The ‘jamband’ Phish from Vermont is known for playing long noodling jams that go on upwards of 45 minutes. But did you know their fans are all hippies? Every. Single. One. Here’s an interview with one hippie: “Yeah, I saw 30 Phish shows last year”, said Marco Esquandolas from King of Prussia, PA. Based on this one individual, we can presume that all Phish fans are like him – dreadlocked, stoned and Birkenstock-wearing hippies. All of them are just like this.
The crowd likes to hang out in the parking lots and smoke pot and buy glass pipes to smoke their pot in and then burn some patchouli because that’s what these kids do. You remember that guy I quoted last paragraph? Let me back him up with a quote from one of his friends. “The scene is so much fun, we love traveling all over to see this band, it’s a great time!”, said Molly B. Untzington from Montclair, NJ. Based upon this, I’ll presume that all Phish fans are out of work, looking for a free ride, and probably selling pot to get from show to show. I saw some cops around so that means these kids are up to no good.
Oh right, the music, that’s what I came to write about. It’s a lot like the Grateful Dead, and since I listened to ”Touch of Grey’ twice in early 1990s, I’m going to use that as my basis for all the music this band may play. But first, let me tell you all about Trey Anastasio – the frontman for this ‘jamband’ (I have to put it in quotes or you wont realize that it’s a ‘new’ word that you likely aren’t familiar with) was arrested in December of 2005 for a DWI and possessing prescription drugs that weren’t his. See, not only are the FANS doing drugs, the band is too. But he got clean, which is why Phish broke up (according to every Phish message board I perused before writing this). Although, Phish fans seem to enjoy drugs in his place. So Trey is the lead singer and the other 3 guys are also in the band. I won’t mention them because Trey is an interesting story. If I wrote this story before his arrest in 2005, I would have mentioned how Mike Gordon took ‘art photos’ of the child of a Hells Angel at Jones Beach and had no charges pressed against him. I’m not saying anything by writing that. I’m simply saying that you should post an Amber Alert when Phish comes to town.
Oh, the drummer wears a dress. Isn’t that funny? I should get his name…..
The concert was great, if you like pot smoke and hippies dancing and getting sweaty and glowsticks and bright lights and music I don’t understand. But I’m only reviewing the music, so I shouldn’t be held accountable for my view on the show. Based on what the kids next to me said, they opened up with a mind-blowing version of “Hairy Hoodie”, and then broke into “Planes Trains and Automobiles”. This was all capped off by a rendition of the drummer singing some weird song called “Love You”’ and I won’t be looking up the original artist. Instead, I’ll let you know that he played a FUCKING VACUUM CLEANER! Holy shit! What a hippie!
Overall, the show was a great success if you were stoned and like this kind of thing. I do not so I’m going to write this review like I would before I took any journalism classes in college and pass it off as professional. Maybe you like this kind of music, in which case, ok. Otherwise, go see other music and leave these hippies be with their pot.
That and an unhealthy dose of wook flu led to delays in writing our recap. But we wrote it! Plus, we have a ton of videos to share. So without further rambling, we present:
NYE RUN 2011: Two hotel rooms were harmed in the making of this recap
The lateness of the NYE recap should explain how awesome of a time the PhanArt crew had on this New Years Run. Starting late on December 26th and ending sometime on the 2nd of January, we navigated the cold weather, bad roads, five shows and one football bowl game all in 6 days time. Short of Big Cypress, in our opinion, this was the best New Years run in Phish’s 28 years.
It all began with the weather factoring into travel plans for friends from across the country. Tripp wound up rerouting his flight arrival from Boston to Albany, flying in shortly after midnight at Albany International. It took well over an hour for me to pick him up from the airport, located 5 miles away. After skidding out a few times and doing a 360 and 540 going down a slight incline, we got to Chez de Mason and called it a night and prepared for finally getting on the road to Worcester after 2 months of anticipation.
