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Link Friday, 07/31/1998
Polaris Amphitheater, Columbus, OH

Set 1: My FriendMy Friend, My Friend > Ya Mar, Roggae, Rift, Cities, Water in the Sky, Stash

Set 2: CurtainThe Curtain > Free > If I Could > TMWSIYThe Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu, Twist -> Izabella, Julius > Cavern

Encore: PYITEPunch You In the Eye > SlaveSlave to the Traffic Light

Noteworthy Jams: Ya Mar, Roggae, Cities (highly recommended), Free

Average Song Gap: 27

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: If I Could was played for the first time since August 5, 1996 (150 shows).

Song Distribution:
2 The Story of the Ghost
2 Stash
2 Hoist
2 Rift
2 A Picture of Nectar
1 Farmhouse
1 Billy Breathes
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1998 Summer U.S. Tour."

, attached to 1998-07-31 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

As I headed over to my buddy Matt's house to pick him up for the show, I turned my head away from the country road stretched out before me and gazed across the green, rolling hills that made up the countryside. I remember thinking to myself, "what a beautiful day for a Phish show." Everybody loves seeing Phish outdoors, but having a beautiful summer day with no rain clouds in sight just makes it that much better. I got to Matt's house, which was where I was also supposed to meet up with my friends Dan, Dave, and Adam who were going to follow us down to Columbus caravan style. Once we were all situated we were off to Erie to pick up the final member of our crew, Alex who had just got back from some kind of Boy Scout camping trip or something. With Alex in the car, we merged onto I-90 headed westbound with the in-dash CD player cranking out Jerry Garcia licks and the three of us speculating as to what we were going to hear that night.
We made it around Cleveland and into the I-271 express lane towards Columbus with no problems. However, we had only made it to the first rest stop on 271 before nature called upon us to stop. I love rest stops on the way to Phish shows because you always run into at least one or two cars full of heady kids on their way to the same place you are. Surprisingly, this particular site was full of tourists and no fellow freaks. We all went in, and when I came out, much to my surprise, my buddy Richard and his van full of friends had pulled into the parking lot right next to my car. As we all conversed for a few minutes, the two cars in our caravan decided it was time to get back on the road. Matt, Alex, and I still had to check into our hotie before we could head to the lot. We said goodbye to Dick and Co. and told them we'd meet them at the show.
We were just outside of Columbus before I had to stop and fill up my tank with some rather expensive gas. Dan, Dave, and Adam left us at the station so they could get to the lot and get rid of the beer they were planning on selling. Less than thirty minutes later we were at our quaint little room at the Cross Country Inn, which was luckily only two exits from the venue which happens to be located right off I-71. We finished up a quick lunch and headed for the lot. Surprisingly, parking was no real issue at all. We didn't run into any cars being backed up until we got off the highway and got onto the road that lead through an industrial area and then eventually into the venue's parking area. All in all, at least from my observation, Polaris Amphitheater is in a really poor location. There aren't enough lanes flowing into the lot and the noise must be pretty loud for the office buildings and eateries located on the same road.
We got ourselves parked and out of the car. That beautiful summer day turned into a real scorcher as I could feel the sweat beading up on my brow after taking a few laps around the lot. The scene was really chill, which was surprising since the lot is somewhat small, and as cars filed in it got to be pretty crowded really quick. We made our way into the lawn at about 7pm, hoping to find some of the friends we knew were there. We found some nice spots at the bottom of the lawn right above the moat and took a seat. As people started to file in, anticipation grew deep inside me. I really had no idea what they were going to play; however, I had this sort of vibe that they weren't going to bust out any new covers like they had been doing (and would go on to do) this tour. I finally spotted Dave, Adam, and Dan in the crowd entering the venue. I called out their names and they came to join us.
Finally, the house music stopped and the crowd roared to its feet. The familiar intro to "My Friend, My Friend" began and was received by hoots and hollers of approval. The band went on to deliver fine versions of "Ya Mar", "Roggae", and the first "Rift" in nearly 100 shows; however, the highlight of the first set was definitely a funked out version of "Cities". This got the crowd moving and singing together and really set the vibe for the rest of the night. The band brought the set to a close with "Water In The Sky" and "Stash". Overall the set had a real summertime feel to it, the kind of set that served as a nice backdrop for a bunch of barefoot kids to dance and frolic in the sunshine. The monstrous "Cities" and the long "Stash" stood out as first set highlights.
As night fell, I overheard many conversations held by fans that expected a really tight second set. As the lights in the pavilion went out I could feel myself biting my lower lip, waiting to the first notes of the second set. As the band literally launched into "Curtain", I could feel a tingle in my stomach and I knew right then and there that this set was going to be a good one. The tune was executed flawlessly and meandered its way into "Free". After some heavy improv, the band collectively brought the tune down to an end as Trey began to signify the segue into the first "If I Could" played since 1996. This version was exquisite and is a perfect example as to why it should be played more often. Trey played the lines on his guitar that had been played by the strings on the studio version and it gave me goose bumps.
"If I Could" wound its way into some blissful jamming that flowed effortlessly into "TMWSIY". This was my first time hearing this composition and the haunting note phrases along with Kuroda's light work had each little hair on my arms and the back of my neck standing on end. Then, at Fish's signal the band kicked into "Avenu Malkenu", the song of the night as far as the light show was concerned. A somewhat new tune called "Twist" found its way out of "Avenu Malkenu" and proved itself to be quite the jam vehicle, allowing the band to take it through many twists and turns before they arrived at the only cover of the night, Jimi Hendrix's "Izabella". Rock star Trey showed himself for a few minutes during this song before burying himself back into the deep and murky groove.
The set ended with a rollicking "Julius" and a solid "Cavern". As the band left the stage the crowd went nuts, wondering aloud how they'd be able to top that second set segue fest. The band once again took their place onstage for the encore. Kuroda bathed the stage in orange light as Trey began his palm-muted pick scratches that could only mean one thing: "PYITE"! Phish nailed this fun tune in such a way that they could have sent us all home smiling; however, not before hearing a beautifully executed "Slave" first. A wonderful encore pairing to cap off a wonderful show. We left the show with visions of serpent deflectors and ribbon reflectors dancing in our head, and finished out the night cramming six people into our hotel room, none of whom wanted to go to sleep, and couldn't wait until morning came and we could hit up the Bob Evans across the street.
Score: 2
MiguelSanchez , attached to 1998-07-31 Permalink
MiguelSanchez this show is a real winner. for those of you that have never been to this venue, it is pretty solid. it is very similar to deer creek, once you get inside. the parking/traffic situation is always quite a bitch. i guess there is ample parking, it just sucks getting to it. the sound is pretty good in there too. anyway, this is their first time playing polaris, and they made a nice first impression there.

