Thursday, December 17, 2009


Well that didn't turn out exactly how I originally planned. I guess time flies when you get stuck in a regimented routine every day. This past summer went faster than almost any that I can seem to remember. The fact that we had some of the worst weather the Jersey shore has ever seen certainly was no help, either.

Anyway, fast forward to winter - still plenty of music and shows going on at all times. The past few months have been a literal music grab bag for me. Metallica, Have Heart, Phish, and Government Mule are just a few of the acts that were in the area recently that I was able to check out. While all of these groups put on great performances, the double-header Phish put together in Philadelphia was mind boggling. Yes, I know it can't be as incredible as a show from 1991 in Vermont, but it was by far one of the best performances since they've gotten back together.

For the first show I was lucky enough to have lower level seats directly in front of the stage. Not only was the music intoxicating, but the light show was enough to make a person dizzy. Constant swirling mixes of colors danced before my eyes as the band ripped through tracks such as "Chalkdust Torture," "Golgi Apparatus," and "Down with Disease." Possibly one of the more surprising songs was "Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan." While I usually cringe when a band like this decides to play newer songs, this was pulled off with high energy and soaring guitar riffs.

On the second night, my seats were closer to the stage on the left side of the arena. While the light show wasn't nearly as spectacular, the view of the band was much closer. Overall, the set list from the first show was far superior, but there were a number of gems performed amidst newer songs and ballads. Finishing the first set with "Wilson" right into "Run Like an Antelope" was one of the heights of the show, and the crowd roared for more as soon as they stepped off stage. The second set also featured a 12 minute version of "Tweezer" which was followed up by a 21 minute "Y.E.M." Who wouldn't go crazy for that?

Another plus from these performances was the overall crowd and arena staff. It can be difficult to tell what type of experience to expect from large concerts, and there is always potential for problems. Everyone around me on both evenings enjoyed themselves and still remained within reason. As for security and staff, they were preoccupied with keeping a lid on the situation, so concert go-ers were free to switch seats and move about without being hassled about not being in the right section.

If you have the opportunity to catch these guys again, definitely take advantage since no one knows just how long this will last. I only wish I could take a trip down to Miami to catch one of the New Year's shows.

Coming up - FLOORPUNCH in Edison, NJ on 12/19, Lotus on New Year's Eve in Philly and MUCH more.