's infectious because we all have fun.

An unfinished Caspian fit into the flow of the "mellow" vibe that Phish crafted with a breezy Waves and an uber-chill Bug. Ironically, Bug was Iggy's favorite part of the second set. I would have preferred an extended Waves jam because they were on the verge of a killer jam before it was pushed aside in favor of Bug.

I pointed at Trey during the "overrated" part. I think he smirked.

A short, but smokey Bowie ended the second set. I kept a keen eye on CK5's mastery because it's his favorite Phish song to light. I want to give the neon vaginas the benefit of the doubt, but I wasn't exactly missing them for this show.

We knew a Tweezer Reprise was inevitable, but what was going to be the first encore tune? It was a mellow night so I figured Sleeping Monkey might get the nod. Alas, we got a self-indulgent Show of Life. At least it wasn't the only encore song. Tweezer Reprise saved the day. As per usual, Tweeprise was all heat.

It was just too hot for Phish to throw down and have you dancing your ass off the entire show. This is one of those nights when Phish gave you a little bit of everything. Greatest hits. Hijinks. Acapella. Rare tunes. Hokey shit. Covers. Weather-inspired songs. Trey wankage. Whale calls. Page plinko. Fuck Your Face. Flubbed lyrics. Vac solos.

The first night at Deer Creek is in the books. One more to go here in hot-as-hell Indiana before the circus migrates north to Alpine Valley. With the "all over the place" show out of the way, I'm looking forward to an old-fashioned Friday night rager. See ya in the lots...

P.S. Thanks again to Tom for the ticket hook-up and thanks to Mr. Fabulous for his deft driving skills getting us to/from the show safely.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/28/12 Deer Creek #1

The Phish return to Indiana and the heart of Hoosier country with the first of two nights at the venue formerly known as Deer Creek.

The Phish, 6/28/12 Deer Creek, IN

Set 1: Birdwatcher, The Curtain With, Fuck Your Face, The Old Home Place, Pebbles and Marbles, Weigh, Chalk Dust Torture, Wolfman's Brah, Cool it Down, Tweezer, TELA, Faulty Plan

Set II: Mikes Song > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Back on the Train > Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up > Weekapaug Groove* > Caspian** > Waves > Bug > Bowie***

Encore: Show of Life > Tweeprise

*Trey on Drums & Fish on Guitar > Trey & Fish on Drums > Trey on Guitar & Fish on Drums


***Bug Tease

The Return of the Deer Creek to Alpine Valley Run

You've never really experienced a Phish summer tour until you've done the Deer Creek > Alpine Valley run. It's a Phishy journey that you have to do at least once in your life. I've done the run through the heart of the Midwest a couple times and always had a blast... even the time in 2009 when we got our entire campsite washed out by a monsoon and we had to sleep in Iggy's truck.

After a couple days off from this year's summer tour, I can't wait to get on the road in a few hours to complete this epic journey once again... especially because I didn't do it last year.

Something weird happened last summer when Phish suspiciously skipped both Deer Creek and Alpine Valley on their summer touring schedule. I heard a rumor about a rumor that something went wrong with the final negotiations for shows in DC > AV, so instead of abandoning their phans in the Midwest, Phish opted for a three night run at UIC. Although I was bummed out about missing four shows in an old-fashioned DC-AV run, the three indoor shows UIC were absolute face melt-fest (see my UIC recaps - Night #1, Night #2, and Night #3). At the time, I couldn't have thought of a better place for Phish to play, but deep down I missed the outdoor vibe of Deer Creek and the intimidating sloping lawn at Alpine Valley.

Regardless of why Phish skipped DC > AV last year, they will return to both venues this year. Four shows in a row. Thursday and Friday throwdown at Deer Creek. Then a Saturday and Sunday blowout at Alpine Valley.

Man, I get chills when I think about the insane Deer Creek run I caught in 2000 anchored by the infamous Moby Dick show.

The last time Phish played a four-show run at DC > AV was back in 2010. I attended all four of those shows with the Cincy Deadhead crew. Guess what? I'm seeing all four shows this summer once again with the same Cincy crew with a cameo from the one and only Daddy (aka @Snailtrax). If it ain't broke, then don't fix it. The only downside to this segment of tour is that I'm not seeing any shows with the Joker, nor my girlfriend (@Change100) until Leg II. The Joker and I caught some of the better shows in the 2.0 era during Phish's Deer Creek run in 2004.

I just re-read our recaps of the last shows at DC-AV. Tons of funny stuff in there, but some truthful elements too like Phish going off the rails in the first Deer Creek show after suffering from an obvious hangover after the majestic Telluride shows. I don't think I slept that weekend (listen to a couple podcasts we recorded at our condo) and I still can't stop laughing about the Joker's infamous Ganja-la incident. After a raging bender in Telluride, by the time I arrived at DC, it was like 110 degrees in the lot and I had run out of gas! By the way the first set at DC sounded, it appeared as though Phish ran out of gas too.

Here's our recaps from the previous DC > AV runs in 3.0:
8/12/10 Deer Creek: Redemption and Make-Up Sex
8/13/10 Deer Creek: Phish Recovers from Hangover; Smokes the Shit Out of D.C.
8/14/10 Alpine Valley: The Circus Comes to Wisconsin
8/15/10 Alpine Valley: The Mothership Returns
6/19/09 Deer Creek: Wake of the Flood
6/20/09 Alpine Valley: Ghosts and Probation Officers
6/21/09 Alpine Valley: The Grand Finale
I'm getting pumped for the next four shows to cap off the Midwest segment of this tour. See ya in the lot.

Oh, by the way, it's gonna be hot hot hot the next couple of days. Party smart. Stay hydrated. Get lots of rest. Limit your exposure outdoors during these extreme temperatures. And don't forget the Golden Rule of Tripping Balls: no matter how schwasted you are, you cannot fly.

Oh, and here's an official video from Phish... Fuck Your Face from Alpine Valley 8/14/10...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The 50 Song Club

At the Cincy show last weekend, I surpassed the 250-show mark. I never thought I'd see another show after Coventry, so I 'm extremely blessed that Phish decided to come back for the 3.0 incarnation of the band.

