Tag Archives: summer tour

Widespread Panic September 7th 2016 Warner Theatre

I bought my ticket day of so it was pretty high in the bleachers but still a good view of the stage.
I bought my ticket day of so it was pretty high in the bleachers but still a good view of the stage.

Unfortunately I was going to miss the show in Asheville for reasons beyond my control. I had that trip all planned out including a stop at the Funkatorium which has nothing but aged sour beer! I was so looking forward to the beer and show but I would have to skip it. Thankfully Widespread was opening the fall tour, probably their last tour for a while, here in DC. I couldn’t make both shows but I was excited to still see them one last time before they go on touring hiatus for a while.  It reminds me of the acoustic show at the Fillmore several years ago.

As with most Warner Theatre shows I arrived in the city early and headed to Shelly’s Back Room for a cigar and beer before the show. I wanted to get several drinks in me before the show and not have to buy them at the theatre. Shell’s has a better selection and at a cheaper price. Actually at Shelly’s it was interesting seeing all these hippies walk in who were going to the show. I thought I stick out but everyone else certainly did. By 7:30 I was three beers deep and it was time to tab out. My seat was purchased the day of the show and located in the nose bleed section so I knew I wouldn’t have a problem getting to my seat.

Some pre-gaming at Shelly's before the main event.  I love that the two places are so close to each other.
Some pre-gaming at Shelly’s before the main event. I love that the two places are so close to each other.

The venue was ruckus as show time approached. I skimmed the set list from the night before and it looked pretty good. I haven’t seen many WSP shows but I have yet to be disappointed when seeing them, tonight was no exception. First set had a very good flow to it which was cool and what I saw of the second set was also kick as.  Unfortunately by about 11:50 I had to start making my way to Metro to catch the last train out of town.  The trains use to run till 2am on the weekend but that ended a while ago so catching late night performances is difficult. Was sucked even more was the train about almost 30 minutes late which would have allowed me to see the entire performance without leaving early.

Besides leaving early and missing the last few songs of the concert, it was a great night. I love grabbing a smoke at Shelly’s and then headed to the Warner for a show. Tonight’s was another great one from WSP and it is unfortunate they will be touring less in the coming year. I do however understand the temporary hiatus however. Most jam bands tour extensively and it can wear on anyone after a while. With the limited schedule in the coming year it just means I will have to travel further for those special performances which I am not opposed to at all. While I may not see as many shows as I did in my youth, my job affords me to travel further distances and stay in nicer hotels then when I was in my 20’s.

 

Set 1 (start at 8:27pm)
1. Diner >
2. Bear’s Gone Fishin’ >
3. Climb To Safety
4. Little Kin >
5. Travelin’ Light
6. B of D >
7. Bust It Big >
8. Weight Of The World >
9. Junior
Set over at 9:43pm

Set 2 (start time at 10:23pm)
1. Christmas Katie >
2. Radio Child
3. Aunt Avis >
4. Rebirtha >
5. jam >
6. Imitation Leather Shoes
7. Tall Boy >
8. Ride Me High >
9. drums >
10. Cease Fire >
11. Honky Red

Encore:
12. Chilly Water

Note: Not sure of the exact end time the show, I had to leave to catch the last train out of the city.

 

Lockin’ Festival 2016

lockn logoI don’t even remember the last festival I went to, it’s been that long since I have attended one. This years lineup at Lockin’ Festival got me excited to attend. When it was announced that Phish would headline two nights, and the venue is less then three hours from my house, I just had to go. After the last week and a half at work I was certainly ready for a few relaxing days in the woods listening to music.

My camp site was basic but provied everything I needed.
My camp site was basic but provided everything I needed.

This festival started on Thursday and would last through Sunday, longest festival I have ever been to. I arrived on Thursday with plenty of time before the first band. I splurged for the Forrest camping and I am glad I did. There are a ton of people right at the entrance to the Forrest but I managed to find a spot way in the back. Secluded and peaceful which is just the way I like it. From my camp spot I could listen to both the main stage and Blueridge Bowl. It’s hot and humid in the day but at night the weather really cools down and I would fall asleep to music from the Blueridge Bowl.

