In an unexpected twist, Phish announced yesterday that one of their Festival 8 sets will be an acoustic affair. At the “crack of noon” on Sunday, Phish will perform a their first “full length” acoustic set to a combined flock of early risers and those still reveling from the night before. Following the darkness of Halloween night, Phish will balance things out with a light afternoon offering. With the virtually-guaranteed weather of Indio, this set should be a laid-back way to kick off the last day of the festival. And yes, coffee and donuts will be served.
To be honest, my first reaction to the announcement was -“Wow, that sucks!” And while I would still rather hear a straight up Phish set any day of the week, I’ve begun to think this may be something special. First, off – it’s not gonna be Trey solo on a stool – the watered-down sing-along experience most of us are used to. Second, I don’t think Phish would unplug just to unplug, they must have a concept of what form this set will take. Third, I’ve seen over hundreds of electric Phish sets, and zero acoustic, so the pure novelty of the experience will make it worth the while. Sunday morning Phish – coffee and spliffs – sounds good to me.
One immediately wonders what music they will play during this set at high noon. The Bridge School Benefit shows in October 1998 – apparently not qualifying as “full-length sets”- saw the band play many of their standard tunes in the acoustic setting. Their sets got rave reviews and were highlighted by a first-night “Harry Hood > Helpless” with Neil Young. And during Summer ’96,Phish used acoustic mini-sets to showcase some of “Billy Breathes” songs. This time, left to their own devices, Phish will craft an afternoon that will most likely be quite memorable. Much like the unexpected “Harry Hood” at Shoreline 11 years ago, I’m sure Phish will pull out more than a few surprises in their afternoon escapade. I can’t see them dedicating an entire set of their festival to something that won’t be great; they haven’t done that in their previous seven festivals, why start now? But it will have to be some pretty damn good acoustic playing to sit in for an “full-length”set of electric Phish; these guys aren’t the Grateful Dead after all.
But bring it on – the only rule is it begins after all. With seven other electric sets throughout the weekend, and many more to come, we can all chill for a bit with our favorite band on the outskirts of the California desert. If Phish is feeling it, everything should work out. And with so many other sets surrounding this afternoon oasis, I don’t think we’ll be leaving Indio lacking any improv.
The entire Festival 8 Schedule is as follows:
4:00PM Concert field opens
7:30PM Set I
10:00PM Set II
12:00PM Concert field opens
3:00PM Set I
7:30PM The Halloween Set
10:00PM Set III
10:00AM Concert field opens
12:00PM Acoustic Set
5:30PM Set II
8:30PM Set III
From Phish.com: With lush green fields and palm trees, and surrounded by vistas of California’s majestic Santa Rosa mountains, the festival site is simply breathtaking. The band will play eight sets over the course of three days, and as with all past Phish festivals, fans will enjoy on-site camping, numerous attractions and art installations throughout the weekend.
Jams of the Day:
The acoustic highlight from The Bridge School Benefit.
This combo from UIC is one of the enduring highlights of Fall ’98. Did you really think I would leave you hanging with an acoustic Jam of the Day?
DOWNLOADS OF THE DAY:
9.25.00 Sandstone Pavilion, Bonner Springs, KS < Megaupload
Today is the nine year anniversary of one of the coldest outdoor shows in memory. The end of September in Kansas- whew! Steam rose from dancing bodies as Phish pumped through the piercing air. Opening the show with “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” for the first time since Halloween of ’94, the show took off into a rather large first set with a “Disease” and a “Tweezer.” The second set brought the anthems of “Mike’s Groove” and “Hood.” All in all – a solid show.
I: Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey, Down with Disease, Lizards, Tweezer, Back on The Train, Water in the Sky, Bug, Julius
II: Gotta Jibboo, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Axilla, Harry Hood, Funky Bitch
E: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Driver, Tweezer Reprise
Source: Neumann KM184’s
Some acoustic Phish to get prepared for the upcoming acoustic set.
Source: Schoeps CCM4