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Link Friday, 07/23/1999
Polaris Amphitheater, Columbus, OH

Set 1: Ya Mar, NICU, Back at the Chicken Shack > PYITEPunch You In the Eye[1], FEFYFast Enough for You, BOTTBack on the Train, BowieDavid Bowie, Strange Design, Possum

Set 2: Ghost -> Free > BOAFBirds of a Feather > Meatstick > Fire

Encore: Bouncin'Bouncing Around the Room > Rocky Top

[1] Trey played keys for part of PYITE.

Noteworthy Jams: Ya Mar, Birds of a Feather

Average Song Gap: 15.25

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

Notes: Trey played keys for part of PYITE. During Meatstick, Trey talked about the band’s desire to teach fans the Meatstick Dance and break the world record. He then informed the crowd that the New Year’s Eve concert would be played in Florida.

Song Distribution:
2 The Story of the Ghost
2 Stash
1 Farmhouse
1 Billy Breathes
1 Rift
1 Lawn Boy
1 Junta
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1999 Summer U.S. Tour."

Stecks , attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
Dear Mr. Kevin Shapiro;

"Sir, what you had there was what we refer to as a Focused, Non-Terminal, Repeating Phantasm, or a Class 5 Full-Roaming Vapor... . a real nasty one too"

I am of course referring to the second set. This second set should absolutely be an official LivePhish release, get with the freakin program.... Star Lake 98 is cool (although Vernon Downs would've been way better).... But all of us are dying (albeit at different rates), and someone's going to pass away without hearing this Ghost>Free which, if I were a lawmaker, would carry federal charges and no jurisprudence sentencing discretion.

That night, there was NO Dana, only Zuul! Trey's Languedoc proton pack harnessed this demon into a containment unit (aka the best Free you'll ever hear, if anyone has another, please let me know)... in a way that Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler couldn't do, even crossing streams. All fans were covered in ectoplasm (aka rank humid midwest summer grime) that an end of show rainstorm took care of.. (Side note, grew up across the street from Rick Moranis' cousin, met him at his Bar Mitzvah)...

Remember it being pretty darn hot out. Slow out of the gates, HOWEVER.... from starting with Bowie... SWEET SASSY MOLASSY! The Possum sets the tone for the rest of the evening - our boys reach into the pouch of this deceased marsupial and bring out a jam that starts a bit slow, then becomes pure mayhem.... Each time you think the jam is peaking, it KEEPS going.. Trey gets BEND crazy and throws on his bridge pickup while piercing the venue on his 24th fret (I think I suffered permanent hearing damage from this one...) easily ranks in my top 5-10 ode to roadkill. Setbreak time... Hit the mist tents, I was a sweaty hot mess...

Ok.. now let's get to the REAL part of why this show is a 5/5 in my book... The house lights go down... Trey comes out, takes a big wipe of his nose with his sleeve... and the FUNK SIREN echoplex/delay glissando A note down an octave, thus alerting all of central Ohio to the presence of paranormal activity. A specter was loose in the venue. Who you gonna call? Peter Venkman this apparition was summoned from the netherworld of another dimension, a true wraith. Such an entity cannot be completely explained with words, one must hear it to "understand" it. Possibly one of the best second sets I've ever witnessed. The Ghost>Free is what dreams are made of. Trey was having some equipment issues during Ghost, which I think might have pissed him off a bit - to the benefit of everyone in attendance. This jam is a MUST HEAR. INCREDIBLY tight transitions, sinister jamming into lilty delays with a HUGE LONG D chord strumming buildup to the emancipation of the Poltergeist summoned by the band... the Ghost was then FREE... and 14 years later, BY FAR STILL the BEST Free I've EVER heard. Then Trey invites some wookettes to dance the Fleshpole, and announces Big Cypress. Joel (you tapers know him) and I look at each other knowing exactly where we'd be that December, without question. The Fire was ... well... FIRE. Trey basically owned this second set... Then the rain comes down, which brought thunderous applause from a sweaty, grimy yet blissed out packed house.

