8/15/98 - The Lemonwheel, Limestone, ME

After I had gotten back to Boston after Vernon, I realized I had come down
with a bad cold.....really bad, I could barely breathe through my nose at
all....so needless to say, after catching two shows (Star Lake and
Vernon), I wasn't sure whether I wanted to make the trek up to Maine to
see the two shows and risk getting sicker...constant thoughts in my mind
all weekend were, "Was it worth it coming here?"  All doubts were erased
when Phish started to play...especially second set first
night...ridiculous.  Anyways, I'm sure you've all heard about the
scene...the Garden, etc. so I won't go into it too much....all I have to
say about it is that it was amazing....I love this band.  What other band
has the balls to put on an event like this.....the closest thing I can
think of is either Lollapalooza or the Tibetan Freedom Fest, and as
concerts, those don't even come close to the sheer uniqueness and
qualities of the Ball/Went/Wheel type of show.  Whoever thought they'd see
a friggin' ferris wheel at a rock concert.  Anyways, on to the show:

Sound was really bad for much of this set, thanks to wind and some other
factors, I guess....just sort of zoomed in and out...

Mike's Song - I was just telling my friend how they weren't going to play
Mike's this weekend because they played it in Vernon....Trey walks on
stage....no discussing, no nothing...just rips it out.  I was
psyched...not a ground-breaking Mike's, but solid.  I was hoping they'd do
something other than Simple given that they did it in Vernon..

Simple - oh well, straight segue...no Simple jam prior...just busted right
into Simple at the key change.  solid Simple....excellent jam, one of the
better one's I've heard (NYE'96 is sick, BTW).  I was thinking either
they'd go into Weekapaug after this, or after the set, or after the whole
weekend (that would be the ultimate Mike's Groove, although we'd all see
it coming....)  

Beauty - eh....it's a day set, so they're allowed to go nuts with the

Roget - Another repeat from Vernon....kind of strange, but I didn't mind
hearing it again.  It's a nice song, and has potential to be a mid-range
jam song, like Limb by Limb....the chord progression/riff that opens and
closes it has a real nice feel to it.  

SOAM - nice choice, can't really remember it much, but as far as I can,
'twas a solid Split....I melted...after two shows and five songs, I was
still waiting for my MOMA...for some reason, I felt it coming on.  

MOMA - nice....the guy standing next to me had one of the new "Feel the
Phunk...do the MOMA" shirts on and started getting down....as did
I....phat version....much better than the Ventura one I had heard.  Like
the lyrics, although I think Mike would be better singing Fishman's part.
Maybe not...

Divided Sky - YES!!!!!!  My first in a good year and a half, I was
extremely psyched to hear this. Sky wasn't great that day, slightly
overcast, but the brief rain stint (about fifteen minutes) right before
set one, made this an excellent choice.  Small flubs by Trey and Mike, but
well-played, nonetheless...great soloing at the end...pause was the
pause...everyone was yelling, as usual.  

Water in the Sky - set was getting pretty long at this point, much like
last years first set.  I like the new arrangement of this song better than
the old one, but it's still not a song I really like to hear.  

Funky Bitch - I am sort of sick of this song...they seem to play it every
show I go to...another repeat from Vernon, which didn't help things...but
by the time Trey starts his solo, I always get into it.  Straight bluesy
rock and roll is always good....nice stop on a dime segue into...

Cities - pleasant treat - changed lyrics..."Did I forget to mention the
Garden of Infinite Pleasantries?  Home of the port-a-let pagoda and the
lake that steam comes out of..."  Trey was definitely checking it
out...that and the ferris wheel....also the "I will...build a city, build
myself a city to live in."  Bold, but true.  mid-jam he says, "we're going
to stop this for a second to try and get the people on the ferris wheel to
sing"  So they stop for like twenty seconds, and everyone's cheering
pretty loud so we can't hear anything coming from the ferris wheel (unless
maybe you were right near it). 

Weekapaug - what can I say?  I love this song...probably my favorite Phish
song....just makes me so happy. Short Mike solo...nice, standard
Weekapaug jamming for a few minutes, then some funky Weekpaug, then back
to rock-out Weekapaug...then end of set...almost two hours...phew.....

Out of sheer length, this set gets a 8.0....and you can't go wrong with a
Mike's or a Divided Sky...daytime sets never get the huge jams, though and
this one wasn't really an exception. Even with all the repeats from
Vernon, I was satisfied.    

