Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hal Masa: You Enjoy My-Mix Summer 2012 Leg1

Hal Masa released his latest mix, which includes several fresh jams from this summer's tour. Here's the best of Leg 1...

Download link

Buried Alive (6/7 Worcester1) >
Piper (7/8 SPAC3) >
Reba (6/17 AC3) >
Funky Bitch Jam1 > Jam2 (6/7 Worcester1)>
Skin It Back (7/3 JB1) >
Twist (6/22 Cincy) >
Waves (6/28 Deer Creek1) >
Harry Hood > What's The Use (6/20 Portsmouth2) >
Ocelot (6/7 Worcester1) >
Back On The Train (6/19 Portsmouth1)

Download link

Roses are Free (6/8 Worcester2) >
Harry Hood (6/7 Worcester1)>
Ocelot (6/16 AC2) >
46 Days (7/1 Alpine2) >
Rock And Roll (6/20 Portsmouth2) >
Simple > Light > Weekapaug Groove (6/23 Star Lake) >
Possum (6/7 Worcester1) >
Possum (6/16 AC2)

Download link

2001 (6/17 AC3) >
Ghost > Boogie on Reggae Woman (6/7 Worcester1) >
Fee (7/1 Alpine2) >
Prince Caspian (7/7 SPAC2) >
Slave to the Traffic Light (6/23 Star Lake) >
Runaway Jim (6/7 Worcester1) >
Kill Devil Falls (6/8 Worcester2) >
Crosseyed And Painless > Lighteca (6/16 AC2) >
Sneakin' Sally Thru the Alley > Ghost (7/6 SPAC1)

Download link

Party Time (7/8 SPAC3) >
McGrupp & Watchful Hosemasters (6/28 Deer Creek1) >
Birds Of A Feather > Back On The Train (AC1) >
Maze (6/19 Portsmouth1) >
La Grange (7/8 SPAC3) >
Run Like Antelope (6/16 AC2) >
Golden Age (7/3 JB1) >
Golden Age > Ghost (6/24 Blossom) >
If I Could (6/7 Worcester1) >
Tweezer (6/24 Blossom) >
Tweezer (7/4 JB2) >
Possum (6/24 Blossom) >
Kill Devil Falls (7/8 SPAC3)

Download link

Alumni Blues > Letter To Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues (7/4 JB1) >
Sand (6/29 Deer Creek2) >
Down With Disease > Blister In The Sun > Down With Disease (7/7 SPAC2) >
Light > Ghost (7/1 Alpine2) >
Carini > Shafty (6/10 Bonnaroo) >
Light Up Or Leave Me Alone (6/22 Cincy) >
David Bowie (6/15 AC1) >
Harry Hood (6/30 Alpine1) >
You Enjoy Myself (7/8 SPAC3)
Thanks again to Hal Masa for creating and sharing this mix!

5 Lil Kids Playing Acoustic Guitar

These little kids are FREAKING ME OUT!

I mean... are they alien hybrids? Or are they totally brainwashed under the North Korean regime? Regardless.... these kids are too perfect and simply FREAKING ME OUT!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Morning Key Bumps: Lee Morgan

It's Monday morning... time for a little pick-me-up!

Lee Morgan is one of my favorite all-time overlooked hard bop jazz musicians. Here's a little diddy titled Yes I Can, No You Can't, which is a cut from Morgan's 1965 album "The Gigolo."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

100 Riffs: Brief History of Rock and Roll

100 rock and roll riffs using a 58 Fender Strat. Enjoy.

100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N' Roll) from Chicago Music Exchange on Vimeo.

If you are curious, here's a list of all 100 riffs...
1 Mr. Sandman - Chet Atkins
2 Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
3 Words of Love - Buddy Holly
4 Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
5 Rumble - Link Wray
6 Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
7 Pipeline - The Chantays
8 Miserlou - Dick Dale
9 Wipeout - Surfaris
10 Daytripper - The Beatles
11 Can't Explain - The Who
12 Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
13 Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
14 Black Magic Woman - Santana
15 Helter Skelter - The Beatles
16 Oh Well - Fleetwood Mac
17 Crossroads - Cream
18 Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin
19 Paranoid - Black Sabbath
20 Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
21 Funk 49 - James Gang
22 Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
23 Bitch - Rolling Stones
24 Layla - Derek and the Dominos
25 School's Out - Alice Cooper
26 Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple
27 Money - Pink Floyd
28 Jessica - Allman Brothers
29 La Grange - ZZ Top
30 20th Century Boy - T. Rex
31 Scarlet Begonias - Grateful Dead
32 Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
33 Walk This Way - Aerosmith
34 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
35 Stranglehold - Ted Nugent
36 Boys Are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy
37 Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
38 Carry on My Wayward Son - Kansas
39 Blitzkreig Bop - The Ramones
40 Barracuda - Heart
41 Runnin' with the Devil - Van Halen
42 Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
43 Message in a Bottle - The Police
44 Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) - Neil Young
45 Back in Black - AC/DC
46 Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
47 Spirit of Radio - Rush
48 Pride and Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughan
49 Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes
50 Holy Diver - Dio

51 Beat It - Michael Jackson
52 Hot For Teacher - Van Halen
53 What Difference Does It Make - The Smiths
54 Glory Days - Bruce Springsteen
55 Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
56 You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi
57 The One I Love - REM
58 Where the Streets Have No Name - U2
59 Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses
60 Sweet Child 'O Mine - Guns N' Roses
61 Girls, Girls, Girls - Motley Crue
62 Cult of Personality -Living Colour
63 Kickstart My Heart - Motley Crue
64 Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty
65 Pictures of Matchstick Men - Camper Van Beethoven
66 Thunderstruck - AC/DC
67 Twice as Hard - Black Crowes
68 Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson
69 Enter Sandman - Metallica
70 Man in the Box - Alice in Chains
71 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
72 Give it Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
73 Even Flow - Pearl Jam
74 Outshined - Soundgarden
75 Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine
76 Sex Type Thing - Stone Temple Pilots
77 Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
78 Welcome to Paradise - Green Day
79 Possum Kingdom - Toadies
80 Say it Ain't So - Weezer
81 Zero - Smashing Pumpkins
82 Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters
83 Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground
84 Smooth - Santana
85 Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers
86 Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake
87 Turn a Square - The Shins
88 Seven Nation Army - White Stripes
89 Hysteria - Muse
90 I Believe in a Thang Called Love - The Darkness
91 Blood and Thunder - Mastodon
92 Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
93 Reptilia - The Strokes
94 Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
95 Float On - Modest Mouse
96 Blue Orchid - White Stripes
97 Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
98 Steady As She Goes - The Raconteurs
99 I Got Mine - Black Keys
100 Cruel - St. Vincent

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Video: Fishman Explains His Drum Kit

Here's Fishman explaining his kit. This was the setbreak video that appeared during the MSG NYE webcast.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Morning Key Bumps: Sammy Davis Jr. Sings The Jeffersons Theme Song

All I gotta say, is chop up a thick, juicy line for this gem... the one and only Sammy Davis, Jr. covering the theme song from The Jeffersons...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Phish Mix: Sand Sand Sand (2012)

Something happened with Sand this summer. Phish rekindled an old romance with the original TAB tune Sand. Call it a slight evolution if you want, but whatever happened Sand emerged as one of the Leg 1 MVPs.

Here's every version of Sand from the first leg of 2012 summer tour in a Phishy mix I created titled SAND SAND SAND. The "filler" is a version of Sand from Superball IX. Enjoy the plethora of delicious Sand jams.

