Dear Phish: Words from Coventry

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 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

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.


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!


Jam of the Day:

Scents and Subtle Sounds” 7.23.03 I, Noblesville, IN

The opener of night three of three at Deer Creek.


Tags: , ,

128 Responses to “Dear Phish: Words from Coventry”

  1. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Riverport, Went, and PNC Gin’s…

    Been trying to figure out which one, IMO, is the best version they’ve ever played and I give up. I’m just going with a 3-way tie. ( waits for Leo to claim Winston/Salem stake for dominance) 😉

    Can’t believe Riverport was a show opener. Maybe they will open Woosta with a 25 minute version of something?

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    25 minutes

    Bouncin, Alaska, Sparkle, Let Me Lie, Possum


    TTE > Guyute


  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I must admit i have never checkout the “jamming chart” section of Pretty cool, if your into geeking out about specific songs, and highlight versions.

    Other Gins that fall just below my top three: Rupp and The “Real” Gin.

  4. worthlesswampyfool Says:

    the jam of the day was the opener of my first show… so glad no one took my spun butt back to my car like i asked them to cause my life has never been the same since. what a day that was:D

  5. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Found out my neighbor trains snipers this weekend. Pleased to report there are no more working court lights on the gawdy tennis club flooding the neighborhood at night.

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    my two favorite Gins @mr. p. Rupp and Real Gin.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    What up swampyfool! Been a minute, nice to see you around.

    Emotional Rescue from Hampton 97 was an ok start to a show. I wouldn’t kick her out of bed.

  8. MiA Says:

    ’94 Montreal Reba picked my day up. Now into Gorge ’98 Reba for the after dinner mint.

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    Did someone mention the W-S Gin?

    It’s pretty good.


  10. Leo Weaver Says:

    Riverport, Rupp, and W-S are likely my top 3 Gins. W-S is the mean, dark, twisted older brother of Riverport. Need to listen to the Rupp version again, it’s been a while. I just love how the W-S Gin takes you for a fast ride along the edge of the abyss, dipping you in a couple times for good measure.

  11. Guyute711 Says:

    You can’t beat my birthday Gin, C’mon now!!!!

  12. stapes Says:

    Been spinning the W-S Gin a lot lately. Its dirty. Like it. Let’s get some exploration like that this summer.

  13. MiA Says:

    Shreddy Gin for sure.

  14. MiA Says:

    Superball Reba is extremely nice.

  15. joe Says:

    only problem with w-s gin is that I listen to the cd in my car (old bastard with an old car alert, again) but it’s too long for my commute to and from work. I’m generally only in my car for about 15-20 minutes at a time. Not long enough for the gin. I need to take longer trips for that.

  16. gavinsdad Says:

    I need to take longer trips.

  17. bob dylan Says:

    I always thought a 20 min scents was the way to start a show.

    Deer creek represent.

    In other news, I caught on to the dude on my platform that rides my train and hits a dugout. I now know the spot and will partake as well.

  18. gavinsdad Says:

    think that’s our boy @treasurereprise on page 26 of the notebook. i’ll confirm.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Interesting article :

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    Montreal Reba, anyone have a link?

  21. poop goblin Says:

    Did Trey get my letter?

    It’s the one that said get a real addiction Trey oxy’s are over priced advils. What’s with all the terrible ballads lately?

    Love AW

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    prescient ben halperin on page 34: “but if there ever is that reunion concert you should do it at fenway park”


  23. ThePigSong Says:

    None of the mediafire links are working on my iPhone, pretty sure mediafire has worked in the past though. I’ll check back later.

  24. Multibeast Says:

    Also a prescient drawing on page 33 of the Hartford Whalers logo.

  25. Multibeast Says:

    Just voted for George.

Leave a Reply