New from PhanArt in 2011 is our weekly Friday Feature: This Week in PhanArt History. Each piece of art we share is from days of Phish in the past, typically from the 1.0 and 2.0 eras, something of note that fans of all ages can appreciate that is featured in the book PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, with some commentary on the piece by PhanArt Pete.
For our first piece, we go back to 1999, 11 years ago for the most epic Phish New Years Eve ever. ‘Java’ John Goldacker made this poster for the 12/30-31/99 shows on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Florida.
Small fishes adorn the written Phish at the top, with a fish dotting the i. The banner of Big Cypress frames the Cypress Tree that features the silhouettes of the band members very carefully drawn into the branches and leaves. Behind the tree are the sun and the moon, highlighting and symbolizing the day->night nature of the shows and the midnight to sunrise set of the band to ring in the new millennium.
Since 2004, Adam Davidoff has had a unique way of making art for the Phish community – collectible coins that have an incredible amount of detail, all designed by Adam. Below are his 12 coins, as well as paypal links for the three that remain available. Adam will donate $1 from each coin sold to Mockingbird Foundation.
1st Edition Maze/Bowie Coin: Above is the SOLD OUT Original Maze/Bowie Coin (600) which debuted in April 2004 The Maze/Bowie Coin was my original design. The idea was to symbolically represent the state of limbo that exists (albeit briefly) during the intros of these 2 Phish songs. This duality struck me as the perfect theme upon which I could design a Phish Coin. The Maze/Bowie Coin is a flipping coin, and the idea is that when life throws a decision at you, you use this coin to make your decision for you.
UVM/Coventry Coin: Above is the SOLD OUT UVM/Coventry Coin (500) which debuted in August 2004 The UVM/Coventry Coin was never meant to be. However, when the boys pulled the plug in May of 2004 I decided if the gig was up, I had to make one final coin, my swan song of sorts. The idea behind the UVM/Coventry Coin was to symbolically bookend the career of Phish. One side represents their early days at UVM, and depicts Slade Hall (where Page played his 1st official gig as a member of Phish). The other side depicts Newport State Airport in Coventry, VT, where Phish ended.
2nd Edition Maze/Bowie Coin: Above is the 2nd Edition Maze/Bowie Coin (600) which debuted in March 2009 I made a few subtle changes to the original design for the 2nd Edition Maze/Bowie Coin. I changed the text on each side to match, and also altered the stars such that they were smaller than those on the original Maze/Bowie Coin. The 2nd Edition also has a reeded edge (like a quarter) and is slightly thicker than the original.
Hampton Reunion Coin: Above is the SOLD OUT Hampton Coin (200) which debuted in March 2009 In designing the Hampton Reunion Coin, I tried to incorporate symbology relating to a rebirth. For this reason, I incorporated a Phoenix on one side, representing Phish rising from the ashes to triumphantly return to the stage in March of 2009. On the venue side there is a moth (another symbol of rebirth) flying toward the full moon in the night sky above Hampton Coliseum.
Red Rocks Coin: Above is the SOLD OUT Red Rocks Coin (200) which debuted in July 2009 The Red Rocks Coin is filled with Phish symbolism referring to the band’s storied past at this great venue. The venue side is loosely based off of a photograph from backstage at the venue. A giant iguana sits atop Creation Rock on the left, a reference to a 1993 narration by Trey at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. On the other side, Icculus awaits the Famous Mockingbird as it delivers the Helping Phriendly Book. These are also subtle references to great performances by Phish at past Red Rocks shows, not to mention the Junta live version of Icculus containing the line “This is Red Rocks… This is the Edge!” On the flip-side is a nod to the Colorado state flag, and this side is the first one on a Phish Coin to be done in full-color.