Phish Mix: SAND SAND SAND (2012)

1. Woostah 6.8.12 - (8:21)
2. Bader Field 6.16.12 - (10:11)
3. Cincy 6.22.12 - (8:43)
4. Deer Creek 6.29.12 - (10:20)
5. Jones Beach 7.3.12 - (10:50)
6. SPAC 7.6.12 - (10:15)

7. Superball IX 7.1.11 - (9:57)

* * * *

By the way, the Joker reminded me about this trippy, futuristic, alien animation by Steve Scott. Someone replaced the original music with the studio version of Sand. I've watched this video a dozen times and I still have no idea what is going on!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hitler Responds to Phish Fall Tour Rumors on PT

Watch this ASAP before the YouTube police take it down. They already yanked three other versions!

BTW, thanks to Pauly for writing most of this hysterical dialogue.

Disclaimer: if you don't have a sense of humor, then don't watch the video! We all love Phish, but sometimes we love to poke fun at ourselves for taking our love of Phish waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Morning Key Bumps: Superbad and These Eyes

After a brief hiatus... the Monday Morning Key Bumps are back. So buckle up and take a bump of your pick-me-up-du-jour in honor of one of my favorite scenes from Superbad...

"My brother came all the way from Scottsdale, Arizona... you want a line of cocaine?"

And here's The Guess Who and their version...

Talk about the hurtin'. Happy Monday, y'all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Also Sprach Zarathustra: 2001, Elvis, Stanley Kubrick, and the Phish

Back in the early 1970s when Elvis was headlining Vegas, he opened up his shows with "2001" blasting over the soundsystem before rushing onstage in his infamous one-piece jumpsuit and kicking off the show with CC Rider.

And of course, here's the opening sequence to Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey...

And I can't leave without tossing a little Phish in there circa the Island Tour in 1998...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

John Coltrane Videos: Europe Live (1960-61-65)

On my way back home from Phish tour, I read a book about John Coltrane on the flight from JFK to LAX. I've been on a Coltrane kick the last few days and want to share this video I stumbled upon.

Here's over ninety minutes of John Coltrane's live performances from different venues during gigs in Germany and Belgium circa 1960, 1961, and 1965. You might recognize some classics like On Green Dolphin Street (0:03), Walkin' (9:01), Impressions (49:57), Naima (1:06:21) and a couple of versions of My Favorite Things (34:10 and 1:14:00).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Page Keyboard Doc - Part 2

Does anyone have access to Part 1?

Anyway, here's Page explaining his theremin and keytar in the second part of the mini-doc that appeared at setbreak of the Jones Beach webcasts...

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Phish Setlist: 7/8/12 SPAC #3

The third and final show at SPAC is also the tour closer for Leg I. Here's what you missed:
The Phish 7/8/12 SPAC, NY

Set 1: AC/DC Bag, My Soul, Camel Walk, Sample in a Jar, Wilson, Party Time, Gumbo, Nellie Kane, Driver, Foam, If I Could, Split Open and Melt, La Grange*

Set 2: Axilla, Light > Twist, Kill Devil Falls, My Friend, My Friend, Swept Away > Steep, Piper >Free, Kung, HOOD, Cavern, David Bowie

* Last time played, 9/22/99 Las Cruces, NM

Photo courtesy of @Phish_FTR

SPAC #2 Recap: Blistering Sabotage

Every once in a while Phish unleashes a heater and you we're damn glad you went to that show. Whereas the night's festivities might not sound as epic on "tape" or in the modern realm -- via digital recording -- it was still one of those nights that you'll hold dear to your heart like a loopy Vietnam veteran.

"I was fucking there, man. Where you? I didn't fucking think so."

I caught one of those epic shows at Deer Creek in 2000. All I have to say is "Moby Dick" and the tour vets from the end of the 1.0 era all give you the same head nod. "Moby Dick? Yep, I was fucking there, man. What a night." That magnificent night at Deer Creek featured Phish weaving Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" in and out of the show, and as a result you never knew whether or not Phish was gonna throw in a lick... at any given time.

The first leg of summer 2012 has been special because you never know what Phish was going to do on any given night. The band has dug deep into their repertoire, promising (and delivering on) 200 songs this year, which included random covers they hadn't played in years and dusting off bustouts that would make any jaded vet break down and cry. Heck, Phish shattered that 200-song milestone somewhere during the second night at SPAC.

I told you in the last recap about my fondness for SPAC, especially when I'm inside the pavilion or the "shed" as the locals like Irongirl prefer to call it. Inside the belly of the beast. I keep saying this... because it's true... inside the shed at SPAC feels like an indoor show. The sound is phenomenal and if you're up on the balcony you get the extra added bonus of the ground beneath you rumbling. Phish is just like a secret government black op that can create earthquakes. If you don't know what I'm talking about just google: "Stardog Phish HAAARP."

Anyway, conspiracies aside, Phish ripped the hell out of another show and I was lucky to be along for the ride.

I woke up on Saturday morning at Irongirl's condo with breathing problems. I'm allergic to cats but I also felt the inklings of the wook flu coming on. I'm a certified lot doctor so I made sure I drank lots of liquids, loaded up on zinc and Vitamin C, and got some rest. As a result, I skipped all of the pre-party festivities and didn't wandering up and down Shakedown trying to sling stickers. Instead, we arrived at the lots much later than the day before and I plopped my ass down in the shade on a lawn chair. I waited for friends to stop by... Josh and Nigel... while Phil and Irongirl went on a hunt to find Phil's pav ticket for the show.

I saw the po-po arrest an entire car of Phishkids. Who knows what they did wrong, but stupid and sloppy phans help juke the arrest stats of local law enforcement officials. I can't stress this enough... party smart... and don't blaze up a blunt in front of a cop.

Anyway, I wasn't feeling well before the show and if this was any other band, then I would have stayed home. That's a testament to how awesome a band like Phish is... I would risk my own personal health just to see a show. I wouldn't do that for any other modern band (with the exception of any Galactic show, but it has to be in NOLA). Phish's music has magical healing powers. I felt like a leper chasing down Christ and asking him to attach his missing left foot back onto his body.

I made the wise move and decided not to live-tweet the show for my friends who didn't make it to SPAC. Besides, the show was being simulcast on satellite radio and there was anywhere from a 5 to 10 minute delay, so if I was tweeting, then I'd be getting hundreds of bitchy @replies from people telling me I was spoiling their show. I made the wise choice to shut down twitter (save for any special announcements -- of which I'd have one or two). Sometimes being the guy handling the twitter feed for @CoventryMusic can be stressful. I felt like Scotty B from @yemblog, who was uber-burnt out and decided to focus on enjoying the music this tour instead of providing live commentary. I'm a lucky dog and get to see about 2 out of every 3 shows in 3.0, so I don't mind take a few seconds in between songs to give a few snarky comments for my crew who couldn't make the show. Besides more importantly, my show tweets are all for me because I rely upon them as "notes" later on when I write the recap.

Anyway, I had the first sober show all tour, unless you could cold/allergy meds as a drug. Irongirl, Phil, and I had seats in the balcony. Phil was pumped because he wanted to feel the ground below him rattle. We had virtually the same section as the night before... just a couple of seats to the left. If you're in the first half of the balcony, it's a near perfect view because you get a full-blown light show from CK5.

The show kicked off with an a capella version of Grind, before blasting off into orbit with a pair of crowd pleasers... Possum and Golgi. I thought Golgi was an interesting choice, but an indication at the type of show the band was about to deliver. Usually Golgi is a late set song that the band relies upon to inject a boost in the crowd's energy. The fact that the played it right after Possum was proof that Trey didn't wanted to keep surfing peak-crowd energy. Just take a look at the song choices... all the way down to the set closer. The only slow down was Lawn Boy. Otherwise, Phish took off and never looked back.

