Mike teased Low Rider in Bathtub Gin. Poor Heart featured several false endings, including a Free Bird-style ending. Makisupa included a long, atypical jam. Sea and Sand (first since NYE 1995, or 166 shows) was an appropriate choice, given the venue’s location near the beach. Sexual Healing made its Phish debut at this show with Fish reading the lyrics off the back of a show poster. As delay loops built to end Halley’s Comet, the band left the stage one by one. The soundcheck's jam contained several quotes of Venus (Shocking Blue). This show was released as part of the Ventura box set.
Free Bird tease in Poor Heart, Low Rider tease in Bathtub Gin
Debut Years (Average: 1991)

This show was part of the "1998 Summer U.S. Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez this is a great unsung hero of not only the summer tour but the west coast run. it gets a bit overshadowed by shoreline and the gorge, but this one is a doozey. it's got some damn fine jams, a fun debut, and a nice bring back.

the first set starts with a mighty fine bathtub gin. like a lot in '98, this is a really nice, extended, exploratory bathtub. this has a similar to feel to most of the other '98 versions, but like the other ones, this one has several interesting and unique twists and nuances. dirt is an early but well-deserved breather. poor heart picks things back up and they tack on a pretty funny start-stop ending. lawn boy, my sweet one, and birds are pretty straight forward. trey has some really nice playing in theme. water in the sky is alright, but they end this set in fine form. they get deep in the funk in moma dance, and melt really nails this one home.

then there is this fine 3 song opening run in the second set. drowned is a sure-fire winner in the opening slot, and they don't forget to rock this one out. after taking it for a nice little ride, they find themselves in a nice funky realm. this eventually leads to a nice makisupa, with an extended, spacey jam that eventually gives way to a red hot maze. this maze is a best of the year candidate. page brings the thunder and they trey matches them. well, it is time for a cool down. hell yeah, sea and sand. the first since nye 95, and this one is equally delicate. very nice placement of this gem. i'm not a caspian fan, but i love me some harry hood. this one is pretty standard. it's good. as the boys line up for the encore, they come out in "fishman formation." bike, love you, purple rain? ha! sexual healing. one of many summer break outs, and this one might be the funniest. after a quick run through hyhu, they finish this one up with a very fun halley's comet. after rocking for a bit, they work into a little digital delay loop that ends the show. good times!

this is a pretty loaded show, with some damn fine playing. also, there are some really nice copies of this show floating around. i've never been to this venue, but i hear it's kind of a shit hole. none the less, the boys always nail their shows here, see the '97 bowie>cities>bowie. as for this one, i would not say there are any jams as cool as that one, but as a whole, i think i like this one a touch better than the '97 show. either way, get them both!

set 1:
bathtub gin, moma dance, melt

set 2:
drowned>makisupa>maze, sexual healing
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by n00b100

n00b100 It's hard not to like a set that gets started with a 20 minute Bathtub Gin; this Gin really hits a sweet groove halfway through, Trey alternating between mellifluous soloing and his usual rock-god tone and Mike laying down some really thick baselines, before the jam shifts into raucous funk mode and then cools out and finds its way back home. The rest of the set is just a set (although the Poor Heart is quite amusing - one almost imagines Trey limping off the stage draped in a cape), until the closing SOAM, a super-cool version that lopes along before Trey really pours on the nastiness in the second half of the jam. That's a lot of quality jamming to offer from a first set.

The second set's setlist is outright ridiculous, and though the band's performance doesn't quite live up to it, they still put on a damn good performance. Drowned doesn't leave its usual song structure, but the jam is molten lava, with Mike and Page's exceptional support work a real treat. As the jam cools down, Trey starts ripping off some trills, and we enter effects land before segueing into Makisupa, which does its Makisupa thing before the band whips up a thrillingly ambient coda (shades of the post-Walk Away jam from Fukuoka) and Fishman starts up Maze. Maze absolutely rips, Page shining with his solo work before moving over, Rover, and letting Trey take over (sorry, that sounded a lot better in my head), and then as Maze wraps up Page immediately rolls into Sea and Sand, and it's a sweet version, as perfectly placed as NYE '95's version. Caspian and Hood are nice listens, but the set's peak has already passed. Then comes the 20 minute encore - Fishman warbling through a charming, if insanely sloppy version of Sexual Healing (was it so hard to learn how to play the bridge?), and a Halley's Comet that hits one more relaxed funk groove (very, very gently suggesting the 11/22/97 definitive version at times) before a very cool ending where a digital delay loop plays as every instrument drops out, leaving the loop to close the show.

