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Lakeview: (Hanging With) Our Band by the Bay - Phish.net
Monday 07/11/2016 by phishnet

LAKEVIEW: (HANGING WITH) OUR BAND BY THE BAY

Located upon the shores of Onondaga Lake in Geddes N.Y., Lakeview Amphitheater, an extension of the Empire Expo Center (home to the Great New York State Fair) is situated six miles northeast of Syracuse. Constructed upon a superfund site, the venue, which opened in September of 2015, is wide and expansive (the grounds boast a capacity of 17,500) and affords striking, panoramic views of the water and the surrounding hillsides.

For all its natural beauty, however, the site is subject to scrutiny. The immediate grounds purportedly rest upon somewhere between one- and two-feet of new soil and grass. Unfortunately, hazards abound. Because the land is still undergoing "remediation," concert-goers are advised to avoid not just drinking the water, but to avoid the water, as in, generally. So while it may be okay to go "Sneaking Sally Through the Alley," county officials recommend that fans avoid entering the site’s surrounding bush.

Photo by @raidcehlalred

If any band is capable of bringing some elemental magic to offset the dangers posed by the water table, however, it is Phish. And short of a "Reba," the band certainly poured some of its finest ingredients to concoct a memorable potion.

Sitting through the setting sun, we were literally watching ships sail in as means to anchor themselves just off shore for the show's opener. Another interesting facet of Lakeview is that the stage is relatively small. This forces the musicians to align themselves closer to one another, and really seems to enhance what has already proven to be a summer informed by a uniform and noticeable chemistry. As if in response, Trey and Mike take center stage, wearing their instruments. Spotlights upon them so trained, they open with the first of the evening’s many surprises, "The Landlady." A tight, fun version, the playing makes evident what will soon develop into a clear theme: Friendship.

Before this theme fully coalesces, though, we’re offered another favorite, this time in the form of last year’s anthem of sorts, "Blaze On," seemingly—at least for the time being—continuing its role as first set energizer. While the toxic debate surrounding the venue did not permeate either of Phish’s sets (Dave Matthews, who recently played the venue, ran through a version of "Don’t Drink the Water"), "Blaze On," with its now well-known lyrics, did seem to be a deliberate nod, acknowledging nearby Syracuse Hancock International Airport, and the steady stream of airplanes passing directly overhead.

After a humorous bit of banter—during which Trey acknowledges they are playing Fish’s hometown, and asks the audience (calling for a show of hands) if one is a fan of Fish and his mother—the band enters the night’s next big surprise, "Ha Ha Ha." Not played in sixty-three shows, this spirited, “heavy metal” version works well, especially seeing that it winds down into "Friends," a Fish-sung song played for only the second time. The song works on a few different levels. First, the "post-punk" vibe works well with "Ha Ha Ha." And of course Fishman assumes "center stage." But the song really seems to cement what this night—if not the summer—has really come to embody. Four best friends. Traveling the country. Together with their families. Having fun. And doing what they do best.

A third consecutive Fishman-penned tune, "Tube," is a welcome addition to any first set, and this version is spirited and fun. There is more to discuss, but when dealing with a show featuring twenty-seven songs, there are only so many words. Here, said words are probably better spent on the subsequent "Destiny Unbound," a total surprise, having not been performed in fifty-five shows. The band has been playing great all night, and the impressive work continues here, with a little extra jam tacked on. Add to this great playing more evidence that the band is having a terrific time, and you have the makings of another memorable moment.

"My Friend, My Friend" follows, more fodder for this show’s emerging theme. After a rough showing in Portland, the band atones, Trey powering through any past problems, clearly loose, in total command. A polished "The Mango Song" is up next. Closing a gap of seventy shows, the playing continues to inspire both the band and the crowd.

Photo © Derek Gregory

Of note: To this point in time, Trey did not feel compelled, or perhaps the songs did not call for, much by way of effects. So to hear Trey play so crisply, and with such warm lines, really did add another level ofspecial to the set. It was about this time—although the vibe had been great from the jump—that a totally palpable feeling of friendship and goodwill spread throughout the amphitheater. Among the smiling, whirling crowd, two fathers in their forties, dancing in the aisles with their teen daughters, really stood out. Shimmying and shaking. Smiling and simply shrugging. It was that sort of show.

