The Bombs Bursting In Air

7.4.99 Lakewood (B.Bina)

7.4.99 Lakewood (B.Bina)

July 4th Phish- an idea as American as apple pie- yet throughout their entire career, Phish and The 4th of July only met twice.  While New Year’s Eve and Halloween were sacred placeholders in the Phish calender, the band traditionally skipped the summer holiday.  From their inception through 1998, they had never hosted a birthday party for America.  But finally, in 1999, the band changed this pattern and merged two of our favorite summertime celebrations.  Once announced in ’99, everyone circled the two-night stand at Lakewood as must see shows, marking the first occurrence of patriotic Phish.

Coincidentally, July 4th was the fourth show of the tour, and the band followed up a strong July 3rd outing with a classic second set to celebrate our freedom and our way of life.  Foll0wing an underwhelming first set, everyone knew the second half was going to blow up huge.  There is a certain excitement to a set break after the band has played a straight-forward opening frame.  On this night, you just knew that the second set would be one to remember.  Throw in the significance of the national holiday and you had a recipe for some Phishy fireworks.

phish-atlanta-99-pollockThe opening “Ghost > Slave” combination of the second set traveled the spectrum of Phish music, from the darkest dance grooves to the most cathartic peak.  An adventure all unto itself, this portion of the show was a high point of the entire summer.  Transforming the patient bulbous rhythms of “Ghost” into the sublime opening melodies of “Slave,” Phish passed through some of the most stunning musical moments to emanate from their stage and accomplished one of the greatest segues in band history.  As they slid into the beginning of “Slave,” the transition was so smooth you almost didn’t realize it was happening- then just like that- you found yourself swimming in the song.  This was one of those moments that was so surreal, you couldn’t really know what was happening.  Akin to the emotional dynamic of “Disease > Mike’s” from Raleigh ’97, thoughts ceased and feelings flowed.  Pure inner emotion rose  as Phish orchestrated the masterful transition while channeling the higher powers.  It was this psychedelic joyride that provided the poignant musical depths of the second set; from here on out, things would feel more like a party.

Using “Horse > Silent” as a composed interlude, Phish promptly moved into one of the summer’s staple soundscapes- “What’s the Use?”  Off the recently released “Siket Disc,” Phish used the eerie song to create an ominous, post-apocalyptic vibe.  Answering their own call, the band followed with a rare, mid-set “Wilson,” getting the crowd re-juiced for what was to come.  Getting downright dirty in the “metal” section, the energy at Lakewood took on an entirely new quality at this point.  About midway through the song, I thought that it was the perfect set up for the drop into a late-set “Mike’s”- and lo and behold, the band and I were on the same page.

1999-07-04moImploding the pavilion with its opening riffs, “Mike’s Song” had everyone primed for blast off.  And when we launched, it was good.  Progressing from sinister to straight up candy-grooves, the “Mike’s” jam provided the most slammin’ dance music of the night to cap the show.  Moving into “Sleeping Monkey” then “Weekapaug,” Phish had put on quite the celebratory bash.  Returning for the encore, they segued out of “Carini” into a “Meatstick Reprise,” returning from its debut the night before.  Wrapping up the weekend in fine style, Phish emerged for their second encore in stars and stripes to wish the country a happy birthday with “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Following a night full of musical fireworks, there were some real ones, taboot.

