Friday, August 8, 2008

It Was Ten Years Ago Today, Vol I

It was exactly one decade ago that I witnessed the most electric moment in all of my 25 Phish shows. On a Saturday night in August of 1998, the boys travelled onto my home turf at the Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD. Yes, the very same venue immortalized in the instrument-swapping Walfredo. At this point in the tour I'd already seen them in Columbus, OH on 7/31 and at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN on 8/2 and 8/3. With the show being local, we knew a good number of people throughout the crowd and had, if I remember correctly, a row of 6 seats together in the pavillion (Page side). The entire show was a treat that night, peppered with covers of Sneaking Sally Through The Alley, Sweet Jane, a Bob Weaver-sung Sexual Healing, and the aforementioned electric shock in the form of Beastie Boys' Sabotage.

Phish has consistenly been able to produce epic peaks of energy in their live performances, but never before and never after have I felt the wave of exhileration that was produced during and after Sabotage. Summer '98 was the season of odd covers, with Running With the Devil, Ramble On, and Been Caught Stealing making very rare appearaces in the previous days. But when this encore started and the crowd gradually realized what the band was trying to tackle, the next two minutes and 50 seconds was complete pandemonium at Merriweather. We all spent more time in the air then we did with our feet on the ground. They 100% nailed it. Phish would try again on two other occasions to reharness the lightning of Sabotage, on 8/16/98 at Lemonwheel to open Set III and on 11/21/98 at the Hampton Coliseum to open Set II, but it was all for naught as the energy and the precision of 8/8/98 could not be recreated (I've heard the tapes).

Please join me in reliving this night of music and download/stream Phish at Merriweather from one decade ago, courtesy of

08-08-98 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

1: The Wedge, NICU, Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley* > Guyute, Fikus, Farmhouse, Possum, Sweet Jane**

2: Cavern, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Tela > Piper, Sexual Healing^, Harry Hood^^

E: Sabotage+

Stay tuned tomorrow for It Was Ten Years Ago Today, Vol II where I'll recount the night Phish woke The Dead . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was ten years ago? I remember there being a drought in MD and cops pouring out beers saying "dont you know there is a dought? We have to replenish." Jerks.