This was my first West Coast Phish show. The atmosphere is so much different out here as compared to the rabid Northeast to which I was accustomed. Is it the water? Is it the air? More likely, the inherent mellowness is due to the seemingly unnatural abundance of the diggety-dankest of specimens of the Jah herb in this part of the world. I mean, after all this is (as proclaimed proudly by the second runner-up entry in the recent contest to suggest a new Oregon state motto) Oregon - œ A Place To Grow.
This relaxed vibe permeated both the room and the song selection throughout the first set. Exceptions to this rule, and high points of the first half of the show, were a rather high-velocity "Reba" and a way out of control "Antelope" that closed the set with maximum overdrive. The "Antelope" hinted at things to come, and I almost felt sorry for my new roommate in anticipation of what was about to befall her in the second set.
During setbreak we hooked up on the smoking porch overlooking the Willamette River with a couple of the Highlanders that were in attendance. Two bombs later we moved back inside to set up shop for the second set. Over the course of the next hour I watched as my roommate's brains were turned to mush. Sure, she had seen Phish in Indiana in 1994. But I don't think she had paid much attention.
The "2001" was pure space theta-wave induction resulting in deep hypnosis; the "Sparkle" was a sonic jackhammer that probed the cerebral cortex; "David Bowie" was devastatingly dense with hairpin twists and turns yanking the mind hither and yon. My roommate was momentarily lulled back into a false sense of security by the familiar "A Day in the Life," slightly amused by the trampoline bouncing in "You Enjoy Myself", but then completely terrified by the vocal jam that followed. She exclaimed "I feel like I am being abducted by aliens, you people are all fucking crazy, get me the fuck out of here!".
I complied, helping her down the stairs to a telephone so she could phone a friend for advice, then returned to my seat for a soulful "Loving Cup" and a ripping "Suzy Greenberg." The opening notes of "Ginseng Sullivan" sent me on my way back down to find out what had become of my roommate. She had recovered but definitely needed to leave. "Cavern" was the perfect capper to a hilarious evening. Whatever you do"...take care of your shoes.
This was my 1st Phish show ever! As a die-hard Deadhead, who refused to listen to any other bands beside the Grateful Dead during their existence, could not believe how good Phish was!
I must give kudos to two friends, Matt C. & Merri R., for convincing me to check them out. I went on a summer tour with them following the Dead. Both were adamant that I check out Phish. Finally, Phish came to Portland, OR while I was living there for a short period of time. I had 1 Phish CD - A Live One as my education of Phish thus far. Therefore, you could imagine how I felt after this show was over. Here is my review of what I could VIVIDLY remember of this show almost 17 years later...
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon! What can I say, Phish is playing in the same building as the 1976-77 NBA Champions Portland Trailblazers who I remembered watching Bill Walton (well known Deadhead who seen the Dead over 600 times!) bringing the Trailblazers back from the dead down 0-2 to the Philadelphia 76ers to 4 straight wins capturing the NBA Championship! Therefore, it was the 1st time I've ever stepped into the Coliseum...
Poor Heart was the 1st song of the show. I thought I was seeing a bluegrass band? That changed when AC/DC Bag came on. HOLY PHUCK! I did not expect the tenacious jamming toward the end of the song and felt like it went on for 10 minutes. All Things Reconsidered, no memory of it at all. It's the only time I have ever seen this song in 164 shows. Probably won't recognize it the next time if the band ever play it again. Bouncing was on A Live One and knew this song. It was a nice treat (at the time). Didn't know a single song for the rest of the set.
Second Set, Theme song from 2001 was familiar and short. I remember David Bowie (could not stop singing DAVID BOWIE!) as it was well played. Loved "A Day In The Life" as a Beatles Fan (who isn't a Beatles fan??)! You Enjoy Myself was spacey as Trey used to have a synthesizer keyboard/drums equipment that he would take a drum stick and bang on it to give the equipment a boooiiinnnnggg song repeatedly. It was interesting. Loving Cup was another familiar song I knew and it was a blast/treat! Suzy Greenberg was another song I've heard previously.
I was blown away, didn't realize it then, that I would surpass my beloved Grateful Dead in # of shows. I thought I would never see another band 128 times as I did with the Dead, but Phish gave me the hook that I never took off...
I brought a nay-bob to this show (who I love dearly). A die-hard Deadhead, she wasn't too keen on Phish, but I'd gotten some comp tix, and she was curious. "A Day in the Life" blew her mind, but it wasn't enough to convert. Me? I'd converted so long before that each show just seemed more icing on an already thick cake. "Please, sir, I want some more."
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