Anytime Page hits a sample, ears perk. What ensues is not "The Dogs" or "Your Pet Cat" but perhaps the show’s biggest event: A long called but as yet delivered "Timber" (another bust out, absent some fifty-one shows since its debut) > "Timber (Jerry)" > "Timber." Here, Trey is the "effect," riffing the band into "Timber (Jerry)" with the crackling spark of a long fuse. Page is visibly laughing. The energy is incredible. And the segue back into "Timber," while expected, is no less impressive. By now the set, while quickly flowing, has become noticeably long. In the best possible way. Many were expecting a "Split Open and Melt." Or maybe a "David Bowie." More great playing, but perhaps a selection more traditional in nature, a strong, improvisational song to bring this already classic set to a close. Nope. Instead, Trey visibly smiling, darting from one friend to another, calls for "The Ballad of Curtis Loew." The first in sixty-one shows, this is a great, rousing version. Page's playing is soulful and inspired.

Photo © Derek Gregory

"Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan" is extremely well-played (another nod to lasting friendships?), and quiets into a raucous, band-and-crowd-pleasing "Mound," before Trey leads the band into "Winterqueen." A strong version, with soaring Trey and great full-band interplay, it seems that the band is content to close the set in unique, and, frankly, a pretty cool fashion. The song can fit here. But, true to the set—and to one another—the band, after a brief conversation (how cool is it to see them discussing song choices on stage?) elects to close with "one of their favorite songs," a powerful version of "Bold as Love." Not performed in fifty-nine shows, the band’s excitement is palpable, and they take an unusually long curtain call, Trey working the crowd and making sure to pick up a memento tossed upon stage. Honestly—and we didn’t even get to discuss Page’s Keytar "solo" (more on this later)—the first set itself felt like a show, with the Hendrix cover as its encore.

Set Two plays more true to form. A strong "Drowned" bleeds into a thoughtful albeit short "Twist," which quiets into a perfectly placed (and nod to the surroundings?) "Waste." Highly listenable material, and a nice combination of contrasting styles. More fun arrives in the form of "Piper," with Trey turning to smile at Fish. This seems like it might be a particularly short play, a la the days of its debut, but Trey develops and works through a few more ideas before making for "Simple." By this point it is clear the band and the audience are one; and the sing-along nature of the show is incredible, the vibe its own tenor. Arguably this version had much more by way of potential, but Trey has other ideas, eager to explore their new material (can you blame him?) and leading the band into the strong (and getting stronger) "Breath and Burning." The calypso nature of the music, coupled with some interesting lyrical content, fits perfectly in this spot, and keeps the audience captivated.

"Rocky Top" might seem—and maybe it is—an odd choice here, but perhaps not when considered in context. Laser beams and UFOs yield to "Martian Monster," which is fun, wildly improvisational (offering maybe not a rotation jam so much as yet another chapter in the summer’s “choose your own instrument” adventure) the current manifestation of a second set "Scent of a Mule," or all of the above. Regardless, the band and their fans are having fun together, and this totally carries over when the Martian was subject to further scrutiny of a late show "Golgi Apparatus." On paper, this song may seem out of place. In the moment, however, it really is glorious. The audience singing along while bathed in white. This is classic, old-school Phish. Made fresh by such an appreciative fan-base. It is a great version, and very much worth visiting.

Photo © Derek Gregory

"Frankenstein" is the obvious closer. Only what is made clear is that the Keytar “jam” was probably (actually?) the result of a technical issue; and this issue was not resolved, here. This, it seems, leads to the extended nature of the first set, and that alone would be a net plus. Only there is more. Nonplussed, Page makes for his rig and enters the song in stride, playing with fire and passion, bringing to its end what really is a fun and remarkable show. The "Character Zero" encore fits, given the energy in the room, and all that the band had already offered. There is more dancing. More singing. And before the lights come on, a general feeling of camaraderie and well-being.

Heading for home, it seems like anything is going to come our way. So get ready West Coast. Watching the tide roll away, it looks like nothing has changed. That everything’s going to be the same.

I certainly hope so.

