Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

If Coventry embodied the dark debacle that Phish and their scene had become by 2004, Festival 8 represented all that is right in the current world of Phish. The most accurate word I can use to describe Festival 8 is “paradise.” We had arrived at a tropical site of dreams, and the entire place was set up for our ease and comfort. When contrasting Coventry’s mud-covered clusterfuck with Indio’s days of delight, things couldn’t have felt more different.

To begin with, as we approached the gate with a caravan of five RVs, we expected to wait in some traffic. After sitting on roadways for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours to enter previous festivals, this obstacle seemed like a given. But to our shock, we didn’t wait for one minute. After the thorough search for glass bottles and pounds of weed, the security let everyone through free of hassle. The only thing seized from any of our RVs were two glass-bottled Starbucks drinks. Onward and Upward!

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

After our team captain convinced the attendants to allow us to park in formation, we set up our home base within 45 minutes of approaching the main gates. Given maps upon entering, some exploration was in order. Prepared to walk a couple miles, everyone was pleasantly surprised to discover the concert field just around the corner from our campsite, about 100 times shorter than any festival walk in memory. The vibe of the Eight remained incredibly laid-back throughout the weekend, with well-behaved fans who appreciated the blissful setting. The entire event seemed like a Phish festival all grown-up. With amenities at every turn, shuttles to and from the lavish, nearby resorts, we certainly weren’t in Limestone anymore. Conducive to the band’s family-oriented atmosphere, the guys could hop back and forth between their loved ones and the festival in minutes.

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

The ease of Festival 8 seems to be the evolution of the Phish festival – easy access and hassle free. Providing a different feel from the absolute isolation of Limestone, this new model is quite¬† logical for the band’s place in time; just as Limestone defined the late ’90s. Virtually incomparable, Limestone possessed a Phishy magic that Indio could not. Just knowing what everyone had to do to reach the tip of America made those ritualistic weekends irreplaceable. The entire events were bigger, vaster, and more adventurous. We had our own city on the edge of the earth, and no one even knew. The unique majesty of those experiences will live inside us forever. But again, that was then and this is now. I’m not sure anyone who attended Festival 8 would have traded Indio for Limestone in a million years. Just as Phish and their fans continue to mature, and their music evolves, so will their signature events.

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

On top of everything else, the choice of locale – the Palm Springs desert – made the weekend flawless. With sunny days and cool evenings, the weather never intruded on our good times – something that can’t be said for virtually any other Phish festival. In addition, the site’s proximity to the highway provided easy access for the sundry artists, vendors and attractions. An amalgam of the Phishy spirit and the over-the-top west coast creativity of Burning Man, the art installations at Eight upped the ante from previous festivals, creating the feel of a psychedelic carnival. Throw in multiple bars, shade tents, countless couches, a jumbo-tron showing sporting events and movies, and golf cart taxis to get around the grounds, and this was most definitely not your father’s Phish festival!


Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Perhaps the biggest difference between Indio and Coventry is the utter joy engulfing the entire community these days. Back in ’04, we were there to celebrate a legacy – an irreplaceable time in our lives that was coming to a pre-mature end. And regardless of how much fun we had, the weekend possessed an irrefutable sadness.¬† Indio could not have been more opposite. With Phish back in 2009 – happy and on the rise again – everyone wore ear to ear smiles, and the positivity was absolutely infectious all weekend long. I never saw one incident, argument or bit of beligerence from anyone all weekend long, just people rejoicing to be back in the promised land.


Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

2001 > Curtain > Tweezer” 11.19.95

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A standout sequence that kicked-off Charlotte’s second set along the road of Fall ’95.



Festival 8 (Photo: Russell Gibbs)



11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Torrent

11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Megaupload

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Making their tour of Florida universities, the band stopped at The University of South Florida a day after playing their legendary Orlando show the night before at The University of Central Florida, and three days after playing Gainesville. Amidst a tremendous run in the Sunshine State, a fierce “Mike’s Groove” holds down the second set of this show.

I: Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, Fast Enough for You, Rift, Prince Caspian, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt, Sweet Adeline, The Squirming Coil

II: Wilson, Theme From the Bottom, Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song > Life on Mars? > Weekapaug Groove, Fee, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

E: Suzy Greenberg

Notes: The band won the first chess game with the audience.

Source: Unknown

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435 Responses to “Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved”

  1. Marshall Says:

    But, I think the PhishThoughts crowd could pull it off, if there was a schedule. Make it a 5 year project, since they’re touring again, eliminating dates of tour, and adding those shows on to the end of the list.

    Miner, do you have any means to stream a show from your site every night, “archive” style?

    I’m thinking big here; outside the box. A Complete, End-to-End Collective review of the entire recorded history.

  2. Robear Says:

    re: ‘Mike’s’ w/o ‘Weekapaug’.

    11/16/94 Hill Aud. Ann Arbor was the first ‘Mike’s’ without the ‘Weekapaug’. I was there, and truth be known, I missed it. Although I kept waiting to hear it at Indio, I didn’t miss it afterward. Seemed like no big deal. I don’t think it’s a deal to the band, either. I don’t think they are wondering where to insert it in the fall. The speculation is fun, but I don’t think the band is playing along. They’ll start with a clean slate of tunes and rotation (IMO) at Cobo.

    That said, I’d love to be wrong and witness a 17 minute ‘Weekapaug’ opener in the mOtown!