In summary, Ray Parker Jr. would be proud of this second set, as he would not be afraid of no Ghost. Who you gonna call? Trey Mother F*cking Anastasio (and possibly Ernie Hudson)

BUSTIN' MAKES ME FEEL GOOOOD!!!!
Score: 13
MiguelSanchez , attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
MiguelSanchez I had hit a few shows early in the tour, and now, i was hopping back on for the back stretch. my buddy and i got hooked up through phish/mail order. we sitting 3rd row page side on this night, the best seats we had for the back stretch of the tour, so obviously, we were hoping they would be busting out the big guns tonight.

Yamar: this is one of my favorite nice summer day openers. this was well played and pretty straight forward.

nicu: good solid nicu. one of my favorites that does not pop up all that often

chicken shack: this one is a little pedestrian but trey did play some pretty hot bluesy licks. you can skip this one though

punch you in the eye: this was a good solid punch. they were really honed in in the intro. this one got the crowd revved up.

fefy: not my favorite... well played though

gbott: this was getting played about every other night on this tour so no big surprise here. solid version

david bowie: here's your set closer. good bowie. page had some really nice licks in here, as did gordo. pretty strong set closing bowie but wait....

strange design: looks like this set is not over. being so close to page, this was really nice. it was like he was singing to us in my living room or something.

possum: there's a reason they kept that set going. trey blasted this possum. very good set closing possum

set2

ghost: this may be the best ghost i have seen them play. a monster storm moved in during set break. it was not quite as bad as the one in nashville at the beginnning of the tour, but this was no joke. it was one of those storms that seem to ignite the band. no single member stood out in this jam; they were all in sync and this jam just flowed for a good 15 minutes before....

FREE: this is definitely my favorite version of free that i've seen. this one seemed to be in sync with the thunder/lightning and it got pretty crazy. the whole time trey is bobbing and weaving and pumping his fist. this free was rocking, he knew, and he loved it. there was no funk in the middle section of free, pure rock thunder! check it out

boaf: i thought this would be a bit of a momentum killer, but i learned differently quite quickly. you could tell they were just looking to rip the back section of this one. trey was not too focused on the lyrics, missing a few here and there, but once they started jamming again, we were cooking. think sunra's space is the place played boaf style. a nice loose face paced jam ensued for a good 25-30 minutes. there are a few sloppy portions here and there but all in all, this is a very interesting jam. eventually it gave way to...

meatstick: i was getting a little tired of ye 'ol meatstick already, but there was an interesting twist in this one. trey confirmed the florida new year's run, which got the crowd gassed up. he spoke, again, of breaking the number of people doing the same dance record. florida ny run... yeah!!

fire: finish a hot set with some hendrix. good version, good set list choice. they really blew out any steam they had leftover from boaf

enc:

batr/rocky top: 2nd set was so good, those of us down low were laughing off the crappy encore. back to the hotel to party down!

overall:

the first set was well-played but the song selection was not all that inspired. The second set was amazing! I feel this show gets overlooked a bit being around the massive alpine encore plus some other gems in that show and the super fun first night of deer creek. don't pass this one by!

1st set highlights:
pyite, bowie, possum

2nd set

ghost>free>boaf>jam (all this i would classify as must hear!)
Score: 9
, attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

