The Gorge. Just saying the words brings to mind something larger than life. A venue that still uses a name that does not sell energy or internet or banking is rare enough, but this place is easily in the upper echelon of rock music venues in the world. Every time I return to The Gorge, soaking in the big-ness of it all still amazes as much as it did the very first time I stepped over that hill. Phish’s 15th appearance in the high desert of eastern Washington brought possibly the set of the tour so far with what I like to call the “7 Layer Dip” approach. Set two’s “Crosseyed and Painless” opener provided the base for layering the rest of the set’s songs upon, and mixed in with each other, which yielded quite a tasty musical blend.
Making the trek to The Gorge invariably involves an elevated level of planning and just plain dealing. Whether you are camping on site or staying in one of the nearby riverside resort areas, you pretty much need to bring everything you need for the whole weekend. There is scant to no shade on the entire property, temperatures can vary wildly from day to night, and the wind can pack a big punch. It’s a relatively harsh environment juxtaposed against one of North America’s most majestic wonders, the mighty Columbia River.
Located upon the shores of Onondaga Lake in Geddes N.Y., Lakeview Amphitheater, an extension of the Empire Expo Center (home to the Great New York State Fair) is situated six miles northeast of Syracuse. Constructed upon a superfund site, the venue, which opened in September of 2015, is wide and expansive (the grounds boast a capacity of 17,500) and affords striking, panoramic views of the water and the surrounding hillsides.
For all its natural beauty, however, the site is subject to scrutiny. The immediate grounds purportedly rest upon somewhere between one- and two-feet of new soil and grass. Unfortunately, hazards abound. Because the land is still undergoing "remediation," concert-goers are advised to avoid not just drinking the water, but to avoid the water, as in, generally. So while it may be okay to go "Sneaking Sally Through the Alley," county officials recommend that fans avoid entering the site’s surrounding bush.
Welcome to the 230th edition of Mystery Jam Monday! Continuing with our Hall of Fame Series, where we welcome one of our eight, seven-time MJM winners into the *high-tech* MJM recording studio, and let that Emeritus winner select the tracks for this week's competition. For week 4 of this Emeritus Series, we welcome MJM savant @ghostboogie, the fourth person forced into mandatory retirement after notching his seventh MJM victory.
To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of each of the three mystery jam clips, and answer what they share in common. Each person gets one attempt per day, with the second “day” starting after the Blog posts the hint -- each answer should contain three songs / dates, along with the commonality between them. No sharing or trading of answers is allowed. A hint will be posted on Tuesday if necessary, with the answer to follow on Wednesday. The winner will receive one MP3 code good for a free download of any show, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. Good luck, and thanks again to @ghostboogie for hosting this fourth week of the MJM Hall of Fame Series.
[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome guest contributor David Goldstein for this recap.]
For individuals of a heady persuasion, the Summer of 1995 was a morass of mixed emotions, to say the least. Uniformly excellent Phish concerts dovetailed with uniformly awful Grateful Dead ones; the now infamous “tour from hell” that culminated in the only possible way it could have. But for the rock starved kids of Connecticut, 1995 was also notable for another type of live music milestone; The Meadows Music Theatre in Hartford was officially open for business. Epic drives to outdoor sheds in New Jersey or Massachusetts were no longer entirely necessary; now Nutmeg State high schoolers had a parking lot of their very own in which to get into Zima-fueled fist fights before Dave Matthews shows. I was 16 years old at the time and felt like I spent every weekend there camped out on the lawn catching up on the classic rock cannon; The Allman Brothers, Santana, Doobies, Steve Miller Band, and every post-Jerry incarnation of The Dead imaginable, including the first Furtherfest, which left me permanently scarred because not only did I watch the entire show next to a hippie mom intent on sharing bowls with her 9-year-old son, but Mickey Hart “rapped” Fire on the Mountain.
Twenty-two years ago tonight at Great Woods, Phish played a legendary show that contained the final live performance of the complete Gamehendge saga. While the 2016 summer tour so far has not come close to living up to that level, the memory of that night and many other amazing nights in Mansfield had fans hopeful that this would be the show to turn it all around.
And it was. Phish played two sets replete with compelling jams that easily made this the show of the tour so far.
A relatively standard “Party Time” opened, letting the crowd know that it was indeed party time. “46 Days” followed, played at a slightly slower tempo than usual, but with an inspired, bluesy solo from Trey. The band then took a quick jaunt through “Poor Heart” and a surprisingly fierce “The Dogs” to tie a bow on the warm-up portion of the show.
