Phish in Albany = get a hotel room close and wisely

Phish is playing in Albany 11/27 and 28, and we have a little issue with hotels in Albany – there arent many near the venue, and the ones that are within walking distance are more-than-likely sold out by now. These include the Crown Plaza, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn. In the past, friends have gotten hotels, only to find out they are very far away from The Knick (currently the Times Union Center, but dont call it that, please) and that cabs in Albany take forever to sometimes show up for a pickup.

So as a courtesy to Phish fans coming into my hometown for Phish this Thanksgiving, 3 hotels that are close to the venue, a short drive to downtown, and as of this posting, had vacancy at decent rates.

You can tell ’em PhanArt sent ya, but this isnt quid pro quo. We just want you to be cozy. And not in no-mans land

Motel 6

Red Carpet Inn

Clarion Hotel

New Auction to Benefit The Mockingbird Foundation featuring the work of Bruce Horan!

Check out this great piece by Bruce Horan:

Bruce Horan’s ‘Phenway’

Bruce Horan's Phenway
Bruce Horan's Phenway

Bruce Horan’s poster ‘Phenway’, created for the Phish show at Fenway Park, Boston, on 5/31/09. It measures 9.5 X 13 and features a baseball-esque fish, or a fish-inspired baseball. Either way, a great piece of art to remember the start to a great first summer tour back for Phish.

Horan is a featured artist in PhanArt, and has graciously donated multiple posters to be auctioned off for benefit of The Mockingbird Foundation


The Mockingbird Foundation: Fans Giving Back to the Community

Today, we feature the first in our monthly series of charitable organizations in the extensive live-music community. The Mockingbird Foundation is a leading provider of historical information about the band Phish and its music. Conceived in 1996, and founded in 1997, the Foundation is operated entirely by volunteers, without any salaries or paid staff. It fundraises for music education for children by celebrating the music of Phish. Its comprehensive books, innovative recordings, creative donation premiums, and special events for the Phish fan community have raised more than $250K and funded scores of grants so far. The Foundation will release a second edition of The Phish Companion this summer, will announce its next round of grant recipients in October, and will announce some important management changes in one week.

The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization of Phish fans, founded to raise money for charity. The original project was the compilation of the most factually accurate and delightfully literary book on Phish’s music available, with contributions from as many fans as possible. The Foundation now produces a wider range of resources and diversions for fans, including a Phish cover album. No member or volunteer benefits financially from the Foundation in any way, and all proceeds from Mockingbird projects are donated to tax-exempt organizations. The Foundation’s primary purpose is charitable, out of love for and thanks to Phish for their inspiring music.

The Mockingbird Foundation is an unconventional organization: it has no salaries, paid staff, office space, or endowment — thus distributing all possible funds to charity. It exists almost exlcusively online, using the Internet to avoid travel and other expenses typically associated with grant-making entities. The Foundation has earned 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from Internal Revenue Service, thus making donations tax-deductible. Such contributions to the Foundation are applied directly to the next round of regular grants in the funding cycle. (source:

The Mockingbird Foundation is also the recipient of all net-profits from the sale of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, the book for which this website was created. So far, we have raised nearly $1,000 for MBird, and that number will only increase in time.

Pick up a copy of PhanArt today, and help support music education nationwide!

PhanArtist Profile: AJ Masthay

Today we feature out first in a long series of PhanArtists, those creative individuals who were part of the first incarnation of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, and have continued to share their artists creations and endeavors with the Phish community.

Aaron “AJ” Masthay burst into the concert print scene in 2001 with his editions of linoleum blockprints. Traditionally trained at the Hartford Art School, AJ designs, carves, and prints every piece of art by hand. With art firmly based in realism, he uses multiple colors, subject matter, and composition to draw the viewer in. AJ recently moved his shop, Masthay Studios, and is now located out of West Hartford, CT.

AJ has created some amazing prints in the past year, including the Bass Bomb for Hampton, Bass Bomb 2 (thanks to a huge response for the first print), Red Rocks TRex, The First Official McLovins Posters, and an amazing Geisha poster for the PhanArt kickoff party in February.