2000-07-04mo1Phish followed up their lone July 4th performance with another the very next year.  This time, capping a two-night stand at Camden, Phish churned out one of the most improvisational sets of the summer as a tribute to Uncle Sam and the birthplace of America across the river in Philadelphia.  On the heels of ’99’s July 4th throwdown, one could sense this would be more than your normal show.

phish-e-center-00Phish’s second consecutive July 4th set differed from the heavy song-based jamming in ’99, and morphed into an improvisational journey through several Phishy realms.  Seemingly a joke, the band opened their holiday set with the 108th “Gotta Jibboo” of the summer.  Pushing this tune as if it were a top forty hit, the band was bringing it out every other night of tour.  One might have thought that July 4th would have been an exception, but it wasn’t.  However, the constant repetition of the song was soon forgotten when the jam kicked in.  Spring-boarding into a high paced and celebratory jam, the band stayed within the song structure for a while before departing into some faster, funk-based, rhythms resembling a summertime “Antelope.”  This section of the jam highlighted hard-hitting grooves before giving way to a darker and more abstract feel.  Gradually spinning this jam into the introductory rhythms of “I Saw It Again,” Phish had taken the most commonplace song of the tour and turned it into a 30 minute epic.

Juxtaposing the grooves of “Jibboo” withe the heavy rock and roll of “I Saw It Again,” the band continued their musical contrast as they wound their improv towards hints of “Magilla?!”  Yup- right out of 40 minutes of madness, Phish slid into Page’s jazz composition; some cool relief to the hairy adventure that had preceded.  As the bebop subsided, the band opened the ambient intro to another Summer 2000 anthem, “Twist.”  Wrapping up the standard “Twist” textures, the band continued to improvise into a dark and slow medium, potentially hinting at a colossal July 4th Free.  This ominous music progressed into seemingly composed improv, as the band offered evil and abstract music on this celebratory day.

(Photo: Rolling Stone)

(Photo: Rolling Stone)

Yet, when the darkness wound down into a dronish silence, the opening notes of “Slave” were barely made out behind the sonic residue.  Returning the set to a point of triumph, this “Slave” provided the melodic peak to the entire set.  Nodding at ’99’s epic version, Phish built the set-closer while raising the roof with their musical arrival.  Chock full of improvisation and supported by the biggest anthems of Summer 2000, this set never lagged for a second. Topped with a double encore of “Lawnboy” and “Good Times, Bad Times” (complete with an in-pavilion rhythmic fireworks intro!), this July 4th show was one that would go down in history.

With Phish’s flair for the dramatic, it is certainly odd that we haven’t seen more July 4th parties over the years.  Perhaps the band always reserved the date for their own backyard barbecues; we will never really know.  With no show scheduled this July 4th, 2009, one wonders if we will ever see another Phish show on America’s birthday.  Regardless, no one can take away our two outstanding evenings of patriotic revelry in Atlanta and Camden in the waning years of the 20th century.



7.4.99 Lakewood, Atlanta, GA < TORRENT LINK

I: My Soul, Ya Mar, Farmhouse, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag, The Wedge, Vultures, I Didn’t Know, Fast Enough For You, David Bowie (1:23)

II: Ghost > Slave to the Traffic Light, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, What’s the Use, Wilson, Mike’s Song > Sleeping Monkey > Weekapaug Groove

E1: Carini,  Meatstick Reprise*

E2: The Star Spangled Banner#

*Chorus-only reprise; with crew and fans on stage doing “The Meatstick Dance”; after the song, others leave Trey and Mike on-stage to do the dance alone. #A cappella; band in stars-and-stripes (Fish: boxers; Trey and Page: pants and vests; Mike: tank-top underneath, revealed during the song); ended with eruption of fireworks.

Source: Schoeps cmc6/mk4v > Lunatec V2 > Tascam DA-P1 (@ 48 kHz)


7.4.00 E Center, Camden, NJ < TORRENT LINK

I: Star-Spangled Banner*, Farmhouse, Rift, It’s Ice**, Bouncing Round the Room, Stash, Lizards, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Julius

II: Gotta Jibboo > I Saw It Again > Magilla > Twist,  Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Lawn Boy##, Good Times Bad Times

*A cappella. **With “Star-Spangled Banner” teases by Trey. ##Page wished everyone a Happy 4; then pyrotechnics went off on stage and in pavilion.

Source: Unknown

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210 Responses to “The Bombs Bursting In Air”

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  1. c0wfunk Says:

    I was at both these shows, but didn’t realize they were the only fourth of july phish shows!