Festival 8 Halloween Coin: Above is the SOLD OUT Halloween Coin (300) which debuted in October 2009 The Halloween Coin is chock full of symbolism referring to the desert venue, as well as Phish related Halloween. The Desert (life) side of the coin depicts a hot air balloon with an “8″ on it, as the Coachella Valley is a hotbed for hot air ballooning. The date palm (tree of life) is an allusion to the Save the Date theme used in the announcement of Festival 8, and serves a vital role in the agricultural economy of the Coachella Valley. The saguaro cactus is a nod to Gordo, and the peyote button symbolizes a spiritual desert journey, which many of us had at Festival 8. The Camel has a polo mallet leaning up against it in reference to the Empire Polo Club.
The Halloween (death) side of the coin depicts no less than 11 Phish songs that I felt have Halloween related symbolism. The ghost serves as the centerpiece of this side of the coin, and it has a snowman dose on its tongue and is holding a piece of meat (a nod to the second song in the Ghost Trilogy). The spider web with a fly caught in it is a reference to Guelah Papyrus, the cat is a reference to Poster Nutbag, and the witch is a reference to Axilla. The tombstone reads RIP R.W. memorializing Roger Wolfe, executed son of Errand Wolfe, rebel leader of the Lizards in Gamhendge. Piper the worm is coming out of the ground below the ghost, and a skeleton symbolizes a soul returning to earth on Dia de los Muertos (11/01/09) to beg the holy spirit (ghost) forgiveness for past transgressions. The vultures fly overhead, and the trees are a double reference to I Saw It Again (the 3rd song in the Ghost Trilogy) and Limb By Limb.
Big Cypress 10th Anniversary Coin: Above is the 10th Anniversary Big Cypress Coin (300) which debuted in January 2010 The Big Cypress Coin was made to commemorate the 10 Year Anniversary of the Big Cypress Millennium NYE Festival in the everglades. One side of the coin represents the everglades themselves, and the other side depicts the festival site itself. The Everglades side was inspired by the Seminole Tribal legend of creation, in which the creator places a shell at the base of a tree (I chose a Big Cypress “Tree of Life”) and as the tree grew, the roots made the shell crack, and from that shell emerged all of the animals of the world.
The Venue side of the coin depicts the stage setup used for the midnight to sunrise set, and is complete with Father Time on his bicycle, the on-stage porta-potty, and the clock-themed backdrop behind the stage. The Skywheel carnival ride looms in the distance, and a swamp airboat awaits the boys backstage as the first sunrise of the new millennium rises behind palm trees in the distance. Fireworks are exploding above the stage as a news helicopter flies overhead reporting on all of the insanity. The Hot Dog that the band rode to the stage before the all-night set, and the Meatstick Time Capsule, intended to be opened in 4020, are also depicted.
Festival $8 Bill: Above is the Festival $8 Bill (888) which debuted in April 2010 The idea to design an $8 Bill for Festival Eight actually came to me late night on Halloween, so it is safe to say it was a little late! However, over the past few months, the idea kept popping into my head, so I decided to go for it. The design is based on the $1 Bill, and I tried to work in as much Phish symbolism as possible while remaining true to the original form. Basically anything that I could alter to make the Festival $8 Bill Phishy (in a subtle way) I did. The serial number references Halloween, as do the Roman numbers at the bottom of the pyramid. I took out 5 of the 13 stars, olive leaves and arrows in the seal on the right side of the back of the Bill to make eight of each as a nod to Festival 8. Taking out the middle 5 stars actually created an unintended figure eight, which I thought was extra cool! I also removed the center tail feather of the eagle to make it so there are only 8 of them. I changed the Latin slogan below the pyramid to say “Lego Libri Servo Vita” which means “Read the Book and Save Your Life,” and the signatures at the bottom of the front side of the Festival $8 Bill are those of Marco Esquandolas and M.R. Palmer! The Department of the Treasury seal has been altered to reference the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street album cover choice for Halloween. I originally wanted to use a visage of King Wilson, and then it hit me that Woodrow Wilson was on the now defunct $100,000 Bill, so it seemed like a nice touch. I also changed the letter in the middle of the Federal Reserve Seal to an 8, and the city of printing has been changed to Indio, CA. I changed the other serial numbers to F8 and 1030 and 1101 to represent the other two days of the festival. In Clod We Trust needs no explanation, does it? Hope you like it… Just another memento that will be even easier to carry in your wallet. The Festival $8 Bill will be printed on Crane & Company 100% Cotton woven paper… as close to the U.S. currency cotton/linen paper as I can get without having the Feds checking things out!
