Category Archives: reviews

Photo Gallery: The PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition in Miami, January 2nd, 2015

A look at the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition held in Miami, Florida on January 2 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. 27 artists exhibited their art to 2,000 fans throughout the day, with a special musical performance by Holly Bowling. Check out the local coverage of the event and photo gallery below.

Miami Herald photo gallery

Miami New Times Phish’s New Year’s Run 2015 in Miami: Ten Weirdest Works of Phan Art

PhanArt’s Summer Tour Recap, Part 3

Phish tour in July meant that I could plan to see a bunch of shows without fear of missing school or having to rush home after a show to be up in time for students. This summer was filled with incredible music, great times, good traveling from show to show and meeting new friends and experiences along the way. Here’s my recap of Phish tour from Alpharetta through Toronto and back home again.

Monday I got on the road around 11am, later than I planned but with more than enough time to spare. I was heading from Columbia to Sumter, SC to see my Aunt and Uncle and cousins. The drive was decent, I saw a couple fans along the way, a couple with Phish license plates, watched for cops through Virginia and flew through North Carolina. A nice southern meal and beers with my cousins somehow led to talking about guns and the Second Amendment. There were more beers and then a few rifles were brought out for some reason, but more for show, less for late night hunting. Who knew guns and beer mixed so easily? Then I was asked to explain how I afforded tour and I showed them the contents of the box in the trunk full of PHeanuts shirts and others I was selling this summer and they didn’t get it. Explaining the music of Phish is easier than explaining how a shirt like this is something people buy.

(Note: I am also noticing, as I get into Part 3 of this recap, that the more shows I go to, the more I have to write. Hence, Dick’s is three days away and I’m still writing this.)

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Leaving the next day to drive to ATL meant a newish highway to drive on, which is sort of exciting when you’ve driven most of the eastern half of the country. I got into the loop around Atlanta, was going one way, then backtracked when the trip for a Lot A pass was unnecessary. I drove to meet Bud and Jessica at a new brewery about 20 minutes from Alpharetta. We had a beer and then drove to pick up cold ones, and drive to Lot A. It was nearly 2:30, and some folks were inside, maybe a dozen, setting up on Shakedown. A half dozen cars were waiting to get in and weren’t about to be turned away. The cops finally agreed to let us in, but restricted further traffic a little until about 5pm. This led to more than enough time to set up on Shakedown, right across from Noah and Jiggs and next to Mike Boyer, with prime location taboot. I worked off a bag of wine while catching up with tons of southern friends, and more than a few who used the Syracuse (not Clemson or UT) flag as a meetup spot on lot. I have to say, the crowd was top notch and these were some of the finest lots I have been in for vending. Even the cops were polite and cool in dealing with us, being patient and not hassling us throughout the two days there. This was a welcome relief, and realistically, the last lots with vending until Fall for eastcoasters.

IMG_4596The show that night I felt was better than the next night, for the “Pebbles and Marbles”, but that second set with “Heartbreaker” was a lot of fun, as was the jam into Makisupa, seen below. The “Chalkdust” had a little something extra in it, and Tweezer > Silent in the Morning was nice. A strong encore of ADITL and Tweeprise led to the lot scene erupting over, selling a few TRiPP posters and picking up some short runs local fans made just for these shows.

I could have gone with latenight Waffle House, but waited till the morning to get hash browns scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, peppered and countried (sausage gravy). A needed oil change and we were on the road up to the venue, but alas, not in time for the now-strict 2:30 arrival time. We missed out by just a little bit, so we went down into the urban sprawl and found some beers and food at Five Seasons before heading back to wait in line to get in. Driving around to get back to the lot made me wonder whose bright idea it was to put a music venue in the middle of the burbs, then give it 10 entrances, all in separate areas and restricted by ticket? We were lucky, but it seemed like a poor decision, either for the venue to go there or the sprawl to engulf it so. Still, back on lot at 5pm was good for me and even with a little sprinkle of rain, still had a great day on lot, catching up with Lucas, Holly, Alex, Tyler, Cait and so many southern #twibe folks, my EZ-Up became a default meetup spot.

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Pete, Lucas and Doug

After rocking through a bag of delicious wine (judge me) we packed up and headed in, just missing the rain and ducked into the floor, which was quite spacious and I have to say – what a fucking venue! I loved Alpharetta’s layout, sightlines and sound, it was perfect. Those parking lots were lacking but made up for it with fans. Tonight was a little more rudimentary, “Frost” was new but also should be a TAB song IMHO; “Divided Sky” was nice to finally hear this tour, but the “Drowned>Water in the Sky>Energy” gave some potential that paid off with a really fun Fluffhead, and a Mike’s Groove with a Wedge in the middle. Walking out into the rain sucked, especially when it was coming down and not letting up. Lots were basically closed and there were few if any vendors. I stayed as dry as I could and dealt with the rain, driving back to Sarah’s place with Bud and Jessica to get some sleep after two fun as hell days. I don’t know how I missed shows here before, but it won’t happen again.

Thursday was a travel day, and a long one at that. I planned to be on the road by 11am, but that didn’t happen. Waffle House did, as did a search for the sweet Southern nectar of Sweetwater 420, Blue and IPA. I think I ended up getting on I-75 at 2pm, but made great time through Tennessee, then to Kentucky where I sailed on a road with hardly any other cars – kinda creepy. Indiana was no better, with some dude trying to sell me get me to buy him gas for his crotch rocket (I declined), then drove a few miles before stopping to vacuum out the entire car – great advice from a friend, based on learning that I was driving into Canada for the Toronto show. It was 20 minutes well spent to have no unexpected headaches later on.

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Indiana has wind farms that stretch for miles in all directions. Pretty impressive, but best seen at night when the red lights at the top blink in unison, like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but smaller and less Dreyfussy. I made it to Chicago around 1am CST, making it a 12 hour trip by any standard. Parking was difficult in Lakeview East (but really, Boys Town/Wrigleyville) where Barry lived. I parked six blocks away and lugged my stuff in for the night, sleeping like a rock until noon, when I had to arrange for the lots, drunk bus and whatever else I would need for the show. The bus was cool, with free PBR, but we weren’t allowed to park where the venue said we could – in the parking lot, so that put a snag in the plans and we were dropped off at the venue, but had to walk to get the bus at least 10 blocks away. I could handle that later, even though it sounded like it would suck.

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Then the show and storm happened. I wasn’t thrilled about the bus, and the lawn wasn’t exactly a lawn – we couldn’t see the band from where we were, but yes, big screens. The announcement was disappointing and I’ve said my peace with it, but I still think they could have had better foresight, skipped setbreak, gone on earlier, something. The venue being in the middle of nowhere doesn’t help for other emergencies, real ones at that. So that happened, I ended up cabbing it home and tried to fathom all that happened with the show cancellation. Meanwhile, Pearl Jam continuing to play 6 blocks north of where I was staying was tempting, but it would just be salt in a wound. Sleep would bring me closer to some degree of acceptance of the show being cancelled.

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I was still bothered by it the next day, but had to get my phone repaired and got taken care of by Kaylin at VW, bailing me out when I had no other recourse. I returned to Barry’s and headed down to Erika’s hotel, simply because I needed to be closer to the venue and wanted to see the city a little more. I lucked out staying on the Magnificent Mile and despite the cabs being impossible to get, it was much faster to get to the venue than by bus. The three sets intrigued me, as I hadn’t seen a show like that, outside of NYE, since Coventry, and those sets weren’t the best to reflect upon. We camped out a little closer on the lawn and had a better night than the last: “Golden Age > Waves > Piper” FTW! I fell asleep instantly when I got back to the hotel, after wandering around and getting a coveted Boba Fett Phish poster (thanks Nicole!)

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Waking up at the hotel, I took a dip in the rooftop pool, which was full of a wedding party who were pissy at everyone who didn’t stay at the Crown. I found a nice restaurant for Erika and I to hit off Bandera for delicious sandwiches, peanut cole slaw and home made Oreos with ice cream in a pool of chocolate. Tonight’s show was going to be incredible because this meal was just that good. This time, I drove to the venue, since I had to leave right after to get on the road to Toronto. We paid $40 to park in the main lot and have access to whatever art/beer I had to get rid of, since Canada might have an issue with a ton of PBRs, which I sold at the #twibe get together for a buck (again, thanks Toombs!) but was still stuck with the cooler.

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Cactus came to the Tweetup

These shows were better than the other two simply because the first set was full of ‘We owe you a great show to go out on’, but was again caught up by the rain, and this time – it actually fell when they pulled the plug! Having that orange rain suit is awesome, but I left the overalls in the car, so I scrambled to keep my phone/camera/flip dry, and ended up under a tarp for a spell since there was no refuge being on the floor, but we did have a great view of the lights from dead center/15 feet in front of Kuroda. Second set was off to a great start with “Energy > Ghost” and no one can complain about “Lizards”, but that “Harpua” was something – hilarious, well intentioned and well delivered. The Second City folks were an awesome bridging of the arts – musical and comedy – and got the stories going, whether they were well planned or if it had some deeper meaning, which I agree with.

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The aborted “Antelope” returned and I headed out during “Zero” so I could get things packed up in the car, sell a few quick prints and get out of town. Alexandra, who is selling the Phish Shades on tour planned at some point in the past week to drive with me to Toronto, which was awesome since driving alone there would have been difficult, if not impossible. On the road at 1am and into E. Lansing Michigan for 5 hours of sleep at a cheap hotel were just what we needed, plus some Tim Horton’s because their coffee is delicious! It was only two hours to the Canada border, and we stopped for last chance gas and drinks, where we saw Steve and Katie, and carvanned into Canada. But not before listening to “Blurred Lines” a few times – I heard it for the first time after Chicago and yes Trey, get Phish to cover it!