AJ is one of the great artists to emerge from the Phish scene, and stands to produce great things for many years to come.

Check out his work at

AJ’s newest is a tryptic for the shows in Indio, CA, at the end of October. 3 amazing posters, The Horseman
(Limited edition of 66, 7 color lino block print), Gill-o-tine (Limited edition of 131, 8 color lino block print), and Satan’s Stew
(Limited edition of 66, 8 color lino block print)

While the Gill-o-tine prints will be available individually (#’s 67-131), #’s 1-66 will only be offered as a set of three. Onsale date and time for all prints is Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12 noon EST. Prints are limited to 2 per person.
A Matching set of all three prints – $100.00 plus shipping
A Single Gill-o-tine print – $35 plus shipping

Check out these images below, as well as on his website

John Street Graphics: THE fan business for printing lot-shirts

The first in our series of fan-businesses profiles John Street Graphics, hands down the best place to get your lot shirts made for a solid price. Based in Matthews, NC, and run by Kyle Donaghy, of moe.’s ‘Kyle’s Song’ fame, John Street Graphics specializes in screenprinting and embroidery.

A little background on John Street (

John Street Graphics was started in 1991 in the town of Matthews, North Carloina by Kyle Donaghy. Their history with lot shirts goes back to the early 90’s when they would go to Grateful Dead shows and sell tees to pay for road trips. Kyle and his friends sold shirts, following the Dead up and down the east coast for 5 years or so. Their most famous Dead tee being the green Charlotte Dead shirt they had on the lot in the spring of 1995, and the Spring Tripping Atlanta shirt from 1994.
Around ’94 Kyle, his brother Ryan and friend Chris Pettyjohnstarted seeing Phish, but didn’t make any lot shirts until the Raleigh show in Summer 95. Their first successful shirt was the YEM/STP shirt that debuted at the Clifford Ball shows

Kyle put a custom design on the back for the shows, which became the tradition from then on. It was then that they met up with Tripp Shealy, who had his own cool tee he sold featuring some of his early ‘now famous’ art.

John Street tees have been at a lot of great Phish shows over the years. The Clifford Ball, ’96 & ’98 Halloween shows, the Lemonwheel, Big Cypress, and Coventry. At almost any given time between New Years Run 1996 and Coventry, you could find Ryan or Chris selling John Street originals. “Lot Poster King” Tripp Shealy even learned how to print and worked at John Street!

John Street and Kyle are a significant part of the Phish Community, with Kyle noting “One of the greatest feelings in the world is to see one of your creations on someone in Colorado, or Washington State, or wherever! Thank you to all of you who have supported our love of touring and music through the years, we could not have done it without you! See you soon.”

What has John Street made you ask? Why only some of the most iconic Phish lot shirts seen in the past decade+.

Just to name a few:
Sneakin Sally Nut Bag Ale
Bug/Mug Root Beer
I Survived Hiatus
and so many more….
(images coming soon)

You may have seen John Street Graphics next to the Merch tent at any moe.down in the last decade – they make and sell a great deal of moe. products as well.

Having used John Street for lot shirts for sometime now, I can say for the first time that John Street is an official ‘PhanArt Recommended, PhanArt Approved’ fan-business.

Check them out at or email Kyle at

Tell ’em PhanArt sent ya.

Phish beats George Michael/WHAM on Guilty Pleasure Poll. In other news, two armed man beats up no armed man.

Entertainment Weekly/Weakly’s Whitney Pastorek created a cool idea that folks in the 30-50 demographic would have been all over. Vote on the greatest guilty pleasure of all time! bands like Poison, Ace of Base, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, Meatloaf, and of course, the greatest ‘guilty pleasure’ ever, Phish.

Wait, Phish? It’s a guilty pleasure? By definition, a guilty pleasure is something you enjoy, but feel bad about doing. A few of these bands don’t follow that mindset: Barry Manilow, Journey, Stone Temple Pilots, Garth Brooks (if you like country music) Phil Collins/Genesis (you have to seperate these, phil is a guilty pleasure, but not when he was with genesis!), and of course, Neil Diamond.

