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What I Learned on Summer Tour 2014

This article was originally published in the Dick’s 2014 edition of Surrender to the Flow Magazine. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Summer 2014 marked the first time I completed an entire Phish summer tour. For years I have always missed out on a couple of shows, typically due to teaching or a pre-planned trip, but this summer, the stars aligned and I was able to finally complete a full summer tour. About halfway through the tour, I was taking away some lessons from my travels that had not appeared otherwise in past tours and non-music related trips around the country. Here, in random order, are some things that I learned after doing a full Phish summer tour:

Whatever you do, take care of your car: before I left, I made sure my Saturn was in good condition and I wasn’t neglecting to get anything fixed. The oil was changed in mid-June, and after driving 1000 miles for the first 10 shows, I got another oil change when I could have waited until Chicago. By the time my next oil change came, things were still in working order and my car was happy. The last thing I needed, especially when the last 8 shows were tightly packed together amid long drives, was my car breaking down.


As seen at MPP

Save money when you can – whether it’s sharing hotels, crashing at friend’s houses near where Phish is playing (incredibly I spent only $300 between 11 nights in hotels), buying groceries and not overloading on gas station food, or avoiding overpriced venue food and beer ($14 at some stops), every dollar counts. On that note…



Eat healthy! – trips to Trader Joe’s in Albany and Chicago got me through tour, using healthy snacks instead of fast food to supplement your diet helped more than I can stress. Fresh fruit is available anywhere, but it’s not hard to find a farmers market and stock up. I spent maybe $60 on these types of snacks all tour – it was the best decision I made, aside from going on tour.


Orange Beach

Stay healthy! – despite healthy habits, I did get a bit of a chest cold for a few days. It happens. Vitamins are a must, rest helps, as does taking it easy for a night – Charlotte was a good show to decide to load up on fruit juice and take some meds. I was back to form by MPP2.  



Rage, but don’t neglect sleep – ah, precious sleep. When I wrote his, I had just woken up from 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep and it was fantastic. On tour, I slept when my body said it was time, and especially if I had a long drive ahead of me. I couldn’t miss getting to some shows and venues, and I certainly couldn’t blow off vending. Sleep wasn’t something I took lightly, and yet I still raged proper with my friends. I’m not talking about going to bed right after a show, just finding those times when a nap makes a world of difference.


Gordo in Chicago

See local sights, local friends and family – this has been a staple of my travels for 20 some years of solo travel. Driving down I-55 in Illinois, I came upon the Mother Jones monument, and having taught about her, I made a pit stop. In Chicago, all that Grant Park and Millennium Park have to offer is worth spending a few hours roaming around. I saw family on the way back home from Alpharetta, and even brought my cousin Cecilia to her first show at Orange Beach (she loved it). Don’t just go on tour and see Phish – those pit stops make for awesome ventures and memories as well.



You will hear a lot of the same songs – yes, Fuego just came out so we knew we were getting a lot of the new songs, but after a bit, “The Line” and “Halfway to the Moon” became less enjoyable just because I’d heard them so many times. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the show, and neither did a bunch of “Julius” and “Character Zero” encores, but it wasn’t as thrilling as say, a “Lizards” encore. But repetition has its flip side – four “Waves” and all those glorious “Harry Hoods” were a pleasant addition to each show. I can imagine fans in 1999 and 2000 going on tour and shrugging at yet another “Farmhouse”, let alone “Character Zero” back in its overplay heyday, as well as 2009 when they came back and Joy songs were in heavy rotation (“Time Turns Elastic” anyone?). Still, as the new songs find their place in the regular rotation I’ll be enjoying them with everyone else.



Tour is expensive – I took part in a project that Surrender editor Christy asked fans to take part in – keeping track of expenses through tour. This was not only fun to do, but eye-opening. Next year I already know where I can cut back and how to improve cost-saving, but some things – merch bought (both lot and venue), venue food and beer, eating out – add up quickly. If I wasn’t vending shirts and such, I would have needed more than savings from a teaching job back home to cover costs.


Great Woods

Tour is not easy – I saw a hilariously true sticker at many stops on tour: “If tour was easy, it would be called your mom”. Tour is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. Riders will fall through, plans that seem perfect will change and you’ll stress out from time to time. It is also tough on your relationship if your SO (or dog/cat) is back home and you don’t see them for three solid weeks. Facetime or Hangout are clutch in that regard and made the time away pass by faster.

The best take away from tour – seeing 22 shows, every incredible highlight, meeting so many great people, hanging with old friends who I hadn’t seen in years and enjoying Phish while cruising the land of the brave and free. This was an incredible journey and I can’t wait to do it again! You should too!

Eric Weber’s 2014 Dick’s Print

Presenting Eric Weber’s ‘Buffalo Bill’ inspired print for 2014 Dick’s. A total of 180 were printed on 80 lb cover stock, measuring 12″ x 18″. Poster are signed and cost $15 shipped.

eric weber

Marc Guertin’s Rocky Mountain “Weigh” & Dick’s Block Prints

Marc Guertin made two unique prints for the recent Phish run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The first print, Rocky Mountain “Weigh”, is a single color hand pressed block print. Printed on gorgeous 140lb watercolor paper (ships flat), this print is signed and numbered in an edition of 75. Print measures 9″ x 12″ and is available in Purple, Pink, Orange, Turquoise, and a Color Shift Red, Yellow and Orange. This print costs $15 which includes shipping.

