For as long as he can remember Michael Boyer has wanted to illustrate Gamehenge in its entirety. Who can forget Boyer’s Icculus Print released last summer, it was gorgeous, transcendent even, just as a mythic deity should be. This summer Michael has continued the Gamehendge series with a new Triptych Print ,“The Resistance”. These prints bring Tela, The Sloth, and Col. Forbin to life, drawing you ever deeper into Phish’s Mythc Realm. Designed with electric transparent blue and light purple ink over foil the new series has to be seen in person to truly be enjoyed. This 3 print set is available for the SPAC 2016 run and as part of the Gamehendge series. Each set measures 24″ by 36″ and is a Limited Edition of 150. AND they are On Sale now for only $60 for the set. Do. Not. Wait. Order yours now!
2014 marked an incredible year for PhanArt. Not only were incredibly successful PhanArt shows held in Chicago, Las Vegas and in Miami on January 2, the website and logo were redesigned and plans are in place for a greater 2015 with more PhanArt shows amid a growing brand. Great thanks go to Kyle, Alex and Nate for their contributions towards the redesign this past year, Kelley for handling things on a day to day basis and Chris P, Jim, Chris S and Taylor for helping out on the site and at shows. This site could not be possible without you.
Once again, through donations of artists and fans alike, PhanArt raised nearly $4,000 to benefit The Mockingbird Foundation, bringing the total raised since 2009 to nearly $19,000 with a couple of fundraisers to come that will push the total well past the $20,000 mark.
Below are some of the best Phish inspired phan art of 2014. Included are honorable mentions plus the top 14 of 2014, with links to buy where items are not sold out.
This list was compiled based on feedback received through the site, on tour, and through Facebook and Twitter. Fans were asked in the past month for some of the best Phish related (non-official) art of 2014 and they responded. I took all suggestions into account and looked at the list and came up with the top 14, as well as honorable mentions.
Remember, the Phanart made in 2014 was amazing and the following is just some of the best. If you think something was overlooked, share what was missed below in the comments section below. Make sure to support these artists and continue the great tradition of the PhanArt community that continues to grow each year.
Oh, and there will be a PhanArt show in Chicago on July 5th, a change from past shows as this show will highlight and feature Grateful Dead inspired art from artists across the 50 years of the Grateful Dead. More details to come soon.
Honorable Mentions of 2014
Wingsuit Condom by Chris Nesbit
John Ahrens Summer Tour Driver-in (available here to benefit Mockingbird Foundation)
Terry Werner’s Dick’s Stamp Poster Set
Philly ‘Boy Mann God Shit’ Poster (artist unknown)
Paul and Silas shirts by Brian Kirk
The Top 14 of 2014
#14 Southern Run/SoCo shirt by Lane Phlexner and Mark Reynolds
This shirt was seen at the 8 southern shows on Phish’s Summer Tour. Combining the famous southern liqour and tour dates made this a quick seller, one that was requested by many fans during and after tour. This is one of those tour shirts that you’ll see for years and think ‘Damn, I wish I picked that one up back then.’
#13 Darin Shock Couch Tour 2014
With Couch Tour being a viable replacement for going on tour (shout out to children and responsibility!), the phrase has become its own marketing tool for bands and artists alike. State of Shock Studio’s “Couch Tour” is spot on with the view of how fans enjoy the experience from their own homes. Check out detailed photos on Shock’s website. Fall variants and Couch Tour shirts are available as well.
#12 Serlo Icculus 1.0
Mark Serlo brings Icculus to life with this pin. Seemingly etched from stone, Icculus resembles the Nome King from Return to Oz.
#11 Scottie Chapman “Your Trip is Short” stickers
Take the Batman slapping Robin meme and add in a contradiction between fan bases and you have a hilarious sticker. Add Trey to the ‘Core Four’ and this sticker has a second wind of smart hilarity, although not all will get the ‘Your Trip is Short’ reference. Either way, this sticker is a trip. Order one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
#10 Jon Rose’s Dick’s Print
This poster is thick with ink and was last seen dancing to “Dick’s Simple” near the soundboard. That’s how strong a poster this is – Jon Rose once again made an incredible poster to commemorate the fourth year of Phish at Dick’s.
#9 Ariane Davis Seven Below
A wonderfully inventive snowflake pin with great symmetry to represent the theme of “Seven Below”.
#8 Isadora Bullock SPAC Fuego
Isadora continues a great run over the past few years with the SPAC Fuego, a vibrant and eye-catching linocut that was in high demand, leading to shirts being printed in the fall with the now iconic design. The edition of 150 sold out this summer amid great demand.
