6-18-09 - Post Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA
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from Silver, Andrew
date Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 10:30 AM
subject Phish Show Review 6/18/09
Star Lake Review - My 100th Show!
Last Thursday, I got to the airport in plenty of time for my 10:15 AM
flight, which was supposed to put me in Pittsburgh by 3:35 PM local time.
Plenty of room for error, or so I thought. 2 gate changes and a plane
change later, it was 11:15 AM Denver time, and we hadn't boarded yet.
Finally, we got on the plane, but the engine stalled. Luckily things got
rolling soon thereafter, but not before 60 additional minutes of sitting
on the tarmac.
Throughout the flight, I was checking my watch, fidgeting in my seat,
muttering some not-so-kind words for United Airlines under my breath.
Let's just say I wasn't the best person to be sitting next to for 2.5
hours, but I did apologize to my neighbors before I ran off the plane to
meet my ride to the venue.
The driver from the car service had no idea what he was getting into, but
he was in good spirits when I told him, "there's an extra $40 in it for
you if you get me there as fast as possible." As we pulled out of the
airport and onto the highway, I started calming down a bit, and realized
that I would make it, that there's nothing to be gained from obsessing
over the time, that it's nobody's "fault" that the plane ran late.
I think this little "re-set moment" gave a whole new spin to my attitude,
the night that was about to unfold, and ultimately my entire weekend. For
the first time since I got to the airport in Denver that morning, I was
smiling, happy and relaxed. Believe me, I've wasted plenty of energy over
the last 5 years being pissed about Coventry, the way the band ended
things, and recently, the ticket scramble for Hampton and Summer Tour.
But at the end of the day, what happens happens, and you move on. With
everything else going on these days, between personal stuff and "economy"
stuff, you take your opportunities where you can get them and be thankful.
And when you return to the "real world" from your show experience, embrace
it for what it's worth, because a lot of people are in a bad way right
now...and meanwhile, you got to enjoy a show/escape for a couple of hours.
Ultimately, that's what Phish is all about - the escape, the moment where
nothing in the real world matters. That's a pretty special thing, and at
36 years old, I've finally realized that it doesn't come around very
often, nor should it. So I will enjoy my moments - not an entire tour,
because I have real life to deal with - and Phish is just part of the
Therapy session over...let's move on...
So the driver did what had to be 105 MPH the entire way, and we made it to
the venue in no time at all. That's when he turned to me and said, "what
the hell is going on here?!" I just laughed and said, "it's a huge family
reunion for the Phish crowd. It's sort of like the Grateful Dead." He
turned and gave me a knowing glance...like he had been there in a former
life or something.
I hopped out and hoofed it around the lot, suitcase in hand, to meet Phil
and crew for the YUCCA. Damn, that was a tasty, tasty YUCCA, more than 5
years in the making.
So we downed that YUCCA and made our way inside...the anticipation meter
was off the charts! Phil's girlfriend had managed to score 2nd row
orchestra pit tickets so we meandered through the crowd down down
down...all the way to 10 feet off the stage, right in front of Page's
From this vantage point, it's hard NOT to enjoy a show, Phish or
otherwise. It's loud, it's close, you turn around and see 30,000 other
people throughout the venue, and fortunately for us, there was plenty of
room to dance. Maybe the only downer is that security is right in front
of you for the entire show, but that's but a small price to pay for prime
Golgi Apparatus, Chalk Dust Torture, Bouncing Around the Room, Wolfman's
Brother, The Divided Sky, Heavy Things, Walk Away, Wilson, Tube, Alaska,
The opening three songs were the opening three songs and that's about it.
Standard fare...well played but nothing exceptional. I feel like I've
seen this same show-opening run of songs, ending with Divided Sky, a bunch
The highlight of the first set had to be the Wolfman's and the run of Walk
Away, Wilson and Tube. Wolfman's and Tube are perhaps the best versions
of the summer, based on what I've heard so far.
Alaska was OK as a new song (I was hoping for some of the other new tunes)
and the jam was nice. Bowie closed things out, and while I enjoy the song
in general, I took the opportunity to leave the front of the house and
wander back to the set-break meet up point, beat the crowd to the bathroom
and hang with some friends.
Set 1 score, on a scale of 1-10: 6 (a solid 6, but a 6 nonetheless).
Bonus points for Walk Away, Wolfman's and Tube. Deductions for a standard
fare opening run, and a bit of a botch on Bowie.
Set 2 & Encore:
Down With Disease > Free, Guyute, Piper > When The Circus Comes To Town,
Harry Hood > The Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself
E: Grind, Hello My Baby, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up,
After a fun setbreak chatting it up with the crew, I made my way back to
the pit on my own for set 2 (Phil stayed back with Nealy for the 2nd set).
