10/30 1:29 am
As people continue to trickle into Festival 8, this site is shaping up to be quite the host for a weekend of Phish. Speckled with palm trees and carpeted with soft grass, the lush desert surroundings of California provide a completely different vibe than past Northeast weekends. The Empire Polo Grounds boasts a walk-ability that creates an atmosphere of over-sized intimacy very different from the endless airforce bases of lore. With campgrounds – all named, as expected, for eight remaining albums – within a 10-15 minute walk of the concert grounds, the entire festival feels a bit more within reach.
A relatively thorough search greeted everyone at the gate; but no harm no foul. Getting in and setting up, I was busy watching the Yankees tie the World Series while The Bunny broadcast Phish’s soundcheck. Through word of mouth, the band broke out a few new songs off Party Time, highlighted by a ten-minute jam of “Liquid Time.” Look forward for that one coming up this weekend! The evening was highlighted by video “From the Archives” show at The Overlook, the central part of Festival 8 with multiple bars, food stands, and tented areas. Featuring amazing Halloween footage from all of Phish’s past musical costumes, fans congregated, danced, smoked, and drank while watching the massive video screen. When the video mix broke into an unknown “Tube” followed by a “Tube Reprise” we soon realized we were seeing exclusive footage of 11.2.98. When the “Tube” jam ended, the video spliced into the beginning of Dark Side of the Moon, and proceeded to play highlights from the memorable performance. After the Utah portion ended, it had grown freakin’ cold and I headed back to the RV to listen to Shapiro’s archives show on The Bunny, which so far had unleashed two of my favorite jams ever in re-upped SBD quality – the Cypress “Split” and the Winston-Salem “Bathtub Gin!” That’s all for now, the festival calls.
10/30 11:13 am
Just wakin’ up to a gorgeous Indio day. The sun in shining bright and coffee tastes good as we prepare for day one of the weekend. California’ Dreamin…
Got the turntables set up, and have been enjoying a daytime Phish set spun by myself and various others. Highlights included the the “Rebas” from The Gorge in ’98 and Laguna Seca ’94, the Barcelona ’98 “Tweezer,” Lemonwheel’s “Ghost” and assorted other summer funk. The vibe here is beyond chill once you are through the gates, and the weather seems to be coming through perfectly. Got a chance to hear “Liquid Time;” definitely carries the sound of a new Trey song, and certainly has a wide open door to psychedelic improvisation. The band really took it out during soundcheck, and we are looking forward to what they will do come gametime. I would expect we’ll be hearing this song in a few hours from the stage. Still no real clue as to the Halloween album. Have given up thinking about it since we arrived and set up camp. Desert mountains, palm trees and Phish. Life is good.
6:01 am 10.31
A phenomenal start to the weekend. A deep-dive into a first-set “Stash” provided the improvisational moment of the set after an explosive beginning of “Party Time,” “Chalk Dust.” The second set offered a high powered festival-sized Phish sequence, highlighted by “Disease > Caspian > Wolfman’s.” The “Wolfman’s” had a distinct point when it moved from groove to Halloween music, summoning the spirits of the night before All-Hallowed’s Eve.
Exile! They are handing out Phishbills on site. With singer Sharon Jones – let’s see about this one.