Tag Archives: summer tour

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.

Phish nTelos Pavilion July 29th 2014

Phish nTelos Pavilion July 29th and 30th 2014 Portsmouth, VAI woke up in Springfield and had only at most a four hour drive ahead of me. While in Columbia I noticed my inspection expired while I would be in Portsmouth. While I was hoping for a lazy morning and a slow start, I had to head to the dealership for an inspection and oils change. When it comes to inspections, they are first come first server so I arrived just after they opened. A couple hours later and my car was finished and I could start making my way to Portsmouth.

With all the time I had to kill I stopped at York River State Park for a hike and really enjoyed this park. It was rather quite with few people in the park. For the most part I had all the trails to myself. One nice thing I noticed about this park was the miles and miles of mountain biking trails. This park really is multi use with specific trails for hiking, biking, and horse back riding.

Hiking took a lot longer than I expected so it was a quick trip to the hotel to check in and that was it. I wanted to shower and get something to eat but that was impossible. The nice thing about this venue is the entire place is general admission so it pays to arrive early to get a good spot. If you arrive when it first opens you have an excellent chance of getting a spot in the pit. I just wanted a seat in the venue so I could have a seat during intermission. I made it in time to get a seat Page side and was ready to rock. The weather was great and I was expecting a great show.

First set started off with a killer version of Timber which is not unheard of but certainly not a common song for the first set.  This lead into Undermind which I like and believe is an undervalued song in the repertoire. Divided sky had the long pause but I felt the crowd didn’t much get into it.  Ocelot was a long bluesy version.  Next up was Halfway to the Moon which is a Page song from the new album Fuego.  I was sitting rage side and the crowd loved it.

I have often found Page’s songs are much more melodic and meaning full then the rest of the band members.  One thing I love about the band is that everyone is able to contribute their own songs and always include their own personal touch to the song.  I think that early Phish songs where much more of a collaborative effort and reflected the group’s mentality at the time.  As time has gone on each band member has started focusing more on songs they wanted to create with input from the other members later on in the creation process.  Closing the set was Good Times, Bad Times, a traditional song which left the crowd ampped and ready for the second set.

Set two got going with Chalkdust Torture, a very slow version that could have been so much better.  The band left playing Good Times, Bad Times and returned with something completely the opposite of that high.  As the song went on a jam emerged, this pull the song into excellent status.  Most of the set wavered from mellow to classic jams, very inconsistent.  Taken as a whole the set was still a good one and I had a great seat

House lights come up and the walk back to my car was great. I later found out I could take a water taxi across the water but the drive back to the hotel was a great opportunity to reflect on the show. It ended well and I couldn’t wait till the second night of Portsmouth and unfortunately the last show for of the tour for me.

 

Set 1 7:48pm start
01. Timber (Jerry) >
02. Undermind >
03. AC/DC Bag
04. 555
05. Divided Sky
06. Ocelot
07. Halfway to the Moon
08. Kill Devil Falls
09. Split Open and Melt
10. Good Times Bad Times
9:12pm set over

Set 2 9:41pm start
01. Chalk Dust Torture[1] >
02. If I Could
03. The Line >
04. Birds of a Feather
05. A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing >
06. Mike’s Song >
07. Prince Caspian[1] >
08. Waves >
09. Weekapaug Groove
10. Cavern >
11. Golgi Apparatus >
12. Run Like an Antelope
11:17pm

Encore: 11:19pm start
13. Wingsuit >
14. The Squirming Coil
house lists at 11:39pm

Notes:
[1] Unfinished
Chalk Dust and Caspian were unfinished. Mike’s Song contained a BOAF tease and Weekapaug contained a tease and quote of Shock the Monkey.

Phish Merriweather Post Pavilion July 27th 2014

Phish Merriweather 2014 poster
Phish Merriweather 2014 poster

Waking up in the same city as that nights show felt great, I had all day to kill.  Generally I like to hike on days like this but today I decided to relax first at the hotel with coffee and the Post.  Then around lunch I headed to a restaurant Nancy and I found while seeing The Killers the year before, the Frisco Taphouse.  I spent all afternoon here eating and more importantly drinking beer.  Like always when sampling new beers, it was not all good but I certainly had a great time doing it.

Today I arrived early to the venue and was able to score a spot in the lot near the entrance.  I forgot my lawn chair so instead I just sat in the trunk of my car.  I smoke a cigar and people watched.  There was this constant stream of cars coming into the venue and going in the opposite direction were people headed to shakedown street.  The cast of characters is wide and varied at a Phish show which is something I love about them.

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2014
Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2014

After the previous night I had even higher hopes for tonight’s show.  Again it was being broadcast to the interwebs and it was a Merriweather show, come on guys rock this show.  Fee started the show and it was a weird version.  Trey used the megaphone but the song was played differently, the order was all wrong and it appeared to end abruptly yet Trey said it was all there.  The rest of the set was really good as well.  A good mix of songs and all played very well.  I love hearing Fuego being jammed out and ending the set with YEM was a killer choice.

Second set got off to an average start with Wilson.  The sun had set and the stage lights came up, the crowd was excited, throw in a good crowd interactive song and they ate it up.  Wilson segued into Tweezer and for the rest of the night the set revolved around Tweezer.  I have seen this done once before with Saw It Again at Merriweather in fact.  Almost every other song segued into Tweezer and then into another song before going back to Tweezer.  When Phish does this I love the playfulness from the band.

