Tag Archives: summer tour

July 4th Weekend in Boston

Phish summer tour is always something to look forward to after a long winter. Getting out on the road, traveling around America seeing Phish. This is the kind of thing I live for. Moving to the west cost the bands traditional summer tour does not involve coming to this coast. If they wont come to me, I will go to them.

Summer tour was announced with pretty typical venues and what I come to expect. SPAC, Alpine Valley, Bonnaroo, and Merriweather Post for example all included two or more nights. Nothing jumped out at me and for a couple of weeks I didn’t think about it but something changed. I decided summer tour was to good a tradition not to keep it going. Just being on the west coast wouldn’t stop me from my summer tradition.

For some reason I got all excited about going to Chicago. I remember the time coming across the country and having so much fun when I stopped there for a layover. I really got to enjoy some cool stuff so I was excited to go back. Then I remembered where Fenway Park was actually located and that is Boston. Still very excited to visit but some of the luster was now worn off.

As I started planning this trip out things really started to just fall into place. The show was on Friday and Saturday with the Fourth being Thursday. I ended up flying out direct from PDX to BOS early in the morning giving me plenty of time to arrive before the annual fireworks display. I was staying at the W Boston partly because of its proximity to the Charles River. I then stay through Sunday so I could just relax in the city and would fly back home on Monday.

As a first time flier to Boston Logan International I must say it is a pretty bad airport. I found it to be rather cumbersome navigating my way out of the building and finding directions to the metro. I took the longs most backwards way to get there because of poor directions. Eventually I made it to the blue line and into downtown, switching trains once before arriving at my destination. A common theme all weekend was transportation.

Having arriving at a decent hour in the afternoon I was able to check into the hotel and settle in for a few minutes before heading out. I managed to travel a lot around the city that afternoon. At first I headed north via metro but realized the place I wanted to visit was close so that sucked. Then the closest place I found was way south with no direct transit access. I still had to make it to the Charles River for the display. I ended up getting an Uber to make the trip easy and it was the best trip ever. The driver was so cool. We talked the entire drive and opined about various things. Some heady stuff.

I got turkey and brisket.

Thankfully with Michael’s help I was able to get what I needed and make it to the water with plenty of time before the show. I had it in my head to arrive by like 8pm or something but the display didn’t go off till much later then that. Not to worry. I got a good spot under some trees and watched the sunset over the river. It was also some really good people watching to the time flew. Eventually the Boston Symphony Orchestra comes out to do their traditional concert. While I couldn’t see what was going on I certainly could hear the show. All the acts that night were pretty good. I mean this is a PBS special kinda thing but still very entertaining.

Eventually the moment arrive and the fireworks display started. I don’t know why exactly but I love fireworks. I have all my life for a variety of reasons. I can’t tell you how long the display went on for but it seemed like eternity to me. At first I thought I would be to close to the barge but in the end it was a perfect spot. As people left early and I could get from under the trees the display in front of me got even better.

The entire show was timed with the BSO’s performance. At one point they played Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World and I admit it brought a tear to my eye. In time with the lyrics we saw clouds of white and skies of blue. With love we saw read hearts. It was so well done. The entire performance was top notch in my opinion and I have seen a few firework displays. They even used the bridge which was cool. At the time I couldn’t understand why they had it blocked off when I initially approached the waterfront.

It was well into the evening when things finally were over and everyone started dispersing. It was crazy as shit walking down Storrow Dr with hundreds of others as we all just tried to get out. People were everywhere charting their own escapes from the waterfront. I ended up walking down Commonwealth Avenue Mall which is a nice park. It was going against the grain of all the people but still getting me closer to the hotel. The weather all day was hot and muggy but it finally cooled off now that the sun had set for a while.

