Dear NooBs,

First and foremost, Welcome!  You are about to arrive at the greatest place on Earth; Phish.  Yes, I speak of it as a place because in many ways it is.  In the most literal sense, you must go to the show, so it is a concrete location.  But more figuratively, Phish is a place inside of you.  Phish ultimately has nothing to do with the spectacle and madness of “tour,” and everything to do with what happens inside of you.  Sure, everything else is a blast, but it wouldn’t exist without that inner connection.

205When the lights go out, you can’t see all your friends- all you have is you and the music.  And this is the part that you have no idea about.  You may have listened to every bootleg from ’95 on or ’97 on, and you may know every jam like the back of your hand, but in the end, that has nothing to do with it- those are the fun tangentials.  Listening to the tapes afterwards, talking about the shows, compiling stats, post-show parties; these are the external frills.  Of course they are fun, but they also wouldn’t exist without that connection.

One the music starts, nobody will look at you.  There is no such thing as cool or uncool.  Image is nothing; soul is everything.  Regardless of if you stack hemp necklaces five deep or wear an Izod shirt to the show, it doesn’t matter.  Wear what you love- nothing else matters.  You don’t need to wear patchwork and grow pseudo-204dreads to be a fan; all you truly need is you!  Once the lights go out, that is all that is present- yourself and the Phish, and this is when the magic begins.  These frozen moments will transform you like you never knew possible. You will discover an intimacy that is impossible to achieve via headphones, and with nothing but a blank canvas and Phish, your journey will begin.  There are few thing as beautiful in the world; this is what you will learn.

Phish is going to be different than they were on those old tapes and CDs, so I wouldn’t come with a list of your top 15 songs you’re dying to hear.  Odds are you’ll be disappointed.  Be thankful for those tapes- they brought you here, but you needn’t try to recreate them.  This holds true for experiences as well.  Don’t try to recreate Phish experiences you’ve read about online or have been told about over the years- this is your time!  Forget what you’ve heard and discover your own adventures with yourself, the band, and whatever music they churn out.  There is no doubt it will be special.  There is no reason to fret about being too young for the ’90s, because you’re here now, and that’s all that matters.  Now is the time.

(J Huntsman)

(J. Huntsman)

So don’t bother coming armed with glowsticks, tortillas, marshmallows and whatever else you’ve heard people throw at Phish shows; don’t worry if your hair is clean and you like to shower daily; don’t worry about figuring out how to look cool, or what to wear.  Just bring comfortable sneakers.  Because once your eyes close, the only thing that can stand in the way of your night-long bliss can be uncomfortable shoes.  I don’t jest.  I have had trial runs for tour kicks- don’t ask.  Surely there will be other variables, but whatever you do, take care of your shoes.

Lastly, if I can leave you with any words of wisdom, they would be, “Dance your heart out!”  You are about to discover that you can dance better than you ever thought you could- well, most of you.  Rage like there is no tomorrow and without a care in the world.  Regardless of what is going on in your life, for those sacred three hours each night, you can’t affect that stuff and nothing else matters.  When the song ends, everything will still be img_0077the same- relatively, of course.  Don’t get too preoccupied with where you are in the arena or amphitheatre, just find a place that’s loud and where you have some room to move.  Everything else will take care of itself.

Oh- and if you get separated from your friends at setbreak or during the show, don’t freak out- they didn’t go far, you are all there for the same reason.  The best solution is to relax and continue raging.  Once the lights come on, they will magically appear.  And in the end, this isn’t about your friends.

You are about to uncover a mystical world that you never knew existed, and guess what- you DESERVE to be there!  Enjoy this time; it will never come again!




hw22Phish Thoughts is kicking around the idea of offering “No Spoilers”
versions of the Hampton shows for download as soon as possible after
they’re available.  Since there are so many fans unable to head to Hampton, this would be the next best thing to being there.  You would experience the show in tape delay, but also in mystery, without knowing what magical journeys Phish decided to bust out.