First band on Thursday didn’t start till 7:30 so I had a ton of time to kill. Having worn myself out setting up camp I actually took a long nap. It felt good sleeping in the middle of the day. As hot as it was it was wise to stick to the forest and the shade it offered. I did finally make it to the main stage to see the end of Vulfpeck, all of Umphrey’s and the headliners Ween. First time seeing Ween and not bad, there style of music is all over the place I must say. They didn’t win me over or anything but it was still a good show. I really wanted to hear Roses are Free and I thought for sure it would be played since Phish was at the same festival but alas, it was not meant to be.

img_4382Friday I got up at a reasonable hour and bummed around the camp site for a long while.  Each morning I would make a cup of coffee and smoke a cigar which was really relaxing. Saturday I left camp early to see the second half of Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass which was great.  Sunday I woke up to Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel, a nice spin on the usual Grateful Dead cover. Most morning I would just be sitting at the camp site and listen to the morning show from the Blue Ridge Bowl.  Much of the bands on Friday I had heard of before and what I would describe as up and coming.  Nothing that blew my doors off but some good stuff by these smaller bands.  Friday’s closer, and the reason I am really here, was Phish.  I thought Friday’s show was great.  Lots of energy and a good set list.

Which way am I going?
Which way am I going?

Saturday was another fantastic day of music.  Many of the bands played two days over the four day weekend which was cool.  I started my day with most of Galactic whom I haven’t seen in a long time.  Hard Working Americans includes the bassist from WSP which was nice and then things just sorta died.  Something happened and Brandi Carlile never played and Phil was late which sucked.  After his set I headed back to the camp site to cool off a little and get some foods.  Saturday’s head liner was My Morning Jacket and I was looking forward to seeing them.  For some strange reason I have never seen them live before so tonight was my first show.  I thought the set and performance where spectacular.  With all the confusion in the show order earlier in the night, they didn’t finish up till 1am which cut into my seeing Lettuce.  After My Morning Jacket I headed to the Blue Ridge Bowl to see Lettuce but they had already started.  I don’t know what time they finished but I left at 2:30 and they were still playing.  That night I went to bed listening to the last songs of Lettuce which was a sweet lullaby as I drifted off to sleep.

img_4375Sunday was the last day of the festival but a long one.  I caught The Wailers and skipped Chris Robinson, I just don’t like that guy.  So back to the tent for a quick nap and food before the long haul as Phil Lesh, Gary Clark Jr. and then Phish to close the night and the festival.  Sunday’s Phish show was ok, I thought Friday’s performance had a better set list and more energy. Gary Clark Jr. was a good change of pace with some blues sandwiched between two jam bands.

To be honest it was two nights of Phish that sold me on buying tickets. After the experience I had over the weekend it was a well put together festival. Arriving and getting to my camp site was a breeze. The offer of forest camping was a dream in the hot and humid August weather too. The food here was also spectacular if not a little pricey. The best place was the Ozark Biscuit Company. I must have eaten there four times over the weekend. Most of the food vendors reminded me of food trucks, great food with a limited menus. Another nice feature was the contactless payment system. Your ticket was a RFID that got you into the venue but could also be used to buy anything, no need to carry a wallet this time around.

I don’t even know how long it has been since I have seen a festival but I quickly realized how much I miss them.  I loved that once I arrived, I was all set.  The other thing I really loved was how long the festival was.  Four night, five days with four jam packed days of music that never overlapped. This is how festivals should all be run.

 

2016 artist lineup

Lockn' Festival  2016 artist lineup

Phish Lakewood Amphitheater August 1st 2015

phish Atlanta summer 2015 PosterAfter fifteen years I find myself headed back to Atlanta to see Phish.  Phish was coming to my area and doing their annual two night weekend run at Merriweather but this year I will be in Alaska on a family vacation.  Not having any other opportunities to see Phish this summer I decided to drive down to Atlanta for a Saturday show and then head back home on Sunday.  I ended up going to Birmingham for business and saw the Phish show in Tuscaloosa, all in all it worked out.

Since moving out to Ashburn I had forgotten what 95 traffic can be like on a Saturday in summer.  Not realizing it is a damn parking lot, I got stuck in traffic from the moment I got onto 95 to till I got off on I-85W past Richmond.  I had timed my trip to leave at 8am and arrive in Atlanta by 6pm.  The show started at 7 and I had a lawn seat so this would afford me enough time to check into the hotel and get to Lakewood.  Traffic totally screwed that plan.

What should have been a great show in Atlanta and a nice welcome back moment, turned into a disaster.  Traffic caused me to miss the entire first set.  The Fairfield Inn was not in the best part of town so that sucked, I couldn’t find a place to park and checking in was a nightmare.  Once I finally got to the venue I forgot you have to pay to park.  I drove around till I found a lot that was cheap enough for the cash I had on hand.  This ended up being on the opposite side of the venue so was a long walk to the front gate.

copyright atlantamusicguide.com
copyright atlantamusicguide.com

When I finally got to the entrance, at least there wasn’t a line waiting to get in.  As I was handing my ticket to the agent, Phish walked on stage and as I made my way up to the lawn with the first notes of Tweezer guiding me to the lawn.  I was already in a bad mood and this really affected how I perceived the show.  All in all I thought it was a weak performance by the band.  Honestly, I was so put off by my trip down that the show could have been stellar and I would still probably hate it.