Greek Theatre Coin: Above is the Greek Theatre Coin (200) which debuted in June 2010 For the Greek Theatre Coin I decided to use the California State Flag a la the Colorado State Flag on the Red Rocks Coin. That idea was very well received, and I think the flag is a great way to represent the state in a singular image. The bear and star were going to be in 3-D, but the colors would not have been able to remain true to form, so I decided to go with full color in 2-D instead. On the other side, I did my best to re-create the feel of a straight-on view of the stage at the Greek Theatre. The maze at the bottom was inspired by the circle that lays in the center of the floor/pit area. I considered putting a bonfire there as a tribute to the bonfire parties thrown in the Greek Theatre before Stanford/Cal football games, but the maze won out. The llama at center-stage pays homage to the 1st song Phish ever played at the Greek Theatre on 8/28/93. The birds above symbolize the performance of The Birds, an ancient Greek drama by Aristophanes. This play marked the 1st performance of any kind in the Greek Theatre in 1903. The clock tower in the background is depicts the landmark of Sather Tower, commonly referred to as “The Campanile” because of its stark resemblance to the Campanile di San Marco in Venice, Italy. The lightning bolts on top of each spire are a subtle nod to the Grateful Dead’s roots in the bay area.
Telluride Coin: Above is the SOLD OUT Telluride Coin (200) which debuted in June 2010 The Front side of the Telluride Coin was inspired by the classic image of the main strip in downtown Telluride, with the mountains looming in the background. The sign on the New Sheridan Hotel now says FLUFFHEAD (a nod to PT) and the clock tower reads 4:20, as do all clocks on Phish Coins. In the foreground, I put a silhouetted image of two guys crossing the street with a keyboard. This is a tribute to the classic shot of Trey and Page walking the keyboard across the street upon their arrival in Telluride in 1988. The Back Side of the Telluride Coin depicts The Roma Bar and its two neighbors, and was inspired by an old oil painting of the building. This pays homage to the location of Phish’s 1st run of shows outside of the Northeast. The Roma Bar hosted Phish for 5 of their 6 shows on that Telluride Run.
Halloween Poker Chip: Above is the Halloween Poker Chip (666) which will debut in October 2010 The Halloween Poker Chip was inspired by two things… The fact that I did a Halloween Coin for Festival 8 in 2009, and the fact that the 2010 Halloween Run is in Atlantic City. The Halloween Poker Chip is a casino grade ceramic chip just like those appearing in casinos worldwide. It weighs 10 grams and is 39 millimeters in diameter, both specs matching casino standards. Unlike traditional clay poker chips, ceramic chips have the image embedded into the chip itself… no cheap inlay stickers that can peel or wear away over time! One side of the Halloween Poker Chip was inspired by an old postcard from the heyday of Atlantic City in the 1930s – 1940s. The $31 denomination was chosen in reference to the 31st of October. I felt that a dollar value needed to be on the chip, and wanted to steer away from any existing chip denominations. I don’t want any pit bosses shaking me down in Atlantic City, right? The flip side of the Halloween Poker Chip is an evil jack-o-lantern, the quintessential Halloween image. The rolling edge of the Halloween Poker Chip was printed in black and orange and designed to mimic the edge spots reminiscent of vintage clay casino poker chips…
2010 NYE Coin: Above is the design of the NYE Coin (300) which will debut in December of 2010 The 2010 NYE Coin was designed to commemorate this year’s 5 night NYE Run being held at The Worcester Centrum and Madison Square Garden. These are two of the more hallowed venues in Phish history, so I tried to work in as much symbolic imagery as possible relating to past moments in each venue. I focused on trying to work in as much NYE flavor as possible, while maintaining a cohesive design. The Worcester Centrum Side of the NYE Coin was inspired by the 1993 NYE Run during which Phish played on a stage designed to look like an aquarium. The square shape of this setup doesn’t work well with the circular format of a coin, so I adapted it to be a fishbowl. The bowl is littered with Phish symbolism. The figure of Moses standing with the 10 Commandments at center stage relates to Tom Marshall’s appearance on 12/31/93 to sing the 1st line that he ever wrote for a Phish