Tag Archives: recap

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.)


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.

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.


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.


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.


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!)


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.

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.


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!

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

MUD LEVEL COVENTRY: A Recap of Summer Camp Music Festival

For the first time since the festival was founded over a decade ago, I was finally able to hit off Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois. I have slowly been checking off festivals around the country that have been established for a number of years, partially because I want to see what each one offers compared to the others, and partially because I am working on a book on music festivals, making for the best research topic ever. My good friend and editor, Tim O’Shea, planned out this journey with me for many months, and we headed out for Chicago on the evening of Tuesday, May 22nd. The two of us were covering for UpstateLIVE.com, where you can read a more formal review this week.

The drive out was nothing special, other than a first for me – driving the length of Pennsylvania, which was exciting if you like windy roads and counting dead deer on the side of the road, but having driven all across America, somehow I hadn’t driven much of I-80. Ohio was a smooth drive where we switched drivers and got into Indiana and admired the Amish at the rest stop, as well as Hee Haw CDs in the gift shop. The drive into Chicago felt like it started an hour before you actually get into the heart of the city, somewhat like New York City. We found our way to Lake Shore Drive and wound around the road as we ended up in Lakeview East where we were staying for the evening with good friend Barry Brown. After some chatting about Summer Camp, Cornmeal, Umphrey’s and expectations at the festival, while Barry made his famous Chex Mix and White Cheddar dip, naps were in order since neither of us fully slept in the car on the way out. Before we knew it, it was 6pm and Barry was off to bartend.


Tim and I hit off Kuma’s Too, a GREAT burger joint nearby – Tim said it was the best burger he had ever had, and I can second that one. Good service, good fried pickles and a GREAT beer selection – a French Country Style Ale was a perfect match to a Cheddar, Bacon & Egg Burger. For some reason, people were saying “Go to the Original Kuma’s!”, which has an hour to two hour wait. Not sure how that’s better, but when I go to the Northerly Island shows in July, I’ll be back at Kuma’s Too for lunch one of those days. We snagged a cab over to Windy City Inn for even more great beer and darts, as well as Old Style, a personal favorite of mine; few regional beers are this tasty. With a 7 am departure time scheduled, we had to head home early, but it was fully worth it; a late night before a festival doesn’t help matters when you are trying to setup a campsite, let alone lug gear in a half mile.


Leaving early for a festival has never been such a great idea! Once we got breakfast, we made a pit stop for an elusive Trader Joe’s that turned out to be right across from Kuma’s Too. Navigating our way out of Chicago felt like The Griswold’s heading to Wally World in Vacation, but we found our way back to I-80, then to I-55, cutting out potential traffic and the storied police presence that an out of stater with vanity plates (PHANART) didn’t need to deal with. We drove a quite calm and flat I-55 until we reached SR 24 and headed west, sticking to the speed limit and catching some light rain on the way in. Spending an extra hour and a half in the car to prevent headaches from overzealous cops was well worth it, and led to seeing a part of the country that we normally wouldn’t be experiencing. Driving into Peoria and up SR 29 to Chillicothe, we toed the line even closer, but there were virtually NO cops on this route, a well planned drive that led to an easy entrance to the festival.

Picking up media passes and bracelets at the barn, we drove into the festival parking lot and somehow ended up with prime parking, right at the end of the row within 50 yards of the search tent. I had heard the search was intense at Three Sisters Park, as they allow ZERO alcohol into the grounds, so we left the booze in the car for now, packed our gear up as best as we could and worked out way into the line, but we had to prepared to lug our gear in a potential 1/2 mile.

Eagle Scouts know how to pack a dolly heading into a festival

Once we got into line, a few familiar faces were already there, and two guys from Chicago that I had met at the UIC Poster Show in 2011 were in line with us. We chatted briefly and talked about setting up camp together. This led to the first of many good omens over the course of the weekend. Zach and Sam were good hosts who knew where the best spot to camp was (between Sunshine and Starshine) and over the weekend, brought with them a sociological dream come true – 18-21 year olds who were attending their first or second festival, new to the whole experience and full of youthful exuberance. In all, the campsite was one of the best we had, especially due to the rain but also for the atmosphere it created for all of us. On top of the campsite, the Vibe Tent was right near us so we could hear four stages clearly – Sunshine, Starshine, Vibe and Camping – with a less than 5 minute walk to each.