The drive to Worcester was surprisingly fast and with clean roads all around New York and Massachusetts. Upon arrival at the Comfort Inn and check-in, the prep for the lots began, but with near zero temperatures and a crowd that was late to arrive and did not seem to mingle for much in the lot, so sales were light at best and the enjoyment of the show inside was all we had. Sitting Page Side with full view of the Canadian Flag, we caught some great shots and videos, as evidenced below. Warren ‘The 5 Guy’ and his friends made up the majority of our section with Unolker from This Week on Lot nearby. My brother Matt came to the show with his friend Brian and luckily enjoyed the floor for the night. The show had its moments, and dusted off two months of kinks that got us to the magic of MSG. The venue felt full, even though it didn’t seem like it should with so many folks missing the show due to the weather and flight cancellations. The main highlight was Mound, but really, you can’t go wrong with a ‘lets get these songs out of the way’ shows like this. They make the whole run that much better as a result.
It was an early night with the cold, although many others were righteous enough to make the hallways smell delicious.
On the 28th, we went to lunch with Tripp and friends to Picadillys. Our cute waitress who we shall call ‘Kelli’ was forbidden by her very bitchy (and possibly constipated) manager, Becky from going to the shows. She had to work doubles BOTH NIGHTS. But Kelli had off the rest of the week. Who the fuck does that? We tried our best, talked her service up, made calls on her behalf, debated just taking her with us (if she was down like that), and even rolling silverware. The prognosis was that despite out best efforts, it didn’t look good and we don’t know if she made it. It’s sad that bitchy managers are keeping hot girls from attending Phish shows. This must end.
This may also explain the 25:1 ratio of guys to girls at shows. We have seen the enemy, and it is Becky.
The lots this night were hopping, and that was an understatement. Lots inside the Uno’s, inside each of the bars, throughout the commercial/exchange lot, which were completely ironic titles for the sales that went down that night. Glowsticks, posters, hoodies, long-sleeves and a wide selection of warm threads and brews were the main point of sale items before and after the show.
This show was an improvement on the night before, with multiple bust outs of My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Albuquerque, She Caught the Katy, Frankie Sez, as well as the debuts of Pigtail (a song with immense potential in a Heavy Things kind of way) and Birdwatcher. Solid jams of Bug and Back on the Train made it OK to leave during Shine a Light because that song is starting to get old fast as an encore, but it’s a great signal to those vending who need to bail for the lots.
Post show the Comfort Inn never smelled so good and all took part in making it so. There were some good folks from RT there. I stopped by, walked in, talked about PhanArt and left, just to keep the same visage in person as he did in line. All in good fun.
The morning of the 29th, we woke up late and with some very understanding kids working the breakfast buffet which closed 45 minutes earlier, we were able to make waffles, because you really can’t say no to waffles. They were great workers and deserve a raise.
It was time to then head back to Albany to refuel the Four Loko machine and head to Tim and Christina’s in New Jersey to sleep again and rest before the next three days turned the dial to 11.
or: how I learned to stop worrying and drink a lot of Jameson
To start the day on the 30th, we all drove into the city and checked in quickly at The Hotel Penn(Sylvania) across from MSG. Christina was nice enough to bring the car to Secaucus so we didn’t have to pay extravagant parking costs. We snagged room 1299, down many hallways in this Shining-esque hotel, then unloaded our gear and got our asses uptown. Tim and I met up with old friends on the way up to Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl. After a short round of shots and beers, we took the subway to the Bronx, I grabbed beers at Jimmys and headed to the game. Our seats went from 427 to 333 to 50 yard line 6 rows from the snow on the field. This is when I learned that Jameson makes me say fuck. A lot. More than normal and in a way that would make George Carlin say ‘whoa, dude’.
Syracuse won one of the best bowl games of the year thanks to amazing rushing TDs by Delone Carter from and huge TD bombs thrown to Marcus Sales. Add in that bullshit penalty and well, it was a game that will not soon be forgotten, especially for Syracuse alumni.
Leaving the Stadium, we got back to Hotel Penn to find five people in our room, including folks who were at the game. We got things settled, prepped for the show and walked across the street for the game, all the while coaxing my friend Scott into going to his first show, but being scared of new things, he declined. But it was cool, more room for us to dance!
However, due to the game and having to get back to the hotel, we missed Cities and Chalkdust. We lived. Walking into Gumbo is good enough after a day like this.
The night was spent drinking and celebrating a bowl game and trying to see if it was possible to talk louder than the music. I think we pulled it off at least once.
Later that night I met a girl. She was cool and that’s all I should say about that.
(Listen to Pete get yelled at 12/30 for daring to dance in the aisle!)
