Tag Archives: Ashburn

East Coast Summer Phish Tour 2018

My first year living on the west coast and I was excited when Phish announced their summer tour. They have not been touring nearly as long as past tours but they are hitting bigger cities for longer stints which is nice. Over the last few years it has not been so much about the quantity of shows as the quality of shows. When they said three shows at The Gorge I was so excited. Unfortunately this conflicted with a company event and there was just no way I could swing seeing even one show at The Gorge.

Not being deterred I decided to hit three shows on the east coast. If I could not see them in my adopted home I would see them in my real home. This actually worked out for the best. While disappointed to not see them at The Gorge I was excited to see my family. I would see Phish for three straight nights to close the summer tour out. One more time at Walnut Creek and then two nights at Merriweather. The final show of the tour would be Sunday and never miss a Sunday show. It was also just after the 20th anniversary of me seeing Phish live. In fact my first show was their first time at Merriweather so this was a home coming for many reasons.

As the trip grew closer I gotta be honest, I checked out at work. I was so excited for what was about to come. SiriusXM just switched their Jam_On channel to Phish Radio which was awesome. I was going to see my family, and Phish, oh man so excited.

The entire trip didn’t disappoint at all. In fact it went well above my expectations. If there was anything to complain about it was the lack of any real down time. As soon as I landed till the time I took off the tarmac on a delayed flight, I was non-stop go go go. It was exhausting but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It does remind me that I am getting older however.

First thing after landing was picking up the rental car. I needed to make it to Craft House in Fairfax Corner for a drink with my old boss. That guy is great, taught me a lot and it was great catching up with him. He just had his third kid so I was happy he got a kitchen pass for the night to have a couple of drinks. That night I went to my brother’s house. That turned into a disaster, he’s an asshole.

Cigars and beer with friends.

Not letting it ruin my trip the next morning I was up pretty early for being on vacation. It was a five hour drive to Raleigh and I wanted to stop by Old Virginia Tobacco in Woodbridge to hangout and have a cigar. I was not sure who I would run into but I ended up seeing a shit ton of people.

The coolest thing was catching up with CJ. Last I heard he was getting out of OVTC and moving onto a better job. Well come to find out that fell through so he is now running the Woodbridge shop while he looks for a better paying job. Working at OVTC has its benefits but money is not one of them. I ran into a lot of customers including Ed, Sal, John, Baker, Clive, and Ben. Probably forgetting one or two people. For a Friday morning I was happy to run into so many familiar faces as I did.

The drive south to Raleigh was shit. I haven’t been on the east coast in a year and even longer since I have driven 95 during the summer months. I didn’t leave Woodbridge till after noon and it took me about 6 hours to make it down to Raleigh. Unfortunately this put a damper on doing any actives in Raleigh before the show. I had just enough time to check into the hotel and then I was off to the venue.

Despite being a Friday it was not sold out. I arrived about thirty minutes before the show and the lawn was not packed at all. What I couldn’t wait for was the sun to set. It is the south in August so needless to say it was hot and muggy that night. Finally when the sun went down things cooled off a little.

First show of summer tour for me and I was rather disappointed in the performance. All during the first set Trey kept screwing up his guitar work and the lyrics. To me it was so obvious. They would have this groove going and all of a sudden Trey would miss a note and it was like dragging fingers across the chalk board to me.

Thankfully the second set pulled it out and helped save the night. Still not a stellar performance from the band but it brought it up to an average rating. The Runaway > Antelope > Runaway > Antelope > Makisupa is what saved the night in my opinion. That little medley was awesome. By the second set I had moved further back and to the left so I wasn’t so crowded. Plus I was further away from all the smokers who where ridiculous.

Having missed dinner and not getting anything at the venue I was hungry for some food. Thankfully Raleigh is a larger city so it was easy to find something that was open late on a Friday night. Virgil’s Original Taqueria which was pretty good. I got three tacos and some chips which all was good but my eyes where bigger then my stomach. A great way to cap off the night.

The next morning I couldn’t sleep in as I needed to head north to Columbia for the show Saturday night. I made a long stop in Fredericksburg to see my mother and her husband at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. It was a already a long day of driving but thankfully only a little traffic. My mother actually had to kick me out so I wouldn’t be late for the show that night. It was so great catching up for them even if it was only for a few hours.

Similar to Raleigh I was able to check into the hotel, catch a quick nap and then head to the venue. It has been several years since I was last at Merriweather and it has changed a lot since that time. The area around the venue is now well developed with lots of new apartment buildings and retail locations. This changed the parking situation which is now a little confusing if you are not prepared. You can get tickets for parking ahead in numbered lots or just show up and they will guide you to the right lots in the back.

