PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
Soundcheck: Lady Madonna, Have Mercy, Mountains in the Mist -> Dirt -> Mountains in the Mist, Guyute (part), You Better Believe It Baby
 Began as 2001 and was unfinished.
Average Song Gap: 8.72
Notes: This show was webcast live by the House of Blues. During I Didn’t Know, Trey noted that Michael “Soft G” Jordan would be turning the mic over to “Flagina” Fishman, who then took a vacuum solo. During Meatstick, Trey noted that the band was going to try to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by having the most people perform the dance simultaneously. Trey, Mike and Sofi Dillof then taught the crowd how to do the dance. Split Open and Melt began as 2001 and was unfinished; the ensuing Kung launched into a dissonant jam. The jam subsequently contained Shine (Collective Soul), Meatstick, and Melt teases from Mike.
Songs by Debut Year:
This show was part of the "1999 Summer U.S. Tour."
The SOAM jam starts out in typical fashion, albeit with more zip than usual in keeping with the energy of the entire show - it's like the 1994 Phish was playing 1999 style, if that makes sense - and then starts whipping back and forth in tempo, before finally settling on the usual, loop-heavy dreamy jam of late-90s SOAMs. Then, entirely out of nowhere, the band rolls into Kung, with a heavy and squalling accompaniment behind it, then launches into another fast-paced jam, with effects aplenty from Trey to really add some weirdness to the affair (Mike's bassline really keeps everything glued together here - and that Shine quote is a hoot). The jam slows down at about the 20 minute mark to let everyone catch their breath, then explodes into a wild peak, Trey really letting loose with both the manic solos and the high sustaining notes, Page clanking away on the piano and keeping pace. After a few minutes of said peak, the jam slows back down and becomes both more contemplative and more like the usual SOAM jam, an intense counterpoint to the previous high-octane jam. This is such a chilled-out, almost beautiful jam, and it practically demands attention (and good headphones) from the listener. From that jam comes Bouncin', this show's "let's all relax now" equivalent of Number Line following Carini at 12/30/12 II, and then an extended Chalk Dust that flies along with just as much speed and energy as the opening PYITE (with an Antelope-like trill-off for good measure). Between that, the extended Meatstick, and the SOAM madness, this is a high-class second set. B&R/Frankenstein is just fine as an encore.
To me, the choice for show of the summer is basically between 7/25, with its wide-ranging and always surprising second set, and this show, which is as focused, energetic, and of a piece as 7/25 II was a bunch of great parts stitched together into a great show. This is one of the shows of the summer, and of the year. Absolutely recommended.
I attended this show with my younger sister, cousins, and some hometown friends. With the exception of my older cousin who had seen Phish a few times before, this was the first show for the rest of us. We had a great spot on the lawn, dead center and near the bottom railing. PYITE blew me away right off the bat. I had been to many concerts in my life from the time I was eight years old, and at least twenty at PNC before this one. However, I never experienced the collective groove that I witnessed at this Phish show and I had a genuine awakening about music and my place in the universe! By the time Ghost rolled around I was dancing with a girl named "Jingles" who had hundreds of keys sewn into her sundress and they jingled as she danced. By the time the vocal jam ended during YEM, I was left wondering if that was the greatest version Phish had ever played?...
The Meatstick second set opener was hilarious in my opinion. My sister and I had never seen the Meatstick dance until that point and thought it was totally awesome and creative. SOAM melted my face right off, I had no idea what Kung was all about but I was hanging in deep suspense, the jam out of Kung melted any part of my face that didn't melt off before, and finally BATR delivered me back to Earth once more. But then came that Chalkdust...I still argue that this is one of the best CDT I have ever seen. The band was flying, Trey was shredding like a metal solo, and they were screaming "CAN'T I LIVE WHILE I'M YOUNG!!!!!" by the end of the song.
I left PNC that night as a different person then when I had first arrived several hours earlier. I went home and wrote a song that night called "Above the Trees," which was about how I had a different perspective on life and could "see" (in my nineteen year old wisdom). We even took a parking cone while we were driving out of the parking lot that night, scribbled the date on it with a marker, and to this day it still resides in my mother's attic. That was my first of many Phish adventures and I can remember this show like it happened yesterday.
