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Link Friday, 03/06/2009
Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

Set 1: Fluffhead, DividedDivided Sky, CDTChalk Dust Torture > SampleSample in a Jar, Stash, IDKI Didn't Know, Oh Kee PaThe Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > SuzySuzy Greenberg > Farmhouse, NICU, Horn > Rift, Train Song, Water in the Sky, CoilThe Squirming Coil > BowieDavid Bowie

Set 2: BDTNLBackwards Down the Number Line[1] > Tweezer -> Taste, Possum, ThemeTheme From the Bottom, First Tube > HoodHarry Hood, Waste > YEMYou Enjoy Myself[2]

Encore: Grind, Bouncin'Bouncing Around the Room, Loving Cup

[1] Phish debut.
[2] Restarted.

Noteworthy Jams: Backwards Down the Number Line

Average Song Gap: 19.93

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

Notes: Phish’s first public performance since Coventry on August 15, 2004 started with Fluffhead, a song not played since prior to the first hiatus on September 29, 2000 (70 shows). Also of note, several large, white balloons were hung in a circle around the coliseum, lit up by an additional central lighting rig; the balloons (save for a few casualties) would remain for the entire run. Trey Introduced Fish as “Dad” during I Didn’t Know. Train Song was not played since May 23, 2000  (111 shows) and Grind was not played since December 30, 1998 (181 shows). During Bouncing, some of the balloons were dripped into the crowd. This show featured the Phish debut of Backwards Down the Number Line. YEM featured a false start possibly as a nod to the January 3, 2003 restarted version.

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

Song Distribution:
4 Billy Breathes
4 Stash
4 Junta
3 A Picture of Nectar
3 Lawn Boy
2 Farmhouse
2 Rift
2 The White Tape
1 Joy
1 Undermind
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Hoist
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

benjaminjam , attached to 2009-03-06 Permalink
Me and my friend Matt had been to Coventry (our first Phish festival after seeing them live 20-something times). Needless to say, when we heard that they were re-forming in Hampton for a three night run we knew we had to go. In the lottery he got two tickets to every single night. I know it was random, but we have never shook the feeling that somehow we were just meant to be there. It being my first time in Virginia, we stayed downtown a few miles before the tunnel.

The energy in the lot was sort of like, "Is this really happening?" mixed with "I can't believe this is happening!" and a healthy dose of caution as Virginai's finest were in full force. But that didn't dampen our mood.

Inside, the giant orbs hovering above promised that, yes, this was indeed going to be a Phish show and something was going to happen that hadn't happened before.

Everyone was cool, I hadn't met this many truly friendly Phish heads since my first time in the Gorge (99) and felt at that moment that peculiar feeling of camraderie when everyone knows, "We're all here for the same thing."

Fluffhead blew us all away, you almost couldn't hear it over the roar of the crowd when they walked onstage, but it was the perfect opener for Fluffhead had indeed been a man with a horrible disease and we were all there to him. I remember, about halfway through the first set thinking, "Man, they are playing a TON of songs here in the first set!" that was during Suzy. At Rift I was thinking, "OK, here's a big number to close the first set out with."

Nope. We were treated to my favotite kind of Water in the Sky, the slow laid back summer time on a raft version. Then came The Squirming Coil and again I thought, "Perfect, a Coil first set closer."

Nope. Bowie. Enough said. The second set started with a song I'd wanted to hear Phish play since I'd heard it and is one that I think is an instant classic. This song will take on a life of it's own the same way Disease, Gin and Tweezer have. The second set was the more jammed out, I don't think it ever truly segued, but that is just this man's opinion. Some people expressed a small amount of dismay at the YEM flub (which I don't believe was intentional, but still reflected how seriously the band takes itself and it's fans) but I thought that they recovered nicely and they have proved since then they are more than capable of nailing that hellishly complicated, delightful song. The encore was solid and when the balls dropped and exploded during Bouncing, the night was obviously coming to a close.

