Son Seals on guitar and vocals.
 Phish debut; Son Seals on guitar and vocals.
 No vocal jam.
This was the first show of the Camp Oswego festival. Have Mercy was played for the first time since November 12, 1994 (335 shows). Son Seals sat in on guitar and vocals for his own composition, Funky Bitch, as well as the Phish debut of On My Knees. Afterwards, a brief blues jam was played as Son left the stage. DWD included a You Better Believe It Baby tease from Mike. Sneakin' Sally did not contain a vocal jam.
I had an absolute blast at Oswego. I've yet to miss a festival, from Clifford Ball up through IT, and Oswego may have been the best overall experience. Sure there was traffic getting in, but I've dealt with worse (hello Cypress, IT), and sure it was H-O-T, but that's better than rain in my books. Fact is the site was laid out beautifully, the people were friendly, and the music was stellar.
Musical highlights from the first day included a great "Tube" opener, a lovely "Tweezer" -> "Have Mercy", a guest appearance by Son Seals, and a meaty "Wolfman's" -> "Sneaking Sally" -> "Timber". Very high energy stuff that had everyone spilling out into the (by now) very familiar runway city to party with grins on their faces.
Day two is really where its at, though. Bluegrass fans will definitely want to seek out the first set, which features a ton of Del McCoury band collaboration. But don't overlook the "Bathtub". Eighteen minutes of bliss, as per usual.
Set II was a Summer `95 throwback in the early stages. This is an excellent "Runaway Jim", nice and long and experimental, complete with a flawless transition into a bomb-filled "Free". The "Meatstick" dance fiasco kind of soaked up the rest of the set, and it never materialized into any more big jams, but by this point it didn't really matter. I had a huge grin on my face when the second set came, and the sun had gone down, and we were all nice and comfortable.
Now, my friends and I had come prepared to Oswego, after having negotiated the Ball, Went and Wheel the years previous. Remembering Blow-Pop guy (25 cents for a Blow Pop) from Lemonwheel, we stocked up on Blow Pops (and other fun props) to sell during set breaks, etc. But we had been so distracted and lazy that selling them seemed like too much of an effort. We had bags full of them.
Setbreak had us getting more and more excited, and I remember one guy coming to talk to one of his friends next to us with a big grin. He mentioned something about the "Jim" and I caught his eyes and he caught mine and we both made that rewarding yeah, I know look. I took out a Blow Pop and threw it to him. He caught it, smiled, and proceeded to consume it. And of course, people saw this happen. And before I knew it I was seeing people stretching out their arms wanting a Blow Pop. And why not? My friend and I proceeded to get rid of all our Blow Pops in a matter of minutes, simply by standing in place and tossing them to those who yelled for one.
By the time we were done, everything nearby was kind of quiet, and we were surrounded by people sucking on the Blow Pops we had provided. It was like that scene from The Simpsons with Maggie and the pacifiers at the daycare. And it was pretty cool.
At any rate, Phish came out shortly thereafter and played "Icculus".
I was fourth row center, packed in like a sardine with two buddies amongst the heat exhausted, sweaty crowd. Please hold, I need a bong hit before I finish this review....Much better. OK, where was I? Oh yeah, trying to rehash old memories in the vain and useless hopes of recapturing former glories.
As the show was about to begin, I saw Trey silently mouth the following words: An asteroid crashed and nothing burned.
I turned to my friends and yelled TUBE!
3 seconds later, they jammed a funky ass Tube up our sweaty little asses!
Overall, this show is super underrated and should get more recognition me thinks. The blues jams to open the 2nd set are wonderful. The Disease that follows is CRAZY high energy and intense.
To close set two:
Wolfman's>>Sneakin>>Timber Ho!, YEM
Little did I know at the time being only 5 years old when this show was put on this was my first introduction to the counter culture and it has a lasting impact on who I am today. This show was held just down the hill from my family farm formally located at 287 Howard rd in the town of volney ny. I remember the day fondly my grandparents (being huge phish fans) had planned the weekend out months in advance. There was a clam bake and my grandpa set up a pool just the weekend before anticipating the intense heat which for five year old me was a very exciting thing in and of itself not to mention the history I would later be witnessing atop the 100+ year old farm house. This show is one of my earliest memories sitting only roof with my dad and grandfather as they passes funny smelling cigars and watching the highly intoxicated festival goers struggle to walk up our hill. Thank you Phish for the memories I will hold forever, simply irreplaceable
1st Set: The show gets of to a very exciting start with funk fest must haves Tube>Boogie on a Reggae Woman. But the set starts really meaning business when the guys play a beautiful incredibly strong Roggae mid set. The momentum never slows as they go into Tweezer, when played first set it's almost certain the guys are serious about it. The jam is all around solid and feels like a counterpart of it's brother 7/10/99. But the real deal is the movement into Have Mercy. The boys have shown their ability to move into it before (Antelopefest) but this one is special as it's a big bust out.
