A few weeks back, I decided to splurge on myself a little bit by purchasing an HDTV and an up-converting DVD player. The first thing I put on when I got everything plugged in was the Phish IT DVD, something I never really spent enough time watching in the first place. I immediately queued up my favorite part of the two-disc set — the Tower Jam segment.
For anyone that already owns the DVD, you’ll know that this is probably the most visually stunning part of the set. To see the professionally shot footage of the band playing from atop a 10-story high now-defunct air traffic control tower is quite impressive, and even more entertaining are the descriptions and recounts given by Trey and Page.
Page mentions how he meets a contractor leading up to the festival that used to be an air traffic controller stationed at Loring Air Force Base when it was still active. He recounts the story the contractor told him of how they once noticed something on the radar in the vicinity that might have been UFO — something hovering over the base in sight of the air traffickers — and that they were unable to scramble their fighter jets in time to effectively determine what those said radar blips were. The hovering, glowing orb of light disappeared before they had a chance to investigate further.
Trey’s reflections are much funnier to me, though. He and Mike are sitting in a confessional where Trey says things like, “I imagined this ‘War of the Worlds’ type thing where an old army base kinda crackles to life…” and “it was stealth how we did it…run run run up the stairs, there was lights and smoke!” He says this to Mike as if he’s never even attended a Phish show himself. Lights? Check. Smoke? Check. What, then, makes this so much more special, Trey?
Maybe he’s high — and I’m really not trying to be too blasphemous there by saying that — or maybe it’s his childlike enthusiasm that started to be a little less evident in the later years of the band. Whatever it is, it certainly shines through on the DVD.
I’ve only listened to this entire thing through once. That might be all you need, too. I figured it’d be a fitting Phish Friday as a standalone jam that will never, ever, ever be repeated. The band was certainly quite good at those.