That night after getting back to the hotel I was hungry as shit. I didn’t have much food when I got into town and started hopping around. Thankfully in my neck of the woods I has several options for late night eateries. First up was New York Pizza. On that first night I really caught them at a good time. Both slices were perfect. They where hot but most importantly the crust was perfect. It was warm and crispy. When I folded the slice in half, it cracked. It held up to the sauce nicely and tasted amazing. I went another night and the pizza was not as good. The second time was also much later so I understand quality suffering late on a weekend.

Friday was day one of a two night run at Fenway but I already felt like I accomplished so much in what little time I already spent in Boston. The day started off slowly with a quick stop for some goodies. This time the line took me forever but it was worth it to stock up. By the the time this side adventure was over it was lunch time and I was hungry. I lucked out and found a BBQ joint right close which was what I was craving.

A quick walk and I was at Magnolia Smokehouse in Brookline. I gotta say the brisket was mighty impressive here. It was flavorful and fatty but not chewie. It was still tender and had some form to it but it melted in your mouth when you ate it. The smoke ring was great and the smoke flavor wasn’t overpowering which was nice. The pork was good and the turkey was…..well turkey. Sides fantastic here too. I was thoroughly impressed with the brisket and recommend stopping here if you are in the neighborhood looking for some good eats.

After such a great meal I needed something sweet to wash it all down with. A good distance from where I was I found Athan’s European Bakery with a great selection of sweets. I got some crazy chocolate mouse dipped in chocolate sauce and nuts that was excellent. I also got a good amount of baklava to take with me. It was something I have been searching for months but unable to source. Everything here was so good.

After stopping back at the hotel one last time it was getting pretty late in the afternoon. I figured it would be busy but it was a big venue with lots of entrances. They handle sellout crowds where regularly so a Phish concert should be easy. I remember arriving wit 30-45 minutes before the show would start. I thought plenty of time to get past security. Unfortunately security was a nightmare for everyone and it took forever.

Security was so bad getting in that first day I didn’t even make it into the venue by the time they band walked on stage. I don’t think it was for several songs before I was finally into the place and could relax. My ticket for Friday was in the upper section so I headed up to the top. When I got there I found a crowded second so headed down to the lower level which had plenty of open seating. Here I found a nice comfortable place to enjoy the rest of the show.

This location was by no means was an ideal one. I could barely see Mike playing. What I could see was the play of lights off the crowd and the venue. I have seen Phish so much now that actually “watching” them is kinda boring. The light show is great but there isn’t much to the band once you seen them play twice or more. What I love is getting the perspective of the band. Seeing the lights play off the crowd and how the crowd reacts to what Phish is playing in real time.

Anyway my seat was covered and pretty high in the lower section. Everyone here had plenty of space to lounge out and enjoy the show how they wanted to. Anther reason I search for remote spots like this, more chill people. We all understand the limited view, it just gives us more room to groove.

Set one started off rather strong I thought but for me it faded as the set progressed. The energy I thought was lost the longer the played. It could have just been my mood as well which has clouded my memory of this first set but I stick by my assessment.

Second set and things really start to pick up. Some really spacey and far out there jams. The song selection again wasn’t the best but I really enjoyed the far out jams during the songs. This past year I think has been highlighted by more of these space noodle jams then in recent memory. It reminds me of the late 90’s in some ways with the jams.

The the curfew the show ended rather early for a typical Phish show. While it was a nightmare getting into the venue it didn’t take nearly as long getting out. I decided to skip metro and just walk home. It was so early and again it was a blazing hot day so with it finally cooling off I wanted to take the opportunity to enjoy Boston while I was there.

Phish Friday, July 5th and Saturday, July 6th 2019 Fenway Park – Boston, MA.