So the poll had a few non-guilty pleasures. When Phish is up against (in round by round order) Nickelback, Mariah Carey, Ace of Base, Barry Manilow, and now George Michael/Wham in the finals, exactly who do you think is going to win this?

Phish fans are organized enough to vote en masse for a poll as flawed and time-wasting as this one. Had Phish not been there, the site traffic would have been considerably lower, because no Phish fan will let the 16-seed Phish fall to any of those bands.

I have been informed by Whitney that Phish has won, and the final poll will be out shortly, with a considerable victory for Phish.

We did it! Phish is back, and the fans are back based on the support Phish got in the face of being told not to ‘rig’ voting (i guess thats what Whitney thinks of a landslide vote for one side).

Next Poll, lets do who’s the better jamband: make sure to include Buster Poindexter, Creed, Rihanna, The Moody Blues, Slayer, Insane Clown Posse, and The Cars. No doubt there fans will rise up and make themselves a sandwich and ignore yet another pointless and flawed poll.

But we won! YAY!!!!!!?

Note: Not all bands are actually Guilty Pleasures
Note: Not all bands are actually Guilty Pleasures

Phish announces Festival 8 schedule, Sunday AM acoustic set, still no fall tour dates

Phish announced the schedule for Festival 8 today. 2 sets on friday @ 7:30 and 10, 3 on saturday, the first set at 3pm, the Halloween set starting at 7:30, and again at 10pm. Sunday has a first ever acoustic set at Noon, surely created to get the folks on the fence to jump off on the Indio side. The last two sets are at 5:30 and 8:30, provided plenty of time to pre-game for the night sets.

So an acoustic set? im thinking we’ll get Talk, Train Song, Billy Breathes, Perhaps Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, and my bust-out call, ACOUSTIC ARMY!

make it happen boys!

Trey at Carnegie Hall Review

ok, a week late and a dollar short, but here’s my take on the amazing night of music a few lucky thousand of us were fortunate to be a part of September 12th.

Show Review: Trey Anastasio with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, 9/12/09, Carnegie Hall, NYC
By Pete Mason

For years I have considered orchestral compositions the ultimate form of music, with the intricacies that I felt would never be understood, a style that would be too difficult to get into, and a high-class following that would elude me forever. This started to change years ago when I heard the amazing beauty of Eric Clapton playing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London (2/10/90), and discovered the intersection of one of the greatest guitarist in history and one of the finest orchestras in the world. Hearing Layla, White Room, Bell Bottom Blues, as well as a unique Guitar Concerto in two movements performed with a guitar (?!) AND a 40 piece orchestra. My ears never had it so good. Every note was played, expanding, but not drowning out, the original composition. Bands like Queensryche and YES had explored orchestral infusion into their rock act previously, but the Clapton collaboration hit home with me, and I was forever hooked.

The only thing that stood in the way of getting a fix for this new-orchestral sound was more combination acts like the one that got me hooked. It took only a couple years before Trey was playing with the Vermont Youth Orchestra on ‘Guyute’, but opportunities to see this were limited. I listened to the version on ‘Sharin’ in the Groove’, The Mockingbird Foundation’s tribute album to Phish (, over and over, guiding the orchestra while I drove cross-country and around town. This was some of the best music I could have imagined to hear.

When Trey Anastasio was announced to play the 2004 Bonnaroo music festival with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, I knew that this would be the musical experience I had been long waiting for – combining my favorite band’s music with an orchestra, drawing out every last note of music hidden in there, expanding the tablature to a full musical composition replete with instruments I had not seen nor heard from since grade school. The experience was the highlight of that Bonnaroo, and set the stage for the musical bliss that was set upon Carnegie Hall this past Saturday.

