Virginia Beach Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA
Encore: Terrapin Station
 Phish debut.
· Electric Funeral tease in AC/DC Bag
Average Song Gap: 14.16
Notes: AC/DC Bag included an Electric Funeral tease. Somewhere Over the Rainbow was played for the first time since August 13, 1996 (152 shows). Terrapin Station made its Phish debut at this show, as the band commemorated the third anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s passing.
Songs by Debut Year:
This show was part of the "1998 Summer U.S. Tour."
punch opens this one up nicely. page and trey work well in the intro. the band really get it going early in this show with a very strong bathtub gin 2 songs deep in the show. trey and page work back and forth beautifully in this one too. you know, just another great '98 bt gin. the rest of this set is well-paced, has good flow, good song selection, and has some good energy. the set closing bowie really works.
ac/dc bag opens the 2nd set in fine form. as they start working through the bag jam, they start to hit on some really nice sabbath/electric funeral licks. good stuff. i felt that the middle of this set is a little up and down. sparkle is nice and high energy, but it's not the most exciting tune, imo. antelope is nice and firey, but they really kill any momentum with brian and robert, waste, and somewhere over the rainbow. yem picks it back up. gordon sounds good in this one. frankenstein appears poised to close this one down, but they drop chalk dust and hello my baby. then they come out for the encore. as trey strums the opening of terrapin station, the crowd erupts. the whole band really nails this one. page has some really nice moments mixed in here but when it comes time for the "big terrapin climax riff," trey hits a homerun. what a tribute!
all in all, i would say this is a fairly missable show. the gin in the first set is really strong; the rest of that set is pretty solid. ac/dc bag shines to open the set, but the whole middle section of the 2nd set is a touch dull. they bring it home by the end though. if it weren't for the encore, i would say that without a doubt, I would take the merriweather show from the night before, but you know, they played terrapin at this show. hmm, i still probably would take the merriweather show.... bigger jams and you still get sabotage! solid show in VA Beach though with an excellent terrapin station
gin, moma dance, bowie
ac/dc bag, antelope, yem, terrapin station
Summer Tour '98 is remembered for all the surprise cover tunes that the band would break out almost nightly. Most of them were cool, but a little ragged, like the boys were daring themselves to get away with playing the song. Terrapin Station is *not* ragged; in fact, it is really well played, perhaps even cautiously played, as if the band wouldn't allow themselves to get away with a sloppy cover of a highly-esteemed Dead tune on the 3rd anniversary of Jerry Garcia's passing. It's one of the classic and classiest encores of the band's career. It's worth hearing just for the crowd reaction - truly awe-inspiring.
But as great as the encore is, IMO it doesn't make up for two of the weakest sets of the tour. I use the term "weakest" to reflect on the surprising strength of the rest of the tour - 3 shows from this tour have seen official release: 7/15, 7/20, and 8/11. Before listening to this show, I listened to all of the preceding shows starting with 7/31 Polaris. I thought the Polaris show was also on the weak side, but the other shows from Alpine through MPP were great, right there with the shows from the incredible West Coast run that started this tour.
Virginia Beach '98, to my ears, has three highlights: Terrapin encore, the jam out of AC/DC Bag (possibly the most upbeat Summer '98 jam), and the downright precious Waste->SOTR. All three are must-hear moments, standing with pride alongside other highlights from this tour. But the rest of the show gave me a case of the "meh"s. I can forgive the band for a lackluster first set Bathtub Gin, since the previous two versions were among the all-time best, but the Bowie and Antelope are very noodle-y, simmering but not boiling, and the funk jam in YEM lasts only slightly longer than the vocal jam.
I'm glad I listened to the whole show, and I can appreciate Phish shows where the highlights come in the quietest, most restrained moments. But I feel strongly that, top-to-bottom, this is a "below average Phish show", and with a show rating of 4.495, it is the most overrated Phish show on this site. If you are inclined to disagree with my opinions, feel free to PM me with an explanation, and I will give you a full refund on this show review