Waking up on the 31st, we did the oft-repeated segue of hangover->food and coffee->nap. Then we Got. It. On. I broke out my John Kerry impersonation, you know, just to get things rolling. Because on NYE in NYC it’s very topical. In retrospect, Ketchup heir jokes and references to not cutting the mustard in 2004 were foreshadowing of what was going to come for the entry into the New Year.
Then everyone came over before. Seriously, we had more people in the room than firecode and common sense would dictate. The show was nothing short of amazing. Starting off with dancing with that same beauty of a girl for the first set, we headed up to Page side walkway and caught one of the best sets of 2010 and a whiff of Page’s Ham sandwich. Wilson > 46 Days, Sand, NICU > Down with Disease > Ghost, You Enjoy Myself-> Manteca -> You Enjoy Myself (via phish.net) provided nearly non-stop dancing, with only enough time during NICU to reapply our melted faces, only to have them blown off during the monstrous DWD->Ghost. There were many happy tears flowing during Ghost, which is nothing short of the best buttery jam of the year.
Triple fisting drinks for the end of the year, we watched from sidestage as my favorite song, and a good reason I got into Phish at Oswego, The Meatstick was broken out. Hints of Big Cypress filled the air, and thanks to the good eyes of fans noticing the missing Flying Hot Dog from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we knew what was in store. Dancers coming out of the woodworks, a stage production that kept the wows flowing and the chills working their way through the sweat and a giant Meatstick flying in from the back of the venue – it was the best way to end an amazing year! It was equally amazing to actually see the Hot Dog this time, unlike at Big Cypress when it was barely visible from our spot far left page side.
Once the show was over, some NYEMSG stickers were sold and we worked out way back to the hotel room. Everyone and their brother was waiting to come on up and security being cool allowed it.
What happened next cannot be written in detail, but we can only note that the room looked somewhat like Dana’s apartment towards the end of Ghostbusters.
And we had 15 people in the room when I took off for Jersey at 4am. The things we do for love.
On the 1st, after my first taste of Disco Fries, I returned to NYC around 5pm and quickly regrouped before heading to the show in closely the same fashion as I had for the other 4.
The show was fun and it felt as though the 1st set would never end. But the 2nd set was the fire and heat of the tour, all at once and not only one of the top 3 sets of 3.0, but also the best set of 2011. Hands down.
I fell asleep at 3am with a beer in my hand and Skittles on my chest. It’s an art form.
We awoke on January 2nd to livers that hated us and a room that was starting to come alive in its collective hate for what we had brought upon it for the past 72 hours. We cleaned the hotel room pretty well of garbage and empties and we found more random things in there than I care to recount. Small, round things. Skittles.
However, it turns out even when you say ‘hey, we’re checking out late, cool?’, and they say ‘yeah, that’s cool’, it doesn’t mean ‘cool’. It means a 300 pound Samoan security guy will storm upstairs, bitch you out for not being out of the hotel, even though all the bags are packed and we just need a cart to get out of the hotel and down to the car that was now waiting for us. He almost tripped over me while I was sitting on the floor. This recap almost didn’t happen.
But this was just a sign that we had raged this hotel ever so proper – they couldn’t even let us leave. The hotel knew that it wanted us there and we were destined to remain there. Hotel Penn, we love you so, but it’s a 3-4 night affair each year, no more.
We drove back to jersey, then to Albany, and somehow staved off the wook flu for 3 days before succumbing to it. Altogether, this New Years beat out many other worthy nominees from this young century but definitely took the cake. Nothing like spending 6 days seeing 5 shows, 1 football game, packing a room with 3 dozen people over the course of a few days and meeting some amazingly beautiful women.
Having fully recovered from Atlantic City – sleep caught up on, ringing in the ears stopped and diet returned to normal – reflecting on a most epic of weekends is in order. For those who went, most of what happened over the course of 72 hours was magical and revitalizing, at the same time exhausting and mind-blowing. Seven sets of Phish, tens of thousands of fans and more smoke and costumes than you normally find at any given Phish show, not to mention the fingers in the air and paychecks dropped at the tables: it only happens in two cities in America when Phish plays, and the east-coast step brother of Las Vegas gave those who never made it west a taste of the Vegas experience.