These downloads would be hosted on a separate page, as you would need to avoid Phish Thoughts (and other electronic devices, for that matter) until the show was ready.  These would be decent quality MP3 versions, with identifying information scrubbed clean (i.e. generic file names, and no tag information).  We’re even toying with the idea of having two files for download: Set 1 and Set 2+E, so you wouldn’t even know how many tunes they played in each set. (Will the 4-song 2nd set return in 2009?  you won’t know until you listen to the whole damn thing!)

3251307416_fd2bc41136Is this obsessive-compulsive and geeky behavior taken to a whole new level?  Sure, but we think there are a few fans that fall into those categories.

The caveat is that these downloads wouldn’t be available until approximately 12 – 24 hours after the show, so you would have to possess ultimate patience and not find out what was played. (Exactly how long depends on the tapers.  If you are a taper and would like to collaborate on this crazy project, please let us know!)

Email us at and let us know your thoughts- i.e. should we do this?



8.3.98 Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN < LINK

1998-08-03gnThis is the second show of Phish’s outstanding two-night stand in the cornfields during Summer ’98.  Highlights abounded from this night at one of Phish’s Midwestern homes.  Opening with Smashing Pumpkin’s “Rhinoceros,” out of nowhere, the band started the show with some fun and excitement.  But the second song “Halley’s Comet,” kicked it into high gear with a devastating jam. The second set is anchored by one of the defining versions of “Gumbo” of all time, and a classic Deer Creek “Antelope” for an encore.

I: Rhinoceros*, Halley’s Comet > I Didn’t Know, Ride Captain Ride**, Cars Trucks Buses, The Moma Dance, Strange Design, Character Zero

II: Gumbo, Axilla, Limb by Limb, Meat, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head U, Tube, The Wedge

E: When the Circus Comes > Run Like an Antelope

*First time played (Smashing Pumpkins cover); allegedly had been part of soundchecks for years **Blues Image cover; last played 12-30-92 (486 shows)

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249 Responses to “Dear NooBs,”

  1. los Says:

    How about Light up or leave me alone opener?!

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    great post and discussion today .. I too check this site as I have my morning tea.. have actually had to work lately so I haven’t been able to check back as much.

    I had listened to a ton of phish before my first show, Hampton 96, and thought I knew everything. The Maze in the first set certainly clued me in on that and by the time fishman was hittin that vacuum on I didn’t Know, all of my 19 year old know it all was that far gone.

    First jam show I saw was the Dead, RFK 94. I was completely sober thanks to some bunkness in the lot, but we got down close, and I fully GOT IT during Space that day.. US Air Arena 10/10/94 set II was my next full on encounter with communing with the Divine Other of Improv .. h>s>f>estimated>terrapin>Jam>d>s and I was friggin floored.

    I’m lucky enough to be in the door at Hampton, but there’s no way I wouldn’t be looking at song by song setlists if I wasn’t there. I admire those of you who could possibly wait it out.

  3. camman Says:

    haha miner.. you gotta be careful who you Zoink these days…

  4. youenjoy09 Says:

    Down with Disease opener?

  5. camman Says:

    anthing is possible YEM09 we’ll know in 23 days!!!!

  6. contact420 Says:

    Coventry blew chunks all over the state of Vermont!!! Phish would prefer you to forget Coventry. Leave sleeping dogs alone.

  7. Bathtub Gumbo Says:

    Miner, I think that is a fantastic idea. I am one of the many who wasn’t able to get Hampton tix and would love to listen to just 2 files. Jonah, you probably won’t read this but my name is Jonah too and I’ll be at Starlake, Deer Creek and both Alpines and think it would be cool to meet another Jonah. Email me at and maybe we could meet up at the shows.

    Miner, sorry if you already have answered this in a post I have been traveling for work for the past week and a half so I haven’t been able to read as much as I’d like. What shows have you been able to get tix to? I may have extras for all 4 but I haven’t heard back from some friends.

  8. chetb Says:

    Hey Jman. Is your firm hiring?

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ still looking for a lower pav for camden

  10. phish guy Says:

    damn man, you sure have a way with words! keep spreading the positive vibes!

