Pressed on time and there's a lack of consistent internet connection, so I'll be brief and to the point. (Also sorry about the lack of videos - I'll have to post them en masse when I return to NYC).
The second night of Phish in Hampton? Phenomenal. After sticking to the script for their first night back, the boys from Vermont loosened up and extended their jams a bit. They played a slightly shorter show and much like the night before, they nailed all of their classic tunes, but they also let it rip a few times particularly during a mind-blowing Ghost > Piper > Birds of a Feather and Mike's Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove.
We had a similar start to Saturday... Waffle House for breakfast with dozens of Phisheads... then to the Food Lion for supplies. Nicky made sandwiches for the wait in line. Clutch move. I also got in my prop bets with G-Rob. High stakes gambling on Phish songs. Utter degeneracy.
The Joker and Daphne headed to the poster show while Nicky and I arrived at the lot at 2:15-2:30. We hung out in the lot for a bit before we stood in the line to get in. Met a cool guy named Jack from North Carolina (who now lives in LA) and we hung out for 2.5 hours with his boys discussion how the Dead achieved perfection in 1977 while the Phish did the same thing twenty years later. The crowd gathered and flocked while thousands of ticketless freaks wandered around in search for a golden ticket. The security guards did their best efforts to keep everyone in line before everything broke down and thousands of people surged towards the entrance around 5pm. At least the clusterfuck was slightly better than Friday's show.
We rushed into to the floor (center court Page side) with a group of 8-12 of us... mostly from Colorado and the South African crew. Even the Wookie was hanging out with us... the Joker knew him from the 303 area code.
Phish 3.7.09 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VAThe boys took the stage at 7:50pm. Page and Trey fed off each other a lot in the first set. Lots of communication between the two... musically and non-verbal. Lots of smiles. Helluva way to kick off the first set. Trey took off the training wheels during Jim.
Set I: Back On The Train, Runaway Jim, Brian & Robert, Split Open and Melt, Heavy Things, Punch You in the Eye, Gumbo, Reba, Mexican Cousin, Ice, Halley's Comet, Beauty of a Broken Heart*, Guelah Papyrus, Lawn Boy, Antelope
Set II: Rock and Roll, Limb by Limb, Ghost > Piper > Birds of a Feather**, Wolfman's Brother, Prince Caspian, Mike's Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Character Zero
Encore: Day in the Life
We thought we were going to lose the Wookie. He was pretty faded on a multitude of things. The Joker described it a an "everything bagel" and during Melt we thought that the Wookie was going to come crashing down. A waterfall of sweat cascaded down his locks and beard. He stumbled so much that he looked like a giant redwood ready to topple and smash anything in its path.
Melt fried my brain and I dug the freaky UFO lights. The Joker bought a couple of Pollack posters before the show and he was using the brown tube to play air guitar for most of the night.
A personal highlight from the first set included Gumbo... mainly because I desperately wanted to hear it. Glad that the boys brought it back.
Everyone around me seemed perplexed and pissed about Mexican Cousin, but I didn't mind it one bit. Phish converted the Joker who was previously a Mexican Cousin hater. I think that' just because he's from Texas.
I was impressed with the new song Beauty of a Broken Heart, the best tune from Page's solo album. The jam at the end was delicious. I could really get into that song more so than Backwards.
Mike stepped it up for Ice and they went off the deep end for a few minutes. I thought that Phish were going to segue into 2001, alas, that was wishful thinking and just a dark and spacey jam (one of the first of the run) that went back into Ice.
Nice to see Page croon the crowd with Lawn Boy. The pretty sparkly lights returned. The crowd went apeshit to the tits during Antelope and the entire room peaked out energy wise during the "high gear of your soul" section. Sizzling way to end the 1 hour and 50 minute set.
The floor was disgusting and slippery with spilled beer but I was so tired that I saw down anyway during setbreak. After almost two hours, my body was pummeled with musical goodiness. Although I was sober (and yes, it's my version of a sober show... just herb and a half of a generic vicodin - only to ease the stiffness in my thirty-something year old back), the grind of the back-to-back shows took a toll. The music was overwhelming at times and I needed to collect my space before the second set.
At that point, the Wookie sobered up substantially. He told me that he knew what was going on and he kept trying to stay focused and not pass out.
"Stay awake!" was what the Wookie routinely told himself during his peak fuckedupness. "Stay on your toes or you'll wake up in the hospital!"
That's mind over matter. The Wookie avoided the hospital and lived to see the second set.
Rock and Roll is one of my favorite Velvet Underground songs and I always welcomed Phish's version with Page in lead vocals. There was a mini-glow stick war during Limb by Limb and I'll post the video shortly.
The highlight of the run so far had to be the 25 minute stretch that included a sizzling and smoking Ghost > Piper > Birds of a Feather. That's why I drop everything in my life to go see Phish. The melt your face Ghost jam might have been the actually overall highlight of the weekend.
Of course, they followed that sandwich up with a crowd pleasing Wolfman's Brother before they were ready to launch the Mothership into the cosmos with a highly anticipated Mike's Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove. I also shot some great video of Character Zero It will be worth the wait.
Phish nailed the Beatles' cover of Day in the Life and I was surprised that they walked off the stage. Short and sweet. They know the first rule of show business... leave the fans wanting more. And the bastards did just that...
... I have a ticket to Sunday's show and I can't wait. It's the cherry on top of the massive hot fudge Sundae that I have been feasting on with my friends the last 48 hours. We have been waiting a long time for a savory treat like Phish. They might be the phinest in the nation.