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What you need to know about Phish at SPAC, including a Map and Post-show info

This was originally posted for the June 2010 Phish shows at SPAC. With a few tweaks, some updates and punctuation improvements, here is what you need to know about going to SPAC for Phish during July 3-5, 2014.

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First things first, follow UpstateLIVE on Twitter for helpful hints will abound throughout the weekend. We’ll be on location all weekend sharing: traffic info, park updates ( and keeping fans aware of the police presence. In 2013, Saratoga officials announced a crackdown on alcohol and intoxicated people in the state park known as SPA, which includes SPAC. In the past, there has always been a lot of chatter preceding the summer concert season at SPAC regarding the increased police presence and no-alcohol policy (with ticket enforcement and arrest potential). In 2013, beers that were visible in the bottle were confiscated and someone ended up with an incredible supply of heady brews. Don’t treat SPAC lots as a free for all – this is a New York State Park and State Troopers roam the grounds, not local police. 

You’ll need this - the map of Saratoga Spa State Park. It is VERY easy to get lost, as you can quite easily wind up walking around for an hour looking for the lot your car is in, or altogether become disoriented. Download PDF: SPAC Map

In the interest of making sure everyone knows what has been the norm in the past, whether you have been here before or not, keep in mind a few things:

State Troopers : Younger fans, keep the alcohol under lock and key, as alcohol sensors have been used in the past. If they see you drinking, they’ll dip in a stick detector for alcohol into the drink and then they can search you. Arcane? Yes. Illegal? Possibly. Outlandish and Insane? Indeed. Don’t stress, just play it smart! This comes from people who have been there and people who work there. Use your heads.

Hotels have also been given a contact number to call if they suspect drug use. So be careful when you are pre-gaming at the hotel or getting back and trying to enjoy the post-show scene or get some sleep.

Post show, there will be checkpoints for drunk driving and K-9 units for the obvious. Don’t leave the park without a sober driver and when you do, drive the speed limit, the cops need only a small reason to pull you over, either on Route 9, Route 50, I-87 or the small towns north and south of Saratoga.

While in town….

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Post shows, there are a couple of options right in Saratoga for those who want to keep the party going and are equipped with a designated driver to keep it going till the sun comes up.
The Putnam Den has fast become the premier live music venue in Saratoga, after SPAC. There are three late night shows, one for each night of Phish and only TWO miles from SPAC! Plus, there are more shows each night at The Parting Glass, literally a 0.3 mile walk from Putnam Den. Both venues feature incredible music and a discount if you buy passes to both post-shows each night.

You can find all the info on the post-shows here, but in short, here are your choices for post-Phish music:
July 3rd – Lucid at Putnam Den
July 4th – Waylon Speed at The Parting Glass
July 4th – Twiddle at Putnam Den
July 5th – Formula 5 at The Parting Glass
July 5th – Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at Putnam Den

The address of The Putnam Den is 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. For more info on each of the shows, visit the Putnam Den website www.putnamden.com

See you all at SPAC!

Neal Flesner’s West Coast Shirts from 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013

Living out on the West Coast, Phish fans can feel a little ‘left’ behind when it comes to dates and shows. Neal Flesner is one of those fans, and having attended many of the west coast shows since the 2009 return, he has made some great West Coast-centric shirts for a handful of the shows in the past 5 years. Here are Neal’s shirts with the story behind each. All shirts are printed on 100% Gildan Ultra Cotton and preshrunk.

Makisupa/Masters

“This is the first shirt that I ever did.  Printed on 100% Gildan Ultra Cotton and preshrunk, these are good quality t-shirts. I sold them at the festival and still see them at shows to this day.  The inspiration is from the Masters logo, as Indio is a hot bed of golfing greatness.  Also, the flag was due to the “guess the spot” for the festival. As you might remember they knocked off states and then brought back California and placed a big flag in the spot where Indio is located.” Large, XL and XXL are available for $20 each

Front

Front

Back

Back


SIZES



Telluride 2010

“These were some great shows in Telluride.  I had a place in Colorado near by at the time and I had always loved the CO state flag. Integrated a trout on the front.  Funny, people that were coming out of the show did not get that the quote on the back was from Possum.  One person said, “Dude, are you like a religious Phish phan?”.  Nope, it’s a line from a song you just heard.  Great shows, great town and awesome people.  Phish, go back to Telluride.” Large, XL and XXL for $20 each.

