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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Cook Gave Me the Recipe: Vicarious Bethel Woods Review, Night Three

   After the fire crews put out the fires that burned Bethel Woods to the ground Saturday night, the band returned for one last go in historic Bethel, NY before moving on to Holmdel, NJ. Although Sunday night didn’t measure up to Saturday’s fiasco, the show still rocked, the scene simmered in the 90+ degree heat, and the band closed out one of the best weekends in recent memory.
            AC/DC (7:43) blew the doors open Set One Sunday night, but was followed by relatively standard versions of Sample (5:00), Rift (6:40), Ocelot (9:25), and Ya Mar (7:31). The band finally launched into something non-standard with a deep, dark version of Timber (Jerry) (6:47) > Ok Kee Pah (1:44) > Suzy (6:24) > 46 Days (8:08) > 20 Years Later (7:56).  31 minutes in the sauna. You loved it. A horrifically short, in my opinion, Curtis Loew (4:54) was followed by a ten-and-a-half-minute Antelope that included enough Curtis teases to satisfy those displeased with Loew’s length. Got to love the teases.
            A much expected Mike’s Groove opened the Second Set as Mike’s (9:41) > Simple (10:57) > Weekapaug (5:20). The Simple was epic and Weekapaug included a muffled Fishman intro beat that started as the boys finished jamming Simple and led right into Weekapaug. We’ve heard much better ‘Grooves, but the Simple was sick. A Meatstick (Japanese) (6:39) fooled a few phans, as some expected bigger things after Trey’s guitar tech came on stage for some business. Either way, Meatstick > Fluffhead (14:32) > Joy (5:38) was good enough. So in typical fashion, just when some diehards started to think “after what we got last night, these standards don’t surprise me” the band blasts off into a 2001 (7:16) > Light (9:26) > Slave (12:03) that delivered just what most of wouldn’t have expected to end a standard Sunday night show. EPIC. Although 2001 was on the short side, and perhaps forced (???), the 9+ minute Light, the latest launching pad, into a 12+ minute Slave pulled everyone right back in. How dare these guys get everyone filthy fucking sweaty again after everyone had just dried off? Well, next time don’t dry up you pussy. If you’ve learned one thing since 1983 it should be that these guys are unpredictable. And the last 30 minutes of Set Two proved that…once again. These guys are the shit. THE FUCKING SHIT.
            I’m somewhat surprised that Phish didn’t close the show with a Hendrix tune (despite a previously-played Bold As Love), the same way Woodstock closed 43 years ago, but 1) that would be perhaps too predictable, and 2) it wasn’t Woodstock. But still, in an opportunity often saved for Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Hendrix, I was surprised they didn’t choose Hendrix. Instead they chose the ‘Stones and ripped through a five-and-a-half-minute Loving Cup that > into TweepriZe (4:06), the perfect closing moment to a weekend that started with Tweezer. Local Masshole acquaintance “Giant Fishman” (as we’ll call him to conceal his identity…unless he wants to be named ???) jumped on stage an ran across untested all Fishman-dress-wearing-80’s-Pro-wrestler-physique of him. Security even let him stay for the rest of the show (DISCLAIMER: I’m not suggesting it’s OK to storm Phish’s stage, nor am I condoning it, nor am I claiming any other venue would allow this…IN OTHER WORDS, DON’T TRY THIS AT YOUR HOME). Either way, it was supposedly funny as hell and he’s a great kid who obsesses about the boys just like the rest of us. Right on “Giant Fishman”!
            So the boys closed out Bethel in the same way the opened it – en fuego. The buzz is building to threshold-breaking limits as the band rolls into Trey’s home state for the first mid-week run in Holmdel. I sit on a (delayed) 100+ degree plane waiting for this over-priced, snotty-crew-controlled US Airways flight to bring me to Philadelphia, where we will begin our Holmdel invasion plans, and despite the incredibly annoying, hot, miserable situation we’re in now on this stationary plane, we couldn’t be happier. Enough vicarious reviews, it’s time to get dirty.

