6-20-04 - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
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Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 09:03:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Stefan Frank
Subject: Phish show review 6-20-04
My final show(s) after ten solid years of following the band (30+ shows)
and I had a brilliant time. SPAC is the ideal place to see the boys off,
especially when blessed with†warm, sunny days and star filled nights as
we were this weekend. SPAC is just the most relaxing setting (anyone else
think those dimly lit lamps along the ramps looked like butterscotch
In terms of the music, here's how I'll lay it down: there are two
distinct kinds of shows I^“ve seen over the years 1) the straight
forward, rocking shows that leave you cranking the tapes and drinking the
beers all the way home, and 2) the mysterious, meandering, ^”what the
hell did I just witness?^‘ kinds of shows that leave you in a mystified
and (sometimes) speechless state. These two shows had a bit of both.
There were a few moments that I will immediately get up and boogie to
(Julius, GTBT, NICU), and others I will listen to repeatedly, chew on,
and continue to mull over (especially that post-Piper jam that managed to
incorporate Tweezer Reprise! What a jam!!).
This is not to say these were the perfect shows, however. In fact, if
someone had†been able to show me the set lists from†SPAC prior to the
shows, and given me the chance to ^”opt-out^‘ and trade my tickets for
two other shows, I probably would have taken†them up on it (weak, I know,
but I am sure many of you also read the set lists and thought: "oh good,
I didn't miss anything big,^‘ i.e. Harpua, PYITE, Lizards, X-eyed, or
whatever gives you the goose bumps). IMO there were definitely some song
placements and musical moments from both nights that left more to be
But let^“s be real, Phish is not a perfect band. In fact, it^“s their
imperfection that got me hooked (and I imagine many of you hooked) in the
first place. That^“s why people like us keep coming back for more,
because we cherish the unexpected as much as the expected. These shows at
SPAC were vintage Phish: there was experimentation, broken strings,
quirks, flubs, stage antics, and even an unexpected (80 year old) guest.
For this phan, the band went out exactly as they came in: by being bold,
loose, amusing, unforgiving, and uncompromising.
Sure, it^“s easy to love the show(s) when you know it^“s the last time
you^“ll see a band; you party hard, have a great attitude, dance a lot,
and undoubtedly leave everything on the floor. But it^“s the lingering
feeling after the music has stopped and you^“ve walked away^÷that lasting
impression of a band that has no equal^÷which is rare and worth seeking.
No one Phish show or set list can ever provide that kind of satisfaction
or closure, and being reminded of that makes me glad people can^“t see
into the future (or can they?).
Have a great last show everyone!!
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 12:44:51 -0400
From: Greg Socinski
Subject: Phish show review 6-20-04
6-20-04 SPAC Saratoga Springs, NY
1: Rift, Julius, Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey, Waves, Gumbo, Water in
the Sky, Horn, Poor Heart, Drowned
2: Seven Below -> Ghost -> Twist, You Enjoy Myself
E: Good Times Bad Times
Rift: Great way to get the juices flowing at a show, well executed and
with no major flubs that I caught
Julius: My friend said he wanted to hear this, and he got it by a long
shot.† Definitely a rocking jam and nicely done.
Bill Bailey: The place was pretty psyched when Page's pops came out in
his hat and cane and started singing.† He then tapped danced for a while
and it was all quite hysterical, although it went on a wee bit too long.†
Tech brought out a new guitar for trey because apparently he broke a
string during Julius (first time since 95)
Waves: Definitely a good song.† Not a real rocker and doesn't have tons
of energy but the jam was real, real nice and†relazing.
Gumbo: 2 of my friends called this as the first set wildcard and got it.†
All of us were super-psyched to hear it.† The jam was almost nonexistant,
and stop quite quickly.† They all laughed and moment later started....
Water in the Sky: AH! I love this song.† To me, it's one of the most
beautiful pieces of Phish's music (along with Dirt and D.Sky).† Trey's
playing in the mini-jam in the middle was quite nice and perfectly
Horn: This was a standard and well-executed Horn.† The middle section of
this song is BEE-YOO-TEE-FUL, so it was nice to hear.