Truly, a 'before' picture of the campsite
Truly, a ‘before’ picture of the campsite

Music-wise, I finally got to see Family Groove Company, who played a stellar version of “American Girl” after an Allie Kral sit in, then some Cornmeal, who were losing longtime member Allie after the weekend was over. Digital Tape Machine showed some impressive growth since the last time I saw them in 2011. Some wine and vodka later, we caught Roster McCabe covering ‘Get Lucky’, some acts in the Vibe Tent – DJ Solo, Sun Stereo, UV Hippo, and personal favorite Dopapod, plus some late night in the Red Barn with Future Rock. I’m glad I didn’t buy tickets to the other shows in the Red Barn, because the smell, cig smoke and ground in there was a nightmare, even on Day 1. But Future Rock put on a great show, a rare act to see for east-coasters.


Day 2 kicked off with some moe., as Tim and I walked into a top notch “Recreational Chemistry”, followed by some time in the Media ‘Church’. I shouldn’t use quotes there: it was an actual church, and a sweet setup for all of us. I sat in on an interview with Dumpstaphunk on their new album and other aspects of the band; a band with two bassists is continually interesting for even an avid fan of the funk. I headed back to Moonshine Stage for Yonder Mountain String Band, since this might be the only time I see them all year. I got there  just as Roosevelt Collier was joining them to sit in for “Kentucky Mandolin”, “Dear Prudence” “Raleigh and Spencer” and “2 Hits and the Joint Turned Brown”. Collier should sit in with everyone – he’s incredible no matter the venue or style of music.

Weather-wise, this weekend was warm and with the breeze, dusty like Bonnaroo – this is why a bandana comes in incredibly handy, despite looking like you may hold up a stagecoach. Saturday and Sunday were a different story – rain and more rain, mud and more mud. We had all four seasons of the Midwest in one weekend: Warm, Wind, Rain, Mud.

I caught up with Tim for the first of many Umphrey’s sets of the weekend. You couldn’t ask for a better band to play co-host to the festival and they put one a helluva show for every set. A split up “All in Time” and “Puppet String” was an ideal start to their music of the night, plus bringing up Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic for “Bright Lights, Big City” was one of the best sit-ins of the weekend. The encore of moe.’s “Rebubula” caught most off guard and made me wonder what moe. might cover of Umphrey’s the next night.

Late night relegated us to the Campfire Stage, where our Chicago host Barry sat in to sing “Friend of the Devil” with Allie Kral and Friends, featuring various members of Cornmeal and Yonder Mountain. That set was a nice start to the rest of the night, which we punctuated with a stop in the Vibe Tent, simply because it was so close and there was some great music in there to be seen. I didn’t want to miss Team Bayside High, simply because if you choose a name like that for a pair of DJs, then you have my full support, Hook, Line and Spano. Alvin Risk was good too, but after 3am, the music is always good and blending together. Still, fun times. Fun times.

Team Bayside High
Team Bayside High in the Vibe Tent

However, there was no adventure at Summer Camp yet, in the sense that nothing was out of the ordinary. Beyond the trip out, it was just like any other festival for me. So with that in mind, Tim and I took a wander through what I dubbed ‘Sherw00k Forest”, a place I would have camped 10 years ago, but now I just wander through wondering what each turn down the path will bring. In there we stumbled across a surprise set from an unknown band, Big Gigantic’s lighting guy, a few w00ks passed out on the side of the pathway, and a never-ending path that somehow dumped us out near the Moonshine Stage. By the time dawn rolled around and the first drops of rain fell, we knew we had a successful festival so far, with two more days to go.