    Before those Atl shows I remember, after the cover-filled shows 98 all the talk was about what cover they would bust out – american band, born in the usa, etc; and of course they did it their own way and just blew us away with 2 Phish Shows!

    The Camden 2000 shows were among my favorites of the summer – the jiboo>saw it again> magilla>twist, slave second set was one of those seamless, flowing, seemingly perfect sets, and the first set featured my first tmwsiy/avenu, and it’s ice in a long time. I remember from the top of the lawn in Camden all night long you could see fireworks going off in all of the different townships all around Philly, it was pretty cool.

    great writeups miner, thanks once again!

  2. The Great Southern Brainfart Says:

    This set of shows was Phish on the decline in my opinion. This is when I knew it was time to take a break for a lil while. Underwhelming and uninspired to say the least.

  3. HSV 007 (CW Gang) Says:

    July 4th in the ATL was INCREDIBLE! A beautiful summer night with everybody expecting something special. Lakewood is one of my favorite venues (I am a bit biased) & this 2 night run did not dissapoint. The Ghost>Slave, Horse>Silent was fantastic & the Sleeping Monkey was quite the suprise. When the fireworks ended the ashes fell all over the crowd like grey snow. Kind of dirty but surreal as the house lights went on.

    Looking forward to the Phish 3.0 return to the ATL & additional SE venues!

  4. R1 Says:

    7.4.99 – Only show I’ve ever been shut-out. Bought a bogus ticket, then spent the first 30 minutes of the first set looking for a ticket to no avail and finally went back to the hotel to sulk. Probably should’ve kept looking.

  5. Danny B Says:

    July 4th at the E Center was great. Montser of a second set, and the first set was a lot of fun as well. July 3rd also had some really cool moments in 2000. I used to have a copy of this show, but it wasn’t great quality, so I am excited to download this and re-live this show tonight after work. Thanks!!!

  6. bwags Says:

    I was at the 7-3-00&7-4-00 shows. It was my only experience taking a boat (ferry) to a Phish show. Both night were great.

  7. msbjivein Says:

    ’99 ATL was a great time! One of my more memorable Phish runs. Not for the music (even though I thought it was great) but more about the crew of friends I was around for that run. We had a blast! Thankyou Mr Minor for bringing back some great memories.

  8. PeterB Says:

    My 4th of July shows were actually July 3 shows. We alway counted these as Independence day shows.

    July 3, 1994 Old Orchard Beach – stellar show with an incredibly raging Antelope
    July 3, 1995 Sugarbush, VT

    Technically not on the actual 4th. But, everyone treated it as though it was the 4th. If I recall correctly, there were fireworks during the antelope at the Old Orchard beach show and the band attempted to time the music with the blasts. One of the wildest nights I ever had at a phish show.

  9. JerZ Says:

    Loved both of these shows- the Atlanta shows were some of the most fun shows I have been to.

  10. Worthless Swampy Fool Says:

    7-3-99 was my first Phish show and I was blown away even though it is not that special compared to most other shows it was so far above any other live preformance I had ever seen (which was plenty). I can’t beleive we didn’t stay for 7-4, but i was with friends that had been on tour and figured they knew what they were doing, I sure didn’t have a clue. In hindsight I can’t imagine what they were thinking.

  11. Billy Breathes Says:

    Thank you Mr Miner. I was at those Atlanta shows…WOW. Beautiful Phishiness all around.

    Definitley one of the top contending shows of the YEAR.

    The 1st set is just down right SICK. Slipping in a WEDGE and FEFY.

    The 2nd set is just flat out re-DUNK-ulious. Slam Dunk. The entire thing, every song and every note.

    Even into the encore: Carini — Meatstick Reprise?! Whacked.

