Our National Pastimes

4198_1152308280374_1007653377_30464754_3849393_n-21We now sit on the brink of Summer Tour, with just over three days left until we congregate in Boston, and interestingly enough, this will be the second consecutive summer tour that is starting at a baseball stadium.  Phish has been called up from Keyspan to Fenway this year, due to their super agent, Coran Capshaw, and they are primed to make their major league debut.  Forging two subcultures of America- Phish and baseball – the Fenway opener may be more appropriate than meets the eye.  While Phish’s psychedelic scene and baseball’s mainstream crowd may seem on different ends of the spectrum, the two cultures are far more similar than they appear.

fenway_park_home_plate_and_green_monsterA striking connection between the Phish fans and baseball fans are their love of statistics.  What songs were played; how long since the last version; how long was the jam; how many shows have you been to; what songs have you seen and how many times?  The list of numbers goes on and on, not so different than the national pastime’s fanatic following of home runs, RBIs, ERA, batting average, on-base percentage, strikeouts,WHIP, and what not.  Yet it’s not just how these numbers accumulate, but how each group obsesses over them like fiends.  Fantasy baseball leagues thrive on people’s desire to follow the numbers over the internet, and, ironically, this was the same original premise of Phantasy Tour.  In each scene, fans will both glorify or criticize their heroes, depending on their performance on a given day, and they’ll make damn sure their voices are heard by someone.  Grateful Dead aficionado, David Gans, once made a coherent analogy “Why Grateful Dead Shows Are Like Baseball Games,” and I’ve always thought the comparison to be spot on.

Phish @ Keyspan Park - 2004 (MSJ)

Phish @ Keyspan Park - 2004 (MSJ)

Both cultures come from rich traditions whose participants value and honor their past.  The Boys of Summer, speaking of either Phish or baseball players, come from a lineage who forged a path for them to follow.  Whether referencing former heroes of the diamond or the stage, the best became cultural icons of their era.  Jerry Garcia, Joe DiMaggio, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Mays, John Lennon, Jackie Robinson, Miles Davis, Babe Ruth- these people were larger than life, transcending their sport or art and defining a place in time.  With a certain charisma and flair for the dramatic, sectors of society gravitated around these symbolic figures who pushed their art forward.

phishfenwayThe season of summer is a centerpiece for both Phish and baseball.  Tours and games, reassuring fixtures of every year’s middle season, are always there to provide us with that fountain of youth; that magic reminding us of how life used to be.  A double-header in the sun or a psychedelic adventure under the stars- both are spiritual endeavors that remind us of an innocent place inside of us; that kid who just wants to have fun all day.  And so we go- to shows and to games- to feel that idyllic innocence and to discover what will happen, again and again, for a lifetime.

Stage at Fenway

Stage at Fenway

Both Phish and baseball are ways of life with their own rites, ceremonies, and innate, underlying credos.  Steeped in history, fans of each like to sit around and talk shop all night, while time stands still.  Debates, arguments, and smack talk are the fabric of both conversations; but in the end it is the process that is remembered rather than the results.  Eternal bonds that could never be broken are formed within each culture-friendships- companions on this ride.

And the funny thing with both Phish and baseball is that some just don’t get it.  What’s the big deal?  Why the obsession?   If people aren’t into them, they couldn’t care less, and sometimes, therein lies the beauty.  Often thought of as mere concerts and games- nothing but recreation- the magic in both Phish and baseball lies within the hearts of those who believe in their ethos.

These timeless entities will converge in only three days, when we migrate to Fenway to see Phish battle The Green Monster in a showdown that is guaranteed to be an instant classic!



6.22.95 Finger Lakes PAC, Canandaigua, NY < TORRRENT LINK


Summer Tour '95

Often referred to as simply the “Fleezer” show, this second set is downright nasty.  In a summer of experimental jams, this “Tweezer” ranks right up there.  Dominating the entire second set aside from an opening “Theme,”  this “Tweezer” winds through many stages of improv, including a section of  The Who’s “My Generation.”  A true beast in every sense of the word, this one holds a special place in Summer ‘956 history.

I: Sample in a Jar, Scent of a Mule, Ha Ha Ha, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, It’s Ice, Strange Design, Maze, Cavern, Sweet Adeline

II: Theme From the Bottom > Tweezer > My Generation* >Tweezer > Tweezer Reprise

E: Acoustic Army, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

*The Who- first time played

Source: DAUD/OTS Schoeps CMC5/mk4 > Aerco > Casio DA-R100 @ 48k

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240 Responses to “Our National Pastimes”

  1. Jacob Says:

    Just one small comment. “Phish has been called up from Keyspan to Fenway this year, due to their super agent, Coran Capshaw, and they are primed to make their major league debut.”

