Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
 No intro.
Notes: This show marked the debut of Access Me. Scents did not contain the intro. During an especially long break before Stash, Trey joked that if they take longer between songs, but play the same amount of songs, the show would last longer.
This show was part of the "2004 Early Summer Tour."
Plus side: The second set is like a glorious hazy dance-a-thon, going to the usual June '04 places, hitting the usual high notes, occasionally shattering into crazy processed digital lunacy, climaxing in a scintillating Hood.
Minus side: Narcotized vibe flattens out Stash et al., entire month tends to blend into a single wondrous jam (which isn't nearly as excellent as you'd think (unsurprising since Phish's ludicrous brain-on-sleeve virtuosity has long been a big part of their appeal)); also, scintillating Hood has none of the all-arriving-at-once gallop that was a hallmark of the Old Days.
Plus side take 2: When I say 'glorious hazy dance-a-thon' *I am not kidding.* Boogie On > Ghost is one of the best moments of 2004, even if it's a lot like some of the other best moments of 2004. Dig?
Bottom line: Get it, but understand that Phish's 6/04 shows were very much of a piece, and miles away from the demon-acupuncturist precision and throwaway genius of the band's mid-90's coming of age.
anyway, this one is one of my favorite alpine shows. the first set is a little flat. access me and scents, especially without the nifty intro, were kind of a bland opener. stash never really seemed to "go there." things pick up a little with moma dance. fishman/gordon appeared to be in sync on this one. the divided sky was good, but still, like stash, just never really soared like it normally does. the wilson>funky bitch combo really picked things up. zero is not my favorite tune, but at least, it was played with some passion and energy.
now, in the second set, the boys turned it up a huge notch, especially gordon and fishman. this is my all time favorite boogie on. trey is back in the game on this one and has some good playing in this one. page has some nice fills too, but the real heroes in this jam are gordon and fishman. like the tube and the cross eyed at deer creek, gordon is just all over this one. after a scorching hot funk jam, they find their way into a nice long ghost. there is some very nice dark funky exploration in this one. granted, this does not hit the peaks they were hitting from 98-00, but it is still well-played. this one works nicely into a good funky free. trey keeps up the good playing, but once again, the other 3 members really play nicely on this free. friday provides everyone with an ice breather and it wanders nicely into a very inspired piper. this is one of those songs that i never really want to hear until it really starts smoking. this one rocks pretty hard before finding some funkier realms. eventually, fishman leads the charge into a very good alpine harry hood. this song works so well at this massive venue, and this is no exception. like ghost, it does not soar as high as it used to, but it is still a strong version worth hearing. at the time, i thought this encore was going to be the last thing i would ever hear phish play together, i skipped the east coast shows in august. well, possum was a good way to go out. sure, i would've loved harpua, forbin's, camel walk, etc, but they played possum at my first 2 shows, so i should hear at my last!! good version too.
overall, i would say this is a good show. as mentioned, the first set was a little flat, but the first half of the second set is just pure gravy!. in my opinion, this is the last really interesting set that phish played before 2009. the east coast leg that came a couple of months later was just god awful. i'm sure emotions were running high, but they were not running as "high" as trey was. i feel like every east coast show almost got proggressively worse until the big suck fest that was coventry. anyway, the boogie>ghost>free alone was worth the price of admission.
Let me give a little background. I had been dating my gf for a little over a year when she asked me if I'd ever want to go to a Phish show. Very early on in our relationship, with her influence, I started listening to the band and didn't really get it. I moved on and it wasn't until I heard Slip, Stitch and Pass before Phish really clicked for me. And I was hooked!
So she asked me about going to Alpine. Her sister, brother in law and mom had toured together for the last several years and were hitting up the Creek-Alpine run that year (and were also going to Coventry). So we scored some tix for second night Alpine and joined up with them.
Not only was this my first Phish show, but my first outdoor show as well. Needless to say I was pumped to jam out! I won't go into any detail really about how each song went, as I wasn't really familiar with most of them anyway, but I was having a great time.
The communal energy and positivity were phenomenal and like nothing I had experienced before. Really great time.
And then it was over. Coventry just wasn't possible, and I was bummed as hell that I'd probably have to wait another ten years to see Phish again. After hearing the horror stories of Coventry (and witnessing some on-stage horror from the live-cast in movie theaters) I was glad I didn't find a way to make it work.
Fast forward to today, and I have 17 shows under my belt, eagerly awaiting the announcement of Summer '13! I still come back and listen to this show frequently and I've come to recognize how tight a lot of the playing was at my first ever show--the show that without a doubt hooked me for life! Thank you Phish!!!
Funky as hell! Mike bustin' solos. I had a blast!