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Sunset complementing Kuroda

Or so we planned. We got to the gates at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and after saying that yes, we were going to the Phish show, directed to go to the place where they dump your car out because Phish fans are always hiding something. This took 30 minutes or so, and the border guards were incredibly polite and chatty, letting us know exactly what was going on and were cool when they didn’t find anything. Others were stopped too, all with the same ‘Seriously? We’re not that dumb to bring anything into Canada.’ looks on their faces, just as I wore for 30 long minutes. We got back on the road after repacking the car (with border guard assistance!) and hightailed it to Toronto, making it there around 6 pm and the lots around 630 pm.

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There are no lots in Canada. I saw no Shakedown, not even an EZ-Up. Some even balked at taking a FREE Surrender to the Flow! Still, I sold a few stickers to some Americans and Alex sold some sunglasses while we pounded beers before going in. “Undermind”, “Halleys > Twist” and the set closing “Suzy” were all solid, and we rocked out with dead center 400 level railing seats, which led to some pretty impressive photos. The $15 for a 750ml Molson Canadian was weird to see – that much for Canadian beer? Set 2 had a favorite segue of the summer for me: “DWD>2001>Free>Piper>Tweezer” – this was incredible and I had my sore legs to prove it. Canadians tried a glowstick war but it was too polite. “Bowie” was good too (but I felt the show coulda used a YEM to end it instead of Bowie) plus as triple encore, with a nod to the new Prince, something I told Alexandra might happen and she will totally back me up on that. Seeing the CN Tower through the windows of the Amphitheater was pretty damn cool and the Toronto skyline, apartment buildings aside, looked great through the side of the stage.

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Post show, I lost track of Alexandra on the way out, then casually lingered around the lots handing out the last STTFs before driving to BB’s in Buffalo, which was miraculously only 90 minutes away. I got some sleep, woke up the next day and drove to Albany, stopping in Baldwinsville to meet up with Herby, the publisher of UpstateLIVE to talk about the magazine and pick up some issues for my future travels.

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So, thats 14 Phish shows in 20 days, a helluva way to spend a July. I had three festivals back to back to back – Gathering of the Vibes, Backwoods Pondfest and The Big Up that followed, making for the day between, July 24th, my one day of respite before it started all over again. Live music can be incredibly addictive yet well worth it, especially when it’s The Phish from Vermont.

PhanArt’s Summer Tour Recap, Part 2

Phish tour in July meant that I could plan to see a bunch of shows without fear of missing school or having to rush home after a show to be up in time for students. This summer was filled with incredible music, great times, good traveling from show to show and meeting new friends and experiences along the way. Here’s my recap of Phish tour from Holmdel through Merriweather.

It turns out I could have done some more work on Monday, because I was up until 4am Wednesday packing, editing, writing, even vacuuming before I left. I didn’t get on the road until 3pm, which wasn’t good because New Jersey rush hour is just the worst. I got to the Garden State Parkway around 5pm and sailed to the exit, bypassed it, tried to cut in and was met by the cop parked right there. Gotta admit, good spot if you’re low on that ‘illegal lane change’ ticket quote. Still, I got in and parked within 100 feet of the entrance. I had only been here before for TAB in 2001, which you can read about here

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I caught up with Tim and Shaun and Bryan and others, sold a few shirts and went inside. First set was nothing crazy special, although I do enjoy a nice ‘Theme’, but second set contains my vote for 2nd best jam of the summer (after Tahoe Tweezer) – Crosseyed > Hood was incredible for a great 30 minutes of deep jamming and a blissful 4 minutes in the last section of Hood. This second set was the heat and steamy inside, and showed that the band was on track to play better and better each night, which they did for the most part of the summer. It helped I was down low (thanks Tim) and got to see the spaceship aspect of the venue, very underrated in my opinion. I found my way to the Shakedown in Lot 3 that was quite a hike down and up hill, where I caught up with some artists and sold some shirts before taking an easy drive to Shaun’s.

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In the morning, I left with Satoshi and Yasunobu to head out to Yankee Stadium, meeting up with Jason and Jules to see the Royals at 1. Bonus – great seats in right field only a half dozen rows back and Ichiro playing Centerfield. IPAs in hand, we brought two Japhans to their first American Baseball game and basked in the sun on a relaxing as hell day. Jeter came back, got a hit and run and promptly got hurt again; the Yanks came back to win 8-4, and Satoshi and I drove to Long Island, where we stayed the night before the Jones Beach show with Amy, taking it very easy and drinking Blue Points galore.

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Friday was my last day to finish my SPAC review, and managed to get it done by noon and then get through all we had to take care of before getting to the lots. Yasu took care of his streaming stuff, Mark came over with his kid Henry, it was a crazy day and that was before picking up cases at Swiftway and some Italian next door. Looking at 5% chance of rain and nothing on the radar, things looked good for Jones Beach.

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The PhanArt Board of Directors

Then we got there, 20-30 mph winds were a norm and this was going to be interesting. This is one of those times when being an Eagle Scout is awesome. We set up the EZ-Up, tied it down to the wheel of the car, put up the tarp and tied that down, and holding one arm of the EZ-Up in place, we had a shelter for a dozen people at a time. For two hours before a show, this was damn fine group work, getting a little comfort in before the show. And we needed it. That was the worst rain I have ever dealt with at a show, on par with Bonnaroo 2004 and SummerCamp this past year. First set was fun though, I was so pumped up because I have this full body orange rainsuit, and I stay pretty dry in it. They are the best. Yet I got wet because gale force winds and driving rain that seemed to blow upward. Set break Sue, Bryan, Jada, Toombs and I took refuge outside the tunnels, and then, the rain stopped, and the second set began with a reward for toughing it through the rain – “Rock n Roll > 2001 > Tweezer”, all of them just driving the energy in the venue higher. The jam into “Cities was greeted as all Second Set Cities™ should be – with freaking out, and again into “The Wedge”. Even Velvet Sea and Zero were good, and now that I was drying off, the night was looking better and better, even though the rain was manageable, to an extent.

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Post show, I took my sweet time getting dry and ready for a drive straight to the hotel in Columbia, because it was going to rain on and off and taxing. Satoshi and Yasunobu drove with me, but they stopped for a bit in Jersey. I had to get to a bed before I slept and didn’t want to miss going to the venue at a reasonable hour. I got to the Comfort Suites, a pretty nice new chain, for me, and checked in as soon as I could. The drive down was great, the destination even better.

Lunch was a crawfish boil at Noah’s place, with all the fixins and some incredible spice to the crawfish. It was on the way to the venue and Julie and Lesley were both there, a pleasant surprise for all. Crawfish were tasty, but have so little meat on them compared to other seafood I eat. It was damn tasty nonetheless and a culinary bucketlist item to cross off. We managed to get to the lots around 6, ending up in not the good big Lot, which was chill and brought out the Baynes, Charlie, Herschel and Mike Lawrence, who is shooting a 30th anniversary fan film, look for him at Dick’s and on Fall Tour!

There wasn’t much to write home about with MPP night 1, except that I was really glad I was in the pavilion, that rain during the end of Set 1 looked rough, and with the odd slope of the lawn, fuck that. Actually Taste, Maze and Melt were all good in the first set, as was the Hood, but the heat came the next night. Post show, the cops were happy to rush us out the door and back to our hotels, which had a wide array of late night revelers, some spunions, dudes drinking good beer, tweakers and girls drinking good beer. I met some dudes from Texas I think. It was a late night.

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The next day, I was patient for the opportunity to go to a Gastropub for the first time, Victoria’s in Columbia, based on Tim’s recommendation and reminders of ‘duck fat fries’. I ended up with Eggs Benedict, but with prosciutto and crab meat, on a biscuit, with citrus hollandaise sauce. Quite possibly the meal of the tour. We got to the main lot early and got a prime spot – maybe 5 car lengths from the RV the cops were using for surveillance. I put up the Syracuse flag, as I do at most shows, and this year I didn’t get any grief for it. We ended up with a nice lot spread, met some new artists and chilled with everyone who was done with tour and not heading south. In fact, I wouldn’t see some of these folks until Dicks, or even Fall Tour. The first 8 shows there was a good crew of folks, from Twitter and just over the years hanging together. That was cool.

The day was humid as fuck, so inside the circus tent of MPP, it wasn’t going to be any better. The show started out nicely with First Tube and had that pretty awesome debut of the Marimba Lumina in Mule, and as always, a Tube so short you couldn’t take a piss during it. Set 2 with Golden Age > Twist was a perfect combo of songs to get things going, but Light > Boogie Man was where I ended up getting down, all leading up to YEM. Plus a good amount of the Chicago crew I would see in a couple days was there, plus a pair who drove down from Camp Bisco, which ended at dawn that day. There has to be an award for that, driving from a festival you worked at for four days, then to a Phish show. Well done Clownshoes!

Post show, I milked every second out of the lots, because shirts needed to be sold before the unpredictable Alpharetta lots. Back at the hotel, Satoshi and Yasunobu were leaving at 4am to drop off the rental car and fly home (Satoshi) and to Atlanta (Yasunobu). By the time I passed out, I had a big smile on my face, as now my tour was more than half over and it had already been an awesome adventure so far.

Insert appropriate quote from The Curtain here.

PhanArt’s Summer Tour Recap, Part 1

Better late than never, and just in time as I head west to Dick’s, here’s my recap of the 14 shows I did this summer, from Bangor>Toronto, warts and all. Plus a brief recap on Summer in Saratoga: A Rock Art Exhibition, which you can see more photos of here.

Phish tour in July meant that I could plan to see a bunch of shows without fear of missing school or having to rush home after a show to be up in time for students. This summer was filled with incredible music, great times, good traveling from show to show and meeting new friends and experiences along the way. Here’s my recap of Phish tour from Bangor through Toronto.

