Monday 12/02/2019 by phishnet

NASSAU RECAP: "THE LAND OF THE BRAVE AND THE FREE"

[We would once again like to thank Alaina Stamatis, user @farmhose (twitter @fad_albert), for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

Ah yes, Long Island. The New Jersey that nobody talks about. The land of sports cars smashed into trees with smoke slowly rising from them and no driver or passengers to be found. The only island you can visit where you'll see a housewife driving a fat Benz with a vanity plate that reads XANAX. Long Island, where you can advertise that you're driving on Xanax with no recourse.

Which naturally leads us to Long Island's prodigal son: Billy Joel. Many of us in the Phish community know of Mr. Joel's real and/or exaggerated and/or entirely fictional rivalry with Phish (for hogging MSG every New Year's Eve despite being a "second rate cover band"); but what y'all might've missed is that Mr. Joel already had a longstanding rivalry with Long Island for requiring that he drive his sports cars "safely" and "on the road." For when I was in high school Mr. Joel wrecked his third hot rod in two years when he swerved off the road, over the curb, across the lawn, and into a sleeping old man's living room. And while this sleeping old man was probably the only Long Islander who didn't double as a Billy Joel fan (a Piano Fan?), when the police arrived on the scene, the officers were quite starstruck. Harkening back to moments ago when we were discussing a brazen use of Xanax while operating heavy machinery: despite driving directly into someone's house, Mr. Joel was not given a breathalyzer test.

So what was going to happen to us tonight? Would a fuming Billy Joel drive through the center of Shakedown? And more importantly, was Phish going to mow down our psyches and egos with some searing, soaring, and face melting hetty jams?

© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)

Nassau was the start of the OG Island Tour 21 years ago, a run that was announced somewhat last minute in order to debut and enliven the new songs they were recording for Story of the Ghost, which received its "20 years later" vinyl reissue this week. Over the past two nights in Providence, echoes of the '98 shows were everywhere, mainly in song selection, but also in funkiness (pronounced "fawn-kee-ness") and the old school holiday cheer we witnessed both onstage and off (nod to the dudes playing hackeysack in the back of the floor.)

Phish came out at Nassau with a rare "Ghost" opener, the first since 1997, which set the tone for the night: reverance for the original Island Tour and dynamic, tasty jamming. (Also worth mentioning that the aforelinked video includes footage of the band taking the stage, and you watch as Mike ignores the cheers of the crowd with his signature nose buried in his phone until the last possible moment. No phones at the table, young man!)

A well played "Rift," with our first "TMWSIY>Avenu Malkenu>TMWSIY" since Alpine N3, and bookended with more "blue grass" in "The Wedge," all good signs. "Martian Monster" into "Timber," which, to hear Trey sing about "Jerry" is worth the price of admission.

When the audience realized Phish was playing "Cool It Down," it exploded. The tune was of course written by Long Island's greatest contribution to society: Lou Reed. Only Long Island, a place far enough away from "the city" to feel comfortable stifling creativity, could have produced an artist so talented yet so committed to not taking himself seriously, yet also so committed to not taking anybody's shit anymore because he got enough of it back on Long Island.

"Roggae" felt appropriate for Nassau Coliseum because it hosts the circus normally (and was hosting one now!). Our last blue grass for the night in "Poor Heart," then "Tube" that had some serious '98 flavors; it got everyone fully raging, testing all the out-of-shape Phish fan's poor hearts. A set closing "Character Zero" had the usher for our row (his first show!) ready to hop on tour.

© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)

When "Everything's Right," opened the second set the crowd seemed a tad disappointed, like "Why wasn't this the first set closer if you wanted to play it so bad?" But then of course "Everything's Right" is a sick jam vehicle and it definitely tucked its wheels in and took flight to some cool places, with Page pressing every button on his rig that is labeled, "outer space." The spookiness left the door open for "Down with Disease" to creep in, which brought the energy up and triggered, "Cities," written and originally performed by David Byrne who is of course from, you guessed it, Scotland! During "Cities," Fishman was playing a drum beat different from the normal "Cities" beat, which he persisted on through the first chorus, and when Trey realized he was going to continue with this different beat into the second chorus he shot Fishman a Jerry look, the Bad Lieutenant look, and Fishman returned to the straight "Cities" drumbeat.

The "Carini" call must have been partially in reference to the second night of OG Island Tour when a phan purportedly wearing a Tigger backpack ran on stage and was apprehended, after which Trey kept singing, "Don't let Carni get you… yeah and don't, don't attack the drummer… but most importantly, don't let Carini get you!"

I had been a little disappointed with Nassau's railriders. There's always folks who don't realize that they aren't up for the job until it's too late, who didn't understand that they'd be putting their bodies through a lot of stress (getting up early, wasting their whole day sitting around outside in inclimate weather with minimal access to food and water) that by showtime they're just slumped on the rail for support. And then there's the folks who prepare for this all year, who wile out because they believe they're on a mission from Jerry to inspire a good show with their bad dance moves. But Nassau had an additional breed of fitted cap railrider bros who just held up cameras in Trey's face and had very little to offer in the way of seeming like they were enjoying themselves. Long Island, the Silent New Jersey. But when the first "Ruby Waves" since Alpine hit the apathetic dudes were replaced with jubilant nerds, whose arms were in the air because they wanted to touch the stars with their fingertips.

© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)

There's an interview where Trey talks about a time when he instructed Fishman to play "The Line" like it was a Velvet Underground song; I theorized that before "Ruby Waves" he told the band, "Let's play Ruby Waves like its Krautrock, guys!" Page was splattering synths all over the song and Mike and Fish seemed to be driving toward something progressive. When "Ruby Waves" hit the curb and drove into living room of our minds, it reminded me of that Jerry quote about DMT: "I like DMT ‘cause it takes you a long way and it’s short… but in the meantime it sort of blows out the tubes." "Ruby Waves" was like a volcanic eruption, it's peak seemed to come up from the center of the Earth. I kept thinking, "damn they're doin' 'Ruby Waves' dirty!" By which I meant covered in volcanic ash, suffocating innocent souls with this red hot demon music.

"20 Years Later" of course was in reverence of the OG Island Tour. SECOND TIME AROUND. It had really a beautiful, oceanic jam, but not oceanic as in calming; oceanic as in chaotic, full of life, with gulls soaring over it, and if you're not careful, you could drown. "Backwards Down the Number Line" because we were looking back! And who's still here with us. All our friends. And while "Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S." is not an overt reference, it deals with the scent of Space, which is always partnered with Time. You will always remember where you were: Long Island. Because this author can't stop bringing it up. Nassau Coliseum, an innocuous egg that usually hosts sports and various franchises "On Ice" becoming a vessel for such special music over the years, beginning with the Grateful Dead and upheld by Phish.

Right before the encore was performed, a little laugh came over Trey, and he leaned over to Page and called, "Roses," in remembrance of the sick "Roses Are Free" from the four-song-set of N2 of Nassau during the Island Tour, originally written and performed by WEEN, who are all from, you guessed it, Pennsylvania. "Slave to the Traffic Light," nodded to both the poor driving conditions between Providence and Nassau that fans endured, and the future traffic they'll see heading to the next show. See you outside of the Met!

© 2019 Nick Williams
© 2019 Nick Williams

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Comments

, comment by experiencechuck
experiencechuck
, comment by heynoww22
heynoww22 nope. Ghost last opened a show in 2016 (Dick's night 1)
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Image
Image
, comment by irieied
irieied @heynoww22 said:
nope. Ghost last opened a show in 2016 (Dick's night 1)
And Dick's n1 2013 and Fillmore 98.
, comment by HankScorpio
HankScorpio I'm a north country NY'er and we like to refer to the island as the turd sticking out of the ass of NY, but that's just me, and everyone not from Long Island...
, comment by Nomidwestlove
Nomidwestlove ❤️ Finally a review that reflects the show I was at last night. Thanks @fad_albert!
, comment by mcgrupp81
mcgrupp81 If you are looking for Long Island references, a Long Island company called Grumman developed all the NASA lunar modules for a 10 year stretch going from '62 to '72. Literally down the block from the Coliseum is the Long Island Air and Space Museum. It houses one of the lunar modules and some interesting space program exhibits. One of the exhibits actually asks "What does space smell like?" and for those interested, it's sulfur like, almost like gunpowder according to Neil Armstrong(?), who got some moon dust on his suit and recounted the scent. Maybe some inspiration for Say it to me S.A.N.T.O.S ?
, comment by Runaway_Jay
Runaway_Jay @irieied said:
@heynoww22 said:
nope. Ghost last opened a show in 2016 (Dick's night 1)
And Dick's n1 2013 and Fillmore 98.
And 4 other times since paradiso.

Also leave billy joel alone. Enjoy the vienna walkout music and prep yourself for the 8th ghost opener since "the last one."
, comment by touchbellini
touchbellini Sorry, what were you reviewing? Billy Joel’s driving? Nassau Colliseum? Long Island in general? Low hanging fruit. This review could have been a lot shorter.
, comment by tubescreamer
tubescreamer As a !former! Long Islander, comedy is the best medicine...for how forsaken that damn island is. I appreciated the many digs at that glacial coke line of a modern disaster that is LI. Funny review, well written.
, comment by watsiyem
watsiyem I truly enjoyed this review because, you guessed it, I'm from Long Island!

