Coming to an end of another summer tour that contained no shortage of weather surprises and set stoppages, the Phish from Vermont have announced east coast shows for this upcoming fall. Multi-night stints planned for Hampton, Worchester and the finale begins on Halloween in Atlantic City at Boardwalk Hall. Phans invading casinos, I’m sure the high rollers at the blackjack tables can’t wait.
Always a lottery of some sort, because too many of you want these. You can go here to enter yourself in said lottery. The lottery will be open for 12 days and close on Sunday August 4th at 11:59 pm PST-you and Ti(cketmaster get to brawl it out over tickets after that. Check out the list of dates below, and be on the lookout for Wooks.
Phish Fall 2013 Tour Dates:
10/18 -Hampton Coliseum (Hampton, VA)
10/19 – Hampton Coliseum (Hampton, VA)
10/20 – Hampton Coliseum (Hampton, VA)
10/22 – Blue Cross Arena (Rochester, NY)
10/23 – Glens Falls Civic Center (Glens Falls, NY)
10/25 – DCU Center (Worcester, MA)
10/26 – DCU Center (Worcester, MA)
10/27 – XL Center (Hartford, CT)
10/29 – Sovereign Center (Reading, PA)
10/31 – Boardwalk Hall (Atlantic City, NJ)
11/01 – Boardwalk Hall (Atlantic City, NJ)
11/02- Boardwalk Hall (Atlantic City, NJ)
After months of fans holding off on committing physical harm to themselves, Phish have finally announced their tour plans for this summer across North America. Kicking things off in Maine followed by three nights upstate where they race the pony’s in New York, the band has two night runs in most of these tour stops, with San Fran, Chicago and the ending run in Colorado all getting the three night treatment. PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel is where Jay Porks told us the party is at while our fearless leader and Phish Phanatic Reverend Justito gets, wait for it, one night in LA. Hey, it’s least it’s not Long Beach right? For the dates, just check down below.
Phish 2013 Summer Tour Dates:
July 3 Bangor, ME//Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
July 5 Saratoga Springs, NY//Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 6 Saratoga Springs, NY//Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 7 Saratoga Springs, NY//Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 9 Toronto, ON//Molson Amphitheatre
July 10 Holmdel, NJ//P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
July 12 Wantagh, NY//Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach
July 13 Columbia, MD//Merriweather Post Pavilion
July 14 Columbia, MD//Merriweather Post Pavilion
July 16 Alpharetta, GA//Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
July 17 Alpharetta, GA//Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
July 19 Chicago, IL//Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island
July 20 Chicago, IL//Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island
July 21 Chicago, IL//Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island
July 26 George, WA//The Gorge Amphitheatre
July 27 George, WA//The Gorge Amphitheatre
July 30 Stateline, NV//Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena
July 31 Stateline, NV//Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena
August 2 San Francisco, CA//Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
August 3 San Francisco, CA//Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
August 4 San Francisco, CA//Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
August 5 Los Angeles, CA//Hollywood Bowl
August 30 Commerce City, CO//Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
August 31 Commerce City, CO//Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
September 1 Commerce City, CO//Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Watch Phish Perform ‘Iron Man’ During Golf Themed NYE Set (12/31/12)
For the past four nights like it has been for 30 years, it’s just been good ol’ Phish being Phish. Last night the band closed out 2012 with a bang, an entire third set of golf themed/”Garden Party” tracks. Even had most of the place covered in AstroTurf. If you know Phish you know they tend to cover a song or two from time to time, and last night was no different. The band busted out Black Sabbath‘s “Iron Man”. Check out some fan filmed footage of that magical moment below:
When the Heritage Hunter tour was announced, I knew I had to go. Opeth was the band on the tour that I was the least familiar with, and upon fully immersing myself in their challenging brand of progressive metal, I knew I’d be in for a fantastic show. Combining light, almost beautiful song structures with the louder, heavier sounds of common heavy metal (and a touch of dry, awkward humor from frontman Mikael Akerfeldt in between songs) the Swedes managed to put on a show that was set right in front of an amazing Atlanta sunset.
9. Umphrey’s McGee
With great jamming comes some great responsibility. Umphrey’s McGee are a jam band known for ridiculous song covers, odd stage presence, great lights, and insane guitar playing. Keep in mind, all this comes from six dudes who look like they could be working at a Best Buy or Target, and call themselves “Umphrey’s McGee.” They’re a cult act, no doubt, and this 2 AM – 6 AM concert at Bonnaroo showed that their fans will go where they go. I only stuck around for the first half of the show (I left right around the time Big Gigantic played their guest spot) but I got what I wanted. I got a “Bulls on Parade” tease, a “Stranglehold” tease, and some of the most intense jamming I’ve heard from any band. It was a rock and roll set, without a doubt, and it was one of the best rock and roll sets I’m sure Bonnaroo has ever seen.
The headlining act of the aforementioned Heritage Hunter tour is a force to be reckoned with. Mastodon is a band that is exactly what the name implies: A big hairy beast that could crush a thousand men with the stomp of its foot. They played mostly new material from their stellar 2011 album “The Hunter” during the hometown gig and barely addressed the audience, but the concert was full of the sheer force that the Atlanta boys are known for. The facial hair on these guys alone should be enough to make the average man cower in fear. I would’ve liked to hear more from “Crack the Skye,” but it’s hard to complain when you’re witnessing one of the most brutal sludge/doom/weird metal bands of the past decade play songs in front of you.
Dispatch make catchy summer music and Bonnaroo is a festival built for specifically that. After nearly a decade long break from touring and releasing new material, the jam/roots rock band with a massive cult following has returned to rock the faces off frat boys who graduated from Dave Matthews Band University. The trio are phenomenal instrumentalists and write a great catchy tune. Although I couldn’t see the whole show, I saw enough to know that Dispatch’s music translates very very well to a live setting, especially when you’ve got a bigger crowd then one would expect from a band with literally no mainstream help.
6. Flogging Molly
Celtic punk isn’t for the critics, and neither is Flogging Molly. Nothing about Flogging Molly is very original, but it is a lot of fun. The sand that lined the floor was in the air and in my lungs by the time these guys finished their high-energy set. This set included their most well-known song “Seven Deadly Sins” as well as a Bob Dylan cover. Flogging Molly didn’t show up to promote any new music, but they did have a blast, as did I and the many other people who witnessed them perform.
5. St. Vincent
Anyone who knows me knows about my year-long crush on Annie Clark, the brains behind St. Vincent. And when I finally got to witness her perform music live in front of my eyes, I was not at all disappointed. Everything about this performance was everything I could’ve wanted from a St. Vincent show and more. She played mostly songs from her amazing 3rd album Strange Mercy, but threw in a couple songs from her first two albums. The set was full of energy, as well as beauty and intensity. And the way she plays that guitar… I could go on forever about how great of a musician this woman is. Bottom line is, you need to see her live if you want a great show.
4. Childish Gambino
Anyone who knows me knows about my man crush on Donald Glover, a standup comedian, writer, actor on the greatest comedy on television “Community,” and rapper. The rapper part of this complicated equation, Childish Gambino, put on a monster of a set at Bonnaroo. He walked on stage with what I can only refer to as “swagger,” wearing a black tanktop that was purposely a bit too big. He led the audience through energetic versions of “Bonfire,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Heartbeat,” “You See Me,” and plenty more that just turned into sing-a-longs, for lack of a better word. It’s the only real hip hop show I’ve ever been to, and it was a fantastic experience. Gambino isn’t the world’s greatest rapper, but he certainly knows how to handle himself on stage.
Radiohead release some of the most beloved music of the past 15 years. Almost every other album they put out is hailed as a classic: OK Computer, Kid A, In Rainbows, etc.; and if they aren’t hailed as a classic they’re almost always lauded by critics and fans alike. The reception for their most recent release, 2011’s The King of Limbs, wasn’t as positive as it was for some of their other albums, but it still gets better with each listen. Radiohead’s 2006 Bonnaroo performance is often hailed as one of their best, and they without a doubt topped that performance with their 2012 Bonnaroo performance. Although half the set was songs from In Rainbows and The King of Limbs, the 25-song set was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. They ended the first encore with Everything In Its Right Place and the second encore with Paranoid Android, two of their most incredible and ambitious works. And not only did they play with energy and emotion, but the lights and the screen display was one of the best of all time. Up there with Phish and Pink Floyd. Speaking of Phish…
I saw Phish twice this year. And from the very first song at Bonnaroo (Down With Disease) I knew that I was witnessing what might be the best touring band in America. The jamming is top-notch and the lights display is astonishing, especially since a good portion of the show is improvised. At Bonnaroo they brought out country music legend Kenny Rogers and performed his hit “The Gambler” with him, which proved to me that Phish can do a great cover. I also got to hear them perform their cover of TV On the Radio’s “Golden Age” the first time (I heard it again in Atlanta). Also in Atlanta I heard their cover of Ween’s “Roses Are Free” which was perhaps a tribute to the newly split group and they encored with a cover of The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life,” which would have made John Lennon proud. They’re not a band you’d expect to put on a great live performance since they hardly move from their spots while they play, but somehow they are able to reach these incredible crescendos that create this cloud of energy. Both shows I saw were amazing, and they’re a band you must see live at some point.
1. Flaming Lips
Has anyone ever seen Flaming Lips and been disappointed? Even if you’re not a big fan of their music the way they perform and the amount of effort they put into making the live experience perfect should earn them some respect. Lights, balloons, streamers, strings, explosions; all of this and more were a part of Flaming Lips’ Saturday night performance in Atlanta. They played some of their stranger songs like “See the Leaves” and “Pompeii am Götterdämmerung” as well as their more accessible hits like “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1” and “the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.” They ended their beautiful and powerful live show with the all-out emotion-fest that is “Do You Realize??” which is probably their best song. It’s full of thought-provoking lyrics and is so powerful when performed live that it almost brought happy tears to my eyes. If you’ve lived this long without seeing Flaming Lips live, then I feel a bit of pity for you. But Flaming Lips tour very very often when they’re not busy paying tribute to King Crimson or Pink Floyd on record. So go out and see them. I did, and I have no complaints whatsoever. They’re the best band I saw this year, and probably the best band I’ve ever seen.
Phish frontman Trey Anastasio will take his solo act (the Trey Anastasio Band or TAB) to the road this January for a tour hitting the Northeast heavy over the 7 scheduled dates. Toronto and Maine are the only cities not named New York and New Jersey on this trek that will be visited. The tour starts January 18th, and chances are the same crowd will caravan to each town over the 10 day span and make sure to hit every single show. For the dates, check below
Trey Anastasio Band Tour Dates 2013
January 18th – Toronto, ON ( Danforth Music Hall)
January 19th – Syracuse, NY (Landmark Theatre)
January 20th -Portland, ME (State Theatre)
January 23th -Port Chester, NY Capitol Theatre)
January 24th -Port Chester, NY (Capitol Theatre)
January 25th -Montclair, NJ ( Wellmont Theatre)
January 26th- Albany, NY ( Palace Theatre)
May24th-26th -Chillicothe, IL (Summer Camp Music Festival)
Trey Anastasio Joins Amanda Green on Stage in NYC Last Night
So last night in New York City, Amanda Green and “Friends” rocked steady all night at the Birdland Club. Artists who fall under the friends category might send you to Google, but it was Brooks Ashmanskas, Jenn Colella, Andrea Burns, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Ryann Redmond, Gregory Haney and Ariana DeBose.