The captain just came on the loudspeaker: “We’re ready for take-off, we’ll be in Philly in 45 minutes”…that’s my queue, because I’m ready for liftoff, too. I’ll see you pholks in Holmdel. Have my drink ready.

- Trigger Treinta Uno

Thanks once again to Miguel Cocisneros for help with last night’s review and & for set list help.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Cook Gave Me The Recipe: Vicarious Bethel Woods Review, Night Two

    Dude is a word my boy Miguel Cocineros uses a lot. Our crew jokes about the hundreds of ways he can use "dude", primarily because the word represents 20% of his lexicon. I'm not suggesting he's dumb - in fact, he's pretty smart - but he uses and abuses this word more than anyone in history. But I've known the guy for 11+ years, so interpretation comes quickly. This 'dude' was clear: Where the FUCK do I begin?!
    I love Theme (9:24) for many reasons. Like Bowie and Maze Theme opens with a trance-inducing drum beat that's not only immediately recognizable, but also belongs to a song powerful enough to get everyone going - immediately. And like Bowie, Theme, although certainly structured, leaves the door WIDE open. Fires were lit immediately in Bethel Woods. So before we launch into this Cocineros-inspired/witnessed/written-through-the-eyes-of review, you should probably sit down. A standard but thick NICU kept the blood flowing as the band decided to twist heads from necks for the next 70 minutes. A middle-of-the-woods-in-a-farm-dominated-area Cities popped off, probably to keep the everlasting musically-induced sarcasm going, and it was the perfect stretch routine for the following celestial event: Halley's (12:02) > Runaway Jim (8:38). Cocineros on Halley's: "dude, it was a fucking 12 minute space demon". Enough said. The groove stuck through a Jim, and after a few seconds break they popped off 19 straight rockin' minutes of personal favorite Gumbo (4:42) > Quinn (6:14) > LxL (8:17). Now don't take any offense here phans, but LxL is a crew joke between us. Not that LxL is a bad song, in fact, it's great on a few levels, but I've seen it over 30 times, which according to guru David Steinberg, the only reason you folks know your stats through Phantasy Tour, is a statistical rarity. In other words, in 128 shows I should not have seen LxL 30+ times. Lets put it this way: I'd rather hear something else. So when Cocineros said "dude, even the LxL was fucking sick..." I knew exactly what we were in for. I assume tickets are disappearing as I type. A too-often-looked-past Horn (3:57) followed the 19-minute sweat session, and the horns were sounding off for what will become an instant summer highlight. A 15-minute Gin closed the set, but this "crazy", "chaotic" (MC) Gin contained instrumental Golden Age teases that morphed into full-on Manteca teases, which jammed right back through to Gin. Holy shit. I AM FUCKING LOVING THESE MANTECA TEASES! CACTUS POPPING OFF!! WHAT THE FUCK!!! AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! PHISH!!!!! AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH WE FUCKING LOVE IT!!!!!!
   Those who survived the first set were treated to the <10 song sets that we die-hards obsess over. Seven song set list to be exact. And of course there is NO DENYING a DWD (15:34) Set Two opener...BUT WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU DO WHEN THE WHOLE FUCKING SET IS A FUCKING SEGUE. LET ME REPEAT: WHAT THE FUCK!!! AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! PHISH!!!!! AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH WE FUCKING LOVE IT!!!!!! I can't even write this...I'm shaking...why are two of my best friends getting married this weekend?! Why aren't they obsessed with Phish?! When is my wife going to read this and say "Trigger Treinta Uno, we talked about this. I miss Phish, too, but we agreed not to complain." When is she going to realize that I stole the rental car, left the wedding resort, and stranded her in OH, 9 hours from Bethel and her ride for the rest of tour? When am I going to snap back to reality and realize that I'm not going anywhere until tomorrow night when we invade Holmdel? Now. So let me get back to reality here, in which "here" is one of two resort computers with internet as I sit in beautiful Logan, OH. Shoot out to all you Loganites...if you exist.
   DWD > Free (7:11) > BDTNL (12:09) > Makisupa (7:34) > Hood (12:37) > Cavern (4:33...yeah, I know) > Bowie (13:26). Take a muinute if you need it....

