Relivin’ Indio

10.30.09 - Indio (G.Lucas)

If someone told me ten years ago that we would be reliving Phish shows in 3D movie theatres in 2010, I would have dismissed the idea a futuristic fantasy that belonged in Back to the Future II. But lo and behold, only a decade later, we find ourselves right here. Capitalizing on the newest fad in cinematic technology, Phish 3D, an audio collage of Festival 8 from Indio, California, is now showing in an exclusive one-week engagement around the nation. While fans have given mixed reviews of the feature length film, I felt the concert experience translated quite well to the big screen and beyond, providing a lasting memoir of an unforgettable weekend.

Indio Pollock

Split into three sections, nighttime Phish footage, the acoustic set, and the Halloween set, one obvious strength of Phish 3D is the film’s willingness to cover full songs from beginning to end, as opposed to the usual excerpts documentary-based features include. Without any narration, interviews, or external perspectives, Phish 3D allows the viewer to fully soak in the live concert experience. (I kept thinking that the film would be an excellent introduction to Phish for someone who has never seen the band and isn’t sure they could stomach a show.) Within a society catered to short attention spans, the extensive, uncut footage provided a relief from the modern era of sound bites and highlight reels. The ability to watch the band communicate and develop jams from such an intimate perspective provided a novel viewpoint for those not glued to the rail every show. Watching their eyes lock during the music and their seeing their expressions during peak moments provided a wholly divergent experience. Given the on-stage perspective of a fifth band member, one gained a virtual, first hand point-of-view of the band’s interpersonal dynamics and stage set up, things that  I, personally, never see during a show. Phish 3D allowed  most to view Indio from an 180-degree different perspective than the actual show, and the two together formed a complete experience. And with the crowd-perspective shots, it often felt like we were right on the plush fields again.

The track selection for the opening segment of the movie couldn’t have been better, featuring an opening run of “AC/DC Bag,” “Stealing Time,” “Undermind,” “Tweezer > Maze,” and “Mike’s,” all complete and uncut. “Tweezer > Maze” stood out as the highlight of this sequence, as it did at the show; and with the varying stage shots of the band slaughtering the jam provided a completely an all-encompassing visual experience. Trey’s passion translated vibrantly throughout the film, and especially during “Tweezer,” as his spirited playing matched his animated and fiery demeanor. Following the “Tweezer > Maze,” the movie didn’t slow down, choosing “Mike’s” as the final jam of the opening section. Any time I can go to the movies and see uncut 3D versions of “Tweezer” and “Mike’s” – it’s a win-win in my book!

The Acoustic Set (G. Lucas)

The second segment of the film featured brief non-stage footage, something the film could have used more of, before showing an extended excerpt from Sunday morning’s acoustic set. The clarity of the audio matched the clarity of the video in a pristine remembrance of a modern morning of lore. While this section may have incorporated one too many songs, the inclusion of “The Curtain (With)” made the entire segment worthwhile, bringing everyone back to the spiritual sunshine of November 1. The ability to see the crowd during the acoustic set really brought the festival to life, as theatre-goers tried to pick themselves out of the colorful ocean of people. This sequence painted a warm portrait of the acoustic set, providing unattainable perspectives of one of the most universally loved portions of Festival 8.

"Loving Cup" (Photo: Graham Lucas)

The final third of the movie covered Halloween, and Phish’s take on The Rolling Stones album, Exile On Main Street. While the footage of the selected songs provided some absolutely priceless moments, this is where the film would have hugely benefited from greater backstage access. Unable to get behind the scenes, less one practice session, the story of Phish’s Halloween tradition was implied but never explained, making the section somewhat confusing for the non-initiated movie-goer. The film only contained a small snippet of the on-site Exile rehearsals, a segment that certainly left the desire for more backstage footage, but for that we’d have to wait for the credits. Clearly a case of limited access, Phish should have foresaw this obstacle and allowed more leeway for the film crew to tell the story of the band’s Halloween tradition.

