Jam Chart Versions
Debut Years (Average: 1991)

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

Show Reviews

, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by SpaceMonkey

SpaceMonkey Greetings and Salutations phellow phans,
My first show was a wonderful and magic outing. It was In Columbus at
the Polaris of 98. We were embarking on a four day run of great music that
I had only heard on tape and through word of mouth. We began our trip from
Erlanger Kentucky and headed north along the great windy road known as I75.
We were making pretty good time most of the way up but when we reached the
outskirts of Columbus and had to find our campsite we got lost.
After about an hour of driving in the wrong direction of the campsite
we finally entered from what the brochure said "Close To the Polaris
Ampitheatre", but really an hour away, campsite. We set up camp, and then
it was almost time for the show so we loaded up again and headed off.
It seemed like the longest hour of my life trying to just get to the
show. I can't really remember if the traffic was that bad, but it moved
pretty steady. We got to the gate, paid our parking fee, and then headed
onto the field of phriends. It was really close to show time now so we
drove pretty fast to find a place to park, and then set out for the gates
of the show. From the drive our friends couldn't hold their bladder, maybe
it was all the beer we consumed on the way in. But I was too excited to
pee, I just wanted to get to our seats.
We met up with our friends once again and started to our seats and
what to my surprise we start to hear beautiful music, thousands of people
start screaming and the boys start playing. They opened up with MY Friend
My Friend, and I could not believe it.
Now I have to go back aways to I Believe the Christmas of 97. This is
when I first received a Phish Album. I had been listening to this one
song, My Friend My Friend, with my buddy Adam a couple of nights before,
and my friend Mike remembered my liking of the song and purchased Rift for
me for Christmas. So in all actuality My Friend, My Friend was the not
only the first song I had heard from Phish, but the first song I had heard
in concert.
Now I didn't realize what had happened until the first set was over.
I mean the energy I experienced was amazing. We had seats for my first
show and that made it somewhat intimate, even if there were thousands of
people behind me.
The boys jammed out forever, songs like Ya Mar, Rift, Cities, Stash,
Free, TMWSIY, I loved every minute of it. I didn't want it to end. We
didn't leave our seats the whole show. I couldn't sit still during the set
break, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. My friend
Jason and I pondered over what they would open up with, me not knowing many
songs said my Fav Punch you in the eye. But instead it was a phat jam of
The curtain. Which is really becoming one of my fav songs. The jammed on
and on until the set closer. We all screamed and whistled for the boys to
come back out and of course they did. But from the first notes I thought I
was going to leave my body and swim around the sky above. It was my Fav
song at the time Punch you in the Eye!! I couldn't believe it and my
friends were ecstatic for me. They were saying things like "That is what
it's all about," I didn't know what that meant at the time, but in my
perspective now it really leads me to believe that that show was meant for
me. It was planned for decades for this little guy from Kentucky, to come
see this show and become one with himself and the music around him. It was
an epiphoney. If that's how you spell it.
We did the other four shows with style, booze near the fire, Grilled
cheese on a greasy skillet, veggie burritos from a chick with a beautiful
dog. And to the lady selling Gatorade outside the first night Deer Creek,
You were sent from above to quench my thirst. I think I would have paid a
million dollars for that Gatorade, but she only charged me a buck. To all
of you at Polaris, thank you for making my Phirst Show a great one indeed.
sincerely, a Newbie, now, later, and forever. @DonDeaton
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by Anonymous

