Three Things That Should Go (But Won’t)

3.8.09 Hampton (J.Mordaunt)

3.8.09 Hampton (J.Mordaunt)

With the first Phish tour in five years about to explode in only a month, there are many facets of the experience we will be reacquainted with after an extended absence.  From navigating the summer lot to scheming for your perfect show location, a whole new realm of critical thinking will be reopened.  We will be confronted by traffic jams, bathroom lines, and maps every day for the first time in quite a while, and security guards will be factors in our lives again as we engage in our secret mission seeking the ultimate- those frozen moments where thoughts go blank and we forget who and where we are- utterly engulfed by the psychedelic monstrosity of Phish.

Yet on our mission, and while reacquainting ourselves with the flow of tour, we will inevitably be confronted by some of the same boneheaded trends of shows past.  And as we enter this summer, the most anticipated tour in memory, here are a few of those in-show behaviors that would be better off left behind.

3.7.09 Hampton (J.Mordaunt)

3.7.09 Hampton (J.Mordaunt)

Clapping: There is nothing more absurd than when the band enters a slammin’ dance groove and half the pavilion starts clapping to the beat.  It may be subconscious, or it may be a meager attempt at getting involved, but if I had the ability to make one thing vanish, it just might be the constant clapping.  Not surprisingly, the band often gets annoyed by this trend as well, intentionally jamming in another direction, leaving the clappers wondering where their downbeat went.

Throwing Glowsticks: If Trey hadn’t said how cool these things looked during The Great Went, would things be different now?  What used to be reserved for rolled-out raver kids became mainstream in the Phish scene’s later years, posing annoyances and safety hazards for the band and audience alike.  There is nothing like being blissed out, eyes closed, in the middle of a “Hood” jam and getting slammed in the skull with a glowstick; poetry in motion.  Although those glowrings don’t hurt as much when they come crashing down, get ’em outta here too.  What’s the point again?

Hampton (J.Kravitz)

Hampton (J.Kravitz)

Talking Loudly: One of the most annoying things possible at a show is when your two or three neighbors, who clearly don’t care about Phish, are yapping away over beers like they are at a crowded college bar.  Sure, it’s loud in there, but it’s a huge rock concert- it’s supposed to be!  Yet some people insist on conversing like it is their last living moment together on earth- in your ear.  A completely obnoxious behavior, you wonder how people like that get their hands on Phish tickets these days.  I’m all for talking- but let’s catch up after the show.  During the show, shut it.

But, alas, with 20,000 person concerts, I don’t really expect any of these things to come to a halt, but if I had my ‘druthers, they would vanish from the universe of a Phish show.  But the overarching beauty here is that we have a Phish universe again, and no number of clappers, glowstick throwers, or obnoxious conversationalists can take that away.



9.21.99 Pima Co. Fairgrounds, Tucson, AZ < LINK

9.21.99 Pima Co. Fairgrounds, Tucson, AZ < TORRENT LINK

1999-09-21gnIn an open fairgrounds in the desert, Phish played the most random venue of Fall ’99, and played it well.  The band assembled a creative second set, combining some diverse songs and improv in “Carini > Bug,” and “Vultures > Limb,” the cover “Will It Go Round in Circles,” and a monstrous “Antelope” to close.  This one is not so widely known, but even the first set brings some heat with “Split” and “Drowned.”  Plus, a virtually aunheard of “Reba” encore.  It’s hard to call this show underrated, because nobody ever talks about it; it’s more like unrated.  Check it out.

I: Poor Heart, Sample in a Jar, Split Open and Melt, Drowned, I Didn’t Know, Get Back on the Train, Birds of a Feather, Theme from the Bottom, Golgi Apparatus

II: Carini > Bug, Strange Design, Vultures* > Limb by Limb, Will It Go Round In Circles, Dirt, Run Like an Antelope

E: Reba*, Bold as Love


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233 Responses to “Three Things That Should Go (But Won’t)”

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  1. Dr SF Jones Says:

    Man, I can’t agree more about the clapping. As a professional drummer, i can’t think of any thing that is more distracting or annoying then a bunch of dip shits trying to clap along with the groove. I work on a great deal of cruise ships and trust me, this happens a lot !!!

    People who yell during acapella songs should be permanently banned, IMO. Shushers too.

  2. Ed Says:

    The ‘Acapella-Song-Yellers’ would not be complete without the Yin to their Yang: the ‘Acapella-Song-Shhh’rs-at-the-Yellers.’ Usually the thousands of people Shhhh’ing the one or two yellers is even worse than the yelling!

