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. whole tour! Says:

    i once saw this golden phrase and it stuck with me:

    “Everyone is a Custy in some way or the other….just don’t be a CRUSTY!”

    i thought that was hillarious.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    When i saw my first phish show in 96, i was a young kid. It was probably obvious to everyone around me that we were new to the scene. I had already seen pink floyd and grateful dead so i wasn’t a complete tool. Everyone was super friendly and treated me with the respect that everyone deserves. It was a great experience. People generally looked out for new folks and welcomed them.

    Now a days with all this “noob” and “custy” talk i can imagine someone’s first experience with the band won’t be as friendly as it was back then. Just for the fact that it’s “cool” now to treat people with disrespect because they are different than some king heady douche or they are new to the scene. It’s pretty whack and it does give off severely bad vibes.

  3. guyforget Says:

    i guess i just think it’s funny that some fucking stupid dirty lot rat thinks he’s getting the upper hand on me at anything. Even if i buy an eighth of some dank for $100 from some dude, i think it’s funny that he thinks he’s getting over on me, when in fact, i’m doing so A) becasue i can, and B) because i’m probably in a hurry to take care of my shit and get into the show, and C) i actually don’t mind paying extra for things at shows, becuase until now, i always thought i was helping some poor kid get his next meal or ticket or both!!

    If this comes off as elitist, it’s not at all. My phish shows are my vacations or mini-vacations, where I take off time from work, set a schedule, plan everything, and just go have fun doing what i love to do best, which is see the band. I don’t treat phish shows as a means to an end, and in turn, i don’t mind paying $5 for a beer or $75 for a heady eighth It’s just like going on vactation to an island. I expect to pay more than at home prices, but i don’t expect to be raped. If someone is trying to rape me, i take my business elsehwere. Does this model fit anybody else’s phish experience, as we get older.

  4. fluffced Says:

    @ wholetour
    I was definitely worried about being welcomed heading down to Hampton by myself (first shows) but was pleasantly surprised that everybody I spoke with was happy to have me around. It seemed more than a few people went out of their way to see I had a good time in the lots which was super appreciated. I hope a lot of that PT garbage stays on PT…

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    @guy that is a really healthy and sane way to look at it I think.

    I just can’t stand that headier than thou shit and it sets my teeth on edge. The thing that makes someone a real fan is love for music, the scene and the experience. You can have all of that in spades and never even have been to a show yet! Or you can live on tour for 5 years and never really get it.

    I’ve taken a lot of people to first shows over the years and it’s always a blast! and truthfully – in a couple cases those people walked out of their first shows with as deep an understanding of and feeling for the important parts of the experience as any old school head in the lot. If you get it, you get it.

    Bottom line – I’d rather hang out with a 18 year old total n00b in the lot before his first show, if he’s into it for the right reasons and happy to be there, than some jaded hundred-show-plus veteran with a bad attitude. IMO the kid is actually more of a fan than the vet in that scenario.

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    I didn’t mean anything towards you guyforget. I just hate the super hippie/head thing that goes on in the scene. I hate super hippies/heads !!!

  7. whole tour! Says:

    ^ that’s great news fluffced! When your actually at the shows it’s a whole different ballgame. The whole PT crap is mainly a fantasy world of people pissed off at their own life, so they make it hard on everyone else. In my experience it’s generally been positive at the shows because people are celebrating life and living in the moment.

    It’s a shame that so much negativity pours off the internet. It might tarnish things for people who haven’t experienced what shows are really like. That’s why places like Miner’s site are a good thing. 99.9% of people in reallife don’t look to phantasy tour as a role model. It’s a small percentage of people that act like children and exclude people based on some “phantasy” world.

  8. spideyguy0 Says:

    @ wholetour
    I was definitely worried about being welcomed heading down to Hampton by myself (first shows) but was pleasantly surprised that everybody I spoke with was happy to have me around. It seemed more than a few people went out of their way to see I had a good time in the lots which was super appreciated. I hope a lot of that PT garbage stays on PT…

    I can second this story 100%. Exact same thing happened me to me.