The Wedge - the boys walked on stage and Fishman started playing this even
before Page got a chance to sit down (seemed to be a theme of the
day...just walk out and bust right into it...no discussing, no arguing
about what to play)....great Wedge, the glowsticks had already started to
come out...I was psyched to hear it, nevertheless.  

Reba - repeat from Starlake, but who can complain about Reba?  It amazes
me how well they play this every time....the "chase" part right before the
jam is one of the most amazing things Phish plays, IMHO (In case you don't
know what I'm talking about, listen about two minutes for the jam....Trey
and Page play this whole progression in unison...then right after they
play it again, only Page plays it a measure before Trey does...it's
incredible how they do it perfectly every time).  Great Reba jamming....I
love it.  

Gumbo - Surprised the fuck out of me....but it always does.  Gumbo's just
one of those songs you're never expecting.  And I definitely wasn't
expecting this Gumbo to kick as much ass as it did.  I can't wait to hear
this again.....it strayed away from normal funky Gumbo towards a heavier
rock progression....hear this Gumbo at all costs...the highlight of the
Wheel, IMHO.  For the jam and the segue into....

SANITY!!!!!! - ok, so I got a semi-SSanity in Worcester last fall, but I
don't count that.  Musically, not too exciting, but fun to hear....the
stars did suck pretty bad, too.  This set was turning out to be a
killer....In fact, this set alone made the ten hour drive from Boston
worth it.  

Tweezer - I won't say anything about this, because I don't really remember
it at all.  I sthink I was still writhing form the Gumbo->Sanity
combo....I do remember a phat segue into...

The Horse->Silent - another pleasant surprise...a little noodling in the
Horse intro by Trey...nothing too special...always nice to hear.  

Chalkdust - can't complain about this either...rocking Chalkdust...nicely
placed as a pick-me-up after SITM....figured it would close the set, but
afterwards, Trey started chording...

Slave - awe-inspiring in the same sense of the Hood at last year's Went.
The glowstick war was immense....it fed off the jam and the jam fed of f
of it.....I had said before that no other glowstick war would ever be as
good as the Hood one last year, but I was wrong....while the spontaneity
of the original one wasn't there, the feeling of it was.  This Slave was
ridiculous too....great climax, not too early or late as it often
is....perfect way to end the set.  

Set 2 gets a 9.3 in my book. You don't get much better than this...amazing
song selection...no throwaways...everything well-placed...good mix of
composed and jams...no complaints.

NICU - Again, Page didn't even get a chance to sit down before Trey
started this up....not much to say about NICU....well played, nice choice
for an opener.  

David Bowie - looooonnnnng intro...actually got kind of tedious after
awhile....finally they busted into it.  solid Bowie...mostly type I all
the way through..kick ass ending as usual....

Strange Design - Perfect placement...I was actually pretty psyched to hear
this too...being as I had hadn't heard it since the Ball, I believe, and I
had never heard it in its electric form.  Beautiful...

Limb By Limb - I still have mixed thoughts about the new arrangement...I
loved the way the jam sort of melted out of the lyrics segment in the old
version....and I miss Fishman's solo as well...don't think they should
have touched this or Ghost (more on that in my 8/16 review).  Maybe I've
just heard this song too much in the last year.  Anyways, still good...

Brian & Robert - this set began to drag around here...this song is really
kind of cheezy....maybe it'll grow on me.  I don't hate it or
anything...it's just I know Phish can do better...

Loving Cup - one of the more rocking LC's I've heard....lots of people
singing along on this one, which was kind of annoying.  Trey does play a
bad guitar.....was hoping this wouldn't end the set, but I knew the
tradition of long first set/short third sets at festivals like
this...personally, I think they should do it the other way around.  

Set gets a 4.0...pretty weak...nothing really noteworthy...everything was
solid, but not good.  Probably the worst set of the weekend...not
including the encore

Halley's - nice choice...I didn't think they'd play this all weekend...but
there were a lot of stars out that night....well played, nice jam at the
end....nothing too exploratory, they just kept on changing soloing around
key changes in typical Halley's fashion until Fishman changed the beat to:

Cavern - pleasant surprise....I love this song...this version was no
4/5/98, but it was still good nonetheless...has anyone noticed the little
dance Trey and Mike do during the "Give the director..." part...high
energy....waiting for the Tweeprise

Tweeprise - nice. Trey announces fourth set afterwards...I get really
psyched, eeven though I'm really tired.  

Encore gets an 8.0 on the encore scale...can't go wrong with three songs,
especially three good songs.....

