Phish - Blossom Music Center - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - 07 August 2015
Live Music Review
for The Lot Scene by Parker
Set One: A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, My Sweet One > Wilson > Timber (Jerry), Roses Are Free, Rift, The Moma Dance, Ginseng Sullivan, Wingsuit, It's Ice > Bathtub Gin
Set Two: Chalk Dust Torture > Tweezer > The Lizards, Makisupa Policeman > Ghost > Harry Hood > Tweezer Reprise
Encore: Good Times Bad Times
New city. New venue. New show. And I was more than ready for this Phishing trip to ensue. My first Blossom experience began under the balmy blue of a warm and sunny afternoon sky as we pulled into the lot to commence proper preparations for heading into the show that night. It was one of those perfect summer days that never gets too hot but keeps leading you back to the cooler for another cold one. Just the right kind of setting for catching up with friends, meeting new ones, hitting up Shakedown, and getting oneself ready for the tasty Phishy music on its way. It had been a hot minute since I'd seen the boys from Vermont, so my anticipation level was understandably high. After a few blissful hours lotting it away in the lot, it was time to head inside the venue for the fun and frivolity we all paid for. Loved the Blossom as a venue in general, although, it must be said that security was strict and tight and unrelenting and the venue has a long list of prohibited items (many more than most venues - for instance, "No Toys" i.e. hoops, rage sticks, mascots, etc.) so to avoid stressful situations at the front of the long lines just keep this in mind. Once past all that rigamarole, we descended into the bowl with the gorgeous wooden pavilion stretching up and off to our right and the lawn casting up and around, thousands of folks already in their places and eager to hear those first notes ring out. We made it to our spots with a few minutes to spare, got ourselves all nice and situated, and then, that's when the magic that is a truly fantastic Phish show all began.
Phish kicked off this Ohio hoedown under Blossom's impressive and beautiful wooden stage and band shell with "A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing" and with Trey leading things into a mellow jam to get things going, then building with intensity in that fine Phish fashion for a nice, big finish. Then it was time to get a little bit grassy for the first time that evening with "My Sweet One" as we all "pondered the yonder" with the best of them. The crowd was already close to bursting with excited energy...and it was only the second song! Things were shaping up for the makings of a very fine Phish show indeed. "Wilson! Wilson! Wilsoooooon!!" Can you guess which song came up next? Three guesses and the first two don't count. A crisp, clean, and kinetic version of this Phish classic blanketed the crowd as we all sang our parts like the happy little heads we were. It was a very energetic moment early on in the night and one which they took right into Timber (Jerry) the first unexpected treat of the night. There were to be quite a few of those, gratefully. And here we had our first true big jam of the evening...nothing like a delicious Timber jam right? Which swelled and grew and gained some mighty steam before closing things down. And talk about gaining steam -- this show was quickly moving off the tracks. For instance, who likes Ween covers? If you said "I do" then me telling you they covered "Roses Are Free" next should make you happy. It sure made us happy. This is definitely one of my favorite Phish covers and their take on it last night did it complete and joyful justice. Trey was clearly thrilled to be there playing for us, loving every second of his job, the truth of it written all over his grinning face as he jumped up and down to the rhythm. Like so many others in music, he is such a treat to watch since he shares so freely his experience with this powerful, wonderful music. Just don't believe the florist, ok? Another personal fave followed in the form of "Rift" which sounded almost album perfect until they tore things open during the jam and Page showed us just what it meant to "rage" in all the right ways unleashing a storm of keys and notes on us all, his hands a-flurry, the Professor hard at work. Bravo, good sir! And bravi to the band! But, of course, they weren't even remotely done amazing us for the evening. Which meant an excellent, right on the money "The Moma Dance" was next on the menu for our musical feast. And this crowd was getting really into the show by now, lots and lots of random crowd surges of screams and hoots and hollers and every foot dancing and shaking the ground beneath. Then we got another rare enough gift and some more bluegrass as another cover unfurled for us. "Ginseng Sullivan", one more grateful treat. Many thanks for that one, fellas! "Wingsuit" followed "Ginseng" and quickly traded its mellower beginnings for one of the larger jams of the first set featuring so much of that delicious Trey guitar that we all yearn to hear not to mention the hundreds of notes emanating from Page side, rage side. A hell of a tight jam. Then we got a little "It's Ice" with Page up to the mic to tell us the strange tale of duplicitous identity on the rocks only to have the whole thing breakdown into a nasty good and funky jam and then back out again. Gotta love you some Phish for just that reason!! Finally they brought their first set to a close by going straight into a big, scrumptious "Bathtub Gin" which contained the longest jam of the night's first half and intensely and energetically came crashing down into set break. Damn. What a first set!
A healthy dose of rock and roll opened up the second set with "Chalk Dust Torture" and with the fellas throwing down a lengthy, focused jam for good measure, Fishman's metronomic drum spells providing that well-established and so easily recognizable Phish backbone. Bang, zoom, and we were off again!! They took "Chalk Dust" directly into Tweezer, those unmistakable chords and riffs driving the audience to the expected frenzy. Truly this was a great crowd -- way to go, Ohio!! So into it, so much interaction with the band, so much singing along, and so, so much dancing. It was a real pleasure to catch a show alongside a Blossom Music Center crowd! The lengthy "Tweezer" jam began with a smoldering feeling of mystery which built and built and built over the many minutes to another great feeling of pure rock and roll music. Not to be outdone, Phish then decided to take things into "The Lizards", one of those wonderfully fantastic songs you only hear once in awhile when you get lucky. And luck be a Lizard tonight!! Nothing like listening to Trey tell you a tale from Gamehendge like a lovable, nutty insanely musical uncle from Vermont. Especially "The Lizards". And especially when Page rips it apart like he did smack in the middle of the song -- another perfect example of one of the myriad reasons we all come to see this sublimely skillful band. "Makisupa Policeman" came after and reggae-ed things up a bit for this second set with a really funked out and mellow-grooving bass solo from Mr. Mike Gordon. This they then, in turn, took into "Ghost" for one of the high points of the night. The jam ended up being one of the most intense of the night with yet one more space filled with the spirit of rock and roll, each string played, each drum head smacked, each key pressed in the full embodiment of the genre, even straying into some hard rock moments. One of the better "Ghosts" I have seen to be sure. This elided directly into a "Harry Hood" about which we all felt good. Because you can feel good, good, good about Hood, you know. Right into "Tweezer Reprise" for a massively huge ending to this mighty fine show. Bam. And the crowd went freakin' mental. As well they should with all that superb music floating around in their heads and hearts. But they weren't done yet!! A Led Zeppelin flew over the pavilion bringing the encore vibe of a bumping good "Good Times Bad Times" to bring the whole shebang to a final end. A rock solid show all the way around...very impressive. Great song selection and execution all evening long. There were several first-timers in our group and I had to marvel at that being a first-show experience for them. What a sweet deal, right? All I know is I had a madly fun time all evening thanks to the expertise of those four, venerable Vermonsters. Many thanks for a hell of a show, fellas, and many thanks to the Blossom for being such a lovely host. Rock and roll. Live it. Love it. With the Phish. Money.