“Bathtub Gin” is where things got serious. The band slowly eased into the jam, but driven by a relentless attack on the drums by Fishman, quickly reached an anthemic peak. Trey then switched to a lower more growling tone on his guitar to back off a bit, letting Page poke his head up, but then reasserted himself, grabbing the reins and driving to another peak to wrap up the jam. After the energy expended dancing to “Gin,” “Fast Enough for You” was a beautiful cooldown.
[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome friend of the site and taper of many a Phish video,@LazyLightning55 for this recap.]
Last night, Phish made their return to the lovely city of Portland, Maine after a seven year absence, for their seventh show at the arena formerly known as the Cumberland County Civic Center. A small crew of us took in the sounds from dead center on the floor in what'd be the 20th row if there were seats.
“Grind” kicks off the festivities as I’m asked whose birthday it is. Maybe one of Fish’s 12 kids? I don't know. Always nice to hear, though and, of course, impressed to see how high these guys can REALLY count. “Cars Trucks Buses” makes its yearly appearance in a setlist, as Page’s lead gets the crowd grooving. “Blaze On” follows and is solid - Garry now has the sound dialed in, and Trey seems very happy onstage and has fun with it. Next up is “Yarmouth Road,” which whose namesake exists in basically half the towns and streets in New England, so is apropos at any venue northeast of New York City.
Happy Fourth of July and welcome to the 229th edition of Mystery Jam Monday! This week, we continue with our Hall of Fame Series, where we hand the keys to the MJM command center over to one of the eight seven-time MJM winners. For week 3 of this Emeritus Series, we welcome an MJM savant and host emeritus, @bl002e, the third person forced into mandatory retirement after notching his seventh MJM victory.
To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of each of the three mystery jam clips, and answer what they share in common. Each person gets one attempt per day, with the second “day” starting after the Blog posts the hint -- each answer should contain three songs / dates, along with the commonality between them. No sharing or trading of answers is allowed. A hint will be posted on Tuesday if necessary, with the answer to follow on Wednesday. The winner will receive two MP3 codes good for free downloads of any two shows, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. Good luck, and thanks again to @bl002e for hosting this third week of the MJM Hall of Fame Series.
NOTE: @ucpete's MJM: Championship Edition from last week still hasn't been solved, despite a hint and a week since it was posted, and he has opened up the competition to all comers now. With no time-limit, surely someone will be able to solve it and take home yet another download code... right? Listen here, but leave your answer in the comments on the blog below.
Phish closed out their three-night run at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with their 20th show at this historic outdoor venue. There are few places as lovely as downtown Saratoga Springs on a summer weekend, with its eclectic mix of boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, and seedy looking motor lodges. And when Phish is in town, the hilarious intermingling of fans with the wedding parties, family reunions and church gatherings that typically frequent this tony Upstate New York vacation spot always makes me wonder why on earth they would ever invite us back.
Ample sunshine and comfortable breezes set the stage for a lazy Sunday, as we rallied for a New Orleans style brunch at Hattie’s with old friends and new. The perfect weather also made for a vibrant lot scene, with fans in high (and, unlike Friday, dry) spirits. We pulled with ease into the Gideon Putnam lot, where more old friends greeted us with open arms and open coolers. Tailgating under the shade of the tall trees, our anticipation grew as regaled each other with lore of legendary Sunday shows of yesteryear. And then came the show.
[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome Mockingbird Foundation Board Member Matt Sexauer for this recap.]
If you weren’t able to make it to Saratoga, were unavailable to couch tour the webcast, or you were way back on the SPAC lawn, here’s the recap of what you missed for Phish’s second outing of their semi-annual 3-night July 4th holiday SPAC run.
The show opened with a well-performed “Crowd Control." Across social media this tune seemed inevitable to open a show and now was the time. Was it because of Fish’s Bernie donuts? Was it due to the slightly delayed start time to help herd the audience into the venue? Either way, excitement was high, as this tune has served as an omen of a raging show in the past. Listen to this version for Trey’s prowess in melodious soloing.
The lawn, the lot. The park, the palace. The people. It’s a homecoming, almost as regular on the 3.0 schedule as Dick’s. It’s a thing. The only time we don’t get SPAC is when there’s a festival, and that is wholly forgivable.
It wasn’t always that way. This is a 3.0 tour development. Prior to this run, Phish had played here 17 times -- 16 headliners and an opener for Santana -- but only thrice in 1.0. Our more-or-less annual independence jaunt to ‘Toga is a new staple on the calendar, relatively speaking. The toney town might not have worked for us in the mid-to-late ‘90s. Or, more likely, the stop did not make sense if we were annually festivaling in the region. But for now, this is a town with not only a pool and a pond, but also springs, and a spa. And in recent years, our traveling contingent has been warmly welcomed to whichever of the above we can afford.