    However, I must say, at my first Phish concert, 6.14.95 Memphis, during ‘Amazing Grace,’ everyone was SILENT and then this guy screamed in a thick southern accent “LONG LIVE THE KING!” and every last one of us laughed our asses off. The entire amphitheatre started giggling – it was just great.

    If you listen to this track, you’ll hear the guy scream it – check it out!

    Finally, thank you SO much, Mr. Miner, for your always engaging blog entries. You are a fantastic writer! Keep it up!

  3. Litteringand Says:

    I hate when people shout out requests. A clever sign is a different story. Also i used to get so nervous that one of the band members was gonna get smoked with a glowstick and they would have to stop the show.

  4. Walls Says:

    I’ll catch some flack gauranteed, but I think that glow-wars are an integral and magical moment at Phish concerts. Albeit the glow-sticks should be banned (never been hit, but cant imagine the buzz or bliss-kill that getting hit in the melon would be!). Maybe it is simply the fact that it has never affected me in a negative way, but I have never heard any complaints about the glow-wars. To each his/her own. Keep it up Miner this site is unbelievable. With hate-fests going on all over the web (not gonna name names, insert coy cough sound while muttering Jambase and Phantasy Tour) it is nice to see some positive vibes in the scene.

  5. Al Says:

    I hate those people who throw those massive glowsticks at the band! But when a real Glowstick war like the one during the IT Ghost starts – it is really GREAT – because that’s part of the intensity of the particular jam.
    But what really got on my nerves were the balloons or big balls that were bangin’ at my head every 10 seconds for about 30 Min. while I was trying to focus on the great jams.

  6. Rutherford B. Lizard Says:

    Great post Mr. Miner. I don’t see these things getting better either.
    My biggest issue with phish shows are the d-bags there only for “the scene.” To them the scene is easy access to hard drugs and it is garbage. It’s what ruined it for the band and phans alike. I know people who are going to Phenway who mock me for putting on Phish…bah.
    I’ll be @ Phenway, Great Woods, & SPAC in damn near total ecstasy (the real stuff – pure joy!)

  7. kellerbier Says:

    The clapping always seems to start as soon as the band enters a “quietier” passage in the music.

    And I think we have to add laser pointers into the mix. Do the people doing that think they are cool or that they are enhancing CK5’s light show?

  8. cason Says:

    the thing i hate the most is when you are down front on the floor grooving and some 19 year old wasted frat boy tries to get in front of you or past you or around you so he can get closer to the rail. (3rd night Hampton)

    A. I am not going to let you get by me and will throw multiple elbows in your direction.

    B. If you do somehow manage to get in front of me, i will wipe snot and spit all over you back and shoulders. you might think i am just patting you on the back and being friendly but once you take your shirt off you will find out differently.

  9. kellerbier Says:

    cason – next time, just send him towards antelope greg.

  10. wanderin Says:

    Re: Harry Hood I think the crowd yelling ‘Hood’ after the band sings Harry should be stopped immediately. It is so obnoxious. It Sucks. To think it started at Red Rocks in 96. Our friends remember receiving the flyer, and were told how cool it would be, we just gave the flyer back and said no thanks.

  11. JerZ Says:

    I like the glowsticks- and I have never been a raver kid. I was there when they started and agreed with Trey that they looked pretty cool, and have been there for some awesome glowstick wars- some are lame, like all the attempts at Hampton- but I think it is pretty cool.

    My vote for the biggest thing to disappear (and I know that you are talking about in show stuff- because lot stuff would be a whole nuther tangent) is pharmies. I pray for the day that they are gone from Phish lot or any other lot for that matter.

  12. EL Duderino Says:

    I wish the super hippie or the super cool would vanish! Nothing worse than a know it all!!!!

  13. EL Duderino Says:

    The glow stick started @ UIC Pavilion in June ’94 when the band brought them out themselves and started giving them away. I think Trey was explaining the vibration of life if memory serves. Yeah, it was cool…then not anymore!

  14. RobAins Says:

    HA! Clapping! I used to be guilty of it….. I remember being 15 at Waterloo Village (Summer ‘ 93) tripping and totally clapping along. I even made a claim to my friends that I was the single audience member who started everyone clapping! 16 years later, and I still get made fun of for it! Deservingly so I might add. It was mentioned a few times at my Rehearsal Dinner as well as Best Man Speech at my wedding. Whatever, I was young and having the fucking time of my life. I must have started a million clap-along from Summer ’93 through 12.31.95 (including the one during Runaway Jim 😉 No more though, my clapping days are over….

