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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jackpot!: Tahoe Review

   So Tahoe might be the sickest place I've ever been to. Strictly speaking in Phish venue terms, I basically consider Tahoe a cleaner, much sicker Atlantic City combined with Telluride. It was the perfect setting for a Phish party. Lake Tahoe, mountains, warm (hot?) weather, dry air, cool (cold?) nights, casinos, intimate venue, plenty of tickets for those brave enough to go out without. It was awesome. Nothing like a Gorge-LA-Tahoe sandwich...city meat bound by natural bread. Oh yeah, and the scene was split between CA and NV, so if you wanted to gamble you walked to NV; if you wanted to puff tough you walked to CA. Paradise. So you can imagine the atmosphere as phans started rolling into this picturesque town to rage two nights before rounding out the West Coast run in San Francisco. By the way, don't get excited for a SF review...not even sure if I'm doing one. Anyway you slice it Tahoe rocked the house. The sound was great, there wasn't a bad seat in the place, and the vending/facilities were convenient. Seldom do I travel to a place that I truly contemplate moving to...Tahoe is one of the few.
   We rolled in late enough to Tahoe night one that we didn't have much time to do anything but trade in our paper tickets for "real" tickets. What the fuck? What is this nonsense? What is the point, can anyone tell me? Perhaps a desperate ploy to at least get you into the casino? Maybe once you're surrounded by the lights, beeps and other noises, and 23% ppO2 you're sucked in. I don't know, it didn't work for me. All the exchange did was annoy me. So we set up camp, collected our friends and brains, and headed out for the short walk to Harvey's. It was party time.

Tuesday, 8/9

Set I: Party Time (6:26), Oh Kee Pa (1:49) > AC/DC (6:08) > Mellow Mood (4:01), Rift (5:55), PYITE (8:53) > Meat (5:39), Bowie (10:55), Bouncin' (3:42), Horn (4:06), Water in the Sky (3:26) > 46 Days (9:43)

   Party Time opener. Obvious shit show. Oh Kee Pa, the first since Bethel (5/29/11) and only the second since ST10 was great and thankfully not followed by Suzy. Instead it > AC/DC before blasting into Mellow Mood, a shout out to the local atmosphere, despite the casino rising overhead. A sick version of Rift followed before the boys blasted  into a mid-set PYITE. BOMBISH. And that was just the beginning. PYITE > Meat, the first meat since Bloomfield (10/12/10) and only the third of 3.0. A great mid-set Bowie followed, then Bouncin', then Horn. Water In The Sky followed and went > a rockin' 46 days to round out Set One. Obviously Phish had an agenda in Tahoe.

Set II: Jibboo (8:56) > Light (16:57) > Chalkdust Torture (7:12) > Slave (9:34) > Free (7:02), Rocket Man (4:24) > Hood (10:26) > Walls of the Cave (13:37)

E: Bug (7:59), Coil (9:59)

   A groovy Jibboo opened Set Two and > a FUCKING RIDICULOUS 17-minute Light that had Timber and Tweezer teases > a Potterish Chalkdust > the always chest-thumping Slave > a rockin' Free. Nearly 45 minutes before the boys set it down, but for good reason. The boys were mentally preparing to award the several hundred - at least it seemed that way - of phans carrying paper rockets on a stick supplied by a few eager phans pushing for the Elton classic. Jackpot. Rocket Man. This blew 50 Ways To leave Your Lover right into the Pacific Ocean, but anytime Page sings a cover it blasts off. He really seems to take other musician's music seriously, especially if it's a piano-heavy tune. And Rocket man certainly is. One of the best (spontaneous?) covers they've played yet, although I don't think anything will compare to the first No Quarter we all heard. But let's not downplay anything here. Rocket Man > the always galaxy-traveling Hood > a SICK Walls Of The Cave to round out Set Two. This song fucking rocks. Walls needs to be put in rotation for the long hall immediately. Listen to the silent trees and accept it. A great 18-minute encore of Bug and Coil put the first Tahoe show in the books. Now we were off into the night...these things don't make blogs.

