Another summer tour with two stops at Merriweather again. This is becoming a traditional weekend run for the band as they have done this over the last few years. I had to miss last years run because of a family event in Wisconsin but I was looking forward to getting back in the groove this year. Because of work and other obligations, this was going to be my only shows of the summer run. Over the years I have become selective in what Phish shows I attend. I still get out and see shows, just not as many as I have in the past.
I started the afternoon off at my sister-in-laws house. Her family was having a family BBQ and it was on my way. It was a hot and humid day but it was suppose to get cooler and drop in humidity as a front move in. This had already caused some spots of rain but it looked to be clear in Columbia for the rest of the afternoon. There was a 40% chance of rain late in the afternoon but that was it.
Getting to Columbia didn’t take long but I had trouble getting into the venue as usually. The parking situation is always horrendous on sold out shows and it took almost an hour to get a spot and walk to the venue. I made one last check of the weather as I was prepared with a rain jacket but Columbia looked to be dry the rest of the evening. I walked in to find the lawn already pretty packed with an hour to go before the official start time. I had planned for this and brought two cigars with me, one for each set. Sitting there I noticed the clouds rolling in and things didn’t look good. It eventually started to drizzle but nothing serious. We were treated to a double rainbow which was cool.
Not long after the posted start time the show kicks off with Kill Devil Falls. A great upbeat song and then a bust out with Destiny Unbound. I have been fortunately enough to see this song twice before in the almost 50 shows I have seen of Phish (10/15/2010 and 2/28/2003). After this the set mellowed out in the energy which was unfortunate. The weather was slowly changing and I felt the band could have really played on that and made it a great set. They played several newer songs I suspect will be on their rumored new album to be released later this year.
As the set rolled on so did the clouds. It was a crazy scene as the sun set behind me illuminating these dark clouds rolling in over top the venue. They where thick and nasty, glowing from the light of the sun which were certainly bringing rain. In an instance, they heavens let loose with a downpour or rain. Unlike the rain before the set where it was just a light drizzle, this was a downpour. Some people scattered for cover, others dawned trash bags but the majority of us danced harder as the rain fell. The song choice during the rain could have been better but the crowd was excited as the band played on during the heavy rain. Almost as quickly as it started it was over just after the end of the set. I was soaked to the bone but fortunately my phone and Moleskine were safe.
At this point I couldn’t sit down to relax for a while and decided instead to do a little people watching. The rain soaked everyone and every thing and people started adjusting to being wet. The rain revitalized the crowds energy despite the down tempo song selection.
Second set as a whole was much better. DWD opened with a roaring success. Free had a good jam, Bouncing was to short in my opinion, and for me Birds of a Feather is a classic from Story of the Ghost I love to see live. They then played Harry Hood which at this venue brings back memories of my first show here back in 1998. Back then they turned all the stage lights off and the crowd went nuts with glow sticks. Now they barely turn them off and there are many more glow sticks. When the band busts into the start of the jam the crowd did manage to make one large push to get as many glow sticks into the air as possible. From my location down on the hill it was a rolling avalanche as the glowsticks made it down to the front of the lawn where I was. Later they played Mike’s so that meant a Weekapaug would be soon follow, the question what will be the in between song. Simple was the choose and a little weird one. The groove is an odd one to sandwich between the two heavy hitting songs, but they made it work.
The show ended with Waste > Good Times, Bad Times. I didn’t know it at the time but this was going to be my only show of the run. I had other obligations that prevented me from seeing Sundays show. At the time I thought the Good Times, Bad Times was a great way to end the set and show. The band loves playing this venue and that song shows it. The first set was a little off but the rain made it fun. For the second set they redeemed themselves for the most part with an better song selection and tighter jams. On the drive home I stripped down because I was tired of being wet. It felt good driving with the windows down, drying off after an excellent Phish show at Merriweather.
Set 1 (7:42pm start)
Kill Devil Falls
Halfway to the Moon
Twenty Years Later
Split Open and Melt
ends at 8:50pm
Set 2 (starts at 9:20pm)
Down with Disease >
Bouncing Around the Room
Birds of a Feather
Harry Hood >
Mike’s Song >
ends at 10:40pm
encore (starts at 10:42pm)
Good Times Bad Times
show over at 10:54pm
Harry Hood featured Birds of a Feather and Divided Sky teases by Trey and a Dog Log tease by Mike.