Then, out pops Phish frontman Trey Anastasio on stage, and stuff begins to get cool. Trey has written a bunch of songs with Amanda Green and last night they performed a song called “I’m Gone” to be featured in a play yet to hit theaters called “Hands On A Hardbody”. The video has just gone online, and you can watch it below. Let’s all tip our hats to Hidden Track for pointing us out to this
Amanda Green And Friends w/ Trey Anastasio “I’m Gone”
Anything written in the next few sentences that is not complete fact will leave this writer ripped apart in Phish blogs for the rest of life. So let’s just state the facts. Trey Anastasio is the lead singer and guitar player in the jam band Phish. During his downtime, he has his own band, appropriately named Trey Anastasio Band (some people write TAB). The Trey Anastasio Band has a new album (on orange vinyl) called ‘Traveler’ . And last and most certainly not least-the man has soul. The band hit Jimmy Fallon Tuesday Night to perform “O-o-h Child” , which is a cover of a song by a band called The Five Stairsteps. Check out the video below, courtesy of The Audio Perv
This December, Phish returns to Madison Square Garden in New York, New York for a four-show Holiday/NYE Run to close out 2012. The band has played 23 shows to date at MSG. For the first time ever, the floor at these four Madison Square Garden shows will be general admission.
An online ticket request period is currently underway at tickets.phish.com/ and will end Monday, October 15 at Noon EST.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Saturday, October 20, at Noon ET at ticketmaster.com or can be charged by phone at 866.858.0008.
If tickets are still available, they may be purchased at the venue box office beginning Monday, October 22. Box office hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 AM – 6 PM. Tickets may also be purchased at select TicketMaster outlets.
I remember October 3rd, 1998 like it was yesterday. The night before my car was broken into and my entire collection of Phish studio albums (as well as some Ween, Deftones and Sepultura) were stolen. Now say what you will about Phish studio albums, but my car only had a CD player and I could not listen to live shows via Maxell XLII audio cassettes. Bummed as fuck that entire day I remember watching all of Farm Aid live on Country Music Television. This was the OG couch tour, long before webcasts and streams. When the band finally hit the stage I danced away all my pain live in my parent’s living room. Thanks to the fine folks at Farm Aid you can now watch the entire Phish performance. For those who have not seen the set, let’s just say Phish and Neil Young destroy the great state of Illinois.
Phish – Aaron’s Amphitheatre, Atlanta, GA – 8/25/12
Words/Photos by Jakob Ross
Phish Drop Bombs and Blow Minds in Atlanta
The last time I was truly blown away by a band was when I saw Phish for the first time at Bonnaroo. They played what Reverend Justito refers to as a “greatest hits set”, playing songs like Down With Disease, Sample In a Jar, Cavern, and Tweezer. While that set was great for a beginner such as myself, some hardcore phans probably wouldn’t give it such high praise. Keeping that in mind, I stepped into Aaron’s Amphitheatre for the thirdtime this year expecting something awesome. Two sets full of some popular tunes, some rarities, some covers, and something hopefully better than the Bonnaroo set. And that is exactly what I got.
According to the Aaron’s Amphitheatre Facebook page, the 1st set was scheduled to kick off at 7, giving us something like two 95-100 minute sets, with enough time for a 30-minute set break and a 10-minute encore. Well, apparently that changed because the 1st set didn’t start until 7:45, giving us two 75-minute sets instead.
We left our house a few minutes before 3:00, with an expected arrival time of about 5:00 or so (the gates opened at 6:00). Finding a spot to park was a nightmare; one parking lot was already full of cars and vans and tents, so we had to head into a lot on the other side of the amphitheatre, which was right adjacent to a different entrance than the one we’ve used in the past. Despite all that, we still managed to be the first people in line at the gate and found the perfect spot on the lawn that was both close and free from any obstructions of view.
After an unexpected 45 minute wait and with the sun setting to my left, the mighty phoursome graced the stage and welcomed the 20,000-strong sold out Atlanta crowd with a neat instrumental tune called Cars Trucks Buses from their 1996 album Billy Breathes. After a round of applause they dove headfirst right into Wolfman’s Brother, a song I’d hoped to hear at Bonnaroo but didn’t. It’s one of my favorites from Hoist so I’m very glad I got to hear it. Afterwards they played Runaway Jim, which I’m pretty sure is just about a dog that ran away, ran-away ran-away.
After Jim, they played Ya Mar, which is a song by Cyril Ferguson, for only the third time this year. Early on, I could tell this set would focus more on Trey and Page’s skills, as both were playing some amazing solos, while Mike and Fishman’s spotlight would wait until Set 2. After Ya Mar, I got my first repeat ever, Alaska. While this was played towards the end of Set 2 at Bonnaroo, it appeared halfway through Set 1 here, where I feel it worked better. The jam for Alaska was absolutely brilliant, probably the first of many amazing jams of the whole show. After Alaska came another cover, My Soul, originally by Clifton Chenier. This was one I’d never heard before, but it sounded great. So far everything was sounding amazing. All the songs felt like they belonged in this set, which was certainly more of a straight rock and roll set. There were plenty of great jams, but one song didn’t jam into another. And that’s fine with me, I was having an amazing time.
After My Soul, the sun had gone almost all the way down. Darkness poured down on the lawn dwellers of Aaron’s Amphitheatre and marijuana smoke pervaded the air all around me. And then what would be one of my favorite parts of Set 1 happened, Trey hit the first couple notes of the ever so famous Wilson riff and every person shouted “WIIIIIILSOOOON” up to the stars. Another Bonnaroo repeat, but I don’t think I will ever tire of hearing this one live. The dudes played with the intensity and the ferocity of rock and roll gods as they sang about Wilson, the King of Prussia.
After Wilson came Maze, a song from one of the jammiest studio albums ever composed: Rift. Maze is full of great lyrics, I’ve discovered and I love the chorus. Sometimes it’s not just the jams and solos that make Phish great; they can also be great songwriters, even when the lyrics don’t make sense. After Maze, came the final cover of Set 1, a song I’ve wanted to hear live for a long time: Roses Are Free by Ween (RIP). The brothers Ween may have stopped making music together, but their best music lives on vicariously through bands like Phish, who, thankfully, brought out this cover of one of Ween’s best songs during the set. This show was already better than Bonnaroo, and the first set wasn’t even over yet. Next I got two more Bonnaroo repeats, Backwards Down the Number Line and Character Zero. Backwards is a pretty good song, but I could’ve done without it, and Character Zero was a great way to end a set. At 9:00 PM exactly, the boys left the stage for the 30-minute set break.
During the break, I learned that going to the bathroom after Phish have gone on stage is a bad bad idea, so I kept my liquid intake to a minimum, only taking a few sips of Coke when I got really really thirsty.
At 9:30 as I was making my way back to our spot, the lights went down and Phish came back on for Kill Devil Falls, another Joy cut I could have done without, yet not a horrible way to kick off the set. Kill Devil Falls flowed smoothly and directly into Golden Age, another one of their better cover songs. It was during Golden Age that Mike’s bass playing really sounded amazing, as it did for the duration of the second set. Golden Age in turn flowed directly into Free and for the whole second set it didn’t feel like the band stopped at all. Just one continuous 75-minute medley of songs interspersed with slow, psychedelic jams that climaxed into exploding energy all accompanied by beautiful lights. Phish have once again proved themselves as one of the best live bands ever, and the show wasn’t even over yet.
After Free came Light,—kinda funny to hear the words “and the light is growing brighter now” as it was getting darker and darker outside—which led into Wading in the Velvet Sea which felt like it could’ve been a power-ballad from the 70s, even though it is a Phish original. After Velvet Sea came the opening riff to Chalkdust Torture, another favorite I never tire of hearing. Although I initially felt like it would’ve done better in the first set, for some reason, it just felt right exactly where it was. Chalk Dust Torture was another example of a jam where it was quiet and chill but eventually built up into an awesome crescendo, but then went right back to being quiet, almost as if Phish were dropping bombs of music on our heads and we were more than happy with the mushroom-shaped cloud that resulted. Chalkdust jammed, unfinished, right on into What’s The Use, a rarity from The Siket Disc that they haven’t played since June 8, 2011. What’s The Use jammed relaxedly into Joy, a great, albeit overplayed, ballad from their most recent studio effort.
Joy jammed for a little while until there were only 5 minutes left in Set 2 (I figured since the set started at 9:30 then it would conclude at 10:45; I was right), so Phish threw an amazingly heavy, energetic, and explosive rendition of Run Like An Antelope to finish up a whirlpool of amazingness that was almost overwhelming. Set 2 was a vicious cycle of emotion, energy, and relaxation that boded well for this writer. Phish left the stage again for the encore break, and came back a couple minutes later, where keyboardist/pianist Page McConnell thanked us and told us how much they love playing Aaron’s Amphitheatre. The show may have been close to over, but they still had enough time to drop one more bomb on our heads, and this one was an atomic bomb: A fantastic cover of The Beatles’ A Day in the Life. Page sang John Lennon’s part (“I read the news today, oh boy”) and Trey sang Paul McCartney’s part (“Woke up, got outta bed”). Hearing one of my favorite live bands perform one of my favorite Beatles songs was an amazing experience and a great way to end the show.
A Day in the Life ended without any cool extended jams, but the show itself was all kinds of amazing. I had an amazing time, and there is no better way to kick off our last week of American residency than with an amazing live show. Thank you Phish, thank you Atlanta, and thank you America.
The thing about Phish is that they always get the last laugh. I won’t lie, despite the fact that the band’s appearance at the Long Beach Arena is the only concert I will see this summer I wasn’t pumped. None of my hardcore Phish friends were able to join me to celebrate my 25th experience with Mike, Trey, Jon and Page, the venue stinks worse than the city of Long Beach does and I just knew in my heart that I was going to get a show filled with songs that the snob inside of me is sick of hearing live. Yet despite all of those fears and anxieties coming true Phish still grabbed me by the balls and gave me a great hump day night inside the venue with the world’s largest mural painted upon the outside.
The night kicked off with Suzy Greenberg. Not expecting this as an opener (only one I can think of is 12/14/95) I was thrown off my game a bit but it worked well as did he Talking Heads cover Cities followed. While I don’t think anything will ever top the phenomenal Berkeley 2010 version this one had some very dark moment that made the metal fan who wore his Iron Maiden/My Friend My Friend shirt to the show quite satisfied. I know I am not alone in being over Kill Devil Falls, but it segued nicely out of Cities and featured a flawless guitar intro from Anastasio and a nice jam.
After a fun take on Guelah Papyrus, I got my lone “first time seen” of the night with a cover of the Velvet Underground’s Cool It Down. With temps well over 100 degrees in most parts of Southern California for well over a week (and having been busted out earlier this summer at Deer Creek on a day where temps hit triple digits) I have to assume that this is Phish’s ode to heat waves. While I have never been a huge fan of the Velvet Underground, Cool It Down sounded tight and is nice one to witness live and add to the collection of songs under my belt.
