Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
Average Song Gap: 5.75
Notes: All of These Dreams was preceded by a Fluffhead tease. After several glowsticks hit Trey’s rig at the end of Seven Below, Trey’s guitar tech, Brian Brown, had to come onstage to do some damage control, prompting Trey to say some words of thanks. Seven Below contained a Mary Had a Little Lamb tease from Trey. Contact culminated in a Little Drummer Boy jam.
Songs by Debut Year:
On the other hand, it's an entirely different experience to give the show a fresh listen long after the band's triumphant 2009 return. All in all, it's not a spectacular show, but the highlights (especially set 1) are well worth hearing.
The opening Chalkdust has been appropriately praised - it's huge! The structured portion of the song is plenty intense, and the lengthy jam is both focused and exploratory. A bit of a hiccup transitioning to the reprise chorus is readily forgiven, as this 21-minute behemoth crunches to a satisfying finish. Bathtub Gin is another improvisational monster in the 20-minute realm, but mostly rumbles heavily through the murk with dark and edgy vamping before unexpectedly coalescing into Runaway Jim. The transition serves as an inspiring springboard to an energetic and modestly explored Jim. Walls Of the Cave is the 3rd 20-minute epic of the set, and the closing jam absolutely bursts at the seams with intensity - especially aggressive guitar work from Trey. Loving Cup is a typically strong version to end an above-average 1st set.
The ballads to start Set 2 are a well-executed trio, and Lifeboy in particular is imbued with extra emotion. Not much of a jam to Limby Limb. Crowd Control is scarcely noticeable in its brevity and indifferent execution. Seven Below begins a short and reflective jam sequence, dissipating into an airy space that is interrupted by Trey's praising his guitar tech Brian Brown. Stash is uncharacteristically introspective, with quiet and sinister exploration that skips the customary finish and winds into NICU instead. Solid enough NICU, with heavy-handed repetitive chords deliberately replacing "Leo"'s usual nimble-fingered solo. Bug is a very strong version, delivered with extra gusto. Contact is tightly executed, and noteworthy for Little Drummer Boy jamlet at the end - which becomes progressively more twisted before rumbling into a typically hard-charging Character Zero. Bowie encore is definitely a satisfactory version.
that may be the dumbest statement ive heard in along time!!!
drove down from ct.w/long time tOOr friend.
set one was actually pretty good
Rocking Chalkdust to open the set,Bathtub->Runaway Jim was fun..i thought the roof was gonna explode during Walls.Lovin'cup was a great way to close the set...2nd set,couldnt tell you what the hell happened,or what the hell went on backstage at setbreak,but this was the roughest set i think ive ever experienced..the frustration on the band memebers faces is something i wont forget.contact was fitting since,we did go out to our car to find out that it was towed!
that may be the dumbest statement ive heard in along time!!!
Proper punctuation and capitalization are your friends.
I'll take the 5 song 11-23-1997 Set II over this Set I.
chalk dust: fluent and high energy. a blast right off the bat. this jam begins hot, meanders and slides around for a while and eventually starts to break through to deep space. Unfortunately, the ending is botched during the transition to bathtub, and it turns into a sloppy outro.
bathtub: a seriously fuckin rockin intro, a monster slop-fest from the get-go, page tears this song to shreds, as trey rocks against the current for a while, and its as though he is just slapping his guitar to a violent rhythm; a strained uphill battle. Meanwhile, mike and fish keep the jam from decaying and maintain the flow coherent. the jam segment struggled to dissolve into type II status (to me), and it hovers at verge of breaking through, a true struggle from start to finish.
jim: a surprisingly smooth transition from the flailing bathtub jam. from head to toe a solid and short jim.
walls: one of my personal fav versions, of one my personal fav songs. it staggers and stumbles along, with an exceptionally eerie beat (even for walls standards). the second jam segment gets intense and culminates into an enormous slap to the face. the intensity wavers and slips around through the cosmos and, for me, becomes a lucid experience.
cup: a nice tight cutesy bow to wrap this beautiful pile of slop.
set 1 tl;dr:
the meat and potatoes; chalk dust, bathtub, and walls are a sloppy heaping pile of transcendent jamming, with a loving cup filler tossed in to please the masses.
Like most, I think the 1st set was great that night and stands up over time. The size of the CDT and the intensity of the Walls really stand out to me 9 years later. And while not the typical emotional ballad, the emotion during Loving Cup was amazing. You could really look around Hampton and easily pick out the fans who had put in years, shows, and miles with Phish and were now sure it was ending.
The 2nd set - rough. Almost like a sputtering car that you're desperate to get home, to the garage, to the gas station, etc. The 1st set joyful sadness really seemed to be replaced with just sadness.
But for selfish reasons, that 1st set/2nd set high and low really did it for me as a first timer. The 2nd set was like a normal concert but with the emotional heft of everyone wanting it to be as great as the 1st set. And the 1st set was what made me realize how intense, brilliant and beautiful a Phish show can be. It made me grind away online for hours to get tickets for Camden 2009, it made me ditch work on a flimsy excuse for Camden 2010, motivated me to make sure I got to Sunday MPP 2010 after a wedding Saturday night, get to SuperBall, scramble to get Sunday AC 2012 in, etc, etc.
The merits of 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 can be debated to death. I know I'm regretful I didn't advantage of 1.0 and 2.0 the way I easily could have. Hampton 2004 takes a lot of deserved shit but it holds a special place for me. When Phish came back in 2009, it's this show (specifically the 1st set) that is the reason for all the beautiful moments I've seen in 3.0.
Uninspired playing, forced everything, and I was not impressed with the "mothership" or whatever. Thank God they came back and didn't leave this summer as they're swan fucking song.
I love Phish more than ever that I'm sober now. First time was 1993.
the first set is very strong. A bit short but 5 very strong songs. I missed chalkdust but heard it was the song of the night besides the bowie encore. The Gin was very strong I did make it in for this and good Runaway. WOTC was a top version and always good to see loving cup in a diff spot the the encore spot (i think we all can agree). The 2nd set starts off slow and makes me wish they wouldve taken 2 slow songs and put WOTC and Gin in the 2nd set. If they did that I bet this show would have better flow.
But Its the only Lifeboy I've ever had and that song is awesome as well as only AOTD. The NICU>Bug>Contact made up for the slow start. And i still feel in NICU page has one of his strongiest wail outs as we all know page always does well in the jamming and techincal side but he really shreds this song almost like a heavy guitar. and yes Zero and Bowie are amazing too.
so even tho the show was not the best. It had strong moments and the Little Lamb tease was tight