Trey and Saundra (Unknown)

Nonetheless, the shots of “Loving Cup” and “Shine A Light” provided powerful memoirs of an eloquent night in the polo fields of Indio, California. The up close and personal footage of “Loving Cup” provided priceless perspectives of the “all-time” version, while the inclusion of “Shine A Light,” the cathartic exclamation point to Exile, brought back the most poignant memory of the weekend. Phish and company knew they had nailed the album, and celebrated with its soul-drenched peak. The stellar shots of Saundra Williams and Sharon Jones gave us a much closer perspective of their own fun and enthusiasm, expressions that couldn’t be easily seen live; and they were loving it. After showing a short clip of the band and their guests rehearsing “Suzy Greenberg,” the Exile section concluded with its memorable encore rendition with full-on accompaniment. And just when one thought the marathon movie has come to a close, the film cut to the weekend-ending “Tweezer Reprise.” Perfect.

"Burble" (G.Lucas)

If one shot summed up the absolute exuberance of Festival 8, it had to be during “Suzy.” The camera filmed from behind Williams and Jones, looking out at the stage as the women danced and sang. Meanwhile, with his back to the crowd, Trey, sporting a child-like, aura-encompassing smile, watched Williams and Jones spice up his own concert as if it were part of his dream. And that same dreamlike quality that shone through the expression of our favorite front man embodied the collective spirit that characterized Indio’s blissed out festival; one of the most enjoyable events of Phish ’09.

On the other hand, many people have complained about song selection, camera work, editing, and the such. Really?? I have one question to these purveyors of negativity who complain that a Phish 3D movie wasn’t worthy of cinematic greatness – “Can you still have fun?”

Phish 3D Track listing: AC/DC Bag, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Undermind, Tweezer, Maze, Mike’s, Back On The Train*, Strange Design*, The Curtain (With)*, Sleep Again*, Train Song*, Wilson*, Loving Cup, Happy, Shine A Light, Soul Survivor, Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer Reprise

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Jam of the Day:

Stash > Cities” 6.30.98 II

A highlight from the opening set of Summer ’98.

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.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.18.91 Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, NH < Torrent

7.18.91 Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, NH < Megaupload

A random stop with the Giant Country Horns during Summer ’91

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Foam, Runaway Jim, Guelah Papyrus, Suzy Greenberg, Stash, Take the ‘A’ Train, Cavern, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Llama, Reba, Poor Heart, Split Open and Melt, The Lizards, The Landlady, I Didn’t Know, Possum

E: Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues

Notes: This show featured the Giant Country Horns. At one point during the show, the crowd was told by the promoter that they were dancing too much, prompting Trey to offer a date with Fishman to the fan who danced best on their chair!

Source: AKG 451 > D5

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541 Responses to “Relivin’ Indio”

  1. gratefulcub Says:

    I just did the same thing for a guy that came to MSG with me, and is going back to Deer Creek this summer. I fell into some old habits:

    Set 1:
    Gin (7.29.98)
    Tweezer>Cal Love>Tweezer>Free (7.15.98)
    Ghost>Fire (11.17.97)

    Set 2:
    Mikes>Weekapaug (7.17.98)
    Christiana Ghost>Jim>Caspian

    You might ask, “How can you put a Ghost in both sets?”

    I say to you, “How can I not?”

  2. neemor Says:

    “nickname for my next girlfriend: Sugarbush”
    ^ classic

    I give it a one night stand.

  3. neemor Says:

    cub:
    did you make some guy a mix tape?
    Just wondering.

  4. gratefulcub Says:

    You haven’t got yours in the mail yet neemor? ::bats eyelashes repeatedly::

  5. Stupendous Says:

    12.29.97 Bowie Smokes!!!!

  6. Mitch Says:

    mr palmer,
    now that you’re on a mac you should try my scripts. takes all the hassle out of conversion.

    i even made youtube videos for those of you who cant figure it out:

    http://web.mac.com/mwladd/Site/Flac_or_SHN_to_iTunes.html

  7. D-Bone Says:

    so I’m jumping in late cause I just realized that Miner’s takin requests. while have about 10 ideas for phishthoughts posts everyday while on my way to work, so here are a few:

    I like the music-disection/focused posts. they’re probably more work (=more fun?) because you gotta pull out specific examples from the music but what about a focus on one of these two things:

    – musical comparison of how phish in 2009 was able to incorporate and tap into aspects of all their previous styles/incarnations. ambiant space jams ala 98. some funk jams ala 97 (though not that extreme), the silliness, tight precision, etc. you get my point.