@MiguelSanchez sums it up quite nicely - the Gorge and Shoreline are more well known (rightly so with the Gorge show, of course), but this show has a dream second set setlist and some super jams, meaning that it should not be missed.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by Campster

Campster In the spirit of finishing off the box set I'll review the '98 show.

97 was fantastic, and this one held up in equally fine form. It didn't have the monster Bowie, but it definitely has some monster jams of its own.

So set I.

Bathtub Gin - woah! This is probably the jam of the show and it's the opener! It's maybe a bit more linear than the absolute best versions of the song, but it's got a great rocking jam and an absolute monstrous funky dance jam. Because everyone knows Riverport this one may have sipped through the cracks for some - well feast your ears on it now! (yea it cracks 20 minutes)

Dirt is a nice cool down.

Poor Heart has some serious mustard at the ending where they run through a bunch of comical false endings and just shred to the finish. Great and notable version.

Lawn Boy gives us the Page tune (after the Trey and Mike).

Fishman's up next with My Sweet One.

After the monster Gin that was a fun run of tunes!

After a bit of banter they decided to play a new one. Birds of a Feather is tight and has some great Trey soloing.

Theme is absolutely blissful. This is a really strong type I version. Great Trey solo, and just well played. Makes you wish they played it as nicely today.

Water in the Sky is another ok cool down.

Moma Dance was a clinic of funky goodness. '98 Momas mmmm mmm mmm.

Split Open and Melt is a fantastic bookend. This version cooks and churns and straight up rips. I like this one a lot. Great closer.

Overall set I:
Super balanced. Two huge jams in Gin and Melt. Good type I stuff in Theme, Moma & Birds. Throw in some comedy and you've got a winner!
Highlights: Gin & Melt

Set II:

They open with Drowned, which shreds hard. Trey is a wizard and they boil down into a nice funky spacey jam. It's not the longest version, but it's full of fire and has those hints of 97 - with the spacey 98 x factor.

-> Makisupa with an excellent segue out of the funky jam. This version is tremendous and contains a nice spacey jam segment at the end. What usually serves as comic relief provides some pretty fine music!

>Maze! Woof! This puppy is a barn-burner. Excellent version, surely worth a listen and a fine three song pairing.

Sea and Sand was perfect placement. Beautiful rendition and a perfect cool down song. Would be nice to see that pop up a bit more often.

Prince Caspian is up next. Usually a pretty weak call, this version actually rocks hard. Trey showcase. Reminds me of a precursor for the '99 Japan version.

>Hood closes it out for the win. This jam is great and continues the trend of heat as Trey peaks this one pretty fiercely. It's not the all time best version, but it's another peak that makes you wish they could just peak the hell out of hood like this today! Fine ending!

Encore: Sexual Healing > HYHU is classic Phish fun

Halley's Comet contains a great DDL jam at the end, making it notable.

Set II: While lacking in the one standout jam, the set is incredible start to finish. All great songs, well played. Throw in some truly fine jamming throughout. Great.

Overall: 5/5 easy. This show is strong as heck. No lulls, lots of Phishy fun, but so much serious business and heat that you won't think twice about spinning it a couple times through.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by terms_of_the_dance

terms_of_the_dance This was the first Phish show I ever heard. Set 2 with the encore was passed around the halls of my high school on one cassette tape for a few weeks in my junior year. I must've listened to it a hundred times. I had never heard anything like Drowned > Makisupa and all at once it seemed to open up a world of possibility for me.
Nothing has ever been the same since.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by MongoNugget

MongoNugget I don't do long song by song revue's of shows. I am just going to tell you that this was a gem! The venue itself was a dirt race track with the stage set up on the infield. Palm trees in the background and the beach a short walk from the venue it was a great place to be for sure. The band was very playful and themed the show around songs that have to do with water for a large section of the show. The jams were solid and inspired and the groove through the entire show had its claws in me and I was nothing more than a puppet. I had seen a handful of shows prior to this one, but this is the show that got me. I had made the mistake early on of comparing Phish to the Grateful Dead. It was this show that made me realize that Phish is Phish, and the Dead is the Dead and I took Phish for what they were. I finally surrendered to the phlow and found the true Phish experience. I have been a huge phan ever since and do not miss shows if I can help it.

Was this the best show ever? To me, YES! This show changed my life and so for me........this is the most epic, best show ever! Give it a listen and I know you will at least get a couple hours of great grooving out of it.

PEACE, LOVE, & Light to you all!