Marc guertin block print

Click to check out the detail on these prints

The second print, ‘Phish at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City Colorado, 2014′ is a four color, hand pressed, block print poster. It is printed on 100lb Stonehenge paper, with a deckle edge at both the top and the bottom. Signed and numbered edition out of 60, this print measures 11″ x 22″. The image was inspired by a trip to Phish’s recording studio “The Barn.” The outhouse, which is located at “The Barn” was used for the Farmhouse album cover. This print costs $30 and includes shipping.

Marc Guertin

Phish Dicks Print 2014 by Michael Hunt

Michael Hunt made his first ever poster for Dick’s 2014 and has this to say about his art:

This is my first time diving into the design of a print for any music event. I have been an avid collector of concert posters for many years and creating one of my own has always been something I’ve been interested in. I finally decided to take a go at designing my own print for the Phish shows in Colorado and watching this concept go from an idea, to evolve in design and then see printed to a quality that I am satisfied with has been quite the journey. I hope you enjoy the finished product as much as I do.

These posters are 12×18, digital prints, printed on #100 Cover paper with a Matte Finish. A limited edition of 150, Signed & Numbered, these prints cost $20 + $8 Shipping. Click here to buy


Nick Doyle’s 2014 Dick’s Print

Nick Doyle’s Dick’s print is a handprinted screenprint that measures 15” x 20” in an edition of 100. The poster is printed with 5 colors using water based metallic and non-metallic inks on 100% Cotton Canson Edition with one deckled edge. The price for these prints is $30 which includes shipping.


TRiPP’s! DiCK’s! Triptych!

It takes 3 night’s to make a Dick’s run and 3 prints to make a Triptych, because 3 is a magic number! Check out TRIPP’s brand new Triptych celebrating Phish’s triumphant return to Colorado.  You’ll feel like you’re a mile high as you look into this beautiful set of 10″ by 22″ prints. This new triptych is hand drawn and screen-printed on cotton paper using archival inks. These are a Limited Edition Prints, each hand signed and numbered by TRiPP and available for pre-order now and on lot in the TRiPPs Prints booth. Only $60 for the set! Click Here and order yours now!

PH Dicks Instagram pic (2)


Commerce City Print by Maria DiChiappari

Presenting the original concert lot poster for Phish at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado by Maria DiChiappari. A 11×17 digital print on card stock, these prints are in a limited edition of only 200 and are signed and numbered by artist Maria DiChiappari, and made with love!! These posters will be sold on lot all three nights or buy now for only $15 plus shipping!

Phish CO 2014 Poster Final6

Summer Tour Hats and Patches from Conor Brewster

Conor Brewster bring together a handful of hat and patch designs for summer tour.


This special Limited Edition hat was made to commemorate these special Phish memories. The hat features a heather grey woolen fabric with navy blue accents. The brim and top button are lined in navy blue corduroy fabric. Embroidered on the front is Conor Brewster’s 2014 Summer Tour graphic. The hat is a snapback and is one size fits all. Only 50 hats are available online.

The front image is a reference to the sculpture “Reverence” which is located in Burlington, VT. As you drive into Burlington on RT 89, two large whale tails stick out of the earth on the side of the road. To the locals, these whale tails mean you are getting close to home (or leaving on a grand adventure!) The hat features this sculpture for a few reasons:

  • It represents Burlington, the origin of PHISH
  • The band members would see this sculpture every time they left Burlington to play a show, or arrived home after being on the road.
  • We made the tails purple, as in ‘PURPLE HUMPBACK WHALE”
  • Whales are kinda like big PHISH anyway, right? Kinda…

Embroidered on the side is the great, green state of Vermont, marked with a star on Burlington. It says “SINCE 83″ above this image which represents Phish’s beginnings there in 1983!

Order the hats here.

The Summer Tour Patches

Same as the hats but in patch form! Order patches here!



Kuroda’s Lights Patch

This is a 4.5″ wide iron-on patch with many colors made to represent the effect of stage lights in the dark. This design was directly inspire by Lighting Designer Chris Kuroda’s Phish Rig. The scenes and effects he creates during the live shows are truly a form of fine art. Kuroda is so well respected by phans that he is often considered to be a “5th” member of the band, earning him the nickname CK5.

Order the Kuroda patches here.


Saratoga Patches

This patch was made to commemorate Phish’s 4th of July run in Saratoga, NY. Each firework on the patch represents a Phish song (or cover!) in the style of a vintage firework. This patch is a Limited Edition of 100, and measures 4.5″ in width. Great for hats, shirts, bags, and more!

Order Saratoga patches here.


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.


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….


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

See you all at SPAC!

Tahoe Tweezer Stickers from Christine Walsh

Christine Walsh, an artist and phan living in Buffalo, NY has made a bumper sticker commemorating the Tahoe Tweezer. Oval in the style of a race ‘bragging rights’ sticker, it has the location (Tahoe), date (7/31/2013) and duration of the epic Tweezer (36:48). The sticker is green with black print. Each sticker costs $3 and 5% of total sales will benefit The Mockingbird Foundation.


Follow Christine on Twitter!

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