A Shining Light in Darkness Deep: Festival 8 Day 1
Festival 8, along with so many other things, acted as a reminder that Phish is so much more than just a band. Whether it be the secret language that took place between the band and the fans in past years, the Gamehenge saga, the late night sets…Phish offers so much more than just music. They offer an experience, and 8 was the perfect example. Each day presented its own Phish experience, each with a distinct vibe. In the coming days, we will take a look all 3 days from 8, and the unique experience that each offered.
Day 1 10.30.09
As Phish took the stage on Friday, the sun had already gone down laying the way for an extended set in the darkness. The energy in the crowd that night, with all the anticipation that had been building since the start of the “Save the Date” charade, was overwhelming. The band fed off the crowd’s vibe immediately, as they launched into a ferocious version of “Chalkdust” to get the improvisational juices flowing. It immediately became obvious to everyone listening that the band had been practicing in their off-time. The set carried a very tight vibe, however, the band seemed overly patient. As the set progressed, the jams opened up and we began to see the band at a level of comfort not seen since before the reunion.
The amazing part about the first night was the stark musical contrast between dark and light that took place. For example “Stash”, which is generally reserved for darker jams, led into an unconventionally bright, melodic jam. Toward the end of “Disease”, however, the band reached into some very dark psychedelic territory. The culmination of this dark jamming came during “Wolfman’s”, and reminiscent of the version from Halloween ’98 (the jam which provided the background music to the “Save the Date” map), the band took the song on a dark, ambient journey.
Anyone who had heard the soundcheck from the night before knew the band was waiting to delve into the darkness. However, I don’t think anyone was expecting it to take place on the first night. The dark “Wolfman’s” segued seamlessly into a bright “Piper” showcasing the two opposing jamming styles. This combination served as the improvisational highlight of the night, venturing deep into uncharted musical territory.
When the ‘Burble’ emerged, the setting became even more dream-like. As this psychedelic orb of light made its way through the crowd, the band drew on its mystical vibe delivering a divine version of “Hood”.
The contrast between the bright “Hood” jam, and the dark “Wolfmans” reminded us exactly how dynamic these four musicians are. The Phish experience has so much to offer, even within a single night. As we left the concert grounds that night, we could hardly imagine what the next day would have in store for us…
Check out the “Hood” from night 1.
“Stash” 10.30.09 Pt. 1
“Stash” 10.30.09 Pt. 2