The Daily Ghost

25 in 25 of 2016: #18 07/20/2016 Bill Graham Civic Center, San Francisco, CA (Adam Piede, @pdpie10)


7/20/16 BGCA “Walk Away>Sanity”

San Francisco, CA is the Mecca for all jam band fans.  While I was not at this particular show, I have been to San Francisco before and it it certainly did not disappoint.  Upon landing in San Francisco and picking up my “compact rental car”, which of course turned out to be a Nissan Leaf, I made my way to The Haight.  Upon parking the aforementioned Nissan Leaf (which I named the Granola Cruncher), I began to bebop my way up and down Haight Street. Eventually I ended up at the famous clock set at 4:20 on the corner at Haight and Ashbury.  

After a a moment of pause and appreciation, I was feeling a bit rambunctious and just happened to be approached by a young swashbuckling entrepreneur. Moments later and three dollars ($3.00) lighter in my pocket, I now held a handful of some type of greenish brown, cat nip-like, seed/stem concoction that looked like it belonged in a compost pile.  I did what any tourist would do, and parlayed my $3.00 purchase into a mini buzz and off I went in search of a bar. 

A bar I did find, a lovely place called Magnolia’s, I’m sure some of you reading this have had some libations at Magnolia’s.  Belly up to the bar, and a certain drink called “Thunder Pussy” caught my eye.  Take one down, pass it around and 99 bottles of Thunder Pussy later I found myself, or should I say someone found myself, face down on the bathroom floor.  I was later informed by my trusted co-pilot that “Thunder Pussy” was in fact a barley wine, and the next morning was easily a “top 5 hangover of all time”. Private tours in Napa the next day…mmm not so much. Who needs wine when you have “THUNDER PUSSY” still coursing through your veins?! Ok, on to the show!

“The first rule of Phish is that if you’re looking for shows to listen to and you see “Walk Away” – GET IT.” 

“Sanity”, a song that my dad said was a weird song – well dad you are right.” 

My research staff came across this youtube clip ( that so exquisitly breaks down the set list of 7/20/16 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The third night of a 3 night run gave fans a first set which included a “Demand” opener, “Alumni Blues” and “Fuck Your Face”. Surely this first set had to have even the most jaded Phish vet nodding in smug approval, if only for a moment.

Nestled towards the end of set one came some good ole fashioned Rock ’n Roll as Phish, in a way only Phish can, transitioned from “Big Black Furry Creature from Mars” into “Walk Away”.  Queue the audience sing along as Page belts out the opening lines over Trey and Gordo’s guitar riffs.  The crowd is clearly digging the song that was a staple in the early Phish days and has peaked it’s head in and out in the years to follow.  “Walk Away” is the type of song that even the casual Phan can dig.  At about the 3:20 mark, the band takes off into a full jam mode as Trey takes the reigns and brings The James Gang origional to new levels.  Pure Phish and it’s fantastic.

Next up is “Sanity”.  This song is a personal favorite, perhaps because it speaks to me. You know, just that kind care free lunacy that makes Phish shows so much fun. “I don’t care if the world explodes” that is how I often feel when I’m at a Phish show, everything is right in the world and if it all came to a crashing end at that moment, at least I went out doing what I love.  At about the 3:33 mark I feel like you can hear Chilling & Thrilling themed “world explode”. Also, at the 4:30mark the band shifts into a mini vocal jam with a billy goat baaaahahaah.  If the world does explode, please save the toads and the billy goats too if possible.  After a spacey & trippy segue the band finishes off the first set with a rollicking David Bowie.  A mighty fine first set indeed.

Goat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Big Thanks to Mr. Memo for letting all of us hacks have a voice.  Safe Travels to all on Summer Tours & “Be Kind”.

About the Author:

Transplant Western NYer living in Atlanta, GA.  You can catch me on Twitter @PDpie10.  First Show = Coventry. Favorite Ghost = Prague ’98.