Rift kept the energy high in the mostly full room as fans danced and spread the news that Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez were in the house. Stash is one of those songs that tends to get skipped when shuffling through my iPod while stuck in traffic on the 405 as the song bores me. Yet in person I can at least clap and I know that if I can make it to the jam I will be okay. If not for a beautiful Bathtub Gin following a Bouncing Around The Room breather, the jam out of Stash would have been the highlight of the first set. The band wrapped set one with the second Quinn The Eskimo to rock the Southland in as many years. As the band rushed off stage I hit the concourse where I discovered that you had numerous stands to purchase beer yet could only get water from the food vendors.
While it is true that Rock and Roll is a song originally belonging to the Velvet Underground, the fact is Phish made it their own years ago. Despite this being my fourth Rock and Roll in seven shows, the version that went down on this Wednesday night in the LBC is why I will go and see Phish every chance I get for the rest of my life. Knowing that the Rock and Roll from the Gorge last year was the greatest live moment I have ever seen from any band in my entire life, I was shocked that this take gave that version a run for its money. Where the Gorge take had a real creepy evil feeling, this one managed to keep beating you upside the head with vicious blows well after the ref had rang the bell. While many 3.0 jams are over before they begin, this one kept going and going. There were moments I thought we were going to go into songs like Piper, A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing and Light, yet it wasn’t until the 25 minute mark that we were finally guided to the second song of the second set – Ghost. I mean how could it not be Ghost, it made sense that Phish would celebrate my 25th show by playing the song that opened my first show at the 25:25 mark of the second set. You may just chalk that up as coincidence, but I know better than that.
Earlier in the day as I changed the diaper of my six week old daughter, I mentioned to her that the band would screw with me by playing the two songs I am most sick of back to back. So when the 1-2 punch of eye rollers Limb By Limb>Guyute actually happened I just had to laugh as I clinched the adorable whale onsie I bought my little bundle of joy at the merch booth during set break. Well played but I wouldn’t wish 10 Limb By Limb’s in 25 shows on my worst enemy.
My personal highlight of the second set was Dirt. My first time hearing the soft and gentle song with the soaring solo since Shoreline ’99 not only pleased my soul but cemented what a fan had shared with me earlier in the day. Having ran into Phish’s lighting guru Chris Kuroda yesterday (he had the photo on his iPhone to prove it) he shared that the band felt that Long Beach Arena was the Hampton Coliseum of the west. Watching Anastasio play that solo in Dirt, you could see that the band managed to conquer the notoriously difficult venue and felt much more at ease then they did the year before at the Hollywood Bowl.
I thought for sure Biebs and Gomez would join the band for Harry Hood. The songs third Do You Feel Good About Hood section would have been perfect for the two teenage love birds, but sadly that was not the case. Instead we just got a smoking take on the classic and the evening’s best bass bombs from one Mike Gordon. I also hoped that the band would pay homage to Iron Maiden (whose groundbreaking concert album Live After Death was recorded in Long Beach) with a first time cover of a Maiden tune, but instead the second set closed out with a tribute to another UK artist with numerous Long Beach gigs under their belt. Good Times Bad Times managed to shake the ceiling (at least what’s left of it) and I even saw one Long Beach Police Officer banging his head in approval.
As my fourth Julius in five shows ended my one and done 2012 Phish run I had to laugh. My 25th show went down in the worst venue I have seen the band in and it featured a bunch of songs that I didn’t really want to hear. Yet despite all that the show was incredible. This is the tightest I have seen the band play since returning in 2009, the jams proved that they could still go deep and the layout of the sets worked. So here is to the next 25 shows. When the band returns for a multi-night run at the Long Beach Arena in 2014, I will no doubt get to hear Limb By Limb each night as torture but its okay because there is no denying that no band can make me feel as good as Phish does.
On the morning of my final day at Bonnaroo, I was prepared for what would certainly be our most relaxing day. With only four acts to check out (and the first one not going on until 1:00), I was ready to chill and maybe have a beer with BeeZnutz.
It had rained the whole night and well into the morning, but by the time we left our tent at about 9 or so, the rain had died down to a light drizzle as the clouds above threatened similar weather in our near future. Which of course is a whole lot better than heat and sun. Reminds me of Washington. *sniff*
After a big breakfast that consisted of pop tarts, eggs, and bacon (seriously, THANK YOU Tony) we hung out a little more and talked about Phish with our neighbors, asking questions such as “If you see Phish two nights in a row at the same place, does that count as seeing them twice?” The answer, obviously, is yes.
Eventually, it was that time of morning where we would have to walk on the wet grass over to the What Stage to catch bluesy newcomer Gary Clark Jr.
Chapter 2: The Savior of Blues
If you’ve paid attention to festival lineups lately, then you’ve probably noticed many common names. But one that you’re gonna want to remember is Gary Clark Jr. This 28-year old guitar virtuoso may come off as intimidating at first (I compare him to 1994 Samuel L. Jackson sans afro) he is actually an astoundingly skilled musician and seemingly vulnerable person. For example, when he breaks into falsetto for a song like Please Come Home, your heart immediately melts. Gary has what most guitar players lack (I also noticed this with Annie Clark): EMOTION. He actually feels the notes and chords of the guitar buzzing through his entire body, and lets his emotions affect how he plays and what he plays. It worked with Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King (who I’d compare Gary to without hesitation) and it will work for literally every guitar player with a heart.
Gary played an hour-long set full of songs both rockin’ and beautiful, sometimes both. He uses a fuzzy type of distortion that gives it an old school sound while also giving it a garage-revival sound. Something not exactly unique, but it is definitely put to good use.
And the dude, like I said, plays guitar extremely well. Whether it’s the crazy finger-picking riff on Don’t Owe You a Thang to, well pretty much any guitar solo he played. He played tastefully, not trying to draw the attention away from his fantastic band. That is another important part of being a blues musician. Your name may be the one on the CDs, posters, and t-shirts, but the band onstage is what’s making it happen. It’s easy to see now why they call Gary Clark Jr. the savior of blues.
Chapter 3: the Adult Swim Carnival
If you’re the kind of person that watches Adult Swim, then you’re also probably the kind of person who eats corn flakes at 2 in the morning and makes jokes about unicorns.
But seriously, Adult Swim is one of the strangest channels on television, and when they’re sponsoring a festival known specifically for its weirdness… well, you never know what could happen.
This year, they opened up an Adult Swim sponsored section of Bonnaroo right by the entrance that runs sort of like a carnival, but if the carnival was invented by Syd Barrett and Jim Morrison. There were classic carnival games like Balloonicorn, Smack Up My Uvula, and everyones favorite: Babies vs. Old People!
During Balloonicorn, you had to put on a comically oversized unicorn head with an extra-sharp horn tip and jump up repeatedly to try and pop the balloons that were above. Pop enough of them, you win a prize. Because of the long line and promise of a headache, I decided to skip that one.
During Smack Up My Uvula, you had to climb a horizontal ladder that is VERY unsteady and try to reach the uvula at the end. And then you smack it. And then you win a prize. I tried (and failed) but my dad won!
And during Babies vs. Old People (On Segwags) you stood on a mounted Segway with a sling shot between the two handles and fire small babies at the cardboard old people that are moving across. Again, I lost and so did my dad. Slingshots are hard.
After failed attempts to complete these games (thank goodness it was all free) we headed out towards the Which Stage to catch the second Ben Folds Five performance in over 10 years. Unfortunately to do this, we had to do the unthinkable: sit through Mac Miller.
Chapter 4: The Unthinkable and Ben Folds Five
While we waited in line to get into the pit for Ben Folds Five, we had nothing to do but listen to Mac Miller’s performance. And since I don’t have many kind words to say about Mac Miller, reviewing him wouldn’t exactly be fair. So I’ll just skip to the part where we were in the pit waiting for Ben Folds Five.
Ben Folds Five (who are actually a trio, HOW IRONIC!) parted ways in 2000, leaving Ben Folds with a successful solo career, but nothing that would ever match the greatness that is BF5. They were known for their pleasant nerdiness, jazz influences, and for being all-around happy people.
“This is our first concert as Ben Folds Five in over… seven days,” said lead singer/pianist Ben Folds, referring to the Mountain Jam Festival. “But before that it was over 10 years.” I guess he means as an actual working band, because they performed a one-off concert in 2008. But that doesn’t matter, it worked on a humor level.
The band kicked off the set with the first song off their debut album, Jackson Cannery. And afterwards they just let the hits flow through, not playing any of their new material (if there was any) but did invite us to check it out online. But hey that’s fine with me. Soundgarden did the same thing last year and I had a great time with them.
At one point Ben Folds stopped the show and said “Uh, this is a tradition at a Ben Folds Five show where I take a picture from atop my piano. So, if you could all very kindly flip me off…” and got on his piano. Everyone in the crowd very kindly put their middle fingers up to Ben Folds as he took a picture.
One of the coolest parts of the show was when they broke into Song for the Dumped, one of the most musically insane Ben Folds Five songs. It includes a solo where Ben Folds holds his mic up to the strings of the piano and just rubs on them, while bassist Robert Sledge holds his amp chord up to his hand producing rhythmic feedback with the buzz of the amp. It really is hard to explain, but it’s something to see.
Ben Folds Five are quite impressive to watch, even if you don’t know many of their songs. Their musicianship alone is enough to make you a lifetime fan. And Ben Folds’ smile is as contagious as wook flu at Bonnaroo.
Setlist: Jackson Cannery, Theme From Dr. Pyser, Fair, Selfless Cold and Compose, Uncle Walter, Where’s Summer B?, Battle of Who Could Care Less, Brick, Emaline, Philosophy, Army, Kate, Alice Childress, Song For the Dumped, Narcolepsy, Underground ENCORE: One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
Chapter 5: The Civil Wars
Of the many power duos to come about in the last few years, the one that has captivated me more than I ever would have imagined is The Civil Wars. With just two voices and a guitar, The Civil Wars churn out very interesting folk songs with haunting melodies.
At 6:25 PM in an over-capacity The Other Tent, singers John Paul White and (a very pregnant) Joy Williams appeared with smiles pervading their faces. Everything about the Civil Wars is just happy! Even the sad songs. And these two very talented vocalists almost make country music interesting, it seems.
I only got to catch the first half of their set due to a scheduling conflict with Phish, but was still mesmerized, and found it difficult to look away. John and Joy have sort of a lovers’ chemistry going through the performance, but they are both married to different people. It could be just what sells their songs. For some reason I think of the scene from Step Brothers where Will Ferrell is singing to his therapist in the woods whenever I see John and Joy interact on stage.
And when they cover songs (I only got to see one) it is a sight to see. Because they don’t cover easy guitar/vocals songs. Before I left I got to see them cover Sour by Portishead, but according to www.setlist.fm, they also threw in covers of I Want You Back by Jackson 5, Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, and Dance Me To The End of Love by Leonard Cohen.
The Civil Wars are a great band to see live. They’re so fun to watch that you almost forget that you’re standing there doing nothing for 90 minutes (or sitting there, depending on the venue.)
But at 7:00, we left and headed to catch the band that I really wanted to see. More than any other band at Bonnaroo. I was ready for one of the greatest live experiences in the history of ever.
Setlist: Tip of My Tongue, Forget Me Not, From This Valley, 20 Years, I’ve Got This Friend, Sour (Portishead cover), Barton Hollow, Falling, Birds of a Feather, I Want You Back (Jackson 5 cover), Oh Henry, My Father’s Father, Poison and Wine ENCORE: Kingdom Come, To Whom It May Concern, Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover), Dance Me To the End of Love (Leonard Cohen cover)
Chapter 6: A Tasty Phish Philet
One thing Bonnaroo was known for pre-2006 was its impressive lineup of jam bands. They’ve hosted Umphrey’s McGee 7 times, as well as bands like Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, The String Cheese Incident, and members of the Grateful Dead. But no jam band (that currently tours) is as highly regarded as the legendary and almighty Phish!