  15. Jon Bailey Says:

    One thing that could be removed is the guy or girl that can’t handle their shit at a show. Put down the 4 hits of E and take a drink of water jack ass. The last thing I need to do is get out of my groove to help pick you up off the floor.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like to get down as well. Try taking one in stead of 5. I hate when I hear people yapping about how they took 6 hits of this or 4 rolls of that…..First of all – no you didn’t. Second of all…. you’re a moron!
    Is that really necessary?
    Wake up people!!!

  16. wanderin Says:

    Drug talk should always be low-key, that and drunken frat boys and sorority girls

  17. PB Says:

    I could not have said it better myself! Clapping, Glowsticks and Talkers are all bummers on the experience.

    I was recently at one of the Dead shows and the two people in front of me could not get off their facebook page during the whole show. So, I think we will encounter the glowing iphone screen in front of you at shows. Fortunately, I am one who usually closes their eyes to cut out all the fool distractions that inevitably go on. Whether it be security guards, the couple making out, the tools obsessing over filling their pipe, etc…etc.. With regards to talkers, I usually just move to a dance space and have taken to telling them to be quiet.

  18. msbjivein Says:

    Yep, Can’t wait to be blasted in the head by a glowstick AGAIN. The glowstick thing got old very quick for me. After seeing every member of the band get light up by a glowstick to the head. @ Hampton during my 1st Hood in 5yrs, SMACK! There went that buzz. Also the people who won’t let you sqeeze by them in a GA floor. What the Hell is up w/ that shit?? I’ll be w/ a group of friends go take a piss or grab a beer. Then it’s like people can’t fucking move over just so I can sqeeze by. YOU DON”T OWN THE FLOOR!! Fucking Move! Also the Front Row guard. What a joke. A bunch of dudes(9 otta 10 times) acting like the rail or any where near the rail is off limits to any other fan. (chicks not dicks in the front row) My wife’s a shorty so she’ll battle her way up close about every GA show. Everytime I’ve triedto follow her up close All I get is shitty looks and BAD vibes up there. People don’t dance they just stand there. They’re not watching the show they just pay attention to everyone around them. Making sure no one gets passed them. Those people are Tools.

    @ Cason, You don’t own the floor dude. Move over a let the dude by. Don’t sweat it like your shows ruined just cause someone stepped passed you. I’m not defending those types but they’re not going anywhere.
    There are going to be wasted 19yr olds at every show trying to get by. Why throw elbows and riskgetting punch by some wasted dumbass. Let them pass and go about your business. JMO

  19. RunawayJim Says:

    All you glowstick lovers will likely change your mind once you get hit in the head with a couple. I don’t mind balls or balloons, but glowsticks are downright dangerous no matter how cool they look from afar.

  20. PB Says:

    I think there is now a market for a tee-shirt that says

    “Glowsticks Suck”

  21. Pence Says:

    You usually dont see signs at phish shows but I think I’ll bring a small one that says “NO CLAPPING” . Biggest BS ever. I dont know why people would buy a ticket to a show to just drown out the music with their own clapping. Save that for DMB.
    @Robains whenever I hear clapping this summer Im gonna blame it on you. “There goes that god damn RobAins with starting the clapping again” haha, just kidding, love how your friends didnt forget about you saying that.

  22. Jack O Roses Says:

    I’m waiting for the first G1 or iphone app for tour heads.

    Mebbe a setlist app. for entering and comparing shows. Or a real time extra tickets app where G1 and iphone users can connect.

    Let’s see, what else: We could use the gps parking app for when we forget where we parked. Many different apps could be used instead of a lighter at the end of the show. (I’ve got a really cool kaleidoscope on my G1) What other apps could we use to better our experiences?

  23. Manny Phresh Says:

    I utterly despise when people are yapping away during a show. I just don’t understand what could possibly be so important that people can’t wait till set break or the end of the show to tell their friends. But the worst is someone tries to talk to me, unless your an attractive female please get out of my face and don’t tell me how sick this jam is just listen to it.

  24. PB Says:

    @Jack O Roses – I will still be the dude that must write(with a pen) the setlist on the back of his ticket stub. I refuse to bring a phone or any thing with buttons into a show. Setlist obsessing can wait until I get home. I do think those types of apps would be very cool, but, I just see enough people looking down and not talking to each other as it is.

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    There is nothing worse then the super cool dude who has to talk over every song because he saw Phish in ’93 and feels that every show isn’t as good as back in the day, and when you tell him to shut the fuck up they look at you like your from another planet. Yo Bro Shut the Fuck Up! If you want to talk, go back to the hotel with your tool friends and spend the night doin’ blow and looking like a phucking fool. You know who you are…

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