I've had the good fortune to see Phish perform 24 different songs at least 50 times. Those songs are among the most popular in Phish's repertoire including Chalk Dust Torture, DWD, Bowie, YEM, Antelope and Hood.

Anyway, here's the list of songs I've caught 50+ times or more...
Pauly's 50 Song Club:
Chalk Dust Torture - 76
Down with Disease - 73
David Bowie - 69
You Enjoy Myself - 68
Run Like an Antelope - 67
Harry Hood - 66
Possum - 62
Piper - 61
Mike's Song - 60
Tweezer - 60
Tweezer Reprise - 59
Weekapaug Groove - 59
Cavern - 58
Wolfman's Brother - 57
Stash - 57
Sample in a Jar - 54
Wilson - 54
Character Zero - 54
Bathtub Gin - 52
Runaway Jim - 52
2001 (a.k.a. Also Sprach Zarathustra) - 50
AC/DC Bag - 50
Divided Sky - 50
Ghost - 50

And on the cusp and almost there...
Bouncing Around the Room - 49
Golgi Apparatus - 48
Back on the Train - 46
The Moma Dance - 46

Here's the most weird and haunting stat... I've seen TTE at least 10 times.

Thanks to the original stats guru ZZYZX for helping me compile these stats. Please note that these stats are an approximate estimate because stats from a couple of shows (Japan tour 2000) were not included in this mix.

I'm curious... what songs have you seen the most? Are heavy hitters like YEM, Chalkdust, and DWD at the top of your list?

Phish Blossom Videos: Golden Age - Ghost

Here's the deliciousness that kicked off the second set of Blossom... Golden Age > Ghost...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Phish Videos: Mike's-Simple-Light-Weekapaug

This video is over 40-minutes long and includes the epic Mike's Song > Simple > Light > Weekapaug from the Burgettstown show...

As always, thanks to mkdevo for the videos.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blossom Recap: Tweeze Away

We woke up at a tweaker motor lodge in bumblefuck Appalachia, the only accommodation we could find on short notice in the middle of nowhere after we got lost leaving the Burgettstown show.

Pro tip: never let the guy on two hits of acid act as the navigator.

I'm spoiled. Because of my job as a poker reporter, I've stayed at some of the swankiest hotels in Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, Spain, Sweden, London, and Australia. While wandering around on Phish tour, you never know where you'll end up... like a tweaker motor lodge in the middle of nowhere. After the Burgettstown show we ended up at one of the most horrendous places I've ever stayed. It was even worse than the crackhead motel in Cleveland last summer. The ceiling leaked right over my bed. One pillow was soaked through. Iggy's pillow had a yellow-brown stain. He was convinced that someone was murdered in his bed. We slept with the lights and TV on. I slept in my clothes without the covers. I was afraid I'd contract bed bugs or some sort of flesh-eating bacteria. The room's AC was at least fifty years old and I don't think the filter was changed since the Carter administration. We're lucky weren't hospitalized with Legionnaire's Disease.

We fled Appalachia as soon as we woke up to avoid becoming enslaved as a redneck-version of the Gimp. We made another stop at Cracker Barrel along the way. I'm on the tour diet -- one major meal (usually at Waffle House or Chaka Barrel) when I wake up and then noshing on grilled cheese in the lot before/after the show.

We arrived in the lots at Blossom around 4ish. The lot scene at Blossom is always tons of fun with an "anything goes" philosophy. The Shakedown is massive and winds through the lot with vendors lined up on both sides of a walkway. The po-po left everyone alone... as it should be. It's a festive vibe and everyone is in a great mood. That's why Blossom is one of my favorite places to see the Phish.

Iggy, G-Money and I scored pavilion seats right in front of the soundboard and CK5. Watching CK5 work the lighting board is like getting a chance to watch Picasso paint. He's a true artist.

I forgot about the wood paneling inside Blossom. The venue is an architectural gem and almost looks like a pyramid depending on your perspective.

The crowd-pleasing Sample in Jar kicked off the festivities with a sing-along. The shortest Tube popped up second. It clocked in under 4 minutes. Sheesh, why even bother?

Iggy was hoping to hear a few songs this show (Axilla, Roses Are Free, and Golden Age) and the lucky focker got all three he was chasing. A hard-rocking Axilla was in the three hole with Bathtub Gin batting cleanup. Gin was the longest song of the first set, but the jam lasted under eight minutes -- I know because Iggy and I had put a small wager on the timing of the jam. It was one of a few bets I won at Blossom. It's about time I got paid to see Phish!

Iggy was chasing Ween's Roses Are Free and he got it early in the first set. Some day they are gonna unleash a monster 15-minute Roses jam. Okay, that might never happen, but I can dream right?

Limb By Limb is a song where Fishman resembles an octopus because it almost sounds like he's got eight arms laying down the beats. I swear I heard a Dave's Energy Guide tease.

The set continued with another rocking tune... Free. At this point it was pretty evident that this was going to be a "rock and roll" show, which is always fine with me.

The boys squeezed NICU in the set and "Leo" got to show off his chops in a savory solo. Possum is so overplayed that you just have to sit back and chuckle whenever you hear the intro. But like Scotty B said in the last episode of type II cast, Phish always nails Possum... which they did once again at Blossom. The pav was ready to explode as soon as Fish belted out the intro to Possum.

The Wedge and Corinna (yes, another cover) were a nice one-two punch toward the end of the set, but it was the Meatstick that got the crowd riled up, especially the kid who wore the hotdog costume. He climbed up on his seat and jumped up and down. He was the happiest guy at the show.

Meatstick included Japanese lyrics and audience participation. Trey thought he and Gordo were doing a bad job with the Meatstick dance so he invited a couple of cute Phishy chicks from the front row to show them how to dance. Then he picked out two more. Then all of a sudden almost ten or so phans were onstage dancing around. Hotties onstage? I thought I went to see Phish, not Girltalk.

The second set kicked off with a TV on the Radio cover of Golden Age. Iggy was ecstatic. I was thrilled because Golden Age has become a nifty jam vehicle over the last couple of tours. The silky smooth jam took a turn into deep waters. Trey sat back and let Page and Gordo lead the way during the second half of the song. I caught a few 2001 and humping whales teases and CK5 was not shy about tossing a few UFO-lights into the mix.