Waking up to the rain meant it was time to put on my full body Orange rainsuit and stay bone dry while others dealt with flimsy ponchos and more garbage bags than I have ever seen utilized at a festival. I took a trip to the Media Church for a recharge of batteries and update on the days events, followed by breakfast/lunch and a well earned shower, which led me to skip Cornmeal’s final show, but it was good to see them at least once that weekend. Plus, the band members were not done performing with other bands, so it’s not like it was a final hurrah for the individual musicians. I made it back to see music around 4pm, starting with Diplo. I like a good DJ like the next guy and have seen my fair share of them at Camp Bisco over the years, but I had yet to see a big name like Diplo play an otherwise jamband festival. So Tim and I worked our way to the photo pit just in time to see Diplo invite a group of, what I presume are Midwestern girls in all their glory, on stage to dance and twerk. I do not know why this is a fad, but it is. It was hilarious to watch it from the front row, then turn around and see a captivated audience grinding and jumping to every beat, an ocean of Antelope Gregs, if you will. They wanted their pictures taken, they wanted to dance and they were loving every second of it.

After Diplo, I met up with artist Tim Ripley, Jason, Debbie and Jim and talked about the fest from a Chicago-viewpoint, as they are regulars at Summer Camp. We popped into the VIP tent for a Victor Wooten set and saw how the other half lives – pretty damn well at Summer Camp. Wandering back to the campsite, it was time for more Umphrey’s, who dropped one of the best versions ever of “Booth Love”, accompanied by Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret Horns. A walk to moe. meant a stop at the campsite to beer up, then down to Moonshine where we caught Allie Kral sit in on “Plane Crash”, then back to Umphrey’s,  then back to moe., for one of the greatest sequences ever: McBain>George>Spine of a Dog>Buster>McBain. From the pit and then the top of the hill, it was one of the highlights of this festival and all moe. shows I have seen in the last 10 years. The encore of Umphrey’s “In the Kitchen” was both hilarious and well played, with an added moe. touch to the song with shredding guitar work by Al and Chuck.

By this point the mud and rain had gotten to my feet, and despite wearing Vibram Five Finger Shoes, they were cold as hell. Mud was ankle deep, people were falling in, there was no hay or wood chips or gravel that was going to help, but none was put down either. When I say ankle deep, I mean it – and that was on average. Some spots you could lose a foot and twist an ankle with ease. So, with late night options a little paltry this evening, I chose to clean off my feet and get warm, thanks in part to TRiPP selling me a 3XL Black Chicago Blackhawks Stealie Hoodie. This was the LAST piece of warm clothing he had, and I had to have it, simply because I needed something fresh to get warm in for sleep. The fact that this was the last hoodie he had – one made for a large Grateful Dead and Blackhawks fan, led to laughs at his booth. Still, it was worth it.


I awoke on Sunday to the rest of the campsite still going from the night before. I admire their ability to do that, because by this point, I can’t manage it anymore. I gotta have sleep, but more power to them. Just as I awoke, the rain started to come down, so I started an initial haul to the car of clothes and whatever I could carry. It proved to be a good decision because there was really no other option when your dolly would get stuck in the mud when loaded up with 50-75 pounds of gear.

After the haul I caught Albany’s own Timbre Coup, who played my favorite song, “June”, just as I walked up the path to the Campfire Stage. I saw friendly faces from back home as I got to the crowd and enjoyed some great music, followed by Project Weather Machine from Syracuse.  An interview with Brooklyn band Tauk was enlightening and made me more of a fan than I already was. Admittedly, I didn’t see much more music Sunday because the rain and storms were threatening and the campsite needed to be attended to if we wanted to get on the road after Trey’s set.

Another trip to the car preceded Trey and we saw that the search had still not let up! A couple guys were getting arrested and tossed to the ground when we went in for the final time – apparently central Illinois does not fuck around. We made it to Trey, just in time to get to the photo pit and enjoy three extended first songs – “First Tube”, “Mozambique” and “Last Tube”. It was a treat to be that close to Big Red, who I still have yet to meet and thank him for everything his music has done for me.

Big Red
Big Red

We packed up the last gear around 10pm, deciding that Trey’s second set in a downpour wasn’t a great option (it was cut short after 20 minutes anyway), and JUST as the canopy came down, the skies opened up. I stayed dry, but the rain made it far more difficult to get our gear and get out. We packed the car in the rain, kept pillows and the front seats dry, and slept for four hours while we waited for the rain to taper off – the mud in the row of cars was not going to let us get out without a tow, so we waited. When 4 am rolled around and I chanced it, the car got stuck on the first try; ankle deep mud will do that to you. A tow truck came by within moments, purely by happenstance, and we got towed out for $20 that I was not going to argue over.

