Notes: This was the second of the three-show SuperBall IX festival. This gig featured the Phish debuts of Susskind Hotel and Monkey Man. Camel Walk contained a Spanish Moon tease from Mike, Piper contained a Tweezer tease from Page, and Tweezer contained Scents and Subtle Sounds teases by Mike. Runaway Jim included introductions and trophy awards for the winners of the Runaway Jim 5K road race held earlier in the day. The first Secret Language since July 3, 2000 (213 shows) was a Simpsons Signal after BOAF. Scents was played with the intro for the first time since August 2, 2003 (146 shows). Caspian was unfinished. The Storage Jam and Sleeping Monkey featured Page on theremin for the first time since August 11, 1997 (394 shows).
I understand that Sunday night was fantastic. Believe me, I was freaking out from start to finish. Yet, I feel that it would be unfair to focus solely on Sunday when the band really rocked it on Saturday.
Two of my buddies and I were sitting patiently in front of the stage before the first set. We were about twenty or so feet away from the stage and man, am I glad that we were. The band opened up with a great Tube and the crowd returned the favor by spewing forth a massive cloud of balls. The next track that caught my attention was the Boogie On. They always do a great job with it but with the sun blazing in the sky, mike really let loose and got the phans moving. 46 Days was pretty sweet and a bunch of people were happy to hear it. Then came, suzy and monkey man. At first a bunch of phans, including myself, were a bit upset that they had not waited until sunset for Suzy but then the band quickly took the words right out of our mouths. They rocked it... Finally came a reall cool Monkey Man and page nailed it.
Alright, we all know it. The 2nd set was pretty weak aside from a pretty solid Its Ice, a surprisingly enjoyable scents/sounds and a classic antelope. Considering this, I understand the potentially low rating this day might receive. But the reason this show is really WORTH downloading, is thanks to what the band did in the 3rd set.
They kicked things off with a real pleasant Golden Age which put smiles on the faces of phans all over the crowd. They then nicely faded into a caspian which was followed by a pretty good piper. THEN, things got wild. They ripped right into a glorious tweezer. The crowd went absolutely beserk when they completely cut the music and then thundered back into the jam. Just before I could wipe the sweat off my face and catch a breath... they jumped into Julius. Wow, those 2 songs might as well be related. The way the band transitioned and played them made the combination epic. Then came an unusually mellow Numberline which gave us a couple minutes to cool off before they went into a fun and delightful Twist. At this point the energy was higher than it had been all week. Then came probably one of the most enjoyable 2001's I have ever heard. It was placed perfectly in the set and was simply awesome. I had been hoping for a Hood all evening and I am sure I was not the only one. But I was not prepared for it when it dropped. The band killed it, at which point the audience was roaring with excitement. Cavern was rocked, as always and golgi set the mood just right for what the band had in store next. Page starts going off when the crowd realizes that they were in for yet another treat... I had to sit down for Day in the Life because It was simply too perfect to close the set. Finally, they left us with a brilliant Loving Cup followed by a vibrant Reprise.
The 3rd set was really something special and in my opinion one of the best sets of 3.0. If it were not for that third set, I truly believe that Sunday would not have turned out as well as it did. Saturday night was wonderful and it without a doubt set the bar high for the next night to come.
First let me note that Lawn Boy was teased as they were tuning up for the 1st set and I thought it would open.
My thoughts are relegated not to the entire performance but select songs.
As a huge Axilla fan I was not even slightly offended that Trey basically ran through the first verse without actually uttering any of it. In 2002-2004 this would have struck me as mildly insulting and turned me off as it would have coincided with what I thought was a precipitous downard spiral. However, on this nite it struck me as simply eager musicians and really was compensated for by virtuoso playing on this tune.
I had just been informed by a friend that he locked into Page and sure enough The Chairman of the Boards took over the initial solo component of Heavy Things in a refreshing and dexterous manner that even Trey would have to admit was a welcome break from his carrying of the interlude of this tune. Great reworking of the song.
Antelope was as good if not better than ever!
I had never seen Golden Age or heard of its original or the band that originated it, but upon later listening to the original the verdict was unanimous...Phish once again owns a cover having really added texture, dexterity, and scale to a song that while good in its original form deserved the stretching out that only Phish could give it.
Twist was interesting in that I always found the final "Whoo!" somewhat childish but the rest of the song stout. Apparently from the mocking tone of the band at the tail end of this version they agree with me and they expressed this sentiment in a really playful, engaging, and unforgettable manner that reprized during the Self Storage "Sleeping Monkey" climax.