...OK, you good? I tried to get details out of my (sober) friend, but Cocineros could only say "dude, it was fire...what can I say, they sound fucking tight. By the time you get down here to NJ it's going to be mayhem." The BDTNL was predictably sick and groovy as I've said many times this is one of their best new jams (along with Light, in my opinion). Makisupa got the blood boiling as the boys started carrying on about "this is _________'s house" until they finally got it right revealing that it was in fact Mike's house. We already knew that. Mike's always been on the deed, but he took over the mortgage in 3.0. He's rich, bitch, and that house is his forever. By the way, Trey apparently claims 'House' is his favorite show. That show absolutely sucks, but then again, so does television. A rare-ish middle-of-the-set sick Hood followed Makisupa, which segued into a way-too-short Cavern. I hope you took my advice and took care of your must not have been because the band had to remind you, too. Apparently you got the message too quickly though, because they were done in under 5 minutes. I wish you people had been a little slower...oh well, it's early. A predictable but groovy Bowie ended Night Two, which no doubt is sparking conversation nation-wide. Maybe you should start looking for tickets to those shows "no one is going to" now. I'm just saying. A Day In The Life (5:19) closed the show and the phans left the increasingly wild scene buzzing like a bunch of bees. And for good reason. From the space funk, to the demonic jams, to the early teases and monster segues, it's clear: I WAS WRONG. They ARE popping off already. 
    This ain't McDonald's, but I'm lovin' it...and so should you. This is why we do it, and we're getting exactly what we asked for. ALREADY.

Hold on folks, we're in for a ride. 

- Trigger Treinta Uno

Thanks to Miguel Cocineros for the concise but energetic review and for making me consider getting my wife and ditching this...never mind. (JK, we love you Rob & Nicole -  congrats by the way!)

Thanks to & for set list help.

Matty Fractal, we're thinking of you brother! Get well and we'll see you much sooner than expected!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Cook Gave Me the Recipe: Vicarious Bethel Woods Review, Night One

Note: Unfortunately due to a phamily emergency, we were not able to attend Friday night's opener in Bethel Woods. Because of this unforeseen event the first show review will not offer the same insight as subsequent reviews, however, our crew has righted the ship once again and Sunday's review will be as originally promised. Regardless, I plan to offer my opinions of last night's show. PLEASE feel free to comment on the scene, venue, or show.

    One of the things  people hate most in life is being wrong; I know I loathe it. Some of our readers might remember me saying that although Bethel would be off the chains in terms of scene, atmosphere, etc., I made the relatively bold statement "don't expect much from the boys this weekend, rarely do they ever pop off within the first night or two." Well that could be true if you don't consider a TWEEZER OPENER POPPING OFF! FUCK!! The place must have exploded. From what I've heard and read, they sound tight. Speculation is running wild that the boys must have been rehearsing...a lot. And that's EXACTLY what we wanted to hear. No warming up, just popping off. One complaint: I hate <10 minute Tweezers. Did I just bitch after the first song? You ain't got to lie Craig, you ain't got to liiiieeee - you agree.
   No matter because My Friend segued from Tweezer in a scene that must have had at least 10,000 people saying "Dude, are these guys fucking serious? Tweezer > My's going to be a SWEATY summer". The band must have sensed the cries of heart-pumping joy, because the boys let their sympathies be know with Poor Heart. A horribly short but phan favorite cover Roses Are Free blasted out of Poor Heart, which was followed by Funky Bitch, just to make sure the ladies were feeling the love. Then the roof caved in. Wolfman's > Walk Away...what are they doing? Dude, this is the FIRST FUCKING NIGHT!!!! Unreal...especially the Streets of Cairo tease in Wolfman's.
   Stash got the lighters popping as people wiped the sweat from their Walked Away fractured domes, then the crowd got to relax with the cherry-popping custie favorite Bouncing 'Round The Room. Good, at least EVERY song wasn't raging right off the bat. The set rounded out with one of my newish favorites, Kill Devil Falls, which must have been HEAT at 13+ minutes...fucking HEAT (no, not the basketball team, but while we're on the subject I fucking HATE them...Dallas in 6). Anyway, in a move many 'heads probably eventually expected at Bethel, Phish closed Set One with Bold As Love, a favorite cover by the man that closed out Woodstock 43 years ago.
   Set Two opened with Carini. This is the band telling us they want us to a start fighting in the pit. They demanded lumpy heads and then got Back On The Train to take us to Funkytonk. After a nearly 17 minute burner the band decided some of their phans still needed to shed some pounds so they launched into a 9-minute Boogie On Reggae Woman..that never ended...HEAT...Boogie > Waves (13:50) > Caspian (7:33) > CROSSEYED AND PAINLESS (12:03) > Wading (7:35) > Possum (8:58). Holy shit. Call some of those choices the Caspian middle lame...maybe you can't stand Wading. It doesn't matter. What you got if you went was ONE HOUR of HEAT. If Crosseyed didn't buckle your knees then just go home. Now.
    A standard 'Coil closed the set of what looks like the best opener of 3.0. But just when you thought you might be safe from changing your shirt for the drive home, Julius blasted the encore ears. No brother was sleeping during this fiasco. This is why we do it folks, for the heat of the moment. Every moment. Every show...unless you encounter a phamily emergency.
   So now things are getting back to normal for our crew and we'll be in partial attendance for Night Two - and we couldn't be more pumped after Night One. The show is back on the road. Again we apologize for the short, insight-lacking review of Night One, but phamily comes first. Come back tomorrow and check for a review of Night Two. Thanks for reading!

