The Beauties of Summer

6.26.04 Alpine (Morst)

6.26.04 Alpine (Morst)

With summer tour just around the corner, things are setting in motion.  Ticket re-releases are happening, mail orders should be coming in the mail soon, and our routes to Boston have been planned.  On the verge of embarking on the first full tour in five years, excitement fills the air of spring.

Summer tour is a uniquely blissful experience.  Combining daytime summer fun with the all-night Phish parties, life becomes a vivid and cyclical barrage of the senses as you roll across the country.  Traveling open-road-nvfrom state to state overnight or during the day, life becomes a singular mission- get to the show! Reminiscing over so many summer tours past, I came up with a short list of things that are special and unique about summer Phish tour.  Let’s keep the list going in Comments all day and see where we get to!

1.  The ability to walk in to the show with nothing but a t-shirt, shorts and your ticket

sunset_awesome2. The nightly sunset jam

3. The Hari Christnas that rage the lot at Star Lake

4. The drive from Alpine to Deer Creek, or vice versa

5. Kicking it in the lot post-show, casually gathering your wits

6. Sunrises- whether on the road, camping, or wherever you may be

7. The the west coast drives (though not totally applicable this year)

535015279_45f58f1cfd8. Deer Creek campgrounds and their “nitrous-is-ok” policies

9. Succesfully finding an few open sqaure feet to rage in the Alpine pavilion (they are few and far between)

10. Freely puffing joints on the lawn during setbreak

11. Raging RVs for festivals

12. The woods and setting of SPAC (and Merriweather)

rv-solar13. Summer evenings in uptstate New York

14. Camden’s post-show open-air drug market

15. Finding backroads to avoid the traffic

16. Deer Creek “Antelopes” and Alpine “Tweezers”

17. The sound at open-air venues like The Gorge or Sandstone or any venue without a roof

18. Looking out at the water at Jones Beach while Phish grooves fill the air

gatorade19. The “Yamar” opener

20. The ability to see all your friends raging during the first set

21. The unexpected lot tan (my wife’s contribution)

22. “Rebas,” “Rebas,” and more “Rebas”

23. That first post-show beverage- beer, water, Gatorade, or otherwise

24. How Kuroda’s lights pop out when its just getting dark

25. Hearing “Divided Sky” – whenever it shows up


R1’s DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY (Written by contest winnner- R1)

12.31.98 MSG, NYC < LINK


For my final download, I bring you another reader request. This one from cOwfunk.

The final show of 1998. My 21st birthday show as it just so happens.

Phish @ MSG

Phish @ MSG

I think one word sums up this show: Joyous.  The music is just incredibly jubilant. Starting the night off with the highly-anticipated Prince cover “1999,” Phish came right out and explained the manner in which we were meant to party that evening.  This number set the cheerful tone for the night. And what tune brings a larger smile to one’s face than “Mike’s Song?” This one has an early, triumphant peak before a lovely and enchanting, mellow jam ensues. The classic Mike’s Groove is wrapped up with a “Weekapaug” that contains a “1999” tease and bodacious bombing from Miguel.  The “Ghost” features a bright, layered groove that kept the light mood afloat.  It never really enters into murky territory . Crowd-pleaser “Ha Ha Ha” had everyone laughing with mirth and the sing-along ending to “Cavern” closed things on a high note.

1998-12-31mo“NICU” reintroduced the same gleeful tone to open the second set. “Tweezer > Cities” is a definite highpoint of the night.  This “Tweezer” is a patient, undulating seether that, like the “Ghost”, for the most part keeps its distance from the realm of the truly grimy. Yet the jam does seem to take a turn to the darkside just before making an immaculate segue into a damned sexy “Cities.” A hot “Antelope” with another “1999” refrain and a raucous “Frankenstein” left the crowd giddy.