Poor Heart: Definitely psyched to hear this, Fishman's antics are so
funny.† It occured to me here that Mike has a really great country
voice.† This was a real nice song to hear and I always love it.
Drowned: Well, another one of my friends said he wanted to hear this, and
I really didn't think that they'd bust it out. This was definitely the
highlight of the first set, the jam was just awesome, probably about 15
minutes.† A great way to end the set.
First set:† Decent, lacking some energy for most of the set, but when
Drowned hit the place and the band blew up.† A lot of good songs that
were nice to hear, and then a roof raising jam in Drowned to end it.† I'd
give it a 7 out of 10.
Seven Below: I called this as the opener during set break, and was
totally psyched to hear it.† I absolutely love this song and this version
only reinforced my opinion.† I think it was slightly over 20 minutes and
had a real spacey jam in the middle when the glowsticks were flying.
Ghost: My friend called this about 3 minutes before the segue, which was
a perfect segue, imo.† This, Seven Below and Runaway Jim were the 3 songs
I really wanted to hear over the last 2 nights and†I got all of them.
This had a nice jam, prob last about 13-15 minutes before an absolutely
seamless segue into....
Twist: Now this song effing rocked!† This really was the best jam of the
night, by far.† They just kept jamming and jamming.† Page did some REAL
nice Clav work during it too.† They changed themes a couple times, and
the nicest was when they stopped and Trey started up they sweet,
whimsical chords.† Probably lasted about 20 minutes.† They conferred on
stage for a bit, and the only way they could top that was to play...
You Enjoy Myself: YES! An absolutely mind-blowing song!† It really
doesn't get much better than this; it's quintessential Phish.† The jam
was real nice and tight and then the vocal jam was quite haunting, as
usual.† They bowed after this and it was almost over.
Second Set: Abso-fucking-lutely mindblowing.† I really loved every moment
of this set and I thought Phish was really at their pinnacle.† I give it
a 9.5 out of 10.
Good Times Bad Times: Decent.† Not a huge fan of this song but it was
fitting.† The jam was nice and very well executed.† Not my pick, but a
nice was to see us off.
Overall, I'd give this show a 8 out of 10.† On the whole, I thought
saturday was better, but this second set was by far the best set of both
nights.† A great show and definitely one of the best weekends of my
life.† Thanks again, Phish.
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 11:28:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Schnurr
Subject: 6/20/04 review
From the very beginning, Rift and Julius were pretty shaky. I dig Rift,
and this was probably the worst version I've heard. But it was still
neat. It felt like they were kind of tense. After Page's dad came out
(which was hilarious, and appreciated by all), it felt like they loosened
up a bit, and even though Waves isn't anywhere near my favorite song, I
really enjoyed the jam on it. One of the highlights of the first set, in
my opinion. Gumbo is one of my favorite songs, and I dug it heartily, as
usual. Water was neat, but a little shaky at times, although it had a few
good moments. Horn was Horn, and was enjoyable except for the guy behind
me going, "DO DO DO DOOO" along with Trey's solo. I was very excited for
Poor Heart, and everyone pulled out their inner hillbilly. The dancing!
But it wasn't until Drowned that I realized once again why I love Phish.
I had been hoping for this song, and as soon as Page's came in, I knew it
was going to be good. But I didn't know how good it was going to be. This
was probably the greatest jam of my life. It was mind-bending. I found
myself making involuntary sounds of pleasure. Multiple shrieking climaxes
and wonderful valleys. Incredible jam.
Seven Below was neat, and the glow stick war was truly beautiful. When
Ghost appeared, I was very excited, but I don't remember it being as long
as I would have liked. But the segue to Twist was exciting, and Twist's
jam went to a lot of amazing different places. Jamming so good it seemed
like composed songwriting. It even had an incredibly rocking disco-style
section that really forced me to groove with enthusiasm. In the pause
after Twist, I knew what was coming. I had been guaranteeing YEM to all
my friends for weeks. I had no doubt about what was to come. The guys
looked so happy before this song, I knew it was going to be a good one.