The boys are back in Town.

- Trigger Treinta Uno

Thanks to for setlist help, and You Know My Esteez for the effort - see you soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

1st Leg: The Beast Coast

   One could argue I could not have come up with a more cliche rear windshield title for my first blog. As a seasoned hater I despise the phrase seemingly most associated with touring with our beloved Phish, and my reasons are completely snobbish. The phrase reminds me of other cliche terms like "newb" or "wook", whether appropriate or not, which could serve as further evidence of my snobbish attitude towards things I deem lame. Before you judge, I'm not alone; but before I attempt to justify mine or my peer's aforementioned attitudes, the "Little Man Inside My Head", or Limmy (last name 'Intuition') as he'll be known whenever referenced, reminds me that I was once the very thing I attempt to ridicule. Ahhh, maturity. What a ridiculous state of mind we pretend to achieve in our later years. I think the true definition of maturity should be: finally coming to terms with who you are, and not giving a shit what others think about it. But that's another blog, because we've gone Phishin'.

   The First Leg of 2011 Summer Tour (ST11:1) begins in Bethel, NY, the same geographical area where the original - and ONLY one worth acknowledging - Woodstock took place in 1969. What a great way to kick off a summer of Phish by being reminded of our predecessors and the birth of a counter culture that traveled far and wide to see music, among other things. While you're there think about the original Woodstock, the surrounding rolling farms, the socio-economic state of the country at the time, the Vietnam War, the sacrifices, the strength, determination, and spirit of the people that made said sacrifices and made the counter culture movement possible. It was these people and their families living in that time that set the blueprint for the musical, socio-economic, and cultural anthrosphere we take for granted today. Sure, our current state might seem to parallel those times with gas prices, war, and political strife, but remember, that generation proved that these obstacles can be overcome. It may seem cheesy, but take that minute to think about these things as you enter the Bethel area, it's worth the feeling of gratitude. Anyway...

Memorial Day Weekend (5/27-29), Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY

   The first three shows of ST11:1 kick off in historic Bethel for the first time, but certainly not the first time in New York - Phish has played in New York 20 times since the start of 3.0 alone.  Expect the atmosphere to be busting as Phish begins another summer of touring after a six month break, the band sets into their comfortable little niche in upstate New York, and the crowd soaks in the scene that represents a microcosm of what went down 43 years ago. As for the music, I wouldn't expect much the first weekend, save maybe Sunday. Rarely do the boys start popping off within the first night or two. Regardless, it's the beginning of Phish tour. In seven day the lights go out, the boys walk out on stage, and Trey noodles to make sure he's in tune. Liftoff. 