The spacey and pulsating jam eventually morphed into Ghost. The Blossom Ghost scared the heck out of some people around me, especially Iggy, who was completely sober for the show.

"This is craaaaaaaaaaaazy shit," said Iggy a few times during the menacing and sinister Ghost jam.

The Ghost jam reminded me of a bloody battle in the middle of the woods. It was as though the boys were wandering around the thickest fringes of a forest and stumbled upon a fierce demon-like creature that bolted into the darkness, yet Phish were relentless and chased after it until they destroyed the rambunctious beast.

My favorite moments from this summer's tour are the stripped down jams when Trey sits back and dishes to Gordo and Page. In his case, "less is more" is an understatement. Trey's biggest problem is that he gets too carried away and plays "too many notes" and as a result we get ripchord jams and self-indulgent wanking. Whenever Trey listens and acts selfless and allows his bandmates to contribute and take the lead during jams, the results have been stupendous -- especially in the second half of the shows.

In the six shows I've seen (out of 11 thus far), every second set included at least one 15- to 20-minute section when the band was en fuego. Phish is kicking out the jams and pushing the limits on their improvisational abilities.
Set 2 Monster Jams

Worcester 1: Carini > Taste > Ghost > Boogie On
Worcester 2: Down with Disease > SAND
Bonnaroo: Carini > Shafty
AC1: Birds > Back on the Train and Twist > Piper
AC2: Crosseyed > Slave and Light > Manteca > Light
AC3: Drowned > 2001 > Reba
Portsmouth 1: Split Open and Melt > Mango Song
Portsmouth 2: Rock & Roll > Tweezer
Cincy: Twist > Halley's > Sand
Burgettstown: Mike's > Simple > Light > Weekapaug
Blossom: Golden Age > Ghost and Tweezer > Walk Away
Yes, as you can see the latest addition to the Set 2 behemoths included Golden Age > Ghost to start the set, and the Tweezer > Walk Away was pure smoke.

Tweezer was a perfect storm of events and popped up in the middle of the set when the band was in peak form. They tossed in a few Meatstick teases and licks, not to mention a few Trey hijinks with muttering lyrics to Another Brick in the Wall, Under Pressure, and Ice Ice Baby. Yes, Vanilla Ice got a shout out. I wonder if that washed-up fuckstick is gonna try to sue Phish Inc. for copyright infringement?

Phish nailed Walk Away. They smoked the shit out of it. I've seen my fair share of out-of-sync and phoned-in Walk Aways so this one totally floored me. Tight. Tight. Tight. Page slayed it. The jam out was insanely packed with oodles of spastic energy.

Oh, I almost forgot about the awesome surprise -- Sweet Virginia -- as sung by Fish. I love anything off of Exile on Main Street so I'm easy to please in that regard. Sweet Virginia was one of six covers played on Sunday ay Blossom. Phish covers are a freakish anomaly. They absolutely kick ass on every cover song they learned and eventually keep in the rotation.

After a smoking Tweezer-Walk Away, Fish needed a break. After a mellow Horse > Silent, the band went right back to jamming with Piper. This version was strong and magnetic, but it's going to be overlooked because of the other monster jams (Golden Age-Ghost and Tweezer-Walk Away).

Oh, and Antelope was all heat. Trey wankage was at the highest levels all night during the Antelope jam. That's how you end a set.... with a fucking exclamation point.

The encore was a pretty standard Loving Cup > Tweezer Reprise, which has been done seven times since 2.0. I saw almost all of them (Charlottesville 12/5/09, Berkeley 8/5/10, Cincy 6/5/11, Superball 7/2/11, Blossom 6/24/12) with the exception of two (Deer Creek 7/21/03 and Bethel Woods 5/29/11). Anyway, both encore tunes kicked ass. The crowd inside the pav were raging hard for the last two songs.

"I never saw so many people dance that hard," explained G-Money.

Trey was jumping up and down during Tweeprise like he had fire ants in his jockstrap. It was fun watching Trey have fun. When Trey has fun, it rubs off on everyone else. Fun is infectious.

Nothing is better than walking out of a sizzling show because everyone is in a good mood. That's what happened at Blossom. Almost 20,000 phans spilled into the lots and Shakedown with a spiritual revitalization. I was one of them. Halle-fucking-lujah.

Phish has been on fire the last few nights and steadily improved each show since Friday's performance in Cincy, topping that with a smoking show in Burgettstown, and then topping both with a rager in Blossom.

Phish is taking a few days off... which sucks. The way they are playing, too bad Phish doesn't have another show scheduled until Thursday -- when they kick off four consecutive nights with an old school Deer Creek-Alpine Valley run. I'll be at all four shows. Hope to see you there.

* * * *

FYI... here's the setlist from 6/24/12.

Here's my other recaps from this tour:
Burgettstown: Tweakapaug
Cincy: Can You Still Have Fun?
AC 3: Mothership Extraction
Ac 2: Manecta-Light and Sand-Funk Fiesta
Ac 1: Satan Standing on the Beach and the Birds Orgy
See ya in Deer Creek.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/24/12 Cleveland, OH (a.k.a. Blossom)

Hellloooooooooooooooo Cleveland!
The Phish, 6/24/12 Blossom, Cuyahoga, OH

Set 1: Sample in a Jar, Tube, Axilla, GIN, Roses are Free, Limb by Limb, Free, NICU, Possum, The Wedge, Corinna, Meatstick *

Set 2: Golden Age > Gh0st > Sweet Virginia, Rift, Tweezer** > Meatstick > Tweezer > Walk Away, Horse > Silent in the Morning, Piper > Waste > Antelope

E: Loving Cup, Tweezer Reprise

* with Japanese lyrics
** with Another Brick in the Wall, Under Pressure, and Ice Ice Baby lyrics

Burgettstown Recap: Tweakapaug

I love being on the road. Following Phish is a bonus, waking up foggy and groggy in one strange place then hitting the road, cranking up tunes, and driving to the next show to invade a city then party it up to the wee hours, only to repeat the process the next day.

I woke up in Cincy on G-Money's couch. We stayed up too late partying and got on the road two hours late. Iggy was driving and took on the responsibility for getting us to the next two shows. We made an ice run and a quick trip to Radio Shack (chargers are essentially on tour in this digital age) before making the trek to Burgettstown...which took us through Ohio and a sliver of West Virginia before reaching the Pennsylvania border. Along the way we stopped at Cracker Barrel for grub, which I only get to eat when I'm on tour.