Moma Dance is a bit of cow-funk that gets even the whitest of the whitest dudes dancing like they were an extra on "Soul Train." Last year I was chasing Torn and Frayed because whenever I jumped off tour, the boys penalized me and played the one "Exile on Main Street" cover that I dig the most. Besides, the lyrics matched my health at the time. Phil laughed and pointed at me during...
Joe's got a cough, sounds kind a rough,
Yeah, and the codeine to fix it.
Doctor prescribes, drug store supplies,
Who's gonna help him to kick it
Yep, I could have used something out of Keith Richards' doctor's medical bag (anything except the China White heroin... I'm a drug fiend, but not a full-blown junkie).

I noticed Rift was being squeezed into second sets this tour, but it was perfectly placed in between a pair of covers. Sometimes I feel as though the boys phone in Cities, but not this time. The crowd was hanging on every word. The jam-out into Maze was led by some juicy Page clav-milking and we even got a little sprinkling of plinko hot sauce.

I was spoiled with some smoking-sizzling-searing versions of Maze in 2010 and 2011... so at this point I set the bar low. Man, I just listened to that again and Page was en fuego. I don't think I've seen him mash his keys like he did during Maze.

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2012

Page took center stage to croon the audience for Lawn Boy. That song was for all of the poor fuckers caught up on the jam-packed lawn. And yes, I broke my Twitter silence to delivery my obligatory tweet about wet Phishy chicks and Leo locking up post show poon tang.

Peaches is getting better the more they play it. I can't recall off hand the first time I caught Peaches in 3.0 but it was slooooooooooopy to all hell. Even Zappa would have taken a dump on Trey's monitor for that insulting version. But they've practiced it since then and it's getting tighter.

Gin was special for me because I always think of my buddy and partner in crime -- the Joker. It was a special day for him because his daughter had her first birthday. I shot him a text when the song began and he was literally giving his starbaby a bath when Gin was playing. It's hard not to walk around SPAC without getting vivid flashbacks of the first time the Joker and I toured together in 2004, which included a couple of shows at SPAC and a side trip to Niagara Falls after the shows. That's when we stumbled into a strip club in Canada and I told the nubile nekkid goddesses that the Joker and I were actually musicians from a band called "Phish." About a dozen strippers flocked to us the rest of the night and for a couple of hours, I lost the Joker deep in the bowels of the infamous VIP room. Ah... fun times in 2.0!

After Gin ended, Trey ran over to Gordo and whispered something in his ear. I figured the set was non-stop heat so Trey wanted a self-indulgent rock star moment and end the first set with an exclamation point. Enter... Good Times Bad Times. The high-wank factor was in full effect and the kids riding the rail were drenched in Big Red's spooge bomb. GTBT doesn't appear out of the encore slot very often, so I was pumped to hear it to close the first set.

At setbreak, I looked at my notebook and found my setlist notes for the Blossom show. That was a rock and roll buffet and this show was on a similar wave length. Every once in a while you're treated to a rock and roll blowout.

Down with Disease opener is a bad cliche, yet it's the necessary fuel that Phish needs to rocket them into the cosmos. This particular DWD included an injection of Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun. It was the first time the boys unleashed that cover since Barcelona in 1998. We didn't get a full on version... so I wondered if it was going to count in the "200 songs" department. Little did we know, Blister would get weaved in and out of the second set. It wasn't as pronounced as the Moby Dick Deer Creek show, but it was tons of fun nonetheless. Personally, the Violent Femmes were the soundtrack for my high school days growing up in New York City. A couple of years later, the Femmes would play a free concert at my college. Just last month, I stumbled upon a French-pop lounge act that my French pal Benjo knows well... Nouvelle Vague. We posted her cover of Blister in the Sun for our Monday Morning Key Bumps.

Anyway, Phish weaved Blister in the Sun into a few songs in the set including Backwards, Scent Of A Mule, Mike's and Weekapaug.

Boogie On was short and quick, but Irongirl and I were dancing our asses off along with everyone in our section. Irongirl caught the first Golden Age at the Albany shows during fall tour 2009. I've been super lucky and saw 11/14 times it's been played. Phish really has the TV on the Radio cover down pat and put their unique signature on it. Although, I still think the Blossom version might be my favorite.

I can never complain about a show that includes 2001. The 2001-dance party was in full effect. I was still a little sick, but again, Phish's music is so powerful that I couldn't stop grooving and getting down. Oh, and my 2001 Mothership stickers have been selling like hotcakes. I had to re-up at least once since tour started and need to order a new batch for Leg II. I only have a few left, so get them while their hot!

I'm not a fan of a late set Backwards because it ruins the flow of the set. However, this version included Blister in the Sun licks so was glad to hear it. The only lull in the set was Caspian but I sat down to people watch and took the only hit of herb I had all show. Like I said, it was a sober show for me and I was having tons of fun with Phish's magical healing music.

According to LivePhish.com, Scent of a Mule clocked in at the longest song of the set... which was peculiar because not a single song went into double digits (unless you could DWD+Blister as a whole unit). So, we didn't get any monster jams, but who cares because the second set was flowing smoothly. Oh, and Scent had some more Blister insertion.

Mike's > Contact > Weekapaug ended the set. I had wagered big bucks on Contact in my high-stakes phantasy pool with the G-Vegas boys, so I was jumping up and down when they squeezed it in as the Mike's Groove lunch meat.

I thought I saw Trey walk back onstage for the encore with a different guitar. Turned out he needed a different dirtier sound to shred Sabotage. He dedicated the encore to MCA from the Beastie Boys, who passed away earlier in the year. Sabotage was sloppy but it sounded much better than Dick's version. It definitely won't translate well on tape, but if you were at the show, you were caught up in a massive tidal wave of crowd energy. It reminded me of the night in Alpharetta, GA when they butsed out Killing in the Name. Much like that night, the entire crowd was going berserk. Man, that's a powerful feeling...when you're caught up in the middle of all of that infectious insanity. I never see that sort of frenetic enthusiasm when I see other bands.

That was my 13th show (out of 19) this tour and it will go down as a memorable evening for sure. Two down at SPAC. One more to go.

* * * *

Check out previous recaps from shows I caught this tour:
AC 1: Satan Standing on the Beach
AC 2: Manteca-Light Sand Funk Fiesta
AC 3: Mothership Extraction
Cincy: Can You Still Have Fun?
Burgettstown: Tweakpaug
Blossom: Tweeze Away
Deer Creek #1: Heat Wave Hijinks
Deer Creek #2: Master Blaster
Alpine Valley #1: Float With the Flock
Alpine Valley #2: Gotta Get Out of This Maze
Jones Beach #2: Head Held High
SPAC #1: Light Up the Sally Ghost
Also, don't forget to check out our master index page of all of our Phish summer tour 2012 coverage.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Phish Setlist: 7/7/12 SPAC #2

The Phish returned for night two of a three-show run at SPAC. Here's what you missed...
Le Phish, 7/7/12 SPAC

Set 1: Grind, Possum, Golgi, Moma Dance, Torn and Frayed, Rift, Cities, Maze, Lawn Boy, Peaches En Regalia, GIN, Good Times Bad Times

Set 2: Down With Disease > Blister in the Sun > Down With Disease, Boogie On, Golden Age > 2001, Backwards Down the Number Line, Prince Caspian, Scent of a Mule > Blister in the Sun > Scent of a Mule, Mike's Song > Contact > Weekapaug

E: Sabotage*

* Trey dedicates the song to the late Adam "MCA" Yauch

FYI... the official poster is by Rich Kelly

Phish Videos SPAC: Tube > Psycho Killer > Tube

Nice little mix of Tube funk and some Talking Heads...

Thanks to @mkdevo!