  3. Marshall Says:

    @ Robear – I agree with you about not missing it. I think everyone figured either ‘Paug or Tweeprize would get left out that night.

    It wasn’t earth shattering that they didn’t close it. It was a 50/50 shot that they wouldn’t.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Marshall, you were asking about crazy setlists right? Check this one out. My buddy was at the night before in Binghamton, NY and he was up in arms that they didn’t play Tweeprise (even though the show rocked). Lo and behold, we got TWO the next night!

    Friday, 12/15/1995 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

    Set 1: Chalk Dust Torture > Harry Hood > Wilson, Maze > Ha Ha Ha > Suspicious Minds > Hold Your Head Up, Cars Trucks Buses, Bouncing Around the Room, Free, Possum[1]

    Set 2: Tweezer Reprise > Runaway Jim, It’s Ice > Bathtub Gin -> Rotation Jam -> Mallory > Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Sweet Adeline

    Encore: Good Times Bad Times -> Tweezer Reprise

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Robear, another show you and I both attended in the lovely state of Michigan!

  6. Robear Says:

    ^another sign that Philly will rage. They (Trey) love that place. Whichever venue is the most ghetto on the tour, seems to get a huge blowout.

    I’m not saying Philly is ghetto, but the strip where the venue is, IS.

  7. Robear Says:

    Type III, Shapiro (who is also from MI.) played two of the bluegrass tunes from 11/16 during the F8 archive show. It was requested by Matty of the Waterwheel, another MI native.

  8. gus Says:

    FINALLY!!!!! party time has been leaked!

    http://www.mediafire.com/?zwonzdmzdio for anyone that wants it. I feel justified in downloading it cause I’m still fucking waiting for my Joy box to come.

  9. Henry Says:

    if i recall correctly, when they were creating their setlists for hampton didn’t mike want mike’s left off altogether because he didn’t feel connected to it anymore? but trey said it was such a fan favorite that they had to include it?

    maybe ditching ‘paug is mike’s way of reconnecting with his old tune, and maybe some sort of new “mike’s groove” will form for 3.0?

  10. voopa Says:


    What about this one?

    05/27/1994 Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

    Set 2: Suzy Greenberg, Peaches en Regalia, My Friend, My Friend, Reba, The Lizards, Julius, Nellie Kane[1], My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own[1], Mike’s Song -> Simple[2] -> O Mio Babbino Caro[3], Possum[4]

    Encore: Fire[5]

    [2] Debut.
    [3] Phish debut; Andrea Baker singing unmiced.
    [4] Audience shaking boxes of macaroni and cheese. Flintstones theme tease.
    [5] Audience shaking boxes of macaroni and cheese.

    Notes: This show marked the debut of Simple and the Phish debut of O Mio Babbino Caro. O Mio Babbino Caro, a Puccini aria, featured opera singer Andrea Baker singing unmiced. Before Possum, the band handed out boxes of Flintstones macaroni and cheese for the audience to shake along with Possum and Fire. Possum subsequently included a Flintstones theme tease.

    Needless to say, we were not missing Weekapaug after that one!

  11. Neemor Says:

    Only now, instead of calling it Mike’s song, it will be performed as his alter-ego “Barney”.
    Barney’s Groove.
    Opens with ‘Barney’s Song’>
    includes either ‘I am Oxygen’ or ‘Difficult’
    ends with ‘Dorchester Groove.’
    Sick stuff.

  12. voopa Says:

    Whoops…left out the notes re: Morgan Fichter on fiddle for the acoustic tunes.

  13. Marshall Says:

    Gone seems related to Light’s intro

  14. Weekapaug Says:

    Thanks man, you just made my afternoon!!!

  15. flarrdogg Says:

    Not sure if it was the Bryan Adams vs. Richard Marx steel cage death-match riffing from yesterday, but Kenny “the log” Loggins haunted my dreams last night. Weird.

  16. Marshall Says:

    “If I Told You” … unlike anything I’ve ever heard Phish do. The keyboard “beat” sounds like Nine Inch Nails.

  17. Marshall Says:

    Yep … opening keyboard riff from Gone is exactly located in the intro to Light.

  18. BingosBrother Says:

    Sorry to interrupt, just came across this.
    @Lycan and other Radiohead fans

  19. Marshall Says:

    Mentioning Nine Inch Nails reminded me of the NIN/Bowie show I saw in Atlanta around 1995. NIN opened. There was no break. They transitioned from one act to another using “A Warm Place” off The Downward Spiral and a couple of NIN/Bowie songs, and gradually it was just Bowie and his band left. A surreal experience is an apt description.

  20. Marshall Says:

    “Say it three times” is a part of the vocal track to Alaska. I thought it was impromptu that night when Page said it.

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    The Birdwatcher opener Cobo!

  22. Weekapaug Says:

    So far I really like Gone. I had the pleasure of hearing this at F8 soundcheck.

  23. Henry Says:

    i really like gone too, it might be my favorite so far

  24. Chuck D Says:

    Birdwatcher = ( . )v( . )

    I sleep I dream, I dream I sleep.
    Sometimes dreaming is too deep.
    If I could shed one layer now,
    I’d still remain asleep somehow.

    DaaaDooo, Da Da!

    ~ Now he’s hitting the sauce! ~

  25. Chuck D Says:

    Let me Lie sounds like a crappy euro remix of an acoustic song. Maybe I’m just used to it without the production…

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