We arrived hurriedly from Albany around 6:30pm on Friday night. Having returned to teaching and loving every minute of it, the drive was fast although spotted with construction and shore traffic, but we made it in time to crack a few beers before heading over to the show. Adjoining rooms at the Trump tower meant that we could keep one room relatively stable and turn the other into a vision of Dana’s apartment from the end of Ghostbusters. This isn’t just the norm; this is the way to enjoy a Phish weekend proper.
The first night, musically, was solid, but was overshadowed the next two nights. The dance party was going when one of our local security guards was kind enough to inform us that if we were to bring her and her friend some strawberry vodka the next night, well, we could have carte blanche. When Atlantic city offers you a deal like this, you take it. This was the even money for the blackjack instead of a potential push on the deal, so we won and won again. Sadly though, these folks weren’t working where we were the next night, so this vodka went to better use – ours. Friday late night kept us near the tables, but this night is somehow foggier than the rest. The main thing on my mind was the Phamily Poker Tournyon Saturday at the Tropicana. Some light gambling only meant we would need to make the most out of the long day Saturday. Chris got a pizza at some point, but how he acquired the pie never came to light. Its probably better to not know.
Our room contained the usual crowd – Chris, Tim, Julie, newcomers Jess plus PhanArtist Vincenzo Naro (who sported the hands down highlight poster of the weekend) and Japanese import Satoshi from Urayasu in the land of the rising sun. Satoshi has made three trips in his life to America, all for Phish, and all since June of 2009. He’s seen 12 shows, owns more lot merch and phanart than most and loves a Fluffhead and Meatstick. His presence this weekend showed that even though the 6 of us spoke little (read: no) Japanese and he spoke some pretty solid English, we could all have a great time for 3 days, connected solely by the love of the music of one band. If only this could be channeled throughout the world where conflict between countries arose, what a world we could make of this place.
In having this unique opportunity to facilitate cultural diffusion, a few conversations were had regarding American slang, and while those went over well, the most interesting, yet out of place conversation was Chris explaining to Satoshi (for unknown reasons) the function and purpose of Native American Reservations. This has nothing to do with the recap, it was just one of those moments that stuck out.
On a side note – the Japanese are already ahead of us technologically, but now they are ahead of us in candy flavoring. Having previously sent me blueberry flavored Kit Kats (so damn good) he brought over a nice array of flavors – citrus, some sort of rose/frosting flavor, caramel and brown tea. I indulged and brought a bottle of (Japanese made) Sake – Fu-Ke Sake. The reaction was priceless on first taste – meh. I couldn’t disagree, it was funny as hell.
Saturday I woke on 5 hours of sleep, the most I would get all weekend without interruption. Chris and I got moving down towards the Trop, lugging two boxes of tubes and a box of donations for the Poker Tournament. A tasty overpriced breakfast from Starbucks and we got back to helping out the check-in process, setting up for the tourney and seeing the cadre of fans arrive to the first poker tournament to benefit The Mockingbird Foundation (mbird.org) and music education nationwide. Ellis Godard, Charlie Dirksen, Jeff from Nugs.net, David Steinberg aka ZZYZX, as well as bounty players Pauly from CoventryPhish Blog, artist Jon Lamb from Likeminded Studios, and event poster artist Erin Cadigan were all on hand. It was a who’s who of phans, taking time out from their exhaustion and celebration regimen to help raise money for charity and have a unique experience with fellow fans.
Playing as a bounty player, I donned by shirt and sat down in the 5 seat for what I hoped would not be an utter embarrassment. I don’t play poker very often, and when I do I don’t slow play. With my 10K in chips I was dealt QQ to start the game. I know QQ is a rough hand but I couldn’t help myself and decided to start the game off on a solid aggressive note. Sadly, I lost to KK, along with 4K in chips. It was a rough beat but I kept playing and eventually got back up to 10K and lasted a good hour or so before being dealt a devil of a hand – A2 of hearts. This was going to be my best chance, and at least one fan at the table was ready to test me yet again. Going all in on the turn, I hoped my straight beat out his bluff, but it proved to be a flush instead. Straight < Flush, and I was done. It was fun and worth it, and I ventured over to lend a hand with the prizes and observe a well-run poker tournament that by the manager of the room’s opinion was far above and beyond expectation. He was told by fellow employees that the tournament would have fans lighting up at tables, drinking excessively and a tank or two hidden under the tables. While logic would have told him that tanks are a post-show thing, not a lunch-break habit, none of this was true. Everyone was in a great mood, prizes were handed out throughout the game and everyone left happy, if not exhausted.