Towed out, we got out of there and onto I-74 headed east. A nap somewhere in Eastern Illinois got me rested us to drive all the way into Western Pennsylvania, with a stop at Steak n Shake near Columbus. Tim took over the rest of the way home and I booked it back up to Albany. I enjoyed my day off my unpacking and de-mudding my gear, reveling in my first true Midwest festival, one of the best there is.

Midwest Run Recap by PhanArt Pete

I don’t always recap, but when I do, it’s because it was a kickass run of shows.

Having Phish play on weekends around their base in the northeast benefits New Yorkers like me, so when the tour was announced earlier this year, I saw the obvious NY and NJ runs of shows as givens, while the three shows in Ohio and Pennsylvania looked like a nice venture into (mostly) virgin territory for myself and Tim. Figuring that we could sell beer and water, as well as the usual selection of shirts, stickers and other bits of phanart, we hoped this would allow us to cover our tickets and gas for the shows, keeping the cost limited, if not returning a slight profit. I’ve vended since 2006 in various capacities but hadn’t gone all out, so Tim and I figured we could take a try and beer and water and see how that went. If nothing else, we were going to drink a lot of good beers if no one was buying. But this is a Phish lot and people always love tasty beers and ice cold waters, among other things.

Thursday night I left Albany at 8pm, far later than I planned to get on the road. I got to Tim’s in north Jersey about 10pm and we proceeded to slowly start packing the car with our gear and the water and beer. Using a mammoth cooler via Shaun, we were able to get most of the cases in, but had to leave a few out of the mix for the time being. Saranac, Sam Adams and Long Trail summer samplers meant that the Midwest could taste some of the finest of the northeast, plus some dirt cheap Wegman’s waters were icing on the cake. A fully stocked car and we were on the road around 1am. Long chats got us through Harrisburg and well into PA, where we stumbled upon a Waffle House. It seems the yellow-thatched restaurant chain is inching more and more north each year, with a needed break of scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, peppered and (new!) countried hash browns grilled up. Tim took over driving us well into Ohio and into the day of the show.

Friday – Riverbend
Switching up driving I got us down to Cincinnati in three hours and to our cheap suite at the Best Western. The older you get, the nicer a hotel room you need to acquire, for your own sanity. Plus there were a few others who needed a place to stay and the room could accommodate us all. After showering and relaxing, my friend from days back at Syracuse University, Denise stopped by so we could go to lunch for her birthday. We stumbled upon a Big Boy next door to the hotel and had a fun lunch of catching up, burgers with tartar sauce on them and impromptu birthday singing from the very folksy staff. A great birthday gift would have been a Phish ticket, but Denise is more of a metal kind of girl and even the best BBFCFM or FYF would not sell her on The Phish from Vermont. Back to the hotel, Kyle, Tyler and Brynn stopped by to drop off some cases of Sweetwater from down south. Yes, the nectar of Atlanta, Tyler was good on the hookup, especially since I can’t get this unless I’m in the deep south in select markets, or Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta. A trade of some tasty Saranac and we were on the road to the show, with a stop to ice up.

Friends tipped us off on what lot to head for, and we got there but wound up just slightly off the beaten path when we set up shop. An hour or trickle sales led us to put the low sellers away and rack up sales on beer and water, which had been going along decently. Folks loved the selection of Northeast beers, a solid improvement on Yuengling and Sierra Nevadas that are always in high number on lot. Sweetwaters were saved for another day while Saranac and Long Trails and Sams went fast, along with water. Add in a stack of Surrender to the Flows and we had cornered the market in the immediate area.