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

As I headed over to my buddy Matt's house to pick him up for the show, I turned my head away from the country road stretched out before me and gazed across the green, rolling hills that made up the countryside. I remember thinking to myself, "what a beautiful day for a Phish show." Everybody loves seeing Phish outdoors, but having a beautiful summer day with no rain clouds in sight just makes it that much better. I got to Matt's house, which was where I was also supposed to meet up with my friends Dan, Dave, and Adam who were going to follow us down to Columbus caravan style. Once we were all situated we were off to Erie to pick up the final member of our crew, Alex who had just got back from some kind of Boy Scout camping trip or something. With Alex in the car, we merged onto I-90 headed westbound with the in-dash CD player cranking out Jerry Garcia licks and the three of us speculating as to what we were going to hear that night.
We made it around Cleveland and into the I-271 express lane towards Columbus with no problems. However, we had only made it to the first rest stop on 271 before nature called upon us to stop. I love rest stops on the way to Phish shows because you always run into at least one or two cars full of heady kids on their way to the same place you are. Surprisingly, this particular site was full of tourists and no fellow freaks. We all went in, and when I came out, much to my surprise, my buddy Richard and his van full of friends had pulled into the parking lot right next to my car. As we all conversed for a few minutes, the two cars in our caravan decided it was time to get back on the road. Matt, Alex, and I still had to check into our hotie before we could head to the lot. We said goodbye to Dick and Co. and told them we'd meet them at the show.
We were just outside of Columbus before I had to stop and fill up my tank with some rather expensive gas. Dan, Dave, and Adam left us at the station so they could get to the lot and get rid of the beer they were planning on selling. Less than thirty minutes later we were at our quaint little room at the Cross Country Inn, which was luckily only two exits from the venue which happens to be located right off I-71. We finished up a quick lunch and headed for the lot. Surprisingly, parking was no real issue at all. We didn't run into any cars being backed up until we got off the highway and got onto the road that lead through an industrial area and then eventually into the venue's parking area. All in all, at least from my observation, Polaris Amphitheater is in a really poor location. There aren't enough lanes flowing into the lot and the noise must be pretty loud for the office buildings and eateries located on the same road.
We got ourselves parked and out of the car. That beautiful summer day turned into a real scorcher as I could feel the sweat beading up on my brow after taking a few laps around the lot. The scene was really chill, which was surprising since the lot is somewhat small, and as cars filed in it got to be pretty crowded really quick. We made our way into the lawn at about 7pm, hoping to find some of the friends we knew were there. We found some nice spots at the bottom of the lawn right above the moat and took a seat. As people started to file in, anticipation grew deep inside me. I really had no idea what they were going to play; however, I had this sort of vibe that they weren't going to bust out any new covers like they had been doing (and would go on to do) this tour. I finally spotted Dave, Adam, and Dan in the crowd entering the venue. I called out their names and they came to join us.
Finally, the house music stopped and the crowd roared to its feet. The familiar intro to "My Friend, My Friend" began and was received by hoots and hollers of approval. The band went on to deliver fine versions of "Ya Mar", "Roggae", and the first "Rift" in nearly 100 shows; however, the highlight of the first set was definitely a funked out version of "Cities". This got the crowd moving and singing together and really set the vibe for the rest of the night. The band brought the set to a close with "Water In The Sky" and "Stash". Overall the set had a real summertime feel to it, the kind of set that served as a nice backdrop for a bunch of barefoot kids to dance and frolic in the sunshine. The monstrous "Cities" and the long "Stash" stood out as first set highlights.
As night fell, I overheard many conversations held by fans that expected a really tight second set. As the lights in the pavilion went out I could feel myself biting my lower lip, waiting to the first notes of the second set. As the band literally launched into "Curtain", I could feel a tingle in my stomach and I knew right then and there that this set was going to be a good one. The tune was executed flawlessly and meandered its way into "Free". After some heavy improv, the band collectively brought the tune down to an end as Trey began to signify the segue into the first "If I Could" played since 1996. This version was exquisite and is a perfect example as to why it should be played more often. Trey played the lines on his guitar that had been played by the strings on the studio version and it gave me goose bumps.
"If I Could" wound its way into some blissful jamming that flowed effortlessly into "TMWSIY". This was my first time hearing this composition and the haunting note phrases along with Kuroda's light work had each little hair on my arms and the back of my neck standing on end. Then, at Fish's signal the band kicked into "Avenu Malkenu", the song of the night as far as the light show was concerned. A somewhat new tune called "Twist" found its way out of "Avenu Malkenu" and proved itself to be quite the jam vehicle, allowing the band to take it through many twists and turns before they arrived at the only cover of the night, Jimi Hendrix's "Izabella". Rock star Trey showed himself for a few minutes during this song before burying himself back into the deep and murky groove.
The set ended with a rollicking "Julius" and a solid "Cavern". As the band left the stage the crowd went nuts, wondering aloud how they'd be able to top that second set segue fest. The band once again took their place onstage for the encore. Kuroda bathed the stage in orange light as Trey began his palm-muted pick scratches that could only mean one thing: "PYITE"! Phish nailed this fun tune in such a way that they could have sent us all home smiling; however, not before hearing a beautifully executed "Slave" first. A wonderful encore pairing to cap off a wonderful show. We left the show with visions of serpent deflectors and ribbon reflectors dancing in our head, and finished out the night cramming six people into our hotel room, none of whom wanted to go to sleep, and couldn't wait until morning came and we could hit up the Bob Evans across the street.
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by skid_mark3