SPAC #1 Recap: Light Up the Sally Ghost

This is my favorite point of a tour -- toward the end -- because the band has been firing on all cylinders for a couple of weeks and reached peak form. Plus, SPAC is almost a "home show" for the quartet from Vermont and Phish never wants to let their phamily down.

SPAC is a spectacular venue to see Phish. If you're inside the pavilion, it's like being at an indoor show. If you're stuck up on the lawn, you're seeing a completely different Phish show. With the exception of Alpine Valley's massive slope, SPAC is the only outdoor venue where I'm a lawn snob and do everything possible to get inside the shed.

The Joker and I caught what might have been our favorite 2004 show at SPAC. Since the 3.0 reunion, Phish has only played SPAC three times (a solo soggy shot in 2009 and a double-dip in 2010) but the boys returned to SPAC for a three-night run to end the first leg on their summer tour.

The first night of SPAC is the show I expected them to play on July 4th.... a nonstop heater in the second set from start to finish. Instead, the July 4th show was packed with 30+ songs including a few bustouts and plethora of "greatest hits." I left Jones Beach on a positive note because I knew the band was going to "bring the heat" during the final three shows at SPAC.

I woke up in NYC and hopped on the train to Albany. I love train travel and always loathed driving on the NY Thruway. Besides, I don't drive anymore after I miraculously survived a pretty bad car wreck in Vegas last summer. I haven't been behind the wheel since. I'm so grateful to be alive... and even more blessed to see Phish with some of my dearest friends.

I relied heavily on my girlfriend last summer to make the hero drives during the west coast swing. This year, I'm fortunate because my friends understood my unique situation and they all took turns carting my ass around from city to city during Leg I.

Irongirl and Phil picked me up at the train station. Phil made the last minute decision to see the SPAC shows and flew in from Texas the night before.

"I don't know when I'll be able to see Phish again," he said. With Phish's abbreviated schedule (two legs of summer tour and just a holiday run), phans have fewer chances to see the Phish.

My big sis, Irongirl, lives near SPAC so I catch shows with her whenever the circus migrates to upstate NY. Like many new phans that were originally Deadheads, Irongirl took a while before she developed a penchant for Phish. She finally "got it" sometime during the second hiatus. She saw her first-ever show at SPAC in 2009 and caught the Phish fever. Since then, she's racked up at least 20 shows.

You would think we're an odd pair of siblings because I like to be a lit monkey at the shows, while Irongirl has been sober for 20 years and took up marathon running and ironman events. These days she gets off on the music and dances her ass off from the moment the lights go down. Despite her clean living, she's totally cool with everyone around her partying it up. Alas, we can both be ourselves and have fun with Phish in our own way. At the same time, out of respect for Irongirl, I'm not ripping biker rails of molly in front of her or chomping on sugarcubes... at least not last night.

Irongirl is a savvy tour veteran. As a Deadhead she logged thousands and thousands of miles on the road and knows her way around the lot. She even had a stint in the Nitrous Mafia back in the 80s when she was slinging balloons on the original Shakedown. Irongirl is a superstar because she welcomes the task at being the designated driver, so I never have to worry about getting places. She's got her proverbial shit together, which means no drama on tour. You'd be surprised how just one person in your group could make or break your Phishy experience. Lucky for me, this summer tour has been smooth sailing on all fronts with different crews (Javier and the CT boys, the Cincy Deadhead crew, and now me and Irongirl).

We arrived at SPAC when the lots opened at 4:30pm. We parked a few rows behind Shakedown. Irongirl knows all the backroads around the state park, so she took a "local's route" and we bypassed the traffic. I've been to SPAC more times than I can count, but whenever I drove myself, I always got stuck parking a few miles from the venue and hiking around throw the woods just to get to the show. That's never a problem during the day, but at night it becomes problematic especially if you throw party favors into the mix.

I found ChinaKat. I had her tickets for all three nights and she had baked delicious treats. I wandered around and sold stickers. Phil was in search of pavs for Saturday and Sunday. It seemed as though a ton of extra lawns were floating around, but the only non-lawn ticket for sale was a pit for $100.

SPAC had a decent Shakedown and if you party smart, the local po-po leave you alone. I saw a pair of wooks cuffed on the ground and one cop digging around the kid's shoe in search of something. But aside from that, I didn't see too much weirdness before the show.

Irongirl and I had seats in the balcony on Fish side about six rows back. Like I said, anything inside the pav is a good seat and I was just happy to be in the shed, and not stuck out on the lawn.

A standard Jim opened the show, but the Ocelot in the second spot had a little extra hot sauce in the jam. I wasn't wearing the shirt... like I was raging the pit at Alpine Valley when I was convinced Trey played it because he saw me point to it. Back on the Train was another notable instance of crispy funk from the first set. The boys have been smoking the hell out of it this tour, but considering it was early in the first set, they opened up the jam a bit and the balcony began to sway for the first time.

At the time, it seemed much longer... but the Tube > Psycho Killer > Tube was easily my favorite segment of the set. Quickie Tubes have been the norm in 2.0, but in this instance they tossed us a bone by squeezing a little Talking Heads into the mix. I caught the last Psycho Killer at Hartford, and just like then, the crowd went absolutely apeshit bananas when the band unleashed it.

We got more Fishman hijinks, perfectly placed in the first set so it didn't ruin the continuity of the second set. Phish has been known to beat a meme to death like "Page's house" last year and Fish's "tuck it in" this summer. If you're just hopping on tour for the first time, Trey has been telling Fish to tuck in his muumuu underneath his underwear. Hilarity ensues.

Fish took center stage holding two giant cymbals and Trey scurried behind Fish's kit. Fish belted out Neil Diamond's Cracklin' Rose, then gave away the cymbals to a fortunate fan in the pit.

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2012

The show returned to its normally scheduled programming with a mischievous Stash and we saw the first glimpse of an evil jam developing during the longest song of the set.

I have vivid memories of hearing Paul and Silas when I was a college student in Atlanta in 1993 and booming hard on shrooms during the infamous Fox Theatre run.

I'm a Traffic fan so I'm giddy like a schoolgirl whenever Page sings Light Up Or Leave Me Alone. The jam-out is what caught everyone's attention. You know it's a good sign when you forget what song they are playing... which happened to me twice. I didn't think the cover song would end the set (when the first started it), but Trey shredded it to pieces (channeling his inner Dave Mason) and there was nothing that could've topped that, except walk off stage and leave the crowd wanting more.

I found Nigel at setbreak. He was raging it up on Page side. We saw Jones Beach #2 together and I remarked about the major difference was the sound. Jones Beach is so wide open that the music just escapes everywhere, but SPAC is a sweatbox which traps the music, the heat, and the crowd energy into the shed.

The balcony was rocking from the first note of Chalk Dust Torture. From that point onward... it was nonstop heat. We didn't see any late set slowdowns that were buzzkills, and as a result, I danced nonstop from the start of a sinister Carini until the end of the set when I was drenched in sweat. Carini > Sand had the balcony bouncing up and down. The deviant Carini jam went off the deep end and melted into a pulsating Sand, which the band has relied upon in the second sets as a heady jam vehicle this tour. The Sand jam felt like a volcanic explosion during random moments when the crowd erupted into a seizure.

The crowd hung onto every single note of Ween's Roses Are Free. It was one of the tighter version I heard since Charleston 2010. Sure PYITE was slop city, but the crowd was so into it that it didn't matter.

And then things really got interesting... Sally > Ghost. We all know that Sneaking Sally is a funk rocket but they unexpectedly melted faces in a searing Page-led clav jam out that eventually morphed into Ghost. I lost my mud the last time I saw Ghost at the crazy Alpine Valley when I ate waaaaay too much acid. This version was not as spooky as Alpine and definitely wasn't anything like the untz-raved out versions from 97-98. However, the band stretched the elasticity of the subdued Ghost jam as far as they could push it.