Hastily we packed up and headed into the show, buying tickets and arriving inside just as Wolfman’s started. It got funky but it takes me a bit to settle in and calm the OCD a bit as we got to the lawn Page Side alongside Tyler, Kyle, Brynn and Holly, all of whom (aside from Brynn) I was with at Bonnaroo just two weeks earlier. Once settled, I got to hear my first (finally!) Peaches en Regalia and I relaxed as I got to bask in the song that got me into Zappa, surrounded by friends. A pause and a chat with Tim and then HOLY SHIT ITS SHAGGY DOG!!!! Tim and I momentarily lost our shit while NO ONE in the crowd near us reacted like we did and just stared in awe as if we had just discovered great news no one else knew about. This was partially true, since the reaction to Shaggy Dog was lesser than to Destiny Unbound 2/28/03, which we both reacted to as well, but not in this way. We really never figured we would see this, or No Dogs Allowed, so a few moments of focus were needed to embrace the Shaggy Dog. Another dog song, Runaway Jim gave us the start of a canus settus, but the Shaggy Dog elation was not leaving anytime soon. I had just seen Steve Winwood play Light Up or Leave me Alone a month prior at The Hangout Festival in Alabama, but hearing Page sing this one is just as good. I wish Page would press for more Winwood tunes, he could nail I’m a Man, Roll with It and Can’t Find My Way Home with ease. Wilson and Alaska, a double song pairing that screams ‘go get that pretzel that’s been on your mind’. I did that and eased my way back up the lawn during Stash. The antics of Llama with the botched starts of Moma and Poor Heart were funny and as Trey started to introduce songs like a conductor it was a banter-lovers dream. Buffalo Bill and I Saw it Again are nice rarities to see, and the latter gives some breathing room for a jam to develop. Bowie ended the set with some tasty teases inside.

Set two started with DWD and Guelah and KDF, three songs that I love but needed a break from simply because I was fading on energy after the long drive and a dearth of energy in my knees. The Twist, Halleys->Sand all got me up and moving, because this was the highlight of the night for me, especially the dark and spooky Twist and a Sand that aborted Halleys but still gave the night continued funk. A segue into Roggae is always welcome and was perfect and soothing. Chalkdust was fine but Golgi meant t-shirt sales would be good as always. We walked out during the Fluffhead encore to get a head start on beer and move up to a prime location. Needless to say, we did damn well with the post show crowd, sold a few shirts, even traded one in a deal better than Manhattan Island for $26 worth of beads. As the cops started to get itchy, we loaded up and headed back to the hotel, now with Mel in tow and a packed car. The show was awesome, the drive and day were awesome, now all we needed was to get to the hotel and rest. Sadly, there is no food open in southern Ohio at 2am by the way. This was not helpful and resulted in granola bars eaten late at night alongside some delicious Sweetwater 420 ales. Nothing beats this beer in my book.

Saturday – Burgettstown

The initial plan was to wake up nice and early and get on the road and be on lot by 3pm or so. That was thrown out the window when I ignored the 5 alarms I set for myself. Leaving at 10am turned into a slightly rushed leaving at noon, complete with a stop to get cough drops at Kroeger and coffees at Starbucks. I informed the cute girl taking care of our drive-thru order that Phish played Shaggy Dog the night before and emphasized how awesome it was. She did not share my enthusiasm. This is why I normally don’t go to Starbucks. So out of touch.

I-71 out of Cincy was smooth and then chock full of traffic and construction, even though there were no visible workers at the construction site. Yes, Cincy and southern Ohio qualify as being in the south, all they need are the Stars and Bars to make if official. I sped us through the whole way, sailing through some beautiful countryside I had never seen before. Central and Eastern Ohio look a great deal like the familiar territory of driving in New England and Upstate New York, which was refreshing because every other part of Ohio has been less than attractive over the years for various reasons. And just when I thought it couldn’t get better, we stumbled upon the best combo possible – a gas station with an A&W Root Beer restaurant attached. This was a sign that we were in for a treat tonight. A burger, fries and float later, plus gas and we were back on the road to PA. Thanks to Jamie’s directions, we could take a much smoother route than going to 79 and found ourselves dumped out off the highway right at the venue. Mel hopped out to get inside with Waterwheel while Tim and I drove around to the K and L lots to vend. (Having just re-read that last sentence, no, people were not selling K and L in our lots, although what if that’s what it was like?). I found someone who was looking for PhanArt Pete Dolan and sent them on their way. Clearly, this imposter is playing a dangerous game…

