Along with the Maine festivals, this is definitely one of the most memorable experiences in my life. Driving from New York to Florida will do that to you, and a 27 hour driving marathon session will only further assist in etching it permanently into your brain.
This was our big vacation, and I can't quite recall how we pulled off getting time off of work. I have a feeling I quit my job before this event only to get a new one upon returning to Albany. Stacy wasn't feeling very well and had a terrible cough, but we had fun regardless and left from Long Island for our trip south. It was just after Christmas which we had spent with my family. We got a late start as we saw a doctor that day. The wait to see the doctor was 2 hours and then we picked up some cough medicine before shipping out.
I had never driven all the way to Florida before. Once to Georgia but I was young, probably only about 8. This would be the biggest trip I'd ever taken, and we drove down in my Chrysler Le Baron that I had received from my grandmother just a few months earlier. No AC and the passenger window didn't work, so Stacy wasn't so thrilled about that.
After the late start and driving all day, we found a place somewhere down south, I believe in the Carolinas. It was a late evening, probably after midnight and we were up relatively early. We got a bite to eat at the 'continental breakfast' they offered, little more than coffee and some pastries. We hit the road at about 8am.
We hit Florida pretty early iirc, but the state is pretty huge and we spent much of the day still travelling south. Once in the sunny state however, we hit a series of bottlenecks. The first was a minor accident, the second we averted mostly by choosing the proper lane but the third was a large trucker carrying 2x4s. The truck had apparently slid and all of the wood fell into the highway. As we were pretty close to the accident (but didn't see it), I got out and helped toss the wood to the shoulder. At one point, I almost hit someone in the head w/ a piece of lumber, a close call that would've been ugly to say the least.
After clearing the road and getting out of traffic for the 3rd time in less than an hour, I decided there would be no cops anywhere. Since all the attention was behind me, I opted to hit the 100mph mark for the first time in my driving career. This didn't please Stacy, but it's an 'achievement' I proudly have under my belt now. heh.
10pm was roughly when we hit Alligator Alley, Rt I-75 connecting Ft. Lauderdale and Naples, East and West Florida. It is here when everything came to a screeching halt, 14 hours after we set out that morning.
11am was roughly when we got through the traffic merely miles away and into the concert grounds. Of course, this would have been much longer if I didn't drive on the grass in the divider, cutting out what was almost 2 miles to my recollection. In retrospect, running over something there would have truly left us in a mess, as a broken down car in the middle of Florida wouldn't have been good. It was a pretty insane experience though, having driven all day just to sit at the wheel all night.
The most memorable part of this 13 hour wait? The man holding the Bad Karma sign to all of us driving in the divider.
Having been to Lemonwheel in '98 and Oswego earlier this year, I had a few festivals under my belt, but this was pretty different. As we merged and finally entered the grounds it was a long drive through a curved path before we actually entered the place. Everything was huge and sprawling. As far as you could see there was just flatlands. We pulled the car into the designated parking spot and got out to see grass almost up to our knees! Grasshoppers were everywhere! Everything flattened out and we pitched the tiny tent that we had, trying to keep the grass flat.
Having driven all night, as with everyone else, we were exhausted. It kinda sucked too, b/c the energy that first day was so low. Everyone was tired.
Set II: (1:35)
Set III: (1:20)
^ Traffic cover (from the album "Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys").
09:42 | Runaway Jim (+)
Set II: (7:45)
05:36 | #Meatstick (^) ->
Set 2 was played from midnight to sunrise, non-stop.
+ With marshmallow war, lots of balloons, and aerial tortillas.
* With Fish on vacuum.
*** First time played; J.J. Cale cover from the album "Naturally" (best known for the Eric Clapton version).
# Set begins around 11:35 pm with Father Time on stage pedaling away at a stationary bike, powering a large clock, with the sound of the gears on the PA (possibly a Siket Disc track?). At approximately 11:50 pm, Father Time collapses from exhaustion and the clock stops. At this time, with appropriate sound effects, a large fan boat entered the field from halfway back, stage right. Soon the sides and top of the fan boat were blown off to reveal the band riding in the hot dog from 12-31-94. The hot dog approached the stage as the band threw leis and other goodies into the crowd. Once the hot dog reached the stage, the band disembarked carrying several meatsticks. They fed these to Father Time, reviving him to drive to clock to midnight. ^Instrumental version, with the band picking up the song from a pre-recorded version played during the hot dog ride.
^^ With vocal jam, as Trey, Mike, and Page sang the notes as they played them.
^^^ Recorded live for ABC's Millennium coverage; Trey instructed the crowd to chant the word "Cheesecake" after the song (instead of applauding), in an attempt to confuse TV viewers; Trey introduced the band for the recorded footage and offered a message of peace and harmony for the world ("The right lane is for driving. The left lane is for passing. So stay in the right lane unless you're passing.").
