Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

Festival 8 (R.Schloffel)

If Coventry embodied the dark debacle that Phish and their scene had become by 2004, Festival 8 represented all that is right in the current world of Phish. The most accurate word I can use to describe Festival 8 is “paradise.” We had arrived at a tropical site of dreams, and the entire place was set up for our ease and comfort. When contrasting Coventry’s mud-covered clusterfuck with Indio’s days of delight, things couldn’t have felt more different.

To begin with, as we approached the gate with a caravan of five RVs, we expected to wait in some traffic. After sitting on roadways for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours to enter previous festivals, this obstacle seemed like a given. But to our shock, we didn’t wait for one minute. After the thorough search for glass bottles and pounds of weed, the security let everyone through free of hassle. The only thing seized from any of our RVs were two glass-bottled Starbucks drinks. Onward and Upward!

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

After our team captain convinced the attendants to allow us to park in formation, we set up our home base within 45 minutes of approaching the main gates. Given maps upon entering, some exploration was in order. Prepared to walk a couple miles, everyone was pleasantly surprised to discover the concert field just around the corner from our campsite, about 100 times shorter than any festival walk in memory. The vibe of the Eight remained incredibly laid-back throughout the weekend, with well-behaved fans who appreciated the blissful setting. The entire event seemed like a Phish festival all grown-up. With amenities at every turn, shuttles to and from the lavish, nearby resorts, we certainly weren’t in Limestone anymore. Conducive to the band’s family-oriented atmosphere, the guys could hop back and forth between their loved ones and the festival in minutes.

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

10.31.09 (W.Rogell)

The ease of Festival 8 seems to be the evolution of the Phish festival – easy access and hassle free. Providing a different feel from the absolute isolation of Limestone, this new model is quite¬† logical for the band’s place in time; just as Limestone defined the late ’90s. Virtually incomparable, Limestone possessed a Phishy magic that Indio could not. Just knowing what everyone had to do to reach the tip of America made those ritualistic weekends irreplaceable. The entire events were bigger, vaster, and more adventurous. We had our own city on the edge of the earth, and no one even knew. The unique majesty of those experiences will live inside us forever. But again, that was then and this is now. I’m not sure anyone who attended Festival 8 would have traded Indio for Limestone in a million years. Just as Phish and their fans continue to mature, and their music evolves, so will their signature events.

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

10.31 III (G.Lucas)

On top of everything else, the choice of locale – the Palm Springs desert – made the weekend flawless. With sunny days and cool evenings, the weather never intruded on our good times – something that can’t be said for virtually any other Phish festival. In addition, the site’s proximity to the highway provided easy access for the sundry artists, vendors and attractions. An amalgam of the Phishy spirit and the over-the-top west coast creativity of Burning Man, the art installations at Eight upped the ante from previous festivals, creating the feel of a psychedelic carnival. Throw in multiple bars, shade tents, countless couches, a jumbo-tron showing sporting events and movies, and golf cart taxis to get around the grounds, and this was most definitely not your father’s Phish festival!


Festival 8 (R.Gibbs)

Perhaps the biggest difference between Indio and Coventry is the utter joy engulfing the entire community these days. Back in ’04, we were there to celebrate a legacy – an irreplaceable time in our lives that was coming to a pre-mature end. And regardless of how much fun we had, the weekend possessed an irrefutable sadness.¬† Indio could not have been more opposite. With Phish back in 2009 – happy and on the rise again – everyone wore ear to ear smiles, and the positivity was absolutely infectious all weekend long. I never saw one incident, argument or bit of beligerence from anyone all weekend long, just people rejoicing to be back in the promised land.


Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

2001 > Curtain > Tweezer” 11.19.95


A standout sequence that kicked-off Charlotte’s second set along the road of Fall ’95.



Festival 8 (Photo: Russell Gibbs)



11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Torrent

11.15.95 Sun Dome, USF, Tampa, FL < Megaupload

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Sun Dome - U of South Florida

Making their tour of Florida universities, the band stopped at The University of South Florida a day after playing their legendary Orlando show the night before at The University of Central Florida, and three days after playing Gainesville. Amidst a tremendous run in the Sunshine State, a fierce “Mike’s Groove” holds down the second set of this show.

I: Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, Fast Enough for You, Rift, Prince Caspian, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt, Sweet Adeline, The Squirming Coil

II: Wilson, Theme From the Bottom, Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song > Life on Mars? > Weekapaug Groove, Fee, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

E: Suzy Greenberg

Notes: The band won the first chess game with the audience.

Source: Unknown

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435 Responses to “Where Palm Trees Dipped and Seagulls Swerved”

  1. neemor Says:

    Sort of.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    hey y’all no setlist tonight. life gets in the way sometimes. you know how it goes. check you all in the morning.