If you’ve visited this website at all, then you probably know that the majority of its contributors are huge Phish fans. I mean, just look at how big the word “Phish” is on the tag cloud at the right of this post!
Anyway, I was anxious to finally see Phish. To finally see what Reverend Justito and thenaturalstoner have been talking about all these years. To see what guest they bring out and what covers they do and just… everything! I was prepared. Come at me, Phish!
At around 8:05 or so the lights went down and out from Stage Right appear the mighty phoursome: Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, and Jon Fishman. As Mike started to hit his bass (which was set to phaser) I thought it would be too good to be true: They would kick things off with Down With Disease? Nah! Can’t be! And then Mike slaps the bass riff and I knew from that moment that this would be the greatest thing I see at Bonnaroo. And I was not disappointed.
After Down With Disease they played Funky Bitch, a Son Seals cover, during which Mike Gordon took over singing duties. Afterwards they went right on into The Moma Dance during which Jon handled most of the singing. After a very funky performance of Moma I heard the chord progression to Sample In a Jar and once again had that feeling of “Nah! It can’t be!” But lo and behold, another shining moment from the Hoist album played within the first half of Set 1. And at this moment the rain that was looming over us started pouring a little bit harder and the glowsticks started going up and down at a faster rate. Seriously, I saw more glowsticks being thrown around during Phish than I did during Skrillex.
It really did seem like Phish brought their A-Game, and with two of my favorite songs already making an appearance, what could happen next I could not even begin to imagine. They followed Sample with Axilla I which I don’t think is on any of their studio albums. I know Axilla Part 2 is on Hoist, but I know nothing of a part 1.
Anyway, after Axilla, Trey invited up the special guest that everyone was so anxious to see. “It seems like every time we come here we get to play with people who we really admire, and, um, and we’re going to bring up someone we’re absolutely thrilled to play with right now. Please give a warm welcome to Kenny Rogers.” This was totally unexpected in my opinion. Kenny, who played a set earlier that day, seemed happy to play to a crowd bigger than his usual turnout of 300, while Trey could barely contain his excitement to be performing with the country-music legend. And with that, they broke into The Gambler, the one Kenny Rogers song that I didn’t even know I knew.
As much as I would love to go into each individual song and tell you how much I loved it, I just don’t want to write a review THAT long. But I will leave you with a setlist, and on a note that explains how much fun I had.
Bonnaroo was just nonstop fun. Sure, I only got like 3 hours of sleep each night. Sure I felt disgusting most of the time. And sure it was crowded and hot and expensive and there were long lines for things. Either way, I can’t for the life of me think of a time where I had so much fun at a place ever. If you get the chance, hit your local festival. Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Fire Fly, Wakarusa, Dave Matthews Band Caravan; whatever it is, it’ll be worth going to. Trust me.
Setlist: SET 1 Down with Disease, Funky Bitch (Son Seals c0ver), The Moma Dance, Sample In A Jar, Axilla I, The Gambler (with Kenny Rogers), Possum>Wilson>Tweezer, Free, Backwards Down the Number Line, Cavern SET 2 Golden Age (TV On the Radio cover), 2001 (Richard Strauss cover), Chalkdust Torture, Carini>Shafty>Rock and Roll (Velvet Underground cover), Alaska, Harry Hood>Light, Character Zero, Rocky Top (Lynn Anderson cover) ENCORE Show of Life>Julius>Tweezer Reprise
Of all the shows I caught, I’d say the best was Phish. Without a doubt. Childish Gambino and Radiohead get 2nd and 3rd. After that, it’s pretty much up for grabs. I wasn’t disappointed at all by anyone I saw. Bad Brains were a little sloppy and Red Hot Chili Peppers had issues connecting with the audience, but overall everything I saw was nigh perfect. And with that, in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
The Top Five Covers Phish Needs To Bust Out This Summer
In a few hours, Phish will return to the stage for the first time since the early hours of January 1st 2012. Keyboardist Page McConnell has already shared with Rolling Stone that the band has approximately 200 songs that they could bust out at any time. Never being one to shy away from a cover jam, we have come up with five songs that the boys from Vermont absolutely need to bust out somewhere between Worchester and Commerce City. Because we are so swell, we have even narrowed it down to where Phish needs to play these songs.
Ween – The Fucked Jam (06/16/12: Bader Field – Atlantic City, NJ)
According to legend, Ween never played Roses Are Free live until Phish started playing it. With Ween calling it quits, it’s time for the Phish to bust out another song that (according to my Google research) the pride of New Hope Pennsylvania never rocked out on stage. An instrumental that lives up to its name, this quirky song could fit nicely in a fat second set Mike’s Groove.
Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (08/22/12: Starlight Theatre – Kansas City, MO)
Phish has always done some funky things when playing in the Kansas City area. From Fishman taking the mic for a breathtaking rendition of Suspicious Minds to obscure Beatles covers the boys love tinkering with the minds of phans in this Midwest metropolis. Everyone from Coheed and Cambria to little kids have cover Gotye over the past 9 months, why not have Fish return to the mic for his take on the song. Bonus points if it goes down in the middle of a raging Harpua with narration about Poster Nutbag getting killed at the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game after New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez fouls a ball into the stands.
The White Stripes – Hotel Yorba (06/10/12: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival – Manchester, TN)
We all know that Mr. Jack White now calls Tennessee home. What you may not know is that I recently told Johnny Firecloud that Hotel Yorba was Jack White’s Phish song. So what better place to perform this jams then at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival? Hell with White having no scheduling conflicts, why not have him stops by and lend a hand?
Iron Maiden – Rime of the Ancient Mariner (08/15/12: Long Beach Arena – Long Beach, CA)
SCREAM FOR ME LONG BEACH!!! The fact is my 25th Phish show (and only show of 2012) will be at the shit stain known as the Long Beach Arena. While I would not be opposed to a late fall/winter gig at this historic arena it is a massive bummer coming off outdoor Southern California stops at breath taking venues in Indio and Hollywood. So if Phish must play this toilet, they may as well bust out one of the highlights from Maiden’s Live After Death album which was recorded at the same venue on March 17th, 1985. In the event the boys can’t pull off this massive thirteen minute metal masterpiece, I will settle for a guest appearance from Long Beach native Snoop Dogg.
Beastie Boys – In 3’s (07/04/12: Jones Beach Amphitheatre – Wantagh, NY)
Outskirts of NYC on America’s birthday, the fearless foursome kicks into Moma Dance. Before Fish takes the mic there is a pause and oomph the band ditches the dance and goes straight into this beloved Beastie Boys instrumental. What better way to pay tribute to an American classic and the late great Adam Yauch?
What jams would you like to hear Phish bust out this summer? Let us know via the comment section below.
Bonnaroo Preview: The Top 12 Must-See Acts to Catch at the Farm
If you know me in any way, then you probably know that I am attending this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festivalin Manchester, Tennessee. It is repeatedly called “Best Festival of the Summer” by many music-based magazines and websites,and tens of thousands head out to Manchester every year to catch acts big and small. So here are my Top 12 acts of this year’s installment of Bonnaroo!
Honorable mentions: Skrillex, Superjam (feat ?uestlove of the Roots), Ben Folds Five, the Civil Wars
12. St. Vincent
St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, has got to be one of the coolest women around these days. When she’s not making appearances in Top 100 Guitarists lists, she’s busy promoting her solid 2011 album Strange Mercy at festivals such as Coachella and Sasquatch. Her live show always gets rave reviews, therefore I am excited to catch her 7:45 set on Friday night.
Dispatch are among the many bands who have reunited within the past year. The indie/roots jam band with a devoted following released a couple albums throughout the 90s before breaking up in 2002, playing one-off gigs in 2004, 2007, and 2009. They officially reunited last year, releasing a 6-song EP of new material and co-headlined the Dave Matthews Band Caravan touring festival. Their songs may not be very complex, but they are notorious for fun shows full of adoring fans. What more could a fan ask for?
10. Alabama Shakes
If any band deserves the title “Breakout Band of 2012,” it’s blues outfit Alabama Shakes, led by the phenomenal Ms. Brittany Howard. Based on videos I have seen from their live shows, they give energetic performances and wow the crowds every time. They’ve even got the honor of opening for Mr. Jack White on his solo tour. Their solid bluesy throwback with a soulful singer is perfect for the 100-degree Tennessee weather.
9. Gary Clark Jr.
Speaking of blues, here is a man who some have called “The Savior of Blues.” While that is debatable, I do know that Gary Clark Jr. is well on his way to becoming this year’s recipient of the Guitar God award, if one does exist. He is a slaying guitar player and his brand of blues tinged classic rock is always a crowd pleaser.
8. Bad Brains
Out of all the punk bands that came out of D.C. in the early 80s, Bad Brains were certainly the ballsiest. Their dreads were natty, their songs had the fierceness of Minor Threat (or the chill of Bob Marley, depending on which song you listen to) and they are the very reason the Beastie Boys existed. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not (lead singer) HR has what it takes to keep the energy going in That Tent.
7. Flogging Molly
For those who think The Pogues are too Irish and the Dropkick Murphys not Irish enough, there is Flogging Molly. Their last album came out a year ago, so it doesn’t seem like they’re playing to support it. They’re just playing for the hell of it, and I can’t wait to witness these guys for the first time ever. Will I lose my mind during “Seven Deadly Sins”, you ask? Does the Pope poop in the woods? (Yes.)
6. Umphrey’s McGee
To be honest, I am not too familiar with this band. With Dispatch and Phish on the bill, jam experts Umphrey’s McGee are almost overshadowed, with a late-night set that conflicts that of IDM/freak-raver Flying Lotus. I have heard on countless occasions that UM’s late night sets are ones that should not ever be missed, so I am letting curiosity get the best of me for this 2 A.M. set.
I know, it’s just a bit too obvious to put the headliners in the list, but I’m doing it anyway. If you asked me at the beginning of the year, I would’ve told you that I couldn’t care less about Radiohead and I didn’t care to see them, but things have changed. Radiohead (whose 2006 Roo performance has been hailed as one of their best) have really upped the ante with their 2012 live show. After watching—and being amazed by—their Coachella performance, I know that I have to see them, if only just to cross them off the bucket list.
4. Major Lazer
If you were to ask thenaturalstoner who his favorite act of Sasquatch 2011 was, he’ll more likely than not say Major Lazer. The reggae-infused electronic act (dynamic duo Diplo and Scratch) are known for astounding live shows, which is way better than anything you’ll hear on their debut album “Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do.” So I am hoping that the dudes do not disappoint me when I catch them in This Tent after Radiohead.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Yes, I know. Another headliner. But bear with me. See I have been listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers since I was just a toddler. My parents tell me I even used to sing “Scar Tissue” as a young’n! I’m looking forward to catching these guys regardless of how Anthony sounds nowadays. I do know that Flea is one of the baddest bass players of all time, and the new guy, Josh Klinghoffer, ain’t half bad either. So whether I’m singing along to “Under the Bridge” or jamming out to “By the Way”, I am going to see Red Hot Chili Peppers and have a fantastic time.