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Comments

, comment by LightsWentOut
LightsWentOut Nice recap! Thanks!
, comment by Jophis
Jophis Loved this review- really helped to convey the vibe of the show (not having been there myself) and I love that everything was put in such a positive light. Well done- hope to hear more out of this guy
, comment by Knox_Harrington
Knox_Harrington Great review of a great show. Their chemistry and joy was overflowing all night long and I'm glad to see you highlighted it. They're playing as clean, crisp, creatively and confidently as I can ever remember. It's just great to catch this band in their prime...almost 20 years after their first prime. Enjoy the west coast run!
, comment by User_38498_
User_38498_ Nice review! Glad to read that. There's 1000 stories behind every show, and we miss all these when we listen from our home on the stream or livePhish. I read it all, glad to hear that in your shrewd observance of the band, 'friendship' is an overarching theme this year. I hope that holds up for a long time.
, comment by Slewfoot
Slewfoot Excellent review and sums up very well my feelings when I listened to the show today via Live Phish. Can't wait to see what the boys do next!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS cliche alert!!
Back in the day...this is the way Phish played...and we liked it.
, comment by Corvax
Corvax Really enjoyed this review. Was at the show and I have to agree with everything written.
, comment by mikh2wg
mikh2wg Great review!
Just wanna know... what happened with the keytar?
, comment by funkbeard
funkbeard of note, Page played hammond organ for Frankenstein.

very interesting perspective on this show. very cool to hear that a songy show is a good show. it's the way they used to roll. and the wealth of material covered and played well is proof of the sobriety behind the scenes. people on drugs simply can't learn and master that much material on the day to day and be this tight with it.

phish in a happy place.
, comment by jsauce
jsauce A couple of pretty big ripcords by Trey in the second set. And some truly bizarre song choices in breath and burning as well as rocky top. But Trey sounded interested and they played well for the most part.
Fingers crossed for the gorge and SF.
, comment by rjsalem
rjsalem Great review. The vibe in the live crowd vs. the vibe on the forums is so different during the show.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @jsauce said:
A couple of pretty big ripcords by Trey in the second set. And some truly bizarre song choices in breath and burning as well as rocky top. But Trey sounded interested and they played well for the most part.
Fingers crossed for the gorge and SF.
In my careful listening to this tour, I haven't been hearing the ripcords like we used to hear in '09-'11. Rather, I think Trey has been too eager in transitions. His segues have left a lot to be desired, usually by singing too quickly and not allowing his bandmates to gel with the musical shift. This is different than a ripcord, though it has the same jarring effect.
, comment by dmg924
dmg924 Very much enjoyed reading this review. Thanks!
, comment by FrankieZappaSays
FrankieZappaSays I attended the show, my ninth of this tour for context, and I can agree with most of this review. However, the Piper> Simple segment was actually pretty brutal. I love those two songs and look forward to catching them. I was close enough to see what looked less like friends enjoying doing what they do together, and more like friends wondering what the hell was going on with two songs that they have played hundreds of times, and I didn't feel like they got back on track until Golgi. The Keytar-less Frankenstein totally worked for me, so that was a highlight and a great way to end the set.

I will re-listen to the whole show at least once because I always do, and possibly even the first set and selected portions of the second set more than once. Sadly, the Piper> Simple that would usually be a definite multiple replay will only get another listen to make sure I heard what I thought I heard.

Here's to a strong West Coast leg, which I will happily be joining at the Gorge. Thanks for taking the time to do the review, I appreciate it.
, comment by Mendrix
Mendrix There were clearly issues with the Keytar...pretty sure they were about to launch into Frankenstein to close the 1st set, but abandoned both instrument and song for Bold. The Keytar was handed to Page again to close the 2nd set, and after a bit of fiddling with it, as he did the first time, he gave up again, the song already going, and went back to his rig. Which was fine. There were a couple of head scratching moments in the setlist and transitions, but I'm looking forward to giving it a good listen now that I'm back home. All in all, a good show, and I found the venue, despite the LENGTHY departure time, very easy to navigate.
, comment by EvenCarlSagan
EvenCarlSagan Very excellent review!
& more importantly,solid writing that brings the rest of us that were on the couch last night up to speed on key elements that we may have possibly missed.
Awesome Pic(s) & great capture of the vibes of this awesome show!
One that I would rate as in the top 3 of all summer,so far ( If I were so inclined to "rate" Art).
The 1st/2nd set,seemingly "grab bag" selections of songs of this summer makes more sense here & resonates~

As a side note-nod to the "guest contributor",
MFMF & Breath & Burning were both played at DC this year,as well.
& the 8/8/15 Alpine Valley Character Zero encore vibe returns,eternally as the greatness it is,has been and will always be.
Cheers!