Whoever designed the parking scheme for the Polaris Amphitheater must have had a few screws loose. I mean, there is only one lane for traffic to file into the parking lot. What happened at the countless Phish festivals that featured only one lane for the traffic to file into the venue? Cars were backed up for hours. Well, the same thing has happened at every Phish show at Polaris since the first show there in 1998. Due to this modern marvel of American ingenuity I missed almost the entire first set of this fantastic show. Well, some of it may be my fault as well.
My friends Matt, Mike, and Laura, along with myself got a room at the Ramada Inn Limited, about five minutes away from the venue. We arrived there after driving from the previous show at Star Lake Amphitheater in Burgettstown, PA. None of really felt like getting to the venue super early and just sitting around the parking lot. Besides, The Simpsons was coming on. The cartoon ended at about 6pm, and that's when we decided to go. We figured we were only five minutes away so we'd still get there pretty early.
We all piled into Matt's van and entered the highway that led to the venue. Almost immediately we came to a dead stop. Traffic was backed up from the venue's gate and stretched past two exits. The cars were literally at a stand still. Along the side of the highway cars were left abandoned, and kids were walking up and down the line of cars, mingling and trying to peddle their wares. Sure, we should have anticipated something like this, but still, I'd never seen anything like this in all the Phish shows I'd ever been to.
As it was we ended up sitting in traffic for about three and a half hours. We missed the first six songs of the first set including "NICU", "PYITE", and "FEFY". As we parked the van and began walking to the venue we could hear the opening of "David Bowie"; however, we were still too far away to really take it in. We finally got to some halfway decent spots on the lawn as "Bowie" finished and the piano lines of "Strange Design" began. This song had some nice dynamics and Page sounded wonderful as always. "Strange Design" came to a close and I prayed for Phish to really rock out the set closer. As I prayed for no "Chalk Dust"s or "Character Zero"s, the opening bounciness of "Possum" began and was met with many hoots and hollers. This version did not disappoint, and featured many wonderful guitar licks from Trey. It found itself to be quite an extended version.
As the band left the stage, I sat down and tried to convince myself that missing most of the first set wasn't a big deal. The harder I tried, the more my mind wouldn't accept it, so I gave up. That's when I took notice to the drastic weather change that had taken place. The beautiful summer day was darkening and huge storm clouds were moving over top of the venue. These were huge, dark storm clouds that filled the sky and covered the moon. The band took the stage once again and began the delay loop that started off "Ghost". This "Ghost" was off the hook and brought forth almost an hour of jamming. The band bobbed and weaved through thematic changes and peaks and valleys. During one climax, the crowd erupted into a frenzied glowstick war. As this was taking place you could see lightning forming in the storm clouds and it seemed like the band, the glow war, and the lightning were one.
"Ghost" found its way into an extended version of "Free" that featured Trey laying down some crunchy heavy metal chords and pumping his fist with fury. It seemed as though the lightning and now thunder were energizing the band. "Free" stumbled into a twenty five minute "Birds Of A Feather" that featured somewhat botched lyrics; however, just like the "Ghost" and "Free", "Birds" featured some intense jamming that drifted through many different themes and at one point found its way far from the actual "Birds" groove.
"Birds" ended the three song segue-fest, and was followed by the song of the tour: "Meatstick". The band worked its way through the lyrics before Trey stepped forward, bringing the band down behind him, making it obvious that he was going to speak. He began by telling the audience that the attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people doing the same dance, which took place at Camp Oswego earlier that tour, had failed. Apparently, Phish was in second place behind the Chicken. However, Trey announced they'd be trying it again at New Year's, which was set to take place in Florida. Trey explained that he felt the only way to get into the book was to teach the world the Meatstick. He then pulled two of the luckiest girls from the front row up on stage with the band together along with Trey and Mike, and proceeded to teach the audience the Meatstick.
After all the hoopla the band launched into the set-closing cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire". Trey delivered some authentic Jimi licks before the band brought the song to a close. As Phish headed off stage to discuss the encore, the weather began to take a turn for the worse. The clouds moved directly overhead and grew very large. The lighting was abundant and the thunder was loud. It was going to dump any minute now. The band returned and began a mediocre "Bouncing". As the song drizzled its way to a close, the heavens unleashed a fury. Buckets and buckets of driving rain fell upon us. The drops were huge, the size of nickels, and they were driving with such force that it was almost like being caught in a hailstorm. This rain hurt. With this, the band kicked into "Rocky Top" and the crowd danced the hardest they had all night in order to take their mind off the stinging rain. Naturally, as the song came to an end, the rain did as well, though leaving us drenched for the long walk back to the car.
Score: 2
MiguelSanchez , attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
MiguelSanchez I had hit a few shows early in the tour, and now, i was hopping back on for the back stretch. my buddy and i got hooked up through phish/mail order. we sitting 3rd row page side on this night, the best seats we had for the back stretch of the tour, so obviously, we were hoping they would be busting out the big guns tonight.