The setup was solid, the police ignored us but one security guy asked me not to hand out flyers or anything like that. Done and done. If unfettered vending is allowed, but not handing out flyers, that’s glass 90% full territory. Some really fun folks stopped by during the day, adding to an already hilarious afternoon in the lots. Hanging with Switz and a few others, we chilled and had a nice day in the lots. As we left a band was setting up a few cars down from us, and not a bad band either. Walking in, the line for tickets was long because NO ONE had an extra. They just weren’t floating around this run like you would expect. Seems that most folks have wised up and stopped eating tickets by only buying exactly what they need. This time, Tim and I went with less than we needed – zero – and had to wait in line to get lawns, although we stumbled upon Laura and Kat, where a conversation about underwear continued as we got to the lawn. We grabbed drinks and found Ranger Steve as we centered ourselves on the lawn in a prime spot. This was my night to get toasty and the lack of search meant that free flowing vodka was in my favor. The entire show was fun and had a nice song selection all around. Funky Bitch and Number Line opened it up nicely, but Gumbo and Maze showed that there was something else in the air – 7/7/00 to be exact, since three of the first four were played here 12 years prior. It didn’t mean much of anything, but I loved that show and felt that bringing elements of that show back in any way would mean a fun show was on tap. I finally got to hear Torn and Frayed, a song that had been buzzing in my head for weeks. I don’t chase songs anymore, but I do hope to hear certain ones over the course of a run or tour. Moma and Mule were funk and the highlight of the first set thus far. 46 days was ok and then finally they bust out YEM! Somewhere, Holly was kicking herself for not making the drive. We made it out to the Waterwheel table, bathrooms and beer line during setbreak, finding our friends at all three and entertaining a few more drinks than expected. Indeed, tonight was my night to party and live it up. The second set started with Jibboo and then dipped into Mike’s Groove which was much meatier than usual, including a very nice jam in Simple and then a monster Light that really renewed my faith in this song – it hasn’t sold me on a regular basis, but this one made up for it. Weekapaug was great and the dancing on the lawn was thriving. -7 and Bouncing were mellow take a break moments before Julius set us back a dancin’. Slave is always nice and capped off the evening. We started to make a break off the lawn but then we heard the opening notes to Lizards and stayed put like everyone else. Vending could wait ten minutes so we could hear the tale of the fateful lizards. We made a break to get the cooler and set up near the band that was playing again near our car. If you want to see live music, enjoy a cold beer! We cleaned up and repacked the car when we finally got moving to leave. Some GDF wooks demanded a free beer from me but I declined. I was then warned to stay off Dead lot because this girl would remember my face. I’ll remember this if I ever go back in time to a Dead lot.

We had to drive out to get my other cooler from Jason and this proved to be slightly more of a chore than planned. Being in the wrong lane when leaving Star Lake means you wind up on rt 22 and have to double back at the next exit, about 10 miles away. Tim was driving and I was shitty at navigating. But we turned around, went to the campgrounds and got the cooler from Jason and got back on the road. It took about 45 minutes to get to the place we were staying but when we arrived, it was worth it. There were beds for all, a lively crew outside drinking and enjoying the night, folks from all over the place and all on tour, relaxing at our friend Jamie’s house and in the backyard. We hung out, talked about the tour, where we are from, the usual banter among fans you don’t know, and then Tim had a great idea – Calvin Ball! After a good 20 minutes of devising this game of Calvin Ball, Tim determined that we would each attempt to kick a ball at the X shadow on the grass, which was ever so slowly fading as the sun came up. What was a random idea entertained us for a solid hour, with yours truly nailing the center of the X after a few rounds. Around 5:30 it was bedtime and I claimed myself some couch on the way to a solid 6 hours of sleep before showering, waking up Tim and Mel and getting on the road to Cuyahoga.

Sunday – Blossom

A quick two hour drive into Ohio on yet another new highway (for me) got us to a gas station and grocery store where we iced up and indulged in a very tasty salad bar before getting to the venue. The drive in was smooth but the layout was confusing and while we snagged a spot up high, we lamented not aiming down farther near Shakedown. When we later heard beer and coolers were being confiscated by cops, we counted out blessings. A bunch of folks from Twitter stopped by or were parked nearby, including Switz, Justin from OhKeePahBlog, Atara, Fletch and Laura, Josh and Amy, Jenni and many others. It was a good day hanging with friends and some truly gorgeous Phish ladies, plus we all had some tasty Sweetwaters with good friends while taking it easy getting into the show.