skid_mark3 This was my first show and it was a great one. I'll never forget how the crowd just went nuts when they started playing My Friend My Friend. They all starting dancing in unison and everyone was so into the music. I didn't know many of the songs back then, but I still had a great time.

Twelve years later, I can remember Ya Mar, Rift, Free and Slave, but the song that really stands out was "If I could." This was the show that got me hooked. I eventually saw Phish 4 or 5 times at Polaris. Great venue and great memories.
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez this show is a real winner. for those of you that have never been to this venue, it is pretty solid. it is very similar to deer creek, once you get inside. the parking/traffic situation is always quite a bitch. i guess there is ample parking, it just sucks getting to it. the sound is pretty good in there too. anyway, this is their first time playing polaris, and they made a nice first impression there.

my friend and yamar get the crowd grooving. great summery opening sequence. roggae and rift work early in the set, but the cities that follows is a real doozy. this might be the highlight of the show. the band is very much in sync here and they just move together as a unit through this funk laden jam. water in the sky feels a little out of place here, but the stash that follows really wails. where as the cities was a great phish jam, this stash is a really good trey jam. of course, the rest of the band are not slouches here, but trey really hammers this one home.

the curtain>free opening combo is loaded with energy. if i could seems a little odd here, but it works nicely into tmwsiy. avenu is really rocking, and instead of dropping back into the tmwsiy, they plop right into twist around. this is a nice explorative version that finally forges into a hard rocking izabella. the julius>cavern closing sequence is novel but well executed. i really like the punch>slave encore. i'd have to do my homework, but i'm not sure when/if punch had been encored before. plus a nice bonus slave taboot.

as mentioned before, this show marked a nice debut for phish at this venue. if you like this cities, which you will, check out the ghost jam from the same venue the next year. they are both in the same vein, and they are both very good collective efforts with amazing interplay. phish also went on to close the summer 2000 tour here with a pretty damn good 2 night stand. i guess my point here is, why not come back to columbus? i guess, at least, they came back to the blossum center, but the polaris people miss you too.... 4 shows here, all of them killer.


set 1:
yamar, cities, stash

set 2:
the curtain>free, avenu>twist>izabella
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by CosmicJamz

CosmicJamz Pure Gold. An adrenaline shot to the arm for a first set. A great party groove was found in Yamar and Cities. The Cities has a sick, sick beat and rhythm. Trey's melodies emit pure happiness and splendor during the Cities jam.

Nothing but good times flow in the second set. Splendid 'ethnic' Avenu is always fun, plus the dreamy TMWSITY intro and outro. Twist > Isabella pushes IT to the next level.

I recall passing out in our car at some parking lot near an industrial office center near Polaris. I think I actually spread out on the lawn in the early morning light, in a state of pure bliss following a well-worth drive from Smalbany.
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by Boots

Boots This was my first show ever and I was with a friend that wasn't much of a fan but he had fun for sure but for me it was the best time ever. I immediately got hooked up with some friends that were a bit more into the scene and we made the trip to Lemonwheel later in the tour. It is now 2016 and after 13 years of touring I will never forget the magic of that summer and how it changed my life forever.
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by Harfro

Harfro I had seen Phish maybe a half dozen times before this show going back to 1994. I would never categorize myself as a hardcore fan, but I was certainly more than a casual one. I took in shows when I could which mostly meant Deer Creek and Dayton. I wasn’t online until maybe 2002, so any tapes I had came from friends I knew. By the time this show rolled around I knew all of the songs from each album to date plus the more common concert songs and covers. So with that preface, at the time, I thought this was a good show. I had no delusions it was some barn-burner which people would be talking about for years to come. I attended the show with a friend from college who’d I seen a show with previously. I liked her a lot in that she was just so laid back and fun but there was never any kind of romantic stuff between us. She was simply an easygoing friend who shared my taste in music. We had a good time. I’m glad we took in this show together.

