Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Venue Formerly Known as Great Woods

By Pauly
Providence, Rhode Island

"They wanted me to take them to a club. I'm embarrassed to say that I know what type of club it is. S & M. It cost $135 an hour. I told him to give me $100. For $100, I'll get him laid by a fine whore, then afterward, I'll beat the shit out of him. He saves $35 that way."

We had known Leroy less than five minutes and he revealed several hysterical stories about clients he encountered as a limo driver. That was his part-time gig, mostly on nights and weekends. By day, Leroy was a foodie and a true BBQ master. That was his passion. BBQ. The limo gigs just put a little money in his pocket.

Senor hired a limo to drive a bunch of us from his house in Providence to the Phish show at Great Woods, which was about twenty minutes away in Massachusetts. There was a mix up. No limo. Apparently, the only limo in the state of Rhode Island was broken so we were given a party van instead, helmed by Leroy. We instantly bonded and he kept all of entertained the entire ride with tales about taking clients to Great Woods for different clients. He swore to us that he had an amazing ability to get women to show him their breasts.

We pulled into the VIP parking lot. Leroy parked the bug white party van across from a group of people partying in the lot. He jumped out first and opened up the back. Now, you have to understand the situation... big black guy in black dress pants, white starched shirt, and a skinny black tie. He set up several lawn chairs for us. Five in total. When he was done with that, he dragged the cooler and opened up beers for us. The kids sitting across from us had no idea what to make out of the situation as we stumbled out of the van, led by the Joker, who was blasting "It's Tricky" on his amp.

Welcome to Great Woods.

In an odd coincidence, Some Dude from Hidden Track pulled into the empty space next to us. Small world. He took off in search of food and Shakedown, while the Joker went to pick up his ticket and sell some LOST t-shirts. I hung out with Senor, Javier, and Leroy. At one point Javier asked me if I needed a new sidekick because he was gonna quit his job and he was seeking out a new venture.

According to Some Dude, there was zero Shakedown and no one vending food. Apparently, the cops were busting vendors. At Jones Beach, the overzealous cops focused on busting people drinking booze and selling drugs. They ignored the vending, but at Great Woods, the opposite was the case.

We wandered into the show around 7:30 and all of us squeezed into Sec 5. Chris, a guy from Boston who I met in Japan during Phish Tour in 2000, was seated two down from me. Same row. Another happy accident.

The boys took the stage at 7:38pm as a frenzied crowd could not stop screaming. They gave Phish a five minute ovation before they even played a note.I did not see that sort of enthusiasm at Jones Beach the two nights before, but then again, everyone was so friggin wet.
6/06/09 Great Woods, Mansfield, MA

Set I: Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Nothing, Back On The Train, Golgi Apparatus, Sparkle, Gotta Jibboo, Lawn Boy, Let Me Lie (First time played), Taste, Makisupa Policeman, Prince Caspian

Set II: Seven Below, Fluffhead, Scent of a Mule, Heavy Things, Harry Hood, Possum, Bug

Encore: Contact, Julius
Faulty, one of the new songs, started to grow on me. Solid version to start the show. But I felt that the first two songs were a warm-up to the actual show. As the Joker said, "The concert didn't begin until Get Back on the Train.

Golgi was a welcomed treat and missed the cut in Hampton. High energy. Lots of fans singing along.

The Joker was convinced that Sparkle was Ginseng Sullivan. I insisted that it wasn't Ginseng yet the Joker insisted. He stopped when I said that I'd bet him $100. That's when he knew I was serious!

Gotta Jibboo was one of the highlights in the first set along with Makisupa Policeman. As Javier said it best, "Jibboo is a vastly underrated song."

Let Me Lie is the new smoke a bowl song. Made all the Phishy chicks wet, but I got pretty lit, especially since for the first time this tour. The first two shows were sober shows for me as I took on the role as designated driver. Since we had Leroy, I had the rare chance to get as shitfaced as possible.

I'm not the biggest fan of Prince Caspian (especially as a set closer) but I always give props to a band when they play a song that I don't like, yet blow me away with their version. That's what Phish did to end the set.

Second set started off with an explosion and never let up. Seven Below is one of those songs that is a vehicle for Phish to jump off the deep end of improvisation. That's when the magic happens. A glow stick war erupted out on the lawn (and lawnish area). The boys did not let up with heavy-crowd favorite Fluffhead. High energy and rocking. A more solid version than the Hampton tour opener in March. The Great Woods Fluffhead might have been the highlight of the tour... so far.

The last three songs to end the set? Pure smoke... Harry Hood, Possum, Bug. They just never let up. Stellar playing. Consistent. Minimal flubs. Phish came to play and did not let down.

Senor was thrilled with a two song encore of a crowd-pleasing Contact and a ass-shaking and booty-thumping version of Julius.

There were moments at Great Woods that rivaled Hampton including a sizzling version of Fluffhead All in all, a fun experience. Especially because we had a driver named Leroy to take us to the show. He was awesome and so much fun that we're considering hiring him the rest of the tour to take us around.

Glad that I got to see two shows this tour with Senor and his brother Javier. Three shows down... several more to go. Next up.... Camden. Or as I like to call it... Phish in the Hood.

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