, attached to 1998-08-12

Review by oongowa

oongowa Looking back, I would consider the summer of 98 to be just about to the peak of my Phish obsession. I think the actual peak happened at Big Cypress since the shows I saw after then never quite felt the same. I know it’s cliché to say that Big Cypress was the best thing ever and that you can’t even bring it up when trying to compare runs or shows since it’s not a fair comparison, but for me, it’s the truth. When I look at the list of shows I’ve seen, I enjoyed just about every one of them up until Big Cypress and not so much after. Not saying that they were all bad, it was just a slow decline until the end. Anyways, my point is that during the Summer of 98, Phish, to me, was the best band on this planet and there was nowhere on earth I would rather be then at a Phish show (which of course still holds true, thankfully).

My friend Justin and I were lucky enough to attend 3 of the 4 Island shows in April and caught only Star Lake the night before Vernon before heading up to Maine for The Lemonwheel. We rented a 12 person van for the 8 of use making the trip up North. Needless to say, it was pretty packed. The venue was a horse race track with the stage at one end and bleachers along one side of the track. It was all GA and, correct me if I’m wrong, but besides the 2 previous festivals, there weren’t too many outside GA shows in those days. I really don’t remember that much about the show. What I do remember is being REALLY fucking excited about going up to Maine. I almost couldn’t wait for the show to be over so that we could get on the road. I clearly remember the La Grange opener and I decided on that day that every show should open with it. I still believe that (and what a fucking treat to hear it at SPAC this year). The Ramble On was such a great surprise and to this day I find it hard to believe that Phish ever covered it. Always has been and always will be one of my favorite Zeppelin songs…mostly because it’s about Frodo Baggins and I’m a dork. I clearly remember the Burning Down the House encore with people going absolutely BONKERS while Justin and I hovered around the back of the crowd so that we could get out of there and beat the traffic. When they started up YEM we both looked at each other and kind of shrugged our shoulders and walked back towards the stage.

That’s it for memories, now for the play back. The quality of these tapes are really great. Nice outdoor recording with no roof or other funny shit for sound to bounce off of. This is what a good FOB AUD sounds like kids. The first set is a lot of fun and you can tell that the band is having the time of their lives. Lots of laughter and joking around. You can see the sun setting and the pot smoke hovering in the air, feel that mystery gust of cool air blow across your face and see all the happy smiling faces surrounding you AND up on the stage. This was the last official show of what some people would say was one of their most fun tours ever. Different covers every night, endless energy, great playing, then throw in some 97 funk and the new ambient style and you’ve got yourself a fantastic recipe for a good time. Again, loved the Ramble On and the Slave was perfect. The Mike’s to open the second set was great to my ears, mostly since we don’t hear Mike’s like this anymore. The rest of the set doesn’t get exploratory or crazy but it’s a lot of fun, and it’s ok to have a nothing but fun Phish show. Some people might knock a show like this but I’ve always enjoyed them since you feel like the band isn’t pressured prove anything or crank out a 20min face melting jam, they’re relaxed and having fun, it’s like seeing them in someone’s back yard with friends. Give me a can of Old Milwaukee, a fucking lawn chair and fire up the grill. This is a back yard BBQ with Phish. Could it get any better?


Jibboo Crew


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