© Derek Gregory 2014
© Derek Gregory 2014

People ask me all the time if I get bored going to so many shows, aren’t they all just the same they ask.  I happen to completely disagree to both statements.  When they do things like this it just makes me love seeing the band in person. You often get special one of a kind shows that make it all worth while. All the teases during their normal songs were great, you never knew if they would find just one more sample before the show ended.

Most of the second set felt like it was the final song of the set and couldn’t get any better. Then all of a sudden they would squeeze another song in. At one point they played Jennifer Dance for the first time just short of 15 years since the last time. This continued till they finally walked off after Page’s I’ve Been Around.

This show quickly became a memorable show and near the top of my favorites list. This is why I still see them after all these many years. Musically they might not always play perfectly, but they will pull out some really great shows now and again. Besides a little drizzly rain and the second set, I won’t forget this show for a long while. Reason I keep coming back to this venue every time to see Phish perform.

after show fireworks in the lot
after show fireworks in the lot

Set 1 7:35pm
01. Fee
02. The Curtain With
03. 46 Days
04. 555
05. My Sweet One
06. Sand
07. Bouncing Around the Room
08. Saw It Again >
09. Fuego
10. You Enjoy Myself[1]
set over at 8:56pm

Set 2 9:25pm
01. Wilson >
02. Tweezer >
03. Back on the Train >
04. Tweezer >
05. Back on the Train >
06. Tweezer >
07. Waiting All Night >
08. Free >
09. Tweezer >
10. Simple >
11. Tweezer >
12. Free >
13. Catapult >
14. Slave to the Traffic Light >
15. Down with Disease[2] >
16. NICU >
17. Hold Your Head Up >
18. Jennifer Dances[3] >
19. Hold Your Head Up
20. I Been Around
set over at 10:43pm

Encore 10:45pm
21. Boogie On Reggae Woman >
22. Tweezer Reprise
show over at 10:55pm

Notes:
[1] With Trey waving his megaphone and using its siren.
[2] Unfinished.
[3] Fishman on vocals.

This show was webcast via LivePhish. YEM included Flash Light teases and featured Trey waving his megaphone and using its siren. The first Tweezer contained Back on the Train teasing from Fish. The third Tweezer included Page teasing Manteca. Simple included a Magilla tease from Page. Catapult was played for the first time since August 14, 2009 (206 shows). DWD was unfinished. NICU contained Under Pressure teases. Tweezer was teased after the first HYHU and in I Been Around. Jennifer Dances was performed at Trey’s request for the first time since December 17, 1999 (352 shows), featured Fishman attempting to sing the song but not knowing the lyrics, and was quoted at the end of the second HYHU. I Been Around was last played October 16, 2010 (149 shows) and while the band was walking off the stage in synchronized steps.

Phish PNC Music Pavilion July 25th 2014

Phish_Poster_Charlotte_2014_Justin_ SantoraFirst show of a five show summer tour run. It has been a long time since I have done a tour this long so I was excited to get back int the swing of things. As I got older with more responsibilities, long tours like this became more difficult. While I make more money, getting the time off is harder.

Friday was an earlier morning because of the 7:30 hour drive. It had been a long time since I have driven so far to see a show but I was excited. I bought some new albums so I had plenty of driving music to keep me company. Another nice thing about getting older and seeing shows, I stopped at the hotel and checked in before heading to the venue. No more sleeping in my car or a camp sites, Marriott all the way!

This was the only show I had a pavilion seat for.  Not that I would be doing much sitting but during the set breaks it is always nice to have a place to sit down.  Show started with Mike’s > Train > Weekapaug which was something different to open the show up. Tube > My Friend, My Friend was another good highlight. David Bowie also had a good jam in the middle.  Unfortunately Trey on Golgi had so many errors on guitar, making it almost impossible to listen to really.  The flow was just so off.  Not a very good way to end the set.

My actual seat
My actual seat

Like all summer shows the sun set behind the lawn before the second set started.  All the songs from the new album are great so starting off the set with 555 > Chalkdust > Fuego was a good combo.  Both the new songs were extended and Chalkdust fit right in between the two new additions.  Reba was a good one and I thought Character Zero was an ok way to end the set.  Unfortunately I thought Loving Cup was a poor choice to end the show but I guess it does have some good lyrics to end a show with.

Show ended at a very reasonable hour, 11pm.  With my hotel only 20 minutes away the hardest part was getting out of the venue which was not that bad.  It felt good to be on tour and have a nice comfy bed to crash in after the show.  One down, four more to go.

Set 1 (starts at 7:35pm)
01. Mike’s Song >
02. Back on the Train >
03. Weekapaug Groove
04. Wingsuit >
05. Possum
06. Tube >
07. My Friend, My Friend
08. Winterqueen
09. Beauty of a Broken Heart
10. David Bowie
11. Golgi Apparatus
8:59pm stop

Set 2 (stars at 9:29pm)
01. 555 >
02. Chalk Dust Torture[1] >
03. Fuego >
04. Twist >
05. When the Circus Comes >
06. Piper >
07. Rift
08. Waiting All Night >
09. Reba >
10. Character Zero
10:51pm stop

Encore (starts at 10:53)
11. Loving Cup
show over at 10:59pm

Notes:
[1] Unfinished
Bowie contained a Beauty of a Broken Heart tease from Trey. Chalk Dust was unfinished. Twist, Reba, and Character Zero included Fuego teases. Character Zero also contained a Wingsuit tease from Trey.