  3. halcyon Says:

    As for 03….2-18-03 ( I think that was the date) was a good one as well. Many highlights with some long open ended jamming. Fun night for sure.

  4. KWL Says:

    not real familiar w/Shoreline. Worcester was tight. As was Cinci. Burgettstown in the summer was damn fun. Never forget walking out a guy was selling Harpua stickers yelling something like ‘prove to your friends you were there!’

    Not that out of the ordinary, just a random image burned in my brain and a fun thing to think back about.

  5. neemor Says:

    Nite TIII-Pee-Oh!

  6. neemor Says:

    I love those little moments, KWL.
    After enough shows, the music itself can start to blend together into one massive jam session (IMO), but those moments along the way, those ‘gems’ along the road of life decorate our paths….

  7. neemor Says:

    I recall at one point along the way standing on a milk crate in front of one thousand of my closest friends applying a cupped-handful of Triple Action Gold Bond to my privatest of privates with a head full of liquid mind melt!

  8. neemor Says:

    To thunderous applause, mind you!

  9. Mitch Says:

    check the cincy gin from 2.22.03

    see if it doesn’t knock nassau off your top rank.

  10. Mitch Says:

    NOTHING beats gold bond when youre dealing with the swamp.

    kwl, i take that back after your cinci comment just now.

  11. neemor Says:

    Indeed, Mitchum. Indeed. Fall Tour is rapidly approaching.
    Hey, did anyone see the A-Team movie coming out?

  12. KWL Says:

    Cinci is probably the best Gin I’ve seen myself… but I have definitely listened to the Nassau one more…

  13. whole tour! Says:

    gold bond shots were hot this summer. fo sho.

  14. whole tour! Says:

    2009 = the summer of gold bond.
    The green bottle got me through asheville/knox…unchaffed and ready to rage.

  15. Robear Says:

    Neemor, they opened Shoreline ’03 with ‘Yem’ maybe because it was the last song played, at Shoreline, on 10/7/00. At least that’s what we all thought at the time. Like other Shoreline shows, that effort on 7/9/03 is an absolute jamfest, and is often overlooked. The ‘Gin’ clocks in at over 26:00 blissful minutes, and the whole second set is a highlight.

    ^re: ‘Mike’s’ w/o ‘Weekapaug’, I stand corrected.

  16. Henry Says:

    Neemor, yes I heard about the A-Team remake. I have a bro-crush on Bradley Cooper.

  17. neemor Says:

    LLFA Henry.
    25+ minute Gin’s are the bee’s knees.
    RoBear, I think I simply revealed just a sliver of my West Coast envy there, calling Shoreline a poseur show in ’03. Having never been further West than Deer Creek to see a Phish show, I make fun of what I don’t understand!
    Currently listening to Mike’s>Contact>Paug 6/30/95. Classic Phish.

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    that shoreline was the only show out of 6 i saw in 03 that seemed like a full show to me

    otherwise they all seemed like about a half a show each, with some great moments though (mostly jams)

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    Green Goldbond is god….you must respect the voodoo herb….

  20. neemor Says:

    8/10/97 Deer Creek
    Cities>GTBT>Theramin Solo>Rotation Jam>RockOWilliam>Bowie

  21. neemor Says:

    Miner, I could email you this but, the Portland Tickets I’m getting are two on the floor. I only need one. Would you feel like buying the other one so you get a floor seat and I unload an unnecessary ticket?

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    yes. sounds fine neemor

  23. Corey Says:


    …as in, need I say more…
    25min. + Gins.

    11.7.96 (happy belated anniv.) in Rupp Arena.
    Taking in THAT Bathtub Gin was spectacular.
    Taking it in being all of 3 feet from Trey was, as the advert. states,
    “crazy awesome.”

    They haven’t gotten to that crazy place since (not the venue, nor the music.)

    If anyone here was there, lets bring that show up in conversation.
    My sign said Manteca (more suitable for Miami vs. Indio), but they went with the Bike sign down the row instead.

    Stilllll Waiting….

    Who’s driving from Beantown to Cincy besides me, anyone?

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    very odd. I just finished tomorrows post, and as I came to moderate comments, the one waiting for moderation is discussing the show i just selected for dotd tomorrow! the 11.7.96 madness of Rupp Arena. Well synchronized Corey!

  25. Corey Says:


    8.10.97, one of my absolute favorites during that tour.
    Man, what a fun tour to take on.
    Anyone remember that deathly hot drive from Austin to Phoenix then to Ventura like I do?

    No air conditioning in my grand caravan the whole way. I remember being down to my boxers with one leg out the window, one foot on the center console, heat blazing through the vents so my car wouldn’t overheat, caravan set to cruise at 70. Good times…

    Talk about travelling extremes. That was about 13,000 miles for me in 3 1/2 weeks. Serious driving.

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