We here at Concert Confessions love Donald GloverTroy BarnesChildish Gambino, a semi-joking semi-serious rapper who has been hitting the festival and touring circuit since the beginning of the year to support his debut album Camp. He is a fantastic lyricist, an energetic performer, and an all-around cool guy. Whether you’ve seen his stand-up specials on Comedy Central or his role on NBC’s cult favorite Community, you know that Donald Glover is one cool dude. Gambino is a mastermind.
I have been wanting to see jam-band Phish since their reunion in 2009. My dad is a long time fan (he’s seen them twice already) and most writers for the site have seen them numerous times. Now I am not a religious follower of Phish’s live bootlegs; I don’t know what songs they play and which songs they don’t play and I don’t know which versions of their songs are good and which versions are bad. I do know that Phish are a great band who I am excited to see more than anyone else. From 8:00 to 12:00, I get to enjoy a delicious Phish Philet before heading home from my first ever camping festival. And that’s what’s up.
Watch Highlights of Phish Performing at Bonnaroo in 2009
A few days ago we told you about the exciting new Bonnaroo 365 YouTube channel. Now for one week, the channel will be airing nearly 90 minutes of footage of Phish from their 2009 appearance at the festival. You can check it out down below for yourself up till 05/22/12. If that is not enough of a Phish phix for ya, click here to check out our extensive coverage of the band.
I am sitting here trying to be positive, but that’s a difficult task. Assuming rumors about a lack of fall tour are true, Phish will play four shows in the Pacific Time Zone in 2012. Having sold out the Hollywood Bowl in record time last summer, they take all that energy and hit the shit stain known as the Long Beach Arena. Then they move up to San Francisco for two nights at the craptastic Bill Graham Civic. August is perfect in California and you play two of the dumpiest indoor venues our state has to offer. Not only that, these are some of the WORST sounding venues in California. Way to go Phish.
Hey, at least Oklahoma finally gets a show. Likewise, kudos to folks in Kansas City and Pelham Alabama as the band finally returns to your market. That said here are the leg two dates for Phish Summer 2012. Oh and a positive note, the bands’ latest tour video is funny. You can check that below the dates.
08/15 – Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA
08/17 – Bill Graham Civic, San Francisco, CA
08/18 – Bill Graham Civic, San Francisco, CA
08/19 – Bill Graham Civic, San Francisco, CA
08/22 – Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, MO
08/24 – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Pelham, AL
08/25 – Aaron’s Amphitheatre @ Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
Trey Anastasio w/ the Los Angeles Philharmonic 03/10/12
Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
Back in 2010 I wrote an open letter to Phish and the Los Angeles Philharmonic begging them to team up for a performance at the Hollywood Bowl. While we finally got to see Phish at the Bowl last summer, it was your typical two set balls to the wall affair with no sign of the Phil in sight. Thankfully my wish somewhat came true in March of 2012 as Trey Anastasio of Phish took on the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a fantastic night at the immaculate Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.
I really didn’t know what to expect as we headed from our car up into the massive structure that serves as the LA Phil’s winter home. The Phish scene was interesting on this particular evening to say the least. I would say at least two thirds of the crowd dressed up for the occasion. In fact just about every wook I saw out dressed my modest button down and jeans attire. Everyone was on their best behavior for a fancy affair in the heart of Los Angeles.
After enjoying dinner in the dining area within the venue we found our way to our seats just as members of the LA Phil began to warm up. I enjoyed one of the French Horn players practicing certain sections of Stash and I swear one of the bass players was teasing Down With Disease to warm himself up for the evening. While advertised as a prompt 8pm start time, the show finally got started around 10 after as Anastasio and conductor Scott Dunn took the stage. Opening with First Tube it was hard to sit still as the excitement and the energy of the song all hit at once. Anastasio used just a slight hint of distortion with his Ocelot electric guitar and toned the song down just enough for the Philharmonic to keep up and let everyone know that we are here and this is happening.
After a solid performance of Water In The Sky which sounded a lot like the Festival 8 version on steroids, the night’s first highlight unfolded. With Anastasio on acoustic guitar the entire time Divided Sky was a new indescribable form of beautiful. The way the string section lifted this number I came to the conclusion that this needs to be playing when I take my walk down the long tunnel towards the white light. While Brian and Robert (Phishbeards favorite Phish song for those keeping score at home) would have probably been a mood killer if this was Phish on a Saturday night, it was very enjoyable with the additional musicians.
Guyute shocked me in the sense that it was done as an instrumental. This was a perfect way for the Philharmonic to show off some more of its quirky instruments and unusual sounds they can make. I saw instruments being used that I couldn’t even name, it was great. I was equally impressed by Stash. I won’t sugar coat it, I just don’t like this particular song. Yet with the Philharmonic it took on a whole new vibe and I found it incredible. From Anastasio’s slowed down lyrical delivery to various members of the Philharmonic smiling from the synchronized hand claps of the audience this song finally felt special after hearing it for the last 16 years. Having apologized for years of promising to be back in 15 minutes and taking much longer, Anastasio stressed that there would only be a 10 minute break on this evening. His promise was correct as after a short break we were back for a second set of music.
I knew the second set was scheduled to open with Time Turns Elastic. I also know I am not alone in saying that this song can be torturous. With the understanding that the orchestral version is much longer than the Phish version I had an open mind for the music. However it was still very difficult to sit through at times and judging by the restless nature of many in the crowd I was not alone for this. I am sure you could find folks that disagree somewhere, but judging by the heckles from numerous members of my section this was the lowest point in a night of exhilarating highs.
Since I have never seen Phish perform If I Could, I was excited for the chance to hear one of my favorite tracks from Hoist. This take gave me chills it was so good. The extended string heavy outro sounded great inside the space that Anastasio admitted is the best sounding room he’s ever performed in.
If you were to ask me what the quintessential Phish song is, I would say You Enjoy Myself. It is my favorite song and I have had the fortune of seeing numerous versions over the years. With a very well behaved crowd at the edge of their seats the entire night this song was the moment the dam busted open as our minds were officially blown. You Enjoy Myself is classical music done as rock and roll. To hear it as classical music was too much for the audience. As the song builds and builds folks could no longer withhold the cheers and some even left their seats to stand. As we finally broke and crashed down into the Boy Man God Shit section many laughed as the words were replaced by horns that sounded like a wet version of the last word. For as foul as that sounds it worked perfectly and took the song to a new and exciting place. However the highlight of the song was the ending vocal jam. With the Philharmonic laying down a melody below him Anastasio walked about 10 feet away from his microphone. With the room built for sound, the sold out crowd was able to hear Anastasio sing a vocal jam along with the musicians behind him. It was an incredible way to end over two hours of music.
Anastasio of course came back out for an encore. You know I have to point out that once again the west coast got screwed as out of the four shows Anastasio did with Orchestras this summer we were the only ones who didn’t get to hear Golden Slumbers>Carry That Weight>The End. We did however get a sweet take on The Inlaw Josie Wales before we headed back to our cars in an attempt to navigate the snarled streets of downtown Los Angeles. Even with the shortest set of the tour, it was an amazing opportunity to hear the music of my favorite band in a brand new reimagined light. Now let’s have another round when the Hollywood Bowl books Phish for three nights for their annual July 4th celebration in 2013.
Phish has just announced dates for their summer tour 2012. As has been tradition since the band reformed in 2009, the dates focus on areas east of the Mississippi. Highlights of the trek include three nights in Atlantic City, two nights at Midwest favorites Deer Creek and Alpine Valley and of course a headline slot at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
As has also been tradition, the band has created a hilarious video announcing the dates. This particular time around the groups drummer Jon Fishman is training for summer tour. You can watch the video below the dates. For additional information on the Atlantic City shows click here.
Phish Summer 2012 Tour Dates:
6/7 DCU Center, Worcester, MA
6/8 DCU Center, Worcester, MA
6/10 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, TN
6/15 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ
6/16 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ
6/17 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ
6/19 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
6/20 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
6/22 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
6/28 Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN
6/29 Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN
6/30 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
7/1 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
7/3 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
7/4 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
7/6 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/7 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/8 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
As always the lineup for the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester Tennessee is nothing short of impressive. Headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead and Phish, the festival is set to take place June 7th-10th, 2012. Other highlights on the bill include Alice Cooper, St. Vincent and a reunited Ben Folds Five.
With the first two price levels already sold out, you best get your tickets soon as this annual event almost always sells out. If you have a little bit of extra cash after buying your ticket, perhaps you can send some to our youngest Concert Confessions family member Jakob who is trying to make it to his first Bonaroo. Click here to help him out.
For more information on everything Bonnaroo, please check out the official site by clicking here. Check out some past footage of Bonnaroo from our pal BeeZnutZbelow.
As of 03/12/2012 Bands added to the Festival’s lineup include: Danzig Legacy, Puscifer, Santigold, The Temper Trap, fun., and The Cave Singers
Oh those crazy German’s. I truly assumed I would never catch these guys again after the Great White fiasco, but there I was on the floor of the sold out Forum watching the band’s first North American tour in nearly a decade. It was all you could want from a Rammstein show – pulverizing riffs, shock value galore and lots and lots of fire.
The only reason I went to Chris Cornell is so I wouldn’t have to sit home alone for another night. I really didn’t expect much and just assumed I was crossing another artist off the list (as you can see in the review, I had actually seen Cornell live and forgot all about it). As much fun as it was to get videos taped at a show where armed guards stood looking to shoot anyone with a phone or a camera, as it turns out the music was really amazing. Cornell’s voice sounded strong, he performed stripped down versions of songs that span his entire career and hell if the Rock and Roll career does not work out, the man is funny enough to be a stand-up comedian.
Truth be told, this wasn’t so much about the music as much as it was about the Experience. Traveling alone through the streets of New Orleans 2000 miles from home with a once in a lifetime chance to check out one of American’s premiere music festivals. Don’t get me wrong, Mastodon, Social D and Girl Talk all killed it up on stage. However, it was meeting a kid fifteen years younger than me from my home town. It was checking out a beautiful park in a beautiful city and taking in a culture very different from Los Angeles. It was the sweet Street Car driver who pointed out all the great spots to eat far from Bourbon Street. Just like the name said, it truly was an experience.
There is something truly special about Joseph Arthur in Venice in April. Even if I tried to explain it, it simply wouldn’t make sense. So when this last minute gig was announced the same weekend as Coachella, I got my ass down to Venice faster than you can say Milk truck. Having seen the man at three of his four shows at the Bootleg Theater earlier in the year, I didn’t know what to expect out in Venice. With less than two dozen people showing up to the last minute gig, it was more like Arthur was playing in your living room then your typical concert. Perhaps it was the dog running around the venue, perhaps it was the fact he was cool enough to play “Morning Cup” for me, whatever it was this performance brought out some of the best feelings I have ever felt.
When Oasis split, I found myself bummed I never made an effort to catch a proper show. I figured I may as well make the effort to catch the side projects till the day the Gallagher’s get back together. While we won’t mention the worst show we saw in 2011, Noel’s performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall was nothing short of exquisite. In between playing nearly the entire debut album, the man busted out some of Oasis’ biggest hits including “Wonderwall” and “Supersonic.” Oh and for the record it was not I who asked him to take off his shirt, but it was me who did request he play some Kasabian.