TELLURIDE FRONT

TELLURIDE BACK


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Long Beach LA Kings “We got to Long Beach and were some of the first fans in the parking lot that night. The Kings had just won the cup. We sold most of the shirts to diehard Kings fans or hockey fans that evening. I only made 50 of them, but got so many requests, I printed a few more after the show. An NHL player contacted me this summer and bought a bunch.” Large, XL and XXL for $20 each.

PHISH LA 2012 FRONT PHISH LA 2012 BACK

SIZES

Gamehendge Republic/BGCA

“The goal here was to use the California state flag with a lizard, mockingbird and sloth.” $15 each, size L and XL only

SF BGCA 2012


SIZES



Kuroda Bowl 2013.  “When Phish played the bowl in 2011, we couldn’t wait until they came back.  It was all about the lights.  Our seats were near the soundboard and right before the show started, I walked over to Chris and gave him one of the shirts.  He said, “Best shirt ever.”  The lights did not disappoint that night.” Printed on 980 Anvil Fashion Ringspun T-Shirt. Large, XL and XXL for $20 each.

PHISH LA 2013


Sizes



2012 Dicks and Deer Creek Pins from Jiggs

Don’t miss out on the 4th and final pin in the Summer 2012 Poster Series. This Limited Edition of 75 Dicks pin is double posted, numbered, stamped with the Jiggs logo and features hard enamel and recessed metal. The dates were omitted to not make it show specific. 1.75 inches. $15 plus shipping.

Buy it!

Dick's

Also still available the 3rd of 4 LE pins from Jiggs summer 2012 poster series. The Deer Creek pin is Limited Edition of 100, double posted, numbered, and stamped with the Jiggs logo. 1.5 inches. $15 plus shipping.

Buy it!

Deer Creek

Get yours before they sell out like the Limited Edition pins 1 & 2 from the series, Bader Field and OKC.

 Bader     okc 12

PhanArt’s Best of 2012

Well, 2012 was an incredible year for PhanArt, with more art than ever before, plus the addition of five staff members to the site – Taylor, Kelley, Chris, Jim and Chris. Fans have been submitting more and more art to PhanArt for sharing on the site, which led to a record number of posts as well as a record amount of money raised for The Mockingbird Foundation – over $3700!

What was popular this year? Well, shirts and posters as usual, but anything that had that Cheerio/Henrietta design took top honors for the most common piece of phanart. It seemed that every bit of clothing and all sorts of art were seeing this design, any why not? It’s iconic, only Phish fans know what it is, making it a silent calling card for other fans whether at a show or in real life. There was at least one wedding party with Fishman ties for the groomsmen!

Then of course, there are pins, which has basically become a flooded market. Everyone is making them, few are buying and many are trading for them. Some of them are truly amazing and we are likely only a few days away from the first ‘Golf Ball’ themed pin of 2013. There are a reported 1700-1800 pins total made already, according to Fred Hosman, who would know, because he collected pretty much every single one up to date. That number of pins is more than the number of individual pieces of art in PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish

So, here we are with more art being made, Phish being at the top of their game and the 30th anniversary likely to shed a great deal of art, especially if there are more shows than the last two years. Without further rambling, I present the Best of PhanArt, 2012 edition. This list of 12 was compiled with input from fans on the website, Facebook, Twitter, as well as reported sales from artists and feedback on lot. Some of these pieces of art are still available for sale, while some sold out a long time ago. Click the links to see what you can still get and support the Phish Art Community! Remember, the Phanart made in 2012 was amazing and the following is just some of the best. If you think something was overlooked, share what was missed below in the comments section below.

