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)”

  1. notkuroda Says:

    Glowsticks were cool, once. That was 12 years ago. It’s time to stop. I just went and saw Fleetwood Mac in concert. I sat next to a clapper, a person holding up a lighter, and a girl playing a tambourine. Please don’t let this happen at Phish shows.

    For the record tho, I like the HOOD chant. I was there when it started, and stunned by the crowd reaction. The band seemed to like it to, so I find nothing wrong with it.

  2. bhizzle Says:

    Me no like glowsticks, Hood chant, talkers & Acapella screamers/shhh’ers.

    I’d buy one of those shirts PB

  3. JerZ Says:

    Why are there so many angry phans? I can see not liking some of these things, but “hating” and getting violent, and some of the talk going on here is just nonsense. If this is the stuff that you are focusing on inside the show, that’s your problem. Who cares- you are inside seeing Phish. If somebody told me three years ago that Phish would be back, but I would have to deal with a little bit of the nonsense- I would have signed on the dotted line right there.

    You know what I hope goes away but wont- Haters

  4. hawkinbj Says:

    Man it’s so obvious, but I must second, third, fourth, whatever the talking during a show. It never ceases to amaze me that – no matter what show/venue – there is always some group of idiots just chatting about their new job or their boyfriend or their phone bill not even paying one iota of attention to the show. This drove me fucking nuts the first night at Hampton in particular. Thankfully we were surrounded by a more interested group (Alex!!!) the second and third nights.

    Death be to chatters

  5. Bapslap Says:

    Drunks. They’re the worst.

    Don’t get me wrong…I’m up for having a beer, or even a few, but a Phish show is not a Skynyrd show (with or without the a capella Freebird).

    The drunk douchebags should stick to the Dave Matthews shows…where I won’t be.

  6. mr. icclus Says:

    i hate the dude that walks by you 10 times in the lawn and whispers molly in your ear. Who gos into a phish show to walk around and sell drugs. Add that guy to your t-shirt!!!

  7. MW Says:

    You know what really “grinds my gears” people that find every little thing to complain about (yes, if it can cause you physical harm i get it ie-glowsticks). What I don’t get it…these things were cool back when I was younger and saw the band, but now @ 3.0 with these “new young kids” around not so much (easy with all the old grandpa talk people). Plus, those wasted 18,19,20 year olds were probably you at one point. Hate to be the realist but just RELAX and enjoy the show…

  8. SOAM Says:

    Holy negativity batman-I have a squirt gun loaded with liquid valium and I just squirt the annoyers-within 30 minutes they have checked out and it’s all good-I am working on a patent to use this valuable tool not only at shows but in everyday life.-FYI

  9. Tadcaster Says:

    Syncronized Clapping kills the mood at sporting events too.

    You’re at Fenway, tense moment, bottom of the 9th and Jason Bay hits a homer to tie. The place is unglued and everyone is delerious. But Bay hasn’t even rounded second yet and they are blasting some cheesy Jock music that organizes everyone’s delirium into a steady clap. I hate that! Let the delirium run it’s natural course. Don’t round up that energy and dull it into a steady one-two clap…just let it be.

    So, when Phish opens Fenway with “Shipping Up To Boston” is Gordeux rocking the electric bag-pipe or is Trey mimicking that riff on guitar?

  10. PlethoraOfPinatas Says:

    I think the people that talk, yell, whistle, etc around the taper’s section should be castrated. Nothing worse than hearing some douche scream into the mics during the most beautiful quiet section of Reba or the silent moment in Divided Sky.

    The glowstick wars need to stop as well. The boys should take a note from Yonder Mountain, who published a note to their fans on the front page of their website warning that they would abort the show if they felt threatened by fans throwing things onstage. I believe this came after someone threw a bottle onstage, but it’s all the same.

  11. msbjivein Says:

    @ JerZ, This is a day to vent. Don’t hate on hating. LOL! There’s nothing that bothers you at Phish shows??

  12. Frankie Says:


    “The circus is the place for me with bears and clowns and noise, i love the shiny music that descends from overhead”

    Had totally forgotten that song in my Hampton wishes but wow! I really hope they play Roggae at some point this summer… what a cool song with the traded vocals and dreamy music…

    Tweezer Reprise > Buried Alive > Llama opener in FENWAY PARK!!

  13. RobAins Says:

    What about a well timed “Woohoo” during a particularly intense part of a jam (ie: as the band is building the tension and about to release. Or, going back a few Topics from Miner (and I forget the actual title) when the band is about to drop IT, and you know it) I’m thinking the ascending notes before the final “Oh whoa, whoa, whoa” during Lizards, before Trey’s solo. These “woohoo’s” never bother me, probably because they are over in a second, and only affect the one or two rows around the person.

  14. Frankie Says:

    The whoohoo’s are essential to the rock concert experience IMO…

    It’s just energy release and are sometimes needed for the head not to explode…

    LIMIT of TWO Whoohoo’s per set per person… 😉

  15. A_Glide Says:

    One thing I got at Hampton was the floor started getting pockets of mosh pits. Very large young kids throwing themselves into me yelling “this is my first show!” Hampton wasn’t my first rodeo so I’m good about defending my space, but I hate having to. I guess this kind of goes back to East vs West a little too. whatever, I’ll take a soundboard spot out east and a rail spot at the gorge.