Well what really hasn't already been said about this Tweezer it was epic and the final 5-6 minutes harkened back to last year's MSG rendition. Chalk this Tweezer up in the category of why I still show up to shows after 135+ since 1989!
AND last but not least the Self Storage jam incorrectly labeled hear an encore. It clocked in at 60+ minutes which if you take out the 12/29/1997 encore is one the longest I know of on record if that is what you wanna call it. I would prefer to call this moment one in which we as fans got to experience the band in a moment where they tuned out everyone and everything and just drilled down to the center of their musical core. What spouted from the drill hole was a multitude of sounds and colors that I will never forget and be forever thankful that I experienced. The Self Storage jam started with a cadence that engulfed us and ended with a Sleeping Monkey for the ages. Sure there will be haters that say they simply pissed in our ear circa Bittersweet Motel. I would argue it is as close as this band or its fans will ever come to the type of moments the likes of Ornette Coleman, Mahavishnu Orchestra, or John Coltrane created. These are giant names but so is the name Phish and they proved that they have a respect for improvisation that goes beyond the word and gets at the pattern and process that drove their predecessors and their greatest moments alike. Conduits of the avant garde are Phish and I am glad to have experienced it for 60+ minutes at Watkins Glen.
wow, after having had just written my review of the first night, i can tell you now, this will probably get long. first and foremost, we got a whole hell of a lot of phish on super ball-saturday. all in all, saturday was a mixed bag...
tube: page rocks this one out. unfortunately, the highlight of this tube doesn't really transfer well to disc, the balls! the place was rocking, and there seemed to be almost as many inflatable things flying around as there were people between the sbd and the stage. crazy stuff...
kill devil falls: this song still strikes me as a watered down chalk dust torture, but hey, they rocked this one. it was not bethel, but hey, they kept the momentum going.
ocelot: they weren't getting as creative as yesterday's first set, but they were still playing very well. trey builds a great solo in this one.
lawnboy: go page!
divided sky: i was hoping this one would open up the skies. it was hotter than hell. either way. good version. nothing to out of the ordinary though.
boogie on>: as always, fish and gordo offer up a freaking funky foundation. the jam never fully takes off, but they opt to jump into...
camel walk: if you're not going to jam, you might as well play camel walk! nothing out of the ordinary, just a funktastic camel walk.
cities: i was hoping they would drift into some sort of jam here, but instead it dwindles off before trey starts up...
poor heart: after 3 straight funk songs, the boys avoid jamming and flip the vibe on its head. that said, i'll welcome a poor heart. it's always a nice way to get the place jumping, bluegrass style!
46 days>: good fiery climax, but not much out of the ordinary.
suskind hotel: i was shocked to hear this one pop up. great pick. well-played.
circus: one of my favorite slow tunes they do. great version. solid placement.
timber: this got the crowd jumping again. trey slashes through the middle section with nice flurries of notes before coming back into timber ho!. god, i love this song...
back on the train: standard
suzy: good energy. standard.
monkey man: i did not recognize this tune. i'm not much of a stones fan. my neighbor filled me in, and by the end of this one, i was really digging this tune. page gets real nasty, and he pretty much owned this one.
first and foremost, this one had much more of a 1st set feel than a 2nd set feel. some what disappointing, but it's still a good set.
run away jim>: we didn't get much jamming here, but we did get a really cool moment with the 5k winners being introduced. good for them!
mcgrupp: i love me some mcgrupp, and i have a feeling a lot of cherries were popped on this one. page nailed a much lighter than normal mcgrupp solo. unfortunately, there were a decent number of trey flubs on this one. he seemed a bit lost at moments. for those of you hitting leg 2 shows, look for a well-rehearsed mcgrupp to come at you. trey will want redemption, like he got on peaches the night before!
axilla: this one seemed to mess with the mcgrupp vibe a bit, imo. maybe trey just wanted to rock after some troubles in mcgrupp. well, rock they did. good version.
boaf: here's another one that does not stray to far off the beaten path, but they really rip it within the framework of the song. this one builds to a fine climax.
stash: i was hoping this set would really turn it up a notch once we got to stash. unfortunately, the stash turned it up, but phish took their foot off the gas after. as for the stash, trey and page weave around each other in a slow but straight jaunt into a blazing stash closing section. not much in the weirdness category, but a blazing version none the less.