I'd write this setlist as
II: Meatstick> Split Open & Melt -> Kung -> Split Open & Melt*> Bouncin
Maybe ->Jam -> Melt2 -> Jam> or ->Jam-> Melt Jam or just Melt Jam? Not sure how Phish.net would notate it, but i'd say it's worth a relisten to see how you guys would treat it. Amazing improv all over this set, I really like the way it flows as a cohesive whole. The Kung is super intense! Interesting but perfect Bouncin' placement!
The set continued with a song based theme (thanks for The Sloth) until the opening notes of YEM. This is still my favorite version I have ever heard in person (Thanks for releasing the sbd!). Trey was on a mission to shred and peak after peak threw the crowd into a frenzy. The vocal jam that followed was much better in person. The recording can't replicate the lights, dynamics and vocal experimentation that the band engaged in. I have heard vocal jams that I like more, but none that were so much better in person.
1999 was the year of the Meatstick, but by this point, I didn't want to hear it again. How does the band remedy this? By playing the most jammed out version to this point. 9 minutes of inspired Meatsticking made me rethink my opinion of the song. Slow, methodical and breezy, I had a grin from ear to ear. The SOAM that followed was one of the craziest musical roller coaster rides I have ever taken. About 5 minutes into the jam, after Fish had changed tempos about a million times, Corey says, "This sure ain't the blues anymore," in reference to the web cast. When the dust finally settled, I actually needed a BATR to find my way back to Earth. The Chalkdust wasn't 7-10, but along with Frankenstein, provided a rock and roll ending to a show that was all about outer space.
I suppose one more treat atop this already uniquely stacked show would have just been too much! Weve already got arguably the peakiest YEM post 95, the longest Meatstick ever, a 2001/Split Open and Melt fake-out thanks to Mike, and Kung into jam craziness -> melty jam -> jaminess -> awesome jams for days segment. If you count the whole thing as just SOAMelt its over a half hour long. And the Fishman led tempo changes in the split jam proceeding Kung are silky smooth. I cant recall hearing improvised abrupt tempo changes this smooth from this band before. They do tend to speed up gradually in many Ghost or Gin jams, though those are certainly far less conscious than these tempo changes. If nothing else check out Melt preceding Kung just for those.
Plus, for us non-jadeds out there, the first set Farmhouse is probably the best one ever played.
This is right up there with the best of that summer. 7.10 and 7.25 make way, we got another badass in da house!
I saw a ton of shows on this tour, and the first night in Jersey may well be my favorite Summer `99 piece. Simply put, the jamming starts early, and doesn't let up. The first set is littered with fabulous song selection and placement, from the slick "Ghost" to the lovely "Axilla" > "Theme" and the raging "YEM" closer. The boys had been playing great first sets up through this stretch, actually, from the Camden "Chalk Dust" and "Gin", to the "Foreplay/Longtime" and "Curtain", "Halley's" of the two Great Woods shows. But whereas the Great Woods shows had second sets with as many lulls as high points, this second set in Jersey was a thing of beauty.
"Meatstick" skeptics should hear this version. It clocks in at about twenty one minutes and has some of the best jamming Phish did in `99. Bar none the best one out there, and a great example of how good a jam vehicle this song can be. I've been waiting for them to take advantage of that potential like this ever since, to no avail. The early segment has some playful banter about setting the world record in Oswego, and then once the dance is out of the way launches into a really intricate, spacey and danceable jam that I've listened to countless times since. Fans of the epic 4/3/98 show at Nassau should hear this jam. Very much in the same vein as the "Roses" -> "Jam" -> "Piper" -> "Jam", if you get my drift. As if that weren't enough, the "SOAM" -> "Kung" -> "Jam" runs a full half hour without letting up. The "Melt" caught us off guard, having been just played (fantastically) in Great Woods, and sounded almost like a "2001" tease. But it leads effortlessly into the highest energy "Kung" you'll hear, with harmonic vocals towards the end that just push the boys in a balls-to-the-walls jam that last seventeen minutes.
Absolutely fantastic show.