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07/02/1999 Friendship Festival: The Tea Party, Esthero, BTK (Fort Erie, ONT @ Mather Arch Park)

By Eric | July 2, 1999 11:59 pm

The Friendship Festival was always one of those shows that we anticipated going to, and then wondered why we anticipated it so much. We’d always love one or two of the bands that would play, but the venue was never the greatest. For a couple years it was held at the Mather Arch in Fort Erie, and it was a cluster every time. Hard to get to, everyone packed in like sardines, and since it was free, EVERYONE showed up. Usually just to get drunk and party (it’s a holiday weekend after all), but it made life a little difficult for those of us who were “all about the music” back then and wanted to be up front.

I don’t recall who the first band on was, but we were pretty much crushed all through the first three sets. Literally and figuratively couldn’t move. I’d seen BTK and Esthero both at Summersault the summer before, so they were good enough as openers. Don’t recall a whole lot about their sets, however.
Unfortunately, when The Tea Party came out, so did the idiots. The aforementioned drunks slobbering, spilling and creating the usual festival beer garden-type mayhem. At one point, Mary got a whole beer spilled on her, so that about sums up how our night went, crowd-wise. The band’s set was excellent; Triptych wasn’t even a month old, so this was our first time hearing Heaven Coming Down and Great Big Lie in the live settings, and according to Jeff Martin it was the first time ever for The Halcyon Days. Listening back to the bootleg, that song was a bit different from how they’d end up playing it in the future, as there was no Zahira intro, and he actually hit the high notes in the chorus. Beyond those three, it was a typical set, but with some cool inserts as they threw some Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie covers in. So the show itself was fantastic, but the crowd was a bit of a bummer.

Hooray for the internet! Someone posted a bootleg of the show on Guitars101.com along with the setlist:

01 Drums [Intro]
02 Temptation
03 Army Ants
04 Fire In The Head
05 Psychopomp
06 Great Big Lie
07 The Bazaar
08 Halcyon Days
09 Release
10 Save Me > Last Goodbye (Jeff Buckley) > Save Me
11 Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix) > The River > Dazed and Confused (Led Zeppelin) > The River
12 Heaven Coming Down
13 Winter Solstice
14 Sister Awake > Temptation (New Order) > Heroes (David Bowie) > Sister Awake

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