Monday, August 2, 2010
Hours ahead of Further's arrival, most of the buzz among hard-core Further fans revolved around Weir, who two nights earlier struggled to get oriented at a New York Nokia Theatre performance, spacing out lyrics and eventually cutting one of his songs short while band members vamped nervously.
While several well-circulated Internet clips of that momentary breakdown whipped the Deadhead rumor mill into a frenzy of worrisome trepidation, Weir bounced back into top form and apparently was no worse for wear by the time he arrived at Vibes.
He donned a hot-pink guitar for the opening set, taking control and leading the group through a memorable selection that included "Jack Straw," "Ramble on Rose," and a medley of "Estimated Prophet," "Eyes of the World" and "Not Fade Away."
Saturday afternoon's back-to-back sets from Galactic and Umphrey's McGee were also well-received. New Orleans' own Cyril Neville showed up, strutting out his funkiest stuff as Galactic's horn section mixed up their crazy jambalaya with some of the best Ska-driven power horn playing ever seen at Vibes.
Faced with a tough act to follow, Umphrey's McGee did not shy away. That veteran jam outfit upped the ante with an extended set featuring, "White Man's Moccasins," and "The Fuzz."
The joy of watching and listening to Umphrey's material comes from the band's incredible precision -- and the fact that most of its Vibes set was delivered with barely an interruption. Transitioning stylistically from rock to reggae, to progressive jazz, to heavy metal and back, guitarists Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss were in particularly great form.
Circling back on this pre-Greek homework assignment I was given, naturally I’ve already procrastinated. I’ve got some serious listening to catch up on given an eventful weekend spent running over SF enjoying the sights and sounds. So far I’ve only crossed four shows off the list, which really puts me on a full diet of Phish this week between exercising and finishing up some blog posts that have piling up over here on our news desk. I figured I’d give a little insight into how it’s going for me and what items are standing out as I consume some of the great, epic shows of the band’s past. There’s the joke that this exercise will basically make me hate whatever the band plays at the Greek, because the consumption of this greatness in the past could overshadow the band’s “doing the best we can” return to the stage after a month off. Lord knows nobody actually expects a dud note or two during the three-night stand, but there’s bound to be one set that just can’t cut it after we see what happens once they warm up. Plus, if they really did open with a “Ride Captain Ride” the mothership will likely blast off for more than a few thousand people in the audience. Don’t get me started on the idea that everyone will be in a toga on Saturday night’s show; that’s just too much to anticipate and expect. Point is, I’ll keep my mind open and expect it to be blown in more ways than one this weekend.
With the fan community sitting on the precipice of Summer Tour – Part Deux, the rumor mill exploded over the weekend with multiple sources all but confirming Phish in Atlantic City, New Jersey for Halloween 2010. In a reversal of coasts from 2009′s Festival 8, Phish will wind up back east for this year’s three-set extravaganza. The band will supposedly play Boardwalk Hall, with a capacity of 13,800 (and rumored to be a GA show) making this a fairly intimate Halloween affair. While last year, anyone could have walked up and bought a ticket for Phish’s Halloween festival in Indio, this year things will be far more competitive to gain entry into the under-sized arena. Atlantic City will be the smallest Halloween show since 1994, when Phish donned their inaugural “musical costume” in Glens Falls, New York, among 5,800 fans. Unless things have been sorely mis-represented, we’ll be meeting up on the Jersey Shore come October 31st.
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