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”

  1. spideyguy0 Says:

    Still haven’t heard, getting nervous. Haven’t been able to check my card either, so no clues there. Totally sympathize with VT as Fenway is “my” park. I’m 10 minutes away on the T and it’d be ridiculous not to be able to get into a Phish show there of all places. Although the good news it you’ll be able to hear the show pretty well for free outside.

  2. kts Says:

    I’m not sure what to expect as far as the scene outside the park. My fear is that the BPD will try to clear out all the surrounding streets once the show starts. It could be an ugly scene.

  3. gus Says:

    Ahh, didn’t win in the lottery, but, lucky for me, I got a friend who has season tickets to the red sox, which means four tickets for me! And I’m only like 20 minutes away from the park. Man this is going to be good.

  4. Jerrydamule Says:

    I fully support phish 3.0

  5. spideyguy0 Says:

    Ug, I thought I’d be ok since I had 2 friends with season tickets. Problem is one of is overseas and unreachable for the next week and the other is from a family of Phish fans so looks like he’s going with his fam.

  6. Clay Says:

    phantasy tour = done sacue

    shut down

  7. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    How many “turf” seats are there at Fenway?

  8. guyforget Says:

    spidey, unreachable? no email? make it happen kid.

  9. OlFactoryHugh Says:

    Clay, can you elaborate?

  10. Clay Says:

    either servers down or it shutdown…

    some kids on another board were talking about it

    Mike Phelps’d

  11. guyforget Says:

    i hope pt isn’t shut down, or this site will become inundated with bs..

  12. Clay Says:

    I like both places here and PT..I love this site for phish talk and PT for humor

  13. R1 Says:

    i can’t locate Miner’s seats on that seating chart – where are the “turf” seats?

  14. Little Buddy Says:


    This seating chart might help…

  15. Wax Banks Says:

    Apparently some Gawker site ran a story that Mike Phelps’s weed-smoking was maybe narc’ed by some Phantasy Tour kids. It’s down today. Maybe it’s related. Shame – the selection of dubiously-legal live Phish mixes was excellent. (Those go to post- and pre-hiatus jam mixes, by the way, best-of-breed if you ask me.)

  16. msbjivein Says:

    They need to get PT up and running again or all those idiots will troll this site and bring a bunch of negative bullshit around. That place is for children. Anytime I’ve posted there all I get is BS from others. Everyone wants to start some shit. As soon as someone on here calls you a “custy” that means they’re here. I hope it’s just a glitch.

  17. guyforget Says:

    what’s a custy

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    this is the chart for DMB- they won’t be switching anythnig overnight. It’s slightly different that that Neil Diamond one.

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    and don’t worry, I have admin privileges over this board- it will not turn into PT 😉

  20. Jay Says:

    hope they will have jumbotrons and delay speakers as grandstand seats behind home plate are pretty far away.

  21. msbjivein Says:

    Anyone who uses the word “custy” is an idiot. That’s all that matters.

  22. R1 Says:

    ^Thanks Little Buddy – now I see. Sweet score for Miner.

  23. guyforget Says:

    so will Kuroda being doing lights on Phish’s rig and blowing minds of unsuspecting DMB fans…..

  24. msbjivein Says:

    I guess that makes me an Idiot! LOL!

  25. guyforget Says:

    what’s does custy refer to though, i have no clue..
    i thought it was a nickname for jack cust.

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