FOURTH SET - the stage looked really cool with all the candles.  The jam
was interesting....I think they purposely kept it sort of quiet...but it
was nice....it was like phish was lullabying us....as far as I can
remember, the jam evoked memories of the flatbed jam two years ago (but it
was nothing like the Disco jam last year).  Some really tight points in
the jam....

Anyways, there's my review...hope you like it...send comments to

and will someone e-mail if they've got Starlake tapes....Runaway Jim is
waiting for me somewhere....


"An asteroid crashed and nothing burned, it made me wonder..."
"We will be back in EXACTLY fifteen minutes..."

i loved the shows. i thought that the entire experience was unbelievable. The amount of creativity and effort on the behalf of phish and company was fucking amazing . The people of Limestone, as well as people of the surrounding towns, were the nicest and most generous people I have ever encountered.(and I'm not stretching the truth!) A friend of mine is still stranded in a nearby town called Presque Isle, because his bus brokedown. Some locals that stopped by to help him have put him up in their house, fed him, set him up with a mechanic, all out of the kindness of their hearts.....for free!!! He has been there for about six days now and is still waiting on parts. I have only one complaint. I awoke on Monday morning after the festival to wasteland. The former airforce base looked like waste landfill in Jersey. I felt embarrassed. For people who try to act like they are down with earthly causes, it sure as hell didn't show. The people who organized this event made it very easy to clean up after yourself, and I would say that maybe ten percent utilized the facilities. The previous year took two weeks to clean the place. I can't amagine that this year will be any better. I won't even begin to discuss the Port-o-lets, thats a whole other bitch session. The way things like this get ruined, is by people not taking any responsibility for their own actions. It's too bad.-----thanx todd
First of all, let me say a thank you to the people who emailed me agreeing with my Vernon review. I like hearing different opinions from other people regarding the music. I don't think I know more or less about anything regarding the band and the music then the next person. I think the whole thing is about experiences you feel when you're at the show. There are so many factors that constitute what makes a good show, and the band is only part of the formula. If you're in a bad mood for whatever reason (like the parking took to long, or you got a speeding ticket on the way to the show--which I did!!), then a Mike's song that I dig, may not be seen seen in the same way from another person't view. That's my attitude towards most shows, but this weekend was totally a different vibe, because I didn't see one person not having a good time, and that's what it's all about. What can I say about the whole experience. It was the peak of all experiences. I won't go comparing it to the past festivals because they are each in their own realm. The Went was great last year and even though this was at the same location, with 80+ some odd thousand people there, it was truly a different city depending on where you wandered. The shows were good, not anything overly amazing, but this event is about the experience of living freely amongst others who all have the same goal, and that's just to have some free form fun with no hassles from big brother. Actually the majority of people I was hanging with weren't even big fans of Phish. They just came to party down and have a good time. Usually I'd be critical of this, but as I said, that's what these festivals are about, just having fun. It's more then the music. Speaking of which, Phish did play, and my review is as follows. Set 1 MIKE'S--Very surprised to hear this open just after they played it in Vernon. This version was the weakest I've seen (and I'm not saying that because I saw the Vernon show). It was short, and it was tough to focus considering that not too many people were settled in their space yet. I still enjoyed it as I always do (how could you not at this place?). SIMPLE--Again??? Read my Vernon review on how I feel about this tune. Had I not seen it two days earlier, I may have enjoyed it more, but I can't stand this song. They can usually balance this tune out with a good jam after, but they didn't. Oh well, I was a little disappointed, but I'll tell you that I was a minority in that feeling, as people were digging it big time. BEAUTY--I like this little bluegrassy tune. Doesn't really change at all, but if they're going to play these tunes, I'll take this one. ROGET--Another Vernon repeat. I liked this one a bit more, but this song needs a lot of work. It has a Floydish feel to it. As with most tunes, the early stages don't justify what it'll become. SOAM--I wanted to hear this really badly. It seems to be falling into the thinning out category. Not even close to being a tight version, but I was digging it. Trey dedicated it to someone, but I didn't hear who. MOMA--I was really looking forward to hearing this one. I really dig B.E. Katy, and knew that this would be played today. I can honestly say that the lyrics are not not needed. They should have just left the song as a funky instrumental. The novelty of Fishman singing is great, but too much Fish takes away from that. I enjoyed it, but can't say I'd like to hear the vocal part again. Go back to B.E.K. POOR HEART--A fun old classic that's