Going Alone

If you find yourself with a ticket to a show this summer, but nobody to go with, just go, because who knows what could happen.

I’ve only arrived to one Phish show alone—11.17.97—and it fundamentally changed the course of my life. I graduated in Spring ’97 and come Fall, my closest show-going cohorts of ’95 and ’96 were off doing other things. Thus, Fall ’97 represented a transition in my Phish life. I planned to do different parts of the tour with different friends, and I was planning on going to the Denver shows with my non-Phish buddy, Leaguer. After a particularly hectic first night, suffice it to say, he had no desire to go back to the circus. Thus, I brewed up some mushroom tea at his Boulder apartment, put it in a Nalgene bottle for the show and headed down to Denver on my own.

I had a floor ticket for the evening, but when I went to my seat, I noticed plenty open up ahead. I walked up a section or two and found an aisle seat, asked if it was taken and sat down. As is usually the case, these guys told me they weren’t in their seats either, but I was welcome to stay there. We talked before the show for a while, officially meeting each other. Then the lights dropped and the infamous first set started with “Tweezer.” Taking gargantuan Phish jams to the dome one after another, we all bounced behind the seats into the larger space in between sections and blew it up. After the set ended, a bunch of their friends found their way to the floor and I met a series of people that I would never remember the next day, let alone the next hour. I hung out with the original two people I had met for the whole show, said good bye and went on my way back to Leaguer’s.

Fast-forward to Cleveland two weeks later. In a story far too absurd to get into, I broke away from the girl I went to the show found a platform to rage on my own. In the middle of the first set someone surprised me by saying my name and passing me a bowl. I turned around, not recognizing the person at all, and he explained that he had met me back in Denver during setbreak. Things immediately made sense and we hung out and raged the set together. For reasons still to absurd to get into, I had every desire to find some some new people to hang out with, and joined them behind the stage during setbreak to puff joints. I re-met the same guy and girl—Jon and Sarah—that I sat next to in Denver. I continued meeting people from their extensive group of friends—all from their hometown—and I got along well with all of them. I wound up hanging out with some form of their group of friends for the next couple shows before they hopped off. Good peeps.

Fast Forward to Europe ’98. Jon—the original guy I met in Denver—was spending the summer in Prague, and we met up at The Grey Hall on the first night of tour in Copenhagen. As we introduced each other to our respective friends, one of the guys I met that night became my tour comrade and co-psychonaut through 2009, and one of the girls I met became my wife. Ever since that Europe tour, I, more or less, merged with their extensive group of friends for the duration of 1.0, 2.0, beyond Phish tour, and still to this day.

SO…if you don’t have a partner in crime for any given Phish show this summer, you should go anyway—you just might find your wife!



Everyone was a noob at one point, and we all sought information about the scene from anywhere and everywhere. Just recently, fan, Brent Nichols, sent me a link to “Phish: A Guide For Beginners” that he had written. If you’re reading this blog, odds are you don’t need to read his, but his piece serves as a great resource for that person in your life who just won’t listen to you about your favorite band. Check it out…

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357 Responses to “Going Alone”

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  1. MiA Says:

    Great story. Loved it.

  2. jason5000 Says:

    cool story! def not hesitant to go solo to shows. did most of fall ’10 that way met lots of great people. this summer going to Portsmouth, Burgetts, & Blossom alone cant wait!!!

  3. P.S.H.S. Says:

    going solo to woosta on friday. maybe i’ll meet some fLegionaires…

  4. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Very cool story. Without summer 99 I wouldn’t be married to mrs pro

    Can’t wait to drive in to AC solo and catch up with the BB. I wonder if it’s possible to ever really be solo at a show again if you don’t want to be?

  5. mr.palmer Says:

    The leaguer story is the best…

  6. tba Says:

    well said, buy the ticket, take the ride, heck I’ve seen this band for 25 years and still cannot remember the drummer’s name, henrietta something or other, than with a friend at Jazz fest she? told me just John. Ehh never been good at short term memory, long term either. Just go, folks are nice, and the guitarist of theirs is the bomb….

    one thing that is key though, go for the music, NOT the scene. By the way, Nice story Miner, old 97 Ghost ahhhhhh, Denver 97 Ghost special ahhhhhhh. Rumor going around the guitarist was mouthing I wanna f U to hot chicks in the front row that tour. don’t blame him, that henrietta’s no prize, although she’s got good chops. Have fun.

  7. Aquaman Says:

    I haven’t been first page in a very long time.

    So first off, great post Miner. My first show alone was the great St Andrews Hall 1992. On and off, more off, since then I have caught more than a fair number of shows alone, and have had great times each time I did it. It is something like a right of passage.

    One that I continue to do to this day. Most recent was Bowlive ad DSO at Brooklyn bowl. Evn at 40 I can stil go solo and find cool like minded people to rage with, even if only for two hours. All it requires is a little effort on ones part and the reward it totally worth it.

