The setting: when we passed through the gates of this horse racing track (or pig racing, as Trey joked before launching into Guyute the year prior), it was like stepping back in time to the band's early days. Once inside, it was a short stroll along the edge of the track to the portable stage. No seats--save a set of aluminum bleachers a ways back--just a flat, dirt/grassy field. We strolled right up to a spot in the center about 30 feet back. The stage was just a few feet high with no barriers, adding a level of intimacy I hadn't experienced before at a Phish show.
The attendees: man, this was a mellow, friendly crowd. No mad rush to the stage when the gates opened...just a bunch of fans milling about in the late afternoon heat (~90 degrees), hanging out and reuniting, eventually finding a spot as showtime neared. Really a great vibe.
The show: The intimate setting added a ton to the band-audience connection, as evidenced during that uplifting Gin jam. That was the most ecstatic crowd I've witnessed, like an olden days outdoor revival meeting--souls were were being saved left and right. Really cool to have experienced those moments. That first set was just perfect for that warm late summer day.
The second set: Before the show, a buddy was determined to hear a Ghost in Portland, and had bought this hilarious 2-foot tall ghost figurine that, if I recall correctly, even glowed blue from the inside. Sure enough, toward the end of the first set, we spotted the ghost lifted overhead slowly making its way toward the front. A minute later, the ghost was placed on the edge of the stage in front of Trey, where it stayed for the remainder of the set. Sure enough, the band sauntered back on stage and kicked into the familiar cry of the opening notes. Success! Again, in such an intimate setting, witnessing that Ghost was a study in the band's on-stage subtle communication and ability to explore music beyond boundaries. What a thing to experience live, just mesmerizing. The rest of the set was no slouch, with a ripping Jim, beautiful Roggae, followed by a fun Sprach and note-perfect YEM. I called Theme for the encore and got a throat-lumping Theme. Perfect conclusion to an experience baked into memory.
Pardon the overly-verbose review, but 14 years later, this show is still one of those rare special moments my friends and I are blessed to have shared.
This Gin is my all time favorite. It flies under the radar when great Gins are discussed, but it is just beautiful, blissed-out Phish. Juxtapose that against the terrifying, angry-sounding Phish in the Ghost and you've got a bit of the best of both Phish worlds in this show.
I'm not sure how else to say it, but this is the happiest and lightest Gin's I've ever heard. I have heard other Gin's that compare well with this and are amazing, but the tone of this one is so upbeat it's hard to not listen to a lot. Set II is also a very nice listen, as others have said. '99 wasn't nearly as bad a year as some argue, and this show proves that in a big way.
I adore this second set, forcing this show into the top 10 of my "regret having missed" category. Life sometimes intervenes with our ability to catch shows. In my drifting and dreaming moments of tuning out, I waft on clouds of could-have-beens from time to time. This ranks up there with a couple of the Japan shows in '00 and Europe '97. The jamming is so patient and exploratory that the 1.7 hour second set slips by like a breeze. It is eloquent. Having frequented the Meadows, too, makes for other special memories linked to the place. As if the Ghost isn't enough, I love the push-pull spacey elements of the Jim, the Roggae reverie, and the 2001>YEM throw down. Sigh, no, we can't catch 'em all. Thank goodness for the devoted tapers among us. (I'm in agreement that fall '99 is an underrated peak!)
Well, I don't officially credit myself for being at this show, but it is the source of a great memory.
I had tickets for both nights of the Gorge and Shoreline. After hanging out with some friends at the Gorge, my friend Bill and I took off for Shoreline. We realized that there were two shows in between Gorge and Shoreline, one of which was fairly easy to hit, but had no tickets and no real interest in trying to get in.
We drove leasiurly all day, knowing that we had plenty of time to make our destination, stopping several times to take pictures and hang out.
...All of sudden... it was show time and we realized we were in Portland... only one thing to do... must... find... the show...
However, we were still determined to not buy tickets. I don't know how we did it, but we ended up parked with a bunch of other people somewhere behind the stage. We listened to the second set on the hood of his car, smoking bowls with a few other strangers parked back there.
It was a very secluded place to watch (well, hear) the show and the stars were gorgeous. I barely remember what they played except for 2001, but I remember it being a special experience.
I agree with Andrew - at the very least listen to the 2nd set, with a really strong Ghost that sounds like a first draft of the almighty 5/22/00 version. Fall '99 has become a sneaky favorite tour of mine, and this is a nice representation of what Phish was up to during that run.
Came in to say that this Bathtub Gin is underrated. Really underrated. Page is beating the keys like the kidnapped his daughter. Painfully patient build by Trey and, to my ears, really passes through a couple common Gin-Jam themes en route to a glorious peak. If SBD's were readily available, I'd suggest it over the Went Gin in terms the of re-listening value. The Ghost is worth a careful examination as well.
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