First night I had a lawn seat and tried to get there at a reasonable time. Parking ended up taking longer then I wanted so by the time I got onsite the lawn was already packed. Tonights show was sold out for months so it was going to be a packed house. I noticed that they redesigned the wings on either side of the stage to adjust the seating and have a new roof covering the area instead of those stupid canvas tents. They have also redesigned some of the concessions and looks like they will start doing a true VIP area soon.

Ended up being a good night to be outside seeing a show. Temps and humidity not as bad as Raleigh.

First set really started off strong with Blaze On > Party Time. After that it just turned for a much slower pace of show. Blah…get over it. Set ended on a good high of Stash and 46 Days. Second set was constant flip flopping of old school, new school, repeat till the encore. Sand and Ghost had good jams and they rocked Fuego.

The encore was four songs. I over heard someone say this was the first time this tour that happened. Set two was barely over an hour long. They seemed to struggle to play during the second set. To me the crowd just wasn’t into the show. It started with such promise but failed to live up to the hype in a way. A failure of its own success you could say. So even a four set encore wasn’t anything to write home about.

Sunday was the first day I didn’t have to get up and travel some place. It was one day but a well deserved break. I got a casual start before meeting Nancy early for drinks. We were going to get together with others for brunch at Earls Kitchen + Bar. I got a simple eggs Benedict and it was pretty amazing. The Hollanda sauce had the right amount of tang and creamy richness.

After that most of us headed to Bungalow Lakehouse for cigars in the gazebo. Here I meet up with Jaye and Ed. The weather was finally starting to break. The humidity level was dropping along with the temperatures. This just meant that a weather front was moving in and it would rain. I smoked two cigars before I had to leave for Merriweather. Just before I left it started to rain and that meant the highways would be filled with idiots that don’t know how to drive.

After saying my goodbyes and filling up the tank it didn’t take long to make it to the venue. The whole way up it rained but I still made pretty good time. I was able to stop and get a sandwich before the show in fact. I had a pavilion seat so didn’t care if it rained or not.

I got to the venue with plenty of time before the show. As I showed my ticket and walked toward my seat I was shocked at just how closed it was. My seat ended up being the first row of seats, right behind the pit and eye level with the stage. This is the best seat I have ever had seeing Phish or probably any major band ever. One or twice I might have been closer from behind the stage but never this close from the front.

The entire second night kicked ass. Having such a good seat certainly made it a little more enjoyable but the setlist and the energy were all from the band. The rain stopped a little after 7pm and never returned. It cooled everything off quite a lot which was a welcome comfort.

The show got off to a rocking start and the jams throughout the songs kicked ass. Upbeat toons like Llama and BBFCFM are a good way to start things. Lots of these slow laid back kinda jams thrown in all throughout the show. I just couldn’t believe how good the first set was. The end was of the set was just flowed from song to song with a good selection of Tweezer > Bathtub > The Curtain With > Chalk Dust.

I was hoping for as close to the original 8/8/1998 show as possible so during the second set I got a Piper and then a really really good 2001 > Harry Hood to close the set, close the show, close the tour. What a groovy second set they played I was completely blown away by it.

National Gallery of Art

Encore was a mix of typical encore slow jams. Not bad but not really great either. The second Tweezer Reprise certainly was a change of pace and not expected. They opened set two with the reprise so this came completely out of left field.

Just a great show and the perfect way to end the day. It was a short ride back to the hotel and a well deserved nights sleep. The next morning I planed on getting up and out at a reasonable hour. I had a late flight so took the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Art in the morning. Here I browsed and took some time to do a little writing. Eventually I meet Nancy for lunch at Plan B Burger Bar. I was still on vacation so we started the afternoon off with a couple of beers. After lunch we headed to Ocelot for some more beer before she dropped me off at the airport.

I think going west is easier because you gain all your time back. It does make for a long day but I think its easier getting home and adjusting to the difference. The weather at IAD ended up not playing well and delayed my flight by over an hour. Whats worst was the hour or so lost on the tarmac just sitting there.  This just made for a long day of travel getting home. The seats are not the most comfortable so my ass was already hurting before I even left the ground

This is a copy of the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Regiment is a bronze relief sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens at 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.