We headed through the Trop to the boardwalk, stopping by Hooters for the tweetup before needing to get some food as we were fading fast. Five hours and no semblance of a meal in the past 24 hours meant that liquid refreshment and pizza would be the best means to function through the show and late night revelry. On the boardwalk we stopped to see Ryan Kerrigan selling his Halloween print, then ran into Branden Otto who was doing the same with his poster. We got in front of the venue and incredibly sold a few tubes (unsolicited) to fans waiting around for the doors to open. We got into the Trump and spotted some phishposters.com folks and ventured in for a shot of Patron before going upstairs for the pre-game to begin. Fortunately the rest of the room was on autopilot and I played catchup.
Arranging the vodka for our aforementioned security guards, as well as everything else needed for the show for the phan with OCD: camera, eyedrops, chapstick, beercoozie, merit badges (to sell post show), sunglasses, mardi gras beads (one strand garnered Tim and I a peek at one boob, which is all you can ask for in Jersey, as there are plenty of other boobs around), candy, since it was Halloween, and the basics – ticket and cash. Section 217 was unavailable so we met with Chris who scoped out some nice seating in 215 and all took our seats there.
The show Saturday was Chris’ Halloween, as he ultimately did not score a ticket for Sunday. A serious Zeppelin fan since junior high (he introduced them to me in 9th grade), he was in for the treat that would not come the next night – a heavy dose of Led. Saturday featured collectively, one of the best venues, crowds and playlists of 3.0, as well as security that was cool. How do you know they were cool? We collected high fives from nearly everyone, including the top dogs and cops, which is the international sign for coolness.
The madness started with the long pause and glowsticks in Guelah, a solid Foam, and a Chalkdust that got the fun going, not only a bit of Whole Lotta Love, but the band laughing at us after segueing back into Torture with Ha Ha Ha. They know, and they aren’t shy about telling us they do. More 70s rock with Walk Away and Wolfmans before ending the set and sending us scrambling for drinks and Waterwheel meetups.
A random thought crossed my mind during the night’s glowstick wars – instead of throwing the glowsticks progressively towards the band and floor area, send them back up a level. The love has to rain down from somewhere, otherwise its just a splash with occasional explosions from the ardent collector of groundscore glowsticks.
UPDATE: I must give due notice to my good friend Dr. John (no not that one). I walked downstairs at the end of set 1 Saturday night and he was in line to get beers. Rather than jump the line, he passed 2 beers to me and took two for himself. And he paid. What a guy. (he also reminded me about this to include in the writeup.) He is also a foot doctor.
Second set started strong with Tube, although they really do need to look into playing it for more than 6 minutes – where have you gone funk? Possum was great but when they get to Tweezer, just clear some space and let me clear my throat. A classic Tweezer intertwined with full on Whole Lotta Love, Thank You, Ramble On and Stairway verses left the floor sticky from the collective orgasm of the crowd. It only got better with a Halley’s->2001 before winding down the show with BDTNL and an expected Good Times Bad Times. I was itching to vend and catch up with some artists, so the encore was a predictable casualty which I was content with. After making a few extra bucks outside selling shirts and badges, we headed back to the room for some post show analysis, which is basically us drinking beer and saying ‘that was fucking awesome’. It’s much better than nit-picking a show that was fun at all times and a cure for what ails ya.
Heading down to the casino, I scouted out a Let it Ride table but the crowd was bossy and no fun, so I took a turn at Spanish 21 (blackjack without 10s and played a bit faster). I went up here and headed back over to Let it Ride for the remainder of the night/dawn. While explaining the game to Tim, Chris and Vinny, I was up, then down, then back up before having the ultimate experience at the tables: dealt out 7810 of hearts, I could finally say ‘let it ride’, and the dealer was kind enough to reveal not just a 5 of hearts, but then a 6 of hearts. My mind went haywire, I jumped up thinking I had 789 of hearts, which would have netted the greatest payday yet for me, but I was reminded I had a 10 in my hand, so a flush led to nothing more than $300. but hey, $300 meant I was nearly even for the weekend, and this was something to build on, but not till tomorrow/later tonight. It was 7am and even the party on the 19th floor was drawing to a close, so eventually I fell asleep, although it wasn’t straight through. Another 4 hours of intermittent sleep and I was up for football and revisiting the night before with everyone. Some friends stopped by and we delved into the rest of the liquor cabinet
Something I recognized over the course of the weekend was that it is nearly impossible to fully explain the Phish experience, or the entire weekend. Try as I might while I type this, I have learned that when phish fans are vague or have trouble explaining the attraction of phish, or show hesitation getting to the core of why we follow this band all over the place, its simply because there is a lot to explain. A LOT. Get your friend to forget the stereotype of pot smoking hippies listening to unending jams is tough enough, but explaining the truth is becoming impractical as the shows and crowds get better and move exciting.
