Brilliantly, Phish slotted an early afternoon acoustic set. Upon arrival fans were seated and fanning themselves from the blazing heat. I sacrificed being close to the stage for the first few tunes for iced coffee. The half hour wait was plenty worth the pick me up.The boys were arranged on stage completely opposite as they were the night prior with Fishman stage Left. After a gorgeous The Curtain With, Mike questions if we are all sitting because we want to or because we have to or because of "peer pressure". I was sure after standing for so long the night before folks just wanted to enjoy the grass. The venue was glowing with happy shiny people donning remnants and reinterpretations of the night before'sdisguises. Fishman had railroad chatter solo during My Sweet One and the vocal harmonies were pristine. Let Me Lie is one of my favorite new songs. I've heard it several ways now and hearing it stripped down lie this really showed its vulnerability. Bouncing was reignited with some extra Page doing bass work on the lower register of his piano. Trey chimed in with a few recognizable strums introducing an unplugged version of Wilson that the crowd cheered heavily for. Closer to the close of the set Trey commented on the fact that he was told to ask us all to sit down, but he decided against it because he can't sit still, hence Mike's earlier inquiry regarding our sitting.
Water In The Sky, Back On The Train, Brian and Robert, Invisible, Strange Design, Mountains In The Mist, The Curtain With, Army of One, Sleep Again, My Sweet One, Let Me Lie, Bouncing Around The Room, Train Song, Wilson, McGrupp
Encore: Driver, Talk, Secret Smile
With what we thought was "so much time" before the next set we took the trek back to our hotel in Palm Springs. After a moment or two by the pool we realized that we were approaching show time so we headed back from the hotel to the venue. Sadly we realized while driving in that they had begun already. We really weren't situated in our spot until Guelah Papyrus. Undermind proved to be quite refreshing as it was totally retooled with reggae and Cajun notes. This crowd was somewhat subdued like a post work Tuesday happy hour, well to be fair it was more like a Thursday crowd. Several times during the set the huge egg pod torches reacted to Phish's vocals and licks. Sparkle ignited a few glowers to duty. SOAM was lovely, with the boy's nailing golden notes; I couldn't help but have a beach boy moment.
Electric Set 1: AC/DC Bag, Rift, Gotta Jibboo, Heavy Things, Reba, The Wedge, Guelah Papyrus, Undermind, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt
During set break we made our way to watch the ballgame on the dedicated sports screen. World Series fans were abound and with a score of 4-2 yanks, fans sang take me out to the ballgame which proved to be one of those stunning moments for me.
The final set of the weekend opened with an explosive tweezer that weighed bass heavy. Trey took his blazer off to get looser revealing a black T-shirt. A Maze enlivens more glowstickers. Sadly a sure indication that a festival is winding down is that all of the high intensity glow sticks have already been spent and tonight it’s down to the basic dollar store variety. The crowd was battered by sun and the long weekend, but seemed comfortable nevertheless.
Some of the initial installations were wrapped up and their stories and extravagancies coming to a close. Page danced over an organ solo to round out the epic Maze and really brought the tune to a huge full James Browneque level. Free was quite cathartic. Mike had a fat funky solo and Trey had emerged with a full black tea shirt swagger. They looked liked they are getting younger by the minute. Another new delight is Mike's playful sugar shack. Limb by limb came off to me a little cold but came to mount with some awesome pyrotechnic interplay.
To my excitement, I heard the beginning tremblings of a 2001. This call to space donned some seriously disgusting synth and mind melting balloon dna-like illusion work above the crowd. The synergy and unique frequency phish reached could have called UFOs. Throwing in a dangerous Slave, the entire scene had become a full cauldron bubbled over and simmered back down with an Esther and closing naturally with a Tweezer Reprise.
Set 2: Tweezer -> Maze, Free, Sugar Shack, Limb By Limb, Theme From The Bottom, Mike’s Song > 2001 > Light > Slave to the Traffic Light
Encore: Grind, Esther, Tweezer Reprise
After a name naming thank you address from Trey, it was over. Just like that, everyone was hushed out of the concert field.
The weekend wonderland Phish created was now over.
I've been to a lot of festivals, small and large. I had never been to a Phish festival before either, and for a Phish festival this was small in attendence. I give this festival an A+. Every aspect of this festival was well managed, executed and produced, Parking/Traffic, effective staff, Clean and well equipped... I could go on.
It has been quite a journey so far and I've a few of my own thank yous:
PHISH - Thank you for this chance to do something amazing with my time.
Ken, Camelback, Ben and Jerry, Iced Coffee, Various Pairs of Comfortable Shoes (Chacos, Crocos, Convos and Flippos), Trader Joes, Penut Butter and Honey, Coachella Valley Native Americans, Sunscreen, Jamba Juice and Phish's Awesome - Wrist Bands, Lights, Artists, Vendors, Cops, Volunteers, Fans and thank you Healthy Hippie for the voice.