Hi everybody and welcome to this week’s episode of Attendance Bias. I am your host, Brian Weinstein. This week’s guest is fan and teacher, Scott Barsamian. Scott contacted me a while ago about discussing Phish’s first large-scale festival, The Clifford Ball. Now, when an Attendance Bias guest chooses a festival, I always get hesitant. Phish festivals are so big, they loom so large in the imagination, and in reality, I am intimidated to take them on for an hour-long discussion. But once the guest and I talk for a bit, we narrow down the highlights and figure out the best way to approach the show. For today’s episode, Scott chose to talk about the first day of the festival, August 16, 1996, and he picked one song from each of the three sets.
Nowadays, we know exactly what to expect when Phish throws a festival. But in 1996, everything was brand new. My favorite part of this conversation was hearing about Scott’s expectations as he traveled to the festival. Phish hadn’t done anything on this scale before. What would they pull off? In 2021, we have the benefit of hindsight but in 1996, it was a surprise to all, probably including the band.
Also, throughout today’s conversation, you may hear from two special guests. That would be my dog, Duncan, and Scott’s dog, Roscoe, who couldn’t help but contribute.
So let’s join Scott Barsamian to hear about the drive to Plattsburgh, Trey’s tone from 1996, and a confounding “Harpua” encore as we discuss Phish’s performance on 8/16/96, day 1 of the Clifford Ball at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base in New York.