So let me get this right, I get to leave Easter dinner early to watch Amon Amarth perform two sets of music? Oh and of those two sets of music, one of them is the bands’ latest release Surtur Rising from front to back? With no support, the mighty men from Scandinavia played almost three hours of music to a blood hungry crowd of sweaty men young and old. Much like an Easter Sunday service, the crowd sang along to every word worshiping the band and their every command. My only regret was the fact I was unable to experience it all over again when the group hit Anaheim in August.
When 2011 started, I just assumed TV on the Radio was some over-blown hipster bullshit from Brooklyn. While that is totally correct, that didn’t stop me from falling in love with the group. As I mentioned in the original review, I didn’t even want to go to this show, but the lady had already purchased me a ticket. Then the group became unavoidable. Phish was covering Golden Age and someone I really respect kept posting Will Doto their Facebook wall. By the time I walked into the Bowl, I had not only owned TVOTR on vinyl, but was pumped for the gig. Grouped with other up and coming acts including Warpaint and Arctic Monkey’s – TVOTR’s headline set was a fierce hour of post punk/post hardcore/post indie yet totally original melodies and madness. Your new favorite band of 2005 is my new favorite band of 2011.
I am not a huge Prince fan. Don’t get me wrong the man has some great songs but it’s not something I listen too very often. Yet with 21 shows with most tickets priced at $25 there was no way in hell I was going to miss one of the greatest performers of the last 100 years in my back yard. As much fun as my birthday was with The Purple One in May, when it comes to music this show was one of the greatest I have ever seen no matter what the year is. He played the hits, he got funky with Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham, he performed encores nearly twenty minutes after the house lights came up. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. If you live in Southern California and missed this run – shame on you.
It was late 2010 when my pal James and I made plans to have a mini Ween California tour. I would fly to the Bay Area to get brown in Oaktown and he would come back with me to see the brothers Boognish in Los Angeles. From sneaking onto the floor to the sweet mini acoustic set there are just too many high water marks to mention. So instead we will just give a shout out to the hood rat who threatened to kill me on BART after I informed her I was not a drunk, but a drug addict.
As I said last year, as long as I see Phish I will always know what my top show of any given year is. This year I was not only fortunate enough to catch the band four times (so really, the top four shows of 2011 were all Phish), I finally got to see the boys live at The Gorge. It has been a dream of mine to do such a thing since the summer of 1997 and what a magical weekend it was. I could write a novel about the inside jokes of the weekend. From Eel attacks to me learning to open a bottle of beer with a lighter, it truly was one of the best weekends of my life. Oh and the music? All I have to say is Rock and Roll>Meatstick>Boogie On Reggae Woman.
Tis the season for giving, and if you’re this writer, receiving. When given the opportunity to be bought into Phish tonight for their first of a 4 night New Years Eve at Madison Square Garden, how could I pass it up? Before anything goes further we must slurp the Revered Justito, who gifts me with this ticket to the show tonight (and note that his holiday gift is to be mailed shortly), gifts me with the chance to see Phish. I’ve heard a lot of Phish-surprisingly enough not much of their music. I know several ‘Phans’ who speak of the band is Christ-like proportions. To give you an idea, the night before the show and throughout the morning I was reading tweets hashtagged with stuff like #OccupyMSG, and #YEMSG. Some folks were camped out all night-and they HAVE tickets. So there’s that side of the fence. Then I also have ran into a few friends who behave like, for lack of a better term here, “Haters”, when the band is mentioned. These people would compare a Phish concert to nothing more than a traveling circus of hacky sack and drugs. I chose to walk into this one with a non-bias attitude. I didn’t study up on the Phish catalog days leading up to the show-I didn’t read blogs or set lists. I’m a fan of spontaneity, that’s what the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series is all about; so here I bring you the 63rd installment, from the (newly renovated) World’s Most Famous Arena-Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City, for 1st night of the Phish 4 night New Years Eve 2011-2012 run.
I get off the train around 630ish, and literally all I see is a sea of people standing in front of the Garden all holding up their index finger screaming “one?!?-who’s got one for tonight?” . Usually I’m at the show with extra tickets and I can’t give them away. All sorts of signs suggesting trades-I seriously considered a sign that was a two for one offer with me giving up tonight’s ticket for 2 tomorrow night. But I’m already here, so I’m sticking with it.
So a little after 7 I made it up to section 404, row G, seat 9. Holy crap- they sold out the seats behind the stage too ? I’ve never seen that before done at any arena. Usually they cut that area off the to public. If every seat gets filled(which it should be because it’s sold out), we’ll have at least 20,000 people here tonight.
At 8:07 We kicked off the night with “Free”, “Glide”, “Possum”, “Cities” and “The Ballard of Curtis Loew”.. It didn’t even take more than the first half of “Free” for me to begin enjoying myself. What would drive people to hate this? I mean, I guess if you don’t like musicians jamming out to groovy tunes then I could see your dilemma. But then you look around and realize this place is packed to gils-not an ass in a seat throughout the place..
The lights are something I’ve never seen before-how do the lights colors change mid-beam? How do you make the lights look like smoke rings? Haven’t seen a light show like this this side of Roger Waters.. And at the beginning of certain songs glow sticks are tossed by hundreds from the 400 sections raining down on the people in the lower levels. An arena wide celebration was what this night was about. My section was getting me a contact high before the set even began(thanks for sharing by the way #Sarcasm), people walking past me behind me asking each other “is that real?” referring to the wall. And I still don’t understand how many glow sticks needed to be purchased for the raining to still be going on an hour into the set.
“Stash” and “Contact”(a song the Rev Justito hasn’t seen live in 24 Phish shows) followed by “Sample in a Jar”, “Kill Devil Falls” and “Bathtub Gin” finished out what was to be Set 1.
So is this an intermission at 9:33? I would assume so considering nobody has left. If I was on a lower level, I’d duck out for a second for a cigarette since there’s a Nazi event staff guy who threatened to throw me out if he caught smoking again. So that’s right folks, the only person in this building not indulging in illegal drugs is the one who gets his shoulder tapped. Do I have a sign on my back that says “hey event staff please bother me at every show I attend in life!”. What the hell man, there is smoke EVERYWHERE, I mean everywhere. There’s probably more pot in this arena then I’ve ever smoked in my life and yet, my cigarette is causing a disturbance to this asshole stuck in a menial service position.
“Birds of a Feather” kicked off set number two at 10:02… And everyone is back to standing up. I tried to tape a couple a songs throughout the evening, but theres like a ceiling a few feet up, so I can’t exactly hold my camera above the swaying bodies in front of me. After Birds of a Feather it was “Carini” time, which was followed by “Tweezer” for the foreseeable future-they are jammin’ on this one.. This had to have gone over ten minutes (like most of the evening’s songs)n”My Friend My Friend” was up next. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing? Without knowing the name of one song coming into this The setlist is being tweeted song by song. Now if only I could get this many web savvy people into the Meat Puppets, then I’d be doing my job as a social media assistant.
Then, wait a second I know this song-a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock N’ Roll”! Hell freaking yes! This is my FAVORITE Velvet underground song-had I got my camera out quick enough I would’ve been rolling film. “NICU”, “Bouncing Around the Room”,”Harry Hood”, and “Bug” all checked in before it was encore time..
“Tube”, “Rocky Top” and “Tweezer Reprise” served as a healthy encore for a “Phuphilling” night of Phish. The night came to an official end at 11:35pm. That leaves us with set one clocking in at an hour and twenty six minutes, and set two was an hour and thirty three minutes. I’ve seen bands not even play that long for ONE set, Phish come through MSG fries hearts and minds. Walking down the steps on the way out, I couldn’t help but overhear two buddies talking about how this was an “old school type of show”. As a first timer, I can’t tell you if that’s accurate or not-the Phans will judge by the setlist.
If you made it this far down, then you’ve probably enjoyed my first Phish experience, and I’ve enjoyed having you. Now I bid my readers a goodnight, because as I post this I have less then 2 hours to nap and get to my day job. Life and times of social media rockstar journalism. Again, huge thanks to the Reverend for giving me the chance to attend. Feels good to be baptized in the Phamily… LATE.
SETLIST: Set I: Free, Glide, Possum, Cities, The Ballad Of Curtis Loew, Stash, Contact, Sample In A Jar, Kill Devil Falls, Bathtub Gin
Set II: Birds Of A Feather, Carini > Tweezer > My Friend, My Friend, Rock & Roll > NICU, Bouncing Around The Room, Harry Hood, Bug
Encore: Tube, Rocky Top, Tweezer Reprise
Notes: I have a note to share about the show tonight. If there was one thing I could’ve done without, it would’ve been the intermission from 9:33-10:02. I’m not saying it took away from time that could’ve been spent playing songs-they do this every year I’m sure they can go as long as they want (especially with the Knicks are on a west coast swing)-I just don’t understand what was getting done in that half hour. It’s not like we can go grab some air here- it’s takes like 20 minutes to exit the building. Maybe if I was with Phriends I would’ve have something to do during that half hour. Oh well, there’ll always be next time.
2011 was undoubtedly my finest concert going year on record (out of 31!). I saw over 80 bands, did several awesome road trips, brought in visitors from around the country to come to the Gorge Amphitheatre, and almost all my shows were at least ‘decent’. Obviously some rise to the top, and some fall to the bottom… so here is my list of best concerts of 2011.
I had seen Sharon Jones a couple years ago sing backup to Phish in Indio, California, so I was very excited to finally see one of Sharons own sets with the entire Dap-Kings. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer! Sharon was amazing and I got to meet her after her set over in the meet and greet area (AWESOME idea Sasquatch), which was a super cool experience. After Chromeo and Sharons sets, the final day on Sasquatchs mainstage was off to a blistering Monday afternoon start!
I love Foo Fighters and this was my first chance to see them live. Well, let me take that back, I had one prior opportunity and didn’t exactly “make it to the show” that night. Over 10 years later, I got my second chance and the Foos rocked me just like I wanted. Headlining Sasquatchs first ever Friday night, the Foo Fighters rocked my face off.
When I made my festival review immediately after the Sasquatch Festival, I put this Modest Mouse set as number one on my list. Over time, perspective pushed Chromeo over that for me, however this set was a monster, and something I was desperately looking for that weekend. Going into Sasquatch I was hoping some band I have heard but never appreciated would turn me into a fan, and Modest Mouse did that FAR more than any other. I am looking at you Wilco, Death Cab, etc.
A huge 4 band lineup, including the Meat Puppets, Queens of the Stone Age and Mastodon, concluded with Soundgardens tour closer at the Gorge, a “hometown” show finale. The experience of meeting ConcertConfessions own Jay Porks and having Soundgarden live up to all my expectations made this a huge weekend stop in central Washington! I even did a Babe Ruth called shot right before Pretty Noose. Ahhh good times…
6) Eddie Vedder 07/15/11 Benaroya Hall – Seattle, WA
If it wasn’t for the following nights epicness, this show would have left a much higher imprint on me. A fantastic show, in a beautiful venue, and getting the opportunity to tell Krist Novoselic “Thank you”, and get a “You’re welcome” back, made this a once in a lifetime night. Thanks the Jesus I got into these shows after 5 attempts at various online ticket sales.
