Category Archives: 10s

Shows from 2010-2019

Phish | Hampton Roads, VA | 20-Oct-18

I’m working late on a Friday. My friend, Mike texts me that he’s going up to Hampton Roads, Virginia to see Phish during their three night run. He grabbed a ticket online and was going to meet some friends and go to the show.

Now it does not take long for me to figure out the scenario. I called my wife and asked if she was cool with me heading up for the show and she was. I found a ticket and hotel room and we we’re on our way.

I had wanted to see a show at Hampton for years. The first time was back in 86 when a friend was driving up to see Metallica and Ozzy, he even had an extra ticket. It was a Sunday show and I had classes the next day and I said no. He was not staying the night and it’s about a 6 hour drive round trip.

Well a few months later Cliff Burton, the bass player for Metallica died during their European tour and I was bummed I missed going to that show.

Now a chance to see Phish at Hampton, The Mothership. I have listened to Hampton Comes Alive many times and expected to see a good show.

Mike picked me up and we headed up to Hampton. Listening to Friday nights show on the way we were picking out songs we wanted to hear. We had just seen them a few months before in Raleigh and it was a good show.

We got to Hampton, checked in to the hotel and went to meet his friends. The hotel had a shuttle but after waiting about 20 minutes we ended up walking over to the venue. It was only about a mile and the sun was starting to go down.

Upon seeing the Coliseum it’s impressive. I immediately snapped some pictures and we headed to Shakedown Street. After a quick tour of shirts, stickers and about everything else for sale we found his friends, Colleen and Andrew.

Shakedown Street was packed
Shakedown Street was packed

They went the night before and gave us the details of the venue and the show. I mentioned that I wanted to see if I could get a poster as I saw it on Twitter on the way up. They mentioned that they sold out of posters early the night before, however the guy in the car next to us had purchased one and showed it to me. It was awesome and part of me knew that I would not get in early enough to buy one.

We left our stuff in their car and headed in. Once we got inside I went to merch stand and sure enough they were sold out of posters. We grabbed a beer and picked out a nice spot on the floor on Trey’s side. I looked around the coliseum and was amazed at the size. It reminded me of Dorton Arena in Raleigh in terms of size and capacity. For a show like this the bleachers were tucked away and lots of room to dance on the floor.

Our spot on the floor

We got some beers. Met some other Phans, Larry from LA was awesome and he bought me a beer too. Then the lights went down and Phish came onstage. They opened with Llama but a funky version that they had only played a few times before. I knew the evening was off to a good start.

The first set had some great songs including Runaway Jim, a blistering 46 Days and closed out with a 17+ minute version of Fluffhead.

Set one was over and time for intermission. Hampton Roads has a nice patio section on the second level that we grabbed some fresh and cooler air. It was hot down on the floor.

Andrew, Colleen, Mike and I on the floor

We found our spot again down in front of Trey and got ready for Set 2. The opened with First Turbe before tearing into a strong Tweezer. Almost 19 minutes long and it was amazing. Phish took the song to several places, some spacey, some rocking and all very seamlessly.

Dirt was next before going into Backwards Down the Number Line and No Man in No Man’s Land. Both of these songs were a nice upbeat change to Dirt and got everyone dancing.

Cavern was next and this was one of the songs I mentioned during our ride up that I would like to hear. And it was great.

The set closed out with Suzy Greenberg after Gotta Jibboo that had a nice jam.

Now time for the encore. What would they come out with. In Raleigh they had played The Beatles, A Day in the Life. Since they had not played any covers I thought we may see a cover or maybe two?

They came out and did Shine a Light. It’ a beautiful song and had everyone in a very loving mood at the end of the show.  I was surprised to discover it’s a Rolling Stones song from Exile on Main Street.

We headed out of the venue and made our way to the car. Since Mike and I had not eaten we hunted out a Waffle House that wasn’t too near the venue for fear of it being packed. We found one and grubbed out, discussing the songs and the different parts of the show.

What was a great experience was being able to be on the floor and see the band a little closer. Nowadays if you want to sit up front it costs a lot. Also it was interesting to see their light show from the floor versus a hill or the upper decks. I was reading some reviews later and realized that I should have gone and sat behind the band for a few songs to see the lights from their perspective.

We drove back the next day listening to the show again. Mike and I both agreed that it was a good show but not a really great show. Especially compared to the night before. Mike stated the saying “Never miss a Sunday show” as we drove south to Carolina. Of course neither of us could swing it so we ended up listening to the show afterwards. All in all Friday was probably the best show, but Saturday and Sunday weren’t bad. Saturday’s show felt a bit experimental.

But that’s why you go to see live bands, especially those that change the setlist everynight like Phish. You never know what you’re going to get and the anticipation, excitement, and all the emotions create a unique and exciting experience.

One note, the ticket stub I had for this show was a digital one from TicketMaster that I bought on the secondary market. It had nothing but a QR code and their logo with show info. The ticket stub I posted here I found on Reddit as the artwork is so cool that I wanted to share it. And that’s the problem with digital tickets, they are souless!