sample: ah, this set really starts to feel first set'ish here, and it keeps up for a while...
heavy things: i have really liked this song since they've been back. they seemed to be more willing to have some fun with it. unfortunately, this set needed it to have a bit more exploration, but it didn't...
horn>: like this song. not what i was looking for here.
it's ice>: good version. actually, i hadn't seen this one in a pretty freaking long time. standard/great it's ice.
the mango song>: i know many clamor for this tune, but i've always been a little luke-warm on this one. it was hard to get too fired up for this one. trey was a bit off...
rift: after missing on mango, i was really surprised to see rift, a song that trey has been very prone to wiffing on. well, tonight they nailed it. good version, but this set is way to first set like for my tastes.
scents: BOOM! i'd been wanting to see them tack the intro back on this song since they dropped into '04. that short passage of music makes a ton of difference. great version. passing on the old textured jams they used to play on this tune in '03, they strolled right through a nice ambient passage. they weaved around each other nicely before trey danced into....
antelope: this one does not take long to hit go-mode. they just climb from one level to the next, building to a typical antelope frenzy. the scents>antelope combo saved the set, providing the only real must-hear moment, unless you won the 5k.
after a straight-forward second set, i was really waiting for them to cut loose...
golden age>: i was not a huge fan of this cover, until i saw this version. holy cow! outside of the storage jam, this was my favorite jam of the weekend. plinko stylings, or whatever you want to call them, were in full force as phish unloaded on us. leaving a serious funk groove, they travel into a more ambient passage. this finally gives way to...
prince c>: like bug the night before and number line later, this is a song i just plain don't like. they did take a different, interesting approach to this. instead of building to the typical climax, trey takes a more mellow approach to this one, allowing it to segue seamlessly into...
piper>: almost as if caspian was an accident, the boys show they can't wait to get rocking again! fishman really soars here, as he gets some bonham'esqu shit going. trey does not hesitate to throw down monster lick after monster lick. after a couple good minutes of solid rock, trey steers the boys into...
tweezer>: you can almost tell this one is going to rock right from the start. as they enter the jam, trey just finds some raunchy guitar leads. at one point, the band stops leaving trey with the spotlight on him just getting dirty. eventually, trey picks up on a more melodic but still funky solo. great, great version. a sure fire highlight of the festival. unfortunately, they cut this one off and trey drives into...
numberline: double doh!
twist>: this and jiboo are two songs i never really root for to hear, but once they are off and running, i'm always digging them. this one has some nice playing by trey, delivering some very well-choreographed flurries of notes. check out the vocal fun at the end of this one. good times...
2001>: they enjoy a moment of spaciness before fishman kicks this one off. this made sure to keep the energy going, but it offered zero in the ways of exploration. it did serve as a nice introduction to...
harry hood: good version, but not in the ball park of how the boys have been delivering on this tune recently. still solid jam. certainly worth a listen. as always, page shines.
cavern: well, i thought hood was the logical closer, but it looks like we get a bonus cavern. good rocking way to end a show, but wait...
golgi: now, if you're going to kick us bonus tunes, let's make them nifty. either way, bonus golgi...surely this is closing it...
aditl: good version, as always. standard. works well as a closer, but it's somewhat anticlimatic considering the last 4 songs could've closed the set. they sort of flat lined after hood, but hey, it all seemed to be bonus after harry...
cup>tweeprise: i don't even want to see how many cup encores or cup>tweeprise encores i've seen. too many. well-played though. they kept the rock vibe rolling
i'll keep this one short...
jam: easily the most interesting thing phish did all week end. freaking awesome! this jam is, of course, loaded with tons of phish originality, but it also has flavors that resemble spacey led zeppelin and medeski martin and wood. eventually, you hear a familiar song being strummed...
sleepy monkey: certainly not one i root for, but this one was awesome. loaded with the vocal fun that from the end of twist in the 3rd set and general music mayhem from the boys. some went back to their tent grumbling. i heard one guy say, "if they're going to play shit like that, why even do a secret set?" well, it was right up my alley, and i was squinty eyed and glowing heading back to my tent....
you just can't complain about seeing soooo much phish, but it took them a good while to really hit full-throttle. when they did though....
set 1: camel walk, timber ho!, monkey man
set 2: mcgrupp (for rarity song, not so much for quality), scents>antelope
don't let the low score turn you away from this show. Set 2 was really weak, spare Stash, Scents, and 'Lope, Trey was playing poorly and the band wasn't really tight.
