I arrived on Thursday the night before the shows and explored the local bar scene and downtown. My brother took me along highway one along the coast and into the lush rolling hills of Marin county. The city was already starting to come alive for me but this really was the lull before the fierce Phish monsoon would crash into the bay.
The pre-game festivities would start a couple of hours before tip-off and I had a good sense this would be a psychedelic undertaking. The streets were packed with Phish phans from all over. Shakedown street found its self perfectly placed right across the venue in the civic center park. We got into the venue with just about 30 minutes to kill. Before we knew it...lights.
Out of the gates the AC/DC->Moma->Possum combo would provide a early warmup period with a funk undertone. My first reaction was how powerful and the quality of the sound in such a small venue. Corinna was a nice early bustout only being played twice all tour. A quality version I must say. Then Mike launched his weapon into Sand where we got the first improvisational attack. The typical second setter found away in set one to bring just enough ammo to get the party going. A darker take on the song, Trey kept a slower darker tone while we heard Fishman take more of a quicker tempo lead to finish out the jam. Rolling into Halley's seemed like an odd choice coming out Sand and it didn't provide any additional improve but always a fan favorite. Funky Bitch and Sample in a Jar gave the the band a chance to flex their jazz and blues moxie. Roses->My Friend let everyone cool off after the previously played high tempo tandem. Slave would close out the set and it definitely delivered. At this point all four members fell right into synch. A splendid sweet sounding calm early segment would take us to the highest plateau of the set. Any awareness of time had been lost. Abruptly Trey's heart wrenching guitar licks would soon grab my attention and aviate me back to sensibility.
The second set began with Mike's typical early bass rift to lead us into DWD. Only minutes in did we begin the excursion into the land of enchantment. Some of the most inventive and prominent improve would be sprinkled on to everyone in attendance. The somber onset of the song would be propelled by Mike's dark and meticulously played longer held notes. Fishman would soon take the lead and we went for a ride with what sounded like a horse galloping. Fishman's ride would soon segue into Trey's magical wand of tranquility. A peacefulness and great awareness of the depth this jam was taking began to reverberate throughout the audience. Page held soft penetrating notes that also took on the the more tranquil theme of this version. Soon the transition into Birds would bring everyone back to reality for a brief few minutes. When Tweezer started the place erupted. It would be a healthy 15 minutes later that we were treated to the best Tweezer I've heard live. Hard straight funk from Mike and Fish took the early lead. Trey really began heating up and would blast us off to a spellbinding array of monster licks. Page would soon chime in with a more electronic constant beat while Mike began to absolutely dazzle and toy with our mental focus. Some of the more imaginative and inspired playing I've heard of cactus this year. Twist perfectly navigated me on my voyage further into psychedelic paradise. It capped off 45 minutes of some of the most dominant and unified improve of the summer tour. Velvet Sea showed its typical softer side to once again cool things down. A ferocious Chalk Dust would follow along with an ill timed Joy. Antelope took on more of the theme of the early part of the set which saw the crowd noticeably lifted by quality improve and risk taking. Stones tune Shine A Light closed out the set with much of the crowd singing along in high spirits. First Tube a huge personal favorite sent us home for the night.
If this second set was any indication on how the weekend would continue we were in for a treat.
It's pretty clear that we got Diseezered on this night. Such a incredible segment of mind blowing musical prowess during the DWD->Birds->Tweezer that I will never forget my first Phish show in the bay.