TTFT: US Summer 2000

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 31st, 2012 by Mr.Miner

6.16.2009—The Fox (Brian Kisida)

Over the holiday weekend, I finally got excited for Phish tour. I thought it wasn’t going to happen this year—or happen at the last minute—but, sure enough, it happened. With Worcester only a week away, the summer tour that has been in the distance for so long is just around the corner—and it feels great. All I know for sure is that next Thursday, we’ll be in front of Phish again, and right now, that’s good enough for me! Rumors of band rehearsals have bubbled to the surface and if I were a betting man, I’d place a fairly large wager on the opening show blowing up. With so much energy in the air, opening nights of tours have always been special occasions, and after such a long lay off, this one will carry even more intensity. Not only will we reunite with the band, but with so many friends that we only see when Phish plays music—a multi-pronged homecoming in the metropolitan city of Worcester. Kicking off this summer indoors certainly feels like a “do-over” for the New Year’s Run, and the band can easily pack more excitement into these two upcoming shows than was strewn thinly over nine sets in December. And it wouldn’t surprise me if that happened. But in the mean time, here are ten tunes from Summer 2000′s US tour. Enjoy!

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2001 > Sand” 6.22.00 II, Antioch, TN

Phish came back from Japan and exploded in a monstrous groove session to kick off set two of their US opener.

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Tweezer” 6.24.00 I, Atlanta, GA

The last great “Tweezer” for a while…

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Split Open and Melt” 6.25.00 II, Raleigh, NC

The one highlight from one of the least impressive shows I’ve ever attended.

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Mike’s Song” 6.28.00 II, Holmdel, NJ

A piece of menacing artistry.

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Birds -> Catapult” 6.29.00 II, Holmdel, NJ

A twisted bit of psychedelia laced with teases of “A Love Supreme.”

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Ghost” 7.1.00 II, Hartford, CT

This jam closed the show and turned into the highlight of the show.

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Bathtub Gin” 7.3.00 I, Camden, NJ

A largely forgotten jam in a stellar two-night stand.

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Disease -> WMGGW” 7.15.00 II, Columbus, OH

The most significant slice of Summer’s last show.

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TTFM: Summer ’99 Lesser Knowns

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 28th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

7-7-1999, Charlotte, NC (musicgods.com)

Summer ’99 was the third summer in a row in which Phish expounded on groove-based playing. With Mike in the middle, throughout this summer they began to sculpt their millennial sound that would carry them through the year. The band moved into a more layered, drone and hypnotic style of play, as Trey favored harder-edged guitar with sheets of sound and dissonant, effect-laden soundscapes that veered from the center-stage soloing of summers past. Phish cranked out a ton of highlights during their month-long jaunt, and many of them are household jams at this point. But for today’s playlist, I assembled some of the less talked about jams from another Summer ’99. Worcester awaits…

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Bathtub Gin” 6.30.99 I, Bonner Springs, KS

The very first song of summer blossomed into a 20-minute, ambient-laced affair.

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Down With Disease > Caspian” 7.1.99 II, Nashville, TN

This jam took place while an impending storm zeroed in on Nashville. Once the band splashed into the following “YEM” jam, the skies opened and the place got hit with a deluge.

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Split Open and Melt” 7.26.99 II, Noblesville, IN

The last jam of the US tour from the final set of Deer Creek.

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Fee” 7.8.99 I, Va. Beach, VA

A second-song monster from Virginia Beach.

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Antelope” 7.3.99 II, Atlanta, GA

A scorching, mid-set rendition from Lakewood.

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2001 > Misty Mountain Hop” 7.20.99 II, Toronto, ON

This set-closing combo punctuated of Phish’s quick stop north of the border.

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Ghost” 7.20.99 I, Toronto, ON

Possibly the only Summer ’99 “Ghost” that isn’t well known at this point. Mike anchors the band with outlandish rhythmic calisthenics from the get-go in this first-setter.

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Tweezer -> Catapult -> Tweezer” 7.24.99 II, E.Troy, WI

While not exactly dark-horse, Alpine’s thick and looped-out “Tweezer” has always lived in the shadows of Camden’s masterpiece and Oswego’s standout version. And what’s a playlist without a “Tweezer?”

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Birds of a Feather” 7.23.99 II, Columbus, OH

An exploratory beast that came amidst a heavy-hitting second set at Polaris.

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David Bowie” 7.4.99 I, Atlanta, GA

This “Bowie” closed the first set of July 4th on its highest point before Phish came out and threw down a monster second.

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YEM” 7.7.99 II, Charlotte, NC

This groove-centric “YEM” capped one of my favorite start-to-finish sets of summer.

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TTFF: Summer ’98

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 25th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Summer '98 Promo Poster

Phish crushed so hard in the summer of ’98, that I could fill an entire week of playlists with highlights from this tour alone. Between their fortnight in Europe and month in America, the band churned out amazing jams at a ludicrous pace, while remaining on point for the entire season. Here are a handful of jams from what has to be considered the greatest summer tour of the late-90′s.

Curtain > Free” 7.31.98 II, Columbus, OH

The laid back funk of Summer ’98.

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Tweezer” 7.9.98 I, Barcelona, ES

In a small and sweltering club, Phish dropped these filthy grooves.

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Reba > Fast Enough” 7.16.98 II, Quincy, WA

Quintessential summer Phish with an uncharacteristic rhythmic take by Trey.

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Ghost > Lifeboy” 8.2.98 II, Noblesville, IN

One of countless standout “Ghosts” of Summer ’98—the peak tour for the song.

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Wolfman’s -> 2001” 7.24.98 II, Houston, TX

One of the lesser known highlights from this summer, and a soundboard, taboot.

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Bathtub Gin” 7.29.98 I, Maryland Heights, MO

The Riverport “Gin” needs no introduction; my favorite version ever played.

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Ya Mar” 7.25.98 I, Austin, TX

One of the most exploratory “Ya Mars” in history—a jam that is so cohesive that it sounds composed.

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Tube” 7.16.98 II, Quincy, WA

A personal favorite featuring the open-air, chunky grooves of the Gorge.

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Drowned -> Makisupa” 7.20.98 II, Ventura, CA

A dark horse combo from the begininning of Ventura’s second set that features a silky-smooth segue.

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YEM” 7.26.98 II, Dallas, TX

A mid-second set explosion of swanky summer grooves in which Gordeaux thumps prominent “The Way I Feel” bass lines—a late-90′s trend that started a week earlier in Shoreline’s standout version.

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Thinking of Summer

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 24th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Bethel Woods (G. Estreich)

Summer Tour is just around the corner and it seems like nobody knows just what to expect come Worcester and beyond. Almost 10 months have passed since Phish tore apart Dick’s in Colorado, and with the tame New Year’s Run, it feels like ages since we’ve seen the band do what they do. Traditionally, Phish has started off tours quite well in this era, often spring-boarding from a few days of focused practice in the city of their first show. Examples of these strong opening stands or runs include, 6.11 through 6.13.2010 at Toyota Park, Blossom, and Hershey; 8.5 through 8.7.10 at The Greek Theatre, 5.27 and 5.28 in Bethel, and 8.5 and 8.6.11 at the Gorge. If this pattern follows, the Worcester shows could serve as musical defibrillators for a Phish community that seems to hold less anticipatory excitement for this tour than any in this era. If Phish doesn’t blow the roof off The Centrum in the way they have sparked their recent tours, it will be quite interesting to hear everyone’s reaction—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here!

I’ve been wondering which band will come out at Worcester—the jammy version we saw at UIC and Dick’s or the rock version we saw at MSG. Related to this thought, two days ago on Twitter, @eward leaked a Trey quote from this week’s Rolling Stone saying that Phish “plan to break out at least 200 tunes at their gigs this summer.” Ummm—great—just what we need to hear, a song-centric sound byte from Red. One would hope that within this ballpark figure are a handful of new songs and jam vehicles to spice up the rotation, but I’m not gonna’ hold my breath. One thing is for sure, if this tour becomes bust-out and setlist-oriented, there will be a communal groan throughout many groups of fans. Hopefully, this alleged song barrage will be centered in the first sets of shows.

