Festival 8: Day 2

This is the third in a 6 part series on my trip to Indio, CA for Phish’s Festival 8 at the Empire Polo Grounds. I’m only separating them out because it would be one long post to put it all together. They’ll be posted immediately as I finish them. I’ll link to my pictures from the festival in my final post. My other posts about Festival 8 can be found using the fest8 tag.

Luckily, I had gotten about 9 hours of sleep on Friday night. Halloween was here. Nick, again, made bacon and eggs. We took it easy during the day and headed to the venue for a massive Phish Twibe tweetup that had been planned. After Laura chased down an over-zealous cleaning person who stole our sign, we were ready to go. We had about 25 or so people show up for what would be the biggest Twibe meetup we had ever had. I met the following people aside from those I had met the previous day:

I think I’m missing 1 or 2 people. I can’t remember who they were, unfortunately. It was great to meet some of these folks I had been tweeting with for a long time. We spent some time chatting for a bit and then we went our separate ways and headed to the first set, which started at 3:00 pm. Here’s a pic of the tweetup.

Photo by @motorbikematt

The first daytime set of the weekend was stronger musically than the first night. They played a bunch of fan favorites, including the highlight (for me) of “Runaway Jim” – the first one I’ve seen since before the first hiatus (which started in October 2000). They ended the set with a great “Run Like an Antelope”. The set ended and we headed out to do our own thing for a couple hours before the Halloween set. We had found out, upon entering the venue, that the band would be playing Exile on Main Street from the Rolling Stones. They had handed us “Phishbills” (that looked like Broadway Playbills), which showed the album cover and had a story about the album and some fun stuff inside.

Upon return, we found the wooden towers to have their flames lit and the jumbotrons had a video mashup of music and footage from the 99 albums and artists that were on the website Phish had put together to determine the album they would play.

Eclectic Method Goes Phish from Eclectic Method on Vimeo.

This was followed by vintage footage of the Rolling Stones from the 70’s and then Phish came on with horns and backup singers. Phish killed the album, playing it perfectly (though some of the vocals could’ve been better, but no one sounds like Mick Jagger). The horns and backup vocals added an awesome dimension to the music. They performed the best “Loving Cup” ever during this set and probably added a couple new songs to their repertoire as well, particular “Torn and Frayed”. Being a long album, the set was pretty long. After the break, they came back with “Backwards Down the Number Line” off their latest album. This kicked off a great set. That was followed by an awesome “Fluffhead” and a rocking “Ghost”. They slowed it down briefly with “When the Circus Comes” and ended the set with a great “You Enjoy Myself” that had a great vocal jam which included the lighting of torches at the top of the towers. We were sitting in the back of the audience to give us a lot of room to dance and enjoy ourselves, right near the towers. When they went up, we could feel the heat and the sound scared us a bit.

The band came back with the horns and backup singers to encore with the best “Suzy Greenberg” they’ve ever done. It included a reprise jam after pausing. The horns and backup vocalists added a kind of gospel feel to it. Thus ended an awesome night of music.

Following the music, Nick and I hung out with a few beers and found a great band playing in our camping area. We hung out there, chatted with some people, and found Noah and Seth (@seisenstein) there. After hanging out there for a while, I went back to Annie and Greg’s trailer and hung out with the folks there, met Glowstick Man, left some voicemails for This Week on Lot (419-NOWOOKS), and wandered around until sunrise when I went to bed.

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