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”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    hm right I forgot the john philips link! it’s def unique to Bob, and yeah, it always stayed in a 2-3 song rotation (I think) pretty much since it was introduced and ended up being their most-played song.

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    Interesting, I thought Barlow wrote Me and My Uncle. I was wrong.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    “(not because I don’t like it, but it comes with that feeling of “missing out”) ”


    that’s too bad.

    wish there was some way to drop that baggage…FWIW I missed 1971 just as much as you did

    they are more different than similar in every surface way, which makes the similarities really intriguing…

    but they’re up to exactly the same thing underneath it all

    you know…That Thing That Happens

    different paths to the same destination, or that’s how I see it

  4. Locust the lurker Says:

    Me and my Uncle isn’t an original. It was written by John Phillips and there’s a great story to its inception.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah that is a really cool story. never heard that! interesting.

  6. KWL Says:

    sup kidz

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    I don’t know if the folk/americana sound will ever truly make a comeback.

    at least not into the improvisational setting.

    Folk and americana have lost their subversive element, I think.

    and improvisation will always be subversive in my opinion.

    a lot of these newer folksy types are closer to hipsters than they are to activists. and the best folk has a populist element to it, in my opinion.

  8. Locust the lurker Says:

    Out of the blue, Phillips started receiving royalties for a Judy Collins song that he wasn’t familiar with. He called Judy to let her know about the mistake as he hadn’t written a song called “Me and my Uncle” and she started cracking up.

    She explained to him that one night, after one of her shows, they’d gotten drunk on Tequila with Stephen Stills and Neil Young. With Judy’s tape recorder running, John spontaneously busted out “me and my uncle,” only to completely forget that he had when he woke the next day.

  9. joe Says:

    me and my uncle was the most played dead song? would’ve lost that bet

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. C

    you are a true Dead Head.


    thats too bad.”

    I love it.

    I should be able to drop that baggage because Im missing some great music.

    I’ll make the commitment right now.

    I’ll listen to 3 Dead shows a week until Deer Creek, and keep y’all filled in.

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    Loser is a great tune.

  12. Luther Justice Says:

    different paths to the same destination, or that’s how I see it


  13. albert walker Says:

    Best jerry Dylan = tough mama

  14. KWL Says:

    the pavement i saw was basically a greatest hits set

    ^could be said about some recent phish shows too

    Since, every hip-hop show i’ve seen is terrible. even when they bring a live band, it’s terrible. but i can’t barely identify with hip-hop anymore so that’s got to be part of it. i just can’t throw my hands up anymore and i can’t act like i just don’t care.

    ^that is funny

    and improvisation will always be subversive in my opinion.

    ^now we’re talkin’

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    @silly there’s quite a cool little traditional revival happening in Asheville right now, with a pretty subversive bent. Bands like “the trainwrecks” who take traditional and jam it out with a fury.

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    “Best jerry Dylan = tough mama”

    @aw we agree on something .. the LoM tough mamas are hard to beat.

    meat shakin on her bones.

  17. tela'smuff Says:

    @zzyzx – thx for sharing that vid! that ain’t my grandaddy’s bluegrass no mo’. dancing robots and neon flowers! that was awesome! 🙂

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    From my outside perspective, I think Jerry had a wonderful tap onto the pulse beating in this nation’s heart.

    Whiskey in the Jar.
    Two Soldiers.

    Jerry re-created American history on the stage. The music came with the added mysticism of history.

    I really feel this.

    It’s like he could translate the American conscience into music.

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    I’ve been going through a real Sailor>Saint kinda thing lately. Is it wrong to love a Bobby song combo so much? My shorts are getting shorter.

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    love how bobby would get all “driftin and dreamin – go on drift your life away!!!” and then “just exactly what the f you gonna do” in sailor saint. Great little combo there. Saint never sounds right without its intro imo.

  21. albert walker Says:

    Smoking sorority chick just walked by while I was pondering if jamming trey or DMB trey will show up to the Greek

    Then I read her shirt

    “Life is better Greek”

    I’ll take it as a sign

  22. SillyWilly Says:


    Ill have to check The Trainwrecks out.

    Thanks for the tip.

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    Here’s a question for you all:

    When I listen to Jerry, my associations with him are fundamentally of a soft, sad beauty.

    Like a rose in early October. (sorry, but that really is the first image in my head)

    This is probably coming to me through his passing.

    So, my question is:

    How did you guys see him when he was alive? What sort of feeling did he give?

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    looks like there may be more than one “the trainwrecks” look for the asheville version, not the savannah version (who may be good too just not the one I know)

  25. angryjoggerz Says:

    I also think of him as a rose in early October!

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