Phish has given us a lot over the years. For those who understand what it means to put yourself through a great deal for a reward of musical bliss, Festival 8 is a freeway to a new level.
Like many of you HH readers, I've traveled far and wide for Phish. I've been to states that I may have never seen in my lifetime, cities I would not have even batted a lash at, and burned more vacation days then I've ever meant to; all for this love of creative perfection.
The backdrop of palms splashed with lights, draping canopies and pyrotechnic art lend for an atmosphere that is a David Lynch film set in a Dr. Sussean daydream kissing the nightmare before Christmas.
Over the last month, the band gave us hints and teasers as to what we could expect to hear and see at this reunion of massive proportions. This time - they've simply outdone themselves. In a sea of festival threats that include inclement weather, venue mishaps, traffic and parking mayhem, Phish has solved all of this with one swoop - California. The weather is steady, and meets expectations.
The final 8 albums teased are the names of each surrounding campground and the final pinnacle of speculation regarding what album Phish will play on Halloween.
Here is a layout of the festival grounds, and the final 8 listing.
David Bowie Hunky Dory
One can gather the overall vibe in each campground. Electric Lady Land and Hunky Dory seemed to be the neighborhoods offering a buzzing blanket of animation and arterial flow leading to the main spectacle grounds.
The crowds are quite diverse, and so far have been family friendly. There is nothing like a happy healthy hippy child enabled to explore their imagination alongside adults. The grass is high end carpeting, and no blanket is needed to enjoy a seat on the ground.
After checking out the vending scene, snagging some PH8 gear - and viewing the metal welded masterpieces in daylight on the great lawn, the first set broke out at 8:05ish. Party Time - is there any other way?
Phish looks HIGH DEF. They are polished, and pristine. Mike's hair was a silver helmet ready for action. Page beams from dimple to dimple, save for those moments of fury on his western piana and '70s funk synthwash. Trey's golden hair and smile fade in and out of his jaw dropping lashings on his frets. Fishman looks crisp and flannel can't look more pressed, then on Phish.
This place is well executed.
Tonight's goal is to get all the way to the front. This crowd seems ready to participate and contribute to the pageant with their energy and their costumes.