And it was beautiful. The Note amazed me, as usual. The energy on "Boy!"
was incredible. I felt like†was being propelled into the air. The whole
place screamed. The funk that followed blew my mind. †I would have liked
a longer bass & drum section, but it was good. The vocal jam was average,
and enjoyable, except for the dick behind me (a different one this time)
hitting on my friend and yelling, "ARE YOU DONE YET?"
An encore debate ensued. "Well, it'll be something mellow or something
rocking." I said, hoping for something rocking. And it was rocking. Good
Times Bad Times rocked harder than I've heard it before. Trey's solo was
So the highlights of the show were definitely Drowned, Twist, You Enjoy
Myself, and GTBT.
As I said to my friend after the show, it doesn't matter whether you
think The Who is better than Zeppelin, or whether Zeppelin is better than
The Who, Phish beat the shit out of both of them.
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 11:51:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: Robbie Lefebvre
Subject: 6/20 SPAC
My last show with the boys, and how memorable it was.
I attended the show with some very close friends who
were all seeing them for the last time. I dont think
anything went wrong the entire day.
The lot was kicking and security was extremly lax.
Getting into the venue was a breeze, and finding a
spot on the lawn was an easy task.
Set 1 was a great set in my mind. Nine songs in all,
with no realy jams, but nothing too short to enjoy the
I love the Rift opener, it grabbed me right from
the get go.
Julius, wow, didnt see this coming, just grooved on
Dont know the name of the next song, but that
doesnt matter. Page's dad came our for a father days
treat, and a treat it was. It was great watching Page
and his dad have a moment on the stage. I was
laughing the watching the whole time with a huge smile
on my face.
Waves was alright, not a big fan so I took a
bathroom break. But I got back just in time for
GUMBO...Yeah I was excited to hear this one. I
thought the band was on, just fantastic, no other
words to describe it, FANTASTIC
Water in the Sky was a nice relaxer after a rocking
Gumbo, I was able to catch my breath.
Bam out came Horn, got me going again, I was
sweating a bit after this one, and man was it worth
Poor Heart I dont remember much probably because
what came next.
DROWNED, I knew this was the set closer from the
opening cords, and that was fine with me. Great song
with great people and the best band on the planet, No
complaints about the first set from this guy.
Set 2 was all about the jam, and that was needed after
a fast paced first set.
I thought Seven Below was a little long, but I thought
the jams were fantastic in this song, so that made up
for the length a little bit.
Story of Ghost is just a great song, and the boys
got dirty on this jam. I had moved up to 10 rows and
right in front of Trey, couldnt be better.
When I heard TWIST start, I got real excited, I love
this song, it crakcs me up every time I listen to it,
and I cracked up at this version. Man just a great
version of this song.
Then the roof was blown off of SPAC. YEM YEM YEM
YEM is all I have to say. Great version, great
tramps, great everything. CK was fantastic on the
lights all night, and this song just prooved his
gt/bt was good to hear, nevercan go wrong with this
song, let everyone at spac just enjoy another song
with the band. Fantastic show.
Now that my Phish days are over I have no regrets.
Thank everyone that made my shows soo enjoyable and
Thank you Phish for countless hours of joy. See you
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 22:41:39 -0400
From: Alejandro Tamargo
Subject: 6-20-04 SPAC review
Great weekend continued....
After an incredible jam session on the first night, I was looking forward
to hooking up with my good friend Kevin from Oregon, who was coming in for
his last show. If you were on the far lot by the golf course right on
Roosevelt Rd, you may have seen him singing the "Chili Dog" song to the
tune of Icculus. He's a riot. We had so much fun hanging out in the lot
with him and his girlfriend Eliza. And I'm glad I could be there for
their last hoorah.
So the show:
Set I: Rift, Julius, Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey, Waves, Gumbo, Water
in the Sky, Horn, Poor Heart, Drowned
In times past I would undoubtedly have complained that this set was weak.
I mean Dr. Jack went on probably a little too long, Waves is not one of my
favorites, and they didn't jam the Gumbo at all. Then they proceeded to
play a string of non-jam songs that most of the crowd doesn't like so
therefore the energy is low. But you know what, it's the last tour. And
anyone who is wasting their time and energy complaining is just being
silly in my opinion. They're squandering they're last moments with Phish!
