, attached to 1996-10-25

Review by Drewn2o

Drewn2o So here we go…this is my first and only review of a Phish show and its been 20 years to the day — as Hampton 96’ was my formal "musical beginning" with Phish and likewise for soo many of my friends . So in the wake of Jerry’s passing and the one real Grateful Dead (who I had worshiped consistently for 4 years during high school) show I had been exposed to, with limited listening of Phish in high school (only Joist, Lawn Boy, and Rift) I was really still a green horn on the overall music scene. Having entered into NCSU in Raleigh, NC that fall class of 96 I had not made any firm plans to attend a Phish show. After a relatively new found friend named Danny (a prior school of the arts classical guitarist) encouraged me to attend this show, there was no turning back. Little did I know Danny had scored tickets for Hampton, Charlotte, and Atlanta for the Omni 96 Halloween shows and this was the beginning….a beginning of a fairly long and wonderful career as a fan of this band.

After smoking cheap hand rolled joints, drinking some canned beers, and stopping to piss in the beautiful fall cotton fields of VA, my friends and I made our way to the lot. The lot was rowdy to say the least….our having arrived in a 98 SUV Isuzu Rodeo driving up from Raleigh we were stoned and laughing as we stumbled about watching the drummers near the fountain and attractive scantily clad yoga beauties stealing camera posses in the center of the drums. Having chowed a nominal amount of organic mind altering portobellos, we entered the venue where some cat was getting worked up prior to show time. He was hooting and hollering and definitely a hard wookie from the looks of it. I had my back turned having entered the ground floor at Hampton in the pretty show light before the purple hue had been ensconced the crowd started to hoop and yell. Suddenly I head people yelling as clothes were raining down on my friends and I. A couple of peers had taken to hide near or under the bleachers as their dinner was starting to strongly take hold. The naked work guy was sadly escorted out by security but his rowdy had made its impression on the venue. We were in for a really rowdy show and this guy had served to up the anti. We made our way to the right mezzanine and Phish opened with Ha, Ha, Ha. I remember thinking to myself these guys are really loud, overall this is a wacky and weird choice to open with, but this shit rocks!! I remember various tunes in particular like the Makisupa > Maze, the Papyrus, the Stash with everyone signing along the bridge in unison and clapping, and Pages particularly tear jerkingly beautiful solo at the end of the Squirming Coil.

At the point of set break I remember walking around and thinking to myself this was in fact a “scene” and a “happening” and while different from the Dead’s, the crowd energy and efforts of the Dead had not dissipated but rather morphed and given birth to something totally new in their wake. Of course at that time there were numerous Dead and Panic haters and Phish haters amongst all three scenes, but regardless I was able to block out this noise, and now Hampton had just unknowingly become my new sacred ground. Little did I know that Hampton was going to be my new “Halloween”, my new holiday, my new spiritual and religious pilgrimage for the next 4-5 years all culminating in 11/22/97 rendering itself one of the greatest if not the greatest musical moments of my meager existence. This show however on 10/26/16 for many new coming NC, VA, and newbie Phish phans was the planting of the seeds, the germination of the scene for so many NC heads and VA heads, and now everyone including myself would grow with this band for many years. Its always been particularly poetic and beautiful to me that at my first show I got to hear The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday. What a gnarly setlist in retrospect, and what a perfect first show this was!! This was Phish being in the perfect time and the perfect place to teach and totally indulge my young adult mind. I felt like a relatively late comer to Phish but today feel like an olde Phish head which is ridiculous. At this show Phish as a newbie were intriguing, intimidating at my young age of 18, and upon listening review totally bitching and rad. The cal-funk era was around the corner, and this show was my first “taste” and a wonderful pre-cursor of the miraculous music to come over the next few years. After this show we hastily pilled into my friend Wes’s black 1998 Isuzu rodeo, rode to J. Morgans parents crib, and woke up the next morning for pancakes at the VFW where his family paid for our breakfast. My next few shows of this run left me a hardened phiend and phanatic for the next foreseeable period of my life and I am so proud and lucky to be able to reflect and review it today.


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