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. SillyWilly Says:

    Nice, thanks AJ!

    and thanks for the tips, AW

  2. butter Says:

    mmm hmmm – spac is left off most likely because you can’t get around the pav without tickets, it’s tight down there

    sure i had a vip box, and it was the shit, but unless you had a lower pavilion ticket you were getting booted out

    and the vip brick lounge was closed for Phish this year

    SPAC is a great venue with great sound in the pav, but

    Miner is weighting GA and hassle free towards the top of the list for overall experience

  3. SOAM Says:

    LawnHHEEEEEAAADD-lawny-lawny-lawny Lawn heaaaaadddd

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Good morning BB

  5. KWL Says:

    whats up folks?

    back in the middle of nowhere, going through blackboard withdrawal

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    conversation starter:

    Spread It Round – new-age-y-hippie-dippie-crap song that is better left on the “no” pile or one they should bring back in this age of “Family Phish”?


  7. butter Says:

    i have Blossom towards the top of my list, even though its in Cleveland

    it seemed like less hassle than SPAC but was probably left off the list for similar reasons

  8. zzyzx Says:

    Spread it Round should be played at the end of a great set, like it was the other two times.

  9. Robear Says:

    loving ‘Light’ from MSG…..again

  10. Robear Says:

    why you say? great control and patience by big Red. nice use (not overuse) of the moby tone. feels like the band showing some deep awareness

  11. Robear Says:

    funny to think, they played ‘light’ in Portland, Me then played it the next show @ MSG.

    i’m with miner, play it every night!

  12. josephish Says:

    good morning

    sorry if i came off as rude yesterday would never mean to seem disrepectful. simply put im a young kid wanting that expericence that many of you have gotten. would love to go on a full tour before i have to enter the real world of work. you are correct many of the people i meet at shows are people who have done there time.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, I am of that opinion re: Spread It Round too, timer. I guess I just don’t get the hated label that song got at the time. I see it as a good “catch your breath” kind of song late second set before the closer.

  14. Chuck D Says:

    “too many ladies on the lawn”

    …this could only be an issue at a phish show…

    sounds like a “meatstick > saw it again” situation

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Silly, I would also rec the Big Bad and Bold mix here:

    This cat knows his reggae, and this is one tasty mix. Big in the summer.

  16. Robear Says:

    the mound to meatstick ratio is MUCH better on the lawn than in the pavilion,
    to these eyes

  17. jdub Says:

    What up BB,

    great fire @Robear. That is really cool of you to get the troops organized in an effort to get all BBers without Greek tickets in. Too bad tickethunter won’t be scouring the lots

    CMAC is a beautiful venue nestled in a hill but lack of proper bathrooms was kind of lame. I played the game of pavillion aisle dancing as a I had a lawn ticket. Certainly am not complaining since I didn’t belong there but security was constantly up and down the aisle, flashing lights in faces. They were even bugging people with aisle seats that were half in the aisle dancing. Fortunately there were enough transients to occupy their time and my invisible cloak seemed to make them not pay much attention to me.

    Greatwoods is still a favorite of mine. Spent the entire evening on the large walkway between the uncovered seating and pavilion. A great spot to dance and see the band as it was not too populated, has great sightlines due to being right behind the covered seating (unlike SPAC and Hartford which have a large space between seating and walkway), and most importantly really good sound. Total dance party going on, the area went nuts during the Sally jam and didn’t let up for the rest of the show.

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @AJ, you were at pitchfork right?

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    Oh, and this one too

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    Yeah, DF. You?

  21. butter Says:

    SOAM – you would have loved the lawn at Ntelos in Portsmouth,
    click my name for a pic of it

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    no, how was it? highlights??

  23. Robear Says:

    jdub, believe you me, we could use g’dad on the job. will have to use the few techniques i gleaned while watching him in action.

    ftr, i looked for a hershey ticket for about 30 minutes. couldn’t find one under face.

    g’dad gets one for $30 in about 15 minutes of looking.

  24. SOAM Says:

    Holy shit Butter man-tasty space -thems boonies maaan

  25. Patterson Says:

    I really liked Blossom. Just a great overall experience. I was in the pavilion though. I’d be curious to hear what anyone on the lawn there thought?

    It’s designed well…for the experience

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