If you had a close friend who you knew only had three months to live,
would you be complaining about him? I think you'd be enjoying every last
moment. So this is the attitude I took. And doing that, I remembered
that hey, Water and Poor Heart are fun bluegrass tunes. Gumbo is one of
my favorites, and I'm just grateful to them for playing it for me one last
time, and who cares whether they jam it. And it was so nice to see Page
on stage with his dad again (I also saw him in Atlanta 99). Page gets
such a huge smile on his face when he introduces him, it's beautiful. I
thought we'd get another nice gazoo solo like in Atlanta, but this time
some tap dancing.
Fun as it was, I had come to the realization, before the Drowned, that
this night probably wasn't going to be as exploratory as the previous
night's show had been. But I was okay with that. After all I had not
only seen a great show the previous night, but 54 other shows which
included some of the best moments of my life. So they could do whatever
and I'd be happy. But then Drowned came, rocked on forever, and my
attitude changed. Now I was beginning to feel that perhaps they hadn't
lost the desire for exploratory jamming. Maybe they could still do a
second set as good as the previous night's. As it turns out, it was even
Set II: Seven Below> Ghost> Twist, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Good Times Bad Times
Every song in the second set was a song I wanted to hear. I kept a close
eye on the Brooklyn setlsists to make sure they were saving them for me at
SPAC. And to my great joy, all of my least favorite songs: Maze, Stash,
Birds, and Chalkdust, one by one showed up on Brooklyn setlists, while 7
Below, Ghost, Twist, and YEM were left for me to see at SPAC. But I had
no idea they'd play them all back to back to back to back in one incrdible
euphoric jam session.
Seven Below: What a great way to open a set. It is and always has been
my absolute favorite song from Round Room and I had only seen it once
previously (IT). They weren't messing around with this one. They went
wherever the spirit moved them, from funk to pure rockn roll. A classic
HOSE jam. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better a beautiful
Ghost: Admittedly, the entire jam wasn't "on" as the Seven Below jam had
been. But that happens sometimes in exploratory jamming. Sometimes they
just have to fiddle around a little bit before they find their groove.
But when they found it, they really found it. Then another beautiful
TWIST!!! I've been wanting this Twist ever since the dates came out and I
knew I was going to SPAC. I was tired of hearing about all these great
Twists in Miami and Vegas, and how they were really taking one of my (and
my girlfriend's) favorite songs onto whole new levels. And let me tell
you, this was the best Twist I've ever heard. Better than Miami and Vegas
combined in my humble opinion (although admitedly, I wasn't at either one
of those shows, so I could be biased.) They latched on to this nice space
funk groove that just wouldn't let up. It was bliss. Then after God
knows how many minutes of more HOSE jamming, Twist came to a rocking
climax and ended. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind what was
coming next. There was no way they were going to go four shows without
YEM- The ultimate Phish song. In many ways this song defines them. They
don't have to do anything special with it. They just have to play it.
And I love it. There could be no better way to end this incredible set.
And I might add, I don't think there should be any other way to end it all
in Coventry. I dont' care if they already did that at the final
pre-hiatus show. It was the most appropriate ending in Shoreline, and it
is still the most apporopriate ending for Coventry. But I digress.
Encore: Good Times Bad Times- I complained about this as an encore at IT.
But like I said I'm done with complaining. Keeping an open mind, I was
able to see how completely rocking this version of the song was. A great
way to end the weekend. And in some ways, a good song to be the last one
for Kevin and all the other people there who were attending their final
What a fun show and a mind blowing phenomenal second set. So happy to be
there with my friends for their last show. I had so much fun. Hope I
have just as much fun at my last show, which will be Coventry by way of
Great WOods. Can't wait!