5/31-6/1, PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

    The first mid-week shows of ST11:1 belong to Holmdel, NJ and the infamous - depending on perspective - PNC Bank Arts Center. Phish hasn't rocked out one of their "home town" spots in a minute - 5, 725, 440 minutes to be exact; it's been over 10 years since Phish set Holmdel ablaze. The last show Phish played PNC (6/29/00) featured a gem First Set (Funky Bitch > Wilson, LBL, Drowned > Rock 'n' Roll), and a crazy Second Set with Birds > Catapult, Sand, and a Meatstick > Cities > Walk Away > Antelope > Frankenstein that had Pete Carini chasing fans off the stage, leading to raucous alternate lyrics in Meatstick. Shit show. PNC always rocks. Period.

6/3 DTE Energy Center, Clarkson, MI
6/4 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
6/5 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH

   The second weekend run of ST11:1 brings us through the recently tortured Detroit, be it economically or sports-ly, and into the beautiful Ohio Valley. Phish has only played the Motor City twice in their long career, most recently at the Cobo Center. That Fall Tour 2009 opener seems relatively standard on paper, but I'll take (1) AC/DC, Foam, Kill Devil Falls, It's Ice, Horn, 46 days, Bowie and (2) DWD > Free > Waste, Mike's Groove, Cavern any day. "Standard shows" need to be put into perspective, and I'm betting no one in Detroit was disappointed in this opener. Expect Gordon's birthday show to get Michigan phan's motors going...sorry. All bad puns aside, as Fall 2010 Tour seemed to indicate, Phish loves to bring life to hurting towns. Expect nothing different in ST11.
   On Saturday night the band revisits Cuyahoga Falls, OH for the second straight summer. I've never seen a more esthetically pleasing amphitheater. Last summer the band ripped the roof off on the first note of The Band's "Look Out Cleveland" and never looked back. A ripping Curtis Loew was followed by a getting-darker-by-the-tour Mike's Groove. The Second Set opened with a Rock 'n' Roll > Hood > BDTNL that left the crowd begging for a break, which the band granted with 20 Years Later. The Second Set did fizzle out a bit, but we raved the entire ride to Hershey about the aforementioned segue. Oh, Ohio.
   The second weekend of ST11:1 wraps up in Cincinnati at the Riverbend Music Center, Phish's first return to the 'Bend in over 10 years. Lets hope we get another burner like the '00 crowd received weeks before Phish's first hiatus: (1) Mike's > Simple > TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu >  Weekapaug; (2) Killer unfinished It's Ice, Sand, Guyute > BBFCFM, Drowned. Lets put it this way: Phish plays only five "Midwest" shows the entire summer. This can be resolved in a simple equation: MI + OH(2) + Chicago(3) = Heat.

6/7 Comcast Theater, Mansfield, MA
6/8 Darien Lake Center for the Performing Arts, Darien Center, NY

   The second set of mid-week shows brings us - at least our crew - back home to Massachusetts for the seemingly  annual 3.0 Great Woods...err...Comcast Theater show in Mansfield. Rumor has it Phish tried to book Mansfield for two nights, but was denied because of a prior commitment, hence the head-scratching bolt to Darien Lake, NY the following night. No matter, this is "home town week" and we're happy with anything. Mansfield 2010 was a personal favorite of mine, if not for anything other than my several year Camel Walk chase had finally ended (no, I wasn't in Philly in '09...don't remind me). Any way you look at it Phish rocked Gordon's home state with a Lit 'O' Bit debut opener, followed by my long-awaited Camel Walk, a sick Divided Sky and Kill Devil Falls, and a Dr. Gabel debut. The second set featured a chest-ripping Mike's groove and a Sneakin' Sally > Light > 46 Days that probably left several fans dead.
   The last Darien Lake show in 2009 featured a dedication of How High The Moon (last played 710 shows ago) to Les Paul, who had died earlier that day. The show also featured Dinner And A Movie, a fan favorite. I liken the Darien Lake show to the roller coasters outside the can figure that one out. Still...Wednesday...many tickets left...rager.