Honorable Mentions

 Otto NYE print

AJ Masthay Kansas City

TRiPP NYE

Tim Ripley Colorado

Michael Ortiz San Francisco/Colorado/NYC series

Ceramic Pheesh from Matt Pace

And now for the Best PhanArt of 2012…

12. My Other Vehicle is a Second Set Tweezer

A simple Tweet led to an incredibly popular sticker, so much so that it was sold in bulk to a few fans during Summer Tour. Andy Cary’s wit led to a sticker that was begged for at shows, Jiggs’ design made it the perfect bumper sticker for a car, and led to some nice donations for The Mockingbird Foundation, as Andy deferred any profit to them. In keeping with that, all sales of this sticker through the month of January will go to The Mockingbird Foundation, after shipping and handling.

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11. Split Open and Melt pin

You couldn’t make a more literal pin, but Jeff from My Phavorite Things did, and succeeded. It doesn’t look like there are any pins left for sale, but if you can get one, this is a well through out and produced pin.

First up is the SOAM Phan pin made by myphavoritethings.com DEF one of the best pins of the year.

10. Kerrigan summer print 

The return of the Happy Fish in one incredible print! Ryan Kerrigan continues to create incredible Phish posters for each show and tour, and this one stood out as one of the best of the Summer!

st12 summer tour 2012 poster KERRIGAN

9. Life is Hood shirt

Life is Good < Life is Hood. Brian Kushner of PhanBadge made a great shirt with a familiar guitar sticking out, and the response was incredible. Many shirts were out of stock by the time SPAC rolled around. Brian graciously donated a few shirts to benefit The Mockingbird Foundation, all of which were snapped up quickly. The crossover aspect is huge with this shirt, since you can wear it to a show or just in daily life, getting more than a few heads to turn when they notice the slight difference in this now classic shirt.

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8. Party Time/Playboy shirts 

Seen on the lots of Bader Field in June, this is a great shirt, hands down. The Playboy brand has an aura of epic parties in the grotto, and ‘Party Time’ is the perfect way to to tie the two together. This shirt was only seen briefly on tour, so we have no purchasing info, so if you know who made this shirt, contact PhanArt (at) gmail and we will do our best to have it up on the site. Again, great shirt to the creators!

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7. Otto summer leg 2 

Branden Otto has been making posters since 2010 and in 2012, he found his groove, creating incredible work from start to finish. Fans sold out one edition, leading to a second variant being produced. Stacking the vehicles, adding in tour dates and some subtle Phish references, as well as great creativity and color schemes showed that Otto is moving on up among his fellow artists.

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6. Jam Jars

The “Jam Jar” series by Tweezburger creator Jon Weber and Cactus Bomb Designs doesn’t just look great on bread, all 6 jump out as genius spins on different jams Phish has done over the years. Funny, small and a set = classic Phish pins.

Then you have the Jam Jar series by tweezeburger creator Jon Weber Aka Cactus Bomb Designs.  www.cactusbombdesigns.com

5. Summer Tour Pac-Man shirts

These were seen through much of Summer Tour, although the creators never got in touch with us to get on the site. Based on the number of fans wearing them, it’s likely they sold well on tour, if not sold out. Using the one and two-stops on tour as general pellets to eat, and the four 3-day runs the Power pellets is just smart designing. This was well thought out and a great design. It would even be higher on the list, but black isn’t a great color shirt for the summer. But being in the top half of the Best of 2012 isn’t too shabby. Big ups to the four levels at the bottom, one for each tour to date in the 3.0 era.

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4. TRiPP Atlantic City triptych 

Try saying THAT five times fast. This set has been sought after by fans and sold quickly, making for yet another classic TRiPP trio of prints that connect to form gorgeous imagery.

PH Atlantic City triptych cropped

3. Jiggs Oklahoma City Zoo

Jiggs has branched out from his earlier designs and t-shirts and delved into some great posters in the past year, starting with NYE 2011 and going through 2012 with Bader Field, OKC Zoo and Dick’s prints. This one stands out among them all, capturing the song that would cap off the band’s first show in Oklahoma, in a most unique fashion.