^^^^ Preceded by "Meatstick" tease (possibly as Central Time hit midnight).
% With "Cheesecake" vocal jam.
%% Trey solo acoustic.
%%%W ith Mike holding up a voice box, repeating the phrase "Quadrophonic Toppling."
%%%% With Fish on vacuum; Fish introduced Page before the song, and Mike and Trey afterwards, and the band as "Phish 2000 ."
$ Preceded by a tease of the "Harry Hood" intro.
$$ No encore; post-show music was the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun."
The first set was heavy with new material, not necessarily a bad thing, but I don't recall it being very memorable.
Any time you start a set w/ a Jam, IMO, it's going to be good. I think I remember someone being disappointed by Prince Caspian but I think it's a good live song and overall this set was much better.
Following the tradition of Led Zeppelin set/concert closers, they did Misty Mountain Hop, a cool song and a change from the traditional Communication Breakdown, Good Times, Bad Times or .............
Set I: (1:10)
Set II: (1:07)
| Jam ->
* Ended abruptly.
# Trey thanked family, crew, and fans.
MUCH closer than the festival a year prior! Stacy and I had to forego any other shows so that we could make the festival and were happy that we did so. This was a week before or after the Woodstock fiasco of this year and while in many ways it was the exact opposite of that, in some ways it was identical. The main reason was the incredibly hot weather! On these air strips there's simply no shade and I got one of the worst sunburns in my life.
To begin though, we set out late I believe and the ride to Oswego was relatively quick. However traffic around the venue was terrible and we arrived late. In fact the road where we entered swung around the entire venue and where we entered was adjacent to the entrance. Therefore, we spent like an hour driving around to where we began! It was so bad b/c the one song I always wanted to hear was Guelah Papyrus and they were playing that as we were driving around. Needless to say, we missed most of the first set. :(
We did see the second though, which comprised of a few cool songs, segues and Son Seals as a guest. They played Funky Bitch with the song's creator and one of my favorites, Timber (Jerry). Overall the first day was cool but not so memorable and the driving/parking fiasco tainted what was a generally good 2nd set.
Oswego Day 1
Set II: (II+E: 1:55)
| Funky Bitch (**)
| The Squirming Coil
* Trey on keys.
** With Son Seals.
# Short blues jam played as Son Seals exited.
Stacy and I spent the day just wandering, finding water wherever we could and sitting in the shade as often as possible. It didn't matter though, the sun was just baking everyone around (half of whom were baked as is, bad joke).
We debated eating our PB&J sandwiches before the first set but opted against it, which was a great choice. The first set had a number of so-so songs and a long guest slot, the Del McCoury Band. They played with the band for 4 songs and it felt a little drawn out to Stacy and I.
The second set was a different story. Between sets we sat under a tent and had our sandwiches as Runaway Jim was starting. We got to our standing spot and felt our hunger subside just as Free was beginning. I'll never forget this whole sensation, the sun was on the way down, we were just to the right of a big speaker stand and everyone around us was smiling. In fact, the entire group of people around us was wearing specific shirts. They must've come as a group and their shirts said, "I'm..." and then each had a trippy picture on the front. Behind us was a woman with some sort of skin defect, which I think freaked Stacy out a bit.
Next was our introduction to The Meatstick. This silly little dance was debuted earlier in the summer and so we had heard about it, but didn't get a chance to witness it. Here Trey explained that we were going to go for the world record for most people doing an individual dance. Ultimately we did not get the record, however it was pretty fun, if not incredibly silly.
Between sets this time we just sat around, still feeling very full from our sandwiches and really enjoying the people around us. It was a great time...The 3rd set was good and had a number of segues but I remember Stacy having a rough time during Icculus. You can read the notes below about Trey's banter, but Stacy was on the ground and I was trying to console her. What an odd end of the set.
Oswego Day 2
| Punch You in the Eye
Set II: (1:00)
| Runaway Jim (#) ->
Set III: (III+E: 1:50)
| My Soul
| Harry Hood (^^^)
* With the Del McCoury Band. Del McCoury broke a string during "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome"
** Trey explains the record attempt; Sofi Dillof dances on-stage dancing; Guinness Book of World Records staff videotaping the event; the record was not set.
# With "Psycho Killer" jam.
## Entire Part I.
### With glowrings, and Trey on keys.
^ Followed by banter and toying, all continuing an E chord from the end of "Wilson" (which was never finished). Trey gabbed about TV, books, and Deep Purple, teased "Smoke on the Water," compared it to "Cat Scratch Fever," and more.
^^ Followed by more talking, band introductions, a mention of the fan group CK5, and teases of "Miss You" (Rolling Stones).
^^^ With fireworks.