The venue at Burgettstown used to be called Starlake before the name got whored out to corporate sponsors. Starlake was the location of several historic shows in Phish's past. It was also where Iggy saw his first show in 2009 and had a religious-like experience during Divided Sky. He's been hooked ever since.

We arrived at the lots around 5ish. The concrete and gravel lot is spread over rolling hills. I saw a bunch of shitfaced kids get cuffed by the po-po for underage drinking...but aside from that it was a mellow lot scene.

We had pavilion seats and the line to get in was redonkulously long. The pav's security was pretty tight so our section was not overrun by wooks, although the folks near us were pretty shady, something out of the World of the Wonderful Whites. One older guy in a Hawaiian shirt looked like a bloated, coked up version of Huey Lewis. His guests included a smoking hot hipster girl, his gay partner (picture Anderson Cooper in Tevas), and a straight-up tweaker. No other way to describe the tweaker. He was cooking on some primo-crank.

"Looked like he was on a pogo stick all night long, jumping up and down," said George.

Funky Bitch opened the set and set the theme for the show...Trey sat back and let Gordo take control most of the night, and he didn't step on Page's toes either. I think my favorite shows are the ones when Trey steps back. Fishman's drum work was in peak form during in the first set compared to his inconsistent performance the night before in Cincy.

I prefer Backwards in the first set because it is a poppy-happy song made for when the sun is setting. It's a buzzkill late in the 2nd set. During Backwards, coke-tard Huey Lewis started bothering me with his incessant air guitar. I mean, doing air guitar is not uncommon at a Phish show. Heck, I do it sometimes but only during shredding tunes like Zeppelin covers, but rocking out during Backwards? That's sketchy. Keep snorting bath salts, brah.

Iggy was pumped for his first Gumbo, which added a lil Nola-slammin-funk to the mix. I dig it when Gordo unleashed the "Goooooooooossssshhhhh!" sounds on his bass.

Mid-set Maze didn't pack the same punch as some of the smoking versions from the last few summers, but it was a funtastic jam nonetheless. Page was kicking ass and taking names and Trey didn't wank off as much as he usually does.

I've been chasing Torn and Frayed the last few tours. The Stones cover always gets played whenever I jump off tour. Torn and Frayed one of my favorite tracks from Exile on Main Street because it sums up the bittersweet lifestyle of being a touring rock and roll spectacle. I wonder if the band doesn't play it too much because the lyrics hit too close to home??

Moma Dance was aborted during the Cincy show, but the boys were ready (especially Fish) to unleash a little white-boy-cow-funk. The tweaker in front of us looked like he was having a seizure. You could smell the crank-manufactured chemicals seeping through his sweat glands.

Iggy was intrigued by the Scent of Mule shenanigans, especially Page's experimentation with the theremin. The band looked like they were having a blast onstage. That vibe is infectious and spilled over to the crowd. It was hard to find someone around me who wasn't having fun, well, maybe except the amateur who passed out midway through the set.

Before the show, a schwilly wook nearly attacked G-Money in the lot and screamed, "46 Days tonight brah!! They're gonna play it!!"

The wook must have had ESP or be dialed into the Mothership or something because 46 Days popped up near the end of the set. Trey was ripping up the 46 jam.

The first set did not contain the "bustouts" and old school gems that many phans were anticipating. However, we got YEM for the first time all summer. Well the band holds back heavy hitters like YEM, the crowd goes berserk when they eventually play it.

The first set was solid without YEM, but adding YEM to the mix was a wise choice. Very strong and consistent set. I was having much more fun than Cincy and the show was only half done!

Iggy was convinced that CK5's lights were set up to hypnotize the audience, especially during the YEM jam.

The second set opened with a subdued Gotta Jibboo. I felt they could have taken off at any moment during the jam, but kept it a little safe. They waited until Mike's Groove to really unleash the beast. It had everything: 2001 teases, UFO lights, and Gordo dropping bombs. The middle of the second set featured some intense jamming. I felt the band returned to reconstructing monstrous second sets like they did during the Atlantic City run last weekend.

Mike's > Simple > Light > Weekapaug.

Talk about some heat. The Burgettstown Weekapaug is a must hear. I can't recall a better or more titillating Weekapaug I heard in 3.0. I'm not saying they've been phoning it in, but the Weekapaugs lacked the same panache when compared to the sizzling versions of Mike's Song.

The Light jam was a pistache of Afro-Caribbean elements including Page's plinko-pecking. Weekapaug that gets all the accolades.

"It was not predictable bass-funk slap," said G-Money. "I like it when they don't go from Mike's right away into Hydrogen and Weekapaug. That's a neat little trick."

As G-Money said, they gave us a couple of other songs and jams before they finished up the Mike's Groove sandwich.

Seven Below could have been an epic jam, but after experiencing the delicious Weekapaug jam, it was going to be nearly impossible to top it. The boys peeked into the deep end of the Seven jam, but didn't stay very long before the turned back.

Bouncin' was the first "Pauly Takes a Piss Song" in the five shows I've seen this summer.

Julius was rocking as per usual. Trey was wanking it up as per usual. The crowd lapped it up as per usual. The tweaker in front of us was going nuts with a balloon that he thought was a soccer ball. He was kicking it around while spinning in circles at the same time. He must have picked up a whiskey tango chick at setbreak because she was with him in the second set. It smelled like they were smoking DMT during Julius. Then again they were probably smoking doobs sprinkled with meth.

I thought Julius was gonna end the set, but we got an extra treat with Slave. It's my favorite Phish song and any time I see Slave, it's a good show.

The folks with the Lizards' sign up front must have been stoked to get a Lizards encore. Trey was jumping up and down like a little kid and the crowd was belting out the chorus. When the band has fun, the crowd has fun. Burgettstown is the perfect example of that simple philosophy.

So we didn't get the bustouts everyone was expecting in B-town, but we got YEM for the first time this tour and a crowd-pleasing Lizards encore. I was pumped for Gumbo, Torn and Frayed, Seven Below, and of course Slave.