    Ghost > Slave to the Traffic Light, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, What’s the Use, Wilson, Mike’s Song > Sleeping Monkey > Weekapaug Groove

    E1: Carini, Meatstick Reprise*

  12. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    7/4/99 was a lot of fun in the sun. I was at the 00 show as well, but don’t recall it specifically.

    Anyone else see this re PT and Phelps? I knew who ever sold that photo was a douchebag. Looks like it may have been a douchebag trustafarian…

  13. Posterus Nutbagus Says:

    Mr. Miner, you neglected the first set of 7/4/00, which set the stage for the wonderful second set. with the exception of farmhouse and the SSB, the entire first set that night was straight out of ’94. i really enjoyed that set. the second set was great too.

  14. OlFactoryHugh Says:

    Keep your eyes peeled for credit card charges. It feels like today is the day.

  15. WHOLE TOUR! Says:

    the atlanta 99 shows were amazing. Period. There was an electricity in the air on the 4th of july that was like biting into an electrical wire. It was epic to say the least.

    @southernbrainfart….isn’t it nice to have a blog like miner’s where you can post your thoughts without being censored? Even if Mr. Miner disagrees with people he still lets people speak their mind. Thanks for calling me no better than a scalper at your so called blog. yeah, i got my asheville ticket from stubhub and honestly i CAN CARE LESS what you think. IT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO GET TICKETS TO THIS SHOW! It was real classy of you to delete my response post to your juvenile reaction to my post. Your opinion of these 4th of july shows just illustrates your general bad attitude. Your foul attitude towards phish and phish fans who HAVE NO CHOICE but to buy scalper tickets in order to see any shows this summer shows that you obviously have anger issues. and to be honest i’m glad you won’t be at any shows this summer. One day you will realize that the only person your hurting with your moral crusade to keep people away from phish is ultimately yourself. iT WOULD BE A BETTER USE OF YOUR ANGER TO DIRECT YOUR HATE AWAY FROM PHISH FANS AND TOWARDS LIVENATION/TICKETMASTER/SCALPERS.

  16. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    please charge my credit card! The anticipation is getting to me…

  17. Jay Says:

    @whole tour! says:


    Definitely. Could not have said it better myself.

  18. Exree Hipp Says:

    Yessir, the 7/3/94 OOB show is not to be forgotten – Phish playing Antelope along with the fireworks, using the explosions to up the ante as they go. Ragin’.

  19. PeterB Says:

    @Exree Hipp

    7/3/94 felt like a family independence day party with phish. Relatively small gathering of fans on an old ball field.

    I am not a screamer during a show, but, at this one, I found myself hollering through the Antelope Jam. Fucking balls to the wall ’94 style ragefest. Its funny, on paper this show gets overlooked. But, anyone I meet that was there mentions it in their top five shows.

  20. Jack O Roses Says:


    No kidding. It’s driving me insane. I’ve opened up my online banking so many times in the last 24 hours, I’ve worn out the B,A,N,K,O,F,M,E,R,I, and C keys out on my keyboard.

    Take my money. Please!!!

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    I went to the ’99 shows, not the ’00 run up east. Lakewood was great, stayed at the Days Inn across the street from the Fox Theater. We had a room way up on the 15th floor facing the Fox and spent the night of the 3rd after the show high on sassafras yelling out the window at all the gangsters and such cruising up and down Peach Tree street. Traffic was bumper to bumper all night. Weird scene

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    It’s funny we were saying “You ain’t got no moon roof, You ain’t got no rims, You ain’t got no blue fog light”. We were whacked out of our gourds!

  23. JerZ Says:

    If you have any free time on your hands, check out this link some of them are really funny. I thought of it when I saw “worthless swampy fool” listed above and it made me think of where it said, “You know you’re a phish head when you understand all of the lyrics to cavern”. Check it out- some are pretty lame, but some of them actually made me laugh out loud

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    looks like I got 2 Fenway and 2 JB as there is a $119.80 pending charge on my CC!!

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    Miner sounds like you only received two tickets

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