  11. Sloth Says:

    noob bashing is kind of like immigrant bashing. those that choose to hate the thing that they themselves once were have not quite figured out their own place. in the universe. so kudoos to this whole crew for passing down knowledge in a tolerant, respectful way. this is the beauty. ultimately i side with the “surrender to the flow” mentality. a lot goes on in your mind before, during, and after a phish show. it is like no other experience. take it in and give back what you can. for me it took about 20 shows to get my feet wet, to understand the culture – the driving, the lot, the anticipation, the band going on 35 minutes after show time, finding my comfort zone up front page side, listening to the voices of others. sit back, relax, enjoy the ride. here is what i came across today in a class of mine, and I think it fits for the phish experience.

    1. Things are meant
    2. There are signs
    3. The heart speaks
    4. There is a way

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    I have a Sunday Hampton if you can give me a Friday or Saturday! email me @

  13. Jer Says:

    The no spoiler idea is GREAT…and one I may undertake on a personal level as well.

  14. Jer Says:

    Oh yea, young fry…if you haven’t already, seek out a copy of 6/18/94 as a lesson in Phish 101, you can thank me later.

  15. Bryant Says:

    yes create your own fresh experience … a great thought minor … choose your own adventure and let the energy in the room just before the lights go down place you on your own magic carpet … filter out anything you’ve heard about it and release all your feelings and observations that whistled thru your ipod over and over again … at that moment such a release will asure that your ‘in the moment’ … and you shall then be truly released to any expectations that can cloud your head and slow your feet … you’ll be able to surrender to the flow … trust me when i say that previous knowledge is already in your muscle memory …. i sometimes see it as if i’m dancin and im a liitle ahead of the groove, my feet know whats next before my brain … that to me is what surrendering to the flow is … bottomline just dance your ass off, its a hell of an aerobic workout, and if you find what I speak of, you’ll burn that many more calories being in such constant motion … and don’t forget to hydrate … 3 weeks and counting

  16. Uncle Jam Says:

    Damn, we’re getting 200+ comments regularly now on 1 topic!

    I agree with the No Spoiler idea.

    Keep rocking Miner.

  17. full tour: announced! Says:

    my transformation …..

    11.02.1996…..noob…… 07.23.1997…….phisherman 🙂

  18. full tour: announced! Says:

    and i look at my concert experience as pre PHISH and after…….

    prephish…..first shows… floyd ….tampa 94….i was 13 and a total floyd freak\ noob

    grateful dead…..tampa 95…….total noob…..loved it…..14 and sober….still best times…..saw this with my dad and brother…

    then phish dropped late 95

    cheers….were all noobs to 3.0

  19. full tour: announced! Says:

    also props to -Miner for this blog\music portal……best site since peanubutter met jelly

  20. 4 for Fox!! Says:

    I don’t know about everyone else, but thinking about a Divided Sky opener in Hampton gave me the chills. So did the thought of a Curtain opener. Well, so did Chalkdust…and Mike’s…or Wilson…or–well, you get the idea.

    Also, I know a guy that has a seizure every time Mary Hart speaks on TV, so I’m sure lights can cause a seizure.

  21. JMAN926 Says:

    @chet – unfortunately no my man. There is another firm here in town that might be hiring, but Beaufort is pretty small and the legal market is not booming. Its a small “fishing/crabbing/shrimping” city between Charleston SC and Savannah GA. Different note – I’m calling a DWD opener. Perhaps cliche, but appeals to the most jaded and new phans, and would be appropriately loud and worded. My .02.

  22. JMAN926 Says:

    I’ve got an 200 pav for Camden…

  23. lizzards Says:

    Do the no-spoiler thing… I remember when A Live one came out and I went to Tower Record in Boston (now gone…) at midnight to buy the disks… My friend looked at the back of the cd box, but I carried it all the way home, just looking at the front cover to not see the set list… popped it on the cd player (remember those things… this was pre-mp3…) and relished in the surprise! Do it for us again!

  24. Coventry Says:

    Truthfully, i feel as if we’re all going to be noobs there on Friday night. We’ve been looking forward to this since Sunday night at Coventry and we and the band are brand new.

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