When I got there, I noticed that everyone had big smiles on their faces as
they waited for the lights to go down. We finished our introductions at
the perfect moment...as we got the names of our neighbors straight, the
lights dimmed and it was on.
Disease isn't really one of my favorite songs, if only because it's played
so much and sometimes wanders when they hit the jam section. But this one
got stretched out, and Trey lead the band through a dark and intense jam
that got me past my initial skepticism.
From there, the bleed into Free was nice, but they've cut the funk jam
section of this tune, which is a bummer. I always loved an extended Free
funk jam and while we got *some* groove, it only lasted a few minutes.
Guyute came next and it was straightforward...but since it was 5 years
since my last one, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Piper>Circus, Hood was beautiful. Piper got filthy as Trey extended the
jam more than I've heard in the recordings from other shows this tour, and
Circus was a nice break after 30 minutes of intensity to begin set 2.
As for Hood, it's one of those songs I always skip when I listen to
recordings, but it's also a song I love hearing in person. I emailed
Schadle to say, "floaty Hood going on right now," and I just rode the
sound coming from the stage. Hood is one of the old tunes that never
makes the conversation when you discuss "songs you want to see tonight,"
but walking into the venue I just knew we'd get one, and I knew I'd wind
up thanking Mr. Minor (yet again) for his contribution to my musical
Skipping over Squirming Coil (Page sounded great), as the song ended, I
turned to the kid next to me and said, "here comes You Enjoy Myself." And
on cue, Trey counted it off and launched into the tune (the kid looked at
me like I was a genius...which, of course, I am. LOL)
YEM is the one song I wanted to hear above all else. It's *THE* Phish
song and it made my night. Dancing escalated to intense levels during the
composed section, and got into a deep groove as they did the
"scream>release>funk" portion of the tune. I was in the moment
completely, smiling wide and getting down. What a delight; what a way to
cap the set and my 100th show.
Looking back at the encore, all I have to say is that although the a
capella portion was off-key (Page's mistake, according to Trey), they were
right in front of me, which made for a cool experience. And when they
were laughing too hard to sing Hello My Baby properly, Trey ran to the
drumkit and forced Fishman to sing Bike. Introducing it as "the
trainwreck portion of the show," Fishman brought more laughter to the
performance, which has always been one of my favorite things about Phish -
the sense of humor.
Running quickly through Bike and the obligatory Hold Your Head Up (with
band introductions), Fish did his thing before tossing it back to Trey for
the last song of the night. At this point, I remembered Phil's parking
lot call on Loving Cup, so I turned back to the same kid and said, "OK,
here's a huge Loving Cup to cap things off." On cue once again, the song
began and the kid looked at me like I was...you guessed it....a genius
(which, of course, I am. LOL part 2).
Set 2 & encore score: 8. Disease, Free, Piper, Hood and YEM make this set
a keeper. The encore makes it funny. Put those two things together and
you have yourself a memorable night in western Pennsylvania.
Of course, there's always a lot more to discuss than just the music, but
I'll leave that stuff for individual conversations, should you be
interested to know more of what happened. For now, let's just say it was
a slow stroll back to the car, a big traffic jam getting out of the venue,
a great night's sleep followed by an amazing omelet made by Nealy in the
morning, and ultimately, a ride east to meet up with Yip for a visit to
Bethpage State Park to see Tiger Woods play his second round of the U.S.
Open on Saturday (yep, you read that right. it was awesome).
All in all, a fantastic weekend...but I'm sure tired now. Hope you
enjoyed this review...and I hope to see you at Red Rocks in a couple of
from eric tipton
date Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM
subject My Star Lake 6/18/09
FWIW, This was my 89th show, first since Deer Creek 2004.
Here goes nothin:
6/18/09 Post Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA
Golgi Apparatus (5:19)
Nice opener to get everybody up and moving. Totally took me by suprise.
Chalk Dust Torture (8:40)
At the time, even though it was standard length I thought it smoked and
would stand up as a highlight of the show. But listening to the tape, it
doesn't quite hold up.
Bouncing Around the Room (4:09)
Wolfman's Brother (10:56)
Page being the MVP since they came back is no joke. He has been really
money and this Wolfman's is a good showcase for him I thought. Things
start to really heat up in this jam around 6:40 or so. Trey is absolutely
killing it from here to about 8:30, laying waste to those in attendance.
Specifically at 7:50 - machine gun fire from Trey with Page pounding on
the baby grand. Damn, this is HOT. Great jam!
The Divided Sky (14:57)
Well played, beautiful peak.
Heavy Things (7:23)
I groaned when they started it. I do remember at the end of it thinking
that it had to be one of the better solos in Heavy Things. Like CDT, it
doesn't really hold up on the tapes.
Walk Away (4:10)
Last time played 10/5/00 which I happened to be at. Good to hear Page
beltin' it out.