Phish Setlist Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA, USA, Fall Tour 2018 reviews

Rush | Greensboro, NC | 2-Apr-11

Rush is my favorite 70s power trio and one of my favorite bands ever. They are one of those bands that people either love or hate and most of their fans tend to be guys. But I don’t care about any of that. I’ve been a Rush fan since I was a kid and first heard Farewell to Kings on my brother’s 8-track and have been a fan ever since.

My friend Victoria (@veemoe) asked me on Facebook if I was interested in going and it took me about 3 seconds to type Hellz Yeahz! Victoria had an extra ticket and saw that I was a Rush fan. She had never seen them and was interested in seeing Rush. I told her she picked an excellent tour to start with. time-machine-cover The Time Machine tour was special because Rush would be performing the Moving Pictures album in its entirety during the performance. Moving Pictures was on constant rotation during my high school and college days. The album’s lead song was the big hit Tom Sawyer and all of the songs on side 1 were big on radio and some still are.  But side 2 had the cooler, progressive songs that were not big on the radio but were just as awesome if not more. There was no way I was going to miss this show. The venue was Greensboro Coliseum which is the site of my first Rush show in 1986! The Power Windows tour was a great concert, but I mostly went to see the older stuff. In the years since I shyed away from seeing Rush as I was not a fan of the newer material. To me Rush hit its peak with Moving Pictures and it shows as time has passed.

Moving Pictures was Rush's biggest selling album.
Moving Pictures was Rush’s biggest selling album.

I had seen Rush a few years before on the Snakes and Arrows tour. But it was special seeing them at Greensboro which had changed dramatically since 86! Victoria and Kristen Collosso (@ladyroboto) had 3 tickets and we scored an extra one in the parking lot for my wife, Maura. At that point it dawned on me that I was probably the only male at this show attending with 3 ladies. Rush tends to be an all male, nerd crowd. I mixed up some drinks for the road and we were off.

The excitement of seeing Rush play several songs that I’ve never seen played live was getting me amped up. Our seats were on the aisle and since we had one extra, I floated between seats and the ailse. There was no way I could sit down for most of this show, I would be swaping between air guitar and drums all evening.

After some opening video skits with the band members in various character costumes,  Rush opened with The Spirit of Radio, a great opener as Alex Liefson’s wailing guitar is joined by Neal Peart‘s booming bass drums. Geddy Lee brings the thundering bass and vocals that never get old. For an old school Rush fan like me Spirit along with Freewill and Subdivisions were the highlights. Some of the newer material has become a bit more familiar to me.

Rush Setlist Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC, USA 2011, Time Machine Tour

First set ends and there’s a short intermission where I take advantage of some liquid refreshments. Rush comes out for the second set and Moving Pictures. The familiar opening synthesizer of Tom Sawyer evokes a huge reaction from the crowd. A great opening tune and then its Red Barchetta one of my favorite songs. It takes you for a ride and Geddy Lee’s bass and vocals are showcased on this song. I recently read that it was recorded and 1 take! YYZ is an instrumental song that is Toronto’s airport code and at this point I realize that my arms may soon fall off! Limelight completes the fantastic first side of Moving Pictures. Rush is hitting the notes like they alwasys do. One of the amazing things about this band is their dedication to their music. They know what their fans like and they deliver with precision and accuracy at each performance. The sound system is just right and the coliseum had curtained off the upper deck so there was less echo.

Now it’s time for side 2 and The Camera’s Eye. This was the first song written for Moving Pictures and clocks in as the longest as well at over 10 minutes. Next to Red Barchetta, it’s my favorite song on the album. The background noise of traffic mixed with the building synthesizers are joined by faint snare drum roll and spare guitar notes. This song is a great example of why Rush is the premier progressive rock band. The time changes and leads take the listener on a journey.

Vital Signs and Witch Hunt close out Moving Pictures. I had heard Witch Hunt before and it’s hard edge and spooky sound always sound great. This was the first time I had seen Vital Signs performed and it was a real treat.One final new song of Clockwork Angels, Caravan went into a drum solo. Coming out of the solo, Alex brought out his acoustic guitars and played Closer to the Heart. This was one of the first songs that I got hooked on Rush so it was great to hear it. Then a real treat as they closed out the set with the first 2 songs from 2112 and another new song. The encore did not let up as Rush played La Villa Straingiato and Working Man, 2 great songs. La Villa is a long instrumental that closes out my favorite Rush album, Hemispheres. While Working Man was Rush’s first big hit on their debut album, Rush, which coincidentally I just saw was being reissued for a 40th anniversary edition! I left that show totally spent. The next day I woke up with an aching neck but it was worth it! Kristen writes a concert blog as well and I was flattered that she thought my air drumming did not lead me to topple down the stairs. I told her and the other ladies that I had been practicing for over 25 years and had my moves down!

This was also the first show I had seen where a band performed one of their classic albums. I have to say it’s a fantastic concept that I hope to see more of in future tours. I don’t know if I’ll ever see Rush again but it would be hard to top this show!

Rush | Time Machine Tour |Greensboro, NC | Apr 2, 20111