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 08:36:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: Josh Green
Subject: phish review: 6/20/04
whadup all you wired-in phans?†
hope you all are still feelin the groove out there, bringin da funk &
mellowness to your every-day life.† and let jah be praised.† if you^“re
just starin at the walls of your cubicle or your room, feel free to read
my ramblings and raps.† let me know what you think^Ň†††††
this past weekend I headed out to the SPAC (cool name) from Boston to see
phish over in Saratoga springs, ny.† spac.† first off, it^“s a niiiice
area, lots of rolling dank hills around the Saratoga area.† and the spac
is inside the Saratoga spa state park^◊very nice^◊buildings with pillars
and a pool.† it looked like a college campus.† symphonies and orchestras
usually play at the spac, so it does have a classy feel.† there are even
trees at the top of the lawn, a better feel than the walls and
poor-excuse for a ^—lawn^“ at the boston tweeter center.† so I think all
the heads were psyched to see their phish sanctuary and playground for
I met up with some of the phish crew from high-school (I^“m 24 now), and
the lots were open for us to roll in around 2:30.† by the time we parked,
the lots were going strong because everyone had already made it upstate
from Brooklyn for yesterday^“s show.† so not too hard to find a vendor to
your liking to open the senses for the main act^◊PHISH!!
Saturday^“s show leaned a little more towards the newer songs and a more
mellow sound, so I wasn^“t sure what direction the band would take
tonight.† like many of the reviewers have said, they want to hear the
phish classics for their final shows, as do i.† like playing bowie on
Saturday.† you know, like, I want to hear trey go way overboard and
rockin hard like 95, or mike lay down the big bass and funk like 97^Ň†
except it^“s 2004 now.† and this is a band based on innovation and
I think tonight I heard the band span their career and styles, and you
could hear all of the years in the songs.† they opened with Rift, a song
I heard at my first show on 12/28/95 at the Worcester centrum.† it
didn^“t pound quite like 95, but phish showed they could still throw
down.† hard.† later in the set they played horn, another rift classic,
which gave the set some nice continuity.† the second song they played was
Julius, which has kind of a unique sound from Hoist and always seems to
get the crowd shakin their bones.† jon fishman cracked me up with his
vocals and funny noises on poor heart, what a guy.† fish is always
right-there holding it together for the band.†
also, they played waves, one of the newer, Round Room songs.† I mean, I
love waves, pebbles and marbles, scents and subtle sounds, and song I
heard the ocean sing.† but to me these newer songs just sound more mellow
and mature, not quite as crazy as the band once was, which I think is a
little hard for the phans to completely accept because a lot of people
still want to hear the wailing, crazy phish.† the band breaking up made a
little more sense after seeing trey in the Charlie rose interview and
reading the statements from trey and page.† as they both said, the
flailing crazy phish, which brought forth the epic jams of the late 90s,
had a destructive said for trey and page.† all I can do is take their
word for it.† when I saw trey take the stage on Saturday and from his
interviews, it seemed to me that he was ready to move on, to get off the
road and spend time with his daughters.† and I^“m happy for him and his
life decision, who has given us all so much.† he even looked more mature,
his hair recently cut and beard trimmed, wearing a stylish shirt and
jeans.† but where^“s the guy with the unkept hair in a t-shirt, screaming
into the mic and playing the most farout jams?† I think that guy was
around for many, many years, and now he wants to grow up.† just a little,
not too much.† he^“s still trey and they^“re still phish.† much love to
when the story broke about the breakup, it turned out that mike wanted to
continue with phish the most, and I thought I could hear it in his
playing.† set 1 closed with mike singing the who^“s drowned, my first.†
mike sang his heart out, hit the bass hard, and it was rockin.† mike was
pushin IT!† and trey answered with an incredible guitar solo on this
song.† at this point I knew that the boys were still gonna give it their
all for these finals shows, and there^“s still more to give^Ň
the second set was my style, only four songs, jammed wayout.† an extended
seven below, a newer song that has become a great live tune, followed by
ghost.† not the best ghost I^“ve heard, but trey can sing me the story of
the ghost anytime.† after these darker songs, trey lightened things up
with a high-energy twist.† woooooooohhh!† everyone loved it.† and then
the band consulted on the stage fore a bit.† before^Ň.you enjoy myself!!†
whhheee, trampolines! †you know the band was on and feelin it to play
this epic favorite.† everyone was ecstatic.† the good times / bad times
encore rocked the house down, especially when page sang the last verse.†
(page always gives the band great texture and background melody.† and the
guy rips when he takes solos, which he should do more often.)† it sounded
like the band could really relate to this tune by another great rock &
all in all, an incredible experience.† sooo much fun.† the second half of
the tour is sold-out, and the band still delivers for anyone that still
needs and wants to hear 21 years worth of songs and styles.† it^“s all
still there, and the fans appreciate it all.†
thanks for reading my jammed out review and being the best crowd to be a
part of.† drop me a line and let me know what you think,
email@example.com.† see you all in August! †
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 11:27:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Farnsworth
Subject: Phish show review
My first review after 26 shows, and figured that if the energy is this
raw, let's build up Coventry as best we can.† Returning to SPAC was good
b/c I'd caught my first show there in '95.† But you've gotta remember
that when you go to SPAC you've gotta† State Park... avoid the lots and
park in the beautiful fields surrounding the park's parking lots.