    Well, I see it as, you know, the individual Phish guys were down in AAA for a couple of years, working on their swings, seeing some pitches and now have been called back up to make their major league return. They did play Madison Square Garden (the All-Star game for musicians) after all.

    Love this blog, can’t wait to download the No Spoilers for Fenway and most all, can’t wait to see Deer Creek from the 6th row!

    Have a great time this weekend folks!

  2. notkuroda Says:

    I fucking hate baseball. I guess I’m out of this discussion

    On the subject of tix tho, I just got an email this morning saying my knox tix are on the way. Nothing yet for star lake or dc. I get the two week thing, but come on. Like it or not some people are going to need their tix prior to two weeks before the show(like me!!!)

  3. RobAins Says:

    I would guess there is a noise curfew/city ordinance sort of thing…..
    Portland Meadows had/has a similar situation

  4. HarryHood Says:

    @ R1

    It’s a hike from Back Bay station, but not horrible. If you are already on the T, hit up the green line and get off at Kenmore.

  5. HarryHood Says:

    I know that Mansfield has an 11pm noise curfew and they are still starting at the normal time. I guess that is what made me wonder why they are choosing to start the Fenway show an hour earlier. I’d like to think that it’s because they have a little something up there sleeves. Maybe I’m dead wrong, but it’s a thought.

  6. the foonshoe Says:

    As a long-time Phish and Red Sox fan, this is somewhat of a dream come true. It’s just all so great, but I can’t believe how slow this week is going!

    Wonderful post, Miner.

  7. R1 Says:

    ^Thanks HH

    Is there a good way to get from Back Bay to the green line? I’m looking at the subway map and it doesn’t seem like there is.

  8. Chalkdustin Says:

    I’d rather watch hockey (Pens are in it to win it), but I get the baseball/Phish crossovers.

    Safe travels to everyone this tour! Looking forward to Miner’s posts and hearing about the start of an epic summer from all y’all!

  9. hawkinbj Says:

    I second what the foonshoe said! What a combo.

  10. the foonshoe Says:

    10:30p curfew @ Fenway, btw…

  11. Jay Says:

    Got back into Lacrosse. NCAA championship was off the hook.

  12. the foonshoe Says:

    That’s the curfew for concerts… for games, they have an old “no inning to start after 1am” rule. Too bad it’s not the same rules for concerts!

  13. HarryHood Says:

    @ R1

    Take the Orange line Inbound to Haymarket. Get off there and get on Green line Outbound train. There are four Green Line Trains (B,C,D,E). Any one of them except E will get you to Kenmore. The D train has a Fenway stop, but I think that it’s actually farther from the park than the Kenmore stop.

  14. Jay Says:

    from the picture above, the stage looks a real long ways away. Will there be delay speakers?

  15. HarryHood Says:


    Actually, scrach the Haymarket stop. You can actually get off two stops sooner and pick up the Green Line at Downtown Crossing!!! My bad.

  16. jbailey Says:

    Beautifully Put.

    Hey Fellas…just so you know.

    Forecast: 5/31

    75 degrees and Sunny


  17. R1 Says:

    ^Thanks again HH!

  18. HarryHood Says:

    Just a tip guys. Go on MBTA’s website and print a copy of the Subway map to keep in your pocket. You’ll wish you had if you don’t. The T is real easy to get around if you plan your route, but a real bitch if you don’t and the map comes in handy if you miss a stop.

  19. Phenway Says:

    @R1 – check the train schedule. If you’re taking the worcester line in there are stops at Yawkey Way. If you’re taking another line, get off at back bay and look to take an outbound train to Yawkey…there’s a 12:51 leaves back bay arrives at yawkey 12:56

  20. Los Says:

    Off topic..

    Looking for a new “Free”

    Miner and others, Whats your go to Free?


  21. Bapslap Says:

    According to the tix doors are at 5pm, show at 6:30pm.

    Figure the boys will actually start at 7pm and take a 30min setbreak.
    To end at 10:30pm, that’s two 1.5 hour sets !

  22. the foonshoe Says:

    Cameras seem to make it look farther away then it actually is. It’s a small park, so I doubt there will be a need for delay speakers, but I haven’t seen a show there either.

  23. the foonshoe Says:

    Let’s hope it goes down like that Bapslap!

  24. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    Los, the DC Free from December ’99 (12/15) is a good one… the jam is pretty mellow with Trey on the keys, but they stretch it out nicely.

  25. JMelby Says:

    I’ve used the sports comparison for years when talking to someone who doesn’t “get” why I’d travel so far to see a rock show. My main answer is that sports fans pay a lot of money to follow their team around and see them at favorite venues and many times their team losses. My team, Phish is unbeatable and I never see them lose. Yes this includes Coventry. Still a better time than watching the Vikings get their asses handed to them again.

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