One thing that really got me was the crowd.  It was your typical crowd but I felt they where not really into the show that night which sucked.  It killed me that during the encore break no one was cheering to get the band back onstage.  It was as if they just expect them to appear for an encore.  While I understand this, we as the audience should at least make an effort to get them back out for one last song.  Honestly I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and fall asleep.  I was so tired and cranky I just wanted to go to bed.

On a more object note, not everything about the show was horrible.  Tweezer was a really good version and a great way to open the second set.  Sand was a great throw back and Tweezer reprise was sorta expected to end the show.  The encore was also good.  On another note the weather was good that night, not hot and rather low humidity.  The night sky was clear which was cool because I got to see a full moon rise above the lawn which was really cool.  Watching the moon with Phish playing in the background was really relaxing.

I have a feeling that in the years to come, I will be skipping Atlanta.  It could be another 10 years before I make it out there again.

Set 1
1. Runaway Jim
2. Undermind
3. Nellie Kane
4. Blaze On
5. Halfway to the Moon
6. Ocelot
7. Heavy Things
8. Theme From the Bottom
9. Run Like an Antelope

Set 2 (starts at 9:25pm)
1. Tweezer
2. Waiting All Night
3. Backwards Down the Number Line
4. Carini
5. Waste
6. Sand
7. Tweezer Reprise
Set over at 10:39

Encore (starts at 10:42pm)
8. Rock and Roll
house lights at 10:50pm

 

Notes: Trey teased Sing (Joe Raposo) in Ocelot and Happy Birthday in Heavy Things. Tweezer included a Mercury tease from Mike and Trey.

Phish Tuscaloosa Amphitheater August 2nd 2015

ph201500802I was disappoint with the Atlanta show. Set two Tweezer opener was great but I was so frustrated with the journey it made the show miserable. I was hoping Tuscaloosa would make up for this and redeem my short summer tour vacation.

Before arriving in Tuscaloosa I stopped at our office in Birmingham to knock out a few tasks we have been meaning to complete for months. Unfortunately this delayed my arrival to Tuscaloosa but at least I wasn’t late to the party this time. I would have loved to walk around the downtown area if I had the time. I walked past a specially grocery and beer store that would have been awesome to visit. I could have used a decent meal at this point and the downtown area had a lot of choices. I had eaten nothing but crap food so far which sucked.

Tuscaloosa is a college town and it shows. Lots of bars and restaurants in downtown which I would expect. The venue is smack on the river and provided some great views as the sun set behind the stage. The sky was lit a nice color red. The venue itself is only a few years old and well designed. It has a rather large pit area that can probably accommodate chairs for certain shows. If you had an actual seat, the lines of sight are perfect to the stage and angled so you don’t see anyone’s head.

Sunset behind the venue, a really well thought out location
Sunset behind the venue, a really well thought out location

First set was a good mix of styles.  Some older classics, fast and slow songs with different beats.  The whole time Phish is playing the sun is setting perfectly behind the venue over the water.  This first set I thought was a great lead up to the second set which continued where this one left on.  During the set break, a train crossed the elevated tracks behind the stage.  Train Song was played early in the set and we commented how cool it would have been if it was played while the train went by.

Second set starts with a classic old tune and quickly goes into the early 2000’s heavy funk era stuff with only one song from Fuego being played this set.  In fact The Line was the only other song played that night from their most recent album.  It was some funky stuff all second set and went perfectly with the cooling weather and drop in humidity.

phish_2015_tuscaloosa-02On Monday I spent all day in our Birmingham office taking care of a few issues.  This was how I got the company to pay for part of my Phish tour.  It was a long day but a good one in Birmingham.  I ate a new burger place call Flip Burger Boutique and found a stationary store as well.  I don’t often get to write while traveling any more but was glad to have some time to get some letters banged out this time around.  All day Tuesday I spent driving homing, 20+ hours if I remember right.  It was a rather late night and I had to go to work the next morning.

All around this was a great trip and I am glad I made the effort to see Phish play way down in Tuscaloosa.  Makes me wonder where or if they will announce a fall tour this year.  It seems like over the last few years, tours overall have been getting shorter.  This makes it that much more critical to see shows since they are much further apart.  This at least affords me a chance to travel around this country while seeing the band I love.