Phish Friday, July 5th 2019
Fenway Park – Boston, MA

Set start at 7:00pm

  1. Free >
  2. Blaze On
  3. 555
  4. Tube
  5. Brian and Robert
  6. Halfway to the Moon
  7. Ocelot >
  8. Rift >
  9. Everything’s Right >
  10. Runaway Jim
    Set over at 8:17pm

Set 2 starts at 8:54pm

  1. Sand >
  2. Axilla
  3. Mercury >
  4. Wading in the Velvet Sea >
  5. Fuego >
  6. Say it to Me S.A.N.T.O.S. >
  7. Character Zero
    Set over at 10:00pm

Encore starts at 10:04pm

  1. Bug
  2. Squirming Coil
    House lights at 10:20pm

Saturday and it was going to be another scorcher of a day. Today there was the added worry. A storm front was moving in which was going to cool things off but it could also produce some wicked summer afternoon thunderstorms. All afternoon I kept an eye on the weather while I was out and about enjoying Boston.

I jumped right in by skipping breakfast and going straight to lunch at a brewery. Not far from the hotel was one I wanted to check out. Unfortunately when I got there the place was smashed and I had little patients to deal with crowds in the growing heat. Not far was Hopsters Brewing Company which really worked out. Here I got a variety of beers and some good food.

Old State House

Next I was on the hunt for something sweet so headed to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace for a variety of sweet shops. This market is rather large with a wide variety of stuff. They had several sweet shops so it wasn’t hard to find something good. I eventually stopped at Carol Ann Bake Shop to get my fix.

By this time it was getting close to the open of the venue. The weather wasn’t looking good either. I could see a line of storms brewing on the radar. I decided that getting to Fenway right when doors open was going to be a good idea because of the weather and my experience the night before. After eating my dessert I headed backed to the hotel for a quick stop. It was about this time I saw the email from the venue saying they where opening early and starting exactly on time because of the weather. They advised everyone to arrive early.

Despite the warning this time around there was not much bustle around the park. Security was still a pain to get through but this early there were just fewer fans and it would seem they had more staff on hand. This night I again didn’t bother with my assigned seat. I was there so early I picked a “good spot” way to the right but under the bleachers. By the time I arrived to the park they already decided to not let anyone on the field because of possible lightning strikes in the area.

The weather really had it in for the show that night. Mother nature did her best to drown out the performance but in the end the show must go on. The rain really started coming down and delayed the show by an hour and half from the scheduled start. The band eventually announced that tonight’s performance would be just one set because of the delayed start. I was saddened and excited all at the same time when I heard the news. I was happy the show would still happen but disappointed in only one set. Because of the curfew I wasn’t expecting anything super late either.

The venue eventually was packed with people all huddled tightly under the bleachers and or sheltering on the ground floor. The weather just kept getting stronger and stronger, heavier and more rain just kept coming. Eventually things passed over and there was a great roar from the crowd as the authorities declared the field open and safe for people. It was already around 8pm or something when this happened so we were all excited for them to get started with the show.

This was another great performance from Phish just like the previous night at Fenway. The song selection was a bit random at times but the one consistency was the spaciness jamming during many of the songs. They where of all energy levels but still posses this weird funkiness to them.

Finally the rain started coming down in bugets and we could see the lightning lite up the sky.

As the night wore on I kept expecting the band to end the show. I thought there were several opportunities to end the show on a great song but they would just bust out another song and keep going. They did this for about 30-40 minutes past what I thought they could. The eventually stopped playing at 10:59pm by my watch.

Myself and the other fans where blown away by the performance that was just laid out for all of us to enjoy. The night started off pretty rocky with the severe weather and extremely late start time for the show. Phish was able to turn this into a great performance and a once in a lifetime kind of event for how things worked out. In the end Phish played for 2:40 minutes was was amazing. They just kept going and playing awesome songs and jams.

By the end of the show I was exhausted from dancing and grooving. I decided to walk down Commonwealth Avenue Mall on the way back to the hotel. The weather was amazing that evening after the rain. Things really cooled off which made it tolerable to be out. I was sweaty from the show so the cool crisp weather felt good. It was crazy humid but it was so cold the humidity made the chill more pronounced.