I saw maybe another half dozen shows after this one before the band’s hiatus. Maybe a decade later I found this show on YouTube and gave it another listen. I think it holds up well and if anything I enjoy it even more today, 26 years later.

Here’s the thing for me. I get the other reviews on here. For the hardcore fan, there isn’t any groundbreaking music on here or anything special about the set list or show. For somebody’s first show, I can see why it was special. For me, I value it for something else which I appreciate more fully as I’ve aged and gotten out in the world. And here it is, Columbus/Central Ohio is full of really nice people. I hear it remarked by so many people who’ve moved here for work from other parts of the country. We may not have sandy beaches, mountain ranges, or other unique landmarks. What we do have is our ability to choose how we treat one another. Sure, a Phish crowd draws its own community and regardless where you see them you’ll find that vibe. But within that 30,000 you have individuals. I got to spend a couple hours with a really decent person. We loved listening to Phish together. We didn’t care if a song hadn’t been played in 100 shows or not. We didn’t need a song to track 20 plus minutes for it to be great. Given this set list, there aren’t too many extended jam opportunities for that anyway. We also didn’t need flawless perfection. Honestly, I find it rather charming when they aren’t flawless. What these sets did have were a number of beautiful tunes, musically. They didn’t play over top of another, they didn’t overplay any songs, and they didn’t have any glaring flubs. In the dozen or shows I went to that couldn’t always be said was the case. If you’re searching for that rare show or song, this isn’t your show. What it was though was four buddies earnestly playing a good show for good people. It’s like bringing home a grade card to your parents with a bunch of A- and B+ on it. No A and no C.
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround PHISH, FRIDAY 07/31/1998
Columbus, OH

SET 1:

My Friend, My Friend: Standard. >

Ya Mar: Nice Trey led chill jam through about 9:27. Things shift at this point and a little tension building exercise happens albeit briefly. After that Trey continues to lead but things remain mellow. At 10:44 a beautiful passage comes into play, led by Trey. This is suddenly ended at 11:18. Good version, would recommend.

Roggae: Jamcharts version. To my ear, nothing really out of the ordinary.

Rift: Standard.

Cities: Exceptionally consistent jam. Focused and intentional. The last few minutes feature Trey breaking out of that mold they created and firing off some great, peaking runs. They crush this version. Easy all timer and highly recommended! It’s one for the ages for sure.

Water in the Sky: Standard.

Stash: At about the 7 minute mark this one briefly modulates into a major key, but this is just a blip on the radar and just as quickly they slip back into the darkness that is your typical Stash jam. Pretty cool. Things get quite crunchy towards the latter piece of this jam, if only briefly but it adds to the overall texture. Fishman is putting in excellent work towards the end of this one, impressive stuff. Decent climax – just one basically. Pretty good Stash, nothing to really write home about. Good way to end the set. Only 14 times out of 446 has Stash closed the first set.

SET 2:

The Curtain: Standard. >

Free: This is a jamcharts version. Not sure why though. It is totally straightforward and by the book. It has a bit of length to it. >

If I Could: Below average. Very little passion in this one if any. Cool transition into TMWSIY >

The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu:

Twist: Decent jam. Segue had good intentions but Fishman in particular seemed to struggle to get in time. ->

Izabella: Standard.

Julius: Standard. >

Cavern: Standard.


Punch You in the Eye: Standard. >

Slave to the Traffic Light: Standard.

Summary: You would think that coming off that 7.29 barn burner that this show would have been more of the same. They had a night off before this show and it was Friday night. I am sure the fans were expecting and hoping for that. But that was not to be. Cities obviously is the anchor and Ya Mar is a solid jam that has some replay value, but the rest is seriously going through the motions with very little passion or energy seemingly. Not sure what happened here. But they would get back on track at Alpine on Saturday night. The current rating on Phish.net of 4.134/5 (127 ratings) seems awfully generous. My gut tells me this is a 3.5/5 but with an all timer (Cities) in here I guess 3.75/5 might be a better representation of what this show is.