The walk to get in was nothing terrible and to think of all the folks who made the walk in over the years for Phish and the Dead, it made me nostalgic for a new venue that many had spoken highly of over the years. we weredenied brignig in the signs I spent a great deal of time working on. there would be no Lushington, TMWSIY, Mound or Weigh sign to bring in, but they were waiting for us when we got back outside, so props to Blossom security for being men and women of their word.

Here, you get searched, THEN go show or buy your tickets, but the line for tickets was long although moving quickly. It seemed no one had an extra or planned ahead and bought more than one ticket. Lawn’s acquired, we weren’t missing much with a Sample, Tube and Axilla trifecta to open the show. We made our way around the big gigantic lawn to lower left Page side, all the while I ate my rainbow sherbet Dippin Dots, a rare find, even if it is the ice cream of the future. Down low for Gin and Roses, Atara stubbed us in for Roses and the rest of the set, which was all well played and featured a really great Limb x Limb, Wedge and Corrina.

Then The Meatstick grew quietly from Page and Trey and the set closing dancing shoes were adjusted for a proper Meatstick danceathon. But what was this? Trey is pulling people on stage to dance with him? Hell yes! You cant ask for more than a band that does spontaneous shit like this, as opposed to the predictable nature of nearly all other bands when they perform live. 10-12 fans got on stage, hugging Trey and jumping up in the air before Trey got everyone quickly arranged to dance the Meatstick, along with the 90’ rotation. The crowd ate it up, the folks on stage were lucky as hell and everyone was doing The Meatstick! Two years ago, folks didn’t know it like they did in 1.0 or even the rare 2.0 appearance, but after MSG and a semi-regular rotation spot, we all know it now, and that’s a good thing.

The fans left the stage, shaking hands and hugging the rest of the band on their way off stage and into the lore of Phish shows. Setbreak was a mission for more Dippin Dots, but when we saw a crowd with lights at the center, Tim and I had to take a look. We had stumbled upon a wedding! Some joked it was a wook wedding, but these weren’t wooks and the moment was very fleeting – only 10 minutes were we watching before the ceremony between a gorgeous blonde and your standard 30-something Phish dude was completed and the couple’s friend blessed the rings, then the vows and finally a passionate kiss and hugs to the minister. It was a very touching thing to see, and very quickly done since Phish was due back on stage in 10 minutes or so. I don’t know if I will ever see that again at a Phish show, so the experience will stay with me for a while. It was really a very tender moment and the most real of the entire run for me.

Dippin Dots mission resumed, we acquired target and made it back down the hill. Stubbing down was not happening this set, so we rocked the Golden Age and Ghost from Page side, soaked in Sweet Virginia and Rift. Then Fletch helped us with a stub and I got in for most of Tweezer, but I headed back out when Tim didn’t get in. We caught Walk Away, Horse->Silent, Piper and Waste from mid-lawn on our way through the crowd. (What a giant fucking lawn this is!) Antelope was a nice cap to the night, along with the teases and such, and we raged this one proper from a great vantage point. We headed out during the encore, because when you have heard one Loving Cup->Tweeprise, you’ve heard a lot of them. The folks with coolers on wheels and better parking spots had us beat on beer and water, so I rocked the ‘My Other Vehicle is a Second Set Tweezer’ stickers and found that yes, these were VERY highly sought after. I’ve sold stickers for years, but never been tipped in the process. So @tweeterreprise, remind me I owe you an extra dollar. I ventured up to the car to begin the exhausting process of repacking the car and making enough room for Andy, who was joining us on the ride back to Jersey and back north to Albany with me. It was going to be a tight fit no matter what, but we made it work for the 6-7 hours back to Jersey then smoothly back up to Albany by noon. Only 10 hours total drive back – we couldn’t ask for much more from the trip. The entire trip took just about 3.5 days to see around 12 hours of music. That’s a fair exchange rate.

Overall, the run was all I could have hoped for. A great set of shows, great times with great friends, new experiences in vending and seeing shows, as well as some late nights that make seeing Phish just the best thing ever.

Stay tuned for more sporadic recaps from this summer. See you at Jones Beach and SPAC!

PhanArt Pete

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