A fun road trip to Bend, Oregon with several friends left us with a great Ween weekend. Poopship Destroyer, Monique the Freak, Slow Down Boy, Waynes Pet Youngin, etc were great, but when Baby Bitch was played, and then Birthday Boy followed, this show got real. What a moment! Ween treats us well in the Northwest! Staying at the Rainbow Motel in Bend was the icing on the cake! Here is Poopship Destroyer from ConcertConfessions own Phishbeard.
A show that felt exactly opposite from the night before to me flow wise. The show got GREAT at the end, instead of a solid start. Reba with whistling, a teaseful Antelope and a super encore with Sanity and a Suzy Greenberg that I needed to hear to get off my stats list (even though I “saw” it at Festival 8). And the pizzadillas!!!!
What a JAM! Rock and Roll > Fire on the Mountain Jam (I still insist this happened) > Meatstick > Boogie On Reggae Woman was one of the best segues thrown down in years. If the set didn’t go limp after Boogie On this could have been a number one contender. This Rock and Roll jam gets to hang out up with the Boise AC/DC Bagand Inglewood Bathtub Gin as favorite Jams of my life. Getting to have Reverend Justito make it up to our neck of the woods for his first ever Gorge shows made this a perfect weekend. One of the best camping setups we’ve ever had at Phish too. We did this weekend right. Here is a GREAT Roggae, with an unusually long (great!!) jam, that the Rev got on tape:
1) Eddie Vedder 07/16/11 Benaroya Hall – Seattle, WA
When I look back at all the concerts I have ever been to, again 31 years worth, two specifically stand out to me as “best evers”. My first Phish show, 7/17/98 at the Gorge, and a random Phish show on a Tuesday night in Boise back in 1999 where the band decided to produce a set as grand as any they have ever played. The only way I know how to describe this Eddie Vedder show is to say that it is on the same level as those two Phish shows from the late 90s. This was no doubt one of the best concert experiences of my life, and gave me an exuberant feeling of positivity that I wasn’t sure still existed in this world (it had been 12 years since something hit me like this after all). Everything about this night was perfect, highlighted by an astounding mid-set run of: Needle and the Damage Done > Long Road > Wishlist > Man of the Hour > I Am Mine that rivals anything I have ever seen.
Just missed the cut: Major Lazer, John Prine, Big Boi, Meat Puppets, Hall and Oates, Sleigh Bells.
Biggest Disappointment: The Flaming Lips, The Gorge Sasquatch Festival. Described as a “Soft Bulletin” set (we didn’t even get the whole album), this gig was full of distractions (who sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to a music Festival mid Album set?) and too much wandering banter from Wayne Coyne. For my first Lips show, I was hoping for a LOT more.
Funny moment on video: I had a funny thing happen during Flogging Molly at the Sasquatch Festival. Near the end of recording video of ‘Don’t Shut Em Down’, some guy taps me on the shoulder and says, “Vomits running down onto your bag!”. I look down and sure as shit the lady about 5 feet behind me had puked and it was streaming down below my feet! See 3:10 into this vid!
On the 5th and 6th of August 2011, the Gorge was once again blessed with the presence of Phish. Phans from all over America congregated for one of the most magical weekends in recent Phishtory. The weather was superb and the campgrounds were packed by the time my crew arrived at the Gorge to set up camp and prefunk for the Friday night show. We had numerous cars of people as part of our caravan at the campground and more people joined our camp as the weekend went on. When it was all said and done, we had approximately 20 people, representing 5 different states as part of our camp. When we come to a Phish show, we come in style and this year was no different. Our camp was huge, shaded, luxorious and full of good people, beers and other goodies. This was by far the best camp set up that I have been part of in all my concert going years and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share that experience with.
Once we had gathered all things necessary for the Friday show, we made our way to the venue. By the time we got to the gates, my most wonderful chocolate that I had ate had kicked in and I was on the path to a face melting evening. Once inside the venue and past a relaxed security check, most of my group decided to venture to the floor. I opted out and found myself a spot to video tape the music from the hillside. I then made my way to the porta-potties and to my surprise there was little to no line and they were clean! This is unheard of at a Phish show and I was in awe, even more so since I was tripping pretty hard by that time. The boys opened up with Kill Devil Falls followed by the Wedge to start off one of the best Phish shows that I have ever attended.
Friday’s first set brought out some big hitters such as an 11 plus minute Bathtub Gin and a bitchin’ Walk Away. My buddy also got My Friend, My Friend, which he was dying to hear. Cavern and Taste were also played in that first set. By the time they busted out Roggae, it was dark enough that the light show became a stellar spectacle for all to adore. The highlights for me during that set were Roses are Free and David Bowie. Roses goes into Bowie so well that those 16 minutes were an epic way to end a set and was actually just a small taste of what was in store for all the Phans after set break. The boys were on fire and this was by far the best sounding show I have had heard them play live.
The second set opened up with Backwards Down the Number Line, which brought a smile to my face, since I am still in the phase of trying to accept new Phish songs. The next song, Rock and Roll by the Velvet Underground was by far the highlight of the night for me and more than likely the best I have heard the boys play ever. Rock and Roll was 20 minutes of crazy mind melting jamming and Page even played on a theremin, which is a rarity. All I can say is that after that song, most people were trying hard to reform from the puddles of which they became. After such an epic Rock and Roll, the boys pushed on through with a 9 minute Meatstick! This version of Meatstick even had the Japanese lyrics in it. Wow what a treat it was to get that. I also enjoyed Farmhouse and Show of Life. Unfortunately, for such an epic show, the boys had to play the best version of Julius that I have ever heard and I hate that song with all my heart. Phish was playing so good, that songs I hate even sounded ok. The night ended with a nice 7 minute encore of Loving Cup, sending everyone back to camp in good form.
At the end of the show, I staked a good spot on the hill to locate my friend’s. After about 30 minutes, my Jeff Winston cries served their purpose and I was able to find some friends that were not part of our crew and at the same time, literally within minutes, I found my crew as well! The Gorge always has had some special way of making friends gravitate towards each other. During the long trek back to camp, I found my friend from New Orleans and some other friends from Oregon. Still tripping and riding the high off the post show excitement, I lost my crew and got stuck gabbing with my other friends. Unfortunately I was not blessed with a sense of direction and after parting ways with my friends, I proceeded to wander the campgrounds lost and wasted looking for my camp. Only after 2 hours of walking, many phone calls, and tons of panic, did I finally contact a friend and made him take me back to my camp. That’s what friends are for right?
The next day, we had a long haul of drinking and other activities ahead of us before the show. Once it was daylight, I made a mental map of the location of my friend’s camps as well as our camp. We made a venture down to Shakedown Street a couple times for souvenirs and some grub. Overall the campground was very lively and everyone was pumped about another night of Phish. Saturday was a bit warmer than Friday was and we had to care for a friend who was suffering from heat exhaustion. After we were all good and buzzed up, as well as rested for the night, our crew made the trek once more to see the boys perform the Saturday show. Herds of people flowed down the path to the venue like groups of zombies headed for fresh blood, which is a bit different than post shows, when it is more like a mass of cattle being funneled down a path back to the campground.
The Saturday show will forever be dubbed as the best shitty show I have seen the boys play. I say that because the majority of the songs played Saturday are mostly the songs I hate from the Phish catalogue. Even though the song choices were horrible, the music itself was decent. Phish was on fire yet again and killed every song I hate with such grace. The show opened up with Possum and I knew right there that all my friend’s were laughing at me and that I had a long night ahead of crappy songs to come. Some of the songs I was pleased to hear during the first set were, The Moma Dance, Limb by Limb, and Wolfman’s Brother. The set also had a stellar 10 plus minute Maze, which I was just begging for it to end after it first started. Ending the set was a bitchin’ Wilson into Fluffhead! By far the highlight of the night for me and it helped bring me back up, after being bummed about the songs played prior.
During set break I gathered myself up as best as I could and prayed for a better round of songs for the second set. The boys must have been listening to my prayers, because when they came back out they opened with Chalkdust Torture and played into Tweezer > Prince Caspian > Sand and then back into Tweezer. Wow what a sandwich that was!!! If they would have replaced Sand with something else, the sandwich would have been epic instead of great. The boys brought it back down for me a bit with Birds of a Feather, which made me scream a tad on the inside. Thank God the rest of the set was nothing but tasty tunes, such as Waste and 12 min versions of Reba and Run Like an Antelope to end the set. A triple encore was then played, which consisted of Suzy Greenburg (which I could do without), Sanity (which was phenomenal!), and a Tweezer Reprise. Overall the show was good, but if I could have got at least half those disliked songs replaced, this show would have been so much better. All I can say about the weekend is that there were many good times, many friends seen, and plenty of great music heard. Best weekend of Phish in my concert career, easily.
Phish is scheduled to perform a special show at Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, VT next Wednesday, September 14th. The concert will benefit Vermont flood recovery efforts. In the wake of Hurricane Irene, Vermont experienced its worst flooding in a century, which devastated communities throughout the state.
“It’s been heartbreaking to see all the loss and destruction that came from the storm,” said Phish keyboardist Page McConnell. “Vermont is very much a part of who we are as a band. We’re really looking forward to playing this show and we hope the money raised will make a difference in the recovery and rebuilding effort.”
General admission tickets will be $75. In addition, a special “Friend of WaterWheel” package will be available for $250. It will include preferred parking, a reserved box seat, a limited edition poster and access to a Vermont craft beer tent. A very limited number of tickets are available directly through Phish Tickets’ online ticketing system at http://phish.portals.musictoday.com.
The ticket request period is currently underway and will end on Wednesday, September 7, at noon ET. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Saturday, September 10, at 10:00 AM ET. In order to ensure that a large allotment of tickets is available to local residents, the public onsale will be in-person and cash only. The box office location will be announced this Friday at http://phish.com, by email update and on local radio stations. There will be a limit of two tickets per person whether individuals are purchasing in person or during the online ticket request period.
Proceeds from the concert and merchandise sales will be directed to The WaterWheel Foundation and The Vermont Community Foundation to aid in the recovery of the Green Mountain State.
The show will be Phish’s first in Vermont since 2004. Doors will open at 5:30 PM and the concert will begin at 7:00 PM.
Over the past few years, I have come home to the Bay Area on Outside Lands weekend. Yet instead of watching historic performances by the likes of Pearl Jam, Widespread Panic and Ween I have watched friends get married. With no nuptials planned for 2011 I purchased my three day pass the second they went on sale.
My friends and I hit the park Friday afternoon as New York based Phantogram were performing on the Sutro stage. Most of their set was spent waiting in line for an alcohol ID and then of course for the first of many $9 beers. With a large crowd gathered, I enjoyed what I heard of the duo (who performed as a trio live) and confirmed that I indeed need to dig deeper into the group. Highlight for me was walking up just in time to record the one jam I actually know from the group – “Mouthful of Diamonds.”
The Original Meters
Having caught The Funky Meters around the Bay a few times in the late 90’s, I knew that my proper Outside Lands 2011 kick off would be the main stage performance from The Meters. The set started out great with a tight run through “Fire On The Bayou.” Yet it was during “Struttin’” that the entire performance fell apart. The amplifier of guitarist Leo Nocentelli died and for at least 15 minutes various tech heads did everything they could to get it back up and running. With a festival running on a tight schedule, the remaining three members of the group jammed while joking with the crowd. Sadly by the time the problem was fixed many in the crowd had moved onto other stages. I did enjoy what little of the set was left, but talk about a tough break for some true living legends that deserve much better.
