Video: Phish @ HersheyPark Stadium 1996 – Set One

Have you ever been to a show that you didn’t think much of at the time, but when you went back and listened you fell in love with the performance? This happened to me on August 14, 1996 when I saw Phish perform at the humongous HersheyPark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I had a ridiculous amount of traveling ahead of me, was separated from my friends and just couldn’t get into the mind space to fully enjoy the show. I couldn’t get out of town and up to the Clifford Ball quick enough.

A few weeks later when I heard tapes of that evening, I was stunned by what I heard. The first set is a mostly killer, little filler affair with an extremely out-of-left-field jam in Wilson, an interesting transition from Fee into Poor Heart and one of my favorite versions of Reba ever. Set Two was no slouch either, with a badass Tweezer and Runaway Jim taking place before the show fissled out a bit at the end.

Today, I was shocked to see video from Hershey ’96 surface on YouTube. Now, this was shot by a fan close to the stage without the help of a tripod, so don’t expect much video quality wise – it’s shaky as fuck. However, YouTuber TylerPenn has synced the video with high-quality audio. Since I can pretty much sing the Reba solo from this show in my head, I really enjoyed watching how Trey played these licks that are embedded in my brain.

So without further ado, check out the first set of Phish –  Hershey ’96…

Phish – 08/14/1996 Set I: Wilson -> Jam > Down with Disease, Fee -> Poor Heart, Reba, The Mango Song > Gumbo, Stash, Hello My Baby

TylerPenn mentioned the second set will go up later this week, so be on the lookout.

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14 Responses

  1. My friends and I did this entire leg starting at Red Rocks. By the time we reached Hershey after insane Alpine Valley and Deer Creek experiences, we were exhausted, and like you couldn’t wait to get up to Clifford Ball.

    I remember a lot of folks skipping this show and driving straight up to CB, this was evident as the crowd was light in Hershey. We all dug the show even though we felt it was one of our least favorite performances from the tour. This is great to see after so long, thanks for posting!

  2. My first. One of the best days of my life. Thank you Tyler!! If anyone has an extra PTBM ticket stub I would love to have it. I have lost it over the years and would love to get it framed.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. That’s just DIRTY…perfect for mid-90s summer tour! Big, heady, hemp necklaces and lots of sliced nipples! Good times.

  4. AWESOME! Such a great Reba. Trey was zoning out on a little girl on her father’s shoulders for most of it. Out of view of the camera.

  5. Your an idiot if you went to this show, as I did, and didn’t think much of it at the time. That said Scott I’m pretty sure your not but I’ll chalk your forgetfulness up to the 10-20 hour wait which you and I and many others endured, that night of Hershey or the next day, sitting in sweltering cars that never moved while waiting some short distance on a road, to get into the Clifford Ball. I feel that is the reason many, including you, either forgot about this show or skipped it all together.

    My overall recollection of this show was sensing that they knew what they were on the precipice of, and what that event in Maine was going to mark, and how special it all was. They were giddy with excitement and surely nerves. That said I’d call this Hershey show the most important practice-show, that they ever had, and it was a DAM good one.

    I specifically remember feeling the power of the 2nd set closer, Tweezer Reprise, and can distinctly remember thinking about the size of it all and how it had all grown so big,the band and we the fans, and Plattsburgh was about to expose us all to how big it had become. You could also look at this show in Hershey as the end of the innocence, and the end of that ‘Reprise’ was that line in the sand, in a sense.

    1. Three letters– LSD. I wasn’t on it for this one, but I’m guessing you were. I did the Alpine->Ball run and this was my least favorite show. And that seems to be consensus.

      Perspective probably has a lot to do with it. After many nights of party and travel, plus with expectations of a monster based on previous year’s Hershey throwdown–the night seemed like a “letdown.” A mid-90’s Phish letdown still crushes the fuck out of any other live music at the time. But this show doesn’t touch the Ball.

      Thanks for posting this, Scott. Awesome to see. I gotta listen to it again–who knows, maybe Bo’s right.

      1. I don’t understand. Scott didn’t like the show because he was on LSD at the time? This kind of goes against conventional wisdom, & he states that after going back and examining the show closer he was surprised with how good the show was and his initial feelings were wrong.

  6. I miss the intensity of the 94-96 years. you can just see on their face they are there to kick you in the teeth and make sure you knew why you came…. ahhh, the good ole days.

  7. A lot of memories flood back when seeing this. I was not at this show but it was the same time I started going to shows and if I ever have to look back and remember Phish, this is how I will do so. Thanks Scotty!

  8. we followed the bus into Hershey hotel (after the bus was pulled over a few hours earlier). no pics were taken but trey did offer us a banana, as he walked off bus holding eliza

  9. Listen to this show again, and I only said that about Scott in jest. My mind was clear, as I was gung-ho about NOT wanting to wait till morning to drive up to Plattsburgh, so I volunteered to drive through the night. In the end it didn’t matter as we waited for almost 10 hours, in that ridiculous heat, just to get onto the concert grounds.

    That said I heard horror stories of upwards of a 20 hour wait. I distinctly remember many who left after reprise, and some even earlier in that 2nd set, to get a better head start than us. I honestly believe that the majority who were there that night in Hershey, well, their minds were already navigating the best way to get to the Ball. I too was at the previous Hershey stop, 12/1/95, and it was inside a grand and old little arena, where the lights were awesome and the sound was perfect, This show is no doubt in any top 5 list for the ’95 tour. So totally different environment.

    I personally wasn’t thrilled with how Paul handled the sound at this outdoor venue, Hershey Stadium, that said it might have nothing to do with him at all. We were in a really big and really old high school football stadium, wherein a it was on a temporary stage, not like Alpine or Deer Creek, where they were just coming from.

    I know they were setting up the stage at the ball as we were watching that show, so maybe something slight wasn’t available. No question if you listen to that show again, nothing did stand out, but there was nothing average about that show at all. Like I said before it was a dam good show, and I have 150+, it wasn’t a great show, and I’d almost re-term ‘dam good’ as above average, when grading their shows. Last question, How many times do you listen to ’96 shows from your collection, compared to say ’95 or ’97, as surely many here were at shows of those three years. When I grab a ’96 show to listen to it is usually Red Rox, but often it is this show. Hershey ’96 was lost in the shuffle, but check out the Jim into YEM to start the second set or the gumbo, stash, hello my baby to end the first. AND Thanks Scott, you one of the best reviewers, period.

  10. I just watched the video while checking out tonights set list. 1st show for me Deleware 1994, this ERA brings back the fondest of memories. I had seen the killer Dec shows at Hersey fall 95, but I’m pretty sure i skipped this to make the haul up to Clifford! man what a joy this was..awesome job for the sound over lay etc. Now we can click on our Phish App and hear last nights show the next day , it’s phucking amazing. Back in the day we knew a guy that was a software programmer. He would go on tour tape all the shows, and work during the day on his laptop and mail peeps the work.. he would roll into town and we would get 4 double deck tape recorders and tape tour!

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