Good to start with Rift and pay homage to the early 90s shows in the
Northeast where these songs brought phish to the masses.† It wasn't
clean, but I see this as a sign of how excited the band was.† ditto for
julius, it could have been smoother, but when you want to rip, you've got
other things than perfection on your mind.† When page invited his father
onstage, you could hear in his voice how grateful he was when he simply
said "thank you."† It was almost as though he was fighting his emotions.†
the dance was a bit long, but if you took a good look jack mcconnell on
the screens, he isn't all that young anymore.† good on him!† Waves was a
good return to the jam.† I'm not a huge fan of this song and have seen it
live once before, but during this version and throughout this show, it
seemed that whenever the jam was getting a bit slow, the quartet
answered.† sorta like the bird/wilkins playoff game in the late 80s.† the
gumbo was well timed and lighthearted as always.† but bringing water in
the sky to follow was GREAT... clearly one of this show's highlights.†
this song captured the vocals that a lot of critics claim aren't there.†
and the horn to follow was another sweet return to rift.† the poor heart
is played as fast as ever and the drowned was absolutely amped.† the
closing of this set brought me back to the closing first set at the
meadows in hartford, 6/30/00.
opening the second set with 7below was a good call.† this song will be
played at Coventry as the sorrow of the guitar riffs, and the wintery
themes will vibe well with northern VT.† but the segue into ghost stole
the show.... until they segued into twist.† ghost was as creepy as ever,
and yet the song is still a lullaby.† this version is memorable and will
be on many want lists in years to come.† the twist allowed the crowd to
partake in the musicmaking and with every "whoo" the hype grew.† the
pause before YEM let you know a classic was coming and when it was
announced, the crowd let them know it was the right choice.† what a
crescendo!!! and the vocal jam is a memorable one.
the good times bad times encore was anything but standard.† i'd be
interested to hear other's opinions of these jams, but like the first
night at SPAC 6/19/04, there seemed to be a lot of tweezer reprise coming
throughout the duration of this second set.† it got me thinking that
maybe phish will "play" tribute to their roots by highlighting a popular
jam each weekend.† we would be so lucky.....† gotta thank fish, mike,
page, and trey for another great weekend.† i look forward to the last.
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 13:04:32 -0400
From: Dennis Conroy
Subject: Phish show review 6-20-04
6-20-04 Saratoga PAC
Hear me out on this one. I'm kind of speechless.
During the entire drive up to SPAC on a beautiful Sunday afternoon I
found myself going through setlist after setlist in my mind, looking
forward to the perfect show. For me this usually means a large
percentage of high-energy grooves, so it required patience from me as
things started off last night on a very chill vibe. I'll admit that I
don't love Rift, but I didn't let it bother me. Julius was great but
VERY slow. So was Waves, likewise Gumbo. I knew this had to be just a
tease; that they could not possibly maintain such an exceptionally slow
pace without planning to tear the house down during Set Two. They had
to...this, after all, was my last show ever.