Myself, Sue and Bryan – all planned to leave on the 2nd from Albany, so we weren’t driving six hours the day of the show. About a week before, Jake hit me up looking for a ride. When a girl like Holly is your reference, say no more. Jake was in with us and we headed up to Bangor after a whirlwind day of getting things in order before starting tour with a clean slate. I had just finished writing a children’s book two days prior that I had put off for entirely too long, and the lack of time to get it finished was a nice propellant to get it done. With the book done and my first Phish show in Maine since IT on tap, the drive was an easy one. Albany>Bangor took just about six hours, but the longest part – Maine, was made extra creepy with a rolling fog on the 95 the entire time. We joked that the home state of Stephen King would be like this.

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Arriving at a Motel 6 around midnight, we checked into a fine 2-star motel and ordered Dominos, because that’s what Maine has to eat at midnight on a Tuesday. We missed the Trey interview on PBS’ NewsHour at 11pm, but we were lucky enough to get a replay at 1am and stayed awake to watch it. Aside from Trey and the interviewers voice, we were so silent we may as well have been in space. I’ve seen this before – when Phish is on TV, or a member of Phish, you stop what you are doing and remain SILENT until it is over. Trey’s interview was the equivalent of putting up three fingers in Boy Scouts or a teacher counting 1….2….3…., but it was all instinct. And an awesome interview taboot. If there’s one aspect of Trey I am fascinated with, its his playing with orchestras these past few years. I actually wrote my first post on PhanArt about the Carnegie Hall show in September 2009. 

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We all woke up the next day excited as anyone could be for the first show of the tour, and for Sue, Bryan and Jake, the first show they’d see in Maine, which is cool if you’re into traveling for Phish. By awesome coincidence, Stu, who I went to Syracuse University with, happened to be vacationing in Bangor. We planned to meet for lunch as a group and visited Sea Dog Brewery, which was located just down the street from Darling’s Waterfront and right on the Penobscot River. The beers were far better at the brewery than in any bottle I had ever had – while this is true for most beers, it is especially true for Sea Dog – and tasty Fish Tacos with the local catch. For only seeing Stu a couple times since he graduated, and our chats and interactions on Facebook, it was a welcome treat to go to a new town and find a friend there, even more so because that friend wasn’t in town for Phish. After lunch and a couple of pictures together, the four of us, now sans Stu, took a short walk up the road to find Stephen King’s house. You couldn’t have found a more awesome/creepy house, complete with dragons, spiderweb gates, a Benz in the driveway, and a gate that was wide open. A few photos and it was back down the hill to the lots, but not before some random as hell dude drove by and tried to sell us pot; apparently Phish being in town means that locals who grow their own use this method of marketing. Naturally, we balked and found an open spot in the lots next to Sea Dog and set up the EZ-Up among a few old friends, and got some more to join us in a packed lot (carwise) for a good 3 hours on lot vending some and catching up with friends we hadn’t seen since NYE in most cases.

We could hear soundcheck from where we were, not too bad and how many people can say their favorite band gives them a treat like that pre-show? We wrapped things up on lot, walked to the show and ran into Parker Harrington who was shooting the show for Livemusicblog, just as Possum was about to get started, because naturally. Overall, I thought the show was fun, with first set a series of standard with some jams, but the Golden Age and Antelope from the Second Set boded well for what lay in store the rest of the tour. (I’m not getting into details on music with these recaps, unless something was pretty awesome).

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The ride back… I had been up since 9am (still on teacher sleep schedule) and it was nearly midnight when we got on the road. I’ve driven farther on less sleep, and with the help of (no joke) the new Donna the Buffalo album and assorted Disco Biscuits and Daft Punk, I was able to make it within 2 hours of Albany before handing the reigns over to Bryan, just as the sun was breaking through. Endurance driving is fun, but after a while, it gets old. Alpharetta to Chicago was easier than this drive and nearly twice as long.

We dropped off Sue and Bryan, Jake and I went back to my place, getting whatever sleep we could. The 4th of July was looming and with a party at my folks place, this was going to be the one night I would sleep halfway-decent until Sunday. After unpacking and squaring things up, I was in bed by 9 AM and able to enjoy the 4th of July, so so much for that plan. Food, pool, drinks, new friends, old friends, everyone filtered in and out during the day over at my folks place, a perfect spot for those days off before SPAC, now in its 4th year! Some folks from School of Phish stopped by, Satoshi flew in to start tour the next day, plus Jules, Scott, Laura, Erika, Adam, many others as the night progressed, because there’s only so much to do in Albany on the 4th besides wait in traffic leaving the EmpireStatePlaza fireworks display.

I woke up on the 5th needing to get to last minute advertising for the art show in Saratoga the next day. Phish was the furthest thing from my mind at this point. I shot up to Saratoga, got some flyers printed, laminates made, checked in at the hotel and helped assemble some of the cardboard displays before rushing back out to get to Albany Airport to pick up Sam (90 minutes late) and Dr. John (30 minutes late), grab food for myself, Sam, Dr. John, Jules, Laura, Jake and probably Toombs, shower and get ready to drive up to the show.

This all unfolded in the short span of 4 hours and got the adrenaline going nicely. To top it off, I had to be on the road by 4pm so that we were in the ‘good lot’, the one across the road from the venue on Route 50. There’s limited vending while you’re up there, and this was the safer of the options. Plus, I had to get out as soon as possible after the show, with the art show and all the next day.

Picking up the media pass for the day and catching up with Andy Hill, photographer for UpstateLIVE.com where I’m the Online Editor, we snuck in just under the wire before they wouldn’t let anyone else in due to a strong thunderstorm cell that was passing over. This is the kind of caution that I can respect, unlike say, NortherlyIsland, but I’ll get to that later on. Watching the crowd pour from the lawn into the balcony, then back out in an orderly manner was actually a thing of beauty – how many other bands have fans that would have done that, without making a scene, pushing, shoving, or being general dicks?

With seats in the third row Page Side, I got some pre-show time to chat with ScottyB from Jambase, talked to some local press and saw familiar faces around the venue (Scott Marks, taper Lenny Stubbe) before resting my legs for a bit prior to the show. I thought the first set was a solid one, especially the Bathtub Gin and Yarmouth Road, but second set had that incredible jam leaving 46 Days that stuck out more than anything. I was happy to be down close and get a good view of the band, something I’ve been more cognizant of in recent tours. Naturally, the rain came down as we left and I wasn’t home until 12:30 AM.

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I love being a part of The Mothership Art Collective and help to put on these great art shows that feature amazing artists and a little something for everyone. I hope to continue being a part of this as long as the band is around and longer. Here’s an idea of what its like to put on these art shows the day of the event:

I woke up on Saturday the 6th around 730am, when some were still awake from the night before, and rushed to shower, put my final art and boxes in the car, filling the entire thing up (plus cooler – these events are dehydrating). These events are great because they are in the middle of a three-day run, so its just one night of sleep, but it’s also a REALLY long day. I’m used to them by now as I’ve been part of a half-dozen or so art shows with PhanArt and Mockingbird, so it’s a marathon like no other. Leaving by 8am and arriving around 830/845am, we unpacked the car and quickly watched the largest room we have ever had (!) come together. There were last minute additions (Michael Boyer, Mark Serlo) and many regulars (AJ Masthay, Isadora Bullock, Noah Phence, Branden Otto) and first timers (Nate Duval, Drew Suto) among the two dozen artists in attendance. Some see each other on Shakedown at shows throughout tour, some are meeting for the first time, or some degree of familiarity with each other. I set up my tables with PhanArt goods and a wide spread of art donated to Mockingbird Foundation – shirts, posters, ties, stickers, and finally assembled the PhanArt pin board with all the pins donated, and for sale, to benefit Mockingbird Foundation. THAT was a task and a half, and done mid-show taboot. There were great volunteers helping out this time, which made things a bit easier and I was able to chat with fans to a greater degree than past shows. Great thanks to Chris, Kelley, Jesse, Windy, the always helpful Dr. John, Satoshi and other I am forgetting, but wow, what a show! We raised nearly $500 for The Mockingbird Foundation, brought in other donations from artists at the show and had the largest crowd yet – 1200-1500 Phish fans, friends and locals coming to check out some awesome art. I was pleasantly surprised when Marc, who I went to SU with, happened to stop by – he was in town and saw about the show, so we caught up and got to introduce him to the Phish art scene, as well as a little Phish. The entire day was just that great.

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My good friend Shawn, who I saw TAB shows with in 2001 as I drove across the country, stopped by and joined the party for the next two days. We packed up the cars, drove over to the lots, barely got into the West 50 lot and had time to breathe for a little, amid the Tweetup of all the Phish #twibe folks. That was awesome too. The show, not so much. The first set was a dragging affairs, until that Melt came around. Second set Tweezer>Sand>Carini was a highlight of the night, and the tour for me, although I didn’t like Architect since it feels like a TAB song at best. For my one night on the lawn, it was a nice party with everyone.

Post show, Shawn and I decided to hit off Twiddle at Putnam Den, because if I awake after this long of a day, I’m certainly going for the trifecta – three shows in one day (and yes an art show counts). We only stayed for a drink over an hour, but it was a great night. Twiddle are quite incredible and are on the rise in just the right way, not rushing it or pacing it. Bed finally came at 4am, when a few of the other 8 staying upstairs and downstairs at my place, were just getting to sleep. Ah, youth.

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Waking the next day, my friend Erika caught up with us as we had lunch at Dinosaur BBQ, a must for anyone who likes food. It’s a regional delicacy for us and damn if it isn’t some of the best BBQ out there. We were on the road in time enough to meet up with Tim and Shaun and Steve and Katie, to set up TWoLArt again on lot. Perfect timing too, as we were one of the last 50 cars to get in that day. One day, I’ll get there early. One day.