Burgettstown was my 251st show, but more importantly, it was my 100th show in the 3.0 era. I'm so damn lucky because I never thought I ever see a single show again after the Coventry debacle in 2004, let alone 100 everything I've seen the last four summers has been gravy. It's really been fun turning on friends (like Iggy and Benjo) to Phish this time around. I can never thank the band enough for spicing up my life. Enjoy every show like it's your last one because you never know when the band will pull the plug on the Phish carnival.

Next stop...Cleveland and Phish at Blossom.

P.S. This recap is super late. Such is life on the road. We had a crazy situation late last night (e.g. see Iggy's stained pillow) and got stuck in a tweaker-motor lodge somewhere in bumblefuck Appalachia. No wifi, of course. We somehow survived without getting enslaved as a gimp for a rural clan of hillbilly sex fiends. I'm writing this via my CrackBerry in the parking lot of a gas station somewhere 20 minutes outside Blossom.

Photo by Marcus Edmund via @Phish_FTR.

Fan Video: "Simple > Light" 6-23-12 @ Star Lake - Burgettstown, PA

Check out this fan shot video of the Simple Jam > Light from Burgettstown. Is Phish an elaborate mind control experiment funded by the Department of Defense? Based on this clip, the answer is a potential YES.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/23/12 Burgettstown, PA

The Phish returned to Western Pennsylvania (or as my brother calls it, Pennsyltucky)...
Phish, 6/23/12 Burgettstown, PA

Set 1: Funky Bitch, Backwards Down the Number Line, Gumbo, Maze, Torn and Frayed, Moma Dance, Scent of a Mule, 46 Days, YEM

Set 2: Gotta Jibb00, Mike's Song > Simple > Light > Weekapaug, Seven Below, Bouncin **, Julius, Slave

E: The Lizards

** Pauly Takes A Piss Song
Read Pauly's recap here: Burgettstown Recap: Tweakapaug.

Phish Cincy Videos: Twist

The "monstah" Twist from Cincy...

Cincy Recap: Can You Still Have Fun?

Never miss a Cincinnati show.

That's wisdom of the lot. Historically speaking, Phish always throws down hard in Cincy. That's why it was sort of shocking when the show went off the rails late in the first set after a pair of back-to-back flubbs by Fishman. Alas, the boys regrouped after a brief setbreak (shortest this tour thus far) and then brought the heat in the second set to salvage what could have been a shit show.

Since 3.0 began, I catch the Midwest shows with the Cincy crew: Iggy, GMoney and Mr. Fabulous. I'm the baby of the group, which is rare these days on Phish tour when I'm usually the oldest (ho hum, that's how I acquired the moniker "The Brett Favre of the Lot"). The Cincy boys are old school Deadheads, led by GMoney who at one time played in the best cover band in Las Vegas back int he 1990s.

The Cincy crew picked me up at the airport on Thursday. We raged until the wee hours (that is, until Iggy passed out on the floor). Once we woke up Friday, it was balls to the wall. The pre-party included Euro 2012 soccer and Germany vs. Greece (I had bet the OVER in goals scored), while GMoney played a bunch of Zeppelin bootlegs circa mid-70s.

The Cincy crew knew a backdoor way to Riverbend. One of the fundamental rules of the road is to always trust locals' shortcuts! Thanks to Josh for driving and thanks to Megan for the shortcut. We trimmed valuable time off our commute, which meant more time raging it up in the lot.

Cincy's Shakedown is a unique little area encompassing a triangle across the street from the venue. I was slinging 2001 and other alien stickers. I had an extra ticket and decided to miracle it to DiggDugg. That's the beauty of Phish -- it's the gift that keep on giving. I'd rather see someone get the ticket who truly loves than band, than sell it to some schwasted frat boy with DMB tattoos. BTW... the Cincy show was not sold out! What has this world come to when Phish is unable to sell out a Cincy show?

Anyway, I had a pav seat courtesy of GMoney. I had a lawn and swapped with GMoney because he is the "Cookie Monster of the Lot" and he loves to ingest anything and everything he can get his hands on. He prefers to groove on up on the lawn with the rest of the schwilly kids.

I ate some shroom chocolates in the lot and I was ready for some high-altitude flying. The Cincy show kicked off with Wolfman's Brah, which included a mini-funkified jam. Batting in the number two hole was a cover of Frank Zappa's Peaches, which sounded much crispier than the previous butchered versions I caught in 3.0.

Up next was a true bustout... Shaggy Dog (last time played was down the road in Louisville, KY circa 1995). In 250 Phish shows, I had never seen a Shaggy Dog. Talk about an epic moment, even for a jaded vet like me. I wiped the salty tears from my eyes and fired up a fat one-hitter filled to the brim with Jedi Kush.

Runaway Jim was standard with the exception of a When the Saints Go Marching In tease. Thumbs up for that tease. I'm a big fan of Traffic and love it when Page sings cover songs, so I was thrilled to catch Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, which does not appear to often in the rotation.

Talk about a hot start... Wolfmans + Peaches + Shaggy Dog + LUOLMA... four out of the first five songs were gems indeed. To top it all off, the choco-shrooms had kick in and I was schwilly willy.

Trey unleashed a searing and raucous Wilson, much to the delight of Megan, who desperately wanted to hear it. After catching the first two AC shows, she left on Sunday when the boys broke out Wilson. Oh, and by the way... Megan is no longer a TTE magnet! There was a brief period when Phish played TTE whenever I saw show with Megan.

I had to police my section during Alaska because a pair of drunk fucktards wouldn't stop talking during Wilson and Alaska. Those types of rude assclowns send me on uber-tilt. Why attend a concert if you're going to talk the entire time? It's utterly selfish, especially when those fucksticks attempt to shout over the music in order to be heard. I told them to shut the hell up and take a hike up to the astroturf lawn with all of the other miscreants and rednecks.

Something odd happened after the Stash. Maybe the jam was so intense that it knocked Fishman off his rocker? Because Fish totally blew the intro to Poor Heart.

"Still learning how to count," Fishman embarrassingly admitted.

I think everyone was stunned because that rarely happens at a Phish show. I can only think of another flub like that -- Halloween 2010 -- when Fishman fucked up the DWD intro.

When Trey attempted Moma Dance, Fishman came in late once again.