#7 Wookles Shooter/Weapons pin sets
Smart art means getting creative and these are some of the smartest art of 2014. Six-shooters (LE 150 each) with bullet-specific-designs under the bullet holes, combined with bullets (LE 100 each) that contain a theme (band member nicknames, animals, etc…) make the bullet/shooters by Wookles a winner. But Wookles went a step further with his weapons sets (LE 150 each), adding relative weaponry to accompany various songs or onamonapia to create complimentary sets of pins that were immediate hits.
#6 Otto SPAC
Otto had a pretty good year among his various artistic endeavors, seen here, and among them is his SPAC print. This gorgeous poster features an equally gorgeous girl dancing and looking up the to heavens, draped in the red white and blue. This frame job captures the beauty of the print and the weekend all at once.
#5 Jay Rizzi/Cat Zachar Orange Beach 2014
This poster caught my eye leaving Orange Beach on August 1 for multiple reasons – the detail, the waves and the ink/paper combo. Details are worked subtly in throughout the entire print, all the way down the curls of the waves. Using a combination of water color, pen, ink and digital media and printed on metallic linen paper for an illustrious yet surprisingly thin combination that was snapped up by a lucky few in an edition of only 42. Rizzi’s Fall Tour prints were quite the detailed hit as well.
#4 Sam Sutton/Dave Bangert “JEMP Truck” slider pin
Created based on one of the final and lasting memories of 2013, Sam Sutton takes the JEMP truck, incorporates the band’s setup in the middle of MSG on 12/31/13 and added in sliders that allow the band to rise up from inside the truck, much like the stage itself rose up once the truck’s roof was blown off. Fun fact – this edition of 100 sold out in 28 seconds.
#3 Jiggs “Martian Monster” shirt
Jiggs has come up with a few vintage poster and shirt designs for the Halloween shows and ‘You’re About to Blast Off’ is one of the best. Jiggs explains how he came up with the design: “It all started when I was pretending to work for the Phish Bill and I created the “They Attack”/Hitchcock mock up. The rest of the ideas just flowed from “What if these Phish songs were advertised as their own movies?” And with that, you have Jiggs’ “Martian Monster”, “They Attack”, “Your Pet Cat” and “The Dogs” available now.
#2 Andrew Bryant and Josh Lang “Knife in Lights” pin
This pin collaboration from Andrew Bryant (Band in Lights) and Josh Lang (Pin Me Down) mixes Bryant’s ‘Band in Lights’ design along with a three dimensional aspect of lights that swing out from an interior shell ala a Swiss Army knife. Quality and an inventive approach that matches well with the design.
#1 Brian Bojo – Phifty-Two Weeks
Top honors this year go to Brian Bojo for his year long effort to create 52 unique pieces of Phan Art. The 52 pieces make one broader piece of art, combining mediums and time, leading to a broad expression of the influence of Phish’s music and community. Bojo has created a lasting art series with Phifty-Two Weeks. A gallery of some of his 52 weeks can be seen below with the rest visible at phiftytwoweeks.com.
Congrats to Brian and all the Best of PhanArt 2014!
Isadora Bullock has released two more of her Phish Summer Tour 2014 prints. “Inside Your Fuego” for SPAC 2014 is a 4 color linocut print, measues 15″ x 21.5″, limited edition of 150 for Phish in Saratoga Springs, NY at SPAC July 3-4, 2014. This print can be picked up below for $35 plus shipping. Click here to see process photos of the making of “Inside Your Fuego”.
Isadora’s Randall’s Island 2014 print is below and will be a 4 color linocut print, measures 15″ x 21.5″, in a limited edition of 100 for Phish at Randall’s Island in New York July 11–13, 2014. Prints are available now for $35 plus shipping. Finished print will ship in July.
“Melt…split open and melt…” With its textured, complex, and sometimes esoteric improvisational section; a song like SOAM required a detailed and intricate image to represent the true spirit of the tune. The third eye of this fan is split wide open…the face melting from the intensity of a heavy SOAM jam. The notes of the jam flowing into the ears create the colors that melt and shape this entire image. The music produces beautiful vines from the outside of the eyes while liquifying the lower half of the face into drips and droplets of color. With the dates stuck on to the tongue of this fan and 2014 written down both sides of the image; this piece is an excellent way to commemorate the bands triumphant return to SPAC for a 3 night stand.
A limited run of 50 prints, each signed and numbered by the artist, are available. Prints are 7 colors at 11″x17″ with a 1/2″ white border. Prints are $25 each plus shipping. Order below via Paypal.
