Amy’s Farm. Hard to believe it was twenty years ago. It’s one of those ones that seems like yesterday in some respects, but in many other respects it seems like a lifetime (or two) ago. We first heard about Amy’s Farm at the Arrowhead Ranch shows in July. Trey made an announcement from the stage, but I don’t remember hearing it. I do remember walking through the parking lot and seeing a handbill attached to every car windshield, including mine (I also found another one waiting in my mailbox when I got back from the show) . It was a no-brainer. All we had to do was finish up the Horn Tour, take a little breather and head up to Maine. We headed up to the site the day before the show after spending most of the morning around the beaches of Portsmouth, NH. It was a beautiful NH/Maine summer afternoon as we headed up the Maine Pike to Amy’s horse farm. We pulled in around 4 or 5 and had a pick of places to set up camp, there were only a handful of cars there when we arrived. When you pulled in, the house and barn were just on your left as you entered. We immediately took a right into a large field and went down the slightly sloping field to where it ended at a flat spot ringed by trees. There were a ton of places to camp: along the trees like we were or on top of one of the many rolling hills that dotted the field . There were a bunch of these little hilltops that you had to walk across to get to the stage which was a few hundred yards from where we set up our tents. More of our friends arrived in the early evening and we had a pretty decent crew of about 5 or 6 tents and maybe 15-20 friends by morning. Hard to say how many total folks had arrived the night before, but by the morning of the show, cars were starting to pile in and set up camp. We were up pretty early as it was bright, sunny and hot by 10AM. My earliest memory of show day was Amy coming up to our campsite on horseback and collecting a few bucks from everyone to re-seed the fields. We gladly paid and told her how stoked and thankful we were and how awesome her land was. It was a beautiful, rolling hills horse farm in the middle of Maine, and the weather was absolutely perfect. We hung around the campsite until noon or so and made the 5 minute trek over the hills and through the woods to the venue. The venue consisted of the stage in another field, with trees ringing the whole area. There was a giant water truck spraying people (ala 8/27/72) and a few vendors including this couple who had this seitan booth where they were selling these insane seitan wraps. Wonder whatever happened to those guys. The whole vibe of this show was possibly the most laid back of any Phish show I have ever attended. People were just milling about, making friends, doing bong hits 3 feet from the stage, generally just soaking up the sun and atmosphere. There was no security, police or even real event staff- zero, zilch, nada. I am sure there was a first aid booth, but beyond that, this show seemed like a giant keg party with a stage. We were all sitting about 10 or 15 feet from the stage, with tons of room while Mike, Page and Fish are just walking around by the stage talking to people and getting ready to go on when Trey comes cruising in from the back of the field on his Harley (no helmet) and rides right up to the stage. It was bad ass. He hops off and after a few minutes they all amble up on the stage and they start of with that classic Wilson intro from Amy (which is partially cut off on some sources):
Encore 2: Harry Hood.
The show seemed to go on and on. We would go back and forth from the campground during the show or during the breaks…Went back with my girlfriend to knock boots in the tent during YEM, which was the first and only time I ever did that during the actual show. You could hear the band perfectly in the tent. I’ll also never forget standing next to the stage 3′ from Fishman and yelling out Harry Hood a half-second before they went into it for the 4th and last encore song. Shit was sick.
After the show we all walked back to the tents. I got punched square in the face by a biker guy, and strangely enough didn’t even feel a thing. That night these two twins with a Dead cover band called Double Dose played their set in the campground. I remember a pretty decent Lazy Lightning. The last thing I remember was trying to go sleep in my tent and the people next to us were BLASTING Terrapin Station (the studio album). It was kind of a drag, and I think I finally passed out during Sunrise, thank god. The next morning we woke up and it was a torrential downpour. Not just a little drizzle, but practically sheeting. Our tent was filled with a ton of water. We just threw all of the wet gear in the car and got out of there as fast as we could. It was quickly turning into a mud bath. We got onto the Maine Turnpike and we can barely see through all the rain, even with the wipers on high. Who pulls in front of me, but Trey on his Harley, braving the storm with a passenger (his girlfriend/wife?) on the back. All I could think about was that he was going to crash and I was going to run him over and Amy’s Farm was going to be the last show. Seriously. I pulled over to the next lane and slowly pulled ahead, all the time thinking I was going to hit him.
Amy’s Farm is not a show I really ever listen to, and my fond memories of it are primarily based on the friends, setting, scene and just the whole amazing experience of it, rather than the music. In listening to the show for the first time in years for this post, I realized there are some really solid musical moments. The Divided Sky is amazing, and a great sounding soundboard of that track was just released on here: http://www.livephish.com/music/0,638/Phish-mp3-flac-download-Live-Bait-Vol-05.html
The first set combo of Squirming Coil->Poor Heart->Sloth is also super worthy and gives a good feel for the tone of the show. Too bad there are not better sources around for this show….
The whole show can be found here in MP3:
and the lossless is here:
Also check out Parker’s great Amy’s Farm 20 year article here: