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. jdub Says:

    I was extra pumped when they busted into Light at MSG since they had just played it. It meant to me at the time they were probably pysched to dive in again and of course that showed.

    Spread it Round should lose the repetitive chorus but otherwise I kind of enjoy it and could see it as a breather after some dense jamming.

  2. Robear Says:

    SOAM has a point:

    hanging in the pavilion you miss-

    naked buy running across top of pavilion @ blossom
    b-52 bombers circling overhead at shoreliine
    shooting stars
    full moons
    youngsters on molly for the first time

  3. butter Says:

    Ntelos amphitheater was like if you took a normal sized one and put it in

    a shrinky dink, and the sound on the lawn was impeccable, and it took

    about 30 seconds to walk from the lawn down to the pitt, full GA

    i think they just play all the shows there

  4. angryjoggerz Says:

    for me Pitchfork highlights were Dam Funk, Raekwon, LCD Soundsystem, Neon Indian, Washed Out, Lightening Bolt (so awesome) and Major Lazer. It was super hot and sunny, great vibes, great poster fair, had a blast.

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    Seems the kids love them some LCD Soundsystem, it was a madhouse. Straight up conga line.

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    nice AJ, did you get to see every act or do they have seperate stages?

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    3 stages, usually 2 bands on at once, so hard to see it all. Sucks when you have to choose between two bands, but I guess if that is the kind of problem I am faced with then things are pretty damn good.

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    Lightning Bolt is just sheer insanity.

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    word, did you get to see sleigh bells?

    i hear the lightning bolt bassist does really crazy things with his bass, confirm?

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    We are coming up on PTBM notifications, no?

    Anybody recieved theirs yet?

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    BK knows! They couldnt set up in the audience because it was a festy, but man… 2 cats. I was behind the stage and thought it was a full band. Hardest working drummer in showbusiness.

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    I only saw a drummer and guitar player, though I though there was a bass player, but there was not. They are like really hard, high energy free jazz that is actually punk. Hard to describe. Highest energy band of the weekend.

  13. angryjoggerz Says:

    My bad, dude is playing bass guitar… just sounds like he is playing guitar, bass and more guitar and other things all at once.

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yeah AJ i was about to say that guy was playing bass not guitar so he must do crazy things with his bass if you thought it was a guitar 🙂

  15. jdub Says:

    @AJ, I am so unhip when it comes to music these days. I’ve only heard of LCD Soundsystem of the bands you mentioned. I thought you were refering to face melting dose when you spoke of Lightning Bolt the previous page.

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    From wiki:

    Gibson plays his bass guitar tuned to cello standard tuning, in intervals of fifths (C G D A), using a banjo string for the high A. He used this four-string setup for several years, but has recently been seen using a five-string setup, tuned to C G D A E, with banjo strings for the A and E.[17] Gibson also uses several effects pedals, including overdrive pedals, an octaver, a delay pedal, and a whammy pedal (pitch shifter).[18]

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    ^ WHALE!

  18. BrandonKayda Says:


    I’m pretty sure that’s a bass player man – he just uses a bunch of pedals and weird stuff to get a really nasty distorted tone. My friend saw them in NY this summer.

    100% energy for sure – I have no idea how the drummer’s hands don’t fall off. I like the genre description “free jazz/punk” – definitely just musical insanity

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    wtf, how do you put a banjo string on a bass guitar? that sounds insane

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    It made me remember that when hardcore or punk is actually hardcore or punk, it is really hard. Sorry Rage Against the Machine… haha.

  21. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I just said wow out loud

  22. jdub Says:

    If Lightning Bolt is the drummer/bas player duo that spontaneously performs creating an impromptu party then I saw a video of them. Crazziness and totally unique.

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    did you see sleigh bells AJ?

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    I didnt catch Sleigh Bells, sadly, I was too faded by that point. Tooooo hot up in that.

  25. sumodie Says:

    CMAC had LOTS of clean portos with no/short lines up on the lawn and also outside the right side of the pav as you look at the stage. Sounds like many a fan went back down to the regular bathrooms where the vending was located

    @jdub: glad to hear they let you dance in the aisle separating the covered pav from the uncovered pav at Great Woods. But my grudge against the venue for destroying the big ole lawn will never die!

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