With rain looming, as it did for most east coast shows this summer, we headed in a bit early, picking up the 3rd poster to cap off the three prints for the run – great work Drew Millward! – got our seats in the balcony, somehow, the second time for me, and this is a ‘hometown’ summer venue. First set was a rocker, second set a jammer. DWD>Ghost>Piper and Antelope>Meatstick>YEM are the things fantasy setlists are made of. We rocked out with security stopping by to make sure we didn’t breathe on the walkway (but still did anyways) and ended the night with a Loving Cup encore, with full release. Here’s my review for UpstateLIVE. 

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Post show, the fucking Rains of Castamere came down on us, that is, the handful who were dicking around leaving the venue. I was soaked when I got back to my car, but no complaints – Erika was driving us back to my place, a relief after so much driving already for me. Jake and Laura had decided to skip a Sunday show, a lesson quickly learned. Toombs did too, and left me a cooler full of warm PBRs. We mostly stayed up late, knowing there was little to be done on Monday, aside from travel for some and sleep for me. Monday was a take-it-as-it-goes day, with no rushing for any reason. Satoshi, Erika, Sue and I went to see the Lone Ranger (Jerry Bruckheimer old-west action film porn) and had an early night by comparison. I had Tuesday left to me for editing and final preparations for the next 9 shows I would see, taking me all the way to Chicago. It sucked to hear about Toronto being cancelled, especially for affected friends, and was able to attend the rescheduled date, making it 10 shows for the summer.

4 down, 10 to go.

A Review of Trey’s Musical, “Hands on a Hardbody”

I had never before seen a Broadway musical prior to my trip to New York City’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre to see the new musical “Hands on a Hardbody”. The main draw was simple – Trey wrote the music for the musical, which is based on a 1997 documentary about a contest in Texas to see who could keep their hands on a pickup truck the longest. Since this is Trey’s music, I knew what to expect, mainly because the transfer of talent from amphitheater (with Phish and TAB), to music halls (with Philharmonic orchestras across the country) showed his versatility and ability to branch out into other realms of the musical arts. With the combination of Trey and Amanda Green and a stellar cast, the experience was a top notch hit and I couldn’t recommend it any stronger to Phish fans to see. hands_on_hard_body Staged at the nearly 90 year old Brooks Atkinson Theatre in Manhattan, the intimate setting (~1000 seats) brought the stage close up to the audience, guaranteeing a good seat no matter where you were. From the start, the premise of the musical came out clear, particularly the rules, the 15 minutes breaks after 6 hours and the manually rotated truck all set the stage nicely, peppered with a strong Texas vibe best described by John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley. Trey’s influences in the songs are apparent, with the upbeat tempos, quick yet sharp transitions and, rubbing off on Amanda Green, some funny/Phishy lyrics. There is of course, “My Problem Right There”, one of the two songs Phish has performed live. This tune, sung by Jacob Ming-Trent (Ronald McCowan) has a serious soul injection while he raves about his problems of brains, women and sleep. A sexy “Burn That Bridge” is performed by Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone (Heather Stovall) and Jim Newman (Mike Ferris), giving a twist to the story and burning up the stage in the process.

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The Phish songs were played well, which, in my case, were an incentive to seeing the show – I knew a couple songs going in to this otherwise new musical; in a way it felt like my early days of going into Phish show and being excited to know a couple songs. Still, there were 17 songs in the musical that haven’t (yet?) been performed by Phish, including some reprises, but no Tweeprises. “Joy of the Lord” gave out a gospel stomp courtesy of Keala Settle (Norma Valverde) that engaged the whole cast and elicited some of the largest applause of the night. The sweet and airy “I’m Gone”, a duet between Allison Case (Kelli Mangrum) and Jay Armstrong Johnson (Greg Wilhote) that captures Trey’s guitar tone (think a mix of “Sleep Again” and “Horn”), was a highlight for the emotional outpour of the song – the first point where I saw the true incentives for taking part in this contest – as well as the terrific pairing of Case and Johnson. Act One ended strong, with many hopeful contestants still in play.

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The vibe changed in Act Two: exhaustion sets in on the characters, the sleepless nights and the searing Texas sun during the day. This was compounded with spats of racial profiling, deception and even accusations, culminating with “It’s a Fix”. This was an emotion-packed Act 2, most notably “God Answered My Prayers”, one of the most heartfelt tunes of the show thanks to Hunter Foster’s role as Benny Perkins; through him the audience could most strongly make an emotional investment in a contestant, so drawn into his case for winning the truck. The finale, a rousing and uplifting “Keep Your Hands on It” sang the moral of the story with the full cast: If you want something, keep your hands on it. I walked out on a buzz from the entire performance, less because it was my first musical but more because of the strong musical numbers and incredible acting and choreography. I would highly recommend this for Phish fans to check out, perhaps on a day off on Summer Tour this July?

“Hands on a Hardbody” is written by Doug Wright with lyrics by Amanda Green and music by Trey Anastasio, directed by Neil Pepe and musical staging by Sergio Trujillo.

Best Songs: “My Problem Right There”, “Burn that Bridge”, “I’m Gone”, “Joy of the Lord”, “Stronger”, “God Answered My Prayers”, “Used to Be”, “Keep Your Hands on It”

There is a special fan discount that is valid until April 6th. Go through Ticketmaster to purchase tickets here and enter the discount code FAN1HH in the offer code box, then choose your seats from the interactive seat map. One bit of advice – the seats are a bit cramped, so if you are tall like me, get an aisle seat and thank me later.

NYE Recap: We totally dropped the ball on writing this review

That and an unhealthy dose of wook flu led to delays in writing our recap. But we wrote it! Plus, we have a ton of videos to share. So without further rambling, we present:

NYE RUN 2011: Two hotel rooms were harmed in the making of this recap

The lateness of the NYE recap should explain how awesome of a time the PhanArt crew had on this New Years Run. Starting late on December 26th and ending sometime on the 2nd of January, we navigated the cold weather, bad roads, five shows and one football bowl game all in 6 days time. Short of Big Cypress, in our opinion, this was the best New Years run in Phish’s 28 years.

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It all began with the weather factoring into travel plans for friends from across the country. Tripp wound up rerouting his flight arrival from Boston to Albany, flying in shortly after midnight at Albany International. It took well over an hour for me to pick him up from the airport, located 5 miles away. After skidding out a few times and doing a 360 and 540 going down a slight incline, we got to Chez de Mason and called it a night and prepared for finally getting on the road to Worcester after 2 months of anticipation.

The drive to Worcester was surprisingly fast and with clean roads all around New York and Massachusetts. Upon arrival at the Comfort Inn and check-in, the prep for the lots began, but with near zero temperatures and a crowd that was late to arrive and did not seem to mingle for much in the lot, so sales were light at best and the enjoyment of the show inside was all we had. Sitting Page Side with full view of the Canadian Flag, we caught some great shots and videos, as evidenced below. Warren ‘The 5 Guy’ and his friends made up the majority of our section with Unolker from This Week on Lot nearby. My brother Matt came to the show with his friend Brian and luckily enjoyed the floor for the night. The show had its moments, and dusted off two months of kinks that got us to the magic of MSG. The venue felt full, even though it didn’t seem like it should with so many folks missing the show due to the weather and flight cancellations. The main highlight was Mound, but really, you can’t go wrong with a ‘lets get these songs out of the way’ shows like this. They make the whole run that much better as a result.

It was an early night with the cold, although many others were righteous enough to make the hallways smell delicious.

On the 28th, we went to lunch with Tripp and friends to Picadillys. Our cute waitress who we shall call ‘Kelli’ was forbidden by her very bitchy (and possibly constipated) manager, Becky from going to the shows. She had to work doubles BOTH NIGHTS. But Kelli had off the rest of the week. Who the fuck does that? We tried our best, talked her service up, made calls on her behalf, debated just taking her with us (if she was down like that), and even rolling silverware. The prognosis was that despite out best efforts, it didn’t look good and we don’t know if she made it. It’s sad that bitchy managers are keeping hot girls from attending Phish shows. This must end.

This may also explain the 25:1 ratio of guys to girls at shows. We have seen the enemy, and it is Becky.

The lots this night were hopping, and that was an understatement. Lots inside the Uno’s, inside each of the bars, throughout the commercial/exchange lot, which were completely ironic titles for the sales that went down that night. Glowsticks, posters, hoodies, long-sleeves and a wide selection of warm threads and brews were the main point of sale items before and after the show.

This show was an improvement on the night before, with multiple bust outs of My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Albuquerque, She Caught the Katy, Frankie Sez, as well as the debuts of Pigtail (a song with immense potential in a Heavy Things kind of way) and Birdwatcher. Solid jams of Bug and Back on the Train made it OK to leave during Shine a Light because that song is starting to get old fast as an encore, but it’s a great signal to those vending who need to bail for the lots.

Post show the Comfort Inn never smelled so good and all took part in making it so. There were some good folks from RT there. I stopped by, walked in, talked about PhanArt and left, just to keep the same visage in person as he did in line. All in good fun.

The morning of the 29th, we woke up late and with some very understanding kids working the breakfast buffet which closed 45 minutes earlier, we were able to make waffles, because you really can’t say no to waffles. They were great workers and deserve a raise.

It was time to then head back to Albany to refuel the Four Loko machine and head to Tim and Christina’s in New Jersey to sleep again and rest before the next three days turned the dial to 11.

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or: how I learned to stop worrying and drink a lot of Jameson

NYE MSG by TRIPP

To start the day on the 30th, we all drove into the city and checked in quickly at The Hotel Penn(Sylvania) across from MSG. Christina was nice enough to bring the car to Secaucus so we didn’t have to pay extravagant parking costs. We snagged room 1299, down many hallways in this Shining-esque hotel, then unloaded our gear and got our asses uptown. Tim and I met up with old friends on the way up to Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl. After a short round of shots and beers, we took the subway to the Bronx, I grabbed beers at Jimmys and headed to the game. Our seats went from 427 to 333 to 50 yard line 6 rows from the snow on the field. This is when I learned that Jameson makes me say fuck. A lot. More than normal and in a way that would make George Carlin say ‘whoa, dude’.

