• Phish: Alpine Valley 2015

    Posted 08/12/2015 by cal

    Sorry if the Blossom review was a bit insubstantial. I promise this piece is way longer.

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  • Phish: Alpine Valley, 7/1/12

    Posted 07/06/2012 by cal

    “Soul Shakedown Party” doesn’t pop up randomly at just any show.  Its prior three appearances came in the superb Denver three-nighter last Labor Day weekend, Super Ball IX and the ’09 New Year’s run.  Whether or not that signifies anything to Phish, it felt to some like a ringing acknowledgement of the excellence of the 2012 Corn Run.  Some folks even caught a way-out-there tease preceding the Bob Marley classic--was that “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise”???  Still, it was Sunday; it also might’ve been a typically laid-back start to what would ultimately be a mellow, family-friendly show, except it wasn’t.  In every respect, Phish played at least as well Sunday night as Phish 3.0 has ever played.

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  • Phish: Alpine Valley, 6/30/12

    Posted 07/06/2012 by cal

    Miraculously, as far as I know, we all escaped Deer Creek with our lives, but it was dicey for a while there as our tents were pelted with horizontal rain and lit almost constantly by lightning for a good hour or so early Saturday morning.  But somehow the drive to Wisconsin seemed to fly by; past Corn Runs had been bogged down by merciless traffic jams and/or lack of air conditioning, making this the smoothest Creek-to-Alpine Valley trip I’ve ever been on.  Alpine lots were low key in the still-oppressive heat, but the place seemed pretty full as Phish came onstage and we all wondered if this would be the show where they finally have an off night.

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  • One More Pearl Jam Thing

    Posted 09/09/2011 by cal

    So much went on at PJ20 both in my head and on stages, I still haven’t gotten it all out.  So, at the risk of overstaying the band’s welcome with potential readers, here are my final words on the festival and the state of Pearl Jam.

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  • PJ20

    Posted 09/06/2011 by cal

    Some bands win you over with amazing technical ability, some with superior songwriting, some on attitude alone. Pearl Jam gets you by making you feel like they’re playing and singing just for you. You know it’s not true, you know you’re not special. But Pearl Jam keeps telling you you are.

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  • Pearl Jam Owes Wisconsin a Festival at Alpine Valley

    Posted 04/03/2011 by youphoric

    OK, maybe owes is a strong word, but it was over 7 years ago that Ed Vedder, well into his nightly bottle of red wine, gave us one of his best ever Encore Break rants at the June 21, 2003 Alpine Valley show.

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  • Almost seven years ago...

    Posted 04/15/2010 by cal

    The date was June 21, 2003. Pearl Jam, at Alpine Valley, was in the middle of possibly the best performance I've ever seen from the band. Mike McCready was on fire, and Eddie Vedder was a little drunk. After going on a hilarious, foul-mouthed tirade making fun of reality TV (among other things), he proffered this little tidbit:

    "But we were just talking in the back, and we were thinking that maybe uh, on the strength of a night like this, and uh, really, uh, so you understand how much we appreciate it, we were thinking that instead of uh, waiting 2 years or even, uh, after we finish the next record, maybe just next summer, we could come back and play, just a few places that we’ve been to and this would be one of them."

    Fast forward to March 11, 2010: Pearl Jam announces yet another measly mini-tour. The closest date to Wisconsin is a five-hour drive. Still waiting for that promised Alpine return, Eddie.

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  • Phish: Alpine Valley, 6-21-09

    Posted 06/27/2009 by cal

    Ahhhhhh, Sunday, knowing you have Monday off. Ahhhhhh, not being stuck in a car for eight hours. Sleep in, cook out, shower at your leisure and get to the lot with plenty of time to spare, it just can’t be beat. We discovered that the green lot is the secret awesome lot (don’t tell anybody), complete this afternoon with free t-shirts and the guy with the “Phish” balloon hat. Coming off a show that felt like one long tease, it was starting to feel like crunch time as I enjoyed a delicious Unibroue 17. This is the last date of the leg. There have been magical moments, but half the shows of the tour have been sub-par. Make no mistake: I am the exact opposite of disappointed. I am utterly appointed. But there’s no point in pretending it was a breathtaking tour start to finish. And in keeping with the last two Alpine runs, there were so many “essentials” that seemed like they had to be crammed in somehow; how would they ever find time for jamming?

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  • Phish: Alpine Valley, 6-20-09

    Posted 06/26/2009 by cal

    If the camping hassles, the torrential rains, the oppressive humidity, and the incredible performance at Deer Creek didn’t sap every last drop of energy from us, the eight hours in traffic from Noblesville to East Troy sucked us dry. Tempers were clashing as we scrambled to get showered and ready to go, finally reaching the lot a bit after “showtime”--but of course, we knew we could count on Phish not to start on time. Funny how walking onto the gigantic lawn at Alpine Valley in anticipation of a Phish show can begin to drain away the tensions and irritability of a long, hot day.

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  • Dave Matthews Band: Alpine Valley Music Theater, 8-26-07

    Posted 09/05/2007 by jim

    Having just concluded their annual three-night run at the Gorge this past holiday weekend, I thought I might offer some musings on the Dave Matthews Band show from August 26th, the second of two shows at another American venue landmark, Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin...that is, while I still have some memory lingering from this rather superb show.

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