Bethel Woods - 5.29.11 (D.Lavery)

After three years back, however, it’s second sets that need the most tender loving care this summer. Instead of placing jams within a set of songs, one would hope the band would perform more complete, start to finish frames that have been relatively elusive in this era. In 2011, though the band progressed in this department, the two areas that still need the most improvement is fluidity and set-closing. In terms of fluidity, I mean moving from song to song with thoughtful concept and diligent execution. Hopefully the jarring instances of Trey pulling the string on jams will lessen and there will be a more group-think in determining where the music will go. In terms of “finishing,” Phish often kicked off many second sets with prowess last year, but the second half of many them fizzled in momentum, and band often “stumbled” to the end point. While they used to employ big-time second set closers like “YEM” and “David Bowie,” “Antelope” or even “Weekapaug,” last year they were just as likely to punctuate a set with “Character Zero,” “Stealing Time,” “First Tube” or “Suzie”—not exactly the same effect. I feel if these two elements of second sets come together, whatever happens in the firsts is fine.

In terms of jamming, in addition to anything new they bring to the table, I hope to see Phish further explore the two original styles that have emerged in this era— “Plinko” and “Storage.” Last year, the band engaged in sporadic “Plinko” jamming after they really honed in on the style during New Year’s Run 2010. “Storage” jamming was born last year, and Phish integrated the style into the live show—often with Theremin—during leg two. I find this to be the most promising and original direction for their music right now, as some of the best jams of 2011 were born of this darker, abstract focus.

More than anything, Leg One will give the band a chance to get rolling again. A month-long tour, though susceptible to ups and downs, provides far more opportunities than three or four night runs for the band to hook up and create adventurous music. As we embark on 2012, the fourth year of 3.0 Phish, one can only hope it will surpass the year before, as each has during this era. And if that happens, I think everyone will be happy.

Bethel Woods (George Estreich)

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Here’s a link to my “2012 Wishlist” which relates to this topic.

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Jam of the Day:

Gumbo” 8.3.98 II, Noblesville, IN

If you didn’t catch it, Kevin Shapiro dropped Live Bait 7 yesterday, including this gem from the Cornfields in ’98.

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TTFW: Summer ’97

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 22nd, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Summer '97 Pollock T-Shirt

Stash” 7.2.97 II, Amsterdam, NL

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Bathtub Gin” 7.21.97 I, Virginia Beach, VA

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Ghost” 7.23.97 II, Atlanta, GA

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YEM -> Izabella” 7.26.97 II, Austin, TX

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Antelope” 7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

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Bowie -> Cities -> Bowie” 7.30.97 II, Ventura, CA

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Mike’s -> Ain’t Love Funny” 8.9.97 II, East Troy, WI

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Free” 8.14.97 I, Darien Lake, NY

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Wolfman’s -> Simple” 8.16.97 II, Limestone, ME

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Tweezer” 8.17.97 I, Limestone, ME

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TTFM: Summer ’96

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 21st, 2012 by Mr.Miner
Summer 1996—Pollack T-shirt

1996 Summer Tour T-Shirt (Pollock)

With Summer Tour 2012 rapidly approaching, let’s continue a look at summers past with ’96. I’m not trying to pull the ten “best” jams from each summer, but just ten great ones. Enjoy the picks from this underrated tour!

Wilson > Disease” 8.14.96 I, Hershey, PA

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Reba” 8.4.96 II, Morrison, CO

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Antelope” 8.12.96 II, Noblesville, IN

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Split” 8.12.96 I, Noblesville, IN

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Tweezer” 8.14.96 II, Hershey, PA

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Harry Hood” 8.16.96 III, Plattsburgh, NY

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Mike’s > Lifeboy” 8.13.96 II, Noblesville, IN

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Slave” 8.17.96 II, Plattsburgh, NY

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THE SLOPING COMPANION ESSAY CONTEST

Robert Champion of The Sloping Companion is running an essay contest for those that “Like” The Sloping Companion Facebook Page. The winner will win a recycled/upcycled wood art piece. All anyone has to do to enter is write a short, two-to-three paragraph essay about why they are so passionate about Phish. The contest is running for about two weeks and the winner will have their piece aired on the show, will be on the station, and will win a specially-created, one of a kind art piece.