  9. spideyguy0 Says:

    Has anyone else not heard anything yet? I’m getting kinda nervous

  10. guyforget Says:

    no offense taken, el dude, and seriously, after more than 40 shows in 10 states, i really have never been privy to lot politics or commerce, other than just buying what i felt like at the time. I serioulsly think this is just really super funny that some people are so wrapped up in BS and get off on calling others demeaning nicknames in regards to thier righteousness!!

    Plus, that’s just like your opinion, man!

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    we’re all equal when the lights go down and the music starts – anyone who does not get that is a fucking idiot and can be written off with no loss – if n00bs are reading this, take no shit from anyone, you have as much right to have fun at the show as anyone, don’t let losers fuck with your head.

    If you count (dead + jgb + phish + whatever) I have show stats equal to just about anyone still rolling and I don’t put myself above anyone that respects the scene and brings the love – except I demand the same – so anyone, I mean anyone, who proclaims themselves above their brothers is no brother of mine.

    Thus my disdain for the old phish backstage scene: the epitome of hipper than thou douchery and scenesterism.

  12. EL Duderino Says:

    Amen Mr. Comepletely, I’ve been touring since ’89. I don’t give a shit how many or how little you’ve seen, the question is…Are You Kind? nothing fucking else matters! unfortunately there are a lot of assholes out there, but in defense there are some really good people there as well. Unfortunately sometimes a few bad apples can spoil the bunch.

  13. fluffced Says:

    “It’s generally been positive at the shows because people are celebrating life and living in the moment.”

    It’s crazy that you say that because I was just trying to explain how it seemed everyone who loves phish lives by that to my pa just this past weekend. I used the example of my younger cuzin who likes some phish songs but i find her often saying things like “when are they gonna build it up” or “how long is this one?” during some great jams (most notably 10.31.94 reba). I tried to explain to her to just trust IT and go with the flow because her anticipation is dragging on the current moment, im not sure she quite got it but my dad did.

  14. fromthetub Says:

    @spideyguy0… I’m still waiting too.

  15. fluffced Says:

    Does anybody know if the fenway onsale is going to be through livenation or etix? Both sites have an onsale page, and strangely the etix website has a big “LiveNation” banner. I called the etix phone number today and the rep said she didn’t have any information on if they would be doing the onsale. She did mention that she thought I would have better success on the internet than by the phone (Which I can not say the same for Ticketmaster)

  16. guyforget Says:

    yes, well said Mr. Completely. And i love taking people to their first shows!! And, i’ve yet to have a bad experience at a show, except losing my favorite hat while hopping from lawn to pavilion at camden 03!

  17. fluffced Says:

    Info about pt… apprently GONE!

  18. old dude Says:

    PT is like hell, so vicious and cruel.
    bye bye, oblivious fools.

  19. Pence Says:

    Miner dont let this happen to you. Its ashame, I wish they wouldve taken down the worthless message board. The Games were fun. We’ll see it may just be temporary, but it sure doesnt sound like it.

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    Good Ridden !!! Fuck PT

  21. Pencilneck Says:

    @ spidey and tub ; I’m still waiting on any sign from the phish ticket lotto aswell. nervous too.

  22. wizzle1986 Says:

    i first saw phish when i was twelve, my mom dropped me off….couldn’t have been better, people were super chill and i got ushered up very close because it was my first time, i try to go out of my way to make sure rookies are having a good time and doing it right

  23. Anastasiophan Says:

    What message board are the PT people going to?

  24. walfredo Says:

    Whole Tour- I’m the same way- Phish = vacation these days. Convenience is worth a lot. I think that makes me officially a custie now in my old age. If it truly is just short customer- someone to make some money off of- this doesn’t have to be disrespectful. If I agree, like that I don’t mind paying a bit more- and that helps someone on the lot out- I don’t think that necessarily means they look down or feel they are taking advantage of. Lots of folks on the lot selling things are just there to have fun- and need custies like me to help support the habit.

    Having sold many a beer, shirt, whatever in my day- I always treated custies with kindness and looked to hook them up- at a profit of course. It’s a much purer capatilistic model then can be found pretty much anywhere else these days- lot econ 101…

  25. JP Says:

    PT is gone? that sucks. while there were plenty of idiots it was still fun to read

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