IT Limestone, ME - Aug. 2nd, 2003
Limestone Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
I love tour. I love driving impossibly long distances with incredible friends to find inspiring music and an insane party. I love Limestone, Maine, too. I went there for the Great Went in 1997 with Meredith and Sam and for the Lemonwheel in 1998 with Beth and Jordan. Now Phish announced their first post-hiatus festival, simply titled "IT". This time around D. Marcus Arm hooked the RV (a la Big Cypress), and we were able to travel the 633 miles from VT to IT in style.
Meredith reprised her Limestone appearance with her friend Christina. Beth joined Russ's side, naturally. Gabe, Marcus, and I brought the party. Dina, our newfound East Village compadre, popped in the RV with her coworker Anita. And Jordan, en route from Tahoe to Siberia, had a weekend layover until his flight to Moscow.
Marcus took the first shift out of Vermont and up through New Hampshire in the pouring rain and the rush-hour traffic. Beth took us through southern Maine and mid-way to the Northern tip. At around 11:55 p.m., we pulled off the highway for a last attempt for dinner. With Maine's stores closing down, we caught the folks at Friendly's as they were locking the door.
With a failed stereo system in the RV, we listened to the local radio stations. Somewhere in Maine, in the middle of the night, I heard the original version of Lynyrd Skynrd's classic Curtis Lowe for the first time. "Play me a song, Curtis Lowe," our whole RV crew sang. Though Phish never busted out the old school rarity like I had been calling for since 2000, we did get the treat on the ride up, and I relished every note as our truck rumbled slowly north up the I-95.
By the time we got to the entrance to the festival, the rain had cleared--but the ground was still soaked. We parked our RV in the lot and had only a few precious hours to decompress from the drive before the show was to begin.
Beth used some of that time to review her school notebook; it was Saturday afternoon, and she had a midterm in her graduate school history class on Monday. Gabe and I used that time to explore our surroundings.
Our RV home was at the very end of the large parking lot, at the edge of the public area of the decommissioned air force base. Not more than 50 yards from our spot lay 100s of heavily armored military vehicles, their empty guns aiming nowhere in particular.
For the third trip to Limestone, Phish made the most of their surroundings. The water tower was given a face-lift--or, more specifically, a pair of glasses and a funny nose. And Phish used the abandoned control tower for a surprise fourth set of space ambiance, beginning at 2 a.m. Check out the photographs of the Tower set below at page bottom.
The afternoon set on Saturday was a blast. The first of three sets lasted nearly two hours and featured groovy versions of Ya Mar, a gorgeous Reba, and a fan-requested Meatstick. Vultures brought me back to the Great Went, the first Phish festival at Limestone.
I ran into a high school buddy, Jesse Lubinsky. He was married, bearded, and had become a New York City math teacher. His comment on the fan's request of Meatstick was hilarious: "It's like having the chance to have any meal, and choosing White Castle."
Did I mention that it was muddy? Well, it was. Some parts of the field were worse than others. Unfortunately, we didn't discover the high, dry ground until Sunday's show.
So to sum the first three sets of IT up:
I: Very solid stuff here...Bag was standard but a great kickoff to the festival. Yamar was out there..possibly the best jam of the set (maybe to make up for Raliegh), Reba was great, whisteling included.
II: This set never really did it for me. First of all, we made the mistake of heading back to camp after set I and missed most of DWD, but it sounded good. Nicu: blah...Brother was nice to hear, but nothing crazy. Haven't made my mind up on Discern but I wasn't too impressed, although the middle jam was interesting. Waves was by far the highlight, the jam was right on and tight as hell, but then they went off into space for quite a bit towards the end. Bowie was short, but fun as usual..
III: Here we go...Great set, R&R got everyone bumpin, and segued very nicely into seven below.
After the sun set, the exhaustion set in. We couldn't rest between sets because the grounds were so muddy. I had lost Jordan before the show, so we were apart for the Brother bust-out (another festival reference). The ambient jam in the Waves just about rocked me to sleep, and I was just barely physically able to photograph the tower set, thankfully and luckily capturing and providing the great photos of the boys atop the old air tower. I wonder if the military ever envisioned an event like this.
Setlist - 8/2/03:
Set 1: AC/DC Bag, Ya Mar > Runaway Jim, Reba, Birds of a Feather, Meatstick, Two Versions of Me, Vultures, Limb By Limb, Cavern
Set 2: Down With Disease > NICU > Brother, Lawn Boy, Discern, Waves, David Bowie
Set 3: Rock & Roll > Seven Below, Scents & Subtle Sounds > Spread It Round, Bug
Encore: Dog Log, The Mango Song
Highlights of the first day:
Bag opener- rocked out hard
Reba - flawless
Disease > NICU > Brother - segue all the way, lots of energy
I missed the beginning of set III but everyone was buzzing about the Rock and Roll > 7 Below
DOG LOG > MANGO - Highlight of night for me
Overall, the first day was good, but with a few dull moments (middle of first set and end of third set)