Once I got home I took the Max home. It felt so good to get home that night. I dropped my bags on the floor and crawled right into bed. This trip was a lot of fun. Not a lot of time to stop and smell the roses but I was able to accomplish a lot of what I wanted. I saw three shows of Phish with the Sunday show completely blowing my mind. I also managed to see a lot of friends and family so it was awesome catching up with them. This was a trip when I really did need a day to recover from my trip. Next year I hope that I can make The Gorge shows. But if they play Merriweather again it is worth it going home to catch them at my home venue. Always a blast.


Phish
Friday, August 10th 2018
Walnut Creek – Raleigh, NC

Set 1 starts at 7:33pm
1. Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan
2. Funky Bitch
3. Ocelot >
4. The Wedge
5. Wombat
6. Guelah Papyrus
7. Birds of a Feather >
8. Saw It Again >
9. Timber (Jerry The Mule) >
10. Limb By Limb >
11. Farmhouse >
12. More
set over at 8:49pm

Set 2 starts at 9:35pm
1. Meatstick* >
2. Drowned >
3. NICU >
4. Thread >
5. Runaway Jim >
6. Run Like an Antelope >
7. Runaway Jim >
8. Run Like an Antelope >
9. Makisupa Policeman >
10. Run Like an Antelope >
11. You Enjoy Myself
set over at 10:38pm

Encore starts at 10:40pm
12. A Day in the Life
house lights at 10:46pm

Notes
* Trey did a dance associated with In My Feelings.
Page teased the theme from Barney Miller after Wombat. Trey quoted Clowny Clown Clown in Saw It Again. Saw It Again was teased and quoted in Timber. Trey quoted In My Feelings and did a dance associated with the song during Meatstick. The first Runaway Jim and the second Run Like an Antelope contained Thread quotes.


Phish
Saturday, August 11th 2018
Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD

The new wings are pretty impressive.

Set 1 starts at 7:38pm
1. Blaze On >
2. Party Time
3. Breath and Burning
4. Sugar Shack
5. Home
6. Joy
7. Stash
8. 46 Days
set over at 8:46pm

Set 2 starts at 9:19pm
1. Sand >
2. Mercury >
3. Ghost >
4. Fuego >
5. Slave to the Traffic Light
set over at 10:23pm

Encore starts at 10:26pm
6. Twenty Years Later >
7. Martian Monster >
8. Rocky Top >
9. Golgi Apparatus
house lights at 10:46pm

Notes
Trey teased Wingsuit in 46 Days.


Phish
Sunday, August 12th 2018
Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD

I lucked out and got a really good seat for the second night.

Set 1 starts at 7:36pm
1. Llama
2. Big Black Furry Creature from Mars
3. Meat
4. Alaska
5. Tweezer >
6. Bathtub Gin >
7. The Curtain With >
8. Chalk Dust Torture
set over at 8:50pm

Set 2 starts at 9:24pm
1. Tweezer Reprise >
2. No Men In No Man’s Land >
3. Twist >
4. Prince Caspian >
5. Piper >
6. Backwards Down the Number Line >
7. Also Sprach Zarathustra >
8. Harry Hood
set over at 10:37pm

Encore starts at 10:39pm
9. Heavy Things
10. Bug >
11. Tweezer Reprise
12. house lights at 10:54pm

Notes
Trey teased Streets of Cairo during Meat. Trey teased L.A. Woman during Tweezer. Trey teased San-Ho-Zay in No Men in No Man’s Land. Page teased In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida in Twist. Piper contained a Tweezer Reprise jam and quotes. Also Sprach Zarathustra included Martian Monster teases.


Kerri’s Cure Beer Release

A local brewer at Forge Brew Works was diagnosed with cancer recently.  Fair Winds decided to brew a special beer to help raise money and in a show of support many of the local breweries got together to collaborate a special beer in her honor.  All proceeds from the sale of the beer would go toward her medical bills and anything left would be put aside for their son’s college fund.  I love tasting new beer and since this is a worthy cause, it was a no brainier.  The Washington Post has a good write up of the beer and some additional information about Kerri.

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copyright dcbeer.com

Nancy and I meetup with Rob and his girlfriend at Lost Rhino just down the road on Saturday afternoon to sample some beer.  Nancy and I arrived a little early and immediately dived into the Kerri’s Cure.  The atmosphere was festive despite the reason for everyone getting together.

2016-01-30 14.14.52The beer I thought was interesting, a Belgium pale ale.  I didn’t taste any floral notes and it wasn’t sweet at all, slight tartness which was nice, also a very dry beer.  All-in-all I gave it a 2.5 because while it is unique, it didn’t have much flavor and was really one denominational.  What was good was getting together with Rob and his girlfriend.  Anytime I can get out and drink beer with friends is an opportunity not to waste.