Nope. Loving Cup. Just to kick our butts out the door with some good ole fashioned rock.

The energy in this room was something I have never felt before in my life. The sense of anticipation I felt can only be matched by the first show my theatre company performed in our first permanent residence. The people were great, the band was tight and more than ready to rock. I walked out of that place drenched in sweat from jumping up and down, grooving and generally dancing my ass off.

I still get chills when I hear the crowd and Fluffhead when I go back and listen to it.
Score: 8
oohwilson , attached to 2009-03-06 Permalink
oohwilson This was my first show, and it was a profound experience to say the least. This show represents the culmination of a significant period in my life, where for years I had been utterly captivated by Phish, but also tormented at times when the thought crossed that I would never have the chance to experience a Phish show. I was too late. My experience with the band would forever remain limited to tapes. And then, after several months of rumors and agonizing anticipation, my dreams realized: the announcement of the reunion -- and a miracle ticket, taboot.

Since this is my first review here at Phish.net, it seems appropriate for me to begin with my own story of how it all began.

______________________________

It all began in Baltimore in 2007. I was 21 years old at the time, working part-time, taking classes at community college, living with some friends in my first apartment -- you get the picture. My tastes in music were fairly dynamic, but my bread and butter was progressive rock. Rush and Dream Theater commonly dominated my CD player. If there was dazzling guitar work, I was probably going to dig it.

One day, a good friend of mine had borrowed a CD from one of his buddies and popped it in his car's CD player. I didn't think much of it at the time, but a couple of weeks later the CD somehow ended up in my possession. "A Live One", it read. I was getting bored with the CD's I had in rotation during my commute from work and school, so I figured I'd pop it in and see what Phish was about.

I went through the first disc, skipping a few songs that just puzzled me -- "'Wash Uffizi, drive me to Firenze' ...what the fuck is this all about"? -- Clearly, it didn't click with me. In hindsight, I see now that I didn't give the music a fair chance. I was probably preoccupied in thinking about what my evening plans would be rather than actually listening to the music. The only tune I remember actually appreciating was the Slave. The buildup and release was fantastic, and kept me curious enough to check out disc 2.

"Wiiiilllllsssoooonnn" -- "okay, this tune is alright I guess" The Tweezer that follows, however, was just an absolute disaster. Messy, all over the place, just generally unpleasant to listen to. Tweezer quickly became a casualty of the "next track" button. To give some context here, I was with my friend who borrowed the CD in the first place on a high-ride. We got nice and baked, and by the time the Hood came on, and I was tuned in.

This Hood...this was a game changer, folks. I remember thinking just what a masterfully crafted performance this Hood was. It nearly brought me to tears, it hit my nerves, it resonated in me. At that moment in time, I got it. In reminiscence, it's fascinating to think that just 15 minutes of music would alter my life forever. Beautiful.

Naturally by "getting it", Phish quickly came to dominate my music rotation. Discovering the Live Phish series soon thereafter was akin to uncovering the Ark of the Covenant. The Halloween '98 filler Antelope > Stash > Manteca > Tweezer > NICU, the YEM at Rosemont '95, the Wipeout Weekapaug at the Centrum, and the Tweezerfest at the Bomb Factory -- I must have listened to these a hundred times over the course of 2 years.

Along with my captivation of Phish came a broadening of my musical horizon. I began to go to concerts regularly, Umphrey's McGee and The Bridge ticket stubs soon began to pile up in my drawer. On a whim, I convinced a group of close friends to drive 1,100 miles to Langerado '08 -- the fact it was held at Big Cypress more or less sealing the deal. "Dude, we are going to our first music festival to see Les Claypool, P Groove, STS9, The New Deal, Gov't Mule, 311, Umphrey's, and oh yeah, it's at Big Cypress -- land of 'the show'" -- Our Mecca. Halfway into the festival, and despite being ridiculously tired and hungover from all sorts of festival-related edibles, we made sure to catch Phix's set at midnight to commemorate Phish's illustrious NYE set. We were convinced that this was as close of an experience as we were going to get. While it wasn't a bad experience by any means, and as close as it might have been, it was certainly 'no cigar'.

