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. Selector J Says:

    If we’re going safe…
    I’d wager an AC/DC Bag.

    Bag opened more shows than any other song in ’09 (7).
    Chalkdust was tied for 2nd (4) with KDF.

  2. albert walker Says:

    I’m saying Party Time

    great way to get the new tour started

    felt so good to open that way at Indio

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    SET II:

    Tweezer > Golden Age > Piper > Makisupa* > 46 Days

    E: Terrapin Station

    * “Woke up this morning….listened to the dead”

    That would be an awesome way to reference jerry at T-ride

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    How bout they open with Party time>Liquid Time?

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    Golden Age opener with a balloon drop

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    We need Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) to come back.
    I went off on this last week and I’m doin’ it again.
    Only 3 Might Quinn’s Leo W. seen two of them.
    We need a people for Mike playing Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) petition stat!!!

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    mighty quinn- hamton ’98, msg ’98, ????

  8. garretc Says:

    I don’t know how they compare key wise, but I was listening to PYITE last night while thinking about Golden Age, and I’m thinking a real cool opener could be:

    Golden Age > PYITE

    The Golden Age riff seem like it’d flow well into the Punch intro…

    Maybe it’s just me?

  9. garretc Says:

    @Mr. P

    Oswego day 2

  10. Mr.Palmer Says:

    thanks garret! i caught 2 of the 3 and didn’t even know it. Ahh… the late nineties, so much fun, so little recollection.

  11. fatbastard Says:

    re: rift. Thanks for the link, that’s a great write up prof. miner. opener for chicago will be something big, something with lyrics, something with suds?…FOAM!

  12. bouncin fan Says:

    My bro Aw heard oswego, Target center, and msg Quinn

    Good stuff

    Trey always has to harass mike to play it

  13. Mr.Palmer Says:

    so then there were 4 Quinn’s ?

  14. garretc Says:

    No problem Mr. P! I just saw your post, remembered that I only had one version of Quinn on my computer and that it was neither MSG ’98 nor Hampton ’98 (which, now that I mention it, could be an unforgivable offense…), so I figured the least I could do was check!

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    Chalkdust opener. come on. 😉

  16. garretc Says:

    If only there was a website we could use to find out how many times it’s been played!!!

    That would be so convenient!

  17. voopa Says:

    11 Quinns:
    4-1-86
    4-15-86
    10-15-86
    2-13-87
    3-6-87
    4-29-87
    8-10-87
    11-20-98
    12-28-98
    7-18-99
    10-2-99
    http://phish.net/song/quinn-the-eskimo

  18. bouncin fan Says:

    Yeah Target was 99 or 00

    Both ripping but the less hyped one has the Quinn

    Can’t remember which

  19. BTB Says:

    The opening riff of PYITE is in D Major if I remember correctly. I know what you mean though

  20. bouncin fan Says:

    Nice Aw caught all 4 modern era Quinns

  21. Mr.Palmer Says:

    bouncin fan- surely you know how many times you’ve been Bounced?

  22. jay Says:

    Miner, how about a fashion spread of Mike’s wardrobe and hair style over the years 🙂

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    bet he’s lookin it up right now……..

  24. bouncin fan Says:

    I’ve heard 2 in 2009 and they were sick

    I’m a 2.0 kid so I missed the bouncin era
    Too many big open jams instead

    My first was hamton and with the balloons dropped it was epic. Best part of entire run

  25. jay Says:

    how about dissecting the shows that Mike actually moved on stage (outside of tramps as that is moving while actually standing in place)

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