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. Bwana Sun Says:

    ^SOAM too funny! i’m hoping the split will be closer to 50/50… all sausage and no buns makes homer go crazy…

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @msb@#%$DF(KEDkjkospvd –

    spot on. baseball crowds – and I do like going to baseball games, just not watching it on TV – have always seemed a lot more placid to me. I’m sure it’s very different in the playoffs. But NFL, or a good, tightly wound NBA game, or major college football/basketball – like the many UNC/Duke games I have been to – are like a billion times more energetic crowd-wise. The faster pace of those games and the quicker swings of momentum build high, fast peaks of crowd madness…

    I always had a sneaking suspicion that Michael Jordan was a crowd Jedi like Trey and Jerry. Not just that he could channel the energy to do the impossible (like the levitating Craig Ehlo shot), but that that was how he could “see around corners” and into the future a little…

    but then, I am a big fan of acid, so there you go

  3. msbjivein Says:

    TTE reminds me of a ’70’s rock fussion piece. Like Mahavishnu Orchestra or Al di Miola for example. Very complex nerd rock!!!

  4. ColonelJoy Says:

    Lyrically, TTE will be very challenging for Trey….it is sort like a long Dylan piece crossed with Prog style lyrics. I really dig the lyrics, considering Trey wrote them. Musically it will also be challenging. Phish, obviously, are masters of transitions, better than anyone that came before in both composition and execution, but TTEs changes also involve sonic dynamics that might be difficult to pull off….I don’t know, not a musician, but I’m sure they can do it. This is one of the reasons I don’t think you’ll see to much improv in the middle sections at first, would seem easy to get lost….what’s the next section again? However, this is destined to be a jam vehicle, probably sooner rather than later.

  5. msbjivein Says:

    Minus the Lyrics it’s sorta ’70’s rock fussion.

  6. ColonelJoy Says:

    I would say that I enjoy the great masters of sports, similar to the way I enjoy the musical icons of my life.

    Larry Bird was my first hero, watching him on the basketball court, the craftiness (not the overt athletic stuff), that is what got me off….I was addicted to watching Larry perform, good or bad, like I became with Jerry and Trey…..with each…Larry, Jerry, and Trey, it wasn’t so much about the outcome, but about the process.

  7. HarryHood Says:

    I’m from the Northeast and I’d say it’s a pretty even ratio of chicks to dudes that follow the band up here. I know several fine looking ladies that are really amped up about dancin on the lawn at SPAC.

    ” But we really like is…… the CHICKS in the front row.”

  8. bhizzle Says:

    first – Go Skins!

    second – Larry, Jerry and Try…oh my!

    third – is that page’s new shirt song?

  9. HarryHood Says:

    bhizzle, that is most definitely Page’s new shirt song. They really should bust that out live. haha

  10. bhizzle Says:

    @ Mr. Completely

    “@msb@#%$DF(KEDkjkospvd” – my thoughts exactly. what the hell is your handle supposed to mean?

  11. MW Says:

    Comparison: Baseball, like Phish is definitely something you need to fully experience for yourself compared to just hearing it or seeing it on tv/. From that experience on you will always have a different outlook/mindset/appreciation each time you see/hear a game on tv, dvd, or stereo…IMO.

    ^and thats a for sure on the “take me out to the ballgame”, baseball refs front

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    the biggest difference in this sports metaphor is competition. I was only sorta into the Bird – Magic era rivalry, but when Jordan came up I started following the NBA closely. The first half of MJs career was all about rivalries with specific all-star/hall of fame level opponents: Isaiah, Bird, Drexler, etc. The games where he’d go head to head with one of those guys had an energy that’s unlike anything in music.

    The second 3-year stretch was more like a big brother holding off his little siblings with his hands on their foreheads as they swing wildly but can’t connect due to shorter arms. It was fun if you were an MJ fan, otherwise probably not so much.

  13. Bwana Sun Says:

    ^HarryHood The crowd contributes a lot to the overall experience and IMO it’s much better when there’s a balance of guys/gals… So it’s good to hear there’s some Phish chicks in the NorthEast… I know a few I’ll be arriving with as well.

    And it’s not about trying to get them in the sack for me (there’s a time and place for that, but not during the show) — it’s more about having a balance of dancing energy… I don’t know about anyone else but grooving next to a cool chick or two at a Phish show is about as awesome as it gets!

  14. easo91 Says:

    Luckily I know all the good parking places around Fenway 🙂

  15. Albert Walker Says:

    I don’t know if it was the taxed prices at Hampton or the scene is changing, but it was all dues

    a few sisters came up to me in the hotel across the street after the show commenting on how there were not any chicks around

    I told them they should have toured in the mid 90’s
    I used to feel outnumbered

    seems like numbers have been sliding the other way lately
    too many frat boys (white hats as we called them back in the day)

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    shows are always better if it’s not a sausage fest. A balance of ages is great too. Younger fans with tons of energy and enthusiasm, older ones with more perspective…

  17. bhizzle Says:


  18. HarryHood Says:

    To be honest, I’m actually a bit surprised when I hear girls discussing their excitement for an upcoming show. I stopped into my hometown bar the other night and three girls I know were discussion the upcoming SPAC show and how it sucked that one of them had got shut out for tickets. Damn near spun me around to hear that coming from three chicks. Girls love the lawn there and I’m sure there will be plenty of hotties grooving in the mellow August night!

  19. HarryHood Says:

    I’m so wound up that I can’t even spell correctly today……… My brain is already in Boston.

  20. msbjivein Says:

    My handle means “SATAN RULES” Just read between the lines man.

  21. bhizzle Says:

    I’d like to be getting in their grooves….


  22. bhizzle Says:

    no shit I was gonna say that too.

    actually I thought it was a pared down – must be jiven’

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    I know lots and lots and lots and lots of women who are into Phish. I’m married to one of them. They don’t think about it the same way (i.e. I don’t think any of them are into message boards ;o) or much into downloading shows) but they are still serious about it.

  24. bhizzle Says:

    Miner – do you know of anything re: those ASSFACE rumors being tossed around over in PT?

  25. msbjivein Says:

    Close Hizzle my nizzle, MSB=initials Jivein=Jive talking Motha
    I’ve used this forever. I get that question a lot.

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