This was originally posted for the June 2010 Phish shows at SPAC. With a few tweaks, some updates and punctuation improvements, here is what you need to know about going to SPAC for Phish during July 3-5, 2014.
First things first, follow UpstateLIVE on Twitter for helpful hints will abound throughout the weekend. We’ll be on location all weekend sharing: traffic info, park updates ( and keeping fans aware of the police presence. In 2013, Saratoga officials announced a crackdown on alcohol and intoxicated people in the state park known as SPA, which includes SPAC. In the past, there has always been a lot of chatter preceding the summer concert season at SPAC regarding the increased police presence and no-alcohol policy (with ticket enforcement and arrest potential). In 2013, beers that were visible in the bottle were confiscated and someone ended up with an incredible supply of heady brews. Don’t treat SPAC lots as a free for all – this is a New York State Park and State Troopers roam the grounds, not local police.
You’ll need this – the map of Saratoga Spa State Park. It is VERY easy to get lost, as you can quite easily wind up walking around for an hour looking for the lot your car is in, or altogether become disoriented. Download PDF: SPAC Map
In the interest of making sure everyone knows what has been the norm in the past, whether you have been here before or not, keep in mind a few things:
State Troopers : Younger fans, keep the alcohol under lock and key, as alcohol sensors have been used in the past. If they see you drinking, they’ll dip in a stick detector for alcohol into the drink and then they can search you. Arcane? Yes. Illegal? Possibly. Outlandish and Insane? Indeed. Don’t stress, just play it smart! This comes from people who have been there and people who work there. Use your heads.
Hotels have also been given a contact number to call if they suspect drug use. So be careful when you are pre-gaming at the hotel or getting back and trying to enjoy the post-show scene or get some sleep.
Post show, there will be checkpoints for drunk driving and K-9 units for the obvious. Don’t leave the park without a sober driver and when you do, drive the speed limit, the cops need only a small reason to pull you over, either on Route 9, Route 50, I-87 or the small towns north and south of Saratoga.
While in town….
Post shows, there are a couple of options right in Saratoga for those who want to keep the party going and are equipped with a designated driver to keep it going till the sun comes up.
The Putnam Den has fast become the premier live music venue in Saratoga, after SPAC. There are three late night shows, one for each night of Phish and only TWO miles from SPAC! Plus, there are more shows each night at The Parting Glass, literally a 0.3 mile walk from Putnam Den. Both venues feature incredible music and a discount if you buy passes to both post-shows each night.
You can find all the info on the post-shows here, but in short, here are your choices for post-Phish music:
July 3rd – Lucid at Putnam Den
July 4th – Waylon Speed at The Parting Glass
July 4th – Twiddle at Putnam Den
July 5th – Formula 5 at The Parting Glass
July 5th – Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at Putnam Den
See you all at SPAC!
These shirts from Will use a design that is a play on the New York State flag with the two ladies dressed in the doughnut print. Below the image the the dates of the three SPAC shows are listed. Shirts are hand screen printed on Gildan 100% preshrunk navy cotton shirts. Cost is $22 plus shipping and can be picked up on lot at all shows this summer!
Ryan Kerrigan has released his Summer Tour 2014 and he has 7 posters, 5 pins and 1 sticker available. See below for all the great art and options to pick up his art, including tour subscriptions!
2014 KERRIGAN SUMMER TOUR STICKER
4″ X 4″ all weather sticker, $3 each, three for $5, or ten for $10
2014 KERRIGAN HAPPY FISH PINS
Each in editions of 100, these pins are $15 shipped, or any two for $25, or get a set of five matching-numbered pins for $55. The 2014 series consists of pins for SPAC, Philly, Randalls, Chicago, and Commerce City.
2014 KERRIGAN TOUR POSTERS
SPAC, Philly, Randall’s Island, Chicago and Alabama (Alpharetta and Commerce City coming soon)
18.25″ x 12.5″, editions of 100, $20 each shipped
Pick up any three for $50 shipped. Mix or match with the other three 2014 tour prints already completed.
Grab a TOUR SUBSCRIPTION! For $100 you get the five prints released already, plus the next two prints and all 7 of your prints will have matching numbers (feel free to request your favorite number) Your first three prints ship immediately.
Well, here we are. The Top 6 in the Best of PhanArt 2013. The art has simply continued to get better and better each year, just like the band. The mutual inspiration is pretty awesome to experience. A big thanks to Kelly, Chris, James, Chris and Taylor for their help in running PhanArt with me this past year, as well as their help at the art shows, without them I simply couldn’t keep up with the site. As far as art shows, you can expect at least one this year; more details to come once we get tour dates!