The special New Year’s third set was kicked off by a “Runaway Jim” that mounted with intensity right along with crowd’s excitement for the countdown.  Now, the “Auld Lang Syne” at a Phish NYE extravaganza has repeatedly proven to be a singularly emotional moment for me, and I’m sure many of you hold it in similarly special regard.  The lights come up to let you see everyone, you’re hugging your dear, sweaty friends, an enormous grin on your face (perhaps a tear in your eye) and you can’t imagine being ANYWHERE else in the world.  This is sweet JOY.  Enough said.  A quintessentially merry Phish song, “Simple” is disrupted for several minutes by balloon-bursting, but ironically develops into a a pretty dirty, snarling jam. These were some highlights from a great night in Phistory!

I would like to thank Mr. Miner for allowing me to contribute to his site. I’d also like to thank everyone for their show requests and kind words. It’s been great fun, but I must admit I am happy to be done with the responsibility! See you all in 16 days!

I: 1999*, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Ghost > Ha Ha Ha, Cavern

II: NICU, Character Zero, Tweezer > Cities > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Run Like an Antelope, Frankenstein

III: Runaway Jim > Auld Lang Syne > Simple,  Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise, Llama

E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

* debut

Source: Schoeps CMC641 > Lunatec V2 > Apogee AD1000 > DAT

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207 Responses to “The Beauties of Summer”

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  1. hairy pood Says:

    once you’re inside the venue, before the music starts, the collective electric tension building to levels so palpable you can taste it, and becomes a unique spice that feels vaguely familiar until, by the end of tour, that spice (and the entree it precedes) become your substenance.

  2. Dbone Says:

    R1 – congratulations on a job well done. Nice picks and nice write ups all week (even though you had help) and thanks to Miner (as always) but in particular for the cool contest.

    12/31/98 also has some nice personal memories for me including one of the funniest/stupidest things I said at a show. My crew had found our way into what seemed to be a VIP section mid-way back, Page side first row above the walkway. The VIP’s that were supposed to be there didn’t really all show up so we had plenty of room and nobody bothered us. At set break before the third set I was feeling pretty good but waaaay out there. There was an older person there. Despite no evidence I’m convinced was related to the band in some way, if not a direct family member of one of the boys – I know nothing about Trey’s dad but the guy looked an awful lot like an older version of Trey. But again I was pretty far out there.

    So this guy’s sitting there, having a great time, chatting to the people around but obviously isn’t there as a phan like everyone else. As I’m staring off into space the guy says to me, “Isn’t this great?” To which I reply, “Yeah, I’m seein’ straight.” And literally at that moment, the lights go down for the New Year’s set. That was a great night/run with great friends.

  3. Myhkel Says:

    re: 8. Deer Creek campgrounds and their “nitrous-is-ok” policies….welllll…

    98 Creek, driving to the venue from Glowood campground holding onto 3 semi-big ballons and and laughing our asses off while we are passing the cops and the people at the gate(yeah, real smart)…then later in the middle of the night seeing the cops come out of the cornfeilds at the campground and raiding all the nitro sellers. That was probably when I decided to stop with the hippie crack.

    But if it shows up this year(of course it will), don’t get stuck camping next to the sellers(like me and some friends did for the 92 GD shows at the Creek and then again for Phish Creek 99).

  4. hairy pood Says:


  5. ColonelJoy Says:

    Love the pic of the dude with the babyblueballoons…I wonder what he is doing?

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    so many summer tour shows seem to start with a rainbow – nice little blessing to start off with…

    R1 thanks for the NYE 98 – my first new years show and only of the MSG bunch, this one has always seemed a little underrated to me. My buddy got a last minute ticket down in the subways and had to actually bring his suitcase into MSG because we were changing hotels – they didn’t even open it! A security guy said “there’s no bomb in there is there?” Ahhh the carefree pre 9/11 days

    off topic (sort of:) Went and saw my mortgage broker yesterday, who is a huge phish kid and she mentioned that she had ran into a guy who drives semis for phish who lives in ATL – he indicated that the guys have some really special things in store for the Asheville show, and they’re treating it as their “big” show for the first half of the tour. He mentioned specially created sound baffles created for the back of the civic center that should help improve the sound there, and some other special plans that weren’t enumerated.