All this left me very hungry so I stopped for some sushi at Genki Ya which I found was open late a few nights earlier. I got so much sushi and ate it all. The performance was still fresh in my mind and my body was spent from the long day and awesome show. That night I don’t remember what time I finally got back but it was well into the next day. I couldn’t wait for bed. I was completely satisfied with the day and ready to crash.

Phish Saturday, July 6th 2019
Fenway Park – Boston, MA

Set one starts at 8:30pm

  1. Carini >
  2. Possum
  3. Set Your Soul Free >
  4. Thread
  5. Wolfman’s Brother
  6. Reba [1]
  7. Back on the Train
  8. Mound
  9. About to Run
  10. Down with Disease [2] >
  11. Simple >
  12. Backwards Down the Number Line >
  13. Death Don’t Hurt Very Long >
  14. 46 Days >
  15. What’s the Use? >
  16. Mexican Cousin >
  17. 2001 >
  18. Split Open and Melt
  19. Suzzie Greenberg
    Set over at 10:59pm

Encore starts at 11:01pm

  1. Rise/Come Together >
  2. Wilson
    House lights at 11:11pm

Note
[1] No whistling.
[2] Unfinished.
Major thunderstorms caused a huge delay because of the threat of lightning. One long set instead of two shorter ones.

I didn’t have to worry about leaving town on Sunday and took full advantage of the situation. I stayed up way late on Saturday, slept in late on Sunday and generally got a slow start to the day. I cleaned up while watching Sunday Morning and then I was off. At 11am the US Woman’s soccer team was taking on Sweden in the FIFA 2019 World Cup. I had been following coverage especially the last two weeks and was excited to see them play. I wanted to drink beer during the game and that was more difficult then I expected.

Alcohol laws are different in every state. I think here they are pretty strict like Virginia is so it was hard finding places open in time for me to watch the game and grab a bear. I found a cafe that was open so headed downtown. As I was walking there I saw Beerworks Brewing Co. was open and immediately dove in. The doors were open and the bartender said they where serving beer. Oddly enough they didn’t have any coffee.

USS Constitution

I spent several hours here at the bar drinking beer, eating food and writing letters. The game was also amazing. The entire first period I was on pins and needles things were so tight. Finally in the second period Lindsey Horan scored in the 3rd minute and I was a little more relaxed. That goal really shifted the game in the US’s favor. They started playing better and the Sweds you could tell were crushed.

It was so awesome drinking at Beerworks Brewing Co. in downtown while watching the US team win their fourth world title. As the morning went on the bar started to fill up as well so that by the second half a decent crowd was there. Hearing everyone react to the same thing was pretty cool.

I just decided to wing it all day and walk around. Being this downtown I decided to just keep going and crossed North Washington Street Bridge to Boston National Historic Park. I didn’t walk into any of the buildings or ships, just walked around. I found a good spot to sit at the Charleston Navy Shipyard Park that overlooked the rest of the park and the harbor. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that morning and afternoon.

From here I walked and trained back to Boston Common. I found a relatively high spot that over looked a large portion of the park and allowed me to watch the sunset over the park and city. I did so much writing while I was here. In fact I did so much I had to walk back to the hotel to stock up on additional supplies and go back to complete all my writing.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

The day in the park was absolutely what I needed at that moment. The day was filled with perfect weather. Cool temperatures and clear skies with a slight cooling breeze. I spent hours in both parks and just wanted to spend all day there. Eventually as night feel I started to get hungry. Pho Pasteur was near the hotel and offered up some pretty good pho. It was a good broth with tender noodles just like it should be. It certainly hit the spot for comfort food while traveling.

After this entire experience I have a bit of a rant. Boston was a pretty amazing city and I would love to come back for another event. The train system here totally sucks. Honestly the problem is its so old, never been upgraded and no one wants to pay for it now. So the people suffer with a system that is difficult to use. The stations are not linked so often you can’t cross from one side to another. They are loud, small and cramped. The stations don’t have AC and few of the trains did so when its hot you bake. Event the train schedule just seemed wrong. I felt like I had to wait longer then I should have in a major city. It at least pasted the sniff test of having direct access to downtown from the airport via metro.