Greg is living in the tube
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by Bauer

Bauer Thanks to the official release of both Ventura County Fairgrounds shows in 1997 and 1998, this show had a little more like shined upon it. There are a host of deeply under-rated west coat shows from this late 90s era that were simply over shadowed by so much tremendously potent phish. Late 90s is my favorite era and I admit I am totally biased because this was the dawn of my phish experience. This in fact was my first show (my mom wouldn't let me attend in 1997... she knew better and I was 14). Despite that I still managed to throw up on the heels of a group in front of me. (Sorry guys :/)
At any rate... two things worth noting...
1) this venue is known to be totally beloved by phish and the dead because the band can see the waves breaking on the coat line from the stage. That's impart likely the reasoning to prompt such a water-themed second set. (Drowned and sea and sand + theme and water in the sky in set 1.)
2) this is the most magical Dirt that you will ever hear. It contains lines from Mike that have been taken off the books but more importantly if you listen in the beginning, Fishman starts to sing the lyrics. You can hear Trey say "go for it man" ...it's phucking adorable. It's some of the most adorable and endearing stage banter that you will ever hear. I get goose bumps and if you're as big a phish geek as me, you're likely to feel the same. Must hear in my opinion.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by ND61400

ND61400 1998 is an awesome year, Summer '98 (Europe and US) in particular. You have do a little bit of scrolling to find this show in the '98 top ranked page, but that tells you more about this era of Phish than this show in particular. The band is just so absurdly good during this period that a show with a 20-minute Gin opener, a front-to-back great Set 2 (with a capital-"G"-Great Hood), and a superb, extended, grooving Halley's encore doesn't particularly knock anyone's socks off (at least relative to this time period's heavy hitters).

When you put this show on and think that this is just what Phish did in 1998, that's remarkable.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by moonofjupiter

moonofjupiter Gorgeous day. You could hear the ocean from inside the venue. The venue actually sits on sand.
The ground is a dirt bike track. So in concentric circle there is hardened tire tracks. Dancing felt a little goofy.
This is the show from the famous football catch that trey talks about during his solo tour all these years later.
Right out the gates the gin is a monster. 20 minutes. Then a great first set which ends with another massive melt.
Second set is one of those alltime great sets.
The slow down is Sea and sand bust out.

When fish came out for encore he taped a concert flyer to treys mike stand. And read the lyrics to sexual healing as he sand them.
The stage was the highest stage I can remember. Almost comically high.

This is, and will always be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Imagine sitting, pre show in the sand and waves. 20 years before the México runs.

This show is easily 5 stars. Mandatory 1.0 listening. Cow funk all the way.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads This is a fitting example of a show that has a lot that turns me right way up. 20-min.+ Gin opener, which burns slowly to a tremendous release, whipcrack-tight Birds of a Feather not that long after its chronological debut, a well-played Theme From the Bottom, a Moma Dance with a bit of "extra mustard," LOL, and a great, driving Split Open and Melt which still manages to get into the groove because Fishman's playing adheres to a danceable outline. The Drowned -> Makisupa Policeman > Maze sequence is must-hear, IMO, if you're a big fan of Summer '98 or 1998 Phish in general, and the encore is plenty of phun and ends with a legitimately jammed-out Halley's Comet.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by coral_sand_below

coral_sand_below A Gin opener for the ages; the funky grooves the boys hit on this one are unlike anything I've heard thus far. I think this and 8/13/93 are my all time favorites. The rest of the show is pretty great, and probably the better of the two released on the recent Ventura box set. But oh that Gin...
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by WayIFeel

WayIFeel The Split Open and Melt is a monster.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround PHISH, MONDAY 07/20/1998
Ventura, CA
Soundcheck: Jam

SET 1:

Bathtub Gin: Good lord this jam is just so out of this world. The section that goes up until about 13.5 is utter celebratory in nature. Can’t help but put a big smile on your face. It has an intentional theme and is played with real purpose. There is a funky breakdown segment that happens after this. While funky, this is super high energy and extremely danceable. Fishman is incredible during this segment! Has a little stop start at 18:45. Would have killed to have been present for this. What an incredible way to start a show! Goodness. Easy all timer and highly, highly recommended. The fact that they finish this one makes it even more special! They do it with a great amount of panache.

Dirt: Scary how perfect this is. Trey is absolutely note perfect. Makes me so happy to hear this. Better than the studio solo. Breathtaking really, highly recommended. >

Poor Heart[1] - A bunch of false endings and generally lots of playing around. Great fun! The Free Bird ending is awesome. “Mike Gordon, Poor Heart – Mike Gordon, Poor Heart!!!!”

Lawn Boy: Standard.

My Sweet One: Standard.

Birds of a Feather: Standard.

Theme From the Bottom: Standard.

Water in the Sky: Standard.

The Moma Dance: Standard.

