An Acoustic Set ?

festival8-caIn an unexpected twist, Phish announced yesterday that one of their Festival 8 sets will be an acoustic affair. At the “crack of noon” on Sunday, Phish will perform a their first “full length” acoustic set to a combined flock of early risers and those still reveling from the night before.  Following the darkness of Halloween night, Phish will balance things out with a light afternoon offering. With the virtually-guaranteed weather of Indio, this set should be a laid-back way to kick off the last day of the festival.  And yes, coffee and donuts will be served.

To be honest, my first reaction to the announcement was -“Wow, that sucks!”  And while I would still rather hear a straight up Phish set any day of the week, I’ve begun to think this may be something special.  First, off – it’s not gonna be Trey solo on a stool – the watered-down sing-along experience most of us are used to.  Second, I don’t think Phish would unplug just to unplug, they must have a concept of what form this set will take.  Third, I’ve seen over hundreds of electric Phish sets, and zero acoustic, so the pure novelty of the experience will make it worth the while. Sunday morning Phish – coffee and spliffs – sounds good to me.

Acoutsic Mini-Set '96 (J.M.Richter)

Acoutsic Mini-Set '96 (J.M.Richter)

One immediately wonders what music they will play during this set at high noon. The Bridge School Benefit shows in October 1998 – apparently not qualifying as “full-length sets”- saw the band play many of their standard tunes in the acoustic setting.  Their sets got rave reviews and were highlighted by a first-night “Harry Hood > Helpless” with Neil Young. And during Summer ’96,Phish used acoustic mini-sets to showcase some of “Billy Breathes” songs. This time, left to their own devices, Phish will craft an afternoon that will most likely be quite memorable. Much like the unexpected “Harry Hood” at Shoreline 11 years ago, I’m sure Phish will pull out more than a few surprises in their afternoon escapade. I can’t see them dedicating an entire set of their festival to something that won’t be great; they haven’t done that in their previous seven festivals, why start now? But it will have to be some pretty damn good acoustic playing to sit in for an “full-length”set of electric Phish; these guys aren’t the Grateful Dead after all.

But bring it on – the only rule is it begins after all. With seven other electric sets throughout the weekend, and many more to come, we can all chill for a bit with our favorite band on the outskirts of the California desert. If Phish is feeling it, everything should work out. And with so many other sets surrounding this afternoon oasis, I don’t think we’ll be leaving Indio lacking any improv.


The entire Festival 8 Schedule is as follows:

FRIDAY (10/30)
4:00PM Concert field opens
7:30PM Set I
10:00PM Set II

SATURDAY (10/31)
12:00PM Concert field opens
3:00PM Set I
7:30PM The Halloween Set
10:00PM Set III

SUNDAY (11/01)
10:00AM Concert field opens
12:00PM Acoustic Set
5:30PM Set II
8:30PM Set III

From With lush green fields and palm trees, and surrounded by vistas of California’s majestic Santa Rosa mountains, the festival site is simply breathtaking. The band will play eight sets over the course of three days, and as with all past Phish festivals, fans will enjoy on-site camping, numerous attractions and art installations throughout the weekend.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day:

Harry Hood > Helpless” 10.17.98


The acoustic highlight from The Bridge School Benefit.

AC/DC Bag > Ghost” 11.7.98 II


This combo from UIC is one of the enduring highlights of Fall ’98. Did you really think I would leave you hanging with an acoustic Jam of the Day?



9.25.00 Sandstone Pavilion, Bonner Springs, KS < Torrent

9.25.00 Sandstone Pavilion, Bonner Springs, KS < Megaupload

Unofficial Poster

Unofficial Poster

Today is the nine year anniversary of one of the coldest outdoor shows in memory.  The end of September in Kansas- whew!  Steam rose from dancing bodies as Phish pumped through the piercing air.  Opening the show with “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” for the first time since Halloween of ’94, the show took off into a rather large first set with a “Disease” and a “Tweezer.”  The second set brought the anthems of “Mike’s Groove” and “Hood.”  All in all – a solid show.

I: Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey, Down with Disease, Lizards, Tweezer, Back on The Train, Water in the Sky, Bug, Julius

II: Gotta Jibboo, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Axilla, Harry Hood, Funky Bitch

E: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Driver, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Neumann KM184’s


10.17 & 10.18.1998 – Bridge School Benefit < Torrent

10.17 & 10.18.1998 – Bridge School Benefit < Megaupload

DSC_0061-752349Some acoustic Phish to get prepared for the upcoming acoustic set.

Setlists are here.

Source: Schoeps CCM4

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278 Responses to “An Acoustic Set ?”

  1. Neemor Says:

    I think the idea of an early acoustic set is actually quite pleasant, judging by what I hear the venue looks like, what the weather will undoubtedly be, 30 thousand of your closest friends…
    I hope they do it unmiked. Kidding. Kinda.
    Let’s be careful not to fall back into that complacent zone where we lose sight of the fact that not too long ago, this band didn’t exist.
    They want to sit down, pass out coffee and donuts, relax with their fans and play a nice intimate set of bluegrass and acoustic rock for us. And the reaction is mixed?
    I’m pretty surprised. One of the greatest factors of why I love this band is their ability and desire to try new things and stretch limits. They want to do that in Indio (where, by having eight other sets, is the perfect time to try this) in a completely different way then they ever have before. I just think that’s such a gift and if anyone decides to sit out that set, I personally think they should have to give up their tour card and stay in their tent for the remainder of the festival in a veil of shame and disgrace.
    Wish I was going.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    you rock, Neemor

  3. Neemor Says:

    Back atcha, man.

