Subject: Touwnshend - show of a lifetime
From: (Matt Laurence)

Hey there, phriends and neighbors!

What a weekend!  Anyone who went to any of the stunning array of
shows available to us Phishy pholks this past week can attest to
the fact that there is simply no band on earth quite like Phish.
And with the addition of the Giant Country Horns, they've moved
one major step higher to the outer limits of the rock and roll

I can't speak for the Burlington or Keene shows, but a Lenox and
Townshend one-two punch was just the elixir to calm the ragged
nerve endings of a rebelling 9-to-5er (especially when you have
great pholks like Rami and John to experience it with...). I don't
have set lists handy, but I'll post them as I refine them.

Lenox was an odd show, since the BPAC was a real theater more then
a venue or auditorium of sorts, and they actually tried to enforce
some semblence of assigned seating.  HAH!  That didn't stop us as
we flocked towards the stage to dance, though many took advantage
of the spacious and plentiful balcony space to tape, dance, and
just watch in a relaxed manner.  And relaxing it was, relatively
speaking.  The first set was quite mellow (although that MIGHT
just have been me...) - list to follow.  Big surprise of the
evening (if you didn't see any of the previous nights' shows) was
a rip-roaring rendition of the Edgar Winter Group's Frankenstein.
That sax riff in the middle is one of my favorite musical phrases
in existence, so needless to say I was eating up every aural ingot
and writhing on the floor in Gothic rock 'n' roll ecstasy.
Thanks, Mary Shelley, for making it all possible.... The whole
show seemed a bit short.  But then again, that time dilation is a
really curious effect.

By now, of course, you've probably heard about the Townshend show
this past Sunday... Words just can't begin to do it justice.  But
not currently being posessed of a more effective means of mass
communication with all of you, I might as well use a few, eh?

After a small detour of 140 miles after we overshot our exit a tad,
we managed to wend our way to Townshend.  We didn't get there until
3:00, terrified that we had already missed the first of what we
knew were going to be three sets.  But we were encouraged by the
scene that greeted us.

A taste of things to come greeted all comers as we entered the
parking lot; cars with Stealie hubcaps, tasty grilled consumables
being grilled and consumed, T-shirts T-shirts T-SHIRTS and sack-
hackers dotted the blazing, tangible sea of tie dye and good cheer.
Proceeding off through the woods, the human train of joyous
aphishianados forded the mighty stream (mighty shallow, at any
rate) that separated the parking area from the fields via a
rickety, zig-zagging wooden bridge that led, seemingly, right back
into the woods (and I must say, friends, that having LARGE, SCARY,
BRIGHT YELLOW security guards at either end of the bridge might
have proven to be a bit much for the delicate mental constitutions
of some of our more chemically refreshed comrades - TRUST me on
this).  But as one climbed the bank on the far side of the stream,
up through the seaweed and the sli-i-ime, one emerged with
astonishing suddenness into what truly had to be the center of the
universe that day - the Townshend Family Park.  This is no
ordinary park, mind you, but a lush green bowl of trees and
sunshine and water and vast plains of greenly stretching lawn with
a well secluded miniature golf course hidden right in behind where
the stage was located.

I had heard tell of rain all weekend, and that's what I expected.
It rained everywhere else in the world on Sunday.  The universe was
gray... except for Townshend Vermont, where the clouds parted and
vanished altogether, leaving the undulating, sweaty, joyous crowd
dancing, singing and basking in the glorious heat of the day.  All
around on a plain of grassy wilderness were hundreds and hundreds
of people doing all those things that people do when placed in a
setting of ultimate perfection, just before the purpose for
existing in that moment becomes fully clear.

And then it was all revealed to us.  Over the next five hours, we
were forcibly and wonderfully reminded exactly WHY it is that we
follow Phish to the ends of the earth (or at least the ends of New
England).  They proceeded to play three of the most rip-snortin',
kick-ass sets of music that I have ever heard anywhere.  It was
clear that the whole band was just as into the day and the weather
and the scene as the crowd was, and EVERYONE was grooving.  The
first set was played sans horns, as the guys started us off with a
killer Reba.  Again, without set list in hand I can't recall much,
except for learning the true meaning of the word PEAKED as Divided
Sky took on whole new worlds of meaning for me.  Trey had me
taking pictures of the Famous mockingbird as it swooped down to
land on Icculus's shoulder on top of the mountain to our right,
which had crumbled and exploded before us just moments before.
The horns were hoppin' with their color-coordinated tuxes,
personal trampolines, and shoe-dancing.  The band was singing and
swaying in the sunshine, Trey soaking up the heat and pouring it
back out of his fingertips into the strings, Page riffing his way
through massive solos in Suzy while basking in the shade, FIsh did
not one but TWO Henrietta appearances (I think - that's how I
recall it.  We'll know when I mix down the tapes) including the
Doors' Touch Me.  And even Mike was rocking out,in a relative,
Mike kind of way.  He was smiling a whole bunch.

And to top it all off, they ended with a hip, hot, happenin' Big
Black Furry Creature From Mars that had everyone flailing and
slamming (and stage-diving), and Trey assured us that they'd see
us next year, some bat-time, same bat-channel.  So any of you who
missed it, they'll always be more and better still to come!

Whoof.  That's all I can say.  While writing this I have
vicariously lived though it yet again, and I loved every
microsecond.  The general concensus among those interviewed was
that it truly was the best concert in the history of mankind.  The
day, the weather, the location, the crowd, and most of all PHISH,
made Sunday July 14th a day that will never be forgotten for
PhishHeads anywhere.

It's shows like this that make it all worthwhile.