Set 1 (starts at 7:36pm)
1. Sample in a Jar
2. Chalk Dust Torture
3. Train Song
4. Devotion To a Dream
5. Meat
6. Maze
7. The Line
8. Roggae
9. My Friend, My Friend
10. 46 Days >
11. Cavern
set over at 8:50pm

Set 2 (set starts at 9:22pm)
1. Down with Disease[1]
2. Camel Walk
3. Seven Below
4. Fuego
5. 2001
6. Harry Hood
7. Possum
set over at 10:35pm

Encore (starts at 10:37pm)
8. A Day in the Life
house lights at 10:43pm

 

Notes: MFMF contained a Very Long Fuse quote. DWD was unfinished.
[1] Unfinished

Phish nTelos Pavilion July 30th 2014

I already had a great day driving around and hiking two parks.  This was the last day of Phish tour for me and the second show at nTelos Pavilion.  The weather was great and I settled in for a great lineup of songs.  This time around I made it to the venue with plenty of time to get a seat I wanted.  I sat Page side again and had plenty of room to lounge out with the setting sun at my back.  Managed to bring an empty bottle to fill once I got into the venue and save myself $4 for water.

Bathtub Gin got things going for the night and was a good version of this now classic song.  It was long a long ride to the end as Trey lead everyone in this slow almost bluesy style of guitar work and gradually crescendo late into the song.  It really got everyone going and brought the energy level way up.  Later Alaska has a very similar blues feel to as things really slowed down.  Many of the songs in the first set had this blues tinge to them.  This made for a very unique show filled with lots of energy.

Second set was a particular barn burner as far as seconds sets go.  I think for me the highlight was Piper near the middle of all this goodness.  I have really be enjoying them bringing back songs from 15 years ago.  Stuff that I started listening to as new all those many years ago.  Songs like Gotta Jibboo, Meat, Seven Below, and Piper got heavy rotation a long time ago and then faded as new material made its way into the sets.  One thing I noticed during this show was the overwhelming number of songs that from Farmhouse (2000).  As far as I am concerned, this is one of their best albums along with The Story of the Ghost (1998) and most recently Feugo (2014).

They have now come full circle by mixing the songs I grew up listening to with new ones.  I think we are at the dawn of a new year in the band.  One that is tightly focused on perfecting their craft.  Everyone seems more open to new material that is more personalized by one of the members of Phish.  I believe I ranted about this very thing in regards to the second night of Phish at Merriweather Post.  That post and this one have been written far apart from each other yet I still have that same emotion today when I think back to these two shows.

The end of the show as amazing and like usual, I walked slowly back to my car after a great show.  I was pumped and ready to go but had to get up early the following day.  I had to be in Tyson’s by 11am to close on the new home Nancy and I were buying.  It is a minimum three hour drive from Norfolk to McLean and I knew I would have to deal with traffic around Washington.  What I was not expecting was the traffic headed towards Hampton that morning.  I was expecting traffic in that direction to be light as everyone would be heading to Norfolk.  I even waited till I was past the tunnel before getting coffee just to make sure my trip wasn’t even more delayed then it already was.

To add to my travel time I had to factor in a few stops along the way.  I needed to get a certified check, bottle of wine and pickup flowers for Nancy.  Thankfully I made it to closing with several minute to spare, even beat our real estate agent.  Honestly it was the perfect way to end a very enjoyable summer tour with Phish.  It had been a long time since I have been out for so many shows.  What I think was most enjoyable was staying in hotels and living well out on the road.  This time around I didn’t have to sacrifice anything just to be able to go on tour, I felt like I have finally made it.

I look forward to summer tour 2015 and will definitely try again to see so many shows as possible.  It helps that they love playing in many of the cities around where I live.  A few, like Saratoga Performing Arts Center, are even worth the over 8 hour drive to see them play.  Long live summer tour!

 

Set 1: 7:51pm start
01. Bathtub Gin
02. Devotion To a Dream
03. Yarmouth Road
04. Guelah Papyrus
05. Alaska
06. It’s Ice >
07. Poor Heart
08. Mountains in the Mist
09. Meat
10. Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan >
11. David Bowie
9:15pm set over

Set 2: 9:42pm start
01. Fuego >
02. Gotta Jibboo >
03. Meatstick >
04. Piper >
05. Billy Breathes >
06. Seven Below >
07. Waste >
08. Backwards Down the Number Line, First Tube
11:07pm set over

Encore: 11:07pm start
09. The Lizards
11:19pm house lights

 

Notes:
The soundcheck’s Jennifer Dances was a blues jam with quotes of Foxy Lady. Trey teased Paint It Black after Foxy lady was played. Bathtub Gin contained a Long Tall Glasses tease. Mountains in the Mist was played for the first time since December 27, 2010 (141 shows). Mike teased Fuego in Meatstick.