8/7/98    Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC

I thought the Water in the Sky into Drowned was appropriate given the weather and the infamous 97 show. Unfortunately, we were seated near the back of the covered seats, so a million people crowded into our area reducing our dancing space. Relax was next--my first time hearing it--it was nice. Next, they Stashed us--UGH] It was OK though because it got the show grooving. I have just heard way too many Stashes--at least it was a comparatively short one. Brian and Robert I had heard about from my friend who went to Europe--she dubbed it the suicide song because it is so depressing. Foam is always nice to hear and Bittersweet Motel was also nice, but I was ready to RAGE] So, when Ghost came on I was very psyched--that is such a funky tune and much improved over last year IMHO. I was completely unprepared for the Forbin Famous which came complete with a story about the full moon. It sent shivers racing down my spine (but maybe that was just the ecstasy). Overall, a good first set, but too many mellow tunes. Second set was more my style. Chalkdust to open the set was definitely very nice. Ever since a friend of mine sang it in the tent at the Ball, it brings a smile to my face. Mike's song--always SICK] Although, we had Johnny First Show next to us and he kept asking if they were still in "Nice Guy" during the jam. Simple--Eh. It is an "S" song (IMO, all "S" songs are kinda lame except for Slave; Suzie, Sparkle, Sample in a Jar, Stash etc.) Albuquerque I hadn't ever heard before--I enjoyed it, then Limb by Limb--awesome] I just LOVE that tune and have ever since last summer. Wading in a Velvet Sea is a nice tune, too, but then a sick Weekapaug that had me raging in the stands]] The Funky Bitch encore surprised me--I expected Loving Cup. Overall a good show, though, and it started to pour after the show so no beer sales]
A few words about the venue: Great lot scene/venue. The band soundchecked almost all afternoon. Soundcheck included: Ghost (slower, less funky version), new country tune (maybe "Call me if You Ever Need a Fool), Rift(aborted), and an extended jam with lyrics about high school bands and Deep Purple while Mike played bassline to "Rappers Delight". Lot was mellow, people hanging out and having a good time, no nitrous. Show, set I: Personal Highlights: Water in the Sky is a cool new country/bluegrassy sounding tune, perfect after a short lived rain shower. The water theme was in effect for this set. Drowned is a rockin Who cover, this was my first time hearing it and I enjoyed it. Relax is a hypnotic tune with one repeating musical section and a verse/chorus vocal part. Lead vocals sung by Page, Fishman plays cool cow-bell drumbeat to keep the crowd dancing. This tune has alot of potential if they add another section to it. Stash was great, cool and calm tempo and buildup. As Trey hit the climax the whole band chenged key (led by Mike) which was pretty cool. Brian and Robert doesn't really do it for me, but the Foan right after it got me back on my feet. Very strange Foam. During Trey's solo, the band just kept getting quieter and quieter, to the point where they just stopped playing, skipping the builup, and continuing the song after a short pause. Forbin's and Mockingbird are always a treat, both played well. Set II: I have to leave work now, so I'll send it another time. Jamie Bacheller jamiebach@aol.com
If your not really interested in preshow things scroll down a bit, well ya know! Well Raleigh last year was the show to remember the most brilliant segue ,imo, took place here(DWD->Mike's->simple->H2O w/ HOOD encore) would this years Raliegh equal lasyt years? would the energy that was exhibited during Raliegh 97's Taste lighting storm Jam be present once again? well the wait for 7:30 show "start" was in high gear and all anyone could do is absorb the venue. Walnut Creek is a nyce place, very "out of the way" and it is wooded in the parking lot. every concert ive seen there, the large hill is the place i head to first. very peaceful! In the parking I saw mike, and i earlier bought an ice tea and hadnt opened it yet, well i asked mike if he wanted it and he glanced at it and said "no man", anyway its 7:00 time to go, yes the energy is pulling me in, the closer i get. keep in mind this the longest time ive gone without seeing phish, 9 months. well right when we get in begins to rain! reminding use of last year. but it ends before phish comes out, which begins to lead me to believe that phish has control of the weather, well more on this later. Thus begins the bulk of the review: I: Water in the sky > Drowned, Relax, Stash, Brian & Robert, Foam, Bittersweet Motel, Ghost, Forbin > Mockingbird I was guessing a little Gin might be what is served up first but it was WATER in the sky: which i agree with because of the simple fact that it got everyone movin, but i would say that phish must make that opener a song with a higher sense of energy. I was thinking that probally until i heard them break out DROWNED: Funky Jam good themes and rythems. personally my first in concert and i was caught off guard when they broke it out, and i know that almost everyone around me had no idea what it was either, needless to say it was enjoyed! RELAX: broke out this is a newbie and it welcome in my eyes but as you can see this set took some time to get off the ground because of the number of slow song which personally i was not to fond of. STASH: every since 93' and 94' i cant not listen to this song it was over played nothing interest in this that i could hear, sorry im just not a fan of this song, i cant say that about any other song though even bouncin'. Brian & Robert: yes a slow new song, good but placed horribly. FOAM: i love this song and pagies slot was