The Diary of Bobby Steiner: Tour Tales from the New Millenium
by William Traveler
Review by Timothy E. O’Shea, New Providence, New Jersey, Editor of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish
This book by William Traveler reads exactly as the title suggests, as a diary of a young head on tour in the summer of 200o. It chronicles one recent college graduate’s journey to 18 Phish shows in 25 days spanning 10 different states. Pretty much anyone who has spent time following this band around can attest to the quote on the back cover:
A lot of weird stuff can happen to a guy on the road.
Bobby “Stoner” treats himself to a summer tour run thanks to some graduation money from Momma and Pappa “Stoner”. Each chapter in this book is a new show day including my personal favorite one, “6/24/00 Lakewood Amphitheatre Atlanta. GA : Bilbo and theChurch of FUN”. It’s a about a wacked out overall-wearing hippy who’s part cleric, part prankster and an eventual soothsayer. Bobby’s journal is written in a way that focuses on the fun and memorable interactions with people like this that happens so often on tour.
The shows themselves are not detailed very much as the storyline focuses on all the wacky adventures that transpire between them. This includes but is not limited to: using a Tee-pee for pre-gaming, a full on street riot in Philly replete with nightstick usage and an act so sick and deplorable that it could only happen in New Jersey.
Along the way, our hero meets and falls in love with a hippy chick named, amazingly enough, Althea. They meet on lot via a ticket trade, share a veggie burrito and the rest is history. True to the nature of this book, the “romantic” parts are written in a very honest and almost innocent fashion which lets the reader empathize with the main character. Basically, it leaves the reader hoping that these two crazy mixed up kids are still together and raging lots properly somewhere.
In addition to hippy romance, the book also touches on aspects of modern philosophy, religion, and Zen-like ways of thinking such as “It’s not all good, it just all is.” It briefly encapsulates that magic that seems to exist in the Phish community and spits it out in an easy to read fashion. It’s a fun and quick read that is bound to get any Phish head in the right frame of mind for a summer tour……but you don’t have to take my word for it.