Syracuse won one of the best bowl games of the year thanks to amazing rushing TDs by Delone Carter from and huge TD bombs thrown to Marcus Sales. Add in that bullshit penalty and well, it was a game that will not soon be forgotten, especially for Syracuse alumni.

Leaving the Stadium, we got back to Hotel Penn to find five people in our room, including folks who were at the game. We got things settled, prepped for the show and walked across the street for the game, all the while coaxing my friend Scott into going to his first show, but being scared of new things, he declined. But it was cool, more room for us to dance!

However, due to the game and having to get back to the hotel, we missed Cities and Chalkdust. We lived. Walking into Gumbo is good enough after a day like this.

The night was spent drinking and celebrating a bowl game and trying to see if it was possible to talk louder than the music. I think we pulled it off at least once.

Later that night I met a girl. She was cool and that’s all I should say about that.

(Listen to Pete get yelled at 12/30 for daring to dance in the aisle!)

Waking up on the 31st, we did the oft-repeated segue of hangover->food and coffee->nap. Then we Got. It. On. I broke out my John Kerry impersonation, you know, just to get things rolling. Because on NYE in NYC it’s very topical. In retrospect, Ketchup heir jokes and references to not cutting the mustard in 2004 were foreshadowing of what was going to come for the entry into the New Year.

Then everyone came over before. Seriously, we had more people in the room than firecode and common sense would dictate. The show was nothing short of amazing. Starting off with dancing with that same beauty of a girl for the first set, we headed up to Page side walkway and caught one of the best sets of 2010 and a whiff of Page’s Ham sandwich. Wilson46 DaysSandNICUDown with DiseaseGhostYou Enjoy Myself-> Manteca -> You Enjoy Myself (via phish.net) provided nearly non-stop dancing, with only enough time during NICU to reapply our melted faces, only to have them blown off during the monstrous DWD->Ghost. There were many happy tears flowing during Ghost, which is nothing short of the best buttery jam of the year.

Triple fisting drinks for the end of the year, we watched from sidestage as my favorite song, and a good reason I got into Phish at Oswego, The Meatstick was broken out. Hints of Big Cypress filled the air, and thanks to the good eyes of fans noticing the missing Flying Hot Dog from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we knew what was in store. Dancers coming out of the woodworks, a stage production that kept the wows flowing and the chills working their way through the sweat and a giant Meatstick flying in from the back of the venue – it was the best way to end an amazing year! It was equally amazing to actually see the Hot Dog this time, unlike at Big Cypress when it was barely visible from our spot far left page side.

Once the show was over, some NYEMSG stickers were sold and we worked out way back to the hotel room. Everyone and their brother was waiting to come on up and security being cool allowed it.

What happened next cannot be written in detail, but we can only note that the room looked somewhat like Dana’s apartment towards the end of Ghostbusters.

And we had 15 people in the room when I took off for Jersey at 4am. The things we do for love.

On the 1st, after my first taste of Disco Fries, I returned to NYC around 5pm and quickly regrouped before heading to the show in closely the same fashion as I had for the other 4.

The show was fun and it felt as though the 1st set would never end. But the 2nd set was the fire and heat of the tour, all at once and not only one of the top 3 sets of 3.0, but also the best set of 2011. Hands down.

Set 2: Crosseyed and PainlessTwistSimpleSneakin’ Sally through the Alley >Makisupa Policeman -> David Bowie

I fell asleep at 3am with a beer in my hand and Skittles on my chest. It’s an art form.

We awoke on January 2nd to livers that hated us and a room that was starting to come alive in its collective hate for what we had brought upon it for the past 72 hours. We cleaned the hotel room pretty well of garbage and empties and we found more random things in there than I care to recount. Small, round things. Skittles.

However, it turns out even when you say ‘hey, we’re checking out late, cool?’, and they say ‘yeah, that’s cool’, it doesn’t mean ‘cool’. It means a 300 pound Samoan security guy will storm upstairs, bitch you out for not being out of the hotel, even though all the bags are packed and we just need a cart to get out of the hotel and down to the car that was now waiting for us. He almost tripped over me while I was sitting on the floor. This recap almost didn’t happen.

But this was just a sign that we had raged this hotel ever so proper – they couldn’t even let us leave. The hotel knew that it wanted us there and we were destined to remain there. Hotel Penn, we love you so, but it’s a 3-4 night affair each year, no more.

We drove back to jersey, then to Albany, and somehow staved off the wook flu for 3 days before succumbing to it. Altogether, this New Years beat out many other worthy nominees from this young century but definitely took the cake. Nothing like spending 6 days seeing 5 shows, 1 football game, packing a room with 3 dozen people over the course of a few days and meeting some amazingly beautiful women.

Life: it’s good when you Phish.

Happy New Year from the PhanArt Crew!

PhanArt review of Atlantic City: It was a real good time

Having fully recovered from Atlantic City – sleep caught up on, ringing in the ears stopped and diet returned to normal – reflecting on a most epic of weekends is in order. For those who went, most of what happened over the course of 72 hours was magical and revitalizing, at the same time exhausting and mind-blowing. Seven sets of Phish, tens of thousands of fans and more smoke and costumes than you normally find at any given Phish show, not to mention the fingers in the air and paychecks dropped at the tables: it only happens in two cities in America when Phish plays, and the east-coast step brother of Las Vegas gave those who never made it west a taste of the Vegas experience.

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We arrived hurriedly from Albany around 6:30pm on Friday night. Having returned to teaching and loving every minute of it, the drive was fast although spotted with construction and shore traffic, but we made it in time to crack a few beers before heading over to the show. Adjoining rooms at the Trump tower meant that we could keep one room relatively stable and turn the other into a vision of Dana’s apartment from the end of Ghostbusters. This isn’t just the norm; this is the way to enjoy a Phish weekend proper.

The first night, musically, was solid, but was overshadowed the next two nights. The dance party was going when one of our local security guards was kind enough to inform us that if we were to bring her and her friend some strawberry vodka the next night, well, we could have carte blanche. When Atlantic city offers you a deal like this, you take it. This was the even money for the blackjack instead of a potential push on the deal, so we won and won again. Sadly though, these folks weren’t working where we were the next night, so this vodka went to better use – ours. Friday late night kept us near the tables, but this night is somehow foggier than the rest. The main thing on my mind was the Phamily Poker Tourny on Saturday at the Tropicana. Some light gambling only meant we would need to make the most out of the long day Saturday. Chris got a pizza at some point, but how he acquired the pie never came to light. Its probably better to not know.

Vinny Naro's Atlantic City print

Our room contained the usual crowd – Chris, Tim, Julie, newcomers Jess plus PhanArtist Vincenzo Naro (who sported the hands down highlight poster of the weekend) and Japanese import Satoshi from Urayasu in the land of the rising sun. Satoshi has made three trips in his life to America, all for Phish, and all since June of 2009. He’s seen 12 shows, owns more lot merch and phanart than most and loves a Fluffhead and Meatstick. His presence this weekend showed that even though the 6 of us spoke little (read: no) Japanese and he spoke some pretty solid English, we could all have a great time for 3 days, connected solely by the love of the music of one band. If only this could be channeled throughout the world where conflict between countries arose, what a world we could make of this place.

In having this unique opportunity to facilitate cultural diffusion, a few conversations were had regarding American slang, and while those went over well, the most interesting, yet out of place conversation was Chris explaining to Satoshi (for unknown reasons) the function and purpose of Native American Reservations. This has nothing to do with the recap, it was just one of those moments that stuck out.

On a side note – the Japanese are already ahead of us technologically, but now they are ahead of us in candy flavoring. Having previously sent me blueberry flavored Kit Kats (so damn good) he brought over a nice array of flavors – citrus, some sort of rose/frosting flavor, caramel and brown tea. I indulged and brought a bottle of (Japanese made) Sake – Fu-Ke Sake. The reaction was priceless on first taste – meh. I couldn’t disagree, it was funny as hell.

check-in at the poker tourny

Saturday I woke on 5 hours of sleep, the most I would get all weekend without interruption. Chris and I got moving down towards the Trop, lugging two boxes of tubes and a box of donations for the Poker Tournament. A tasty overpriced breakfast from Starbucks and we got back to helping out the check-in process, setting up for the tourney and seeing the cadre of fans arrive to the first poker tournament to benefit The Mockingbird Foundation (mbird.org) and music education nationwide. Ellis Godard, Charlie Dirksen, Jeff from Nugs.net, David Steinberg aka ZZYZX, as well as bounty players Pauly from CoventryPhish Blog, artist Jon Lamb from Likeminded Studios, and event poster artist Erin Cadigan were all on hand. It was a who’s who of phans, taking time out from their exhaustion and celebration regimen to help raise money for charity and have a unique experience with fellow fans.

Playing as a bounty player, I donned by shirt and sat down in the 5 seat for what I hoped would not be an utter embarrassment. I don’t play poker very often, and when I do I don’t slow play. With my 10K in chips I was dealt QQ to start the game. I know QQ is a rough hand but I couldn’t help myself and decided to start the game off on a solid aggressive note. Sadly, I lost to KK, along with 4K in chips. It was a rough beat but I kept playing and eventually got back up to 10K and lasted a good hour or so before being dealt a devil of a hand – A2 of hearts. This was going to be my best chance, and at least one fan at the table was ready to test me yet again. Going all in on the turn, I hoped my straight beat out his bluff, but it proved to be a flush instead. Straight < Flush, and I was done. It was fun and worth it, and I ventured over to lend a hand with the prizes and observe a well-run poker tournament that by the manager of the room’s opinion was far above and beyond expectation. He was told by fellow employees that the tournament would have fans lighting up at tables, drinking excessively and a tank or two hidden under the tables. While logic would have told him that tanks are a post-show thing, not a lunch-break habit, none of this was true. Everyone was in a great mood, prizes were handed out throughout the game and everyone left happy, if not exhausted.