"Even when I was alive they didn't know it was me".
, comment by pureguava
pureguava Loved, loved, LOVED this review. Thank you. Captured the vibe quite well. Soooo many happy people. And to top it off phish delivered big time.
, comment by Mnhlove
Mnhlove Great review! Being our first trip to Lakeview, and having decent pavilion seats, we weren't sure what to expect. The backdrop of the lake with the sun setting was a perfect way to kick off the show and made for a thoroghly enjoyable night.

On a side note, we had a lot of intermingled walkers mixing with moving cars on the drive out. It made the exit a little nervy. Hopefully Lakeview will fix this in the future. The one positive part of the drive was a random conversation we caught between four girls, with one saying, "I don't do drugs anymore. I just drink wine."
, comment by ucpete
ucpete Thanks for the great recap @raidcehlalred -- one of my favorite parts of these recaps is when the author paints a fuller picture of the sets and setting at the show, filling me in on details I can't pick up listening to the audio or even watching the webcasts. You did just that, and you did it beautifully.

To my ears, this was one of if not the strongest first sets of this tour. I loved your line about the first set almost being an entire show in and of itself -- I feel it's especially important to recognize that for many touring acts, a ~90 minute set and a ~10 minute encore is the entirety of the show. Last night, Phish did that and more before even coming back on stage for the second time. All the mini-bustouts / rarities don't mean as much when they're rusty, but last night, they were crisp and more than welcome. How sweet was that Destiny Unbound?!

Regarding the second set, like other commenters, I too feel it didn't reach its potential. I'm not sure why Trey jumped to Twist so quickly, right when I felt Drowned was about to leave orbit. And at the time I was really frustrated with the move from Piper to Simple, as it did feel ripcord-y, but on second listen, I do hear what @raidcehlalred is referring to in terms of Trey fleshing out a few ideas, albeit in a compacted space. I would've loved Piper to be able to breathe some more though... so while the tour has gotten markedly better starting with Great Woods, there's still room for improvement -- and whaddya know, I'll be there next week!

One interesting musical tidbit -- for the longest time, ever since I learned to play guitar really, I've wanted to hear Waste -> Piper. The chords for the jam / outro for Waste are G-Am-C -- the first three chords in the Piper intro? G-Am-C! While they didn't pull off a segue proper (-> ;) between the two last night, the songs did flow together well, and it's clear a little more thought is being put into which songs are played before / after others to optimize flow, match key, or contrast styles in cool ways. It was cool to hear Waste precede Piper for the first time since 5/23/00 (but that show had a pause between the two), and Timber x 3 also seemed to have had a bit of forethought put into it.

Here's hoping that things continue to trend in the right direction this tour, and that a short break and the beauty of the Gorge inspire them to play first sets like last night's and second sets with jams galore!
, comment by BROOkS_WAS_HERE
BROOkS_WAS_HERE Nice review. Had a great time myself.
, comment by quincydog420
quincydog420 After seeing Wrigley & Deer Creek it was great to see the boys closer to where I grew up in Utica(15 year Colorado resident now) at the new Lakeview Amp in Cuse!!! Vibe was so cool! Seeing a huge group of guys with Syracuse Orange jerseys with Fishman's name on the back made me smile, plus I saw a huge amount of people I went school with from Plattsburgh, I was glowing before the show. And Phish did not disappoint. A ton of songs that had been played in awhile made it even more fun. I would of preferred a Reba encore over Zero but overall it was my favorite show I've seen this tour with Wrigley nite 2 a close second. Toxic waste aside, spectacular venue
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect Timber > Timber Ho! > Timber

= Freaking fantastic. And that's just one highlight. 3.0-wise, this 1st set is waaaaay up there. Top notch song selection, flow, spirited performances by all. As our recap'er noted (great work @raidcehlalred!), it almost feels like a show unto itself.