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TTFF: Summer ’95

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 18th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

6.28.95—Jones Beach (Unknown)

Theme From the Bottom” 6.7.95 II, Boise, ID

A jam that veers into darkness during summer’s first show.

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Harry Hood” 6.17.95 II, Bristow, VA

This intricate, multi-tiered “Harry Hood” punctuated a spectacular five shows in five nights.

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Reba” 6.19.95 I, Noblesville, IN

A classic Summer ’95 version from the cornfields; a Blackboard favorite.

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Antelope” 6.23.95 II, Stanhope, NJ

The centerpiece of Waterloo’s second set.

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Stash -> I Didn’t Know” 6.15.95 I, Atlanta, GA

Dark, eerie, Fishman on Trombone…

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Split Open and Melt” 6.20.95 I, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Phish served a hearty dose of psych-rock to close Blossom’s first set.

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David Bowie” 6.13.95 II, Maryland Heights, MO

One of several exploratory “Bowies” from this summer.

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Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug” 6.10.95 II, Morrison, CO

This monstrous “Mike’s Groove” dominated the second set of Red Rocks’ second show.

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Slave to the Traffic Light” 7.2.95 II, N. Fayston, VT

The Sugarbush “Slave.”

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Type II Cast

Type II Cast: “The Story of the Ghost

A few nights ago, I sat down with host of Type II Cast, Stephen Olker, and guest Steve Tuzeneu to discuss the evolution of “Ghost” from its inception through today. Plenty of audio clips are included throughout the podcast to illustrate what we discuss. Check it out!

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TTFW: Late ’90s Grab Bag

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on May 15th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

12.28.11 - MSG (Graham Lucas)

Runaway Jim” 7.31.97 II, Mountain View, CA

Jammed out “Jims” where have you gone?

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Tweezer” 8.1.98 II, East Troy, WI

Can never get enough of the Alpine “Tweeze”…

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Ghost” 7.3.97 II, Nuremburg, GR

Euro ’97 “Ghosts” were slow, funky and exploratory, as Phish honed their new jam vehicle before coming stateside.

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Bathtub Gin” 10.1.99 I, Ames, IA

A first set smoker from the heartland in ’99. We came out to a smashed window and many things stolen from our car before the all-night drive to Minneapolis. Fuckin’ wooks…

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Reba” 8.14.96 I, Hershey, PA

A stunning version from a Summer ’96.

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Stash” 9.9.99 I, Vancouver, BC

A psychedelic trek from Fall ’99′s first set.

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2001” 7.7.99 II, Charlotte, NC

One of ’99′s top versions.

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Mike’s Song” 12.2.97 II, Philadelphia, PA

This version needs no introduction—funk warfare.

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Piper > Guy Forget” 10.1.00 II, Phoenix, AZ

The first bust-out of “Guy Forget” after being a piece of soundcheck lore for years.

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Weekapaug Groove” 4.3.98 I, Uniondale, NY

My favorite “Weekapaug” to date.

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“First Tube” Poster Show in AC

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on May 14th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

First Tube Poster Show

If you are heading to Atlantic City for Phish’s three-night boardwalk extravaganza, be sure to stop by “First Tube,” a poster and art show that will be held on Saturday June 16, from 10am-3pm in the Westminster Room at the Trump Plaza Hotel. This show will feature Phish inspired art by artists from around the country, including limited edition art made specifically for the show. I will also have a table there, selling and signing copies of my book. Admission is free, so be sure to come by and say hello. This show was developed and produced by a group of artists and fans known as the Mothership Art Collective. More comprehensive details are excerpted from the press release below.

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The initial artists announced for First Tube represent some of the best artists in the Phish community and poster art. Longtime Phish artists AJ Masthay, TRiPP, Ryan Kerrigan, John Warner, Erin Cadigan, Noah Phence and Bruce Horan have been a part of many poster shows in the past and each have a large portfolio of concert poster art across a wide range of musical acts. Mike DuBois designed and illustrated the cover art to Levon Helm’s Electric Dirt and has created posters for the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, Pink Floyd and many more. Newcomers Jiggs, Lauren Domsky and Branden Otto are featured in their first Phish poster show, as well as writer and author, Dave Calarco, who will be selling his book ‘Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts’ at the show.