  16. bhizzle Says:

    I’m selling my Whoohoo’s to the highest bidder starting………

  17. PlethoraOfPinatas Says:

    @Tadcaster – Shippin’ Up To Boston would be AMAZING! Unfortunately you wouldn’t know it because you got knocked out during the opening riff by some neanderthal with a bad accent in a green Red Sox hat… wicked pissa!

    Just kidding, Beantown is awesome and I’m glad they put Fenway on the schedule.

  18. JerZ Says:

    msbjivein- I hear you about the venting- that’s all good, I just think that the degree of anger is a little unnecessary. Most of the stuff that bothers me takes place out in the parking lot- because there are a lot of people that could care less about the music. Once I am inside, MOST of the people are there for the music- I know that there are exceptions but the majority of them, especially in this hard to get a ticket time are there because they love Phish.

    I have a hard time hating on anyone, becasue I was that 20 year old cocked brim, molly selling punk back in the 90’s- so I fit just about every negative stereotype that you can have- but thankfully I grew up

  19. Manny Phresh Says:


    You have a customer, could definitely use one at the work place!

  20. A_Glide Says:

    ^”Nothing worse than hearing some douche scream into the mics during the most beautiful quiet section of Reba or the silent moment in Divided Sky.”

    Yeah, but that guy on my Hampton tapes yelling “tear that shit up baby!” in between songs is awesome.

  21. MW Says:

    i think the title should say “things people love to hate at phish shows (but without them they would be lost)” it seems as if everyone is bitching about these things, but loves to talk about them. i mean what would be a lot scene/concert without the blatant idiot? it gives you conversation for hours, days, or years. i still geek out at some of the experiences my friends and I have…but the negative vibes about hating these people or getting back at them is just lame (prereq for being the old dude who yells @ kids on his lawn and gets off on it) instead just laugh, say that person is a complete moron and carry on.

  22. Mike Says:

    Incessant Talking is bad. Clapping is good, but needs to be saved for composed rhythmic sections, and for the love of god, keep some rhythm, people.

    I’ve never had an issue with the glowsticks. In fact I think it adds to the vibe and looks pretty damn cool from the cheap seats. I think we all know that throwing them on stage or at the sound/light board is bad news, so lets just be adults. Glowsticks flew a plenty at Hampton and I don’t think it caused any distress. Actually at Hampton, I thought the balloon drop was far more distracting than the glow sticks. Trying to get my last dance in to Tweprise and keeping an eye on those giant balloons at the same time was counterproductive.

    Let’s face it, large groups of people are annoying. If you’re at an amusement park, Bears game or a concert, there’s always going to be a discourteous element. Its a fact of life. The best advice I can give is lead by example and be patient with the youngins. We were all assholes once.

  23. msbjivein Says:

    @JerzZ, I think we’ve all had our “Tool” moments in the past. But your right there are very few people at the shows that aren’t there for the music. We out weigh them by far. I never let any of that shit get to me during the show. Putting up w/ people is all part of the adventure. I’ve only had it get tome once. The last time I was at Alpine in ’03. I was in the Pav w/ pretty sweet seats. And these two dudes just wonder in and stand right in front of me and my wife. In our seats none the less. One guy’s about to pass out on my wife while the other lights up a fucking Cigar. No Shit a Fucking huge stinky ass Cigar!! Standing right in front of us in our seats!!! So I ask them to keep moving about ten times. Nothing. So at this point I’m pretty pissed and in a cloud of Cigar smoke. So I start pinching these dudes on their fat rolls really fucking hard. (I’ve never done this before or since) Finally they get my drift and leave. That was the only way I thought I could get them to leave w/out Punching one of them. I’m not very proud of that moment but I think others might have just punch those fuckers out. CIGARS AT SHOWS SHOULD BE BANNED!!!

  24. JMelby Says:

    Talkers bug me more than anything else and for some reason it always seems like Chicago is the worse. It doesn’t matter if it was the Grateful Dead, Phish, Trey, 70 Volt, Chicago folk just really want everyone to hear what they have to say instead of us hearing the band. But I’ll still be at Toyota Park.

    People who throw glowsticks toward the stage also have to be stopped. I remember a punk being so happy he hit the drums with one at Miami that he went up and down the aisle wanting high-fives; until he got to me and I laid into him. He was very polite and quiet the rest of the show.

    Clappers are clueless.

  25. Mugician Says:

    Ha, funny topic today. This post, more than any others so far (I discovered this wonderful website the Monday after Hampton) has gotten me the most excited about seeing them this summer. Just something about the way you put things and in combination with the subject matter being “in the crowd” stuff has really gotten me to a whole new level of excitement… Which is weird because all of that shit you said is pretty annoying, and I’d hate to be a victim of any of it.

    I can’t actually really grasp the concept of being able to talk or be functional any other way than dancing at a Phish show. Just listening to them on the stereo paralyzes me sometimes (the dancing is involuntary and wonderful). How could you *possibly* carry out a conversation? I just don’t get it.

    Shit. I’m so damn excited.

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