The Best of PhanArt list was compiled based on feedback received through the site, on tour, and through Facebook and Twitter. Fans were asked in the past month what was some of the best Phish related (non-official) art of 2013 and they responded. I took all suggestions into account and looked at the list and came up with the top 13, as well as the honorable mentions. Today we complete the Best of PhanArt 2013 and wrap things up with the top 6 pieces of original fan-made art from 2013. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 from yesterday.
Remember, the Phanart made in 2013 was amazing and the following is just some of the best. If you think something was overlooked, share what was missed below in the comments section below.
#6 Duke of Lizards by AJ Masthay
It’s tough to pick just one of AJ’s posters from 2013, but fans were pretty unanimous in selecting his SPAC triptych for the Best of PhanArt. Focusing on the Victorian aspect of the springs and baths in Saratoga, AJ brought the Lizards for a stroll through the mansions and halls of the historic town. AJ’s work has been a staple for Phish fans to gaze upon for years now, with many asking when he will do an official print. It’s a fair question, but AJ has been doing some incredible posters for Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic, Yonder Mountain String Band and multiple festivals around the country. As AJ’s intricate linoleum block printing method grows in popularity, I think we aren’t too far off from an official Phish print.
#5 Commerce City by Ryan Kerrigan
Ryan’s daily mandala’s are a treat, but this sun-mandala setting behind the Rocky Mountains and shining down on the crowd at Dick’s is a visual spectacle. Very much creating a three-dimensional image, the sunlight over the imposing mountains mimics Kuroda’s lights on the crowd at Dick’s, with fist-pump guy making a return appearance (he was in the bathroom during The Gorge). Full of detail and color, Kerrigan makes the Best of PhanArt once again, with fans calling this one out for the list months in advance.
#4 Fall Tour Puckheads from Branden Otto and Chatterbox
Designed with Chatterbox, Branden came up with possibly the most unique piece of art this year. Take the owl – clutching Fishman’s vacuum, with each feather on the wings representing one of Phish’s years from 1983-2013. Then, factor in the venues from Fall Tour – every one was, or currently is, home to an AHL or NHL team, making a hockey puck a perfect representation of the venues, as well as the band playing them. At $20, these pucks sold out quickly. Fast forward to MSG and official pucks were selling for $30 a piece, and not nearly as creative as Otto and Chatterbox’s. Pucking great work guys!
#3 “Fly Famous Mockingbird” / “Joy” by Isadora Bullock
What a year Isadora has had! These two prints were overwhelmingly the most popular that fans recommended for the Best of, so much that it was tough to pick one over the other, so both make the list. Isadora’s fine detail in her linoleum block printing, bursting colors and mesmerizing design are showing an artist not on the rise, but hitting a strong peak in her craft. Atlantic City’s poster has the Famous Mockingbird flying towards the Jersey shore, with the venue the center of the resonating waves of sound, while Hampton returns us to a church-like setting, because that’s exactly the feeling one would gain from visiting The Mothership; the stained-glass practically pops off the paper. With an art show in Asheville that runs through February (if you live anywhere close, make the trip and check out her growing gallery of great posters), things couldn’t be looking brighter for Isadora.
#2 Page Side Rage Side Underwear
You have to recognize a great idea when you see one. Page Side on the front (with a dead fish) and Rage side on the back – do these need to explanation? Hot sellers that blew up the site – PhanArt had more hits in the first two days these were on sale than any other item in such a span of time – these boy shorts went fast, as every guy on Phish tour picked them up for his girl, because why not? And Orange and Blue colors? Wise color choices indeed.
And the #1 piece of PhanArt, the Best of 2013 is…….
Yeah bitch! As if this was a surprise. Clearly the hottest piece of art this year was going to have some pop culture tie-in, as everyone and their brother was fawning over the final season of Breaking Bad. Combine “It’s Ice” and that ‘other’ Ice, throw in some Fishman donuts and the result was a nonstop barrage of “How soon can you print more shirts?”, as one printing sold out after another. The folks at Dogmatagram Designs had a hit and once the sticker became a sought after quick seller, shirts soon followed, and inevitably, a pin. Phish fans love a good pop culture connection to the band and this was one of the best in recent memory. As long as Breaking Bad is a legendary TV show, the Heisenberg/It’s Ice design will live on. Say you want this!
What a year 2013 was! Not only was it one of the best Phish years on record, but there was some incredible Phish inspired art that set the bar high for future years. This is not just a coincidence – when the band is at the top of their game, it rubs off on the fans and art community. Summer Shakedowns were good (despite the rain) and Dicks and Fall Tour led to some of the most memorable Shakedowns in 3.0, with the highlight of them all being the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition in Atlantic City on November 2nd.