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2. Ties from stuPINdous Creations

Never in a million years did I think that Phish-themed ties would be a thing, let alone a well produced thing. Well, Adrian from stuPINdous Creations proved that one wrong, a few times over. First there was the Henrietta tie, then the Cactus and Big Red ties (seen below) and most recently, a Henrietta Bow Tie. Many of these ties sold out quickly, especially the Henrietta tie. These ties are stylish, they are great for work or play and speaking from experience, get compliments nearly every time. That’s a great tie – when they don’t realize there’s a Phish theme to it, but you do. Adrian, nice work on these. Can’t wait to see the Page tie! Here’s to hoping it involves sandwiches!

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Big Red's TieCactus Tie

 

And the best of PhanArt 2012 is…….

1. Ben Whitesell’s NYE

The intricate detail of this limited edition print from Ben Whitesell and the overwhelming response from Phish fans made this a runaway #1 choice for 2012. Ben has made great prints in the past and this one is the culmination of his growing skills in making great posters. Examine the way in which Ben detailed Trey’s guitar, going deeper with a mechanical angle and creating one of the best posters of 2012. Ben, here’s to hoping you can keep making art of this caliber in 2013!

NYEMSG

So, did we miss something? Was there some art that should have made the list? If so, tell us what you think we missed in the comments below. Art is all around us on Phish tour and this is just a small slice of the great art out there this past year. With greater input from fans taken into greater account this year, we feel this is a great representation of the Best PhanArt of 2012. If this past year is any hint, 2013 will be even better.

- PhanArt Pete and the PhanArt Crew

Lulu’s Dicktych posters

A new artist spotted on lot at Dick’s, Lulu, has created a unique ‘Dicktych’ double print to commemorate the shows this past Labor Day Weekend.

“This poster set was hand silkscreened with 4 colors for the Labor Day shows of 2012. It’s the original Dicktych (Diptych) of 2012. The left half entices the Colorado Spirit and the sport of Phishing for all. While, the corresponding right half, depicts a fish peering into the snorkel mask of the left half. Fluorescent orange, green and purple give this Dicktych a lasting vibrant appeal.”

There are two sets left while Lulu will be selling the remainder of the poster at right separatel. The set costs $45 with free shipping while the right poster costs $25 with free shipping. Each poster is signed and numbered. Lulu has offered to donate a set of these prints to benefit The Mockingbird Foundation.

Dicktych Set

Left Dick (Snorkel)

Right dick (fishy)

Dicktych set




Right side (fish)




Bader Field Poster by Dima Yastronaut

This print from Dima Yastronaut and featured by Lesley Vernon is printed on 13″x19″ heavy gloss 110lb cover stock paper. The digital painting features a beautiful view from the Boardwalk in front of Trump Plaza, Hunter S. Thompson, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (Fluffhead) and CK5 lights in the text, plus some hidden eye candy all through out the print. This is a print worthy of cherishing you fear and loathing in AC memories. Artwork by Dima Yastronaut. All are signed and numbered in an edition of 222. Cost is 1 for $15, 2 for $20, with free shipping.

1 poster:



2 posters:



Maria DiChiappari’s Dick’s Poster

Maria DiChiappari’s original concert poster for Phish at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado is available exclusively on PhanArt. Measuring 17″ x 11″ and printed on card stock, this poster is in a limited edition of only 200, costing only $20 including shipping. Each poster is made with love by Maria.




‘Keep Calm and Boogie On’ Posters from T. Shaw

T. Shaw’s popular take on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” offshoots makes for the perfect poster to hang up at work, in the kitchen, in the classroom, or anywhere else that people might need a reminder to take it easy sometimes. Printed on card-stock measuring 11″x17″, the posters are $12 each with free shipping. 10% of each sale benefits The Mockingbird Foundation and a free sticker of your choice – either Guyute > Gotye or Summer Phucking Tour.

