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

Tags: ,

240 Responses to “Our National Pastimes”

  1. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    “Phish is unbeatable” — I like that!

  2. alumnidog Says:

    i wouldnt be surprised to see a “take me out to the ball game tease” when i saw trey, mike, and the duo in 2006 in chicago they came out to a “take me out to the ballgame” jam that was fun.

  3. empire01 Says:

    a little off topic but for those of you that listen to Howard Stern on channel 101 there is a sports guy Farrel and shoots the shit and someone phoned in yesterday and asked him if he knew about Phish playing Fenway, and he was like yeah man I know all about phish. theres gonna be a lot of tripin, shrooming, and ex’in going on. and hung up on the dude.

  4. HarryHood Says:

    I agree with Foonshoe. The pics definitely don’t reflect how small this park is. You can be in the farthest seat from the stage and your view is still going to be great. I’m actually glad to have seats in the stands rather than the field. The view of the stage and lights on the crowd in the field should be excellent from the stadium seating.

  5. msbjivein Says:

    Hood, Got my tix!!!! Can’t wait to go to the game on Sunday. Phish is gonna knock it outta the park!!!

  6. msbjivein Says:

    I calling a “Grand Slam” for Sunday!! Or at least Back to back to Back Homers!

  7. Frankie Says:

    It’s getting harder and harder to get any work done… ahahaha!

  8. HarryHood Says:

    I can’t wait for Sunday either! I’ve got first row stadium tickets right behind the Sox dugout!!!!!! People would kill for these seats at a game!

  9. Frankie Says:

    Listening to Mr. Miner’s Hampton Travel Tunes picks…

    Perfect soundtrack for pre-summer tour! Check it out!
    6.14.95 Tweezer is a Grand Slam for sure!! 🙂

  10. msbjivein Says:

    I have a feeling we might see Trey’s new Axe on sunday. The more I listen to TTE the I realize he’s not playing his old “Doc” the entire time. Maybe I’m stating the obvious but that drove me crazy yesterday. TTE 2nd set opener maybe………………

  11. HarryHood Says:

    Wilson opener 😉 You know Trey can’t resist having that many people all yelling back in unision!

  12. Bwana Sun Says:

    ^^^Dbone Nice addition to the post… Stats are stats on their own — and they fulfill some kind of obsessive behavior for guys for sure. I don’t know too many women that get all stat crazy, but I know women that “get” the Phish experience.

    Stats complement the experience by expanding our perspectives of this band in time… During a show stats are exactly what you’ve explained — having an in-depth knowledge of the band, their songs, their tendencies, we have a better appreciation for the subtle teases, the suspense of the transitions, the bust-out rarities, the anticipation of songs like Buried Alive>, Oh Kee Pah>, Mikes>, etc…

    Personally, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t remember exact dates or the min/secs of certain jams… But I can definitely tell when something special is happening — and Phenway is the start of a new journey… I looked at the Phantasy Tour Tournament — but the news songs (or anticipated new album songs) aren’t included… Those songs are going to be in major rotation this summer — so the Tournament is going to be lacking… I’m psyched for Phish 3.0!! It’s gonna be new and old all wrapped together!!

  13. gr8northern Says:

    I like Phish. I hate baseball.

  14. cottle Says:

    @ Los:

    Check out the Free from US Air Arena, Landover, MD, 11/22/95. I can’t remember why it was so great…just that it was. I haven’t listened to that one in a long while, but it stayed in heavy rotation back when I still owned a tape deck.

  15. msbjivein Says:

    I don’t know any Stat crazy chicks either. In a way Not Keeping up w/ stats might help your show experience. If I didn’t know I’ve seen Piper 27 times I would probably appreciate that song a lot more when it’s played. Knowing that makes me wanna hear other tunes instead of Piper. But then again if I didn’t keep up w/ stats I wouldn’t know that Fluffhead was never an opener til Hampton. That actually made that experience even better knowing I was hearing the 1st Fluffhead opener.

  16. HarryHood Says:

    New stat: Every Phish song played at Fenway on 5/31/09 will be the first time ever played at Fenway!

  17. ColonelJoy Says:

    Stats: I used to write setlists down, primarily when I was still fairly unfamiliar with the catalog. Some stats you kind of know intuitively, if you’ve been to enough shows.

    TTE: After several more listens, my fav segment is definately 7:57 to 11:15 or so….

    I think I will not initiate auto-erotic activities for the remainder of my time here in Iraq (late Aug) and then withold coitus from my wife upon my return…waiting for fall tour, and the 7:57 moment of TTE for the biggest nut of my life:)

  18. Los Says:

    @ Rolling Papyrus and cottle

    Thanks for suggestions!

    Funny thing, I was at both shows recommended…guess need to re listen

  19. Dbone Says:

    @msbjeifnfadkfn – that’s a good point. I was never really into the whole my personal stats thing. At one point I checked them out because I was curious but I promptly forgot them because aside from a few songs rare but not that rare songs that I had never seen and a few pretty rare songs that I have for some reason seen quite a bit, I really didn’t care.

    I guess there’s a difference between keeping your own stats and keeping the band’s stats. I do think that the latter can enhance your concert experience if you’re that type of person but I would never say that someone who knows more by way of stats would have a better time than someone who’s there getting blown away because the only phish they’ve heard is Hoist or Heavy Things on the radio.

  20. Jack O Roses Says:

    Great analogy Miner. As a Redskins season ticket holder (no nasty Dan Snyder comments, puleeez…), I see a definite similarity between the sports fans/ jam band fans….

    And sure, the boys are playing at a baseball stadium. I’d posit, however, that they are more akin to a football or hockey team/game versus baseball. Phish is definitely a full contact band. No sissy rain delays for us! ;-P

  21. SOAM Says:

    I don’t know any stat crazy chicks but I know a lot of crazy chicks-I’m bettin there will be 10 chicks at fenway and 39990 swaying schlongs.

  22. msbjivein Says:

    @ Jack, I’m also a football season ticket holder for the Colts.(Please no one and Dungy remarks) I can’t help but think about Phish shows everytime I’m in a large crowd of people. The energy at a football game is a lot closer than the energy at a Baseball game.IMO

  23. ColonelJoy Says:

    I don’t think anybody ever got laid because they turned to the sister dancin’ next them and said, “This is the first time Wedge has ever direcly followed Dog Log!” Or whatever….

    Lot’s of chicks dig Phish, though….The lot is always dripping with honey…..Rush is probably the all time sausage band, though in Brazil girls dig them….

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Colonel – you are hilarious – good luck with that and please sit at least 2 sections away from me at the show so as to avoid “organic shrapnel” issues

    agree on that section of the tune – that’s the heat right there

    Phish yes, baseball not so much. NBA playoffs? yes.

  25. HarryHood Says:

    I think your prediction is a little off SOAM. There will probably be 11 chicks at Fenway.

Leave a Reply