The show having been announced in mid-July, I immediately purchased the best seats I could afford (4th row balcony, which provided immense views), as I knew the size of the room was considerably smaller than a normal phish-venue, and the demand would certainly be high. Arriving at Carnegie Hall, I saw what I had joked would be there, presuming it wouldn’t – nitrous tanks and a few shady-entrepreneurs making a quick buck on fans with money to burn on a cheap high. Ignoring this, I went inside and found myself walking up, up, up, up to the top level, and then was guided to my seat by an usher, which felt very high-class. Taking my seat, I marveled at the crowd around me, the youth, the remarkably familiar feeling I had in this great community of people, as well as the sharply dressed folks who took the occasion to go ‘phormal’, as we once had for Radio City in 2000. The crowd was very chill and happy, and notably respectful of the hall, likely thrilled to be able to see such a unique night of music in such a famous building.

The seats were small and legroom was nil, but that was all taken away with the warming up of the New York Philharmonic. You could hear each section of instruments (the strings, the horns, the woods, the percussion, etc…) randomly tuning up, and a finely tuned ear could hear aspects of the peak of ‘Guyute’, the middle section of ‘Pebbles and Marbles’, and miscellaneous tuning and playing as the crowd got settled.

Upon their arrival to the stage, the principal violinist, the conductor, Asher Fisch, and then The Bad Lieutenant himself, Trey, came out to thunderous applause, likely the loudest Carnegie has ever heard. ‘First tube’ was soft and quiet at first, but perfect. Trey’s guitar was quieter than ever, but he changed the volume as the song got towards the end, with an amazing buildup, similar to the now-invigorated versions phish has played in 09. The flutes, violins and bongos/congos are heavy in this song, carrying the tune to its final section and peaking very subtly and suddenly. ‘The Inlaw Josie Wales’, ‘Brian and Robert’, ‘The Divided Sky’ and ‘Water in the Sky’ were soft excursions into the mid-90s writing of Trey, and showed the orchestral side of his writing that had been there all this time. Divided Sky was the crowd pleaser-supreme in the first set, giving the crowd a wide range of melodies and expansion of an already tremendous song. ‘Pebbles and Marbles’ and ‘Guyute’ closed out the first set, the latter of which had many heads bobbing and moving hands subtly to the movement of Asher Fisch, who was one of the more animated conductors I could have imagined, making Tom Hulce’s Mozart look like a impassive director of music. Fisch was swaying from side to side, almost seeming to leap in the air at times when the music compelled him to do so. It almost seems as though he would fit in at a Phish show.
Setbreak brought about a trip to the headiest smelling bathrooms since the last Phish show, and long lines of fans waiting for overpriced water, but the room was getting a bit warm. ‘Time Turns Elastic’ started with the first two movements, which are not heard in the Phish version, as they are a cornucopia of the orchestra’s sound leading into the ‘Submarine’ section of the 30 minute composition.

This may be one of the best compositions I have ever heard, with high and lows, peaks and valleys, crescendos and decrescendos, arpeggios and other words I had to look up, the masterpiece of Trey’s orchestral composition so far proved itself to be a crowd pleaser, with an attentive crowd focusing on the various sections. When played with Phish, fans take time to refuel and make pit stops, but for this version of ‘Time Turns Elastic’, every audience member hung on each section, as the segues were fluid to say the least. The most fascinating thing about this version of ‘Time Turns Elastic’ was the focus on the various movements and sections within the song. The final section, ‘Carousel’, brought the song to a resounding peak, with applause that was the loudest of the evening thus far.

‘Let me Lie’ was touching, soft and short, providing a nice interlude in between two long epics, the latter being the debut of ‘You Enjoy Myself’, the immense crowd pleaser. This was the song the entire crowd was waiting with baited breath to hear, only to be paused and let the excitement build longer as Trey thanked the audience, the orchestra, and remembered his late-sister, Kristine Anastasio Manning, for who’s foundation the night benefitted.