Donning my Jibboo Crew outfit for the evening, we headed downstairs to vend a few shirts preshow and meet up with everyone. I ran into Shirzad dressed as Mexican Cousin, which was ever so accurate with the free shots of tequila to get the night started. Fatigue wasn’t in the equation, so I slugged a bottle of seltzer the entire time waiting to get into the show. It did the trick and I got in without a search and waited for Tim, who was trying his luck for tickets outside. I figured tonight would be a night to hang with Jibboo Crew in 212 and bring Satoshi into the mix, but the text of the weekend arrived – Tim had scored a ticket and was in! It was a tough deal but he made it happen, so we got some celebratory drinks and made our way up to 212. To my surprise, we had Jibboo Crew to our left and Mockingbird folks to the right. In between 2 large groups of friends and acquaintances is the way to see a show, and the stars were aligning for the evening. Satoshi joined us shortly thereafter and the night started out just right with Frankenstein and BBFCFM – some dark and dirty spooky stuff, but it only got better when the rare Ghost (for me) appeared to help me shake off the rest of the exhaustion from the past two days. My body was on auto-pilot dancing through the Ghost, then the jam took a turn and I thought “oh god I know where this is going!”, and they moved into Spooky, a song I recalled from the nights listening to Dr. Demento around Halloween back in high school. Auto-pilot was on for most of the night, since I couldn’t conceivably dance with any volition given the lack of rest I have been accustomed to as of late. Sometimes, the body is willing and makes the mind able. I credit the vibe of the venue and the music, with a nod to Smirnoff and Sodas and a large can of red bull sipped conservatively throughout the evening.
Set 1 was great, but the buzz was going for Waiting for Columbus, an album that ZZYZX was joking about the day before at the Poker tournament but I ignored since it just didn’t seem possible. Looking at the track listing, I knew half these tunes from seeing and hearing Little Feat earlier this decade and was very interested to see the Phish take on them. Everything was played damn well. Personal highlights include Fat Man in the Bathtub, Oh Atlanta, Spanish Moon, Dixie Chicken, Don’t Bogart that Joint (please get this in the rotation!) and Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, the latter of which was hands down the greatest dancing tune of the weekend. It just keeps getting better and better.
Set 3 was great for two reasons – A Jibboo for the Jibboo Crew and the jam out of Wilson. The rest was solid, but a few rests were needed to ensure energy for latenight. Plus, an amazing opportunity was missed – No horns during Suzy? Come on now Phish! When I first heard 4/4/94, I thought Suzy was played ONLY with horns. When I finally saw one at Big Cypress, I wasn’t let down, but having never seen Suzy with horns (couldn’t make it to fest 8), I was a bit disappointed. Wilson made up for it, as did Hood and a sick encore of Julius with horns. That’s called a push.
We went to the boardwalk to feed off the energy outside and prepare ourselves for one last night of revelry and gambling. $25 blackjack called my name and I responded by taking twice what I started with and calling it even for the weekend. A glass of Grand Marnier to end the night around 6am was perfect and I ventured upstairs with Mel to rest before the checkout and drive home in the morning.
In summary, I won money and finished the weekend even, sold some well-received shirts and badges (thanks Jiggs), slept around 10-12 hours out of 65, drank a fuckton of beer and vodka and danced my balls off. I also inhaled more secondhand smoke in 3 nights than I have in the three years since I quit smoking. But the highlight of the weekend was by far teaching Satoshi the shocker, quite possibly my proudest achievement yet.