Check out Shaw’s other work here!


Choose your complimentary free sticker

 


A Week on Phish Tour: The trip from St. Louis to Colorado and back home again

Like many Phish fans, last week I took a trip to see Phish in Missouri, Oklahoma and three nights in Commerce City, Colorado. While I usually do a recap of a run, this one is more on the journey and less on the music. There’s plenty of reviews of the music to go around on this one, so this is more of a look at the incredible highs and lows of the eight days of Phish and travel. All but photo #2 by Pete Mason

Monday 8/27 – Flying into St. Louis, I arrived in the evening and got picked up by good friend and local Dr. John (no, not that one). We drove across the river to Alton, Illinois and found out there was a house on fire on John’s street. Being the Midwest, there were good odds it was a meth lab fire. Rather than hang there, we went to pick up beer and food at Schnucks, the local grocery store. I spent much of the time laughing at the name of the store, pronounced ‘Shnooks’. After acquiring much Schafly, we headed to Johnson’s Corner Restaurant for food, Cardinals v Pirates and Stag beer. The pork tenderloin sandwich was delicious, even moreso with my new favorite condiment, Country Bob’s. If you haven’t had it, you are missing out. Stag beer seemed to be the Utica Club/Dixie/Narragansett/Rainier of this part of the country, and tasted as bland as the others, but still delicious after a day of travel. Cards won btw, 4-3.

Tuesday 8/28 – With John at work, I hung out and caught up on rest and reading before John came home to pick up some lunch at Joe K’s for a very delicious reuben, one of the best I’ve ever had actually. We headed to the lots around 4:30, arriving at 5 and found the garage and venue pretty well situated in town, but Shakedown was simply as good as it got. The selection of food, beer, clothing, phanart and other wares was awesome, thriving and just top notch. I ran into some folks from Twitter, including @fungitrophia and @breckmastaflash, who agreed to sign on for ‘Real Housewives of Phish Tour’, filming at Dick’s that Saturday. She was a last minute replacement and proved to be a great addition to the short film. (Except it around October 1st or so). There were so many people on the lots, it was a little overwhelming at times but as show time approached, the lots thinned and we headed in, right past this sculpture of a woman bathing in sand. St. Louis folks have good taste in art.

Art!

The show was pretty incredible, pulling out great versions of Reba, The Curtain, Mound, Camel Walk, even Possum, all in the first set. Setbreak though was a more than your standard ‘meet up at Waterwheel’ – this was Surrender to the Flow editor Christy Articola’s 365th show! A group of friends arranged to have the signed poster for that night’s show purchased and we surprised Christy with the print. A year of Phish shows…it’s hard to fathom seeing that many shows, but when you hit a milestone, its worth celebrating. (more on milestones this fall)

Happy fans! Photo by Dave Vann

Second set was equally fun, with a sweet CDT->Frankie Says -> Undermind->Sand -> Walk Away that made this show one of my favorites of the entire summer. But it would be cool to catch a 2001 that isn’t played to the 6 minute mark every show. Postshow, I caught a ride with Team Jolly and Sideshow to Oklahoma City in a gloriously packed minivan. I never really get to be the passenger these days so this was a treat, especially after the show, soaking in all of the show and focusing on getting to the next stop, which wound up being Lebanon, Missouri.

(Side note: At some point on Tuesday, I learned that Yasanobu, aka, the MVP of Couch Tour, was skipping both St. Louis and Oklahoma City and flying from Atlanta to Denver. I told him he could ride with me if he could switch his flight to Oklahoma City, which he did. This looked to work out well for both of us, especially since he’s a good dude and we’ve hung out at quite a few shows in the past year.)