We headed through the Trop to the boardwalk, stopping by Hooters for the tweetup before needing to get some food as we were fading fast. Five hours and no semblance of a meal in the past 24 hours meant that liquid refreshment and pizza would be the best means to function through the show and late night revelry. On the boardwalk we stopped to see Ryan Kerrigan selling his Halloween print, then ran into Branden Otto who was doing the same with his poster. We got in front of the venue and incredibly sold a few tubes (unsolicited) to fans waiting around for the doors to open. We got into the Trump and spotted some phishposters.com folks and ventured in for a shot of Patron before going upstairs for the pre-game to begin. Fortunately the rest of the room was on autopilot and I played catchup.

Arranging the vodka for our aforementioned security guards, as well as everything else needed for the show for the phan with OCD: camera, eyedrops, chapstick, beercoozie, merit badges (to sell post show), sunglasses, mardi gras beads (one strand garnered Tim and I a peek at one boob, which is all you can ask for in Jersey, as there are plenty of other boobs around), candy, since it was Halloween, and the basics – ticket and cash. Section 217 was unavailable so we met with Chris who scoped out some nice seating in 215 and all took our seats there.

The show Saturday was Chris’ Halloween, as he ultimately did not score a ticket for Sunday. A serious Zeppelin fan since junior high (he introduced them to me in 9th grade), he was in for the treat that would not come the next night – a heavy dose of Led. Saturday featured collectively, one of the best venues, crowds and playlists of 3.0, as well as security that was cool. How do you know they were cool? We collected high fives from nearly everyone, including the top dogs and cops, which is the international sign for coolness.

nice lights

The madness started with the long pause and glowsticks in Guelah, a solid Foam, and a Chalkdust that got the fun going, not only a bit of Whole Lotta Love, but the band laughing at us after segueing back into Torture with Ha Ha Ha. They know, and they aren’t shy about telling us they do. More 70s rock with Walk Away and Wolfmans before ending the set and sending us scrambling for drinks and Waterwheel meetups.

A random thought crossed my mind during the night’s glowstick wars – instead of throwing the glowsticks progressively towards the band and floor area, send them back up a level. The love has to rain down from somewhere, otherwise its just a splash with occasional explosions from the ardent collector of groundscore glowsticks.

UPDATE: I must give due notice to my good friend Dr. John (no not that one). I walked downstairs at the end of set 1 Saturday night and he was in line to get beers. Rather than jump the line, he passed 2 beers to me and took two for himself. And he paid. What a guy. (he also reminded me about this to include in the writeup.) He is also a foot doctor.

Second set started strong with Tube, although they really do need to look into playing it for more than 6 minutes – where have you gone funk? Possum was great but when they get to Tweezer, just clear some space and let me clear my throat. A classic Tweezer intertwined with full on Whole Lotta Love, Thank You, Ramble On and Stairway verses left the floor sticky from the collective orgasm of the crowd. It only got better with a Halley’s->2001 before winding down the show with BDTNL and an expected Good Times Bad Times. I was itching to vend and catch up with some artists, so the encore was a predictable casualty which I was content with. After making a few extra bucks outside selling shirts and badges, we headed back to the room for some post show analysis, which is basically us drinking beer and saying ‘that was fucking awesome’. It’s much better than nit-picking a show that was fun at all times and a cure for what ails ya.

this is why we see phish

Heading down to the casino, I scouted out a Let it Ride table but the crowd was bossy and no fun, so I took a turn at Spanish 21 (blackjack without 10s and played a bit faster). I went up here and headed back over to Let it Ride for the remainder of the night/dawn. While explaining the game to Tim, Chris and Vinny, I was up, then down, then back up before having the ultimate experience at the tables: dealt out 7810 of hearts, I could finally say ‘let it ride’, and the dealer was kind enough to reveal not just a 5 of hearts, but then a 6 of hearts. My mind went haywire, I jumped up thinking I had 789 of hearts, which would have netted the greatest payday yet for me, but I was reminded I had a 10 in my hand, so a flush led to nothing more than $300. but hey, $300 meant I was nearly even for the weekend, and this was something to build on, but not till tomorrow/later tonight. It was 7am and even the party on the 19th floor was drawing to a close, so eventually I fell asleep, although it wasn’t straight through. Another 4 hours of intermittent sleep and I was up for football and revisiting the night before with everyone. Some friends stopped by and we delved into the rest of the liquor cabinet

Something I recognized over the course of the weekend was that it is nearly impossible to fully explain the Phish experience, or the entire weekend. Try as I might while I type this, I have learned that when phish fans are vague or have trouble explaining the attraction of phish, or show hesitation getting to the core of why we follow this band all over the place, its simply because there is a lot to explain. A LOT. Get your friend to forget the stereotype of pot smoking hippies listening to unending jams is tough enough, but explaining the truth is becoming impractical as the shows and crowds get better and move exciting.

its halloween, but every phish show looks like this

Donning my Jibboo Crew outfit for the evening, we headed downstairs to vend a few shirts preshow and meet up with everyone. I ran into Shirzad dressed as Mexican Cousin, which was ever so accurate with the free shots of tequila to get the night started. Fatigue wasn’t in the equation, so I slugged a bottle of seltzer the entire time waiting to get into the show. It did the trick and I got in without a search and waited for Tim, who was trying his luck for tickets outside. I figured tonight would be a night to hang with Jibboo Crew in 212 and bring Satoshi into the mix, but the text of the weekend arrived – Tim had scored a ticket and was in! It was a tough deal but he made it happen, so we got some celebratory drinks and made our way up to 212. To my surprise, we had Jibboo Crew to our left and Mockingbird folks to the right. In between 2 large groups of friends and acquaintances is the way to see a show, and the stars were aligning for the evening. Satoshi joined us shortly thereafter and the night started out just right with Frankenstein and BBFCFM – some dark and dirty spooky stuff, but it only got better when the rare Ghost (for me) appeared to help me shake off the rest of the exhaustion from the past two days. My body was on auto-pilot dancing through the Ghost, then the jam took a turn and I thought “oh god I know where this is going!”, and they moved into Spooky, a song I recalled from the nights listening to Dr. Demento around Halloween back in high school. Auto-pilot was on for most of the night, since I couldn’t conceivably dance with any volition given the lack of rest I have been accustomed to as of late. Sometimes, the body is willing and makes the mind able. I credit the vibe of the venue and the music, with a nod to Smirnoff and Sodas and a large can of red bull sipped conservatively throughout the evening.

ROYGBIV'd

Set 1 was great, but the buzz was going for Waiting for Columbus, an album that ZZYZX was joking about the day before at the Poker tournament but I ignored since it just didn’t seem possible. Looking at the track listing, I knew half these tunes from seeing and hearing Little Feat earlier this decade and was very interested to see the Phish take on them. Everything was played damn well. Personal highlights include Fat Man in the Bathtub, Oh Atlanta, Spanish Moon, Dixie Chicken, Don’t Bogart that Joint (please get this in the rotation!) and Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, the latter of which was hands down the greatest dancing tune of the weekend. It just keeps getting better and better.

Set 3 was great for two reasons – A Jibboo for the Jibboo Crew and the jam out of Wilson. The rest was solid, but a few rests were needed to ensure energy for latenight. Plus, an amazing opportunity was missed – No horns during Suzy? Come on now Phish! When I first heard 4/4/94, I thought Suzy was played ONLY with horns. When I finally saw one at Big Cypress, I wasn’t let down, but having never seen Suzy with horns (couldn’t make it to fest 8), I was a bit disappointed. Wilson made up for it, as did Hood and a sick encore of Julius with horns. That’s called a push.

We went to the boardwalk to feed off the energy outside and prepare ourselves for one last night of revelry and gambling. $25 blackjack called my name and I responded by taking twice what I started with and calling it even for the weekend. A glass of Grand Marnier to end the night around 6am was perfect and I ventured upstairs with Mel to rest before the checkout and drive home in the morning.

In summary, I won money and finished the weekend even, sold some well-received shirts and badges (thanks Jiggs), slept around 10-12 hours out of 65, drank a fuckton of beer and vodka and danced my balls off. I also inhaled more secondhand smoke in 3 nights than I have in the three years since I quit smoking. But the highlight of the weekend was by far teaching Satoshi the shocker, quite possibly my proudest achievement yet.

Atlantic City, you shed the stigma of Dirty Jerz you’ve had for sometime and provided us with a weekend that will often be imitated but never duplicated. Lets do it again next year.

PhanArt Pete

Hard to Hold, a Romance Novel, featuring a Phish fan

A review of Hard to Hold, by Julie Leto

Once upon a time, there was a phan, and he met the girl of his dreams. They dated, went through peaks and valleys, took trips throughout the world and eventually settled down and got married. But like all things Phish, the story behind this relationship is not easy to explain to others not in the know. For Mike Davoli and Anne Miller, their true story is the focus of the new romance novel by Julie Leto, Hard to Hold.

Now I know what you are thinking – why is a romance novel on the PhanArt Blog? Well, two reasons. One, Mike is featured in PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish with the art he created in the late 90s through Coventry, plus he’s a great friend. That and his story sets the tone for what many Phish fans who moved forward with life, despite not having their favorite band touring for much of the past decade.

Hard to Hold is a love story centering around a Mike, a Phish fan with over 200 shows under his belt, and his wife Anne Miller. They met by way of coincidences – first at a Jeff Tweedy show at The Egg in Albany, NY (the town where much of the book is set), then Mike moving into her building and finding Anne able to walk his dog Sirus while he transferred his life from Oregon to New York. Living in the same building leads to their relationship, as well as putting the past behind them and moving forward towards their respective futures.

