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. Jack O Roses Says:

    That time again, once again, I’m Bouncin round the auto parts aisle.

  2. Dr SF Jones Says:

    There was another crazy mo-fo who actually pitched for the Red Sox in the late 60’s, early 70’s named Bill Lee. They called him “Spaceman Bill Lee”. He wrote a book and claimed to have pitched while dosing too. Didn’t throw a no-no like Doc ellis, but still must be a pretty hard core situation to put yourself in while dosing. have to give some respect for even getting the ball near the plate.

    @Colonel- would love to check out more of your novel. hang in there my man. keep your head down.


  3. msbjivein Says:

    In and outta Walmart,in and outta Walmart, Damn I forgot something
    In and outta Walmart , In and Outta Walmart,Damn I forgot something
    In and outta Walmart,in and outta Walmart, Damn I forgot something
    In and outta Walmart , In and Outta Walmart,Damn I forgot something

  4. whole tour! Says:

    lakewood 2003 videos up on http://www.yemblog.com

    such a great post hiatus show

  5. whole tour! Says:

    piper, waves, tweezer, yem…..if you like off the deepend huge jams, 7.26.03 is the fire.

  6. Mitch Says:

    I need a friday jones if anyone has one.


  7. msbjivein Says:

    ’03 Summer tour is a sleeper!!!

  8. whole tour! Says:

    i love the dirty jams from that tour. i really dug that muted warped fusion tone trey was using. it was a whole new jam style. the dirty dirty.

  9. cottle Says:

    7/26…was that part of the Charlotte/Atlanta/Raleigh run?

  10. whole tour! Says:

    yy indeed

  11. msbjivein Says:

    The low down dirty dirty!! Check out the Sneakin Sally from 7-23-03. Outta this world Low down dirty dirty!!!!!!!

  12. camman Says:

    anybody know where i can get a fox for around $100?

  13. whole tour! Says:

    fox is the most sought after ticket in the last 15 years….i doubt there are any under $100. of all the summer tix, it’s the only one that prices never dropped for.

  14. camman Says:

    thats the problem whole tour……that show is also the closest one to me in about 8 or 9 years too

  15. whole tour! Says:

    miracles do happen sometimes

  16. gills Says:

    Scared about this new sound, I am all for change, but just keep bringin the nasty phunk that we all love to get down to………

  17. camman Says:

    well whole tour, tis two hours away, i’m thinking about driving over anyways without a ticket. what are the chances i’ll be able to score one there?

  18. msbjivein Says:

    @Gills,, These guys are musical geniuses. The funk is as simple as it gets. I’m sure they’ll still phunk it up. Don’t forget you have to challenge yourself as a musician to stay focused. Believe me funk is not challenging for these guys. Why do you think they’re so badass at playing it. It’s effortless for them. Phish will always bring the Phunk. No worries.

  19. whole tour! Says:

    your chances are better than not going at all. your chances are also even better if you have something super dank to barter with.

  20. HarryHood Says:

    @ jivein

    Gotta say that I’m a little upset by your secret show in Aisle 15 post. I got excited, took the afternoon off, and drove to Walmart only to find that I was in the wrong Walmart and the wrong aisle……..

  21. SOAM Says:

    who knows the deal with the house of blues?

    Miner is probably on an early flight

    can that be possible?

  22. cottle Says:

    Camman – I’d say go for it. If you sit at home on the couch, you definitely won’t get into the show. If you go to the Fox, you might and you might not. Worst case scenario, you get to party on lot with a bunch of other ticketless kids.

    Numerically, your chances are slim…but that shouldn’t hold you back. My chances of winning the lottery are like one in a few hundred million, but I still play. Somebody’s got to get that extra ticket…why not you? 😉

    Nothing ventured…nothing gained

  23. gills Says:

    well put brother

  24. Dr SF Jones Says:

    canman- i drove 9 hours across NY state without a ticket for Glens Falls Halloween ’94 (white album) and got shut out looking for a miracle. (even with a pocketful of cash)
    Anyone who was there will remember, it was raining like a bitch that night and it totally sucked that my crew had tickets and got in and i ended up going back to the hotel soaking wet and crashing. then being woken up at 3:30am by a bunch of tripping , post show maniacs….. rough.

    that being said, i scored big time 2 nights in a row Vegas 2000 (i.e.-night 2 , private VIP box with open bar for myself and my brother and his wife), so it is ALWAYS worth the chance.

  25. old dude Says:

    Ms.B, don’t be startin that “who is a musical genius and who is not” talk again.

    SOAM, if Mookie can hit a routine grounder through Buckner’s legs, anything is possible.

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