Wednesday 8/29 - Waking up in the hotel around 10am, we got on the road to OK City, picking up some breakfast and beer on the way. Thanks to new favorite app Waze, we were able to avoid traffic and make good time to the show. I really enjoyed being able to chill in the car, packed as it was, pushing from one show to the next. Being a driver by preference, it’s a different feeling being a passenger, soaking up greater conversation and scenery, even though there wasn’t much of the latter on this drive. A tanker truck accident/fire could have derailed us by hours, but we learned about it from Waze, rerouted and got to show JUST as the band started playing Kill Devil Falls. I loved this venue from the moment I stepped in, and spent much of the first set soaking it all in, wandering around the venue and enjoying the rocker-heavy first set. I briefly met up with my buddy Bob, who was driving with me to our hotel in Denver. Second set was stronger, particularly Birds, Twist and Light, plus with a good vantage point a little lower with friends made for a really fun time and first show in Oklahoma. Slave, the most apropos song to be played at the Zoo Amphitheater, was nailed perfectly.

Postshow, I got to hang out with Chaz, who I haven’t seen since we graduated high school 17 years ago. It was a good time on lot and I hoped we could hang a little bit more after, but then Bob finally arrived at the car and any plans for later with Chaz were now thwarted. Bob’s friend who we were staying with got us back to his place in Norman, home of OU, and we stayed up to chat for a bit before getting some much needed rest. However, Bob was already making this next leg of the trip less than easy.

Thursday 8/30 – I woke up an hour late but soon realized that there was an hour time change in our favor, so I was relieved, showered and got ready while Bob followed suit. We headed into town to pick up Yasanobu, pick up breakfast and get on the road. I love the long drive – Orlando to Chicago, Chicago to Albany, Syracuse to Savannah – and this trip from Oklahoma City to Denver was next on tap. However, this involves driving through Kansas, which is flat and boring. There was at least some appeal to heading west, then north, rather vice versa. So I sped across Oklahoma and Texas, with their 75mph granting a slightly faster drive. Both are flat and have tons of oil wells, farms and brown crops due to drought, but the wind farms were more of a surprise and refreshing. A brief stop in Amarillo for last chance Waffle House and we headed into the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico. By this point, Bob was firmly in the backseat sleeping, so Yasu and I enjoyed the incredible scenery and the whole experience of traveling across the country, following four guys from Vermont who play some great music.

Looking west on route 39 in New Mexico

On the drive, just an hour round trip out of the way, we stopped at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, mainly because it was on the way, but for me it had been just over 17 years since I did my 90 mile trek, finishing a few days before starting at Syracuse. We drove into the grounds, walked around and I soaked in what memories I could recall only from being there. The camp was closing for the summer and I had a rare chance to walk around a nearly empty basecamp. A group of deer, a roadrunner and a few wild turkeys roamed the grounds, serene to me for the first time. I drove out with Bob and Yasu and stopped into bustling downtown Cimarron for a burger and fries, the only meal I’ve had in three trips. We were back on the road at nightfall and meandered to Raton where we picked up beer and got on the road up to Denver. The ride was seamless and made for a cool experience, talking with Yasu much of the way and listening to a fair amount of Disco Biscuits, Daft Punk and Warren Zevon as we pressed on towards Denver Airport and the rental car place.

Friday 8/31 – Yasu at Dollar was the first stop, and just to make sure the graveyard shift got him on the road (he still had another 45 minute drive to his friends) I ventured in for a much needed stretch after driving 800 miles in an almost straight shot. Once he was all set, we headed to National to drop off our rental car. When we were set, we called the hotel to send the 24-hour shuttle they said would be running a few days earlier. Actually that was 20 hours (not 12-4am, when we were in need). With a cab $60 vs sleeping in the National lounge, we found it cheaper to rent another car and get us to the hotel, but we had to return it before the show that night. Checking in and sharing part of the ordeal in getting from the airport to the hotel, we got the night comped and got to sleep. A solid 10 hours of sleep later, we were ready to hear to the lots early. I had heard how good these lots were, and it was an understatement. A broad flat lot scene, with a four-row Shakedown that had a vast array of glass, food, shirts and posters. The food was phenomenal and felt more like Phish tour food than any I’ve seen in quite a while.

