, attached to 1999-09-14

Review by zzyzx

zzyzx Yep. My decision to go was a last second one, discovering that a rt ticket from Seattle was $90. The below is something I wrote for a non-phish listserv I'm on when I got back. Maybe someone here will like it. (Note: I don't think I would still call Farmhouse or Waste some of my favorite songs (I just was really digging them that tour) but I stand by Wading, the Curtain, and What's the Use?

In the late part of summer tour '94, Phish got bored with their normal songs. Every night had a different breakout or rare song or cool jam or something. The band nicknamed the tour the "You snooze, you lose tour." This idea has carried over to later tours. After playing 2 completely sold out shows in Vegas for Halloween, the band responded to having an half-empty E Centre at the next show by playing all of Dark Side of the Moon. You snooze, you lose; don't blow off the weekday shows in the middle of nowhere. So when I discovered that I could fly to Boise for $90 rt and only miss a half day of work, I jumped at the chance. I will snooze not!

I am always somewhat excited about going somewhere new. Being able to hit a new town is rare these days, so I could hardly wait for the plane to land. When I got out of the plane, the very first thing I saw in the airport was a french fry dispenser; it was a vending machine that fried them after you put in coins. "Famous Potatoes" indeed.

I was playing this show by ear. The original plan was to rent a car, drive to the show, return it that night, and then sleep in the airport. That plan fell apart when it turned out that there were no available cars in Boise to be had. I had to take a taxi to the BSU Pavilion. The Grateful Dead played one show at BSU in 1983. It turned out that my taxi driver had given Mickey Hart a ride and received backstage passes.

Because I was so torn about what I was going to do about sleeping, I decided to not bring my tape deck to the show. That turned out to be a wise move. Despite what I was told over the phone, my tickets were not on the floor. Floor seats said "General Admission" on them; mine had a section and a seat. I waited in the GA line anyway, hoping to be stubbed down from the Bagel Boys (a couple of Phish fans who work at the Noah's near my house). [1]

When the Dead played there in 83, the fans didn't exactly respect the idea of staying in your seat. Pretty much everyone ended up on the floor. As a result, BSU had a different plan for this show. Everyone with floor seats had to enter through a special door. Then they would mark your ticket with a black marker, and give you a wrist band. Without the band, you couldn't go to the floor. I resigned myself to sit in the seating area and tried to get out of the floor line. The cops redirected me into the floor line. Hmmmmm time to play Jedi Master. Holding up my ticket to 4 different people, I willed them to not see that it wasn't a GA ticket. Sure enough, I received a marked section R9 ticket and a green wristband as testimony of my power over weak minds.

Anticipation ran high before the show opened. Rumors were passed around. Someone told me that they were rehearsing an album; a friend from the 94 tour showed me the setlist that she passed to Trey. Lights went out and the show opened with..... Chalk Dust Torture - a very standard call. While the YSYL potential went down, the version played was really strong. In fact the version of pretty much everything that entire set was strong. The setlist reads like a list of my personal favorite songs; "The Curtain", "Waste", "Loving Cup", "What's the Use", "Wading in the Velvet Sea", and "Farmhouse" were all played, and all played well. Farmhouse in particular made me happy because it made up for the horrible version played at the Gorge. Of the 5 shows I had seen this tour, it clearly was the best first set. Moreover, the venue was... well a tad on the small side. The back of the floor was roughly where the back of the first section was in Vancouver. I was able to walk up to the rail... and there was dancing room up there. I don't remember they last time I was able to do that.

The setlist had just enough rarities, that the You Snooze You Lose talk was all the rage. I was stoked enough from the first set that I tried to tell myself that it would be enough to just see a hot set, but I was afraid that I had bought into the hype. "Peaches en Regalia" opened, the first since 97, and I figured we were going to get something. What we got was a non-rare song - "AC/DC Bag." "AC/DC Bag" is a simple build and build and build energy song. About 5 minutes into the song though, right after the jam started, it changed. For the next 22 minutes, I was treated to one of the best jams I have ever seen. About halfway through this jam, and about 4 "!'s" into my notes, I heard a scream from the center of the crowd and out came the tortillas. Sure glow stick wars are now a tradition, but being surrounded by dozens of flying tortillas as the lights shone and the band raged is a moment that will be forever etched in my mind.

I'm not going to run through the rest of the set. Suffice it to say that the three remaining songs floored me, that I put this show in the top 10 - if not the top 5 - of all of the Phish shows I have ever seen. The only complaint I have at all is that the second set was a tad on the short side (57 minutes); the entire show can fit on two cd's. Despite that minor complaint though, I was quite happy. I was "WHOOOOOO!"ing and trying to remember why exactly I am not quitting my job and going on tour.

After the show, I found the Bagel Boys and they agreed to give me a ride to the Boise Airport. The cops were remarkably cool in the lot. We overheard one saying, "By the way, '6 Up'." [Deadhead slang for,"Look out, here come the cops."] They were very polite as they slowly got us all to leave. The Bagel Boys made sure I could get into the airport, and waved as I found a comfy couch and prepared to bed down. It was only after they left that it occurred to me that I could have just asked them for a ride home. A cop did come by to make sure that I did have a plane ticket, then it was time to kill a few hours before my flight left.

Failing to oversleep, I got into the plane. On the trip out to Seattle, we circled around Mt Rainier a few times before the captain finally announced that we wouldn't be able to land in Seattle. It turns out there was... fog there. Excuse me? What kind of plane goes to Seattle at 7 AM and can't handle fog? We ended up landing in the Yakima (WA) airport and waiting. And waiting. The only thing to do there, with no tv, internet kiosks, fast food places, or pretty much anything was to read the copy of the Encyclopedia Yearbook of 1967 that was lying around. In 1967, the Dow Jones Average went up 30.27 points to close for the year at.... 233.24. I also learned a lot about the China/USSR feuds and the race riots. When I finished with that, I went to the newsstand. No they had no food or magazines, but they did have a floatie pen that I bought for a certain collector of those.

Finally, after getting no news for 4 hours, after hearing stories that United regularly just gives up and rents a bus to drive people to town, I talked my way onto a Horizon Air flight [2]. We circled once or twice around Mt. Rainier and I got really nervous. Quickly we we reassured that this was just a temporary delay as SeaTac cleared out its backlog. To my left was Mt. Rainier. To my right was a priest. In my recent past was an extremely hot show. Surrounded by transcendence, I figured that another 10 minutes wouldn't kill me so I relaxed. Just another day on the tour.

[1] 2010 Note: 11 years later, one of the Bagel Boys attended my wedding. Kind of cool to be reminded of just meeting them.

[2] 2010 Note: Yes, talked my way onto a flight. In pre-9/11 days, not only could people hang out with departing passengers until their plane boards, but occasionally if a flight had extra room, you could ask nicely if they'd let you on it and every now and then they would. In retrospect this stuns me.


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