After the 25-minute Sally > Ghost stretch, Phish put a couple of exclamation points on the set with an uppity and crowd pleasing Suzy and another high-octane smoking Antelope that featured both Tom Marshall and the Dude of Life on lyrics for the "Marco Esquandoles" part.

Yep, it was a rocking and ass-kicking second set, and assumed the encore was going to be a loud, rowdy tune like Good Times Bad Times. Phish stuck with a cover, but stuck with the old standby... the Stones' Loving Cup... to end the show. Phil wasn't too thrilled because he gets Cup as an encore a rendonkulus amount of times. Yep, it's definitely overplayed but I was thrilled not to hear something cheesey.

Another sick second set without any low-energy pitfalls. Phish kicked off the three-show SPAC run with a rager. And the good news is that we have two more shows to go!

* * * *

Check out previous recaps from shows I caught this tour:
AC 1: Satan Standing on the Beach
AC 2: Manteca-Light Sand Funk Fiesta
AC 3: Mothership Extraction
Cincy: Can You Still Have Fun?
Burgettstown: Tweakpaug
Blossom: Tweeze Away
Deer Creek #1: Heat Wave Hijinks
Deer Creek #2: Master Blaster
Alpine Valley #1: Float With the Flock
Alpine Valley #2: Gotta Get Out of This Maze
Jones Beach #2: Head Held High
Also, don't forget to check out our master index page of all of our Phish summer tour 2012 coverage.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Phish Setlist: 7/6/12 SPAC #1

The Phish, 7/6/12, Saratoga Springs, NY - SPAC

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Ocelot, Heavy Things, Back on the Train, Funky Biatch, Tube -> Psycho Killer -> Tube, Hold Your Head Up*, Cracklin' Rosie** > Hold Your Head Up, Stash, Bouncin' Round the Room, Paul and Silas, Horn, Corrina, Light Up or Leave Me Alone

Set 2: Chalkdust, Carini > Sand > Roses Are Free > PYITE > Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley > Ghost > Suzy Greenberg > Antelope***

Encore: Loving Cup

*"tucking" talk
**Fish gives away cymbals after falling over Mike's monitor
*** With the Dude of Life and Tom Marshall on vocals

Phish Jones Beach Videos: Head Held High

Here's a little something from Velvet Underground....

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Jones Beach #2 Recap: Head Up High

There's something about Jones Beach in 3.0 that rubs me the wrong way. Any NYC-area Phish show is going to get a little extra hype and in doing so, the shows are automatically set up to fail by the masses, even if you have modest expectations.

In 2009, I was thrilled to see Phish return to the stage but the Joker and I were drenched on two different nights at Jones Beach (they made up for it with a monstrous Drowned). Alas, braving the elements is just one of the prices to pay for seeing Phish outdoors. But, in 2010 things were a little off during that particular JB run. By the time the circus reached JB, the boys ran out of steam. Plus, let's not forget the black cloud that was cast over the venue because of the "jumper." Yeah, the last time I saw Phish at Jones Beach in 2010, some moron jumped off the top deck during Antelope... and wasn't even the best version of Antelope that tour.

So I had less-than-stellar shows at JB in 3.0 and I was hoping to break out of that slump. I went into the July 4th show with the lowest expectations I ever had for Phish. No matter what happened... it was going to be gravy. I skipped the first JB show because I was flying into NYC on Tuesday evening, but I got back to my brother's apartment just in time to rock it out on couch tour. Man, I was pumped because I got to have the Yankees game on in the background and pull bong rips on my bro's couch while I watched Phish's webcast. Someday, I really hope the band offers up webcasts of EVERY show.

The first night at JB fell into line with Phish's formula for this tour... first set is loaded with bustouts (Skin It Back is the ultimate bustout) and the second set is packed with greatest hits and some jamiliciousness. The second night at JB started out very similar, but I felt as though they really didn't open up any jams in the second set.

Considering how sensitive phans are these days, it's impossible for Phish to play a perfect show. No matter what, someone is going to be pissed off about something. But right now, the band is doing the best they can with this game plan -- 200 songs, bustouts, greatest hits, and a little bit of everything -- in an attempt to make everyone happy and challenge themselves by digging deep into their repertoire.

I've seen enough Phish shows to know that on any given night they can create a small thermonuclear detonation, but then again, I've seen several instances when I walked out of a show utterly disappointed because I felt that the boys phoned it in.

I got absolutely obliterated at the last night in Alpine Valley and I wanted to be in much better head space for JB. I was probably a 4 or 5 (out of 10) at the most on the fucked-up meter... which was perfect on a lovely summer night at the beach. At Alpine Valley, I was a 14.

I hitched a ride with Javier and the Connecticut boys. There was no traffic leaving the city and we zipped out to the beach in record time. We arrived at the lots just before 4pm and I had at least three hours to sell 2001 and Ancient Alien stickers.

"Do you know where I can get a VIP pass to the Mothership," said the adorable spunion in Shakedown when she saw the 2001 sticker.

"I do, but you can't tell anyone," I said after handing her a 2001 sticker. "Just give this to the tall grey ET with the clipboard and he'll escort you to VIP seats."

"Fuck yeah!" she screamed while simultaneously hugging me. "Mother-fucking-ship VIPS!"

Man, some days I fucking love hanging out in the lot. I love to watch people. It's the writer in me, curious to observe creatures in their natural habitat.

The Jones Beach lot is a mixed bag. There's usually two or three dense rows of vendors, but the state police is omnipresent and they try to shut down food sales, for some random reason. But if you party smart and drink beer in plastic cups, the police leave you be.

I met up with UNOlker and his crew, who were busy making LUSHINGTON signs. I wanted to wish UNOlker a happy 150th show.

"You know, Coventry was my 150th and 151st show," I told him. "I guarantee you're gonna have a much better time than I had!"

I found Nigel, a British phan, who had my ticket. He's such a cool guy that he even miracled it to me. That's the second miracle I got this tour (Tom hooked me up in Deer Creek) and the generosity of phans never ceases to amaze me. I first met Nigel during the Halloween run in Atlantic City. He makes the hero journey across the pond to see Phish. That's dedication. He was catching his first show this summer... JB #2 and then will finish it out with the SPAC run. We're roughly the same age and in a previous life, Nigel experienced one of the most luscious scenes (London post-punk) in the history of music. Nigel has a very rich musical pedigree and I was excited to see the show with him and chat about music. That's one of the most amazing aspects of Phish -- being able to meet cool people from all walks of life.

Nigel and I had seats on Page side just underneath the upper deck. We had a perfect view of the ocean behind the venue. Later on in the night, we'd be able to see a spooky orange harvest moon rise, not to mention all of the amateur fireworks that were being shut off intermittently during the show.

I was floored at the Manchester, NH show when the boys busted out Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues. So these days, I've seen it a few times and it packs less of a punch than before. I thought it was a better option for later in the first set, but Phish opened up their show with it. Coach Pauly would have called TMWSIY > Avinu Malkeinu > TMWSIY to open the show instead. Anyway, I grew up McCatholic and went to Catholic school for 13 years so "Avinu Malkeinu" doesn't appeal to me as much as it does my friends who are members of the tribe.

I'm a huge fan of Velvet Underground and it's been a sincere joy to hear a plethora of songs from "Loaded" this tour... especially ones they do not play often. Head Held High was a deep deep deep cut from "Loaded" and I listen to it a lot back home in California. I love belting out the falsetto lyrics "head held high" much to the dismay of my girlfriend who rolls her eyes whenever I do so.