    On another note: Good Morning All!


  8. dyda Says:

    i kinda prefer the freedom that comes from flying solo (have done phish about 30 times this way). of course you have to be that much more self-reliant

    everyone enjoy woosta & ac. i’ll be jumping on at portsmouth

  9. MiA Says:

    Is it Thursday yet?

  10. BTB Says:

    Funny stuff – ter this week huh?

  11. willowed Says:

    I am excited

    Not going to lie, my fire for this band was fading a bit. Of course it will never go away, but it was getting pretty low.

    I find myself all giddy again. Excited about what’s about to happen. The unknown. It’s all very exciting.

    Nothing better than getting locked up in an old school shed to start summer.

    As AW would say. New Tweezers!

  12. Guyute711 Says:

    Man, I have loved that LUOLMA from Alpharetta since the day it dropped but…….Steve Winwood absolutely annihilated that song last night. Mountain Jam bitches!!!!!!

  13. jdub Says:

    Great story Miner. Solo shows are some of the most memorable. No agenda other than your own.

    Never have done Phish solo but did a handful of Biscuit shows solo in ’01/’02. Had a blast at each and every one. Particularly the Woostah Palladium New Year run shows both years. So glad I went.

  14. Snigglebeach Says:

    Going alone does offer a lot of freedom.

    My only solo show was Nassau Feb03. Had an awful balcony seat. As soon as the music started I noticed a stub on the floor. After a few minutes I picked it up and saw it was a section 1 floor seat. Walked down and sat 30 rows back.

    Unfortunately the folks I met were not as cool as Miners. That night was the first and only time I have seen people snort oxy. I smoked up my neighbor then he breaks out a batch of something (I naively thought it was Molly).

    Lucky I never put anything up my nose. Before set 1 was over these 4 schmucks melted into their seats and did not stand up the rest of the show.

    But beyond that, it was an awesome night. Got a free hotel room from my sketchy NO2 salesmen friend.

  15. DocGanz Says:

    By 3.0 all my old tour buddies were all bogged down in responsibilities, work, kids, and so I’ve done a good number of shows the last few years solo, but have always managed to meet, and hang out with countless cool people just by walking up in lot and having a beer, or whatever. Id say the percentage of people I know in lot these days has gone up astronomically as a result of this, so its very much worked out, though I do miss my old tour buddies…
    Btw, great Mogwai show last night. Jtran, you should’ve gone…

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    God, I loved reading that, Mr. Miner.

    Thank you!

    Speaking of soloing…

    Looks like the Cinci>Pittsburgh>Cleveland run is opening up for me

    anyone in the midwest need someone to go with? Or share costs with?

    I guess I can take Miner’s advice and go it alone

  17. MiA Says:

    You are never alone at a Phish show.

  18. MiA Says:

    That was the statement a guy said to my friend Brian who went to Cincy by himself.

    Sat down in his assigned seat before the show, and group of 3 guys sat next to him. They ask him who he’s here with. He says “Oh, I’m here alone.”

    The guy, without missing a beat, says “You’re never along at a Phish show. You’re now with my crew.”

    Smokes him up.

  19. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers.

    Thanks for the story @Miner. Denver2 was a cooker; needless to say.

    I’ve seen some killer Grateful Dead shows and some phenomenal Phish shows, but The Wall last night was unbelievably outstanding. So awesome to hear that album played live. And a true honor to share a room with Roger Waters. If anyone has the chance to go see this, do yourself a favor and go. You won’t be disappointed.

  20. halcyon Says:

    Morning compadres,

    Hope everyone is well. Tinariwen in Denver tomorrow night and I am working nights! Just had a week off, and can’t take any more time off for a bit. Bummed I won’t be able to see them.

    In addition, can’t believe I wasn’t able to swing a few more days off and catch the Worcester shows. Ugh.

    Hope everyone is well. Anxiously awaiting two job offers right now. One that will determine whether or not I see Phish at all this summer. Both are great prospects.

  21. halcyon Says:

    Did Festival 8 solo, and that’s where the BB came together for me. Hung with Alf, Robear and Stash and their crew, met Butter, and others. Have had great experiences going to shows solo.

  22. MiA Says:

    @SW, I think Robear said he needed someone. He was looking for a ride from Chicago to Cincy. I’ll be on from Cincy to Blossom also. Not sure how much room my buddies Suburu has though.

    The more the merrier.

  23. ThePigSong Says:

    Excited for tour! Never been to a Ph show solo, I’d like to though.

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    Thanks for the info, Mike

    I just emailed Robear.

    I’ve got a car, so that’s no problem.

    Maybe I could join the caravan?

    I guess, for me, I really hate to miss the opportunity to chill with kids like you, Mike, who are coming from a different part of the country and who I don’t get to see very often.

    I like to take advantage of having the time to get to see everyone and say hello.

  25. MiA Says:

    Caravan FTW.

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