Keytar thing: LivePhish tracks out a "Keytar Jam" after Winterqueen. As @Mendrix says, almost certainly an aborted Frankenstein launch. Very surprised this hasn't been noted on the setlist yet.

Have a listen, have a laugh!
, comment by tensionland
tensionland Great review man...up there with the best reviews this tour
, comment by chumprock
chumprock Wonderful review! Glad to hear you had a wonderful time.

I hope they let you write more.
, comment by Tilly
Tilly Thank you @raidcehlalred for writing an incredible review that not only captured the magic of the music at Lakeview but also the intense energy felt by fans and the band alike! I personally told a few friends who missed out on the show to read your review in order to understand how incredible this show was on many levels!! Thank you again! Your writing is as beautiful as your passion for the music!!! Hope to read more reviews from you in the future!!

Cheers to a great Leg 1 that got better with each passing show!!
, comment by Sully986
Sully986 Great review!

The overall atmosphere of the venue was amazing and the band did not disappoint. The first set was outstanding. I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Tube yet. That was honestly the best version I've probably ever heard live. No, they didn't jam it out extensively, but Paige and Trey were so feeding off each other so well and it was super funky. All in all an amazing show, full of bust-outs and good vibes! If you are heading out West, enjoy! I won't be seeing them until Lockn.
, comment by ski2sea
ski2sea Excellent review. Pumped for the Gorge! Blaze on dot netters!
, comment by G0NEPHISHING
G0NEPHISHING Great review!
, comment by tek9rifleskills
tek9rifleskills Yah my wife and I were there and agree: this show was super fun and the huge song selection and flow made it even more fun to be there! My legs hurt so bad from boogeying the previous 2 shows, so after first set I was about done/dead. But when I thought I could take a short break here and there in the second set my body wouldn't let me, too many fun songs!

I'm really only posting here to say that at the moment the > Simple hit, I said "that Piper went nowhere" but with the instant fun of Simple in the Middle of the second set, a second later I said "Piper ended fast but I DON'T CARE BECAUSE SIMPLE ROCKS!!!" I've seen really big rocking Pipers before, and don't feel the need (or care) to get one every time I see it.

Basically if a "ripcord" happens and the following song is a real energy/show bummer, it's not a good shift. But if the song is a really good/fun/exciting song, who the F cares if a jam didn't happen? Why do we have to expect huge jams when, as this skilled reviewer so clearly pointed out, there are so many good, well played songs in both sets?

Sweet review of a super sweet show :)

Thanks again OP!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @tek9rifleskills said:
Yah my wife and I were there and agree: this show was super fun and the huge song selection and flow made it even more fun to be there! My legs hurt so bad from boogeying the previous 2 shows, so after first set I was about done/dead. But when I thought I could take a short break here and there in the second set my body wouldn't let me, too many fun songs!

I'm really only posting here to say that at the moment the > Simple hit, I said "that Piper went nowhere" but with the instant fun of Simple in the Middle of the second set, a second later I said "Piper ended fast but I DON'T CARE BECAUSE SIMPLE ROCKS!!!" I've seen really big rocking Pipers before, and don't feel the need (or care) to get one every time I see it.

Basically if a "ripcord" happens and the following song is a real energy/show bummer, it's not a good shift. But if the song is a really good/fun/exciting song, who the F cares if a jam didn't happen? Why do we have to expect huge jams when, as this skilled reviewer so clearly pointed out, there are so many good, well played songs in both sets?

Sweet review of a super sweet show :)

Thanks again OP!
Well said. I agree.
, comment by Cleohio
Cleohio Good job, nice review!
, comment by Smokinmama570
Smokinmama570 Great recap of a stellar show! Perfect East Coast closer <3
, comment by dhillz21
dhillz21 i was there and I have to say that I thought the first set started nicely but many of the tunes as we got into the set were sloppy and not sharply played, and lacked a necessary tempo. Second set saw better playing, but too many ripcords as mentioned, and some strange song choice placements. trey seems either impatient, or he just wants to play lots of songs which in my opinion, has largely hurt many shows during this tour.
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