Foster The People
It was perfect. I was able to hear the rock radio summer jam of 2011 “Pumped Up Kicks” from a porta-potty. Let’s be honest here folks (and if time proves me wrong, then feel free to mock me) but I get the feeling this jam is a lot like “Sex and Candy” by Marcy’s Playground or “Handlebars” by Flobots. Here today, gone tomorrow and a perfect soundtrack when pissing into a plastic urinal while surrounded by other people’s excrement.
I have no doubt in my mind that 9 out of 10 individuals who packed the Polo Fields for MGMT’s set will tell you that the band sucked. I am not one of those individuals because not only did the groups second record Congratulations make my top 10 list last year, I understand that this band has blown up before they had time to mature as a band. Opening with “Flash Delirium” the set was heavy on the more challenging material from Congratulations. While I feel the band works better in a smaller venue, jams like “It’s Working” and “Siberian Breaks” still managed to get me moving. Where fans in every city get down to “Electric Feel” one can’t deny that it feels a bit more special here in San Francisco as our two time Cy Young Award winner (and not to mention World Fuckin’ Champ) Tim Lincecum warms up to this song. Looking across the Polo Field (and really anywhere at Outside Lands) you can’t escape the sea of Black and Orange gear which is a bittersweet feeling for a lifelong Giants fan who has defended his team for a decade now at Dodgers Stadium, but I digress.
While I have never heard of the band England’s Glory, MGMT does a mighty damn good job rocking their song “Broken Arrows.” With some slight jamming at the end of the song, it was the perfect treat for those who gathered at the main stage all day in hopes to secure a sweet spot for Phish. Perhaps the best part of MGMT’s set was the fact they didn’t play “Kids.” Yes I know this upset the masses, but the song simply would not have fit in with the overall mood of the set. I’d rather see a band try to make a solid cohesive statement with their slot versus making the crowd happy by simply going through the motions and playing the hits.
I can’t think of a more perfect way to end my west coast Phish run then a Friday night in Golden Gate Park. The day was already off to a good start when despite no “lot scene” I managed to find my “I’m Just a Little Phreaked Out” SF Giants/Phish West Coast Lot shirt (thanks James) a few hours before the boys hit the stage. I once again ended up Page Side Rage Side (4 for 4 in 2011) and was shocked when the band hit the stage at 6:30pm sharp with the opening “Kill Devil Falls.”
While it may have been advertised as two sets, I knew going into this one that Phish would have to walk the fine line of appeasing phans while creating an enjoyable set for noobs, hipsters and those who wandered over to the main stage after Big Boi failed to perform his set. From rockers like “Wilson” to covers like Frank Zappa’s “Peaches en Regalia” it was clear Phish was walking the line perfectly. For the hardcore phans, while the band didn’t break out anything too crazy, you can’t really complain when “Mound” “Tweezer” “Suzy Greenberg” and “Mike’s Song>I Am Hydrogen>Weekapaug Groove” all find their way into the first set. Oh, and for those who have seen multiple shows, when was the last time you saw drummer Jon Fishman rock a hoodie under his Muumuu?
Set II kicked off with a balls to the wall “Rock and Roll.” While it never reached the madness that was the Gorge version this one was solid from start to stop. With thick fog choking Golden Gate Park all day, the third ever performance of “Steam” added a lot more fluffiness to the marine layer. Having just heard the band cover “Roses Are Free” by Ween for the first time a week ago at the Gorge, I was beyond pumped to hear this one again (as was my non Phish loving friend James). Speaking of covers, I got my first take on the recently dusted off David Bowie gem “Life on Mars?” Keyboardist/vocalist Page McConnell sounded great leading the charge into one of the more serious sections of the night.
With the crowd now in their pocket, the second set closed with “Birds of a Feather>Fluffhead>Backwards Down The Number Line>Also Sprach Zarathustra>Chalkdust Torture.” “Fluffhead” was technically perfect impressing all walks of music fans and for the new folks, once they realized they were hearing the theme from 2001 – well let’s just say many were converted in that moment. While a “Chalkdust Torture” closer may bring tears to the eyes of old school phans, it was the perfect way to wrap the second set. One would have thought Guitarist/lead vocalist Trey Anastasio was performing in a band like Mastodon or At The Drive-In he was rocking so hard on stage. With a massive crowd spread across the Polo Fields, it was a great exclamation point on a successful night.
With a strict curfew of 10pm, the band came out with just enough time to tear through an encore of “Cavern>Tweezer Reprise.” Knowing that the over-the-head clapping of “Mound” and jumping during “Fluffhead” had already brought smiles to the face of both old and brand new Phish phans; the little leg kick that Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon perform during “Cavern” was lovingly imitated by some hipster gals in Native American head dresses next to us. With such a huge PA, I am pretty sure the bass bombs from Gordon during “Tweezer Reprise” tipped over at least ½ of the porta-potties (good thing I used it during Foster the People eh).
While I was sad that my mini Phish run was now over, I was at least excited that my friends who did not enjoy some of the Shoreline shows I dragged them to back in the day enjoyed the show. Phish managed to please long time phans and make some new ones in the process. Now, I sit and wait for the band to once again return to the West Coast in 2012 for more face melting action.
I witnessed my first performance at the Hollywood Bowl in 2003. Sitting there under the stars, I knew that the historic venue would be the perfect place to see Phish work their magic. I’ve even discussed for this very website how great it would be to see Phish perform at the venue with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Having spent two days at the Gorge with the boys, I pulled into the venue with my pal God Frank expecting the madness and energy level that was present all weekend in George, Washington. Much to my shock (and as I look back, delight) the place was as mellow as you could get. With this being God Frank’s first show, I wanted to find him a solid Shakedown Street so he could have the full experience. In our 45 minute walk around the stacked parking lots of the Hollywood Bowl, there was very minimum vending going on. A few glass pieces for sale, some hippie crack but that’s about it. I couldn’t even find a beer for sale. With no real party that we could find, we decided to head into the venue and wait for Phish to make their eagerly awaited Hollywood Bowl debut.
Around 7:30 pm, the band took the stage to a solid but mellow round of applause. From the second that sound began coming from the P.A. I knew we were heading straight into a “Down With Disease” opener. As far as “Disease” goes the playing was fierce especially the guitar work of Trey Anastasio, but this was no doubt the quickest version of the song I have heard. The band brought the jam right on down into an early set “Cavern.” I have to admit I was shocked to hear this one as it was just played opening night at the Gorge. Yet as a fan of the song, I had no complaints and was glad God Frank got the see the Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon perform their leg kick dance.
For as shocked as I was for the “Cavern” repeat “Possum” really threw me for a loop. Having just seen it open the previous show, you can now put me in the camp of spoiled snobs who agree that the band is playing this one too much. I decided to use it as a piss break knowing I will probably catch it again at Outside Lands. When the band broke into the Talking Head’s jam “Cities” my first thoughts were of Berkeley 2010. With phans in front of me still wearing their Price is Right name tags (I believe they said the episode will air November 8th) I was hoping “Cities” would see another Plinko jam in the great state of California. While the mini jam coming out of “Cities” was tight, I think the band knew it had to take the energy up a level thus busting out the third cover of the Frank Zappa classic “Peaches en Regalia.” Once this made its appearance at SuperBall IX, I knew the band would pay tribute to Zappa at the Bowl.
I pointed to God Frank in excitement as the Chairman of the Boards himself Page McConnell headed towards the front of the stage for “Lawn Boy.” I loved when McConnell played up to the crowd asking us how we were doing. I had called a “Tube” opener, so fine I was off 7 songs? You knew they had to bust this one out with The 101 freeway behind them. Following “Tube” came “Back on the Train” which I felt had the best jam of the entire first set.
“Wilson>Axilla” was straight up ass kicking rock and roll and I loved every minute of it. After a tasty “Split Open and Melt” with a jam as laid back as the crowd, the band gave me another piss break (and 4th Gorge repeat) “Backwards Down The Number Line.” I will just say this about the set I closer. When I walked to the bathroom, there were folks around but not a hard walk. It was hard to walk back from the bathroom because so many people were filling out of the Bowl. As far as the first set goes, it felt as if Phish had to get comfortable with the venue and it showed in songs like “Disease” and “Cities” but once they became acclimated it was on like Donkey Kong.
If you have read my thoughts on the Gorge, then you know I feel the band has been kicking set II off with the second song. Not the case on this night as the hairs upon my arms began to rise as that thick opening riff from “Carini” drifted from the stage and over the surrounding hills. My first 3.0 “Carini” the jam was hard hitting as it should be, but what made it great is what it eventually became. I have chased “Crosseyed and Painless” for as long as I can remember. With “Cities” in the first set I figured I missed the Talking Heads original yet again. Wrong, I saw it live and in person and it rocked hard. Drummer Jon Fishman sounded great on the vocals and the energy very well could have blown the band shell off of the stage.
Once again not stopping between songs “Twist” was the confirmation that I needed that this was indeed a Phish crowd and not a Los Angeles crowd. With everyone front to back Wooing on mark, we may have just set the record for the mellowest Phish crowd of all time. There was even a major lack of glow stick wars over the course of the night. I looked for one during “Piper”, and where a few went up, it was more of a glow stick operation versus a full blown war.
So I got the Mike’s Grove that thenaturalstoner wanted so bad and it ended up being the highlight of the show. After a solid take on “Mike’s Song” the band wound down into “Joy.” I like “Joy” a lot so if I had to have a breather in my second set this one is fine with me. Nothing special musically on this one, just an important reminder to focus on what makes you happy. “Weekapaug Groove” followed “Joy” with Gordon straight up abusing his thumb with ferocious slaps against his strings.
I don’t think anyone in the house could have guessed what would go down next. Anastasio dropped his guitar and took to the drum set as stage hands quickly assembled a small drum kit in front of Gordon. From there Fishman took to the small kit and the band busted out a funky first time offering of the Paul Simon song “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” I can’t lie, I have somehow managed to go 32 years without hearing this song, but it didn’t matter. I was just glad to see Fish to debut a new song where he gets to take center stage.
Like a fool I turned off the camera right as the band launched into “Hold Your Head Up.” Where this song usually sandwiches a front of the stage Fishman appearance, I guess we learned it follows a Fishman front of stage with drum kit appearance. Regardless, it was an absolute blast to finally see Fish take a victory lap around the stage.
After another Character Zero, the band closed the second set with a cover of “Quinn The Eskimo.” I was excited to finally see it performed live and looking around the Bowl you could actually feel a little energy coming from the crowd. For an encore, the band opened with “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan.” Solid version no doubt, but I am not sure I like it as an encore. For the 7th and final Gorge repeat, Phish closed the night with “Julius.” I reached for my phone to call Phishbeard knowing how much he loves the song. I suppose since Raphael Saadiq beat them to playing it at the Bowl they kind of had to play it right? Solid version and a great way to send people out to a Highland Avenue shakedown of Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs.
I have to think the first Phish show at the Hollywood Bowl was a success. Sure, there were a lot of repeats from the Gorge, but with so far to travel between dates I have to assume those who made all three are limited. As I mentioned earlier, I was glad that the crowd was respectful. Hollywood Bowl is the perfect venue for Phish in Southern California and I would like to see a lot more shows with them there in the future (starting the rumor now for three night run in fall of 2012).
Hope everyone in Tahoe has a blast. We will see you in San Francisco Friday night for Outside Lands.