Watch Phish Perform At Chula Vista In 1999: New To YouTube

By Scott Bernstein May 28, 2021 8:49 am PDT

On September 18, 1999 Phish brought their fall tour to what was then known as the Coors Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, California. An hour of fan-shot video shot at the outstanding concert surfaced for the first time on YouTube yesterday.

Phish’s show was their debut at a venue they would return to 2000, 2003 and again in 2014 and 2016 after its name was changed to Sleep Train Amphitheatre. The quartet will head back to what is now called North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 23, 2021 (tickets).

While the videographer only had enough tape to film an hour of the show, he started during the second set. Phish’s Chula Vista premiere is best known for the +21-minute “Boogie On Reggae Woman” that kicked off the closing frame. The footage begins with the otherworldly final 10 minutes of the Stevie Wonder cover. Next came “Meatstick,” as we get to see guitarist Trey Anastasio teach the audience the “Meatstick” dance with assistance from a few overzealous audience members he recruited from the crowd. “Please help us by being the first West Coast crowd to learn the ‘Meatstick,” the guitarist explained less than four months before the band and a large audience failed in an attempt to make the Guinness Book Of World for the most people doing a dance simultaneously at Phish’s Millennium Eve celebration at Big Cypress in Florida.

Portions of “Meatstick,” “Free” and “Harry Hood” follow with the “Bouncing Around The Room” fit in between the latter two missing from the video. The set-closing “Frankenstein”/”Cavern” pairing is then shown in its entirety as well as the evening’s encore featuring “Contact” and “Tweezer Reprise.”

The video was captured by an unknown taper and found its way into the hands of YouTuber Rock-Steadi-Cam. Clinton Vadnais handled post-production and paired the footage with crispy audio prepped by Brian Levine. Thanks to all involved in getting this important document of Phish history into circulation.

Rock-Steadi-Cam, aka Gary, shared the following as part of a note accompanying the video:

There were a few interesting things about the tape. Although SD, it was recorded originally in 16×9 aspect ratio, which was unusual in 1999. And for some reason, the end of the show was at the beginning of the tape.

Well, I figured that one out. Apparently the taper had only one, 1hr tape, and he started recording in the middle of the first set. But, the tape ran out before the end of the show, so he decided to rewind it and record over what he had just recorded, through the encore to the end of the show.

I think he made the right decision. I’d say “we’ll never know what we missed” except, that information is EVERYWHERE, but, I think getting this variety of songs, with a few cuts and joined-in-progress, through the end of the show, is great.

Unfortunately, the video is not. Although the recording specs of miniDV were better even than DVD (13GB/hour vs 2GB/hour), the camera sections of some of the first-gen cameras were not so great. Add digital zoom, shaky bleachers, and a guy right in front of our intrepid cameraman, who just can’t stop dancing! Honestly, I might not have resurrected this tape, if not for the fact, there doesn’t seem to be ANY other public video from this seminal show, and very little video from this prolific period in Phish’s career.

The video has been added to the JamBase Live Video Archive (JBLVA), which features an ever-growing collection of nearly 3,800 Phish Videos. Check out the footage from Chula Vista ’99 below:

Rock-Steadi-Cam (See 2 videos)
Phish (See 3,799 videos)
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