well articulated aswell as trey's and all out great foam not short and sweet but long and sweet, Sweet! not to mention that Chris K. was totally killer in this, yes he was Sweet! BITTERSWEAT Motel: good new cover, but once again another slow song, c'mon guys! GHOST: ok now were talkin', my brother really didnt like this before but now that it has morphed he's into it, now it is a lot more grittier and grimier! anyways its great but somethings about the new version that are lacking in theme, well you'll hear what im talking about soon im sure. COLFORBAN: well i was kidding around but i told someone i the parking lot that we would get Forban and what do ya know? it came true! well the narrations really long so i suggest that you ask your friend! yes? well it was about Col forban scaling this mountain to meet icculus. but before he gets to the top he looks over his sholder and sees a lake and leading to this lake is a zip cord. so he can either save gamehenge or or take this zip cord and fall in to this beautiful pond. needless to say he takes the zip cord and when he falls in to the water, he realizes that its acctually a huge vat of BLUE JELLO! so he tries to defreinciatethis occurance between reality and a dream and soon learns w/ MIKE G.'s help its a lucid dream.which is a dream that you know your dreaming, and you have the ability to switch dreams aswell. so Forban turns around cause thats how you change dreams, to reveal a fest inwhich he is rotating on some sort of rotisory or something and all his feeling and senses are exagerated and he can swell taste and shit like that. so people start feeding him and feeding him till he turns into a giant and begins to bounce untill he is in outerspace!(at this time i was thinking 2001!) so he starts revolve around the earth till he sees the sun, and now the people down on earth are witnessing an eclipse which is due to forban, "so if any body ever asks you now you know the truth!-trey" then trey says "ohh yeah i forgot one thing the Famous moking bird is up there flying around also" when trey metioned the moon the moon came out from beyond the clouds wierd huh?!? phish is mother earth! MOCKING BIRD: nyce solos and the ending seemed extented. WELL that set was really slow and if it wasnt for the colforban Narration i would give it a 4 but Ill give it a 6 and 1/2, cause im feeling good right now! I wont mention what happened inbetween sets phellows we must clean up our act! please? II: Chalkdust, Mikes > Simple > Alberquerqe, Limb by Limb > Velvet Sea, Weekapaug E: Funky Bitch CHALKDUST: my brother called this good wholesome rip roarin' FUN! is it not allways? MIKE'S SONG: interestingly enough i called this and as i was excited to hear it generally im looking forward to where they will go with it. trey was on tonight i can tell you that. SIMPLE: i gar an teed a girl this because i told her trey told me he'd play it for her! well they played it and they didnt play H2O and Simple wasnt Grand but they went into ALBERQUERQUE: my brother love this song because he did live there, nice placement of this slow song! thumbs up. LIMB X LIMB: I like this because it has a rythem similar to taste and if totally groove oriented, into Velvet Sea: put this anywhere and its great! WEEKAPAUG: OK i was dancing so hard the limbs of my body were NUMB greatest weekapaug set closer and this left for the desire of a hood but i woul not get it!!! Encore FUNKY BITCH: well its not often but the guys let me down well kudos to the WEEKAPAUG that was my encore although BITCH allways rocks! just not as an encore when the crowd is so into it. but someone told me that the encore was short due to curfew. wel that set was a 7.5 making the show a 7 an average show, i was kind of disapointed but i think back on Forban and it makes me Smile. Thanks Blake-pdouglas@ccsinc.com please forgive any errors in personal judgment and definitly grammar i wrote this in a hurry to get to sleep.
I: Water in the sky, Drowned, Relax, Stash, Brian & Robert, Foam, Bittersweet Motel, Ghost, Forbin > Mockingbird II: Chaldust Mikes > Simple > Alberquerqe, Limb by Limb > Velvet Sea, Weekapaug E: Funky Bitch water in the sky-- this was the new version, it is the 1st time i have ever heard the new version and i liked it. i really didn't like the old one and i think they made it alot beter. drowned--HELL YEAH!! i haven't heard this sence landover and it was smokin! great jam, great singing, just a great song, i was ready for this one. Relax--i don't care much for this tune but it was the 1st time i have heard it live, it was ok. Stash--i yelled out that they were going to play this during the ending jam on relax. i just had a feeling that they would play this. it was ver intense. i have heard beter stash's but i have heard alot worse ones. Brian & Robert--the 1st time i had heard this one too, i like this tune. it was pretty mellow and nice. Foam--this was the 1st time i had seen this live too. i have been waiting to see this for a while. a very good song, very tight, and a good jam. Bittersweet Motel--1st time i had heard this, good song i liked it, another mellow tune. Ghost--this was the new version and it was funked out!!! great jam very funky at the begining and then got to a big build up into a rockin jam. Forbin > Mockingbird--HELL YEAH!!!! this made my night. i was talking about how i wanted to see this the whole way up. very tight great story, i think he made it up on stage. it was a weird story about forbin in a big bowl of jello. set 2 Chalkdust--SMOKIN!!!! Mikes--Glad to hear it, rockin jam, not funky, into a gloomy jam. Simple--they played mike's into simple last year so i was disappointed, typical simple Alberquerqe--1st time i had heard it. sounded like a pink floyd song. Limb by Limb--i was really glad to hear this, it was the new version also. great jam with a page solo at the end with page transfering into velvet sea. Velvet Sea--I really don't like this song, i new version, still not that great. but i knew weekapaug was coming. Weekapaug--great, long mike intro, smokin jam, very great. one of the best weekapaug's i have ever heard. encore Funky bitch--good to hear it, standard version
