Concluded with the band fading out and the audience finishing the song a cappella.
Meat was unfinished. Reba contained a Stash tease from Trey. Meatstick concluded with the band fading out and the audience finishing the song a cappella. Antelope subsequently included Meatstick teases.
The first set is more or less standard late Phish2K fare - the DWD opener cools out quickly into a pleasantly low-key groove that Just. Doesn't. Change. For fully six minutes. Not even a note, near as I can tell from my (muddy) AUD recording. This is the sound, tinged with inescapable melancholy, of a band beginning to lose its edge and focus. Slave lacks its usual concertedness, Gin is enjoyable funk-rock boilerplate with less detail than in the previous year...it holds up against everyone else's stuff, of course, and at least 3/4 of the band is working overtime to make things happen, but the risk-taking experimental side of this show and this period clearly had less to do with music than with maintenance, the challenge of holding together an entire mobile microuniverse - still brightly starlit but dense with orbiting satellites (and scavengers) and slowly giving way to entropy...
The worst of the best of the breed still throws light and makes promises; Phish was and is a true thing despite the weight it came to carry. But now, a decade after the event and long past turning from certain ugly truths, we're left not with a musical statement but with the field recording of a Wild Party - desperate voices of those who didn't know to fear the storm and would not flee, chose instead to dance harder, dig in deeper, scream themselves hoarse at every hush or interlude - teenagers growling demands for Continuance, never calculating its cost in Consumption. How could anyone have known there was such a thing as Worlds's End? There had been a night in a swamp, rapturous exhaustion, and promises had been (must have been, had they not been?) made and would be honoured. You couldn't fail to stay young forever.
Well, that was then.
Do we talk about the second set? They were and are something unbelievable, maybe unprecedented. There's a method here: hidden and inexpressible. It fell short some nights, if only of expectation. Trey's playing (even on this beloved Tube) lacks its old-time detail and precision but it's all a Good Time. (Do we talk about those? They end. That's the one thing every 'time' does.) Mike does his thing, better by the day or the minute. Page is a rock. Fishman plays as delicately and creatively as he *ever* did - in his day what rock drummer could touch him for flexibility, range, fluidity, empathy? But out front is an actual musical genius running at 50% strength, looking for a way to replenish the atmosphere, some language that hasn't yet exhausted itself. They'd run out of time. He knew it. You can hear it.
Sounds to me like they're playing to accompany the lights.
Or the kids, dancing.
Well, but. Then. But then Ghost is a forceful, intense rendition a step quicker than usual and everybody shows up hungry. Trey's guitar is a siren, then a rotating electrical device, then a laser-beam aimed at the robot fortress, then a buzzsaw, then a phone call to the approving departed, and motherfuckers get things DONE for ten roiling minutes, like a cataract of clouds crashing down.
The worst thing in the world is to have to change your opinion about things. So check it: the good parts of this show are excellent, showing off the band's patience, empathy, and the gathering darkness that underpinned their richly expressive music after Fall Tour '97. The rest of the show is a middling Phish show, another chance for us to learn to live without what we once lived for. Comfort is just disappointment you live with - or maybe disappointment is comfort you refuse; and is that petulant instead of brave? Maybe I'm just being petulant. I'm not sure what we get out of this show. But look where it got *us*. Remember what a good fucking time we had back then. We'd never ever run out of time...
...and what a blessing ever to have lived that way. Inside such a light. What a funny feeling to look back and (maybe not quite) realize it was going on ahead instead of going out.
This show was REALLY sick! Ummm...Disease, Wilson, Slave, Gin, and YEM..in the first set. What?! The energy was palpable. The band was on. During Wilson, I looked over to my friend and said, "I'd love to hear a Slave tonight." Well, shit, I didn't think they'd play it next..4 songs into the 1st set!
The 2nd set doesn't disappoint at all. A solid Tube, Reba opener. A beautiful Ghost>Wedge. (I'm a sucker for Circus.) And the whole Meatstick, Antelope was worth the admission price alone.