Split Open and Melt: Wastes no time at all trudging hip deep into the psychedelic muck and mire. This is hard core, definitely torques on the old reality helmet. Not for the faint of heart, that much is for sure. This gets back to a bit of normalcy around the 9:20 with a cleaner tone from Trey but still is going very, very hard in the paint and honestly never lets up. Tons of intense false endings. Can’t imagine how freaked out folks would have looked after this one when the lights went up as set break starts. Yikes. Would need a hug after this one, it is straight up aggressive, evil Phish for sure. Highly recommended!

SET 2:

Drowned: Rips so hard coming out of set break. Ten minutes of fire, then some funk and some effects that segues nicely into Makisupa ->

Makisupa Policeman[2] -- Fun version with a 90 second heady space jam at the end that segues into Maze >

Maze: Good Lord man, look below. Trey rips the ever loving hell out of this one. A true powerhouse would definitely recommend.

Sea and Sand: How appropriate and perfect placement after faces got melted in Maze. First since NYE 1995, or 166 shows.

Prince Caspian: Trey starting at 7:25 = the baddest guitar on the planet. 9:06 through 9:38, might as well be Jimi Hendrix up on that stage taking over for Trey. So good! Page gets a beautiful 15 second solo and then the hard rock ending and then it segues into Hood. Would recommend this version. >

Harry Hood: Must have been a great glow stick war during Hood, fans loving life during the mid part of the jam. There are some high points in the climax but overall the timing seems to be a bit off here and there. Kind of feels like Trey is trying to do a bit too much. Still a good Hood and a fitting way to close a banging second set!


Sexual Healing[3] > Hold Your Head Up: Talk about a laid back vibe, lol.

Halley's Comet: This one immediately opts for the funky path right out of the composed section. Page creates a very catchy theme at the 6 minute mark that sounds familiar but that I cannot place. At about this same time Trey starts creating a series of loops and then starts rocking that pornofunk to stay in lock step with Page. By the 8 and half minute mark this is really settling down quickly into an ambient soup of sorts and then a minute later they are done.

Summary: As far as the current Phish.net rating of 4.51/5 (202 ratings) – the juice is worth the squeeze, I would concur with that high rating. This show is surely an all timer! Highlights all over the place.

Replay Value: Bathtub Gin, Dirt, Split Open and Melt, Maze, Prince Caspian

[1] Several false endings, including a Free Bird-style ending.
[2] Long, atypical jam.
[3] Phish debut.

Mike teased Low Rider in Bathtub Gin. Poor Heart featured several false endings, including a Free Bird-style ending. Makisupa included a long, atypical jam. Sea and Sand (first since NYE 1995, or 166 shows) was an appropriate choice, given the venue’s location near the beach. Sexual Healing made its Phish debut at this show with Fish reading the lyrics off the back of a show poster. As delay loops built to end Halley’s Comet, the band left the stage one by one. The soundcheck's jam contained several quotes of Venus (Shocking Blue). This show was released as part of the Ventura box set.
Your rating:
Overall: 4.51/5 (202 ratings)
Bathtub Gin, Makisupa Policeman, Prince Caspian, Halley's Comet
Free Bird tease in Poor Heart, Low Rider tease in Bathtub Gin
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by rollingharrier

rollingharrier They were firing on all cylinders. Moma Dance, Drowned > Makisupa... .....sssssssSkunk.....Policeman > Maze, Cactus thundering away and SoCal to boot. Ohhhhh '97.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by OFDhead

OFDhead This was my second show which at first I really enjoyed but over time and now with many shows under my belt keep thinking back to that perfectly cool night right on the water at that dirt track taking in one of the best shows I attended. Perfectly sized venue next to the beach that can only be experienced in SOCAL. My favorite moment was the crazy display of light sticks during maze that was driven hard by the band. The band and the phans were on cue this night for sure.
, attached to 1998-07-20

Review by Capricornholio

Capricornholio This venue is right on the water and the band gets cute with the water theme in the second set. It's a very good show, but once again showcases how Phish and I disagree on what shows they should release. Drowned, IMO, does not make a very good "centerpiece" jam for the second set. It (along with 3/4 of all Rock and Rolls, and a good 1/2 of all DWD) is typically just a throbbing, monotonous, shreddy rock fest. If that's your type of thing, this version won't disappoint. Antics like obnoxiously long song endings (Poor Heart) and Fishman pissing all over Marvin Gaye (Sexual Healing) have never been my sort of thing when it comes to Phish.

Having said all that, I really like this show and it has many highlights. Gin, SOAMelt, Makisupa, Hood and Halley's are all in the verygood-great range. This show is bookended with its two best jams: Gin and Halley's. You get the sense that if this Halley's hadn't been the last song of the encore it would have really taken off.

Fishman is absolutely on fire for this whole show!

3.85 / 4 very good Phish.
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