becoming rarer by the tour. I still like this one. When I think of country at a Phish show, I think of Mike, and enjoyed this above standard version. Still surprised to hear it after hearing Beauty in the same set. DIVIDED--Another of my favorites which I really wanted to hear. Haven't heard it live since the '96 New Years run. This one wasn't anything exceptional by the norm, but for me it was. The highlight of the set for me. WATER/SKY--My first time hearing this newer version and I still am not crazy about this tune. I actually liked the country version better. It seems like the band is trying to make this song into something that it's not. The lyrics are fantastic, but the song just doesn't go anywhere. FUNKY BITCH--Weekapaug.....NO, not yet. Another Vernon repeat and I didn't care, I love this tune. It's fast and it rocks as always. CITIES--This set just kept going. I like this song. I really enjoyed the slower version last year at the Went. My buddies who are huge Talking Heads fans were loving this. Trey had some fun with this one too, improving some lyrics regarding the built village way at the back and the ferris wheel. WEEKAPAUG--I still wanted Hydrogen to precede this, but once again it wasn't the case. Wow, a long set sandwiched between Mike's Groove. This song is always great. Trey introduced the new Fish alias from this tour (Bob Weaver) again. **Musically this was nothing spectaclar, but throw in where we were, the atmosphere and the length of the set, and it changes everything. Started off weak and then picked up immensly. A great start to an amazing two days** SET 2 This was easily the best played set of the 6 (7) sets that they played over the weekend. THE WEDGE--They opened day 2 last year with this and it was more than welcome again. Just a great show tune that seems to be frequented more in the past year. Keep it around, we all love it. REBA--I've re-fallen in love with this tune again. There was a time a few years ago that I was hearing it all the time, and really didn't want to hear it. But today, I'm a REBA-lover again. The crowd loves it, and they played a really tight version with a nice jam in the middle. With the whistled ending. GUMBO--Not a big fan of this song. I find it too predictable, or at least I did because Phish did what Phish does, they turned simplicity into a monster. I was expecting the typical Page solo ending (which I do enjoy), but instead they played a nice 5-6 minute jam instead which is what I prefer anyway. Probably the highlight of the set mixed with the trail into.... SANITY--Only seen this song once before (12/31/95). I like this song because it's silly and a rarity. The I'll bet the majority of the people around me didn't know what it was, because only me and few others seemed to be really getting off on it. This song sounds great at a big venue. But still, they should keep it as an occasion pop up tune. TWEEZER--I dread this song. It bores me. I'd usually like to fast forward until the improv part. But who cares what I think, because fans love it, and the band does to. To each is own. But, I did really get off on this one, it was up tempo the who way with a tight jam segment, and not too long. Reminded me of the pre-94 Tweezers. HORSE/SITM--A crowd pleaser, but I still don't like it. Played well as always, but I still chilled and had a smoke. To each is own, and this one is not mine. CHALKDUST--I'll never get sick of this song, I'm convinced. Whether it's long or short, it's still a kick ass tune that nobody sits too. SLAVE--Good choice not to quit after Torture, the crowd wasn't ready to sit yet (for 2 hours mind you as were all the breaks). The glow stick war was intense, and seems to be a staple at shows these days, but with a crowd this large it was just that much more intense. **Great set of older classic Phish tunes. This set could have been played 4 years ago, meaning no new songs to spoil the charge** The tightest set of the 6** SET 3 NICU--I like this song, though I think they play it way too much. Always sounds clear and is enjoyed by all. BOWIE--Yessssss!!! To me this song represents a decade of Phish in my life. Never get tired of a song that has 2 names and is over 20 minutes long. Who else could come up with a better excuse to jam. I'll take a Bowie all the time. As far as I'm concerned I'll never hear one as good as 12/29/94, so I stopped comparing better versions and just enjoy it for what it is. They trailed into it from NICU via a really spacey 5 minute intro. STRANGE DESIGN--Bummer! A beautiful Page song if you like Page songs. I get off on his playing, but I just find his songs are too sappy. LIMB BY LIMB--My first taste of the reworked version. It's better now for an album cut, but the original one from last year was waaaay better. Just my opinion though. I really liked the old version. B & R--First time hearing it, and I really thought it sucked. Do something with this song or shelve it. Too many Floydish songs being experimented with already. LOVING CUP--They play it so well, but play it so much. Another Vernon repeat. Would have enjoyed it more if I didn't just hear it two nights ago. A solid version, but not as good as Vernon. I was hoping to get the Tweeprise out of the way, but it wasn't the case. **Enjoyable with a lot of weak spots. The crowd was getting tired in the middle, and the BRIAN & ROBERT didn't seem to be enjoyed by anyone around me** ENCORE: HALLEY'S--Great choice. A great song to see live (aren't they all). Seems to be making its way as an encore these days. I