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. msbjivein Says:

    ^^What did you call me????

  2. bhizzle Says:

    if you are speaking in regards to the “assface” post you are mistaken. I am no name caller. go to phantasytour and ck the message boards re: ASSFACE and wooster.

  3. ColonelJoy Says:

    My old crew is lukewarm on TTE. This is very depressing for the Colonel. Am I only hearing the brilliance of the music because of my austere environment?

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    Have yall heard the story of the pitcher who pitched.a no-hitter after dosing, thinking he had the night off.. Doc ellis or something was his name- in the 70s maybe played for the A’s. There’s a chuck brodsky song about it – brodsky did a whole baseball songs album a few years back. I’d look up more details but I’m on the blackberry.. He hit a few, walked a few, but threw a no-no.

  5. msbjivein Says:

    Just Fing w/ ya. I went and check it out. Sounds pretty sketchy at the moment. But you never know. If it does go down your one lucky fucker to see it!!

  6. ColonelJoy Says:

    The Phunky Bitches (whom I’ve congregated with in the past) are one of the older email/listserve thing-a-ma-jigs dedicated to Phish…they are 70% women or so. I had trouble being PC enough there, notknock against them, but I’m sort of a Larry David style guy when it comes to speech and stuff…..and folks take me the wrong way….all day long

  7. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yes, Doc Ellis…no hitter for Detroit in the early 70s on L….he walked 8 dudes, though, but claimed it put him in the zone.

  8. msbjivein Says:

    “L” puts me in the zone that’s for sure!!

  9. PB Says:

    Agree on the chicks in the crowd comment. There is nothing worse than raging with a bunch of sausage. There always needs to be a fair balance of chicks to spin around with.

  10. Jacob Says:


    I’m liking the cut of your jib, man. I too think Time Turns Elastic has some amazing moments.

    And, I’ve been called the somewhat athletic, non-Jewish Larry David. It really rolls off the tongue when I explain it to someone.

  11. Billy Breathes Says:

    The one and only….Doc Ellis!



    PS – TTE is very Trey Band’esque IMO. Should be interesting live….they’ve obviously all been practicing very hard and greasing them wheels.

  12. cottle Says:

    Can someone hip me to the ASSFACE thing? The only Assface I know of is the now old-school poster with Fishman in his “about to rob a convenience store” disguise.

  13. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yeah Jacob,

    Either people find me very charming or very offensive. I’ve found the ones who are offended aren’t worth my time, anyway. I’m over worrying about it, fuck, I’m nearly 37.

  14. BTB Says:

    Just listened to Time Turns Elastic. I love the boys, and Trey, but geeeeeshh. I don’t understand that tune as a Phish song. The end of the tune and the climax is great, but I don’t understand the lyrics or the “composition” and how they are at all going to be interesting to dance to or listen to. Maybe it will grow on me, but at this point I’m lost on that tune.

    IMO, the last quasi-composition pieces that have been a success were SCENTS and Pebbles and Marbles. TTE does sound like an ‘orchestral piece’, but I just don’t know. Hopefully it will rock live.

  15. ColonelJoy Says:


    Don’t worry, while for some reason it rings a bell, ASSFACE means nothing to me. I do miss my wife’s ass, though, oh how I miss it.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Colonel – with all the horndog talk today I can believe you are in fact a deployed soldier – a number of guys in my family are or have been in the service and now you sound like them

  17. ColonelJoy Says:

    Completely, it’s getting to me..I’ve already been here a year now….did have a very nice leave in Thailand, but I have 3 more months to go…15 months is a long, long time to be over here.

    I post so much here because really, it is all I have besides phone calls to the pham. I have gotten this one dude here into Phish. He is a very old sergeant…fifty, to be exact. He is all over Phish. He loves the longer jams. Headphones Jam was one of his early favorites…I judged he could handle it.

  18. ColonelJoy Says:

    Other than post here, work, and take craps in 150 degree porta-johns cleaned be nepali slave labor, I am also writing a novel. It’s nearly finished….this isn’t the forum, of course, but I’ve pasted a taste below from the beginning of chapter two….