    – analysis of different specific jams or themes that keep cropping up in different places – could be a musical theme, idea, riff (trey or full band) that emerges throughout the course of a tour, couple days, etc. I can think of a couple but I’m sure there are a bunch

    – what about an overview of song meldings. Most recently the boogielope, or there was the tweevern from hartford 2000, a summer 94 wilson/cavern meld if i’m not mistaken and there must be plenty more (the classic moby dick show is a no brainer). i’m not talking about a quote or tease of a song but the real melding of two songs into one.

    i’ve got more but i’ll stop here

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Palmer

    7/05/98 Lucerna Theater – Czech, Republic

    from the same dude is up @ bt.etree too if you missed it.

    here:

    http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=534815

  9. Mitch Says:

    miner,
    you could do more venue recaps??

  10. voidboy Says:

    @Mr Miner,

    Topic Idea: Songs that open up and drop an unexpected Jam or other tune in their midst and then recap or flow back into the original song structure. You featured a couple of them on TTFF… Was it Birds of a Feather? “If I only had a brain” and the “Dream On” tease nested inside that Bowie. I love this kind of stuff as it always feels like a hole has opened up into the sky… Another example of a truly unexpected moment was the “Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley (8/7/09?).

    Anyway, just some thoughts…

  11. flarrdogg Says:

    Miner- I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think the future holds for them. Namely, is the ’09 model gonna become the norm for touring schedule, etc… Certainly appears so based on Summer ’10. Fewer or more shows? Seems like they’re searchhing for some continuity and balance in 3.0

    I also just read the suggestions about covering the changing fanbase. I’d be interested to hear you take on that. I also like AW’s idea about Summer ’99 versus Summer ’09. What is different about the scene 10 years later? What’s the same?

  12. voopa Says:

    Don’t forget “Won’t you step into the Meatstick”

  13. neemor Says:

    “there was the tweevern from hartford 2000”
    ^ mmm….Tweevern….
    That show was classic.

    I wish Miner would talk more about the Grateful dead and how their influence on Phish made Phish what they are and how they sound exactly alike.

    That is all.

  14. flarrdogg Says:

    El duder- That 7/5/98 show is a stinker. What happened that night- totally off their game. PCP? 7/6 is so hot, you wonder if it is the same band.

  15. albert walker Says:

    Miner

    How about what happened to all the ladies

    A discussion of the honey filled tours of 95-97 versus the sausage fest that is 2009

    What the fuck happened

  16. Mitch Says:

    grateful,
    you in jerz today? ms mango is working at her old restaurant and she just texted me “50% off bottled wine” and the food is darn good too.

    might be worth trekking to the city for. also, my friends girl is having an art show tonight that i’m gonna check out for a bit after i go home and get completely baned… if anyone wants to come along.

  17. Mitch Says:

    AW,
    there used to be girls at phish shows?? get the f**k outta here.

  18. neemor Says:

    Demandelope.

    Crosseyed Antelope.

    Fleezer.

    Bathtub Ghost.

    Runaway Foam City Bowie Melt I didn’t Know Lawn Boy.

    I’m sorry. I have to go now.

  19. Stupendous Says:

    They all got babies now…

  20. neemor Says:

    I heard there used to be two girls for every booooooy.

    50% off wine bottles might’ve been nice to know in advance, Ms. Mango.

  21. D-Bone Says:

    @neemor
    are you being funny or making fun? I don’t really care but I’m not understanding your internet humor

  22. gratefulcub Says:

    Too much fun going on this week Mitch. I’m doing Wed – Fri instead of Tues – Thurs so that I can get Kung Fu’d. If I were in town……few things I enjoy more in life than 1/2 priced bottles of wine.

  23. gratefulcub Says:

    They grew up. We only pretended to grow up.

  24. flarrdogg Says:

    I miss girls at shows. Those were the days- forced me to kick my dancing moves up to the next level. Often with break dancing moves- ocassionally the worm.

  25. voidboy Says:

    @neemor,

    Love it.

    “Runaway Foam City Bowie Melt I didn’t Know Lawn Boy.” (wrapped in a “Meatstick”)

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