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Permalink Posted by Doctor_Smarty on , attached to 1998-07-15
Doctor_SmartyNothing beats a mid-summer Phish show in your own back yard. No traffic hassles to deal with, minimal preparation time required, friendly familiar faces at every turn"...this is the life. As an added bonus, at the time of this Portland Meadows show, I was hosting a good friend who was seeking a new home on the West Coast. Conveniently enough, he had planned his exploratory visit to Oregon to coincide with the start of the Summer '98 tour. Portland was the start of a great three day run of West Coast Phish. Although the natural beauty of Oregon is certainly enough to justify relocation, I am certain that its influence on the music played a role in his decision, too.

The first set opened with the now familiar funk of "Wolfman's Brother" and "Moma Dance." Following the haphazard run around the Meadows of "Guyute" the racing pig, a smooth psycho-cerebral ambient jam evolved out of "Horn." This first taste of the nebulous and throbbing jam-space that was to be the dominant Phish sound of '98 was quite exciting. It opened up portions of the universe I had previously been unable to visit. I liked these spaces"...a lot.

The second set was all out fun and all about Mike. "Limb by Limb" got things off to a lively start and flowed pretty smoothly into "Simple." The show was then iced at ten on the personal enjoyment scale with the appearance of the "California Love" infused "Tweezer." Since we were in Oregon, this tease could be taken several ways: the band has a disdain for Oregon and prefers California; the band thinks that Portland is in California and has no idea Oregon exists (which is possible considering that Trey seems to think the Gorge is in Seattle); or more likely the band agrees with 2Pac and Dre that the West side is in fact the best side!

Although I could have heard just about anything in the remainder of the show and been happy, what I got was a heavy dose of "Free", several thick slices of "Meat", and a "Harry Hood" which carried me all the way to the rocky twilit slopes of the nearby volcano that shares its name, and back again. The "Wilson>Tweeprise" encore was a growling heavy metal monster, one of the strongest parting shots I can remember from any Phish show I have attended. Minutes later I was rocking in a backyard hammock while staring into space and giggling at nothing in particular with several close friends. Does it get any better than that?
Score: 9

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