The Overall Experience

7.4.10 - Alpharetta, GA (Wendy Rogell)

The perfect Phish show experience is a combination of music, space, sound, and people. While any combination of these can produce the show of one’s life, the more ingredients that are present on any given night enhances he experiential quality of that show. In venues like Merriweather and Jones Beach, one must sacrifice everything for a small sliver of dance space, while at some GA shows, people can situate themselves  in any spot they desire. While the music makes up the vast majority of any show experience, these other intangibles can make or break an absolute throwdown. During Leg I, the following five venues combined the most of these facets, providing the highest quality show experiences of tour.


1. Hershey Park Stadium, Hershey, PA – 6.13

Hersheypark Stadium (M.Ladd)

With a revamped sound system and a rubberized cover for the field, this intimate stadium that once drew the scorn of fans has been reborn as the ultimate Phish venue. With a total GA policy, large groups of friends congregated in prime real estate to rage the show together. With no barriers to space, spontaneous dance pits emerged all over the field as Mike’s larger-than-life bass lines cut the air like thunder. With easy access to wherever one had to go, Hershey Park takes home the award for The Best Venue of Leg I. Phish responded to the positive vibrations with a greatest-hits dance party in a liquid second set


2. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA – 7.3 &4

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

A massive GA dance floor sprawled out in front of the stage for the tour’s final weekend. Completely flat concrete made dancing desirable, while a wristband policy kept, at least, the most timid fans from getting down to the floor. One section of seating provided direct sight lines to the stage before a small lawn dotted the back. The copious dance space and free-for-all floor more than made up for somewhat compromised sound that resulted from the super-high roof, designed for air circulation. Nonetheless, I’d be happy to see a return to Alpharetta scheduled next summer.


3. nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth,VA – 6.15

nTelos - 6.15 (ctankcycle)

With a complete GA policy like its next-door neighbor, Hampton Coliseum, nTelos Pavilion was the smallest venue of tour with a capacity of only 6,500. And you couldn’t give tickets away. The GA policy caused the seat-less floor to grow over-crowed by setbreak, pushing many fans into the seats. But with no one caring where you were at anytime, this venue on the water provided a most enjoyable experience and a unique setting for Phish. The undersized tented pavilion felt crowded, though the lawn was sparsely populated. A random stop to say the least, a great time was had by all.


4. Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ – 6.24 & 25

6.24.10 (J.Thomas)

Sure, the “Susquehanna Bank Center,” as its been called the for the past few years, is part of the cookie-cutter amphitheatre series, but it is one of the best. Boasting ample nooks of space and a notably lax security force, one can pretty much wind up wherever he wants in Camden and it’s gonna’ sound great. A far less regulated scene than most east coast sheds, everyone finds space to blow it up in one of Phish’s most eventful east-coast stops.


5. CMAC Pavilion. Canadaigua, NY – 6.29

This undersized and uniquely designed amphitheatre got a face-lift since Phish’s last visit in 1995. With an up-close and personal pavilion that placed a lot of fans close to the stage, security remained notably non chalant. VIP boxes turned into mini GA dance clubs, and the stairs and aisles were fair game for ballistic raging. The sound was loud and clear inside, though I can’t speak for the lawn. All in all, the way this venue integrated into the surrounding natural landscape made it one of the most enjoyable stops of tour.


Jam of the Day:

Split Open and Melt” 6.25 I

A first-set walk on the wild side in Camden.




6.12.2010 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH < Torrent

6.12.2010 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH < Megaupload

Official Blossom Poster

One of the dark-horse shows of tour, Blossom offered a strong sequence to open the second set, including one of the jams of tour in “Number Line.” The first set featured, perhaps, the finest “Mike’s Groove” of the summer.

I: Look Out Cleveland*, Ocelot, Water in the Sky, Stash, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Sample in a Jar, Time Turns Elastic, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Rock and Roll > Harry Hood, Backwards Down the Number Line > Twenty Years Later, Instant Karma!**, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Waste, Character Zero

E: The Squirming Coil

*debut, The Band, **debut, John Lennon

Source: Schoeps mk4v> KCY> Sonosax SX-M2/LS> SD 744t (@24bit/96kHz)

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648 Responses to “The Overall Experience”

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  1. butter Says:

    i forgot all about this ambient outro jam out of NICU from Vegas 98

    revisited the Vegas 98 run tonite

    everyone always talks about how out there the Wolfmans’s is, but its last few minutes have just beautiful resolve

  2. butter Says:

    Ntelos was awesome, the lawn would pretty much be the rear of most pavilions and had lush green grass, and the sound was great

    i enjoyed the town of Portsmouth, VA…..some little town i would never, ever have ended up in if Phish didn’t play there

    probably wouldn’t have gone to Hershey, PA either, we have Disney Land out here

  3. Corey Says:

    Good early morn., bbers…t’is four twenty.

    Light from Raleigh is one truly inventive piece of music.

    Canandaigua was lovely from the start to the finish, save for a slow traffic entry…special place indeed. They even let me put up my tent (keep the jokes at bay, my parents were under that tent).

    Sorry to all those staying home next week. I know Greek words have been difficult to muster. I have stayed silent for a few days, but…

    Split town in a few days…nine to get to San Francisco in laid back style.
    Woo friggin’ hoo! There, I feel better. Good night and good day folks.

  4. The Light Between Says:

    Anybody get the email yet from PTBM about Greek tickets? They should be shipping out soon.

  5. Luther Justice Says:

    Hershey Park was extremely comfortable with dance space in large supply. As soon as the music started, security seemed to go on hiatus. Will definitely return to this venue if Phish or Justin Beiber do more shows there.