    I also learned that Phish had tried to make up for the ticket snafu at the asheville civic center – they called everyone on the list they had and offered them One ticket for the show, and made it to person number 51 on the list (she was 52!)… good to hear that they did something at least.

  7. G-Man Says:

    Gradually drifting off to sleep in your tent to the subtle scents of campfires and the subtle sounds of distant drumming.

  8. Panzarotti Says:

    After summer shows I’m always somehow covered with a thin layer of grime and have a terrible case of ring-around-the-collar

  9. Rutherford B. Lizard Says:

    to add to #25. The moment in The Divided Sky when your chest seems to expand and fill with what feels like perfect air…and tranquility overcomes you.

  10. ColonelJoy Says:

    At a summer Dead show in 94′ at Cal Expo….it must have been 105 degrees or so, and I dropped, and bought a floppy patchwork hat to cover my bald head, protecting it from the sun. Anyway, the dye melted into my sweat so it looked like I had purple blood running down my face….

  11. Chalkdustin Says:

    Man oh man, this post just gave me goosebumps as I read it. I am so ready for summer tour 2009 to start, to get back out on the road and once again get back to that feeling that overcomes you at a Phish show. Thank you, Mr. Miner. This summer is going to be so special, I can just feel it. We are so lucky!

  12. AbePhroman Says:

    That first post-show beverage is the shit.

  13. Pete Jones Says:

    Additional great things about summer tour:
    Cruising down the highway and passing other vehicles covered in stickers and that great feeing of “hey, we’re going THERE too”
    Seeing all the sweet VW busses parked at rest areas along the way
    dancing barefoot in the grass on the lawn

  14. Brimley Says:

    Just like the opening track on ALO, I love when the crowd goes from talking and awaiting to going nuts as the lights go down and you see the boys being led out by flashlight….the anticipation of the first notes…and then the opeing song which can make or break a fantastic show for me…when they bust out a phatty opener and they are all “on”, you know it’s going to be a great night….

  15. Chalkdustin Says:

    Additions: High-fiving. Looking around and seeing the shit-eating grins on everyone’s face during a jam. Cool breezes at night when you’re sweaty from dancing. Feeling the anticipation of the crowd. When the show is over, knowing that you’ll be seeing them again the next day.

    G-man, you got it right with falling asleep to drumming.

  16. ColonelJoy Says:

    Has anyone mentioned the hotties?

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    light (or not so light) summer rains on the lawn after a long hot day ..

    that moment at 4pm where everyone walking around working the lot realizes that it’s just too friggin hot to be doing this and it all cools out for a while ..

  18. Little Buddy Says:

    I was about to, Colonel… But, you got there first.

  19. ColonelJoy Says:


  20. MW Says:

    when trey builds/hits those notes (divided sky, yem, lizards) and you know that we are the lucky ones who “get it” as you stare into the cosmic summer abyss checking out the stars and knowing you are finally in the right place at the right time for once in your life and find peace in the world. aka extracting any line from “free” and applying it to your life at that moment.

  21. Chalkdustin Says:

    @ MW YES!

  22. Manny Phresh Says:

    Meeting like-minded music fans from throughout the states, and if we’re lucky creating friendships with such people.

  23. ColonelJoy Says:

    the guy who approaches you after the show (who didn’t go in) with a coffee can and asks, “Spill a Schwill, Bro?”

  24. cason Says:

    the smell of the lot when you just pull in.

    the far off sound of a drum circle.

    hetty hetty goo balls.

    any thing sold 1 for 3 2 for 5.

  25. Pencilneck Says:

    Well done Miner and R1. Years from now, we will all remember this late spring Phishthoughts run as epic. EPIC! seriously tho, good work. thanx.

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