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


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. Chuck D Says:

    How/where does If I Told You fit into setlists? Does it require a Hartford Catapult -> ? I mean, there could be some crazy jams into and out of it just because it doesnt sound like anything else they do really…

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    me likes Liquid Time and Only a Dream

  3. Chuck D Says:

    Solid disc all together, but it seems obvious why this is a “bonus” disc and not a true double disc release.

  4. Henry Says:

    @ chuck d

    i could definitely see “If I Told You” leading into some sort of weird, techno-esque jam

  5. Chuck D Says:

    I never doubt their creative juices. If I Told You can only lead to places we have not seen/imagined. I do not know what to expect, but I expect it to be awesome.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    those who heard the Liquid Time at soundcheck. Was it done acoustic like the record? That is some great guitar playing. Really dig that one

  7. gus Says:

    I actually read somewhere that Liquid Time was recorded in Syracuse in 2007? I have no idea if this is legit, but maybe this was recored by just trey himself.

  8. gus Says:

    OH MY GOD. originally had behind the stage portland tickets, just found out from a friend that he has ROW 13 tickets, and I’m getting one!!!!! fuck yeaaaa

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:


  10. sumodie Says:

    party time recording info

    “Party Time” was recorded at the Barn, VT, January 2009
    “Alaska” was recorded at the Asheville Civic Center, 6/9/09
    “Windy City” was recorded at The Barn, VT, January 2009
    “In A Misty Glade” was recorded at the Hill House, Moscow, VT, March 3-7, 1998
    “Gone” was recorded at Chung King Studios, NYC, May 2009
    “Only A Dream” was recorded at Chung King Studios, NYC, May 2009
    “The Birdwatcher” was recorded at Cactus Unlimited, VT, March 2004
    “Let Me Lie” was recorded at Chung King Studios, NYC, May 2009
    “If I Told You” was recorded at The Bunker, VT, March 2008
    “Splinters Of Hail” was recorded at Rubber Jungle Studios, Saratoga, NY June 2007
    “Can’t Come Back” was recorded at The Barn, VT, January 2009
    “Shrine” was recorded at the Hill House, Moscow, VT, March 3-7, 1998
    “Liquid Time” was recorded at Rubber Jungle Studios, Saratoga, NY June 2007

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    thanks for the info Sumodie

  12. gus Says:

    but – it says Alaska was recorded at the Civic Center on June 9th, but the Alaska on Party Time is a studio version. so it’s hard to know what else isn’t true.

  13. Weekapaug Says:

    @ Mr. Palmer No, it was not done acoustic from what I remember. I was just having this conversation about it with a friend. I had said to him that it was interesting hearing this acoustic version while remembering the very electric version at soundcheck.

  14. joe Says:

    gus, don’t really want to rain on your good vibration parade, but I’m pretty sure that portland is General admission on the floor. If properly motivated you can get up close for sure. 13th row seats are probably someplace up in the seats. Shouldn’t be a problem getting closer if you have the desire.

  15. joe Says:

    anyway you cut it, venue is small enough for a good time to be had no matter where you end up.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    joe, you beat me to it. I have Floor GA seats for Portland so anything with a row is off of the floor. Definitely a small enough room that no east is bad, plau it shouldn’t be too hard to get stubbed down. You’re young, gus, storm the floor!!!

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, that’s no seat not east…

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    holy crap my typing’s bad this evening. plus not plau

  19. gus Says:

    yeah joe I actually was pretty sure of that too, but friend who got his tickets from an uncle who works for a radio station and gets ticket promotions and stuff said it wasn’t…so I’m not sure what to think. My friends gonna ask for further information, cause I looked at seating charts and it looks like its GA. but his uncle did say ‘row 13 right in front of the stage’ I don’t know.

  20. joe Says:

    Agreed Type III,

    Storming the floor is part of the whole experience when you’re young.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    maybe the GA seats he got have seat numbers like GA13 Seat 42. I’ve definitely seen that before on GA tickets.

  22. gus Says:

    yeah i’ll let you guys know once he further questions his uncle.

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    Have a great time at these upcoming shows people. I won’t be able to attend any, but good vibes are going your way!

    Here’s to a 25min Gin in Cobo!

  24. joe Says:

    first show gus?

  25. gus Says:

    nope, this is my fourth, I was at fenway, great woods, and hartford this summer. it was a great summer. but this is my first year of seeing phish. but I’ve been listening to them for about three years

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