"That's two in a row Fish!" barked Trey. "We need to find a song that starts with the drums."

If Trey was joking around the first time, then you could see his frustration rise with the Moma fumble. That's not what professionals do. Page was aloof and Gordo looked wicked pissed. I gotta say, it's kind of funny now as I write up this recap a good 12+ hours after it happened, but at the time, it was ugly. I was witnessing the wheels come off the bus. Nothing is worse when you lose confidence in yourself and your bandmates.

"This is Fish's nightmare," explained Trey as Fishman ripped off the intro to Llama. The crowd lapped it up, even though Llama was slop city. At least we got a Buffalo Bill to make up for the faux pas.

I was jazzed about I Saw It Again because it's a song that explains Trey's encounter with an alien. Check out the lyrics when you get a chance and you'll see what I'm talking about.

The first set ended with CK5's favorite song. We got a bit of stage banter when Trey explained that they ask Chris Kuroda what song he wants to hear that night. CK5 always responds with the same thing -- Bowie.

I was surprised at the short setbreak, but then again, I'm sure Phish wanted to return to the stage ASAP in order to make up for their crummy first set... which started off with so much promise, but it quickly got away from them. I could only imagine what would have happened if Bobby Knight was the coach of Phish. He would have benched Fishman the rest of tour.

The second set kicked off with a thunderous, 12-minute Down With Disease. It was much better and longer than the Sunday's set closer in AC, although I felt the jam was way too short. We got a smooth segue into Guleah Papyrus before Kill Devil Falls. I prefer my KDF in the first set, but this rendition was tight and jammed out a bit.

Then things got ugly. I should have known something was rotten in Denmark when I caught a whiff of the horrendous aroma of a burning seed. Sheesh. Nothing says ghetto bud like seeds. Someone behind me was burning down a prison joint behind me during DWD opener. A couple of songs later, a pair of wooks passed out and one of them started puking. Cincy's pavilion is on a slight hill so all of the vomit was trickling downhill.

"You dick!" I screamed.

One of the passed out wooks woke up and scurried off. The other one was slumped over in his chair. I took a picture and posted it on Twitter with the tagline: This asshole's friend puked on me.

Seriously, what's up with amateur hour? If you can't handle your drugs, then the "JV is out back"... so stay in the lot with the other wooks.

KDF slipped into a slinky and sultry Twist, which fired me up because I moved to a new spot that did not have a stream of puke running underneath me. The crowd was excited to "woooooo" it up. The Twist jam had an evil and deviant element to it. Oh, and during the jam, I was admiring CK5's new neon vagina lights.

Halley's Comet was short as per usual when Trey ripchorded Halley's just when it got cooking. Alas, I was in favor of Trey's decision when they embarked into a plinko-enhanced Sand dance party, which eventually slipped into a soothing Roggae. I saw a few intense Roggaes last summer and wanted to hear what the boys could do with it this summer.

Iggy got his Carini, or Caprini as he called it. The short and sweet Carini was one of the louder songs of the second set, but the thrashing jam never developed and was rushed in favor of Trey's self-indulgent wank-fest with Chalkdust Torture.

A crowd-pleasing Golgi ended the set. I like to find the most schwasted guy in my section during Golgi, then I bug him out by pointing at him very angrily during the "I saw youuuuuuu with a ticket stub in your hand." They always lose their marbles. It never fails.

We were denied YEM for yet another night and will have to chase that fucker down the rest of the tour. Instead, Phish ripped up Fluffhead. High-octane, high-energy. The crowd loved every second of it, especially the guy next to me who almost poked a hole in the row of chairs in front of him when he popped a stiff woody with Fluffhead.

Never miss a Cincy show. You never know what's going to happen. And yes, this was my 250th show overall. I saw my first show in 1989 at Wetlands in NYC. Man, what a wild ride! I got a little bit of everything for #250 -- a few covers I dig Peaches and Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, a sincere Shaggy Dog bustout, and I even got puked on. Yes, despite my aging body... I can still have fun, Wilson.

Next up.... Burgettstown.

FYI... check out the setlist here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/22/12 Cincinnati, OH

Never miss a Cincy show.

Le Phish, 6/22/12 Riverbend, Cincinnati, OH

Set 1: Wolfman's Brother, Peaches en Regalia, Shaggy Dog, Runaway Jim*, Light Up or Leave Me Alone > Wilson > Alaska, Stash, Llama**, Buffalo Bill, Saw It Again > David Bowie

Set 2: Down With Disease > Guelah Papyrus, Kill Devil Falls > Twist > Halley's Comet > Sand > Roggae, Carini, Chalk Dust Torture, Golgi

Encore: Fluffhead

* With Saints Go Marching In Tease
** Aborted "Poor Heart" and "Moma Dance" before playing Llama

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Phish AC Videos: Reba and Light-Manteca

Sick Reba and a jazzy Lighteca...

Phish - 6/17/12 "Reba" from Phish on Vimeo.

Phish - 6/16/12 "Light" from Phish on Vimeo.

Phish Portsmouth Videos: Maze and Dog Log

Official videos from Portsmouth, VA courtesy of Phish...

Type II Podcast: Bader Field with Pauly, Scotty B, and UNOlker

Steve aka @UNOlker invited me on as a guest for his awesome Phish podcast.... Type II Cast. I was a panelist with the legendary Scotty B. We discussed the highlights of the three show Atlantic City run specifically the Birds jam and Lighteca.
Listen to Episode 48: Bader Field (2012) of the type II cast podcast here.
Thanks to Steve for having me on. Oh, I can now cross off something on my bucket list -- do a podcast with Scotty B!