Set 3 was the exact opposite, right out of the gate with a nice jam out of Golden Age. The whole set is extremely well played, and the only songs I wouldn't call some of the better 3.0 versions are Julius, #line, and Cavern.
words don't even describe what .net has titled "USA Storage Jam" and it should be listed >Sleeping Monkey. GO LISTEN TO THIS!!!!!
the first 2 sets had a few highlights, but also had some sloppy and uninspired playing, but set 3 and the 2 "encores" are some of the best 3.0 Phish available, and make this show worth a livephish purchase
Saturday was my 25th birthday, and my 13th PhiShow. The first set was a mid-day funk fest at times, with the Boogie > Camel Walk, Cities taking the prominent front position there. Monkey Man was really great, a perfect new cover for this band.
Set 2 was fun and the highlights for me were McGrupp, It's Ice, and the Antelope. Mango Song was a struggle for the boys, and they knew the crowd needed a pick me up and thus Rift took care of that. I have heard three or four Antelopes since the band returned to touring in 2009, and this one stands out for me as the best I have seen.
Set 3 was my favorite of the three played on Saturday. Golden Age and the subsequent jam was really smoking hot. An older gentleman near me in the rear of the pit (Page side) called it before they even stepped on stage. Piper > Tweezer was phenomenal. The Number Line was a perfect nod to my birthday (and probably hundreds of other Phish fans' birthdays that were celebrated this weekend). Twist was another really stand-out version, easily the best I have seen/heard in this era.
The Storage set was on a completely different level of awesome. The engineering involved and the set up made for a total auditory/visual/transcendental experience the likes of which I had never experienced with this band or any other. Total chaos as all the spun out fans attempted to come to terms what was happening. I laughed openly at many points due primarily to the enchantment and wonder the band had provided to its faithful.
Needless to say, it was a birthday I will never forget, and I am so very grateful to the band, their crew, all the supporting organizations, and to all of my friends who helped celebrate it. Thanks!
sorry about the "add tweezer reprise" comment, i didn't think there was going to be a second encore. My real review of the show is the following. Right now, the show is rated 3.75 stars out of 5, i agree with this rating because i feel like this is a decent second day festival show. It surprised me that there wasn't that much added elements like teases and untraditional moves that phish enjoys doing to please the crowd, but phish did use secret language. They also debuted two new songs that will hopefully be on their new album that is supposedly being created this winter. Overall, when i look through the songs and song transitions, i am pleased with the show itself, and i know that phish will go out with a bang tomorrow.
Wandering the halls of the Hampton Coliseum at setbreak of 11-21-97, I was amused yet also saddened at the musical ignorance when I overheard not one but two random kids talk about how much they dug "that new tune they opened up with" ("Emotional Rescue"). It appears The Rolling Stones have once again been neglected by the youth, as evidenced by the mention of the "debut of two new songs." I'll ignore the fact that "Suskind Hotel" has been around for years, as at least it was written by Mike. I love music and have devoured it all my life. Other than "Forty Licks", I've never owned any Stones albums (which doesn't even include this song), and I still know and love "Monkey Man." I'm sorry guy, I'm really not trying to make an example of you, but it's just surprising. I guess I'm just old (34).
I really, really loved Set 3. They were really spacy all day in their jamz; I guess getting ready for Storage Time!
The song choice of Set 3 was just perfect for the space. Golden Age > onwards was just blissful.
Now I'm one who thinks Piper has taken a turn for the worst these past few years. It's just not as sweet as it once was. The intro is rushed now, and it renders the whole tune moot for me. Even tho this one was rushed into per usual, it was an amazing spacey jam. And the Tweezer was just un-fucking-believable. One of the best I've ever heard. Period.
It was rad getting a McGrupp too!
BOOGIE ON! I don't have the sobriety to write about entire show, so let's focus is on Boogie. I have yet to hear a bad version of this classic Wonder song from Phish. Every time it fires on my Bose Dock, I run for it like I'm putting out a FIRE eager to press volume levels to peek highs so my ears ring. I then sit back holding my face in awe as I watch my son on schedule running into the room spinning - dancing - shaking like on fire to WHO? No it's THE PHISH!!! He has autism and spins to Phish Boogie On's. I join him with or without him. Long live The Phish. The love we feel is bold as love. ~ bouncin7