Hendrix's Bold as Love for an encore taboot, and you've got a fantastic show.
Download it...and once you have, tell me where the hell it is because I can't find it. Thanks in advance.
After three nights of bliss at Deer Creek (Verizon can suck it) earlier that summer, my housemate burst in late August and said "We are going to see Phish in Chicago in one month." My ticket arrived and, to my dismay, the Rosemont Horizon was now the Allstate Arena. Much as I loathe my favorite places being stripped of any character by corporate ownership, I figured We Were In Good Hands and promptly ignored my annoyance to focus on the show at hand. And what a show it was...
I need not have worried about the corporate lack of character. Allstate may have sprung for a new sign outside, but the same tacky 70's decor remained inside, and with every third phan looking like Wiley Wiggins reanimated, I felt like Dazed and Confused had come to life. All(state) was good.
Even before the first note was played, it was obvious that the energy was bursting inside AA. After a couple of tepid attempts to start the Wave, a strong tidal Wave started tearing around AA. Again and again it rounded the building as the phans cheered themselves on. Phish, not wanting to miss out on all the fun (and probably figuring we were ready as we were ever going to be), killed the house lights as soon as the wave died and took to the stage.
DWD blew the doors off from the start, and they never looked back. Slave, Gin, and YEM in the 1st set just wasn't done, and when it seemed that every phan in reserved seating threw their glowring into General Admission as if on cue during the YEM jam, I knew I was witnessing a gem of a show.
Setbreak saw some of the most animated conversations I've ever seen at a setbreak. Gushing about the set, anticipation of what was to come, all fed into an overwhelming positive torrent of energy. We were dying, watching the proverbial pot boil, as the 2nd set approached.
We were right to be anxious. Tube>>>>>Wedge was unbridled connection between phan and band, with Wedge coming as a complete shock out of Ghost. Meatschtick was a lovely laugh, and got everyone singing, and geared us up for a ripping Antelope closer.
Was it the Island Tour Antelope? No. Was the YEM Red Rocks '94 quality? No. What it was, simply put, was the strongest two sets of Phish I've seen, that didn't have a single OMG!WTF!BBQ! moment. Two fantastically strong sets, no more, no less. A damn fine time...shocks my brain.
This show opened up with a 17-minute DWD! It actually sounded like it could go on for another 5 or 10, but Trey abruptly brought the jam back to the main theme. Meat was a most excellent choice for song 2. Slave was strikingly out of place in the middle of the set, which had up to that point been steadily building steam (and it didn't help that this version was short and uninspired).
At one point I was focusing on the stage and trying to get my groove on (where had it gone?) when the person behind me taps me on the shoulder. “Your friend just passed out.” Sure enough, my buddy had collapsed in his seat and his eyes were rolling up into the back of his head. Shit! I shook him a bit to wake him up, and promptly led him by the hand out into the hall and got him some water. The whole stadium had become veiled in an overwhelmingly stuffy cloud of cigarette and pot smoke; this is the only explanation we have for what happened to him.
YEM was easily the standout jam of set 1; Fishman's woodblock was a tasteful compliment to the effortless groove. Set 2 was unfortunately lackluster until Meatstick. Feeling altogether confused and more than a bit lightheaded myself, I briefly left to generously douse my entire head with water; when I returned to my seat, lo and behold, Phish was singing in Japanese (for the second time state-side). The crowd really ate it up. Being a Japanese major at my university, this was especially exciting for me (for the record, their pronunciation is rather atrocious, though no worse than the majority of Japanese bands that liberally throw English phrases into their songs). The fade-out, with much crowd participation, made this version even more special: everyone continued to clap along well into Antelope, which was chock-full of Meatstick teases. And Antelope went on to rage pretty hard.
The final word: given Meatstick and Antelope, this show was above average for 2000 (albeit slightly).
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $750,000 to support music education for children – 210 grants in 43 states, with more on the way.