By the way, here's the other guest spot I did last summer with @fractalgal... Type II Podcast Episode 33: Dick's.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/20/12 Portsmouth, VA - #2

After a fun-filled opening night in Portsmouth, the boys are back for the second of a two-night stand. Don't forget that Phish is webcasting tonight's Portsmouth shows.
The Phish 6/20/12, Portsmouth, VA - Night #2

Set 1: Sparkle, Ha Ha Ha, AC-DC Bag, Divided Sky, Dog Log, Undermind, Mike's Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug, Cities > Ya Mar, Axis: Bold As Love, Julius

Set 2: Rock & Roll > Tweezer > Free, Guyute, Birds of a Feather, HOOD > What's the Use > Velvet Sea, Possum

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

Phish AC Videos: Drowned-2001-Reba Trifecta

The start of set 2 from Sunday was insanity and the highlight for that show. Thanks to mkdevo!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Phish Setlist: 6/19/12 Portsmouth, VA - #1

Phish returned to Virginia for the first of a two-night run. Don't forget that Phish is webcasting both Portsmouth shows.
The Phish 6/19/12, NTELOS Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA

Set 1: Sample in a Jar, Party Time **, Simple, Axilla, Tube, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky, HORN, Babylon Baby, GIN, Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, I Didn't Know, Antelope

Set 2: Back on the Train, Rift, Split Open and Melt, Mango Song, Backwards, Limb by Limb, Shine A Light, Lengthwise, MAZE, Cavern, FIRE

ENCORE: Mexican Cousin, Slave

** with Carl "Gears" Gerhard

Courtesy of @Phish_FTR

30% Leg 1 Complete; Live Webcast Tonight

Phish completed 30% of their summer tour and it's been a wild ride thus far filled with ups and downs, but lots of ups and momentous nights with delicious jamming. Here's an index of our coverage from this past weekend in Bader Field and Atlantic City.
6/15/12 Atlantic City - Friday: Setlist - Recap - Videos
6/16/12 Atlantic City - Saturday: Setlist - Recap - Videos
6/17/12 Atlantic City - Sunday: Setlist - Recap

By the way, check out our coverage from the start of tour....
6/7/12 Worcester, MA (Night 1): Setlist - Recap - Videos
6/8/12 Worcester, MA (Night 2): Setlist - Recap - Videos
6/10/12 Bonnaroo, TN: Setlist - Recap - Videos
Phish released several official videos on their Vimeo home page. Take a peek. Here's Carini and Shafty!

Don't forget... Phish will be webcasting both of the Portsmouth, Virginia shows! Visit for more details.

Phish AC Videos: Birds of a Feather-Get Back on the Train and Twist-Piper

Here's the epic jam... Birds > Back on the Train...

And here's Twist > Piper

Thanks to mkdevo!

Monday, June 18, 2012

AC Recap - Night 3: 2001 Mothership Extraction

The cop saw me jaywalk. It was three blocks from the Boardwalk. I was going to the show, but no one else was on the street. Just me and the cop. When I got close, I nodded and he nodded back. In LA, I would have gotten a jaywalking ticket and a knuckle sandwich, but in Atlantic City, I got a head nod. The cop's SUV squad car was parked on a grassy knoll with large "K-9 UNIT" lettering on the side. The dog was in the back seat and started going nuts, barking loudly and knocking up against the window. I was the only person in the area and the dog was going berserk.

I had a slight panic attack that I was going to get pinched, but put on my best poker face and kept walking. After about a dozen or so steps, the cop did not say anything, but I was convinced that he was going to contact the cop on the next corner, who was going to take me down. I found a large group of other heads and I embedded myself in the middle, hoping to blend in. It worked. My paranoia subsided by the time I reached the fairgrounds.

Talk about a close call. After two nights raging hard in AC, I didn't want to miss the third and final show because of a random K-9 unit on traffic duty. I made it to the lots without any other potential heart attacks and quickly celebrated with a couple of Jello shots.

Shakedown reeked like stale beer, teriyaki sauce, and wook shit. Everyone looked hungover and/or sunburned to all hell. Extras were going for around $30-40 for a non-sold out show (office tix were $70). A few spunions were "woooooooo!"-ing it up in Shakedown, while several lot comedians were making cat calls like, "Who's got my bath salts??"

Shakedown was crowded but the it was nothing like Saturday's mayhem. I know a lot of friends had to work on Monday, so they skipped the Sunday show. Javier had to work so he returned to NYC. I never saw Igor after he attempted to pick up the sassy Russian jailbait that worked in one of the pizza shops on the Boardwalk.

I met up with Bruce and Fred and hung out with them at the show. Bruce is a drummer and visual artist who was responsible for doubling my Dead bootleg collection in the mid-1990s. I saw my last Dead show with Bruce at Giants stadium in June 1995. Shortly after that I tried to get him into Phish. He was reluctant at first, but sometime during the first hiatus, he really caught the itch for Phish. By the second hiatus, something had clicked... and he was hooked. Phish is like that for many people... it's an acquired taste.

I saw Gordo and his family navigating the lots in a golf cart. I asked him to play Waves because I had it as one of my Pick 4 tunes for a fantasy pool I'm doing with the G-Vega$ boys. I was in first place going into the last night and I was feeling good about my selections: Brother, YEM, Waves, and Melt. By the end of the night, only one song would be played and many phans walked out of the show thinking, "Where the fuck was YEM?" I had a similar feeling when I left Superball last summer. I was baffled at its omission then, and I was baffled at the omission after the AC run.

Much like the previous Fathers' Day gigs, Phish kicked off the show with Brother and some of their kids jumped into an old-school metal bathtub at the center of the stage. This is a weird Phish Stat... only one male heir in the Phishdom... Fish has a son and the rest of the band all has daughters.

Jim popped up in the second spot and would have been the opener if it weren't Fathers' Day. I used to go apeshit for Jim in the late 90s, but in 3.0 it seems as though Jim has become a throw-away opener.

The first bustout of the night was Dog Stole Things. I was hoping to see more random (non-slow) songs played and DST fit the bill. A surprising Boogie On batted clean-up... but this compacted version was nothing like the incendiary funk-monster from Worcester.

I dig NICU because of it's subversive lyrics and because it puts everyone around me in a good mood. I thought Foam put everyone to sleep, which is why Trey needed to wake everyone up with a eardrum shattering Wilson.

Javier was calling for Timber Ho on Friday and Saturday. Of course, he skips Sunday's show and they play it. Trey put me on ripchord tilt after he bailed from Timber. For the first time in the show, the boys really got something cooking, but as soon as the song reached the 6-minute mark, they rushed the ending and it finished up less than seven minutes. The only saving grace? Stage banter ensued.... including some Phish geekery. Trey asked the crowd if they could name the songs with a Tarzan-like scream at the end.

"The correct answer is three," said Big Red.

The songs are: My Friend My Friend. Rift. Brother. Trey lobbied to add a fourth.