Wednesday, 8/10

Set I: Dogs Stole Things (5:05), STFTFP (4:46), Poor Heart (2:29), Alaska (9:34), Halley's (5:46) > It's Ice (7:03) > Circus (4:47), Ya Mar (6:56), Stash (11:33), Funky Bitch (6:50), Instant Karma! (4:15) > Antelope (10:37)

   Dog Stole Fucking Things. THANK YOU! FINALLY!! I really wanted to punch 73% of the crowd when Phish blasted into that tune and I could hear crickets at the lake shore. But that would be bringing my East Coast attitude to this Tahoe chill scene. Oh well, but if it happens again...so anyway, Dog Stole Things. The first since the Gorge in 2003 (7/12) and only the third since Fair Well Tour 2000 (thank science that wasn't really fair well). A short STFTFP followed, then Poor Heart for the country folk, then Alaska. Good ol' rock 'n' roll. The Tahoe ship lifted off directly after with a POPPIN' Halley's > a freezing cold It's Ice > a BOMB Circus Come To Town. Ya Mar followed, then a decent Stash, and Funky Bitch. Instant Karma! > Antelope to round out Set One.
  
Set II: DWDSalley (5:44) , Guyute (10:06), Velvet Sea (5:33), YEM (19:08)

E: Show of Life (5:20) > GTBT (5:45)

   Set Two blew minds. A weasely unfinished Disease opened and it was on. DWD > Runaway Jim > Ghost > Golden Age > 2001 > Sneakin' Salley. If it wasn't for the fact that the second half of that MONSTER segue was full of inappropriately short versions I might have claimed it was the best segue I'd ever heard. But I probably say that a lot. Either way, the shit was EPIC. People lose weight during shit like that. And it was still 50 minutes. Guyute followed this journey, then Wading In The Velvet Sea, then the first YEM since Charlotte to round out Set Two. Think about that for a second...that's a 10 show gap, the longest gap since the gap between Charlotte and Cincinnati, which was 8 shows. Trend? Hopefully not, because most of us were raised on YEM. It's a staple, like bread and water. The last 10 show gap was in Summer 2000 between Antioch, TN and Toronto. There have only been eight 10-show YEM gaps in Phishtory and by my count less than 20 eight-show YEM gaps. Those are pretty significant statistics for me, but I guess I'm not really sure why. At the very least it's worth note. Show Of Life and GTBT encored to end the show.
   Yo - Tahoe rocked the house from Sun up to Sun down. The music was fucking epic, we saw many old best friends, and lost no money at the casinos, and partied like it was 2011. We swam the beautiful lake, hopped the rocks at Zypher Cove, chilled on a snowless Heavenly, and decided we might move there. You know a place rips it up if you want top live there after. I guess that's all I can say. We set off for home (a horrible experience I don't feel like blogging about) and prepared for Chicago. We're expecting a fire.

- Trigger Treinta Uno

Trigger31.com

Thanks to Phish.net & LivePhish for the set list help. Many thanks to Colonel Phortin for setting up the Blue Lake Inn and to Henry The Third's Tahoe boys for the hospitality. Also thanks to Adam Icculus' crew for setting us up upon arrival and for racing Chrysler Town & Countries with us. It was nice finally put faces to (cyberspace) names on this West Coast trip. One last thing - sorry to my few fans for flaking on the blog. Internet service was a luxury and we were traveling mightily...thanks for being patient. 

I FORGOT TO THANK DAVE & RENEE AND JOSH & WENDY, AMY AND THEIR CREW FOR THE HOSPITALITY. HOLY SHIT, THAT WAS A HUGE BRAIN FART...THEIR HOSPITALITY MAY HAVE BEEN BEST! THAT'S WHY THIS IS ALL CAPITALIZED!! IN RETROSPECT WE SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN THE HOUSE WITH YOU GUYS...WAIT, WHY AM I GETTING INTO PERSONAL THOUGHTS HERE. THANKS AGAIN...I HOPE YOU'RE PLANNING A SURPRISE VISIT TO DENVER NEXT WEEKEND! (FYI, edited 8/24/11)

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