my friend and yamar get the crowd grooving. great summery opening sequence. roggae and rift work early in the set, but the cities that follows is a real doozy. this might be the highlight of the show. the band is very much in sync here and they just move together as a unit through this funk laden jam. water in the sky feels a little out of place here, but the stash that follows really wails. where as the cities was a great phish jam, this stash is a really good trey jam. of course, the rest of the band are not slouches here, but trey really hammers this one home.

the curtain>free opening combo is loaded with energy. if i could seems a little odd here, but it works nicely into tmwsiy. avenu is really rocking, and instead of dropping back into the tmwsiy, they plop right into twist around. this is a nice explorative version that finally forges into a hard rocking izabella. the julius>cavern closing sequence is novel but well executed. i really like the punch>slave encore. i'd have to do my homework, but i'm not sure when/if punch had been encored before. plus a nice bonus slave taboot.

as mentioned before, this show marked a nice debut for phish at this venue. if you like this cities, which you will, check out the ghost jam from the same venue the next year. they are both in the same vein, and they are both very good collective efforts with amazing interplay. phish also went on to close the summer 2000 tour here with a pretty damn good 2 night stand. i guess my point here is, why not come back to columbus? i guess, at least, they came back to the blossum center, but the polaris people miss you too.... 4 shows here, all of them killer.

highlights

set 1:
yamar, cities, stash

set 2:
the curtain>free, avenu>twist>izabella
Score: 2
skid_mark3 , attached to 1998-07-31 Permalink
This was my first show and it was a great one. I'll never forget how the crowd just went nuts when they started playing My Friend My Friend. They all starting dancing in unison and everyone was so into the music. I didn't know many of the songs back then, but I still had a great time.