"Today's a special day. Timber will now end with BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA."

He then tried to up-sell Page into ending Lawn Boy with the yell. Yes, I missed Phish stage banter... but it came at the expense of a potential rocking Timber. Less chat and more jamming, please.

Fluffhead got the crowd whipped up in a frenzy. It also marked the high-water moment with peak energy for the first set.

One of the cooler things about last summer was the re-introduction of Walls of the Cave. I just wish they practiced it more and that Gordo did the "Thhhhh-gooooooooooooooooooosh" song effect before the "Listen to the silent trees" segment.

The boys ended the first set with a predictable rocking tune... Character Zero, which included predictable high Trey wanking factor.

I was kinda let down in the second set. It lacked the fluidity and failed to blow the hinges off the door like the previous shows. I let lofty expectations get in the way of reality. After Friday and Saturday's monstrous second sets, I assumed Phish was going to repeat that theme and go off the deep end with some serious melt-your-fucking-face jamming.

2001 lot sticker design by Pauly

Sunday's second set kicked off on a positive note with yet another cover song -- The Who's Drowned. Gordo led the charge, but it seemed as though Trey was stealing Gordo's thunder a bit. I heard the first few teases of 2001 but the band shifted into full-blown extraterrestrial mode. One of my favorite versions in a while. Page was throwing down with some serious clav action.

I should have seen 2001 coming. After all, Phish was playing on Bader Field which is essentially an airport. On Saturday, planes were spraying chemtrails like crazy. Plus, you had built-in tarmac. The landing strips were there for a fucking reason... the Mothership.

Sure, the casino conglomerates and local political machine threw tons of cash at Phish to play a festival in AC, but, there's something mystical about southern New Jersey, which has had its fair share of UFO sightings. And how about that mischievous Jersey devil? Weird shit goes on in that part of the country... and we were all part of the grand experiment. CK5's lights sent out specific messages to the Mothership. It's 2012. We're all itching to make contact already. Seriously, where does all that liquid sunshine and molly come from anyway? The Greys cook it aboard the Mothership and then flood the lots with their cosmic intoxicants.

Sorry for the tangent. 2001 > Reba might have been the highlight of the set. It was all downhill from there. I had tons of fun, but the band only had a couple of moments of jamming grandeur in the second set. Part of me felt the band had run out of gas, or maybe they were trying to fill too many requests for friends and family? Or perhaps Trey stopped listening to everyone else during jams and just went full-blown jack-off Trey?

I like Ween. A lot. But this version of Roses Are Free felt more like a first set Roses. It was short and tight, but lacked the ooomph of previous Roses. Dare I say... they phoned it in.

Chalkdust is Big Red's favorite tune and busting it out in the middle of the first set gave them the opportunity to open it up a bit. CK5 flashed evil red sinister lights during CDT. Kinda scary.

I had a rough time during Caspian and Bug. I got stuck in between two of the worst types of concert go-ers. To my right was the schwasted guy doing the loud "Wooooo-hooooo!" To my left were three shitfaced hipster girls who talked the entire show. I had to re-locate in order to preserve my sanity. The drunk guy was screaming every thirty seconds, even during the slow parts to Caspian. Every. Thirty. Seconds. It was a loud, deafening primal scream and reminded me like a baby deer getting speared by a rhino.

I finally found much better dance space by the time Bug slipped into Silent in the Morning (without The Horse). After the energy was sucked out of the place by the slower songs, the boys opted for yet another cover to inject some life into the audience. This time it was the Beatles A Day in the Life on the eve of Sir Paul McCartney's birthday.

Courtesy of @Phish_FTR

A rare Down with Disease ended the first set. It was a curveball for sure, but it's lack of juiciness felt like a first set opener rather than a potential set closer. DWD is one of the big guns. Use it like a big gun! That last song of the set is what anchors the entire show. DWD on paper looked "sick" and even though it was a solid yet modest rendition, it was nothing like the jam vehicle we're used to. It didn't blow me away... at a time I was expecting a YEM or something else that was going to make me say, "I'm dropping everything I'm doing to see them in Virginia."

Yeah, I'm skipping the next two shows and jumping back on tour in Cincy, but if Phish had just absolutely smoked the shit out of the second set, I'd be having a rough time making a decision on whether or not I should just say fuck it and go to Virginia.

Anway, I think everyone around me was expecting a YEM encore, except the one schmoo-tard who wanted to hear Waste. I shot her the stinkeye and put the vibe out for YEM like everyone else.

Anticipation was building during the short break. The boys took the stage. What would be the song to cap off a magnificent three-day run? Yes, you guessed it... Gotta Jibboo. Wait, what? It seemed out of place. It's a tune better suited for earlier in the set. I didn't expect to hear it as an encore. Friday night was Big Red bopping up and down to First Tube. Saturday night was the bong-rattling Good Times Bad Times. Sunday was... Gotta Jibboo.

By the way, what the hell is a jibboo anyway? Is it a baby wook?

Luckily, the band turned to Bob Dylan's Quinn the Eskimo to save the encore with a second song. I dig two song encores because now the Jibboo selection wasn't that weak sauce. But, I'm starting to get a little concerned that the band relies too much on cover songs when they get in trouble. By the way... about the Mighty Quinn... it was good to see Gordo sing anything and I was pumped that Quinn played its way back into the rotation a couple summer ago (the Telluride version still gives me chills).

So the band fizzled out a bit in the third night, but as a whole, the AC run was a magnificent weekend of Phish, fun, and mayhem. Phish cranked out a couple of epic jamilicious moments that I hope will be surpassed in the coming week(s). AC is a sketchy place, but I'd definitely return for another multi-day festival... it was so much easier to get to than Superball! Plus, there's something about the vibe of AC that makes me kick it up a notch in the party department. I raged pretty hard and had a blast.

I might be critical of the band when I write about them or poke fun at them on Twitter, but I always have a kick ass time at Phish. That's why I go see so many shows. Ordinary life is... well... ordinary. I couldn't think of any other place I'd rather be than seeing Phish three nights in a row.

In case you missed it, here's my recaps from the other AC shows: Night 1: Satan Standing On the Beach and the Birds Orgy and Night 2: Manteca-Light Sand-Funk Fiesta.