song, “Rye, Rye, Rocco” during Antelope. The scuba diver and the giant clam were part of the NYE gag that night, and the sperm whale is a nod to the Moby Dick encore that had everybody buzzing on 11/29/97. The surfboard next to Moses is a reference to the Wipeout Fest that went down at the Centrum almost a year later, on 11/27/98. The dates on this side of the coin were placed in the bubbles rising up from the fishbowl floor. The Madison Square Garden Side of the NYE Coin references all of the previous NYE shows performed at MSG. The Van de Graff generator on the top of Madison Square Garden is a nod to the Gamehendge Time Factory gag performed as midnight approached on 12/31/95. The Udderball (complete with pentagram as a reference to the Harpua narration from 12/30/97) is climbing up the side of MSG, and lends to what I feel is a bit of an urban Godzilla theme. The Udderball was brought to life on an incredible half-domed projector setup that was integral to the 12/31/97 NYE countdown. The caterpillar crawling down 8th Avenue is a reference to the costumed troupe that delighted the audience throughout the 1998 NYE Run, donning an array of fabulous costumery. During the Wolfman’s Brother on 12/28/98 caterpillars crawled up on stage and squirmed around while the band destroyed everyone in MSG that night. The seven snowflakes are a nod to the 2002 NYE gag when snowflakes began falling from the ceiling during the Seven Below performed as midnight approached on 12/31/02. I couldn’t resist making the snowflakes reminiscent of the snowflake on the Alta Ski Resort logo, as that is one of my favorite mountains! The dates for the 3 Night Run appear on the top of the building running along 8th Avenue, and the large digital clock outside of MSG is set to 4:20, as are all clocks that appear on Phish Coins.
These coins are sold out, but check www.phishcoins.com for availability!
Back in 1999, you couldnt walk down the street without seeing phans doing the Meatstick dance. At parties, during class, in the supermarket checkout line, while pumping gas, during sex, the Meatstick was all the rage for one amazing summer.
Phish first played the song on 6/25/97 in Lille, France, as the now unforgettable chorus of the tune spurted out of a “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” tease at the end of a blistering diseased worm known to its friends as “Piper.” (http://www.phish.net/song/meatstick/history). It lied dormant for years, until 1999 it made its triumphant return, with Trey Anastasio proclaiming on 7/3/99 that the “Meatstick” dance would be bigger than the “Macarena.”
In Oswego, 60,000 phans attempted to break the world record of people doing the same dance, but the effort fell short, due in part to a lack of instructions and screens to project the proper way to do the dance, as exhibited by Trey and Mike during a blistering second set of Runaway Jim -> Free, Meatstick, Guyute, Axilla, Llama
With offers refused of having The Meatstick remixed by the Bayside Boys and used in commercials by Slim Jim, Jack Links and Hormel Foods, Phish took the dance to Japan in the summer of 2000. With hope that the Japanese would do for The Meatstick what they did for Karaoke, Hello Kitty and Mr. Sparkle, Japanese lyrics were taught to the band by The Boredoms, a Japanese rock band, it became a worldwide hit in mid-2000. The single spent 14 weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, one of the longest runs atop the Hot 100 chart in history. The song made such an impact that during the Democratic National Convention in 2000, Al Gore humorously performed his version of the Macarena by standing completely still while the song played.**
It has been long rumored that the celebrity that overcame Phish in 2000 with the success of The Meatstick was the impetus behind the hiatus Phish took in 2000-2002. Trey Anastasio was rumored to have remarked, “That fucking song, I never thought a song would drive the band apart. If anything, Jennifer Dances would have done it, but not the Meatstick. I’m still amazed.” Page McConnell’s well known love of sandwiches expanded at this time, leading to an intervention when he attempted to build two Subway franchises on either side of his house in Burlington, to satisfy his desire to become a ‘sandwich artist’. These were known as ‘the dark years’
During the 2003-2004 return of Phish, the song was only played twice, once at the IT festival on 8-2-03, and again in Las Vegas on 4-17-04. Both performances were difficult to bear, knowing the pain the band was going through with this song.