Kill Devil Falls was really when the set finally took off. A trio of high school girls were rolling their tits off behind us. They were so cherry that it was adorable. They knew all the words to songs off of "Joy" and were confused by some of the cover tunes. The high school girls sang along to KDF with unbridled enthusiasm.

Bittersweet Motel always makes me think of the Phish documentary, especially "Page's New Shirt." Man, I'd love to see Trey bust out a Page's New Shirt Reprise one of these days.

My favorite part of the set included the stretch of Moma Dance, Gumbo, and Bowie. The boys injected a little funk into the set with Moma Dance, which got everyone grooving. After hearing that 18-minute Gumbo off of Live Bait 7, I'm spoiled and want to hear a version with a double digit jam.

And on cue, the high school girls behind us knew all the words off of Alaska too. Sometimes Alaska is hit or miss with me.... that instance it hit.

I haven't heard too many versions of Gordo's Suskind Hotel, but it seems as though it's getting better every time they play it. I definitely dig it 4000 times more than that weak-sauce Sugar Shack.

It was during Suskind when I first noticed the orange-reddish moon slowly rising up from the horizon behind the stage. Man, I didn't know CK5 could control what the moon looked like. That guy is a fucking genius. I hope that CK5 adds an orange moon to every show. Orange moons trump neon vaginas any day of the week.

We got some Fish hijinks in the first set... which I prefer because I think sometimes Fish hijinks ruins the momentum of the second set. Fish belted out Purple Rain but not before he warned the crowd that he was most likely going to butcher the lyrics. The band is beating the "tuck it in" horse to death this tour, so Fish also tucked in his muumuu before ripping off a tucking-inspired vac solo.

An a capella version of Star Spangled Banner ended the set while a group of rowdy frat boys started a boorish "USA! USA! USA!" chant.

I went into the show without any expectations, so I didn't mind the first set, but, I can understand why some friends were a little let down because the set was all over the place.

I heard the all-too familiar squishy bass at the start of the second set and for a second I thought DWD was coming. Instead, Phish launched into Stevie Wonder's Boogie On Reggae Woman. The guy next to me was pretty wasted and joked, "I wonder if Stevie Wonder would be pissed at how CK5 is lighting his song?"

Boogie On had some plinko-pecking from Page, but the jam was cut short in favor of Tweezer. I caught back-to-back Tweezers at Blossom and then a few days later at Deer Creek. Out of the three I saw this tour, the Blossom Tweezer sticks out as the one that fries my brain the most. The JB Tweezer wasn't as "in-your-face" as usual and a bit on the mellow side. I felt that set the tone for the set... it was going to be intense and mellow, but not as thrashing as some of the sets I had just seen in the Midwest. The Tweeze-jam trailed off into a bit of spacial cosmic jelly with a humping whales effect. At that point they could have gone in several directions. I was hoping for a little "Siket Disc" action and would have lost my mud if they busted out Quadrophonic Toppling, but they pulled out of the spin with Twist. Over this summer tour, Twist has become the launching pad for some serious jamming (with the exception of the super-short Deer Creek Twist). The AC Twist still gives me memory burns and the Cincy Twist has been in heavy rotation on my iPod. Whenever they play Twist, you know they are eager to jump off the deep end. The JB Twist was a melodic dessert, but definitely a few steps down on the mellow scale compared to where they were in the jam-out of Tweezer. It felt like the boys eased off the gas in the middle of Tweezer and were coasting thru Twist before the eventually arrived at Taste. Page also shines on Taste and the build up to the crescendo is always my favorite part.

After dragging the energy level down, they tried to perk it right back up with Quinn the Eskimo. The Dylan cover has been getting tons of play time the last couple of years. It's a quick shortcut to getting everyone up, dancing and singing along. It was actually one of the few covers that the high school girls knew the lyrics to.

Julius seemed out of place in the middle of the set. Usually Phish relies on it later in the set to inject a shit-ton of energy back into the crowd after playing a slow tune.

Rock and Roll has been dropped in the lineup a bit...it used to be a reliable set two opener, but it's interesting to see that Velvet Underground cover appear later in the set. My biggest gripe about set 2 was that the RR jam was ripchorded in favor of Horse > Silent. Look, I get it... as much as I want to hear a four or five song second set, that is a thing of the past. But it's hard to get any serious jamming done when Phish is trying to squeeze in a baker's dozen of songs.

After getting tilted by the slowdown, things perked up with Hood and the Stones' Shine A Light. What the hell was Show of Life doing in that set? They achieved what they wanted to do with Shine A Light (slowing it down and letting Fish catch a breath before building up to a glorious crescendo). Piggybacking SOL onto Shine A Light is nothing but self-indulgence. SOL added nothing to the set, if anything the set was on pace to finish up strongly, but SOL was a buzz kill once again.

At least they made up for it with Slave. It's my favorite Phish song and I never have a bad show whenever they play it. Javier suggested that Slave was indicative of the night... "It started out sloppy but they pulled it together and jammed it out perfectly."

On an other night, Loving Cup would have been the right pairing with Tweeprise, but it was a mellow night and Loving Cup seemed too rocking of a tune as compared to a much more laid back Sleeping Monkey. Oh, and Tweeprise was smoke. It always is. Too bad the end of the show did not include fireworks like we've seen at other July 4th shows. We had to wait until we stumbled out to the lot to catch the amateur fireworks.

As soon as the show ended, Nigel said, "Sooo cool."

He was spot on. During the second set I kept thinking about how much fun I was having on tour this year with different groups of friends. We were the luckiest ones on a planet of seven billion people. So many people are utterly miserable out there... which is why I was grateful for yet another opportunity to see the quartet from Vermont.

JB #2 was my 11th show this tour and 257th overall. I'm super pumped because I get to see three more shows to close out this leg. Hope to see ya in the lot at SPAC. Drive safely and party smart.

* * * *

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

Phish Jones Beach Videos: Skin It Back

Here's the ultimate bustout...

Thanks to mkdevo!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Phish Setlist: 7/4/12 Jones Beach #2

Phish is playing Jones Beach on Fourth of July. It's the second show in a row at JB.

The above image is a special Phish-inspired unicorn poster made by artist Ben Whitesell. For more information visit: BenWhitesell.com.

Here's the setlist:

Le Phish. 7/4/12 Jones Beach, NY

Set 1: Alumni Blues >Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Head Held High*, The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday^ > Avinu Malkeinu^ > The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday^, Kill Devil Falls, Bittersweet Motel**, MOMA > Gumbo, David Bowie, Alaska, Suskind Hotel, HYHU > Purple Rain*** > HYHU, The Star-Spangled Banner

Set 2: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Tweezer, Twist, Taste, Quinn the Eskimo, Julius, Rock & Roll > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, HOOD, Shine a Light, Show of Life, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

*= last played 10/31/1998, Las Vegas, NV
**= last played 8/2/2009 Red Rocks
^= last played 6/21/2009 Alpine Valley
***= last played 7/25/1999 Deer Creek

Phish Jones Beach Videos: Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Bang, bang... shoot, shoot.

Thanks again to mkdevo.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Phish Setlist: 7/3/2012 Jones Beach #1

Phish returns to Jones Beach for a pair of shows. You are probably aware both shows are being web cast at Livephish.com.

Here is the first night...
The Phish, 7/3/12 Jones Beach, Wantagh NY

Set 1: Skin It Back *, Possum, TUBE, Happiness Is a Warm Gun **, Mike's Song > H2 > Weekapaug, Halley's Comet, Axilla, Ya Mar, Joy, Jesus Left Chicago, Backwards

Set 2: Chalk Dust, SAND > Golden Age, Wolfman's Brah > Walk Away, BUG, Fluffhead, The Wedgie, Antelope


* Last played at a show 7.29.88, but soundcheck'd in 2003
** Last played Halloween 94

Alpine Valley #2: Gotta Get Out of This Maze

I ate too much acid and Phish scared the shit out of me.