YEM started off with a round of applause overshadowing the opening section, but soon, you could hear a pin drop, were it not for the orchestra. The crowd hung on every note, hearing the song like never before, but really, like the song was meant to be heard – this version of the song brings out layers and aspects of the song still left unexplored through almost 500 performances over the course of the band’s career. The ‘Pre-Nirvana’ segment had the percussionist working a snare drum to emulate Fishman, as the strings brought about the largess of the ‘Nirvana’ section, with Trey playing softly and complementarily alongside the collection of musicians onstage. The xylophone in this section is worth turning the speakers up for. A crescendo appears here with the trumpets, French horns and tympanis working to bring the song to its first crest. More xylophone brings the section typically played by Mike to its peak, with Trey playing louder and the horns coming in to build the song up once again. The next section with the tremendous peak was resounding with horns and cymbals making it akin to the concert version, but so much better in so many ways. The bongos and congos took over the interlude in between these two sections, with an even louder zenith reached before ‘The Charge’ appeared and then dissolved with audience laughter, before a funky YEM jam beat was played by Trey and the percussionist, all the while the Trombones, Tuba and French Horn played ‘Boy, Man, God, Shit’ in a way it was never played before. You can’t help but laugh hearing this version, both out of the humor inflected by the horns, as well as the precision reached in the performance. Clarinets and other woods built up the song where the trampolines would usually come into play, and then the strings and full orchestra come into play, bringing the song into a three minute composed jam that highlighted all the parts of the song, as well as the musicians on stage, who were performing for an audience larger than they could possibly know.

As the final jam section ended and the strings played a very light ‘Wash Uffizi drive me to Firenze’, Trey set his guitar down and took towards the microphone, and began a vocal jam all on his own, a first for any Phish fan. The similarities between this vocal jam and the ‘Arc’ that Eddie Vedder performed on his recent solo tour this past summer were resounding, with the exception that Anastasio does his vocals all on his own, and without the need to loop the sounds; the room carried Anastasio’s voice throughout its acoustic borders, while the orchestra backed up each inflection of Trey’s voice.

The roar of the audience at the end was deafening, even for one of those cheering loudly. We cheered like a Phish audience for a very non-Phish set of performers, and they deserved every ounce of it. An encore of ‘If I Could’ was so perfect, you need to hear it first hand to truly appreciate how soft and elegant the song gets; the album version has strings towards the end, which is a nice start for a song that has found a new home in an orchestral composition. The harp solo after the first two sets of lyrics is enough to make your eyes well up with tears of joy, and then the strings make the wells runneth over. A more beautiful composition is hard to come by.
As the show ended, fans ventured out into the streets to dodge the nitrous vendors, and headed out into the night, having experienced one of the most amazing musical events of 2009, let alone the entire decade/century. Yes, it was that amazing.

Overall, even the most rabid of phish fans and music fans in general, would appreciate the intricacies, tempo changes, structure and multi-auditory stimulation that come from the greatness of an orchestra. Seeing Trey in an orchestral setting is the way to see him perform him music. Remember, he went to school for this, so this isn’t some silly venture like Jordan playing baseball. No, this is the real thing. This is Jerry Garcia playing solo shows, Mick Jagger putting out subpar solo albums for unknown reasons, and Bono hanging out with world leaders to push for more attention to Africa. This is where the rockstar in Trey goes on to become something more, something larger, something that transcends Phish, but brings along the music for the ride. You have to pondet the thought, that since Trey went to college for Composition, had he not co-founded Phish, would he have been the next Fisch?

One has to wonder, have we been duped this whole time by Phish, that now we deep down can appreciate the intricacy and effort it takes to create orchestral music? Most the songs played that night have been played by Phish since the early days (YEM, Divided Sky), the 90s (Guyute, Inlaw, Brian and Robert, Water in the Sky) and in recent years (Time Turns Elastic, Let me Lie, Pebbles and Marbles), yet at the time, few knew that we were hearing the rock and jam versions of classical songs. All these songs have that familiar strain, and can possibly convert Phisheads into Classicophiles in no time.
This show was a game-changer and eye-opener for many fans. Seek it out and join in one of the greatest auditory experiences you have ever heard.