21 in 21 of 2018: #1 07/17/2018, Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys, Stateline, NV (Mike Bailey, @mike_bailey7)
Almost any time you are about to see Phish, the excitement is usually palpable for weeks leading up to it. When you add in the fact that it’s summertime, a tour opener and Lake Friggin’ Tahoe, I found it hard to concentrate on other things for most of July leading up to the shows and I was definitely suffering from OMGH (Oh My God Hurry), the more well-adjusted cousin of FOMO.
I’m not going to say that Harvey’s Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to see a show. Standing on blacktop for the duration isn’t exactly ideal. But, if you are going to have a show mostly on asphalt, put said location in a beautiful city with mountains, beaches, casinos and a fun nightlife and it makes that inconvenience a minor one.
The immediate area around the venue has all that and more. A short walk down the road can have you at a popular beach with stunning backdrops, complete with waterside dining and water sports. The craps tables are boisterous and who doesn’t love some post show BJ. That’s right — Blackjack if ya need it.
With breweries lining the street complete with outdoor seating – many with live music – and ski and hike trails all within walking distance of the venue, the place really does have something for everyone. And then, you get to see Phish!
I really do believe that the overall Phish experience is tied into the town and how you choose to spend your time pre and post show. In that regard, Tahoe was one of the best places I have ever seen Phish. Again, not so much for the venue itself but for the overall experience you can have in the quaint but exciting town that is Stateline, NV.
There are many small lodges, inns and hotels up and down the street which also have outdoor seating and fire pits which made it easy and fun to meet new people while simultaneously experiencing this hidden gem of a place.
The show itself was good and got me excited for the tour that followed. The first set felt like a hat tip to those of us who have been around a while. The “Free” opener expressed how I felt to be there and the rest of the set was also a throwback of sorts while still being packed with energy. “Possum,” followed by a funky “Moma Dance” led into a funkier “Ghost” and I remember thinking just how much I liked the setlist even while it was still light out. “Funky Bitch” and “Stash” really upped the ante and the “Character Zero” closer reminded me that no one’s perfect.
The second set was more of the same in terms of old favorites. “Bouncin’,” “Slave” and “Harry Hood” all brought us back in time as did the encore of “Contact” and “Julius.” I think they mixed “No Men in No Man’s Land,” “Steam” and “Soul Planet” into the second set just to remind us that they were still making music this decade but I, for one, was more than content with the “oldies.”
I’m not one for breaking down jams. Nothing I say about a jam is going to make it any better or worse for your ears so, like with all shows, I suggest that you listen and take what you like. I will say that “Hood” was pretty powerful and I’d give that a listen. “Soul Planet” was fun and that duo with “Steam” made up the last (and quite possibly best) half hour of the show.
Stateline isn’t the easiest place to get to. It’s about an hour drive from the Reno airport so you really have to want to be there. But once you are there you won’t want to leave (especially if you haven’t done that thing yet where you stand in two states at once). There was nothing as memorable as everyone’s favorite uncle, THE Tahoe “Tweezer” – but the show was a great way to start a tour and the scenery was about as good as it gets.
In the airport on the way home we were treated to a lost passenger paging one Jon Fishman, then a stranded traveler looking for her dear Suzy Greenberg while remarkably someone misplaced their cousin Marco Escquandolas. It was a funny ending to a trip that was definitely more like a ‘see you later’ than goodbye.
Mike Bailey (@AllMetsTweets) lives in Las Vegas and it’s as cool as it sounds. The Gorge is unrivaled in beauty and SPAC is his home turf. Stopped counting shows at 100 although not knowing his exact number gives him slight agita. 87% chance he’s watching the Mets. If he check-raises you on the river, fold.
From LawnMemo: Mike works with his brother’s charity The Sky Is Not Limited which does AMAZING work. They bring clean water to places in the world that don’t have that luxury.
“The Sky is Not Limited has a passion for two things: clean water and renewable energy. Those were the two basic principals for which the charity was founded. Our goal is to provide funding, technical design work, installation assistance, or advice for clean water projects using solar electricity.
To date, The Sky is Not Limited has provided technical assistance and/or funding for twelve wells in rural Tanzania. Many of the well sites are located at schools or health clinics. ”
If you are looking for a cause that is really making a difference give them a look. Mike’s brother, Kevin is also a phan and I will be raging with him at SPAC if you would like to talk to him about it.