2nd Set: This set has peaks and valleys IMO. Son Seals actually singing the Phish cover favorite is fun and gives the song a more natural organic feeling that the boys couldn't do alone just covering it. A typical ripping DWD jam which did not cover any ground it hasn't before, still great though. Then we have that big -> into Sally. What a buttery clean segue it was and the best part it wasn't the first amazing segue of the night!
This is a show close to greatness but with the dull patches it gets a 4 in my book.
A tube first set opener! yea we were in for a hot night.Camp Oswego was already burning up due to the heat, but the band thought it would be a good idea to melt us a little more.Boogie was big hit for those in attendance opening a fest with funk is good. the birds is blast, great 99 version.Geulah is one of those songs that boost an entire set! a couple of cool off songs later Tweezer took us where we wanted to go i love the peak in this version. Then i lost it
Have Mercy, no shit i said, i thought i would never get to bask in the greatness of this song. I could have left after this because this was, and had been in my top five from the beginning.Taste keept the feeling going
great like Mr seals
Second set is a classic
Any time you get Phish with a guest is special, but a blues master like son Seals, now you are shitting me.
I have gone back and listened to the 2 songs and the nice little jam a million times.great great stuff. part of Phish history.
The DWD>wolfmans>sally is as bad ass as it looks. I had a tape with sally, have mercy,and a timber ho on it and only dreamed what it would be like to be at a show with these three songs, well i got my wish.
Timber ho is dark just how i like it oh and they played yem also. Damm!
some nice 99 funk in this one.
the always great coil>reprise was a perfect ending to one of more underrated fests. Who needs a third set, when you have a Son Seals?
so sick. the "Birds" is Bananas ! after PNC i realy didnt think I was going to see an exceptional show. I remember running to get to the front of the stage on the second night of the festival. Still the seci=ond night sucked. Trey as obviously spent on the second night of Oswego. But like I said I was surprised He had energy after PNC. Those were 5/8/77 GD level shows.
But the boys came out on fire this night.
Birds was nasty and then to hear a " Have Mercy " fter jammin to 5/8/93 on the way up there was ...... was....
Funky Bitch, DWD, Timber Ho, YEM , ..... wtf
they went beserk as did the fans a classic run. The next night you could tell at the end if the firs set when trye stumbled off the stage , it wasn't the same.
this was classic
Ah, Oswego, the festival that time forgot. I have a much stronger relationship with Fall '99 than with Summer '99, so I'll be interested to see how this stacks up not just as a major event, but also as an example of what Phish were up to then.
Set 1 gets off to a pretty ordinary start, nothing rising out of their melodic boundaries but still played excitingly; however, a three-song sequence gives this first set some added oomph. The band start up Tweezer, which enters its usual late-90s smooth groove space, rather akin to the 9/18/99 version I love so much. It's not quite as good, to my ears (then again, you may disagree), but the jam has a fine moment when, out of the digital looping Trey's guitar playing gets spiky and the band goes into a much-welcome Have Mercy. That song books along before going into its own swirling guitar/piano climax, which makes a natural segue into Taste, a version that also stays within its Taste box but still manages a decent peak. Not a bad first set, all told.
Set 2 starts with a very cool guest spot, as Son Seals comes in to drop some stinging blues riffs on the crowd and offer his vocals to Funky Bitch and On My Knees. A quick blues jam as Son Seals exits gives way to DWD. And the DWD is a huge jam, furious and messy and even melodic somewhere towards the end (before a return to the main theme). There are better DWDs in 1999, but this is a very good version nonetheless. Then comes a (sadly) short Wolfman's, which chugs along amiably enough before a warm, easy segue into a (also sadly short, relatively) Sneakin' Sally, which also chugs along amiably enough before hitting a big rock climax and giving way to Timber. I love Timber wholeheartedly, and this version is pretty swanky, getting dark like a good Stash at times. I'd actually call this Timber my favorite part of the set. I've heard better YEMs; Coil and Tweeprise make a fine end to the show.
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