6/10 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
6/11-12 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

   I can barely contain myself as I write a preview/review of the third batch of ST11:1 weekend shows. We return to Camden-Merriweather, the site of the best Phish of Summer 2010, if not all of 2010. If you felt you were a scorned Phish fan, perhaps copping an attitude towards 3.0, but desperately seeking the feelings you forgot, the Camden-Merriweather run of 2010 had to make you a born-again Phishfan (say it fast, it sounds like christian...don't steal my obsolete shirt idea). If 2010 was any indication of things to come, I suggest making sure your brain is securely fastened within your skull, because you might lose it. David Bowie kicked off the "Mason-Dixon Line" run last year and it set the tone for a rowdy weekend. Not long after Bowie we were treated to a rare 2.0/3.0 Uncle Pen, and a drop-legged Boogie On, followed by a thick Gumbo > Timber(Jerry) > I Didn't Know. The first set ENDED with Birds, Bouncing, an unfinished Reba, and Phish's debut cover of Rover, the classic Zeppelin tune. As if that wasn't enough, Phish launched the second set with face peeling versions of DWD > Crosseyed > Nothing > 20 Years Later > Hood > Fluffhead > Julius. Wow. Just for good measure they ended with YEM and encored with Bug. 
   Everyone was still breathing heavily when they entered Susquehanna Bank Center for night two, but that didn't stop Phish from pressing on, not during the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. WARNING: If you have a weak heart or are an overly emotional person, especially when considering Phish, I would advise you skip the next section. Miguel Cocineros, one of my closest Phish homeboys, nearly lost his shit with the first chord out of Trey's guitar. I was a bit slower than he, but by the 4th or 5th chord I was equally excited: Alumni Blues (222 shows)! Then > Letters To Jimmy Page (587 shows...debated)!! They followed this historic segue with BBFCFM, which set the place on fire. As the initial mayhem subsided the band grooved along through some classics and debuted Free Man in Paris. The second set opened with the best Chalkdust Torture in years. We labored then grooved then straight got down through Prince Caspian > Heavy Things > Alaska as the beat morphed into 2001. Something was in the air. Phish had just ripped through a thick Alaska jam and showed no signs of slowing...this 2001 had an epic feel. Then the sky fell. I had considered blaming psilocybin for the "Wanna Be Startin' Something" teases I thought I was hearing Trey noodle until seasoned veteran and good friend Matt Grosik turned to me and said "I told you they would bust out MJ". Bust out they did. The 10+ minute 2001 featured Wanna Be Startin' Something, Billy Jean and Thriller teases throughout, and thrilling doesn't come close to describing it. From Trey figuring out the melody and mixing it in, to Cactus REFUSING to let the Billy Jean bass line die long after it could have, to the sheer energy of 20,000 heads grooving to the man they grew up listening to - it was magic. Pure magic. 
   Buzzing is an understated way to describe the atmosphere around the Merriweather lot before Saturday night's show after what went down in Camden. For the second year in a row Phish opened with Crowd Control, perhaps in reference to the herds of drunken quasi-southerners that flock to Merriweather every season. A somewhat standard but rocking show ensued, with gems such as Kill Devil Falls, the debut cover of Aeroplane Over The Sea, BDTNL, 46 Days, Rock 'n' Roll, Fast Enough For You, Tweezer and more Zeppelin love with Moby Dick teases and a GTBT encore.
   The next night was a key example as to why one should NEVER MISS A SHOW. Sunday night's show opened with the first Walfredo since 1.0. Mellow Mood followed and it was on. Divided Sky and Tela satisfied the Gamehenge junkies while Ginseng Sullivan satisfied the hillbillies. Brian & Robert followed by Antelope ended the set. All was well. In Set Two Phish erupted: Wilson > Meatstick (Japanese) > Saw It Again > Piper > Ghost > Jumpin' Jack Flash > Saw It Again > Contact, YEM, E: Fire. Read that again if you have to. I should probably remind you they teased Saw It Again through the entire set. Now read it again. Yeah.
   Wait a minute, this is supposed to be a preview as well. OK, why would we expect 2011 to be any different? Bombs go off on the Mason-Dixon line.