Phish Merriweather Post Pavilion Saturday, June 22nd 2019

Somethings just have a crazy way of working out. When Phish announced this years summer tour it was a typical east coast only summer tour. I like the new format of hitting one city but doing two or three shows in a row. When it was announced they would play Merriweather again over a weekend I thought about it but in the end decided to skip it because it was to close to my Montreal trip and I just wouldn’t have the money. Well I switched jobs and guess what, they flew me out to Fairfax, VA for two weeks which coincided with Phish playing Merriweather Post Pavilion. My home venue on a show I wanted to see but couldn’t initially and with a little luck I was now going to see.

Saturday morning I headed down to Fredericksburg to visit my mother and her husband. It took forever getting south so I left with what I thought was plenty of time to get to the venue. Traffic was a little better then I thought but it still took a while to get there. In the end I think it took just over 3 hours to arrive. By the time I parked and got through security it was only a few minutes before lights out. With such a long trip I hit the restroom first and wouldn’t you know it they came out while I was waiting.

To me I didn’t miss the start of the show but it made getting a spot on the lawn difficult. I ended up way in the back but at least I made it in time to hear the first notes. The venue has been improving since the last time I was hear. The wings are now complete and people are occupying all levels of the redesigned seating areas. I remember seeing my first show in ’98 and how low the ceiling was and how awful the view from the lawn was. The acoustics have also improved all over. You can actually hear what is going on from the lawn now. It doesn’t sound all muddled and distant.

The weather that night was hot and humid. It was not till the sun started to set that thing event began to cool off. While the show might not have been sold out, it was pretty damn close. That meant a lot of hot sweaty bodies on the lawn. All dancing around going crazy during the show.

As for the music it was a decent show. Honestly nothing in the setlist really blew me away. It was a rather predicable setlist with some classics and a few new songs. No bust outs or anything that hasn’t been played in a long time, nothing like that. While the show might have lacked a really good setlist the version played of all the songs where pretty damn good.

I found things to be much deeper and groovier if that makes sense. They took traditional songs from this tour but turned it up a notch on the jams. As a long time fan the actual setlist has become less and less important to me. Even for me the sets are generally the same after all these years. What I love now are the people, the scene, and the jams. They played some really kick ass jams that night that blew me away.

First set overall was pretty decent. A good mix with some good jams, typical. Second set was a little disappointing with the song selection but again they played some really good versions of those songs. Highlight for me was getting a Harry Hood. I don’t know the exact number but I have seen this song done here numerous times. Even the encore was honestly a no-brainier kinda thing. Still well done but no thought into what to play.

Even the worst day seeing Phish bets any other day hands down. Missing a show is better then not having the opportunity to go. It was great coming back home and seeing them play on Saturday. I had a ticket for Sunday but skipped it to hangout with a friend. Looking over Sunday’s setlist it was a little better but I don’t regret skipping Sunday. I know, never miss a Sunday but still…..

Phish Saturday, June 22nd 2019
Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD

Set 1 starts at 7:30pm start

  1. Undermine
  2. Tube
  3. Funky Bitch
  4. Steam >
  5. My Sweet One >
  6. NICU
  7. Friend
  8. No Men In No Man’s Land*
  9. Horse >
  10. Silent in the Morning
  11. David Bowie
  12. Squirming Coil
    Set over at 8:53pm

Set 2 starts at 9:19pm

  1. Ghost >
  2. Axilla >
  3. Set Your Soul Free >
  4. What’s the Use >
  5. Billy Breathes
  6. Death Don’t Hurt Very Long >
  7. Backwards Down the Number Line >
  8. Harry Hood >
  9. Rise/Come Together >
  10. Golgi Apparatus
    Set over at 10:37

Encore starts at 10:40pm

  1. Bug >
  2. Character Zero
    House lights at 10:54

Note:
* with Blister in the Sun tease

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.