Replay Value: Ya Mar, Cities

If I Could was played for the first time since August 5, 1996 (150 shows).
Your rating:
Overall: 4.134/5 (127 ratings)
Ya Mar, Roggae, Cities, Free
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by showhe

showhe So it's taken me 25 years to write this, a review of my first show...well maybe not so much a review of the show at this point but just tidbits of memories of my friend...and so to start, I went to this show with a few friends that had been seeing shows for a few years but somehow I never made it a priority to go with, focusing instead on collegiate studies. One of my friends, Fred and I, would attend many a show together from Deer Creek to Alpine to Knoxville and many Cincy shows in between. At that point I had known Fred for 5 or 6 years and we even lived togther for a few. Now Fred was always an interesting fellow, he seemed to have no care in the world, always good for playing a joke and just living his best life. He was however completely disorganized and on his own time, which we jokingly referred to as "Fred time". Over the years we moved to different locales, but saw each other when it was possible given that we lived many states apart.

I'll never forget dancing next to him, especially here at Polaris, we were 12th row fish side (back when he was the furthest to stage left). When MFMF started, we just looked at each other and he had that look like, "IT's about time you got yer ass here!" and I'm not sure we said anything to each other the entire show, we didn't need to, we just had that bond. It all seems like a blur to me at this point, life goes by too fast and here I am thinking about that past because I miss my friend and all the fun and smiles and frustration and gratitude.

So wherever you are Fred, thanks for taking me on this 25 year journey, it is because of you that I have met so many wonderful people over the years. I think of you every time I'm at a show and get that feeling that I can still look over and see you just nodding and giving me that knowing look. I'm still here friend and I'll be dancing a little extra for you on 8/4-5 at MSG!

I miss you and hope you've found peace.
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by User_35532_

User_35532_ This show is a pretty rough in patches but it has it’s moments. The Mfmf and Rift both feel like the band is having a low energy night. The Ya Mar takes a nice walk but doesn’t really move beyond a meandering type 1 jam. The Cities is probably the biggest highlight of the show, and the back end starts to resemble the back end of YEM as it pushes towards the peak. It’s definitely worth a listen if nothing else. The Stash flirts with be coming interesting around the 7 minute mark before falling right back into it’s regular progression with the band looking for but never really finding something to push Stash over the edge.

The second set doesn’t have a lot going on. Free is fine, If I Could is played well, but the set list doesn’t really have much cohesion or any stand out moments. I’m sure for rarity hunters, being at this show must have been fun, but solely on tape, you won’t be missing anything skipping the set entirely. If you’re looking for a show without a lot of jamming and a weird set list, check out 7/28/98, it’s got much tighter playing with just as random song choices but it all comes together into a very enjoyable show. As it stands, 7/31/98 is one of the weakest from summer 98.
, attached to 1998-07-31

Review by Capricornholio

Capricornholio A great (if somewhat short) first set with interesting song choices that are well played. Ya Mar doesn't get "all the way out there," but where it does go is very nice. This Cities is often in the conversation for best ever (personally, i'll take Greek 10) and deservedly so. It goes on for just over 15 minutes and has three distinct jam sections (type 1, delay loop, and hose). They stumble a little bit getting into the delay loop jam with what sounds like a forced key modulation. Everything after that is straight butter as the delay loop jam stays in funkytown for a few minutes before closing out the jam with about 6 minutes of ferocious rock. The set closes with a standard, but nice, Stash.

Set II is a real snoozer. Outside of a Free that has a little bit of the proverbial "extra mustard," there isn't really much to see here. Even a "->" Izabella couldn't save this mediocre Twist. Perhaps sensing that they bricked the second set, they come out with a pretty great one-two for the encore with PYITE and Slave.

Maybe if the two sets were flipped, I would consider this show a little better, but there are no real great highlights after the Cities. This is a fairly uneven show that is typically overrated because of the GOAT Cities contender in the first set.

3.35 / 5 B- Phish
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