The downside the day was finding a guy who was selling a copy of a shirt I have been selling, Golgi/Google. It’s one thing if it is fair use, its another to sell a copy. I spoke to him and thankfully, he didn’t have it up when I saw him Saturday. But it did hang over me for longer than I wanted, almost overshadowing the start of the show. Once I settled into the venue, I ran into Dina, who I hadn’t seen in a couple years and recently got married (mazel tov!). Two songs in, I laughed when I saw F U C as the first three letters. I figured it wasn’t going to happen, but the second Kill Devil Falls in a row… and everyone was catching on. Finding Bob and a few others at the back of the stadium, the sound was incredible so I rode out the show from the opposite endzone. Runaway Jim was sick, Farmhouse and Alaska, while good could have been Fee and Also Sprach Zarathrusta. With two minutes left in the greatest Chalkdust Torture I have ever heard, I started to focus on the E. It couldn’t be Esther, it had to be Emotional Rescue, and it was! Emotional Rescue was the Skin it Back of second leg. And with Grind -> Meatstick, the funny band lifted spirits like no other. One for the ages…

The lots were bustling but rough, almost a lot overload with people selling and not many buying. While better than dead lots, that last hour after the show was vibrant and alive, the crowd abuzz after THAT show. A cab back and a beer before bed and an exhaustive fun day came to an end.

Saturday 9/1 – I awoke to Bob talking about flying his girlfriend out that day. While this was crazily irrational in my opinion, a last minute Phish show can be justified, but the day of cost flying 2/3 cross country does not computer. Still, Bob got a ticket for her out there and she planned to arrive around 730 and could be at the show by early first set. Besides, the more the merrier, right? The issue remained though – the hotel wasn’t paid for and neither were Bob’s last two show tickets…

I headed to the lots extra early – 3pm, so that I could shoot ‘Real Housewives of Phish Tour’ with Taraleigh, Britt, Lexi, Brecklan, Danielle, Andy, Molly and Kerry. It took till 4pm to get everyone together and ready for the shoot and just over an hour to film all the scenes, the intro and outro. While the details of the short film are under wraps, I can share that there will be all the staples of Real Housewives: fighting, yelling, jealousy, gorgeous women and chair flipping. Yes, chairs are flipped. Taraleigh and I strive for authenticity in this one. A photo below of behind the scenes

A cavalcade of phans

Entering the show, a girl in the lemonade line wearing a Red Sox hat had noticed my Yankees hat, which led to the most memorable comment ever “Suck my clit”. Yes Boston fans, stay classy. But really, this was the most hysterical thing to happen and just made me more pumped for the release when the music started. In lieu of a review, I’ll simply say that the Saturday show was one of the top ten shows I have ever seen, Phish and all shows combined.

Sunday 9/2 - Around 1am, I ran into Bob, his girlfriend and another friend who had a car, but none could drive so I got us home, without Bob’s GPS investment – it was straight south to our hotel, hardly a turn involved. Back at the hotel around 2am, I found myself some of Colorado’s finest beers while the others preferred alternatives. To each his own. An hour later I was ready to get some rest but Bob and co. weren’t. My ability to fall asleep in even the loudest circumstances came in handy, but I was woken up at 5am by two of the more disturbing things I have caught wind of: cries of  ‘I need more Xanax’ and a few other disturbing requests at this early/late hour that I won’t even share here. It made for a miserable hour. By 6am, everyone was peacefully asleep, although the entire bathroom was drenched, along with every towel. Normally, I would find out what happened, to satisfy basic curiosity, but not this time. At least the soaked towels were bundled up under the sink.

I woke at 10am so I could leave by 11am for Disco Brunch at The Corner Room in downtown Denver. Fletch put it together for a group of folks on Twitter and it was a hit. $10 bottomless mimosas, $12 bottomless bloody marys and an incredible brunch selection. French toast with nutella and a half dozen selections got the last day, always the slowest and longest for me, off to a fast and energetic start. A few conversations and mimosas later, it was 2pm and my friend Lori was on her way to pick me up. We hadn’t seen each other in probably 10 years so a couple quality hours while in town was in order, catching up and seeing how life has been going for each of us, with some local flavor mixed in. This was by far one of the best starts to day-three of any run I’ve done.

