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Permalink Posted by ColForbin on , attached to 1999-12-30
ColForbinLet me just start by saying that there was no better place to be this NYE than Big Cypress. In no other NYE celebration was the crowd as doted on as we were by Phish. A coworker who did Times Square for NYE told me that they were incredibly strict - no alcohol was allowed within 8 blocks in any direction - and he said that the prohibition seemed to be working. Instead, we had a security force that told us nothing more than to have fun and be safe, a beautiful site, a venue laid out to give everyone the best possible view, the cleanest port-o-lets I've seen at a gathering of this magnitude, a spectacular fireworks display, a kick-ass radio station, and above all, a band that truly cares about its fans, playing music to the point of physical exhaustion.

Okay, so the traffic in wasn't too fun. Ann and I left the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood airport in our car at 11AM. *Nine* hours later (after stopping once for lunch and supplies) we pulled into our parking/camping spot. It was really bad, but the memory has already faded in light of the other events of the weekend. I did get to see a gator poking its snout and eyes out of one of the canals beside Snake Road, so it wasn't a total loss. I'm not sure what could have been done about the traffic...when you have four lanes of interstate traffic emptying into one lane of a twisty two lane road with no breakdown lane, things are going to back up. The only solution I could see would be to make both lanes of Snake Road one way into the concert, but that would have eliminated the ability of the emergency vehicles to get anywhere.

Anyway, as we pulled into the campground, the parking dude waved me to the side; then a TV reporter and cameraman interviewed me. I said some stuff about how long I was in traffic, and that it would all be worth it and that there was no other place I wanted to be. The reporter was a brunette (I think); did any of you see me on TV? The asked me to spell my name and everything. I looked like shit after sitting in traffic that long, but I'm not that vain to *really* care.

After we set up our tent (At 2nd Ave and Amy's Farm), Ann and I decided to explore the grounds a bit. It was a little intimidating for our first view of them to be at night, and we couldn't really get our bearings. But we got to hear the soundcheck as we wandered around "The Delta" which is what they were calling the village of New Orleans style houses that were built next to the main canal through the site. The soundcheck was fun; I especially enjoyed hearing "What's The Use" from the Siket Disc. Damn good...and it was really nice to be able to hear as well as we could - much different from the Went or Lemonwheel when you can be miles away from the stage. If I get a chance, I'll scan the map of the campsite - but they way it worked was that the campgrounds surronded the venue on 2 sides of a square, insted of just extending way back in a straight line like at the air force base shows.

So we got back, and listened to Kevin spin some phat SBDs on the archives show. Now, if you only believe one sentence in this post, have it be the next one. The Bowie from Japan 99 is incredible, and should be heard AT ALL COSTS. Also, the radio station was great in every respect, and whenever Ann and I heard Mr. Sparkle, we had to laugh, being the huge Simpsons fans that we are. Mr. Sparkle, my hat goes off to you and the rest of the Thin Air team for putting a smile on my face whenever I turned on the radio.

The trash situation was pretty good all weekend, except in the concert ground. But the campgrounds came out looking much better than they typically do - giving out as many bags as they did was a smart move. great job Clean Vibes!

Ann and I decided to get some rest, but unfortunately, the 74,998 other fans didn't. So we tossed and turned through a noisy firework-laden night. But this was much better than being in traffic all night, so I don't really have any complaints.

The next day, we chilled out at the campsite, scoped out shakedown, rode the ferris wheel, watched and acrobat, participated in an archaeological dig (which was really fun, and I hope you guys did it!), and checked out the enchanted forest in the daylight. Then we headed into the venue, checked out the giant pyramid of ice and the walk-in palm-frond pac-man ghosts (after walking by the tree with the giant paper airplanes in it).

Finally, I can talk about the show. Here's the setlist:

I (1:39): Water in the Sky, Light Up or Leave Me Alone, Suzie Greenberg, Corrina Corinna, Limb By Limb, Native Greeting Song, Big Alligator Song, Possum, Farmhouse, Ghost, Ya Mar, Character Zer0

Water in the Sky? What a weird opener..."filter out the everglades"...oh yeah, I forgot about that line! I had really expected 1999 as the opener, but once I remembered the lyrics, WITS was cool. Light Up or Leave Me Alone was a HUGE surprise! And well-played too...a fun, fun cover that I hope comes back into rotation. Corrina totally confused me...I'm so used to the Dylan version. For those of you that don't know, this version shared only a few lyrics with the Dylan, and had a completely different melody. At this point I thought the weekend would be full of breakouts, but that didn't happen. Nothing else from this set really stands out, but it was clear how damn excited Trey and the Chief were when they were up on stage yapping. I've always found the afternoon sets to be a little anti-climactic - I just can't get into the groove as well, without the light show and all. There were no big jams.

II (1:35): Wilson, The Curtain > Tweezer -> Taste, Meat, Golgi Apparatus, Wolfman's Brother, Gotta Jiboo, Harry Hood, Good Times Bad Times

Wilson has become a festival standard, just because the band gets off on hearing 75,000+ people screaming "Wilson" Curtain, with its "lines going south" lyric was another easily predictible one, but I was surprised nonetheless. I *love* Curtain, and after seeing it at a ton of shows in the row in 96-97, I have missed it. The Tweezer->Taste segue was nice, as Tweezer devolved into some non-Tweezer-like jamming before entering taste came out of the chaos. The rest of the set was good, but not much above average, although Good X Bad X is one of my favorite Phish covers - I just love to hear Page belt out "I know what it means to be alone" and so does the rest of the world from the sound of the crowd.

I definitely came out of this set with high spirits but a cold body - the temperature had dropped like a rock! Ann and I went back to our tent to grab some warm clothes.

III (1:20): Chalk Dust Torture, Moma Dance, Run Like an Antelope, The Sloth, When The Circus Comes, Mike's Song > Simple -> I am Hydrogen Weekapaug Groove

E (0:10): Boogie On Reggae Woman > Tweezer Reprise

This set was by far the highlight of the first day, due to the incredible and evil Mike's Song. Kuroda pumped out more smoke than I've seen at all Phish shows combined - you couldn't see one thing onstage except an eerie red glow, as the band pumped out an angry jam that seemed to sum up (to me at least) all of the evil of the last 1000 years, as if to exorcise it and send the demons away forever. The Simple came, and reminded us of all of the fun from the last millenium, and Hydrogen, sweet Hydrogen, gave us a picture of the beauty that all of our lives should be about. Weekapaug took us back to the fun, and everyone got down with the Reggae Woman.

The night was once again crazy, but I was way more ready to deal after not sitting in traffic all day.
Score: 4

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