Since Phish’s breakup in 2004 and return in 2009, the song has only been played twice, and now with more gusto and fervor. But the dance was lost to time. On 6-4-09 at Jones Beach, Phish played a solid first ‘3.0’ version of the song, but with little crowd response in the form of the former dance craze. Had fans forgotten the magic of 1999? 10 years of time gone by is the probable reason, but the demise of such a great song was apparent to the band, who shelved it for an entire year. They waited an entire year to break it out in Columbia, Maryland on 6/27/10, and this time the crowd took notice, with more doing The Meatstick, albeit many improperly. Ten minutes of Meatstick goodness, complete with Japanese lyrics reminded older fans of what once was. And the rest of the show was pretty good too.
Here we stand at the forefront of Summer Tour 2010, Leg 2, with a piece of Phish history slipping away to faded memories. Is this the future we want to bring up our children in? A Meatstick-less future? Can you sleep at night knowing you haven’t passed on the legacy that is The Meatstick to your friends and family? If not you, who? If not now, when? If not here, where? AT WHAT COST?!
Spread the word fans! The Meatstick must not fade away! It must stay fresh. Someone tell Trey, he’ll understand. The Magic is not gone!
Share these instructions with fans old and young. Teach, your children well.
* Much of this blog post is satirical. Especially the thing about Page and sandwiches. Although that’s still funny to picture.
** Some information was used from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macarena_(song) because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Also a good idea – citing sources.
Eric Hanson created some amazing posters for Big Cypress, 12/31/02 and Vegas ’03, as well as others. Below are some of the prints he has made that are still available.
The Big Cypress Poster
This 11×14″ poster is screen printed on 80lb Hemp stock. The design shows the earth and concert location in florida. A bi-plane is pulling a banner around a Cypress Tree which is juxtaposed with the hour glass of time passing sand from one millennium into the next. In the upper capsule a silhouette of some band members are rocking their way into a fishbowl below. Two thousand posters were made for this Y2K event and probably half of them were sold at the show. These posters are printed in four different colors: forest green, jet black, royal blue, and majestic purple. They look great when hung together on a wall with a glass and clip frame.
This poster is available in the PhanArt Store.
The Reunion Rendezvous
This poster was produced in extremely limited numbers using a unique inkjet process. Only 37 prints were produced, each one signed and numbered and included an artists certificate of authenticity. This 8×10″ poster commemorates the New Years Eve Show in 2003. At the bottom of the poster a page of a book, a fast food trey, a john, and mike are featured in front of the New York city skyline. In the background a cars tires are making contact with a long road leading to a circus with gates that appear to read “MSG.” Some giant chess pieces in the field dot the journey of fans. A pocket watch dangling from the car reads: About time for another trip which can be read starting from any word in the phrase. The border of the poster is decorated with a maze. These posters are no longer available for sale.
Viva Las Vegas
This 11×16″ poster is from a series of 250 prints, each one signed and numbered. It was made to commemorate the Las Vegas show on February 15 and 16, 2003. This richly color copied print features Las Vegas scenery: five elvis characters on a roller coaster, suzy slot machines, a roulette wheel, a classic .99 cent foot long hot dog sign behind a flying hot dog, a pair of rolling dice, billy and his cat walking out toward Red Rocks, some lizards and more. There are several of these posters available as they were released when the lot poster crackdown began. It was deemed too “phish like” by the undercover authorities roaming the lots, confiscating artwork.