Atlantic City, you shed the stigma of Dirty Jerz you’ve had for sometime and provided us with a weekend that will often be imitated but never duplicated. Lets do it again next year.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 Fallsthe 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Lotwith 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.
By far the show of the tour, the “I Saw it a YEM’ show never let down. Hanging with Julie from PhanArtand Sam from dogoneblogmade for a great night. The Meatstick, the whole 2nd set really, it was all amazing. Just a fantastic, great moment in Phish history there.
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 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.
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 Walruswas so far out of left field, Manny would have given up on the first note.
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.
Ok, the show just ended, and from my iPhone, I have decided it is important to share with everyone my unbiased opinion of the show I just saw and also to fluff the shit out of this band Phish whom I love so much. I just can’t write anything bad. Also, I’m gonna ignore everyone I came here with and just write what I want in the hopes people like my reviews.
Anyways……ZOMG! BEST SHOW EVER! Seriously, if you weren’t here, you will forever have a hole in your soul where this show should have been. Why didn’t you drive to Ypsilanti for this show? Seriously, we ALL knew it would be THE sleeper show of the tour and that makes me so much headier than you. Because guesstimating which show will be the ‘sleeper show’ makes me 100% accurate (since I said at one point or another that all shows were potential sleepers, negating the word itself) and boosts my credibility with heads on par with the likes of Tom Marshall – the greatest songwriting partner ever!
So here’s the setlist:
Set 1: Ya Mar, Cars Trucks Buses, It’s Ice, HYHU->Love You->HYHU, Down with Disease->Possum, Secret Smile (75 minutes)
Set 2: 2001->Anything but me, Lizards, Reba->Julius, 46 days->Free, YEM (95 minutes)
Encore: Character Zero (10 minutes)
See? You missed this! How awesome am I for rubbing that in? But hey, you’ll be listening to it in 20 minutes anyways so who cares? (I do, I need this, and I have nothing else) Ain’t technology great like that?
Yet again, Phish has outdone themselves even when last night you thought they couldn’t have outdone themselves anymore – they go and blow your mind again. They welcomed the crowd with an amazing version of The Mustangs ‘Ya Mar’, and although you probably know that The Mustangs wrote this song they have played since the 80s, I’m gonna get some “cred” from mentioning that again. Yes, I have listened to The Mustangs version quite a bit, but Phish does it better. Trust me.
The high energy that was built up in the first song carried over to every single other song in this show. Every. Single. One. That’s right fans, this show was a 9/10, but I’ll make that a 10/10 in a few paragraphs. Just watch me fluff.
CTB was sweet, and abbreviating it is even cooler, am I right? Next up was It’s Ice. Holy shit. It’s Ice WAS AMAZING! Page was ON man, he was ON! Even that part in the middle he has always played pretty much the same – that was unique as shit! I love Page because he has Parkinson’s (I heard it on PT, so it must be true). But at least he has a Lear Jet to make trips to the Mayo Clinic and he looks good in his new shirt. There, I don’t have to mention Page anymore. That’s all you need to know – his song, his shirt, his health and his jet. Let me now get to blowing (reviewing less than critically) Trey and Mike because they are the greatest guitarists EVER!
First, let me tell you that Fishman can channel, that’s right, he can fucking CHANNEL Syd Barrett. I should know, I listened to tons of Pink Floyd although nothing from the Syd era. Trust me though, you need to seek this Love You out. The vacuuming goes on for a good 8-10 seconds longer than normal.
Ok, so Trey comes back to his guitar and we get Down with Disease! Let the shredding begin! Mike dropped bass notes like he always does, but this time was even cooler than 3 nights ago because it’s fresher in my mind. So I’ll put this one down as best of tour. Debate OVER. Until they play another DWD. Then THAT ONE is the best ever!