  6. Matso Says:

    I’m surprised that Blossom didn’t make this list. I heard nothing but good things about that venue.

    As for the lawn at SPAC, never again (or, if forced to, then as close to the bottom as possible). My memories of set 1 on 6/19 are indelibly marked by the drunken chatter around me. STFU and dance, fratboy! We moved way down for set 2, where the sound was much better, but the overall experience was still not great (those walkways are distracting or maybe it was just the Fuckerpants->Joy… 😉 )

  7. willowed Says:

    I am floored that the lot scenery at Hartford didn’t help it’s case for #1 venue this summer. Let me summarize
    Broken Glass
    Dirty used needles
    4 trees
    Well organized lots (pfft)
    Directing all traffic down into the city via one lane to get on highway 91

    All these wonderful things rank Hartford #1 in my book. I kid, i kid….but they sure do know how to throw down once you’re in that place. I had a blast!!

  8. willowed Says:

    I forgot to say good morning people!!

  9. pabalive Says:

    Willow – what is great about Hartford is that there is a huge walkway at the back of the seating pavillion. I spun for 4 sets in the space, Thursday night’s show it was not crowded at all. On Friday it got a bit tight. But, it is a freaker’s heaven. Getting off that lawn and away from the crappy security in the seating. Had a great time.

    But, Hershey was my favorite venue and SPAC, which is beautiful, absolutely sucks from the standpoint of dance space and sound…if on the lawn.

  10. pabalive Says:

    @Matso – SPAC had a ridiculous amount of drunk chatter. Then again, I think this is present at most summer shows, but, SPAC’s ancient soundsystem was not loud enough to drown out the idiots. By far the worst experience I had.

  11. willowed Says:

    Agreed that 10 yard walk way at the back of the seats is a freakers dream. The sound aint that bad either back there.
    Walking out of there both nights i used that path to get out. It was funny looking at all the spun wooks scattered all over the ground. Like someone launched a grenade and took out all of the riff raff.
    How can you sleep during a show? It amazes me.

  12. Luther Justice Says:

    Phish music is known to stun w00ks, leaving them temporarily lifeless @willowed. Hence the term “w00k down”. I saw it on the Nat Geo channel, or was it on Gangland on the History channel?

  13. Jtran Says:

    Morning BB!

    Couldn’t really chat yesterday as I started a new job and had some other commitments, but the conversation I read was interesting as always.

    Going to Lake Placid, NY today to see Rubblebucket perform a free show lakeside and do some hiking and Olympic sight seeing.

    Have a good day!

  14. Andrew Says:

    Morning all, hope it works out for all the Greek seekers…caught up on some tough stories from last night. Parents here’s a good one to send the kids to school with –

    Why did 6 get so upset?

    Because 7 8 9

  15. Jtran Says:

    Just reading back a bit more re: the lot scene from last night’s discussion.

    I brought two different friends to their first shows in SPAC and Camden, and both thought the whole experience, from pre-show to post-show, was unbelievable. Amazed at what you could find on lot, and how everything is sold for such a fair price. Only real concern for them was the sketch factor the cops were bringing in Camden, but as long as you’re not the problem no worries.

  16. Jtran Says:

    And last thing, before I go..after all the 2.0 talk recently I decided to dl the following (all 03):


    Interesting style, no doubt

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    Morning, all!

    Reading about all the venues I have never been to makes me excited for tours in the future.

    I only saw the first two shows of tour, but I really love Blossom.

    If Miner thought the 5 he picked were better than Blossom, then Phish really is doing a good job of picking venues (maybe not a good job of picking regions to play, but still) because Blossom was pretty cool.

    I really want to cross some of these really small venues off my list.

  18. zzyzx Says:

    “however there would still be crazy energy around these shows if they were playing the gorge or wherever. it’s the greek, come on.”

    If the tour were Greek/Gorge/T-Ride, I wouldn’t have bothered to go to the Greek. I was only there once for Comes a Time, and admittedly this had a lot to do with how much attention you had to pay to the music with the lineup constantly changing, but I don’t really remember the venue making much of an impression. I hope this changed in a couple of weeks.

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    Hey, zzyzx,

    I noticed that you wrote a lot for the Phish Companion.

    I am always thinking that soon they’ll need to update it.

    You wouldn’t happen to know if there are plans to update it, or who would be the catalyst if it was updated?

    just curious. Would love to help out if that was in the works. The Companion is one of my portals to the past, and its been such a help in my collecting.

  20. Halden Says:

    CMAC Lawn sound was great.

  21. Guyute711 Says:

    For anyone who didn’t go to Alpharetta you need to make the trip. The pit was great, I walked in and right to a spot about ten to fifteen people from the stage the second night. I was on the lawn the first night and the sound was good and it didn’t feel like you were a mile away like some venues. The staff there was outstanding as well. They were all helpfull and had smiling faces.

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    Kind security really goes a long way for the overall experience of a show.

    Such small thing that makes a big difference.

    i hate looking over my shoulder.

  23. lastwaltzer Says:

    Saw Konono No.1 in milenium park last night, awesome set. If they are coming to your town and you love African dance music, check it! The band featured three guys playing thumb pianos that were mic’d and played through an old megaphone, the rest of the band was a drummer playing only a snare, a conga player and a women on vocals and wood blocks.

  24. fee4zy Says:

    So today’s download is from 2012. Whoa, time flies when you’re having fun.

  25. Andrew Says:

    Nice LW, I just grabbed a show of theirs off DIME last night on a whim, haven’t listened to them yet but looking forward to it even more now!

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