Yamar: this is one of my favorite nice summer day openers. this was well played and pretty straight forward.

nicu: good solid nicu. one of my favorites that does not pop up all that often

chicken shack: this one is a little pedestrian but trey did play some pretty hot bluesy licks. you can skip this one though

punch you in the eye: this was a good solid punch. they were really honed in in the intro. this one got the crowd revved up.

fefy: not my favorite... well played though

gbott: this was getting played about every other night on this tour so no big surprise here. solid version

david bowie: here's your set closer. good bowie. page had some really nice licks in here, as did gordo. pretty strong set closing bowie but wait....

strange design: looks like this set is not over. being so close to page, this was really nice. it was like he was singing to us in my living room or something.

possum: there's a reason they kept that set going. trey blasted this possum. very good set closing possum

set2

ghost: this may be the best ghost i have seen them play. a monster storm moved in during set break. it was not quite as bad as the one in nashville at the beginnning of the tour, but this was no joke. it was one of those storms that seem to ignite the band. no single member stood out in this jam; they were all in sync and this jam just flowed for a good 15 minutes before....

FREE: this is definitely my favorite version of free that i've seen. this one seemed to be in sync with the thunder/lightning and it got pretty crazy. the whole time trey is bobbing and weaving and pumping his fist. this free was rocking, he knew, and he loved it. there was no funk in the middle section of free, pure rock thunder! check it out

boaf: i thought this would be a bit of a momentum killer, but i learned differently quite quickly. you could tell they were just looking to rip the back section of this one. trey was not too focused on the lyrics, missing a few here and there, but once they started jamming again, we were cooking. think sunra's space is the place played boaf style. a nice loose face paced jam ensued for a good 25-30 minutes. there are a few sloppy portions here and there but all in all, this is a very interesting jam. eventually it gave way to...

meatstick: i was getting a little tired of ye 'ol meatstick already, but there was an interesting twist in this one. trey confirmed the florida new year's run, which got the crowd gassed up. he spoke, again, of breaking the number of people doing the same dance record. florida ny run... yeah!!

fire: finish a hot set with some hendrix. good version, good set list choice. they really blew out any steam they had leftover from boaf

enc:

batr/rocky top: 2nd set was so good, those of us down low were laughing off the crappy encore. back to the hotel to party down!

overall:

the first set was well-played but the song selection was not all that inspired. The second set was amazing! I feel this show gets overlooked a bit being around the massive alpine encore plus some other gems in that show and the super fun first night of deer creek. don't pass this one by!

1st set highlights:
pyite, bowie, possum

2nd set

ghost>free>boaf>jam (all this i would classify as must hear!)
Score: 1
mathuela , attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
Whenever I think about this show I go back to Free with a raging lightning storm swirling around the venue. Reminds me of that Iron Maiden poster for Live After Death. You could feel the electricity ripping through Trey.
Score: 1
XavierMudbottom , attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
XavierMudbottom I'd probably give this 3 1/2 stars...but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I'm surprised that it isn't mentioned here, but Mike teases "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" at the 14:40 mark in Ghost.

It stood out to me at the show, and I've always picked it up in the tapes...I can't be the only one who noticed.

Everything else about the show has been well covered by the other phans.

My tour co-pilots and I weren't the biggest fans of Birds around the time of its debut, but if they were all like this one and the one in Deer Creek a few days later, I think we'd have changed our tune.
Score: 1
Brandonclick77 , attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
The second set is just amazing... One of my all time favorite Ghosts....
Score: 0
oh_kee_dono , attached to 1999-07-23 Permalink
oh_kee_dono got in late. just in time for pyite. 2nd set was a monster. raining during encore.good times
Score: 0

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