I definitely started feelin' the groove towards the end of Set One, but
I was slightly annoyed by the slower-than-usual feel of Seven Below to
open Set Two. Like I said, I had anticipated a much faster pace for Set
This was the point in the show, however--early in the Seven Below
jam--where the fruits of Phish's labor really struck me. The entire show
had suddenly taken on a whole new feel for me, and it even had a
retroactive effect: What I had at first been [mis]interpreting as a lack
of energy/excitement was really nothing less than a 110% commitment by
each (Trey, Mike, Page, Fish, AND C.K.) to the ART OF THE JAM. In
hindsight, I really began to appreciate every note I had heard during
Set One. This was no accident: the guys were clearly taking a gamble out
there in front of 25,000 people, not afraid to slow things down and
experiment with borderline lethargic tempos, all in an effort to
discover their alpha-state of consciousness...
The results of this Zen-like approach were pretty amazing. ALL of the
jams in Set Two were very unique, even mind-blowing at times. A side
note: I'm convinced that the astounding, ethereal, staccato-like,
funky-yet-psychedelic jam late in Ghost was spurred by C.K.'s lighting.
How cool was that? (The lawn crowd's contribution to this point in the
show was a rather fantastic glow-stick war just behind the pavilion. I
think we were still in the Seven Below jam when that started.)
A slow Ghost jam transitioned seamlessly into a VERY slow Twist, also
accompanied by a wonderfully inspired jam. After Twist there was a brief
discussion onstage, and thanks to the jumbo video screens on the lawn we
could see that all of the guys were having a good time, and excited
about whatever was coming next--but I didn't see Y.E.M. coming!!!!
My sense is that they were entirely in touch with themselves at that
moment, fully aware that they were "on" and had achieved an ideal
improvisational mindset through their deliberately Zen-like playing from
Julius through Twist (interrupted only twice, by the cute segment
featuring Page's dad and by Poor Heart). The conditions could not have
been more perfect for a quality Y.E.M. They felt it, and in my opinion
that's exactly what they delivered. (I would love to know if Y.E.M. was
pre-planned or a spur-of-the-moment addition to last night's setlist.)
Sure, Trey flubbed some of the opening measures, but the rest of this
Y.E.M. left me totally speechless. Mike was on, Fish was on, Page was
on, Trey was on. The crescendo leading up to "Boy..." has never, ever,
ever, been more exciting!! (I must take credit on behalf of the 20,000
lawn-goers for making this SO ridiculously loud it must have been heard
in Vermont.) The solos/jams were each special, and tremendously
powerful. I think the guys were honestly putting everything they had
into last night's Y.E.M., and yes I did get a little emotional when the
thought struck me mid-groove that this would be my last...
...and thanks for giving us one more trampoline jam! Bonus!
The vocal jam wasn't great, but I had no trouble getting off on C.K.'s
utterly mind-bending visuals. The GT/BT encore was definitely solid, and
featured some great collaborative work by the duo of Anastasio/Kuroda.
As I write this I realize how lucky I am to have attended three shows
during the final tour, and I could not be more pleased with how my run
has ended. Thursday was memorable, Friday was a blast of excitement,
Sunday was an incredibly soulful, calm and peaceful adventure for the
mind, stretching my boundaries of awareness. At least, that's my
interpretation in a nutshell...it's difficult to put into words.
I attended my LAST show with the same buddy who introduced me to Phish's
music years ago, accompanying me to my FIRST show shortly thereafter. We
even crashed at his mom's house on both occasions, so she's a part of it
Take care, everyone.
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 12:54:25 -0400
From: Tom Combs
Subject: Phish show review 6-20-04
Phish - SPAC - 6/20/04
Set I: Rift, Julius, Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home, Waves,
Gumbo, Water In The Sky, Horn, Poor Heart, Drowned
Set II: Seven Below > Ghost > Twist, You Enjoy Myself
E: Good Times Bad Times
Rift: Good opener, but some flubs in the composed part, which are
increasingly frustrating to listen to, but this was good anyway.
Julius:†Julius is such a good rock song and got things going well, good
soloing but still some flubs.
Bill Bailey: Page's father came out for this one and sang and tap dances,
maybe he stayed on stage a bit too long but it was a sweet father's day
Waves: I like this song but it is pretty slow and mellow, but kind of a
Gumbo: I was pumped to hear this and was hoping for a bug jam, but Page
played some riff that indicated the end of the song after maybe 30
seconds (?) of soloing.† About here I was confused, there seemed to be no
energy but lots of miscues and sloppy playing.