  4. Neemor Says:

    AW, good call on the Acoustic Army yesterday.
    What a treat it would be to have that one lovingly lowered from the top shelf, gingerly dusted off and explored again.
    I can just think of so many neat things that could potentially spring from that framework that I can very lucidly picture exactly what the set would look like.
    Can’t you?

  5. albert walker Says:

    You speak the truth here Neemor

    I’ve said it before. 80% of Phishies are totally ridiculous with no idea what musical appreciation really entails.
    I am not surprised that they are all revolting against the idea of an acoustic set.
    They always want to move backward not forward. They are still awaiting the invention of a time machine so they can hear Phish play the funk like on fall tour 97.

  6. pence Says:

    anyone see a setlist of Mikes show last night?

  7. voopa Says:

    Wow, just found out that some friends are staying here for F8. Must be nice, but my air mattress will suffice.

  8. Neemor Says:

    So much potential.
    How ’bout a random dropping of Pink Floyd’s ‘Mother’ acoustic.
    Or ‘Learning to Fly’.
    The return of ‘Freebird’.
    Fishman gently waxing away on his mini-kit the smooth rhythms of ‘Roses are Free’.
    ‘Ride Captain Ride’.
    As the still-sleepy crowd catches wind of what’s beginning to unfold on stage, their gentle cheering rises and then quickly fall to settle in to Phish’s latest, and first-ever acoustic version of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’.
    Wish I was going.

  9. fat bastard Says:

    pence- im going tonite w a good crew. i’ll be lookin for you. got the nug joints

  10. Mitch Says:

    Mr. C,
    I’m waiting until my box set arrives to listen to Joy to hear it the legit way. I’m not an audiophile, I just want it to be cool and new when I open the package and not say “oh i’ve heard this, now I have it.” They should have handled that shipping better imo.
    So far as the Beatles remasters go… Why would you want an mp3 of something thats supposed to sound better than the form we’ve had all along? I hate flac for a few reasons (download time, file size, having to convert to mp3 anyway) but even I get that a remaster should be heard in its actual form.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    Even with the remaster and years having passed I still find most of Sgt Pepper’s boring – but Within You Without You is amazing

  12. arbitropia Says:

    Neemor gets it.

  13. pence Says:

    @fat B- cool, i’ll be wearin a gray “simms” hat, and my thank you shirt. My first chance to wear it, im excited!

  14. Mitch Says:

    That’s a helluva resort. I used to think camping was the only way to go but after doing consider it dan a couple times (hampton and gorge) its so nice to travel without all your gear, show up and you have a sober driver. then a hot shower and hotel bed taboot. I highly recommend that to anyone.

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    you would think that these same kids hatin on the acoustic set would be the ones pumped to hear Phish’s cover of Gin and Juice in real life. Bwah ha haha.

    sorry.. just kiddin

  16. beepaphone Says:

    Me: “dude that’s not Phish..its the Gourds”
    peeps: “Who the fuck are the Gourds…dude its Phish…says it on my iTunes”

    *gouges own eye with rusty spoon*

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    (and i do know that wasn’t Phish)

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    “I do think it’s awesome that they quote “Boston Boy” and “Soldier’s Joy” inside on Uncle Pen – that’s a pretty high level bluegrass in-joke I always appreciated”

    ^^ you are way over my bluegrass head here, Mr. C Do explain

    And Sgt Pepper’s boring? Really?

  19. Mitch Says:

    Mr. C,
    we got a new dark star stories

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    love your avatar by the way Miner.

  21. Mitch Says:

    I’ve had that same exact convo a million and one times. “Yes it is Phish, it says it all over the internet” respek my authoritaay!

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    does anyone know how that happened? i mean its obviously not Phish at all, the vocals don’t sound like Phish, the instrumentation is all different. So why the widespread mis-nomenclature?

  23. whole tour! Says:


    the tapes just arrived, along with my phishthoughts t.
    perfect timing!
    i’m about to start the x-fer.

  24. Chuck D Says:

    I think people are just looking at the acoustic set as a glass half empty senario. If they had said that there were 7 sets, then announced an 8th acoustic set, everyone would have been pumped immediately. Instead, they said there would be 8 sets of which 1 will be acoustic, and people think they are ‘losing’ a set a music.

    A buddy of mine was intrigued and impressed by the Hood > Hopeless but still held the sentiment that “I dont want my Hood to be unplugged. I want it to rock.” To which my responce is “this is PHISH: it WILL rock”

  25. Little Buddy Says:

    Mr. C – the within you without you/tomorrow never knows track on the Beatles – Love album is really cool. It’s the remastered album that George Martin’s son created for the cirque de solei (sp?) Beatles thing that is/was going on in vegas. Most of the rest of the album is only ok, but the combo of within you without you and that crazy tomorrow never knows rythm is just so cool.

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