One important detail you got wrong - the man, myth the legend, Jo Joe aka dude with the Tigger back pack, also a Long Islander, was NOT apprehended by Carini. He evaded capture and jumped back into the crowd from whence he sprung.
, comment by timkell
timkell @touchbellini said:
Sorry, what were you reviewing? Billy Joel’s driving? Nassau Colliseum? Long Island in general? Low hanging fruit. This review could have been a lot shorter.
Sorry for partying.
, comment by tpias09
tpias09 >>The "Carini" call must have been partially in reference to the second night of OG Island Tour when a phan purportedly wearing a Tigger backpack ran on stage and was apprehended

that guy was not apprehended, he jumped from the stage clear over the pit into the floor and got away. a prodigious leap to say the least
, comment by frankstallone
frankstallone If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation

::: withholds funds :::
, comment by phunkypete77
phunkypete77 to the nod of the dudes playing hackey-sac, that was fun. Glad to be a part of that, just like the good ole’ days from 20 years past!
, comment by visceralkismet
visceralkismet This review is hilarious and I love your descriptions of the actual music. People need to relax. Also, am Long Islander and love the jokes. Finally, Long Island really does suck.
, comment by Ninjatoon
Ninjatoon @watsiyem said:
I truly enjoyed this review because, you guessed it, I'm from Long Island!

One important detail you got wrong - the man, myth the legend, Jo Joe aka dude with the Tigger back pack, also a Long Islander, was NOT apprehended by Carini. He evaded capture and jumped back into the crowd from whence he sprung.
Also, he ran on stage during the “oh, what a beautiful buzz!” At the end of Loving Cup. Carini was played as a response to it.
, comment by youenjoymyghost
youenjoymyghost That first section about the Xanax made my morning haha
, comment by sandmazeantelope
sandmazeantelope So... wasn’t at the show but the set list looks like a classic style which hooks fans. Really fun first set, jam style second set, odd newer experiments at close; looks like a late 90’s style set list honestly. Kinda hard to describe my point. Looks good...
The prose of the text, is to get rid of writers block and inspire the writer. While it could be edited out, ... it’s phish.net and I’m cool with somebody just writing their style.
, comment by JMart
JMart This reviewer always finds a way to shit on some segment of the population in attendance and really upped the ante by spending a good chunk of the review shitting on the spot the show was played. It's a bad look. Next.
, comment by waltfreddo
waltfreddo Great first set, very solid show, brought a Phish virgin with me, he had a good time of course... Reviewer has one thing definitely right, quite a few pikers on the rail, couple of dudes stone faced with shades on, really? As opposed the to woman with the blond Harley Quinn pigtails or the girl who DIDN'T stop, dressed in purple right up to her hair, she never stopped even at set break. Thank you. For some great LI humor see Samantha Bee's Daily SHow report on why LI should be the 51st state, classic
, comment by BDLemonCaspian8417
BDLemonCaspian8417 wasn't the island tour 21 years ago?
, comment by dryicefactory
dryicefactory "Roggae" felt appropriate for Nassau Coliseum because it hosts the circus normally (and was hosting one now!).

When I was very young, my parents used to take me to see the circus at the Coliseum. We eventually moved to Westchester (in large part due to how inconvenient it was to get on and off Long Island) and graduated to seeing the circus at MSG.

It felt oddly poetic to return to the Coliseum for the first time in close to or maybe even over two decades to take my mom to her first show (if you're in any Phish Facebook groups, I'm sure you've seen her blog by now) and my dad to his second. We all had memorable experiences; they were glad to hear shul classic Avenu Malkeinu, and I got to witness my mom turning down half a tab of acid.

At the end of the night, however, as I stood with fiancée in the freezing rain staring down a $200 Uber back to Brooklyn, I was reminded why we had left Long Island. We always did prefer seeing the circus at the Garden, after all.
, comment by ehpee
ehpee Man, I really appreciate how hard you felt the need to circle jerk the fabricated Billy Joel quote. Who on earth put your review at the helm of this site? Sooner or later it comes down to fate, I guess they might as well be the one, amirite?
, comment by vermonster802
vermonster802 Wow, serious question: are you guys going to be okay? Or will the next reviewer who cracks a joke just send you over the edge? Give me this reviewer over Providence N2's Grandpa Poopypants any day of the week.
, comment by yEEt_1331
yEEt_1331 @tpias09 said:
>>The "Carini" call must have been partially in reference to the second night of OG Island Tour when a phan purportedly wearing a Tigger backpack ran on stage and was apprehended

that guy was not apprehended, he jumped from the stage clear over the pit into the floor and got away. a prodigious leap to say the least

He must have read the Book.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten @touchbellini said:
This review could have been a lot shorter.
Under 5 inches?
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten @frankstallone said:
If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation

::: withholds funds :::
I bet you thought that was funny.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten @JMart said:
I contribute nothing of substance ever.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten FWIW @farmhose neglected to mention she was raised on Long Island.

Won’t someone protect Billy Joel?
, comment by Fluffhead
Fluffhead I grew up on Long Island. I vowed I would never raise kids on Long Island. I now live on Long Island again, and have two kids. It happens. I had a great time at the show. Security was awful. but the music was great. My experience of Cities varies greatly from what you heard and saw. To me, Trey was playing Cities a different way as well. Not just Fish. It was fantastic and jarring. When they finally slipped into the Cities groove, it was a great release of tension. I don't think Trey gave Fish any glare, they probably just loved what was happening and exchanged smiles. I've relistened as well. That Cities was a group effort.
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