    A few miles to the northwest of Camp Taji’s perimeter, Ali Rachman stood atop his home’s rooftop amongst abandoned clay pots that before the invasion his wife once filled with cumin, sumac and other desert herbs. As the coalition-imposed curfew encroached with the twilight, the Sunni cleric gazed out over his neighborhood toward the southwest, to the outer edges of Baghdad and the horizon of moribund real estate that reaches to Jordan or Syria, and perhaps beyond to Israel. The man was untraveled, though, and he never thought of adventure, or even short holidays, as his loyalties and commitments kept him close to home.
    The Iraqi sunset was beautiful that evening, but its violet hues were of no interest to Rachman, and he didn’t acknowledge it, much less sigh in admiration. He was waiting for his American.

  19. whole tour! Says:

    got my asheville ticket fed ex today! IT looks fucking sweet…trippy ass mandala.

    I still haven’t been able to listen to TTE….since i don’t have i tunes and the player on the myspace phish page won’t play for me either.

    only 11 more days….after five years of a barren phishless existance. My last shows were the miami 2003 run and it’s been way too long since i’ve been out of the box and clensed.

    Asheville prediction:
    1st set 19 song gamehendge set ala hampton (lots of songs)

    2nd set: Scents and subtle sounds (old arrangement) > Antelope > Tube > DWD > Undermind > Dwd Reprise > Tube reprise

    Encore: Ghost > Lifeboy, Carolina

  20. whole tour! Says:

    encore 2: YEM > TTE > Tube Reprise (Reprise)

  21. HarryHood Says:

    Damn, it’s so hard to sort through the bullshit and immaturity over on PT, but the ASSFACE thread is buzzing about the guys playing a secret show at House of Blues tonight. I’m not going to get into the details cause it’s a long thread, but slightly convincing nonetheless. If I lived in Boston, I’d be checking it out at least.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    that’s a cool thing to do, Colonel. I’m really only interested in novels by people who have actually lived life.

    15 months is nuts. You have a wife, do you have kids? My wife grew up with her dad serving overseas all the time…he was an Army Special Forces CSM, did 3 tours in Vietnam…when I tell people that my father in law is a hardcore green beret combat vet they’re like “oh shit he must be scary” – but I love the guy, he is so chill and funny. Totally the opposite of a Nam vet stereotype, you know? It’s like, being in all the shit just polished off his rough edges, and now, no matter what happens in his life, he’s been through so much that it just rolls off of him. Kind of like anti-PTSD.

    Anyway Colonel we’re all looking forward to meeting you if and when we can and buying you whatever mind-altering substances you prefer. Stay safe! I gotta go for today.

  23. whole tour! Says:

    isn’t the house of blues the old avalon across from fenway? I once saw umph mcgee there a couple of years ago. I ended up being escorted out after some asshole meathead security guard didn’t approve of me cheifing a bowl outside on the “smoking deck.” The ASSFACE told me “give me your shit, or leave”, so i gladly left. The umph mcgee show was pretty lame anyways. So after i was escorted out of the lame ass avalon i visited a headshop on newbury street and picked up some 75x salvia extract. Lets just say that trying salvia for the first time alone in a big city like boston probably wasn’t the best idea. I was sitting on a park bench near harvard square and i totally had an out of body experience. All i could see was colors and i could tell people were walking by me because i saw their outline. I was scared shitless and i tried to get back to my hotel. Before long the salvia wore off and i was relieved. Ended up hitting this bar called the tam on tremont street. Then leaving the bar i was mugged at knifepoint. It was not fun. So i gave up my cash without getting stabbed by some rusty aids knife.

    Moral of the story: 1) Umph mcgee at the avalon blew chunks
    2) security at the avalon (house of blues) sucked balls
    3) if you try salvia, make sure your with friends and not alone in a big city.
    4) bring a gun if your near the TAM on tremont street late at night.

  24. msbjivein Says:

    @ColonelJoy, THANKYOU!!!!!!! Make it home safe bro!!

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    wow I hit refresh before leaving and saw that story @wt! holy crap!

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