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:

    word on that walfredo….i think this whole “custy” as derogatory is a net only phenom.

    but even negativity on the net has a way of creeping into the collective conscious somehow. I just know that the red flags go up when ever i hear people talk like that in reallife. My douche meter goes off the charts…lol

  2. whole tour! Says:

    three words cause my patented “douche meter” to reach alert levels:



  3. whole tour! Says:

    the only “brah” i know is a piece of woman’s underwear and it’s spelled “bra”….lol

  4. brandofunk Says:

    I am very disappointed to see PTgo! For all its negativity there was also tons of positivity if you stayed on the right threads. Most phish news hit PT first. Miner I now you lurked and/or posted, no?

    Sad day indeed.

    I’m sure it will be back

  5. elbows Says:

    Great discussion today, guys! Everytime some kid would mutter “so many noobs these days,” or “these custies are making me rich,” on lot, I’d just walk away. That attitude of self-righteousness is inexcusible. Sometimes, when a Phish kid’ll say something to me about noobs, I’ll ask them when their first Dead show was. That always gets em.

    At my first show, people were so welcoming, and took great delight in showing me a good time. This is what we need: if people continually bitch about newcomers, they’ll just become bitter. If we show them the ropes, and really show by example how we maintain our community, then we won’t have to worry about them ‘ruining the scene,” as kids on PT put it.

  6. JP Says:

    I agree brandofunk. Where will I go now to learn about random re-releases, rumors, etc etc etc

  7. cottle Says:

    Thanks for putting up these lakewoods today Miner. 7/3-4/99 were two of the only three shows (excluding Sat. Hampton) that I ever got shut out of. I remember I didn’t even bother getting tickets to these two because my buddy from ATL assured us that he had a failsafe way to sneak into Lakewood. There was a tree near the fence, that you could shimmy up, crawl out on the branch and then just drop right into the show. Turns out by Summer of 99, every head in the world (and every security guard at Lakewood) was aware of his secret spot, so there went that plan. Tried to find an extra, but wound up having to listen to the show from the lot. It’ll be nice to finally hear what I missed.

  8. Billy Breathes Says:

    I have 2 Jones Beach, Section 12R Row JJ Seats 1 & 2.

    Looking to trade for some GREAT SEATS to Alpine or Deer Creek.

    Email if interested.

  9. whole tour! Says:

    @cottle…sorry to hear that you were shut out of those lakewood shows.

    i was only able to score tickets to 4/3/99 so i had to buy 7/4/99 from a ticket broker in atlanta. But this was back in the days before ticket brokers became money hoarding asshats. I think the face value on the 7/4/99 tickets was something like $30. Back in 1999 a ticket to a sold out phish show from a broker cost me $50, which wasn’t bad at all. Considering that that same $30 ($49.95 in 2009 cash)ticket today would have cost me $300 or more from a “broker” on stub hub.

  10. Pencilneck Says:

    Still no word from phistickets!? dubyatee-eff!

  11. BDunn Says:

    That show was one of my favorite shows to attend that summer tour. It was my first go at “candy flipping” as it once was called and maybe still is. I will always remember that sky when the fireworks went off. It seemed like someone had turned on the sun. The Ghost > Slave is one of the go to jams you wrote about the other week. Best 4th of July ever.

  12. Pete Says:

    How do you join Phook? Not seeing any registration page. P&T!

  13. kingshaffy Says:

    Guy, just read your post about not minding spending cash at shows and them being vacations – couldnt agree more. We are custys to the end…LOL!

  14. Wax Banks Says:


    I’ve only got info for the post-hiatus mix, the other was on Phantasy Tour, alas –

    IT Soundcheck >
    7/12/03 Seven Below >
    7/23/03 Scents >
    7/30/03 Scents >
    2/28/03 Bathtub Gin >
    6/20/04 Twist >
    2/28/03 Tweezer >
    12/30/03 DWD >
    6/19/04 Piper >
    7/21/03 46 Days >
    IT Waves >
    6/19/04 Piper >
    IT Waves >
    6/19/04 Piper >
    7/23/03 Sneaking Sally >
    12/02/03 Rock and Roll >
    6/24/04 DWD >
    6/24/04 Tube >
    7/15/03 Mr. Completely >
    Tower Jam >
    7/9/03 Bathtub Gin >
    IT Discern >
    7/22/03 Gumbo >
    2/26/03 Moma >
    2/16/03 Piper >
    2/14/03 Bathtub Gin

    That 2/16/03 Piper is the tits. A heartstopping ending to the jam, and a perfect capper for this run of minitunes.

  15. brandofunk Says:

    pt is back up!

  16. Walfredo Says:


    Did you check your bank statement? Mine got dinged for 4 Phenway tickets, but I still haven’t received an email for confirm? Strange…

  17. Pencilneck Says:

    just did checked. last time it got the confirmation email dayz before the charge appeared on my credit card. hmmmm…
    congrats on the four score!

  18. Walfredo Says:

    Thanks…but let’s hope they don’t re-neg these like they did to those Red Rocks!! It probably depends on the bank as well….I think there’s still hope. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for those still waiting….ahh….STIIILLLLL WAAAAIIITTTTING…, a Crosseyed would be sweet this summer…nom nom nom.

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    anyone score an extra JB 1?

  20. Hooks Says:

    yesterday’s topic, but, I’ve been going through disc 5 of the cliff ball dvds tonight, and found several bonus footage segments (some that weren’t mentioned before). cool as hell! I’m curious if it’s only on that disc or if they’re scattered throughout the whole set. my guess is the later. don’t tell me… way cool for them to have that hidden footage. and it’s of the band critiquing themselves, laughing, and being pretty self-effacing about the whole thing. adds another element. keep pressing enter, select, or play or whatever button like that on your specific remote while viewing, and see what you can find.

  21. Hooks Says:

    best to those shooting for tix. I’m not in it this go round…

  22. wizzle1986 Says:

    @hooks..elaborate..? “new” links

  23. wizzle1986 Says:

    also, i’m looking for a sleeper from 95-99 to listen to tonight…something raging obviously…any thoughts?

  24. Hooks Says:

    yeah, a couple folks mentioned yesterday that, depending on your remote, you press play, select, or, for me, it’s ‘enter’ while regular viewing of the dvd, and access hidden footage of the band hanging out reviewing the raw footage of the cliff ball stuff and making fun of it and whatnot. so far I’ve only tried it on disc 5 and found, if I remember correct, extra stuff in It’s Ice, Antelope, and Slave, and I believe it was said there’s one in The Curtain as well. there’s more than one during one or two of those songs. once you figure out the button you need to press, keep trying it throughout the discs to see what’s there. like I said I’ve only done this on disc 5, that may be all that’s there, maybe not. (maybe so maybe not. sorry…..)

  25. elbows Says:

    ^^^^ There’s also a hidden Phish commentary during Runaway Jim…me and a buddy discovered it by accident and freaked the f$#k out. Pretty cool stuff, and they’re actually watching Runaway Jim. I wonder if, every time it cuts out like that, they’re watching the song it cut from. Also, I wonder how recent those commentaries are. They must be pretty recent, right?

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