, attached to 1996-08-14

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

For some reason, this show gets trashed a bit. Maybe it's because people were expecting a throwaway at the final show before the Clifford Ball. Maybe it's because the monster drive from Noblesville took a lot of energy from the folks on tour. Regardless, this show easily ranks as the show at which I had the most fun and contains some great jams taboot.
This was to be my only show of the summer of 1996. Work was hectic so I couldn't go out west, and the Clifford Ball coincided with the start of my college year so I would be missing that. So, because much of the summer touring was in Europe, I hadn't seen a show in eight months. Damn, was I ready!
During the day, I met up with some old friends and met some new ones, including one (heya Dave!) who would become a frequent show partner. We all walked around Hershey Park, riding some rides and staring at many of the long lines. It was hot that day. In fact it was beyond hot, and the inner tube ride that cooled off our little group was as welcome as those little shower spigots they had placed throughout the park. I remember eating ice cream in the food area and having it melt in my hands. I ate dinner before show time in that little restaurant just inside the gates of the park, and our table was one of the liveliest in the joint. Due to an administrative mix-up at the gate, I wound up getting my park admission refunded to me after a conversation with the park manager. So I got to walk around the park with friends for free and know I would be seeing my favorite band that night.
The beginning of the show was fun and danceable, and the little jam "Wilson" and "Disease" was nice. The musical highlight of the first set, though, was the "Reba". Our group was on the lawn near the security barriers, and we had a great view of the stage. During "Reba", Trey was playing expressly for that little girl who was sitting on her daddy's shoulders in front of the stage. It was truly a beautiful moment, and I wish I knew who that little girl was so I could thank her and her daddy for such a fantastic jam! For most of the first set, we were hosed down with squirt guns from the security guards, who were trying to keep any of us from getting heat stroke.
The "Stash" in the first set remains one of the greatest visual spectacles I have seen at a Phish show, as mother nature provided the best lighting effects this side of Chris Kuroda. The backdrop behind the stage was transparent, and there was a castle-like building atop a huge hill in the distance behind the stage. As the sun began to set during "Stash", a crimson light was slowly cast on that hill. As the "Stash" jam peaked, the sky burst bright red and provided a surreal backdrop to the jam, complete with that castle on the hill.
It was the second set where the jams really kicked in. How can anyone complain about a set with "YEM", "Tweezer", and "Runaway Jim"? Perhaps the perceived problem with this show is that none of these songs stand out as a hundred percent, knock-you-on-your-ass version, but they were all solidly played. The "Theme" was nice, too, and the "Cracklin' Rosie" brought a smile to everyone's faces.
The "Julius" encore was the nightcap to one hell of a day. I remember being surrounded by some of the truly beautiful women whom I had spent the day with (yes, Marcie and Liz, because I know you are both reading this, I still think of the both of you every time I hear this song) and swinging them around to the revival beat. Fact is, I can't think of a better way to spend a day.


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