Worcester 2012 (Masthay)

Non-profits include The Mockingbird Foundation, which has given grants for music education totaling more than $600,000 over the past 14 years; HeadCount, a non-profit, non-partisan voter registration organization that promotes civic participation and knowledge of the issues; PhanArt, a book and website created as a way to showcase the art made by Phish fans and raises money for Mockingbird Foundation, and Screen ‘n’ Suds, who combine craft beers and posters to benefit the National MS Society and chairities in Richmond, Virginia.

Phish poster shows have been held over the years with great success, as unique posters made for the Phish shows that weekend and stop on the tour feature some of the best concert art being produced today. ‘First Tube’ is the first event for 2012 produced by the Mothership Art Collective, a group within the Phish community, comprised of artists and organizations who promote the art inspired by the band Phish. The eclectic artists featured at this event show the broad scope of Phish related art and capture the inspiration of the band in their art. The creative fan base that Phish has makes for amazing art inspired by the band, the locales and the music. The collective will work hard to bring a show to the Phish touring public each year.

In keeping with the great tradition and success of past poster shows, First Tube will offer free entry to all patrons, tubes available for purchase, charitable donations from the event made to the Mockingbird Foundation and a wide array of artists with posters to fit any budget.

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Jam of the Day:

Ghost -> Mango Song” 10.26.10 II

A standout, modern era “Ghost” from Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Dear Phish: Words from Coventry

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on May 13th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Coventry 2004

This weekend I received an email from George Pratt, a stagehand and musican that was part of the crew hired to work Coventry. While breaking down the stage long after the band had left the mud-filled site, he found a notebook that a bunch of fans had filled with letters to the band and thrown onstage. With their band crashing and burning, none of the guys saw it or cared to pick it up. George has kept it through all these years and has recently made arrangements with a Phish.net moderator to send the book to the official Phish archives. However, he also scanned the entire thing to share with fans, and he has already done so on Phantasy Tour and Phish.net.

When I began to read this, I was fascinated. All of these people, none whom I know, were telling Phish what they’d always wanted to tell them—deep emotions from the heart. Laced with clever comedy, these letters provided an emotional throwback for me, and halfway through I found myself in tears. But these weren’t tears of sadness—for Phish is alive and kicking, but tears of awe at the power of band. So many strangers shared my powerful emotions, and to see these notes that were written down as Phish was bowing out felt nothing short of magical. A predominant theme throughout of the letters is how Phish changed lives and provided people with unmatched happiness and the experiences of a lifetime. Take ten minutes of your day to read through the notebook yourself. You won’t regret it.

FAN NOTEBOOK FROM COVENTRY (PDF) 

We also have a way we can show George appreciation for this priceless piece of Phish history. Here’s an anecdote from his email that explains how.

In 2003, one of the companies I worked for was hired to provide all the labor for “Coventry” so off we went. We spent nearly a month in that town on that land both before and after the show building the venue, setting up the site, building the stage, and setting up all the lights, sound and video, and eventually all the band gear. The community of stagehands backstage was a show all on its own. We had various types of lodging. I was housed in a ski lodge nearly 45 minutes away but it was very nice. Since we are all crazy and were used to getting little sleep, each night turned into a party. Our house being the largest often played host. One particular night when all the stagehands were there, I grabbed my guitar— as I always do—and started playing some songs that I had written along the way. One of the guys there had a 4-track recorder and he quickly set it up. One of the songs I played that night was titled “Piss Wall.” It’s all about the giant wall we built that surrounded the entire corn field-turned-venue and enclosed the performance area.

I have had this song and book for years, and recently pulled this all out as part of my plan to win a contest for free studio time. I have made it to the finals in large part from the help I received from a lot of Phish fans on various forums. But I have fallen back to 3rd place and could use more help. Voting goes until Tuesday, so I still have a chance. I thought that since your blog is all about Phish, perhaps you might be interested in this book and song. People are really loving it and I hope you enjoy it as well.

Here is a link to vote for George in the contest. Hook it up!

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Jam of the Day:

Scents and Subtle Sounds” 7.23.03 I, Noblesville, IN

The opener of night three of three at Deer Creek.

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