And then that start was put on hold, as I found out Bob got hit with the tragic ‘smoking in the room’ fee. Worst yet, the head of housekeeping was the one who assessed the $250 fine and she was not discussing it. Bob decided he wouldn’t pay it, but my card was on the room, so naturally, this was not going to be resolved with any speed, especially after the late night party and sluggish start to the day. I wasn’t worried, and  headed to the lots, bottle of wine in hand. The grassy knoll behind the portos is definitely a great spot to hang and had a solid vantage point to see all of the lot scene and soccer fields. Some time spent here before a stroll through the lot allowed the vibe of the three days, more electric than Atlantic City 2010, to sink in before getting inside. I returned to my spot from Saturday, 15 feet behind the soundboard with Sideshow, Team Jolly, Taco, Craig and Andy and a dozen others. There was a solid amount of space to get down and that we did. Second set, six songs. Even when I thought the set couldn’t get better – BOOM! Ghost and POW! Piper. Lizards and Hood capped it all off perfectly. Best set of the weekend in my opinion.

Probably Piper

Monday 9/3 - Returning to the hotel, I discovered that Bob was packing his stuff up quite hastily but slowed once I got into the room. Before long, I started packing for a 10am flight and began the discussion of ‘how are you going to cover this fee?” Bob informed me he lost his credit cards, naturally. Still, he had to come up with a sizeable amount, $475 for the hotel, including the fee and Saturday’s ticket. The circular logic argument came up and with their current state, it wasn’t going to be resolved anytime soon. But I stayed at it, because their ride wanted to bring them to Colorado Springs before long. After two hours of dead end conversations, it became apparant I would be stuck with the charge, before the driver produced $300 out of nowhere and insisted it was enough. We were at least more than halfway there… The rest of the money was a slow bleed, as Bob insisted he needed the money and couldn’t afford the hotel. Eventually, another $20 showed up and I went to checkout before taking a nap in the room. Covering the balance was tricky and the manager was understanding of the situation. Seems Bob made a name for himself Saturday by trying to get an upgrade by offering $20 to the manager. Not an improved room – a FULL ROOM for an extra $20. Think about that for a second.

Exactly. Even though I had hung out with Bob dozens of times in the past few years, in Albany, at shows, festivals, even driven him back from Merriweather to Albany in 2011, this was pretty unexpected and mindblowing at the same time. With little else to do, I kept the lights and TV on, set every alarm possible and got two hours of decent sleep before my flight. Just a little could go a long way for my extended travel day.

Up at 7am, checking the room thoroughly by 7:05, only to realize that Bob has taken off, as expected. Capped off an unexpected aspect to the run. Shower -> shuttle and I was off on the way back to Albany. Denver -> Cincinnati, a 4 hour layover that was surprisingly relaxing, Cincinnati -> Charlotte and another two hours of layover before the final flight back to Albany.

Tuesday 9/4 By 12:30am I had landed and at 1am I got home to my dog Halley and showed my mom a few select pictures of the weekend. A short drive to my apartment and quick unpacking was all I could muster. I slept for 11 straight and still exhausted, mentally as well as physically. Phish is a powerful drug to take, especially across state borders. But it was totally worth it. Phish is always worth it.

Back on the Train by Michael Ortiz

“Back on the Train” by Michael Ortiz of Like Minded Productions is released in conjunction with the Phish shows at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City Colorado. The poster is a follow up to the last two posters Michael Ortiz designed in conjunction with the band. The posters are a great combination of Colorado landscape and the band. The limited edition series of posters are numbered out of 80 and are giclee prints done on 210 gram Textured fine art paper measuring 17″ x 22″. Each print has deckled edges and are signed and numbered by Michael Ortiz. Prints are available at $30.00

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