The complexities of their relationship is detailed in Hard to Hold, an easy to read, weekend on the road book that keeps the reader focused on the next chapter. Having known Mike since he moved back to Albany, even I was turning the pages looking for the next part of their story, filling in gaps of what I had observed in the past couple years. There are of course, the sexy sex scenes, per all romance novels, and while not as tawdry as a Fabio-front-covered book, they do add a bit of reality to the book. What relationship doesn’t involve some hibbity-dibbity? A boring one. This book and true story are nothing short of the opposite.

Added to the mix are Mike’s Tourette’s Syndrome, which has an impact on the relationship early on, as he reveals to Anne something that he has lived with his whole life and wanted her to be aware of and understanding towards. Coupled with that is the impact of Phish at Red Rocks last summer on their pending marriage and wedding plans. I was honored to be invited to attend the wedding, forgoing Red Rocks. Mike and a few others did not skip making a trip out to Morrison. And that’s where some of the drama of this story develops.

Fans will enjoy this book for the coming of age story many of us faced between August of 2004 and the return announcement in October of 2008. We grew up, jobs turned into careers, dating gave way to relationships, and we still had to reconcile our changed lives with the return of Phish four years later. Some went ahead with life and made phish a small part, some returned phish to prominence in their lives, and others are still sorting it all out.

Pick up a copy of the book on Amazon

This book is PhanArt Recommended and PhanArt Approved

Come meet the real characters Anne Miller and Michael Davoli on
November 9th from 7-9pm.
http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/69190
Barnes and Noble Bookseller–Park Slope
267 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

From Mike Davoli and Anne Miller, stars of Hard to Hold

My Phishy Romance Novel, by Michael Davoli

In nearly thirty years Phish has become one of the most popular modern bands in America selling millions of tickets each year. Yet you would barely know it if you only followed mainstream media. While there have been the occasional mention on a few teenage sitcoms in the early 2000s and of course the unforgettable Simpson’s episode, Phish has rarely made it out of the alternative music world. That is about to change.

Last month HCI Publishing released a new novel featuring a Phishhead as a main character. To be precise, they released a new romance novel featuring a Phishhead..  The novel is a fictionalized account of the real relationship between my wife Anne and I and our beloved Weimariner Sirus. Hard to Hold, by Julie Leto, went on sale in bookstores nationwide and online in September.

Anne and I first met in October 2005 at a Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) show in Albany. I was in Albany for a job interview and decided to catch the show while in town.  Anne and I chatted briefly before going our separate ways.  It was a quick but memorable meeting.  I would be moving to Albany in a few months and I hoped that at some point I would run into her again.

In February 2006 I was loading boxes into my new apartment building when I heard a voice say my name.  It was Anne. To my surprise I was moving into her apartment building.  This is just one of the many remarkable coincidences in the early days of our relationship and are told in detail in the pages of Hard to Hold.

Hard to Hold covers how we met, first dated, fell in love and eventually married.  The novel captures the challenge of a Phishhead marrying a non-Phan from the announcement of the Phish reunion in Hampton to planning a wedding while the summer Phish tour rolled across the country.

Before sharing with Anne the extent of my love of Phish, I shared with her a very private but important thing about myself that she needed to know. I have Tourette Syndrome—a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable muscle tics.

Hard to Hold accurately depicts the very moment when I shared with Anne the extent of my Tourette’s and of my Phish fandom.  Would this be the end of our relationship? The novel tells the story.

When Anne and I got engaged in July 2008 Phish was still broken up with no signs of reuniting.  The novel captures how soon after the announcement of the Hampton Phish shows Anne quickly began to realize what life would be like if she married me. While the Tourette’s may be a pain sometimes, it would not take over our lives like the way Phish would.

Shortly before our wedding a writer for the New York Times decided to write a story about our relationship for the Sunday paper.  The story, which ran on the last day of the summer 2009 tour, featured the potential conflict that arises when a Phishhead marries a non-phan.  After the story appeared HCI Publishing reached out to us and asked if we would allow them to publish our story.

Last spring while I was busy planning my summer tour, I also spent hours emailing Leto all the details she needed to accurately tell our story.  The hardest question to answer was one that I imagine many of you have faced yourself.  Why do we follow Phish?  For Leto, understanding why I fell in love with my wife was easy but understanding why I love Phish so much was much more challenging.

Nearly a year later the book is for sale.  Beginning this fall Phish and Phishheads will enter a place in American culture that very few musicians and their fans, if any, ever have.  From now on, people will never look at Phishheads the same way. After all, if one of us appears as a main character in a romance novel, how strange could we be? While I thought that being included in the New York Times wedding section was the ultimate example of mainstream acceptance, I never imagined a Phishhead being featured in a romance novel.

Hard to Hold is part of a new series of reality based romance novels being published this fall by HCI Books and it is sure to leave you smiling.  Anne and I are excited to share our story with the Phish community and the world.  But be warned—there are some steamy scenes in the novel, and I am not referring to the Drowned>Cross Eyed from Red Rocks.

So to paraphrase Trey, be sure to READ THE BOOK, Hard to Hold by Julie Leto. You can read samples from the book at http://vows.hcibooks.com.  Ask for it wherever you buy books.  With your help we just may be able to get the story of a Phishhead onto the New York Times Best Seller list!

PhanArt Recap of Summer 2010, leg 1

After a long and incredible tour, we’re finally rested and able to reflect on Phish’s Amazing Summer tour 2010 (leg 1).  We present a recap of what we saw, what we heard, and the highlights of Summer 2010!

Hershey: This was the first show of the tour we made it to. A day in the park before the show proved to not be all that tiring, although it was unbearably hot. We finally had a chance to meet and hang with Andrew from Glowstickwars.com and once again chilled with good friend Sam from dogoneblog. The lots were chill, the show itself was solid.

Note to fans: when you lose your ID, don’t ask the people giving you wristbands for drinking. They are elderly and could care less. Find security and they will handle it. Took all of 5 minutes. Good security. And be sure to thank the person who found it.

Hershey - by Pete Mason

Also, they dont take tips at the bars in Hershey Park. Good thing to keep in mind.

Postshow Hershey: Best Western was the place to be. The entire hotel smelled like Otto’s Jacket. Highly recommend this hotel next time Phish comes to town.

(Grad School is nearing the end for PhanArt Pete, so he headed home to Albany for a few days before going to Hartford. Portsmouth sounded good, but finishing a Masters in Special Education sounds better)

Hartford 1: Getting to the lots extra early with Taraleigh the Healthy Hippie helped to avoid the shitshow of Nitrous Lot South that we endured last year. Instead, the VIP lot for $20 was well worth it. You could throw a n00b and hit the front gate we were so close. Sales in the lot were decent but slow. Fans were enjoying the conundrum of parking that is Hartford. Early Arrival FTW!

Hartford Lawn - by Pete Mason

Our good friend Ken from Syracuse joined us for his first Phish show. Ken has an open mind to music, although he is a fan of 80s rock like no other. Having been to 70-80 KISS shows, this was a test, but Ken was down for it. He knows we’re not seeing DMB here. Safe to say he was amazed by the show. The Walk Away floored him because he plays that in his own band, as well as Sugar Shack->Alaska. Set 2 had a tour highlight for Pete, Tim, Ken and many others. Party Time->DWD->Sand was 35 minutes of nonstop dancing. The Horse/Silent and Guyute that followed gave us a break to rest. Perfect timing too.

Heading back to the hotel after the show, we celebrated an impromptu latenight birthday party for Ryan Montbleau. Passing out at 3am is never a problem, except when you have a World Cup game to watch at 10am. Time zones, how do they work?

Hartford 2: Pete awoke to Team USA being down 1-0, so game faces were put on and the room slowly awoke. 1st half was terrible. 2nd half was awesome, with our friend Journey showing up JUST in time to get us that first goal from Landon. She was not permitted to leave until the game ended. Bullshit call by the ref on that winning goal. Glad we tied it 2-2 though

And somehow this is now a sports blog. Our bad. Once every 4 years….

We got some food at a Greek Diner down the road, sobered up, and headed to the hotel to packup before getting to the lots. This time we opted for the EXPO lot, as we did in 2000. It paid off. The folks we were near were solid, ran into the folks we were catching up with in Albany later that night, and sorted out a few things. Even the cops were cool, joking with us under the incredibly arbitrary rules for canopies/tents/ez-ups.

Plus, showtime at 8:15pm? Not bad. 12:30am end time was nice too. Depending who you ask.

Pretty Lights - by Pete Mason

During the show we caught up with Holly, Thomas and Tyler from down south and showed them Northern hospitality by taking their PBR and replacing it with Bud. We had a great time on the lawn. Summer of ’89 is a great new song. The show was all around great and post show was nice in the lots, where the cops waited till 2am to give us the final push to leave. And just in time as a spunion showed up to demand a ride to Springfield. I informed him that we could only take him as far as Shelbyville and he ran off. The drive to Albany was slow, but worth it. Good to sleep in your own bed the night before show #3 of 4 in a row.

SPAC1: We were all admittedly tired and didnt want to deal with SPAC’s crackdown, but it was a smokescreen. If you were under 21, or looked under 21, you were screwed. If you put up a Syracuse Flag and chatted with a cop with a beer in a cup, you were fine. So keep that in mind folks.

SPAC - by Pete Mason

The PhanArt Crew had a great show, although this wasn’t the best of the two nights (Pete’s opinion). Post show we picked up Dr. John at the airport, headed to the apartment, enjoyed the party for a while and rested up for the 42 Degrees and PhanArt Poster show in Glens Falls the next day.

SPAC2: After a successful poster show with great art and great artists on display, as well as great glass and tons of fans and locals visiting the shop, we headed to Davidson’s to watch some South American team smoke some tiny European country. Then it was off to SPAC. Rt 50 entrance is the way to go, and made for a very easy out both nights. Beers in hand, we headed into the show and got right down on the lawn near the bottom, Page Side, a highly recommendable location to watch the show in.