like it there, considering that it's a song with no ending so it means they have to continue. And they did. CAVERN--Another song that I'm starting to like again. I'd like to see them play the funkier version that they did in Providence in the spring. A fun classic Phish song that was overplayed in the past and is great to hear again. Haven't seen it since Philly '96. TWEEPRISE--Always the same, but so energetic. I'd love to hate it, but just can't. I was expecting fireworks, but not this night. Then Trey explained the whole Candle-freeform jam set, and it sounded like an amazing idea. IMPROVE SET--I can't wait to get this tape. If you weren't there, then you missed out on the most relaxing beautiful experience. The crowd was exhausted and the sky was clear and nothing but the candles lit the stage and they played some beautiful background scenic sounds that a tape won't justify, but it'll still be enjoyable. I heard some ODD Couple theme riffs, and some other songs I can't place. This set was something we might never get again, so cheers to all that stayed for it. **Overall a good show that lasted forever and the jam set was the icing on the cake** Ari Petroff (dogman@istar.ca)
Lemonwheel Day 1 I dont have the setlist in front of me, and this is going to be a brief review, because there are no other posted reviews of this show yet. Set I: Mike's Song opened, which was a major surprise, and also a bit of a disappointment, yes disappointment because it also opened Set II to Vernon which I attended so I wanted a bit of variety. Let me say that the Mike's at Vernon blew the pants off of this Mike's Song. I thought it was a rather flat version, and the only thing in my opinion which could have salvaged it would have been if it had gone into Hydrogen then Weeka paug. This of course did not happen, and when into Simple again, just like Vernon. I really wish they had saved Mike's for later on in the weekend, but life goes on right. The whole set in my opinion was kind of flat. The highlights for me were Poor Heart, Funky Bitch, Water in the Sky, an intense Melt, and Cities. The Weeka Paug was not that hot nor was the Divided Sky. Despite a killer setlist this set was probably the weekest of the weekend. Set II Now this was a great set. Opened up with the Wedge, which had a mini glow stick war, and was a standard version. This is a good song, but I am starting to get sick of seeing it as an opener seeing as this is my third Wedge opener since the Great Went. Next up was a smoking Reba with whistling, and very good jamming. Not the best Reba ever, but still good. Next up I think was Gumbo which was very, very good. Of the long Gumbo's I have heard this is probably my favorite. Gumbo of course melded into SANITY. This was just amazing, Sanity seemed a bit longer than normal, and kicked serious ass. After this they did a sort of space jam intro into what I thought would be 2001, but instead was Tweezer. This was a great Tweezer which was pretty funked up, and good. The Tweezer -> The Horse segue I thought was absoblutely brillaint. I loved it, a great way to cool off. Next up was Chalkdust, which was an okay version, a big thing with me at shows is placement, and for some reason I did not like Chalkdust too much here. Luckily though Chalkdust did not close the set. An amazing Slave did. This Slave contained the adrenaline, feel good rush of the weekend for me being intrenched in a MASSIVE glow stick war which was totally amazing. The Slave was great, and a great way to end this set which I think was the second best set of the weekend behind the second set on Sunday. Set III: This was a short set, but a good one. NICU opened it up which is a song that I do not get sick of and I thought was just a great way to open up a third set. After this was an amazing space jam which was super extended. This jam kicked ass I figured it would go into Bowie because I could hear the high hat in the back ground, but I really wanted Maze. It was Bowie. This was a great Bowie, not too long, but not short either very nice. After this was Strange Design. Like I said, I am big of placement and this placement of Strange Design was perfect. This song is great after something like that. I loved it after the Jim marathon in Worcester also. This was followed by either Limb by Limb or Brian and Robert, I can not recall which came first. The Limb by Limb was great, and I think B + R is kind of hokey, a lot like Bittersweet Motel. Anyway, after this was Loving Cup to close which is another song that I do not tire of. This was another quality version, and a pretty good set albeit short. The encore I figured would be kind of long and it was . Halley's kicked it off, and this was a solid version, not that jammed out, but maybe a five minute jam attached to it, which went very smoothly into Cavern. Cavern was followed by Reprise which I will not say much about except that both were standard, which means that both rocked, and this was a good way to end the show. Overall a pretty good show, but the second day was definitely better.
I'd just like to say that the lemonwheel was fantastic, even though there were a few of the "not heads" type people there...there was enough of the family to have a blast. and to anyone who missed the 4th set on saturday night...phish actually succeeded in bridging the gap between awake and dreaming. it's really the only way to describe it, and it was the first time i have heard them actually do it. -Justin Garrison

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