2013 was also a HUGE year in money raised for The Mockingbird Foundation. For the first time since PhanArt.net started in 2009, PhanArt and Friends have raised over $5,000! $5,106.30 to be exact. I set a goal in 2010 of raising $5,000 a year – the maximum grant that The Mockingbird Foundation gives, and each year we crept towards the goal, this year being the first year we reached that goal! Overall, we have raised over $14,000 and that is mainly from small donations from artists, based on sales of their art. Music fans supporting artists supporting charity supporting music education – this is a fantastic cycle that I’m glad so many have become a part of.
There was a great deal of 30th anniversary art, a plethora of pins, and seemingly everything has the Fishman Donuts on them now. Seriously, they are making carpeting. Wallpaper isnt too far away. A full body tattoo couldn’t be more than five years off. Posters, shirts, stickers, clothing – fans got creative and made great art, leading to fans buying that art and keeping the community thriving and on tour.
Following the pattern I have used for past ‘Best of PhanArt’, I have 13 for 2013 in my best of this year, including honorable mentions, which I am highlighting today. There has simply been too much great art this year and I would be neglecting some great art if I didnt give artists their proper due.
This list was compiled based on feedback received through the site, on tour, and through Facebook and Twitter. Fans were asked in the past month what was some of the best Phish related (non-official) art of 2013 and they responded. I took all suggestions into account and looked at the list and came up with the top 13, as well as the honorable mentions, which are highlighted today.
Remember, the Phanart made in 2013 was amazing and the following is just some of the best. If you think something was overlooked, share what was missed below in the comments section below.
Before we get to the art, a reminder on the mission of PhanArt:
PhanArt’s mission is to compile and preserve art created by Phish fans for the Phish community and, in the course of such work, to also benefit The Mockingbird Foundation, which raises funds for music education for children.
I am always here to support the artists and broaden their audience. Art is neglected in society. I see it neglected in schools – art and music are the first to be cut when something has to go. So with that in mind, consider this:
Ben Whitesell Steampunk – Ben follows up his #1 print of 2012 with this gorgeous print focused on Mike’s bass. Ben has done official prints for Widespread Panic and Keller Williams in the past year, a sign of great things to come from.
Pheanuts shirts/stickers – Ok, disclaimer – this was sold by PhanArt all summer and fall, but the response to this art by Andrew Cariboni puts it on the list. Seriously, the response was overwhelming at times. Thanks to all who picked up a shirt or sticker. The gang’s all there. Look for this shirt to make a return to the PhanArt Store sometime this spring.
Virginia is for Lizards shirts – Maybe So Maybe Lot sold out of this shirt during the Hampton run this past fall, and donated $1 for every shirt sold to The Mockingbird Foundation. After printing some more, he ended up donating $196 from the sale of his shirts. Its not the donations that get him on the list, its the simplicity of the design and use of the iconic Virginia state motto, ‘Virginia is for lovers’. But it’s for the Lizards too.
Fishman scarves – Well, putting the Donuts on everything eventually would lead to some practical, formal applications of the universal design. Last year, it was ties by stuPINdous Creations. This year, it’s scarves from the great mind of Adrian Sharpe at stuPINdous. Warm, super long and quite stylish, these were a huge hit and sold out quickly for good reason.
Mark Serlo’s SPAC poster – I loved this one from the moment I saw it at the Mothership Art Collective’s Summer in Saratoga show during the SPAC run. Simple, small and working the dates and venue into the racing antelope – Mark covered all the bases in one great poster.
Ewok Fishman shirt – I ran into Eli wearing one of these outside the Sea Dog Brewery in Bangor the afternoon of the tour opener, and my jaw dropped. This one was a hit from the get-go – combine Star Wars geekery and a now iconic Phish design, and you have a fantastic shirt. Nub Nub.
Phish Shades – These were seen all over the summer, because Alexandra was selling them at literally every show this tour, even the Toronto rain-date! With a dozen or so different designs and plenty of fans needing sunglasses, these were practical and unique, and a great find on lot.
Hampton Death Star by Terra-Pins – This one sold out on pre-sale, to give you some idea of how popular it was among the pin community. A great pin from Chuck Hoffman and Terra-pins, it gives the term ‘The Mothership’ a whole new perspective, and ties sci-fi geekery to Phish with ease.
That’s all for Part 1. Stay tuned this week for Parts 2 and 3!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.