This Man has a Lear Jet - by Pete Mason

The show started strong with Brother (with all the Mason boys in attendance, a nice touch) continued strong  with Undermind and Jibboo, and set 2 got off to a great start for set 2 with Carini->Mango, Wilson. Yes, Drowned was aborted. But there are no complaints about Phish here. Some jams are aborted, some aren’t. And the rest of the show more than made up for it. Maki->Piper->2001->YEM = Best four song set of the tour. Post show was slow moving, but good relaxing at the Mason Ranch with Isadora and Warren and others before heading to sleep.

Oh yeah, they played Sleep Again. That was cool.

Frankenstein - by Pete Mason

Day off – This rest was well earned.

Great Woods: Some days you are out of the starting gate like a horse. Some days you trip out of the gate like a wook who forgot to pull his pants up. This was one of those days. But incredibly, we made it to Providence to pick up Marc and got to Great Woods by 4pm. No Shakedown = No problem. The lack of Vendors boded well for PhanArt, selling books and prints for Mockingbird, as well as so many shirts we nearly ran out of Golgi/Google’s.

Great Woods - by Pete Mason

Matty FC, an old friend from Syracuse who enjoyed his first show together with Pete on 12/13/97 came in with another first timer, our buddy Tony from Coventry (RI, not that other one). The four of us ventured into the show, proceeded to get lost from each other, found a couple of others, decided to enjoy the lawn, and then ventured back to the seats for Set 2. Highlights include Dr. Gabel (love this song) and the Mike’s Groove and Sally->46->Light.

I think Kuroda just Blue us all - by Pete Mason

Then the waiting began. If you dont park in the $40 pay lots before the show, you dont leave until 2am, unless you want to miss the encore. Then by all means. But we didnt leave until 2am, got Marc to Providence at 230am, and were asleep in Seaconk by 330am. And yet again, more soccer to wake up for at 10am.

yup, great shots of lights - by Pete Mason

Day off: Waking up to soccer at 10am after a long day and night of driving, drinking and dancing is no easy feat. Dealing with 90+ minutes of no scoring and sweating the possibility of not advancing? Much worse. So thank you Landon Donovan for scoring that goal! Made the next few days so much easier to bear.

Pete and Melanie hit off Weekapaug, RI, on the way to Camden. This town does not want to be found. It’s like the island from LOST, and since it’s Rhode Island, it’s not far from the truth. Yet we found it. And some solid seafood.

They wrote a song about this town. It's called Cities - by Pete Mason

Next stop was Jersey City at Tim’s for Pete, somewhere in CT for Melanie, and then Camden the next day.

Camden1: Having never been to a Camden show, a bulletproof vest was procured. It was too damn hot for it, and with the thunderstorm rushing through the area, being a conductor for electricity turned out not to be a good idea either. Quick storm, nice cool down, and good times on Shakedown were had by all. The show was solid, but the heat does drain you on days like this. The inside of Susquehanna Bank Center was as hotter than a tin-foil tampon and just never got better. Seats on Page side the next night were somehow cooler. Dehydration may have had a hand in here.

The Rover - by Pete Mason

Camden2: After a night in Fishtown, we headed back to the show, took the lots very calmly for once this tour, and made it in for the bustout show with Alumni->Letter->Alumni and The Sloth, Free Man in Paris debut, and a second set that had an unfinished Chalkdust and Fuckerpants would have made Brownie blush, but the 2001 that came out of Alaska is potentially the #1 highlight of the 1st leg. The dance party was in full effect and anyone who denies this as being less than awesome needs to go see O.A.R. to remember who they are on tour with.

During Mike's - by Pete Mason

A late night in Philly with a) too many people in one room, b) security walking in when things were just getting interesting and c) this guy talking security into not making this a big deal = this is why Philly is NYC’s younger brother. They just never learn.

MPP1: Shirzad came along for the ride for the next few nights, and yet again, World Cup took precedence over Phish. Fortunately it was again, 2:30 in the afternoon and this wont happen again till 2014. (No Phish in 2002 and 2006 may have been too good of a thing for soccer fans). Catching up with Rachel from Syracuse and her family for the game was great, but the Overtime was not. It’s bad enough we lost, but we had to park in the Sears parking lot near MPP, after a sick hour of sitting in traffic. Julie had some great seats inside for us which made it all worth it. The show wasnt the highlight of the tour, but did have its moments. Especially the Tweezer.

Wolfman's - by Pete Mason

A drive to Alexandria later to stay with our good friend Phrazz was more than worth it. Great sleep, good food in the morning, and then hitting the lots extra early proved to be worth it.

MPP2: Fans found the Syracuse flag, Kerrigan prints sold, and Pete did a podcast for This Week on Lot with Steve, Emilie and Laura, all the while dripping in sweat, pounding water like it was beer and watching Gordon drive by on his golfcart. The lots were hot, and the show was hotter.

This Week on Lot, live at MPP - by Tyler Geren

By far the show of the tour, the “I Saw it a YEM’ show never let down. Hanging with Julie from PhanArt and Sam from dogoneblog made for a great night. The Meatstick, the whole 2nd set really, it was all amazing. Just a fantastic, great moment in Phish history there.

This guy, right here. - by Pete Mason

A long drive to Andrew’s house ensued. We may have stayed in Ohio. Still not clear on this.

Day off: Long day of driving to Canandaigua ended with a solid group dinner on the lake and some poker with Noah and the gang. Great sleep->prep for the final show of the tour (for us).

CMAC – The venue, the lots, the town, the scene – all of it was ideal, especially if this was the last, or only show you were hitting off this tour. Yes, there were arrests. This happens everywhere. The cops were out in force, but not enforcing any rules beyond ‘Don’t sell drugs to a cop‘ or ‘Don’t be a menace to South Central while Drinking your Juice in the Hood‘. Too many fans went down for this offense. When will we learn people?

The PhanArt Mobile and setup - by Pete Mason

The lots were great, so many people came by to use the Syracuse Flag as the means of finding others, we debated charging. So next tour – $5 donation to Mockingbird if you use the Syracuse Flag to locate your friends. There were really no landmarks in this lot, not even a giant Itchy sign or Scratchy sign. Not even a Poochie sign. Something for next year.

Great seats at CMAC - by Pete Mason

Lots were great, and again the searches were so weak there may as well have been a tank inside. The show started off interesting enough with a 1st set DWD, Curtis Loew and Connection, but Set 2 is where it was at. Possum, then a Mike’s with some presence, Simple that took its time moving into I am the Walrus was so far out of left field, Manny would have given up on the first note.

Bright n white - by Pete Mason

The show ended, the drive home ensued the next day. A stop in Syracuse for some Cosmos hit the spot before leaving some money with the Casino and returning home to relax and return to life in Albany.

All in all, an A+ tour with great friends, especially from Hartford->CMAC. Thank you to all who supported PhanArt and Mockingbird, who picked up a print or shirt, donated a prints (list coming Wednesday), or just stopped by to say hi. It was great meeting all of you and we look forward to hanging out more this summer at Jones Beach and later this Fall.

Yeah, those dates should be coming soon……

Much Love,

PhanArt Pete and the entire PhanArt Crew

Trey Anastasio Band, Utica, NY 10-25-02

If you werent at The Stanley for this show, you missed out on one of the strongest dance-inducing jams in TAB history followed by the show nearly coming to an end because we literally brought the roof down. Sort of.

The show is a solid one all around, with a strong opener in Javier Cinakowski (Have YOU ever seen a cow ski?), the first and only performance of ‘Perhaps‘ and a rare-mid set @ the BBQ. The Mr. Completely though, thats the big one here. Clocking in around 20 minutes, the jam just gets dirty and the crowd just kept dancing.  These old Depressionera theaters were not meant for this level of funk. Personally, I blame Cyro Baptista, but it was a collective effort. to bring the house down.

During Mr. Completely, as I personally witnessed from 5th row Ray-side, the balcony was literally bouncing up and down which was followed by hallucinations of Steve McCroskey-esque (Airplane!) as he sees the airplane in the tower saying It’s coming right at us!”. We needed no glue to see that the balcony was seriously shaking up and down with each collective jump of the crowd. A quick run to the bathroom and I saw what many others discuss as mere rumor nowadays – the fucking ceiling was seriously falling apart underneath the balcony – especially in the back area way behind the soundboard. One girl was covered in dried plaster and some blood, a few others in just plaster, but yeah, it was real. Pretty scary when you’re three sheets mid-second set.

Trey was then told by Brad to play ONLY acoustic, non-amplified songs for the rest of the night, without striking too much fear into the place. Few knew what happened, but the rest of the show: Ray Dawn, @ the Gazebo, and an hysterical story time before Pebbles and Marbles led to a memorable show for the music as well as the venue.

Overall, a great show, upped by request for all to enjoy. Download links below.

10/25/02 Stanley Theater, Utica, NY
Set I: Javier CinakowskiNight Speaks To A WomanActing the DevilThe Way I Feel,MozambiquePerhapsLast Tube
Set II: Curlew’s CallWindora BugAt the BarbequeMr. Completely1 2Ray Dawn Balloon3At the Gazebo4
Encore: Pebbles and Marbles5

1 “sickening”
2 Brad Sands came out to tell Trey something at the conclusion of Mr. Completely
3 At the end of Radon, Trey explains that the venue management was concerned about the stablity of the balcony after the amount of shaking that went on during Mr. Completely and that the remainder of the songs would be acoustic
4 With the horns at the front of the stage unmiced
5 Trey solo acoustic; Trey tells two stories prior to Pebbles and Marbles

Setlist Source: TeamUSA via PT
(Thanks to JB for the call)

Download the whole show here:

Part 1 http://www.sendspace.com/file/rw9i6z

Part 2 http://www.sendspace.com/file/gld4rz

Part 3 http://www.sendspace.com/file/nyooif

Part 4 http://www.sendspace.com/file/3gn4ry