Twelve years later, I can remember Ya Mar, Rift, Free and Slave, but the song that really stands out was "If I could." This was the show that got me hooked. I eventually saw Phish 4 or 5 times at Polaris. Great venue and great memories.
Score: 2
CosmicJamz , attached to 1998-07-31 Permalink
CosmicJamz Pure Gold. An adrenaline shot to the arm for a first set. A great party groove was found in Yamar and Cities. The Cities has a sick, sick beat and rhythm. Trey's melodies emit pure happiness and splendor during the Cities jam.

Nothing but good times flow in the second set. Splendid 'ethnic' Avenu is always fun, plus the dreamy TMWSITY intro and outro. Twist > Isabella pushes IT to the next level.

I recall passing out in our car at some parking lot near an industrial office center near Polaris. I think I actually spread out on the lawn in the early morning light, in a state of pure bliss following a well-worth drive from Smalbany.
Score: 1
SpaceMonkey , attached to 1998-07-31 Permalink
Greetings and Salutations phellow phans,
My first show was a wonderful and magic outing. It was In Columbus at
the Polaris of 98. We were embarking on a four day run of great music that
I had only heard on tape and through word of mouth. We began our trip from
Erlanger Kentucky and headed north along the great windy road known as I75.
We were making pretty good time most of the way up but when we reached the
outskirts of Columbus and had to find our campsite we got lost.
After about an hour of driving in the wrong direction of the campsite
we finally entered from what the brochure said "Close To the Polaris
Ampitheatre", but really an hour away, campsite. We set up camp, and then
it was almost time for the show so we loaded up again and headed off.
It seemed like the longest hour of my life trying to just get to the
show. I can't really remember if the traffic was that bad, but it moved
pretty steady. We got to the gate, paid our parking fee, and then headed
onto the field of phriends. It was really close to show time now so we
drove pretty fast to find a place to park, and then set out for the gates
of the show. From the drive our friends couldn't hold their bladder, maybe
it was all the beer we consumed on the way in. But I was too excited to
pee, I just wanted to get to our seats.
We met up with our friends once again and started to our seats and
what to my surprise we start to hear beautiful music, thousands of people
start screaming and the boys start playing. They opened up with MY Friend
My Friend, and I could not believe it.
Now I have to go back aways to I Believe the Christmas of 97. This is
when I first received a Phish Album. I had been listening to this one
song, My Friend My Friend, with my buddy Adam a couple of nights before,
and my friend Mike remembered my liking of the song and purchased Rift for
me for Christmas. So in all actuality My Friend, My Friend was the not
only the first song I had heard from Phish, but the first song I had heard
in concert.
Now I didn't realize what had happened until the first set was over.
I mean the energy I experienced was amazing. We had seats for my first
show and that made it somewhat intimate, even if there were thousands of
people behind me.
The boys jammed out forever, songs like Ya Mar, Rift, Cities, Stash,
Free, TMWSIY, I loved every minute of it. I didn't want it to end. We
didn't leave our seats the whole show. I couldn't sit still during the set
break, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. My friend
Jason and I pondered over what they would open up with, me not knowing many
songs said my Fav Punch you in the eye. But instead it was a phat jam of
The curtain. Which is really becoming one of my fav songs. The jammed on
and on until the set closer. We all screamed and whistled for the boys to
come back out and of course they did. But from the first notes I thought I
was going to leave my body and swim around the sky above. It was my Fav
song at the time Punch you in the Eye!! I couldn't believe it and my
friends were ecstatic for me. They were saying things like "That is what
it's all about," I didn't know what that meant at the time, but in my
perspective now it really leads me to believe that that show was meant for
me. It was planned for decades for this little guy from Kentucky, to come
see this show and become one with himself and the music around him. It was
an epiphoney. If that's how you spell it.
We did the other four shows with style, booze near the fire, Grilled
cheese on a greasy skillet, veggie burritos from a chick with a beautiful
dog. And to the lady selling Gatorade outside the first night Deer Creek,
You were sent from above to quench my thirst. I think I would have paid a
million dollars for that Gatorade, but she only charged me a buck. To all
of you at Polaris, thank you for making my Phirst Show a great one indeed.
sincerely, a Newbie, now, later, and forever. @DonDeaton
Score: 1

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