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)

Tags: , ,

648 Responses to “The Overall Experience”

  1. zzyzx Says:

    Nope, I called your actions cute. There’s a difference. 🙂

    For the most part, I’m reasonably happy with how the Greek ended up shaking out. Yes there are still a lot of frustrated people and I still need at least a pair for all 3 nights, but a lot more west coasters got in than I feared. I am amused at the east coast people who saw 7 or 8 shows in leg 1 who are now asking me for help with Greek tickets and expect me to jump up and help them over those who still haven’t seen Phish in 2010.

  2. mmm hmm Says:

    How can ya leave SPAC off of this list? Nestled in the Saratoga National Forest in upstate NY? The town of Saratoga is inviting with a great night life, fun bars, a fair amount of accessible hotels and eateries. The venue itself is sweet. Set behind the scene of a Roman-style bath complex, it has a brick VIP bar area, not bad bathroom lines, plenty of space to walk around. The venue is comprised of a lawn where sight lines could be better…HOWEVER, the pavillion feels like an intimate greenhouse theater. When on the balcony, one isn’t even aware that there is a large lawn behind you totally raging. You get a great theater feel in the balcony and on the floor. The sides of the venue are somewhat enclosed with lush greenery all over. Excellent pavilion for lights and when you turn around, WOW, thousands on the lawn getting down. Anyone who has been to SPAC will tell you that it trumps most any venue, ESP Portsmouth, Alpharetta, and Hershey….

  3. fee4zy Says:

    I will keep my eyes and ears out here in SLC for your Greeks. I can’t go due to family obligations, but look forward to meeting a few of you at Telluride!

  4. elihu Says:

    Sorry, I’ve held my peace up to now, but I feel the need to chime in to diss Hersheypark. Just don’t get the chocolate love. Yeah, it had a nice rubberized dance floor, but did anyone happen to notice there was an enormous monstrosity of a soundboard towering up three or four stories, completely blocking any view of the stage from the stereo sweet spot, unless you wanted to get packed in fob? I guess they keep the soundboard high up there to protect the sound dudes from wild and unruly Pennsylvanian fans. But that thing really pissed me off when I decided to hang back and get some dance room during the second set but could not see even a smidge of the stage unless I went to the side or the way way back. Plus, sorry to say, but the second set pretty much sucked to my ears at the time, and has not held up on relisten. Trey sounds to me like he just checks out, playing those soft hesitating notes he does when he can’t figure out what to do, and every jam just fizzles. Some rough energy that night too – folks seemed to be passing out all around me during the first set up front, EMS comin thru over and over.

    Sorry for the anti-Hershey rant. Blossom on the other hand was the most beautiful venue I have ever been in my life, and one of the dancingest shows I’ve ever shaked a bone at. (Didn’t hurt that I scored a seat way up front during the re-release)

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin all

    comparing venues is fun. always interesting to see that even though we share the same physical space we all have completely different shows.

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    You guys are cracking me up this morning.

    Finally, got my godd*mn coffee, so I can get to work here.

    “Here” = the BB.

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    Dude at my work comes up to me and says “I had a dream about you…and Phish.”

    Apparently, my obsession is leaking into other peoples’ subconscious.

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    Hey all, hope all is well. Had a great weekend at pitchfork, saw some great bands, bought too much good music (blast you Numero Group and Light in the Attic booths!), hung with my famfriends, had some drinks. Cannot complain at all. Lightening Bolt absoluted melted faces.

  9. Robear Says:


    Saw a bunch of Greek tickets available on Orange County Craigslist.

    obviously I can’t vouch for them, but they’re listed around $125 / ea.

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    If I was born in 1960, in Africa, I’d be an Orchestre Poly-Rythmo head for sure.

    i can’t stop listening.

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    Silly, I hear ya. So much good African music out there (as well as just a sick amount of central and south american music… not to mention all of the tons and tons of us soul and funk). I did some damage in that area this weekend, the pain feels so good.

  12. albert walker Says:

    def tons of great African music

    the orchestre is still the dopest IMO

    I think it’s mainly cuz the guitar player is so influenced by western psyche rock and is such a nasty player

    Benin was just such a melting pot for different music

    as much as I dig Fela the Orchestre is my fav African band

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Holy shit!

    I just saw the todays title and do not have time to read and jump in, but I hope it carries on all day long and everybody shares a little.

  14. albert walker Says:

    I’ve been digging deep into mid late 80’s digital reggae for the first time lately

    very fun stuff

    always used to not dig it loving the early 70’s through early 80’s stuff but am just falling in love with a bunch of these tracks

    great stuff

  15. Robear Says:

    I fully agree re: overall experience

    some of my personal favorite shows may not be all-timers on listen back, but I wouldn’t trade them.

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    Nice, AW. Love that stuff so much, was kinda what first got me into reggae in grade school – a trip to the VI where I hit up the reggae tape store, turned me onto Tiger and Shelly Thunder, lol.

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    @AW and angryjoggerz

    not real familiar with the late 80s stuff.

    Who and what are you listening to?

    love hearing your opinions. you both have given me tons of good stuff to check out.

  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    For some of that digital reggae stuff, click my name and check out the “Watch all the People Dancing” comp. Niceness.

  19. goodolddaze7 Says:

    Loved Hershey, great vibe and I wasn’t cramped at all considering how close I was able to get. Can we get a stream of that YEM? One of my favorites of tour, if not my favorite. It would have been nice to include a song from each venue similar to the 6 ‘Lights’ that were posted yesterday.

  20. albert walker Says:

    scored a Chris Young album on Wackies produced by Sugar Minott original this weekend that is pretty slick

    never heard it before

  21. albert walker Says:

    also scored some great original Jamaican pressed Half Pint, Frankie Paul, and Yellowman this weekend

    someone selling a collection

    haven’t scored that many Jamaican pressings in one shot in ages

  22. albert walker Says:

    and a early 80’s NIcodemus record that is dope as hell

    love Nicodemus
    great shit

  23. SOAM Says:

    Once again-Miner takes a sublte SHIT on all lawn heads-I am a lawn head cause I love the green grass-the room to move-the lack of narcy dbags stalking…so -I give up a little sound to commune with SPACE-If I sat in the seats I’d probably end up blasting a few cats with an errant elbow during a mother fuckin punch opener to the skull…whoo!

  24. El Duderino Says:


    Did you make it to Mule on Sunday?

    Thinkin’ about the free Colonel show on Friday

  25. Robear Says:

    SOAM, too many ladies on the lawn @ Charlotte.

    i had to retreat to the sterile safety of the pavilion, lol!

Leave a Reply