6/14-15 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Alpharetta, GA

   The band returns to Alpharetta, GA , the site of last summer's epic 4th of July weekend shows, for the final set of ST11:1 mid-week shows. Opening night in Alpharetta '10 delivered the first Character Zero opener in history. It also took the pit sign craze to new levels, which seemed to dictate many of Phish's choices the remainder of the summer right through the fall. Destiny, Rift, McGrupp, Gin, Mountains in the Mist, NICU, Gumbo, My Sweet One, STFTFP, Strange Design, Sanity, Antelope set the First Set tone. A slightly over-played but always craved Rock 'n' Roll opened the Second Set, which was followed by Tweezer and several other jammy standards. Sleeping Monkey preceded RepriZe to close the show. 
   An obligatory Independence Day Star Spangled Banner followed by head favorite launching pad PYITE got the pot boiling. We lost our minds on the first few chords of Colonel Forbin's and no one rested until Lawn Boy (Forbin's > Mockingbird, Camel Walk, Ocelot, Heavy Things, My Friend > Lawn Boy). Lawn Boy was every one's dip in the pool, but Bowie and Jibboo sweat the place right back up. Second Set things began to unravel...inside my brain. DWD > Piper > Ghost > Waste. As if this wasn't sublime enough in itself, Phish decides to crank it up a notch by lighting this fuse: Julius > Mike's > Tela, Harpua > Killing In The Name > Harpua > Weekapaug. Huh? Has anyone ever seen a mosh pit? Really? OK, well have you ever seen a mosh pit at a Phish show? I doubt it, and that's what attendees witnessed on July 4th, 2010. No one was punching each others brains out though - Mike's bass took care of that. I've experienced many things in 128 shows since 11/30/97, but I have NEVER experienced anything like that mid-Mike's Groove scene, before or since. It was beautiful and powerful. And hilarious. I mean, I still question whether I really saw tie-dyes, Birkenstocks, dreads, and quartz crystals MOSHING. But we did. Venues become the places of legend, and when you tear down a place from the get-go, there's no place to go but...up. I expect the band to continue to rage Alpharetta as long as they go there. Lets just keep the fireworks to a minimum though, huh locals? This isn't a SEC football game, it's a Phish show, which requires eyes and ears to fully enjoy. No offense, I'm just saying.

6/17 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Charlotte, NC
6/18 Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion, Raleigh, NC
6/19 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA

   The final set of weekend shows finishes ST11:1, and to start we'll have Carolina on the mind. North Carolina that is, and let me start with this quick message to all those planning to attend. I contacted both of the venues in Charlotte and Raleigh and got this information directly from the venue staff: All local woman are required to wear sun dresses.
   Friday kicks off in Charlotte, and last year's Charlotte show peeled wigs off. Buried Alive opener...these shows should come with a warning label... > AC/DC, Vultures, Wolfman, Back On The Train, Wedge, Mexican Cousin, Stash, Sparkle, Chalkdust. Rager. We had phamily in the first row. We were in the 10th. Kuroda wouldn't take the shirt we'd been trying to give him the whole tour. The locals kept telling us that we were in the "new Phish mecca" (i.e., not the northeast). The south was rising again. We were just getting started. We were Drowned for 46 Days to open Set Two, and what seemed like 20 Years Later, we got the first Lizards in over a year. ST11:1 Mosh Pit 2 began with Carini, which > Fuck Your Face (1,413 fucking shows!!!) > 2001. Jesus, dude. You said it, man. The best comment of Summer Tour '10 came from a guy in our row, also from Massachusetts:

To Miguel Cocineros and me: "Hey, were you guys at the last Fuck Your Face at Nectar's in 1987?"

Us back to him, confused: "No..."