There you have it. My 13 word review of the second night at Alpine Valley. I fully can't describe my experiences from the evening without giving you the straight dope... I ate too much acid, Phish scared the bejesus out of me when I tumbled down the rabbit hole and saw aliens, nearly got mauled by wildebeest, then dragged me through the most murky corners cosmos, before my schwasted ass was dumped in the cornfields behind Alpine Valley. That's when the band found me and rescued me.

I ate too much acid and got lost during a perturbing and confusing space-ambient Fee jam, in which I had no idea what they were playing, nor did I figure out what the hell was going on at the time. I got wicked auditory hallucinations during Meat, when the background vocals nearly drove me mentally insane.

I ate too much acid and got sucked down multiple rabbit holes (holes within holes within holes) and had no clue where the hell I was floating around for most of the first set, which included a mini-meltdown on Twitter.

I ate too much acid. Puddles and social media don't mix. Ever. How do you explain the walls of reality melting in 140 characters or less?

Despite the fact I ate too much acid, the first set highlights included bust outs like the fourth Vevet Underground cover in four days... Lonesome Cowboy Bill, the rare 2.0 tune A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, and an even rarer corn-funk'd up version of Access Me. Oh, I almost forgot about the keytar returned during Frankenstein.

Video courtesy of Dave Vann © Phish 2012

I ate too much acid and was very happy no one talked to me at setbreak because I would have just babbled nonsensical words, jumbled phrases, and wounded animal-like noises.

The second set was anchored by a pair of monster covers... Talking Heads Crosseyed and Painless and Zeppelin's No Quarter. Man, I ate too much acid and experienced such a vivid flashback during the segue between Crosseyed > No Q, that it made me wonder if flashbacks were mini-leaps through time and space. Every time you had a flashback, you actual became a time traveler.

I ate too much acide and thought I peaked out during Light, but I was just being toyed with. I forgot that I ate too much acid, and tumbled down yet another rabbit hole. If things weren't spooky enough on a head full of liquid sunshine, the boys dragged me trough the deepest and most deviant corners of my mind in search of a hideous beast, otherwise known as Ghost. Or was it a grey alien? Whatever it was, that ugly beast lurking around the shadows took a swipe at me and nearly clawed me to death.

The second set highlight was when I got to surf wave after wave after wave of infectious crowd energy during the tsunami created by the 46 Days jam. Too bad that was the last uber-fun part of the show.

I got completely mugged and beaten down with a misplaced Heavy Things > Joy, but even though I ate waaay to much acid, I was totally let down by the weak sauce song selection. Yep, I wasn't the only one bummed out about how the second set ended. Not even an uppity Julius could inject enough life back into the audience.

Meatstick was a bizarre way to end the scorching Deer Creek > Alpine Valley run. Trey fucked up the Meatstick dance on purpose in order to pull a couple of hot Phishy chicks on stage and even one shirtless frat boy who looked waaaay to gaaaaay for Trey. The band jammed out the rest of Meaststick while the Phishy chicks shook their asses for 30,000+ phans. Maybe I just ate too much acid, but when did a Phish show turn into a Girltalk concert? Peculiar, indeed.

I ate too much acid and got my ass kicked, but thankfully Phish saved the day and pulled me out of the rabbit hole when I kept falling, and falling, and falling, and falling so deep into the abyss... that I never thought I'd get out alive.

Sometimes, you just have to surrender to the flow, and get your brain fried and face melted by liquid sunshine. It's even one thousand times better when you do it at a Phish show.

* * * *

By the way, here's my recap from the previous night... Alpine Valley #1: Float With the Flock. And don't forget about the Deer Creek write-ups... Deer Creek #1: Heat Wave Hijinks and Deer Creek #2: Master Blaster.

You can also read my other summer tour recaps here.

If you're a fan of Mad Men, you can check out my take on Roger Sterling's first acid trip... Roger in the Sky With Diamonds.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Phish Setlist: 7/1/12 Alpine Valley #2

Phish finished up their Alpine Valley and Midwest run with this barn burner...

Le Phish, 7/1/12 Alpine Valley, WI

Set 1: Soul Shakedown Party, Lonesome Cowboy Bill, Vultures, Gotta Jibb00, Dirt, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Access Me, Meat, Frankenstein, Fee, Maze, COIL

Set 2: Crosseyed and Painless > No Quarter, Light >Ghost, Back on the Train, Farmhouse, 46 Days, Heavy Things, Joy, Julius

E: Meatstick

Alpine Valley #1 Recap: Float With the Flock

Phish returned to Alpine Valley for the first of a two-night stand. The circus migrated to Wisconsin after a fun-filled twofer in Deer Creek, which was challenging due to the harsh apocalyptic-like weather in Indiana. We were ready for a change of scenery -- the corn fields and dairy farms of Wisconsin.

We're vets of the Deer Creek to Alpine Valley run, which means we made sure we scored non-lawn seats and avoided Chicago traffic. Our ship's captain, Mr. Fabulous, pulled a classic end around move and drove to Wisconsin thru the bathroom window. We arrived at a lakeside resort just west of Alpine Valley, which Snailtrax found a few years ago. This gem became our go-to place to stay whenever we throw down at Alpine Valley. The lot scene at AV is not as fun as other venues on tour because the Fun Police does everything in their power to make their presence known. Shakedown is nonexistent and there's a Draconian security perimeter with Big Brother-esque guard towers. It's something ominous out of a dystopian YA novel. Undercovers roamed the lots (the only time I've ever seen an undercover in dreadlocks was at AV) and uniformed officer patrolled the area on ATVs. They looked menacing with shiny black SS-type helmets and a 9mm slapped to their hips. The only thing missing was a Keiser's spike on top of the helmet.

Anyway, we relied on our previous experiences and skipped the lot scene. We arrived late so we could be the first batch of cars to exit the venue. We had loaded up on party favors at Deer Creek, and we had the lodge to hang out at before and after the shows, so there was no reason for us to spend any significant time hanging out in a bunk lot scene.

All four of us scored pit tickets thru mail order/lottery. Unreal. What are the odds on that? Iggy was excited for his first pit show. He had no idea what he was in for. We got down to the pits about 15 minutes before the boys took the stage. I peeked up behind me and saw a sea of people on the slope behind me... with not an empty space in sight.

The show kicked off with My Soul, a nod to the bluesmen down the road in nearby Chicago. The pit erupted with the intro to Daniel Saw the Stone, an old traditional "spiritual" tune. Phish had been mixing up their sets with first timers (this tour) and a group of greatest hits/heavy hitters. As a result, you get a little bit of everything at these shows, which appeals to tour rats like me and folks seeing their only show(s) of the summer. At this point, you don't want to miss a show because anything can happen at any given time (with the exception of the oxy jams which were shelved permanently post-rehab for Trey).

AC/DC Bag packs a bigger punch when it's not an opener, which was great about this version. The first introduction of cow-funk appeared with Moma Dance batting in the clean-up spot. The funkification of cheeseland hath begun.

The only way Phish could have really fucked with everyone would have been a 40-minute Jim to close the set, but that's not in their bag of tricks these days. Instead, they opted for the quantity route and churned out fifteen songs in the first set. Short and sweet. To the point. The band showing shades of Earnest Hemingway... "We arrived. We were thirsty. We were wasted. The band kicked ass. We loved every moment."

I'll take any cover from Exile on Main Street so I was overjoyed with Let It Loose. G-Money and I caught one at UIC last summer. It's funny because all the Phishkids around us had no idea what song it was. G-Money had to clue them in. Page destroys cover songs, especially anything off of Exile.