The band got all experimental towards the end and by the band, I mean Trey. He is like the best part of Phish, so let me talk about him. Trey is a god. Literally. He heals wounds. He has urinated in my ears and gotten rid of wook flu. He did drugs and learned from it, therefore, he is a god. When he segued into Possum, I was one of the first to note this and you can tell from my Tweet on it. What, you aren’t following me on Twitter? Follow me: @Phishphluffer420
Even though Gordo sings Possum, I’ll have you know that Trey is the star of this and all songs really. He built up a massive crescendo, a word I looked up to mean ‘build up’. Doing what they do best, they played the song really well and other phrases and strings of words that show I can be critical of the band while really just fluffing the hell out of them. Furthermore, let me compare Possum to one of Phish’s influences, Frank Zappa. Trey loves Zappa a lot and you can tell because Possum sounds JUST LIKE Easy Meat! I know this because I downloaded Zappa’s entire discography the other day because I heard Trey was influenced by him. Even though Easy Meat doesn’t sound a bit like Possum, or vice versa, I’m gonna make this judgment and you can just agree with me because that’s what this review is here to do – gain your trust by reassuring you Phish is incapable of flaws since they came back in March of 2009.
Then Trey decided to play Secret Smile. I cried. Others went to the bathroom or to get beer. I don’t know why, this song is amazing. It encompasses everything I love about Phish: Trey, an acoustic guitar, and the other 3 just sitting back and watching Trey be a god.
Set break was 40 minutes long and fans stretched their legs, bitched about Secret Smile, and relaxed. I sat idly by on my iPhone taking notes about the show.
The boys opened up second set with a Type-II laden version of 2001, which was originally called Also Sprach Zarathrusta. I know this because I Googled it. The jamming kept going places, here, there, that place, voici, voila, aqui, and so on until the continuity was broken up very nicely by a rough transition into Anything but Me. You should know that I LOVE this song! It is awesome and I cried when they played it on Letterman back in 2003 even though the song sucked. But I assure you, I love this song and every Phish song, even Loving Cup, which is one of their best compositions.
Trey’s senior thesis was broken out with a version of Lizards that was like all the others, but different, and better. Then they busted out Reba, which they played the tits off of. That’s right, tits. It’s a double pun because they played it really well, hence, the tits came off and Reba is a woman’s name so she would presumably have tits. They came off is what I’m trying to tell you. They should bag it and tag it. LOL. See what I did there? I am a comedian!
The flawless segueing into Julius wasn’t flawless, but remember, I have to keep fluffing the band so just take my word for it. It was FUCKING FLAWLESS! Julius reminded me of a song by that band that sings Legs, but I can’t tell too much about that because I don’t listen to that kind of shit. Unless it turns out Trey was influenced by them. In that case I’ll download and listen to the entire discography in a matter of hours just to get deeper into Trey’s mind. I’m thinking of dying my hair red by the way. What do you think? Yeah?! I think it would look cool too!
46 days was busted out, even though a bust out technically is a way to describe a rare song that is played once in a blue moon. But I’ll stick with that because it came out of nowhere as I expected something else more obscure which would be every song. But then, the jam transformed into this improvisational thing that was like the best part of the show. It was pseudo David Byrne meets Miles Davismeets Zachary Taylor meets Moby Grape. Yes, it was that awesome! Don’t know who some of those musicians/former presidents are? You should continue reading what I write, because it will educate you all about how Phish is flawless and just so fucking awesome. I am crying because I can’t tell you enough how flawless they are. They’re just perfect since they came back, that’s all I’m saying. Then they segued into Free which was very funky with Gordo plucking the bass strings really loudly. I like this enough to say it was ‘phunky’, even though you may be irked by the use of the letters ‘ph’.
After Free, there was much talk on stage and then YEM. This was cool too. I would write more about how the show ended on a high note with a sick vocal jam, but my ‘Thesaurus for Phish Fans Reviewing Shows’ has been worn down and I don’t know what else to say. YEM was cool? No, that’s not it. Ground-breaking? Well, not really…. maybe it was mesmerizing? YES! THIS YEM was MESMERIZING! The energy! The trampolines! The vocal jam! God, I love this band. I need to rub one out now.
The encore was Character Zero which has gone back to being more than what it was in 2000 – the staple of every other show. Now that it’s back to being an every third show song, I find that this version was more amazing than 3 nights ago and probably cant be topped. That is, until the next time they play it.
This cannot possibly get better! Yes it can! More shows! All shows will be better than the last!
We can only assume that Phish is going to continue to get better and better and soon Trey will ascend to heaven and be seated at the right hand of Jerry. But until that happens, I’ll be fluffing the shit out of the band in the hopes that the journalists who cover Phish will meet me halfway and improve their biased reviews. I mean, seriously, don’t they realize how amazing Phish is? You’d think we were all pot smoking hippies or something.