Brambleton Brew Fest

I was stocked about this beer festival.  While it was rather small, only 24 breweries, it was within walking distance of our house.  I have waited years for something like this to happen, a beer festival I could walk to from my house.  It might not be a short walk but it is certainly manageable.  This beer festival coincided with the soft opening of the new Lost Rhino Retreat brewpub in the same shopping center, another thing I am really excited about having so close to my house.

the festival grounds
the festival grounds

We did a little pre-gaming at the house by tasking a few new beers (Lickinghole Creek Nuclear Nugget and Hardywood Hoplar IPA) before heading out.  The weather was mostly good.  While in the sun it was hot as the sun beat down on us but there was  constant breeze and on occasion some cloud cover as well.  We arrived shortly after 1pm and the line to get int was already huge.  I could tell immediately it was going to be packed and a big success.

Ocelot My Worried Mind, the days winner for me.
Ocelot My Worried Mind, the days winner for me.

The festival grounds were held in the open space across from the town center.  This allowed a ton of space for all the brewers, food trucks, merch vendors and of course a rather large stage for some live music all afternoon.  We immediately scanned the closest tent and decided to start on the other side of where we entered.  This early as the crowds had not yet fully formed the lines where certainly short with quick access to beer and brewers.

One in particular I was excited about was Crooked Run from Leesburg.  We have been to this nano brewer a couple times and I must say I am always impressed with his beers.  They are always small batch and really funky stuff.  This time was no exception as they were offering a red kolsch on nitro and another one called Summer Night.  The summer night was a chocolate raspberry and it was the better of the two in my opinion.  Great chocolate flavor and the raspberry, which are in season now, was well pronounced and provided that classic balance to the chocolate flavor.

GOOOOO team!
GOOOOO team!

The other brewer I was looked forward to was Ocelot.  As with Crooked Run, Nancy and I have been here a few times already as it is the closest brewery to our house.  Each time they have offered the same three beers so this was an opportunity to sample something new from them.  See my original post on our first visit to this brewery.  I had the My Worried Mind and it was an excellent tart beer for summer.

Once all our pogs where exhausted we headed to the soft opening of Lost Rhino Retreat to check out the space.  The place is very similar to the original brewery down the road.  There are benches all over the place on the main floor.  The second floor has a private dining room, a small bar and access to a balcony.  On the first floor there is a large patio which will be great on those spring and fall nights to grab a beer and enjoy the weather.

We all had a great time at the festival and I look forward to next year.  It was well organized with plenty of space for everyone to lounge and relax.  Like all beer festivals I have been to, the lines are the worst part, especially later in the day.  I guess there is no real way to reduce the wait.  We just have to arrive early to avoid the crowds.

 

Old Ox Brewery

old ox brewery logoWhile at the Alamo Draft House waiting for our movie to start, Nancy and I went to the bar for a few drinks.  While there we meet Chris from Old Ox Brewery who invited us to sample his beer.  I had never heard of this place but since then, I have seen it on tap at the Alamo and Ford’s Fish Shack.

On Saturday Nancy and I shopped for dining room table chairs and some counter bar stool.  Having completed our mission successfully and quickly, we decided to celebrate by vising Old Ox.  It was on the way home and when we arrived, I almost thought it was in the same plaza as the original Old Dominion brewery in Ashburn.  It was a sad day to find they sold out to Anheuser-Busch but then the whole idea of a business is to grow it and eventually sell it.

The tap boards at the brewery.While not in the exact spot, it is in the same industry park as Old Dominion was.  The back room is filled with several large brewing vessels and racks full of supplies to brew the beer.  They also have several tables and a project for football games on Saturday and Sunday.  The main tasting room kinda reminds me of a winery.  There is one large bar along the back wall with 16 taps of beer.  We walked up and ordered a full flight for each of us, 7 regular beers plus there fall/winter seasonal that was currently available.

As for the beers, some are good, many are ok and a few are down right not my cup of tea.  Of all the beer we tried Nancy and I both agreed that Alpha Ox was the best of them.  Below are what is currently on tap at the brewery.

  1.  Alpha Ox
  2. Golden Ox
  3. Oxplorer Batch #1
  4. Saison d’Ox
  5. Black Ox
  6. The Oxorcist
  7. Oxtober Bier
  8. Oxplorer Batch #2 (fall/winter seasonal)

 

a full flight for each of us
a full flight for each of us