A few months later the rumors of a potential reunion began to stir. None of them, however, made me really take it seriously -- I was still convinced that I was born a decade too late, and I would live my entire life never having experienced a Phish show.

The moment I came to actually consider the possibility, as many of you may also have, was when Trey reportedly said in an interview to Rolling Stone that he would give his left nut to play YEM five times a day for the rest of his life. Oh. Shit. It's fucking on. ...Right?...I hope..

When the news finally broke it was like unwrapping the best Christmas present I never had. Many phone calls and uncontrollable giggles followed. Unable to score tickets in the lottery, myself and three other friends went The Hunt For the Red October-style the day of public on sale for Hampton tickets -- we had multiple computers and phones locked-down, and friends and family on standby to ensure we would get a piece of the action. In what seemed like a cruel twist of sick punishment, every one of us failed to get through. And as much as I loved the band and wanted to go, there was no way I was going to pay 500+ bucks for a ticket, and I came to accept the fact that it just wasn't in the cards. Oh well, life will go on I suppose.

A couple of weeks after public on-sale, I received a phone call from a friend that made me question my faith (or lack thereof). "Hey, so listen.. I scored two tickets for the first night, and out of everyone I know, I think that you are the most deserving of the second ticket... want to go see Phish?" A few irregular heartbeats later I managed to say "Holy fucking shit" and the next day she dropped by to give me my ticket. Let me tell you friends, I kid you not when I say that I didn't let that ticket out of my immediate possession until the day after the show.

After that, the rest is history. A college degree, 19 shows, and 4 years later, I now treasure Phish more than ever.

____________________________

As far as the show goes itself, I'm giving it 4/5 stars -- largely due to the story above. Setting aside the atmosphere, which was an entire thing in and of itself as you can imagine, the playing was very tight, the setlist is classic, but the jamming was nothing groundbreaking. The boys demonstrated their intense practice regiment throughout this show. Aside from a flub in the Hood and the conspicuous YEM restart, they were spot-on.

Stash and Tweezer showcase the jams of the evening, Tweezer clearly being the highlight of the night.

In the end, this show is a special one for every one of us. It is the beginning of a new era of Phish. It reminds us to never take for granted the opportunity to be apart of our favorite band, and for fans my age, this show symbolizes a resounding "YES" in response to the question "Can't I live while I'm young?"

Cheers!
Score: 7
waxbanks , attached to 2009-03-06 Permalink
waxbanks With the benefit of some distance we can call these Hampton shows what they were: an important step, a liberation, a spectacular series of comeback concerts...and three decidedly middling Phish shows *on tape*. You should hear the Fluffhead just for the oceanic crowd noise, and check out the first few songs of Set II for a decent preview of the early summer improvisatory style. And try the Hood. But if you're building your Phish collection from scratch, come back to this one after hearing, say, a hundred pre-2004 shows. The show is more historically important than musically essential, y'know? Whatever the hell *that* means!
Score: 4
phan83 , attached to 2009-03-06 Permalink
phan83 Most energy I've ever felt from an audience, ever.
Score: 2
BuddyBrown , attached to 2009-03-06 Permalink
My buddy, Morgan, flashed his phone in my face at midnight and wished me a happy 30th during the vocal jam. The entire weekend felt like a BIG birthday gift with the debut of 'Backwards...' on Friday, my first bday sets on Saturday, and the crowd singing-along of 'Happy Birthday' (to Fish's dad) on Sunday.
Score: 1
markah , attached to 2009-03-06 Permalink
The YEM re-start was definitely on purpose. I was in the front row and Trey was muggin' it up the whole first minute before he quite purposely played a bunch of sour notes, then said "...but it's not gonna be like the LAST time we restarted this song..." revealing the joke.
Score: 0

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