"Page has a great versatile voice," said G-Money, "and he's able to sing all types of covers. Those covers give him the opportunity to step out front and lead the band."

Oh, and let's talk about the covers theme for the night. Shades of summer 1998 when Phish embarked on a covers binge. Phish cranked out ten total cover songs.... five in each set.

A well-executed Reba included whistling and a sublime jam that capped off a 13-minute version... the longest song of the 15-song set by more than five minutes. It was also the longest song of the entire show.

"They took their time building up the Reba jam nicely," commented G-Money.

Yep, Reba delivered before a tight Kill Devil Falls and a thrashing The Sloth. They mixed in a few serious heavy metal riffs that would make Metallica proud.

Before I went to the show, I chatted with my girlfriend back in California. She works in TV and just started production on a new show, which is why she couldn't see any shows in Leg 1. I asked her what t-shirt I should wear. She said, "Ocelot."

I was in the pit, so the band could look down and see my ugly mug and the green Ocelot lot shirt. I pointed at my chest a few times hoping they boys would pick up on my vibe. After Sloth, Trey looked over my way. I pointed at the shirt. He smiled and started the intro to Ocelot.

If you hate the song, you have me to blame. Then again, maybe it was just a coincidence? Ocelot is in heavy rotation these days (every third or fourth show) so it's not like it wasn't on the band's radar. And then again, Trey probably wasn't looking at me, rather the group of three adorable Wisconsin Phishy chicks in front of me.

After aborting Poor Heart in Cincy, it finally got its chance. The speed-grass tune was just setting up a mellow When the Circus Comes to Town. That cover used to be a "Pauly Takes a Piss Song" in 2.0, but I've grown attached to it this time around. Besides, I was stuck in the pit and didn't want to have to climb the mountain just to drain my lizard.

We were staying in a lodge named "Timber" so I took that as a bit of foreshadowing for the show. Timber Ho! restored the energy level after a mini-break. My only gripe is that the boys finally got it cooking and then abruptly ended it so they could close out the set with Oh Kee Pa > Suzy Greenburg. The crowd went nuts with Suzy and Page unleashed a funkmonster.

I ran into Trent at setbreak. He hooked me up with a ticket to Vermont flood tribute show. Awesome guy. He was rocking the "Page face" shirt that happens to be our Twitter avatar for @CoventryMusic.

The second set kicked off with Backwards, which was a perfect placement because kills the vibe when played later on in the set. That was the lowlight of the first set for me. I'm probably going to listen to this second set a lot in the future, but I'll skip Backwards and just start off with Carini instead.

We got another loud, raucous in-your-face version of Carini, or "Caprini" as Iggy refers to it. I felt bad for anyone around me because I was flailing and throwing elbows and knees and must've head-butted the frat boy next to me a few times. He was a glutton for punishment and didn't mind one bit.

At this point in the show, I absorbed a wicked bad beat. A little baggie had a hole in it and my party favors spilled all over my pocket. I'm such a jwook'd-out unkie that I was shoving my left hand into my pocket and licking my palm and fingers... just to get off. It's kinda funny now thinking about it, yet kinda pathetic... but what are you gonna do? Sometimes shit happens when you're raging hard in the pit. I wasn't going to let a little spilled molly ruin my show.

Trey kept up the intense energy with Wilson, which set the tone for the second half of the show. There was not one mellow moment in set two. Not a single one. All heat. Smoke. Fire. Full throttle. Balls to the wall. I fucking love those types of Phish shows. Who cares if they fucked up a few segments, or played too many covers, or didn't delve off the deep end in the jams? If you were there, you were caught up in the Phish-friend frenzy and danced your ass off.

Golden Age has become a launching pad for some Afro-Cuban groove.

"It's a new heavyweight because the groove is so different from anything else they do," said G-Money, sharing his take on the TV on the Radio cover.

Fishman stepped it up on Golden, and Page pushed the band toward the funky side of the force with some serious clav action. He was milking every drop of cow funk out of the Golden jam. Page surfed the groove with a little bit of maniacal plinko, while Trey mimicking Page's plinko without stepping on his solo.

Toward the end of the jam, the UFO-lights flared up. I figured it was just another cocktease, but Fishman picked up on the groove and led the way into 2001. It was time to contact the Mothership with a disco-dance party. Did any locals find any crop circles in their fields this morning? I'm certain that a couple of space crafts descended from behind the darkside of the moon during 2001 to pick up errant spacekids and a few grey ET scouts after the show.

I thought we were going to get a Rock and Roll opener, but it was held back until the middle of the set. We got a third Velvet Underground cover in three nights. Can they make it four in a row with Sweet Nuthin' on Sunday?

Rock and Roll had the most delicious jam of the show. Even though it was no more than five minutes, the compact jam contained a small thermonuclear device that blew a crater in the side of the mountain. Page was killing the ivories on RR. I wonder if he broke a finger or two because he was pecking so hard with a blistering fury. Trey cranked up the wank factor. He didn't back down and shredded the shit out of it. The jam plateaued and contained shades of Coltrane again, or at least that's what I thought I was hearing.

Steam gets better every time I hear it. I caught the first one at Blossom last summer and in a short span, they've really got their new song down pat. They could have kept up the silky jam for another ten minutes, but delivered a short and sweet version in favor of seguing into Piper.

Piper joined the ranks of mini-jams from the second set. Most of the songs were eight to ten minutes long, which meant about five minutes of intense jamming. It made the band focus on a tighter jam instead of Trey noodling away and leading the band into a dead end.

The tweaker-jazz grooves of Piper morphed into a duet between Page and Trey. Gordo and Fishman sat it out for a few minutes while Trey and Page played off each other, before they slid into another cover... Dylan's Quinn the Eskimo. The crowd was belting this one out with Gordo. I have a certain fondness for the Mighty Quinn because it was played at my first ever Grateful Dead show at Madison Square Garden when I was 15 years old. That was a magical night and I probably would not have seen so many Phish shows if the Dead didn't strike a major chord with me that influential night.

"Quinn is one of the few covers that Phish and the Dead both do," said G-Money, who has seen so many Dead shows the number would make your head spin.

Hood seemed like the cherry on top of the savory sundae. I loved the stripped down intro. The lawn became a battle ground of glowstick skirmishes. I can't recall too much about the Hood jam other than I was just pumped to hear it instead of getting a cheesy slow tune that would have ruined the high-octane set.

The crowd during ZERO

A searing Character Zero ended the set. The crowd lapped up every second of it. Trey took the opportunity to expose his weiner with a John Holmes-monster solo.

The encore fit the theme of the night with a hard-rocking cover of Zeppelin's Good Times, Bad Times. Fishman channeled his inner Bonham and Trey ripped it to pieces. Big Red was having so much fun, he didn't want it to end. Heck, neither did I.

I didn't think Phish could top the second night at Deer Creek, yet that's what happened at the first night in Alpine Valley. This was the type of show I thought we were going to get on Sunday, so at this juncture, I have no idea what kind of tricks the boys are going to pull out of their arse to close out the DC-AV four show run.

"Man, Phish is just on fire," said Iggy, who has now seen over 20 shows in the 3.0 era after not seeing the band at all in their previous incarnations. Iggy is hooked. Big time. It's awesome to see friends slowly get into the band and then somewhere after their tenth show or so, something clicks and they fall under the complete spell of Phish.

"I'm about to become a full-time wook," said Iggy. "I'm gonna grow out dreadlocks and follow Phish full time. Sure, my wife is going to divorce me, but I'll find a cute college-aged Phishy chick to become my lot girlfriend."

The first night at Alpine Valley is in the books. One more to go before the Midwest run is dunzo.

* * * *

Check out my previous recaps from this tour:
Deer Creek #2: Master Blaster
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.