I am from Greensboro, NC, so Walnut Creek is kind of like my home venue. It's such a great place to see Phish, and the lot is pretty nice, too. Mike was cruising the lot in his golf cart again, and some of my friends got to talk to him for a little while. SET I Just like last year, it rained, and the boys immediately acknowledged the soaked phans on the lawn with the reworked Water in the Sky (still not much jamming or anything, but an interesting new take on the tune) and a great Drowned followed by a funky jam in which Mike starred (as he did much of the night, IMO). Relax followed - I was impressed, just as I was by Roget at Lakewood, with this new tune. It's typical of the new songs and some of the new covers (see Albuquerque) in its mellow sound and beautiful vocals. I was talking to someone after the show about how Phish's music has changed over the last couple of years, how they've just matured from playing more. The guy I was talking to compared it to Michael Jordan shooting more jumpshots instead of driving to the basket and dunking every time. They don't have to Type I jam out every tune. Stash was next, nothing extraordinary, but a solid performance. Roget was one that I didn't know - I had heard about a song with lyrics about "staring at your walls" or something, but I didn't know the name. This song was outstanding for me, and I enjoyed it even more than Relax. Foam next - great interplay between Trey and Page the whole time - the ending appeared to be slightly miscommunicated, but still great. Bittersweet Motel was very short, but rather sweet. Make it 3 new slow songs for the set. Ghost was the tune that really got me moving. It has also been reworked since I last heard it at Hampton during the fall tour. A great funk jam ensued, with Trey doing some amazing solo work. I kept thinking they were getting ready to break into AC/DC Bag, but the jam finally wound around and closed. The set to this point had clocked in at around 70 minutes, so I thought it was probably over, although the first set at Lakewood was close to 90 minutes. What I didn't expect them to begin was... COL. FORBIN!!!! - my first live, and it was fantastic. This one really got the whole crowd going, especially after Trey's story about Colonel Forbin having a lucid dream in which he ziplined into a vat of blue Jello, then turned around and found himself being turned on the sensory spit until he ate too much and turned into a huge bloated ball and bounced higher and higher until he floated into space and eclipsed the moon, the full moon which shone over the Creek. Wouldn't it be great to be Trey's daughter - you'd get to hear bedtime stories like that!! At the end, he added that "Oh yeah, the famous mockingbird's flying around up there too!" MOCKINGBIRD melted the crowd and wound the set up at 95 minutes to my count, although that may not be exactly right. During the setbreak, most of the lawn witnessed a dramatic chase in which a helpless security guard was held back and thrown down, prevented from reaching his would-be victim by a few kind friends. I have seen several incidents between security and phans at Walnut Creek, especially last year when it rained and everybody was sneaking under the cover. I think the down-home Carolina boys are really frightened by the sense of community between everybody there. They know they're hopeless against an entire lawn of people. SET II Chalkdust - great opener, jam kept rockin' and rockin' till they finally wrapped it up and slammed into Mike's Song - I've seen it twice before (last year at the Creek and fall tour at Hampton), and this was way different than ever before. Trey had some solos like nothing I've ever seen, ripping off 64th notes for minutes on end like it was nothing. This song was one of several repeats from last year at Walnut Creek, but believe me, it was a totally different show. Simple - Again, just like last year at the Creek, Mike's went into Simple. Maybe the rainclouds two years in a row gave the band a little deja vu that carried into the music. Simple was really tight, pretty short, but a good choice - the crowd loved it. Albuquerque - a Neil Young cover which I don't really understand; I wasn't really into this, but some Neil Young fans I was with loved it Limb by Limb - memories of last summer; a great song - I love the beginning vocals between Page and Trey. This was well jammed, and another outstanding tune for the set Velvet Sea - UNBELIEVABLE!! The crowd was mesmerized, from the beginning Page solo to Trey's soaring guitar during the jam that followed. This beautiful mini-ballad reminded me a little bit of Dirt. I kind-of thought that they had tried this one out a few times last summer (VA Beach, etc.) and then decided to bag it, but it was really awesome Weekapaug- I can't describe how the crowd moved to this song. It was one of those moments where everybody there knows that there is no place on earth they would rather be. Mike was outstanding, and Trey just kept going and going, climaxing 5 or 6 or 7 times, it was unreal.. Encore - Funky Bitch - I was psyched to hear this one; one of my friends had called it. It was well-done, kind-of slowed down. I thought that they kind- of cut the jam a little short though, maybe because they had reached the 11:00 curfew. All in all, an outstanding night, and I can't wait for another! Peace, John Lambeth

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