Finally getting this review out of the way so I can get to the real meat that was moe.down x. Phish closed off their Summer 2009 Tour with a date at the lovely and woodiferous Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in upstate New York. Two days earlier I had seen them in Hartford for what was arguably the best show since returning from their 5 year hiatus and didn't know what to expect from SPAC.
Matty and Anthony could have been men and made the trek, but they were pussies and stayed home. Melissa and I carpooled up and hit a freak thunderstorm between Albany and Saratoga before getting stuck in some familiar traffic on the way into the venue.
He needs a miracle, ladies.
We were filed in, but apparently all the lots were full, so they ended up parking us on the side of one of the roads near the golf course* ("where?" ... Exactly.). Our friends were conveniently located in no more than 4 separate lots on the SPAC grounds. Complicating the matters and only adding to the clusterfuckery, was the fact that we didn't have a map.
Eventually my brother and Marty found us- by then we had already applied bug spray and downed a few drinks**. At the exact second we were packing our stuff up to head in to the show, the skies opened up and the shitstorm began. Lightning specked sheets of rain. We tracked the storm on Marty's iphone and waited it out in the car. People walking by looked like they had been thrown in a pool. They were eyeing our dry digs. We locked the doors.
Once it let up we headed inside to the tune of Llama (taboot, taboot) and made a beeline to the bathroom where I saw possibly the most disturbing thing I had seen all tour. This kid, maybe 2-3 years old is crying and her mother (or the Gypsy stranger who stole her) is trying to settle her down by putting a stranger's already-started-lollipop in her mouth. The kid wants nothing to do with it*** and is like, "quit this fuckery, bitch". I took a factory sealed lollipop out of my bag and handed it to her- "Here's a clean, NEW, organic sour apple lollipop. Give THIS ONE to her... please". That kid is doomed.
Anyways, the show. Upset that I missed Llama, but elated I wasn't drenched. Melissa and I made our way into the pavillion and ended up finding a random aisle to stand in, because no one ever sits in their real seats. This was my first time under the pavillion at SPAC. I've only ever been on the giant lawn which they oversell by like 10k. This and the shitty cell reception combine to make SPAC shows real challenges if you don't meet your friends before you head in. It's nearly impossible to find everyone.
Set I Highlights: Cars Trucks Buses, Chalkdust, Cavern, Antelope, all were great.
the spac lawn is a notorious clusterf#%k
For Set II we stubbed Dave inside and enjoyed. I got my Halley's Comet!!! Yay! But they didn't finish it!!! BOOOOOOO!!!!!!! And then a motherf#%king HARPUA!!!! The second Trey started talking it was complete silence- he had everyone's attention and continued the ever-evolving story of little Jimmy and his cat, Poster Nutbags.
This led into Fishman on vocals for a cover of Katy Perry's, "I Kissed a Girl".
It's not that I don't like YEM- cuz, I do. I'm a huge fan, actually. Why must I hear it at every show? Especially when I've yet to hear a Reba or Maze! WTF?
Grind and I Been Around were cute and Highway to Hell was fun--- I was super-psyched not to hear Rock n Roll.
Their tour legs are back. They felt more familiar the last two shows. It's the Phish from '94 starting to shine through again. They are having fun onstage and with each other again. The setlists are starting to get more diverse. It's all moving in a good direction and I'm quite excited for the Fall/Winter Tour. This show was great, but Hartford was the real winner for me. Phish, 8/16/09, SPAC: 8.5 HUZZAHS!!! What's next, boys?
The Moma Dance
Anything But Me
Cars Trucks Buses
Chalk Dust Torture
Run Like An Antelope
Backwards Down the Number Line >
Twenty Years Later
Halley's Comet >
Rock & Roll
I Kissed A Girl >
Hold Your Head Up >
You Enjoy Myself
Highway To Hell
Debut of I Been Around and I Kissed A Girl (Katy Perry cover)
* we actually lucked out cuz we left w/ no traffic after the show.
** careful not to confuse the two.
*** the kid clearly didn't want a dose and/or herpes