Water In the Sky: A little sloppy and no jam, but this song is still real
Poor Heart: Nice, but still little energy.
Drowned: This always rocks, and it rocked for sure last night, but it
seemed forced almost since there was so little energy leading up to it,
but they ended on a good note nonetheless.
So the first set left me kind of confused as to the lack of drive, and I
was really hoping for something cool later.
Seven Below: Another kind of mellow song, but the jam became really
interesting and there was a huge glowstick war in the lawn, which
thankfully didn't carry to the shell.† But the energy was up, and I was
psyched for the seamless lead-in to
Ghost: Ghost went into this major-key jam that was slow and cool, you
could tell something interesting would happen, thus a perfect segue into
Twist:†Reall really cool Trey/Mike jam in this, then a fucking awesome
climax at the end, the band was so pumped, you could see them yelling and
laughing.† After the song ended the band talked for a minute and looked
so happy, it was great.
YEM: This fucking ruled, the whole thing had such high energy and the
band was so into it.† An incredible ending.
GTBT: Rocking encore, no disappointment here.
So what started out lackluster ended incredibly, the energy was
unbelievable near the end,† So it was a good way to see them off.
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 15:52:40 -0400
From: Dennis Murphy
Disclaimer: This was only†my second phish show ever and I was not in
Saratoga for the first night.
RIFT:†A nice opener, nothing but standard
JULIUS: it seemed the whole night that people wanted to hear more rock
songs. Julius delivered some rock n' roll early in the show and trey
broke a string (apparently the first since 1995), again nothing but
BILL BAILEY: Page announced to the audience that because it was Father's
Day he wanted to bring out his dad to sing a song with them. We got more
than that...he tap danced†too, and while his tapping was way off everyone
had a good laugh
WAVES: This was a huge precursor to the second set. The first jam was a
usual "waves" jam, but after they went back into the song they took it
out for another spin and went into some really interesting territory
GUMBO: A good gumbo, the crowd sang along. No jam really.†After a drawn
out "waves" I think people just wanted them to get to the next tune.
WATER IN THE SKY: I'm not a huge fan of this song and I heard it at my
first show.†A regular†"water", but probably my only complaint†about the
HORN:†I listened to this on the way to the show and thought that I would
like to hear them play it tonight. They†played it and they played it
POOR HEART: Another one I listened to on the way down, never really
expected them to play it, but bluegrass is always good.
DROWNED:†Wow,†not only did they nail the song, they rocked this one out
for a while. And while†I hoped for another song they took a break.†
In my opinion, the first set was mediocre. They just kind of moved from
one somewhat popular song to another somewhat popular song and trey
seemed to be flubbing some of the guitar riffs. My highlights would have
to be "Julius" and "Drowned"
SEVEN BELOW: Not a good set opener. The first set lacked power and drive
behind it (with a few exceptions)†and during the setbreak all I could
hear was people talking about how they better "rock out" in the second
set. This really didnt deliver, although it lead to better things.
GHOST: They spinned this jam for a long time, while the crowd got out the
TWIST: Always a fun song, and I had wanted to hear it. Each of these
songs must have run atleast twenty minutes so in my mind they're all
blurred together. But, I must say that this set was really experimental.
They were taking these jams all over place. Once "Twist" ended though,
trey started talking to each band member and signaling...and since they
hadn't played it yet this tour, we knew what was coming...
YEM: My personal favorite brought some energy back into a crowd that had
been buried in funk and ambience for the last hour. Not that the past
jams weren't good, we just needed to get the blood pumping again. The
trampolines were classic†and†the vocal jam seemed to bring people back to
the fact that this was one of their final shows and that phish would soon
be no more.
GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES: Perfect. The song, the jam...perfect.
Overall, the show was great, but at the same time a let-down. It offered
experimental jamming and great antics both on stage and in the crowd, but
as Phish winds down I guess†I kind of wanted to just hear the classics.
Excellent musicianship all around...I love how trey stepped aside a lot
and let page and mike do their stuff. I dont know how thw recording will
sound, but it was fun to be there.
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