It was classic. At that moment, every Phish fan from later years was suddenly connected to Phish fans past. The legends, the stories, the Pharmer's Almanac blurbs, the tapes, the dream that someday you'd be lucky enough to hear one of those legendary allusive songs. That was that day for many of us. (Side note: lets pretend for a minute they didn't play FYF 100 times during the subsequent Fall Tour.) The set ended with YEM, which included  Proud Mary and Get Back vocals. They kept the Beatle theme going through the encore with A Day In The Life. Just like Alpharetta, we're dying to get back to this place.
    We tread on to Raleigh for Saturday's show to the legendary Walnut Creek Pavilion. Like our beloved Great Woods in Massachusetts, this fine venue, one of the best on tour in my opinion, has had it's name forsaken for a corporate entity. Comcast holds our venue hostage, Time Warner yours. Regardless, the atmosphere never changes. The First Set opened in 2010 with the second Llama of 3.0 (at the time), followed by Roses Are Free, Kill Devil Falls, Time Loves A Hero (127 shows), Alaska, Water In The Sky, Runaway Jim, Moma Dance, Divided Sky, Cavern. Heat - and I'm not talking NC, because it was unseasonably cool. BDTNL - one of the bands best newer jams - got the Second Set rolling, followed by a Haley's > Light (killer), Fluffhead > Have Mercy (189 shows - epic), and Light It Up Or Leave Me Alone (181 shows...light it up) > Free. Wading, Coil, and Suzy Greenberg left some of us feeling limp until Phish encored one of the best Boogies in band history. The take home message? The south is where it's at.
   The First Leg ends in Portsmouth, VA the site of the first official sell out of ST11:1. The nTelos Pavilion is small, but its potential is huge considering the fire Phish set there last summer. The first set featured many standards on steroids as well as the debut of Cold Water, a Tom Waits cover. If the Second Set of the 2011 First Leg closer is anything like the crowd got in the Second Set from the 2010 Portsmouth show, we're going to be chomping at the bit for SuperBall IX July 4th weekend. Wilson > Seven Below > 46 Days > Idea (Phish original debut) > 2001 > Simple > Joy, Taste, Theme > Day In The Life. Portsmouth, Virginia. Who knew? A TAB heavy encore included Heavy Things and First Tube. More math: Small venue + east coast + last show of the leg = Cardiac arrest. You've been warned.

  Most of us would admit we weren't really convinced until Summer Tour 2010. Correct me if you know I'm wrong, stay in denial, or just pretend it's all great all the time, but lets get real: Phish fully morphed into Phish again during Summer Tour 2010 and they haven't looked back. Trey returned to his roots belting out blissful, piercing solos while opening musical gateways, and subtly laying down perfectly appropriate melodies; Fishman regained his form; Page, the seemingly ever present steady figure through hiatuses past, fills as well as ever; Cactus is pricking ears and making them bleed. And while we're on the subject Mike "Air" Gordon is now the MVP of this band and the MVP is popping off. Get used to it.
   So the excitement for Phish Summer Tour 2011 is at a fever pitch, and for good reason. Summer Tour 2010 put things back into perspective. Bust-outs abound and the teases and jams part of every show. Why wouldn't Summer Tour 2011 be any different? Why wouldn't it be better?? So get ready for another summer of Phish tour traveling from city to city, conducting negotium umquam on lot, and guessing at and preparing for that first note. What will it be? It's the question that drives most of us.

   As of right now there is one week left until ST11:1. I can barely handle it. We're ready and we'll be there, Headstock shirts poppin', hat pins blingin', dance moves perfected. We'll see you there.

- Trigger Treinta Uno

(Special thanks to crew contributors Colonel Phortin, Miguel Cocineros, SeriousLeigh, and Henry The Third for memories, reminders and suggestions & to for setlist help)

All images taken by author unless otherwise noted.

I would appreciate feedback on the first of hopefully many useful, informative, thought-and-debate-provoking, and completely useless blogs. Please feel free to send any comments, questions, or constructive criticisms to or comment on the Blogger site directly. I suppose nonconstructive criticism is OK, if you're an asshole like me. My credentials: I'm a non-traditional graduate student studying geomicrobiology and micropaleontolgy, have played and studied sports for 28 years, and have been on Phish tour since 1997. Science, sports, and Phish. This is what I blog about, this is what I know. I consider myself an expert on all three subjects. People have refuted my expertise on all three subjects. You be the judge. Thanks for reading.