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 themselvesĀ  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”

  1. joe Says:

    cowfunk. I think it is, but somehow I’ve never heard of that until about a month ago when I first saw the youtube she belongs to me.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @c0w, FWIW Broken Arrow is from Robbie Robertson’s excellent “comeback” self titled solo album from the late 80s, produced by Daniel Lanois. The original version of Broken Arrow is included in this mix:

    …which is all OG versions of songs covered by the Dead or Jerry. I’m not sure which zipfile it’s in though; I can look it up at home shortly if you don’t want to dig through all of it (though you might find it enjoyable)

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    “is that she belongs to me vid the one on backstage pass?”

    ^^^ yes it is. that’s the one.

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    @cow : that this land vid was posted on another site I frequent. Thought you might like it, so here it is.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    what a weird-ass video release that is.

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    how is it that I did not discover art tatum until a friend turned me on today? Absolutely masterful piano man here. Sounds like this is where Monk got those big long sweeps he’s always tossing out.

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    yeah backstage pass is weird.

    In HS I somehow acquired a VHS tape that had the grateful dead movie -> backstage pass -> the original “dead ahead” recording from HBO

    I usta dose and just watch that video for 7 hours. Lots of it is etched in stone in my mind.

    I love the moment where Mickey is cheering Brent and he’s all “A FAN FINALLY A FAN!!” Hilarious.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    Tatum’s one of the greatest ever and helped build the foundation upon which all future jazz piano was played, or so it seems…great shit…

    jazz is really infinite…I have just been getting seriously into Lester Young for the first time, LOVE IT

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    sorry not dead ahead, ticket to new years. aka nye 87 or 88 or whatever it was

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    funny I asked my buddy a jazz knowitall about another player who sounded like young and he said – they all sound like young he influenced everyone. Along w/ coleman hawkins. Lester is THE SHIT. So smoov

  11. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    C they could have used your talents on the photo shopping.

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    @C : Is Senor on there? The JGB version on Ladder to the Stars is unreal and I’ve never even heard Dylans version.

  13. joe Says:

    and just like that, the next 35 minutes of my “work” night is planned. all of backstage pass cued up.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    BP has a great sense of humor.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    LEster Young is credited with being the first person to every use the word “cool” in its modern meaning – talk about an influence!

    Lester has become my total go-to for jazz that is chilled out but awesome. The spot that used to just be reserved for Kind of Blue. Some sick piano work on some of these Lester sides as well…

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    glad theres some Dead talk going on right, now.

    Im spinning 4/27/71 from the Fillmore East.

    I love the old songs: Truckin’, Mama Tried, Bertha, Me and My Uncle

    Im not a Dead expert, so I don’t know who’s responsible for the lyrics of these songs, but I love the lyrical stories in the songs.

    The Dead really encompassed that folk beauty and gentleness.

    I think this one of the main differences between Phish and the Dead.

    Phish can play folksy tunes, but they’re just too far removed in history I think to infuse the Americana into it or something.

    By the way, Phish is my favorite band.

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    lester young w/ the oscar peterson trio is one of my favorite recordings in my jazz collection. The record “lester leaps in” – him w/ count basie – is also pretty badass.

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    mama tried and uncle are both traditionals. I believe hunter penned the other 2.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    “@C : Is Senor on there? ”

    hmmmm the Dylan version isn’t. I had to limit the # of Dylan originals or it would have just turned into a big Bob tribute. I did put in a couple tracks from Tim O’Brien’s “Red on Blonde” as a kind of cheat. It might be one of those but I don’t think it is…I think those tracks are Maggie’s Farm and Forever Young…

    hm yeah sorry I think Senor just didn’t make the final Dylan cut which ended up being really arbitrary

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    fwiw one of hunter/garcia’s stated intentions in the early 70s was to mix up the folk music record enough so their songs would be indistinguishable from the traditionals. Hence tunes like Dire Wolf, etc

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    Nope, me and my Uncle is an original as well. Mama Tried is a Merle Haggard tune. FWIW all of those songs were relatively new at that time, having entered rotation in very late ’69 or ’70 and only really taking shape in late ’70 for the most part.

    I’m a huge fan of the spring ’71 and that filthy, filthy tone Jerry played with at the time…

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    Bertha’s about a relentless female fan who was a little on the hefty side

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    I agree @Silly, GD lyrics are one of my favorite elements to them. Especially like Jack Straw, Loser, Candyman, Row Jimmy, etc. It is also the way that Jerry sang them, I believed basically every line he sang in those songs. Beautiful, heartfelt vocals

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    ah my bad – wikipedia says me and my uncle was written by john phillips of the mamas and papas

    always thought that was an old country tune. The hippies did a great job of mixing in that sound all in all…

    I believe that is the “most played gd song ever” isn’t it?

  25. SillyWilly Says:


    yeah, theyre commitment to that sound is clearly evident.

    I don’t listen to a ton of Dead (not because I don’t like it, but it comes with that feeling of “missing out”) so when I listen to it, the first thing that hits my ears is how different of a band they were from Phish.

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