Pretty short and standard as they come.
This Tube is really good. I love the bombs that Cactus is dropping from
in the midst of this one. Page though is the superstar for the large
majority. This was definitely the tune that I enjoyed the most all night
long. Tons of fun getting down hard during this one. Dude that was in
the aisle adjacent to me was dancing as hard as I've ever seen. People
created a nice circle around him and were cheering him on, me included.
This is nothing that would come close to some of the all time great
versions but it IS in fact very solid.
Kick ass jam but not any different than the other versions.
David Bowie (10:46)
When Fish started the high hat everyone in the joint knew it would close
the set. I also thought it would make for a good time to go get a beer
and hit the bathroom before everybody else did the same at setbreak. But
then I remembered how good the Knoxville Bowie was and stayed put. That
is until Trey started flubbing the ever living crap out of it and that is
all the motivation I need to get to concessions. The ending was all
screwed up too.
Highlights from first set: Wolfman's and Tube. Pretty amazing energy
throughout the whole set though.
Set break: A buddy stubbed me down to the 10th row. I ran into another
buddy from my Colorado days - he is now living in California. Crazy. He
was sitting in the same row as us.
Down with Disease (14:52)
Plenty of rocking out in this one up until the 10 minute mark where they
start to lean heavily on the effects at this point and I was so, soooooo
hiping to se a What's the Use from this close. Segue into Free.
The intro was flubby. This was short and sweet and pretty much what you
would expect out of a standard Free. Trey rocking HARD and Mike dropping
Made my way back up to the lawn as things were getting way too tight where
I was at. Listening to it on tape, it's ok. Trey's run there at the end
I have seen this song way too much. But this one was really quite good.
It didn't go on for too long and kept my attention throughout.
When the Circus Comes (4:18)
Perfect placement. Very, very well played.
Harry Hood (13:55)
The composed section was awesome, so good to hear it played that well.
The jam was just like it should be played. Plenty of patience, they keep
building it and building it - then BAM - big, old peak. Outstanding - I
loved every minute of it.
The Squirming Coil (7:30)
Sublime. Thought for sure this was going to end the set. By this time I
had run into my friend that I came to the show with.
You Enjoy Myself (20:20)
We just kind of looked at each other with eyebrows raised. I told him it
would be a short(er) one. I was wrong. Some of the stuff leading up to
the first and second shot at The Note are a little rough. But The Note is
drilled perfectly and sustained well. Page funks it up nicely through the
tramps section. Jam segment gets real hot right around 13 minutes. Trey
whips out the machine gun for a brief appearance at 14. Mike busts out
the molester effects for the bass/drums section. Good YEM.
Lots of funny banter from the band after this. "Can you guys hear us when
were talking? Page blew the wrong note" Lots of giggling and carrying
Hello My Baby (0:27)
They start out and then stop not far into it with Trey giggling and saying
Fish will now sing Bike for you.
Hold Your Head Up (1:18)
Fish "Welcome to the trainwreck portion of the show" Ha ha! Some guy
screaming his fool head off for Cracklin' Rosie.
Fish forgets some lyrics, general hilarity ensues.
Hold Your Head Up (2:07)
More Fishman hijinks.
Loving Cup (7:23)
Rocking way to end the show. That whole encore felt like me listening to
a tape from 92 when things were a helluva alot more intimate between the
band and their fans. Pretty cool I thought.
My second set highlights would Harry Hood. DWD, Piper and YEM were all
good but not quite enough to consider them as real standouts I guess.
Getting out of the lot was a f**ckin' joke. 2.5 hours!!!
Good show. Pretty much what I was expecting having heard all the other
shows up to this point. My last show I saw was Deer Creek 2004 so I was
extremely excited to see the band again. They are full of piss and
vinegar again and it is a lovely thing to behold.
from Jack Turner
date Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 3:27 AM
subject 6-18-09 Burgettstown, PA
Fantastic Show! This was my first show after the break up and I was more
than impressed. This show featured a lot of phish's big heavy hitters
(divided sky, Bowie, Piper, Hood, Yem) and they played them all very tight
and powerful. They didn't mess around with them much, especially Bowie,
they just got down to business and reallly tore them up. The crowd was
just eating up phish's energy and loving it. The end of the show also
brought some classic phish shannanigans which resulted in fish breaking
out the vacuum. I thought seeing the boys back was going to be more of a
nostalgic formality, but that was not the case. They were in top form, a
show that could stand up to any, in any year. Going to a show like that
made me feel like they had never left and watching all the fans light up
the lawn while waiting for encore was a special moment that i wont forget
soon. The next night at deercreek was great, but different, felt more
like phish back from a break-up. At starlake, you couldn't help but get
lost in all the beauty and magic of it all, like anything was possible.
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