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”

  1. highhighhand Says:

    I was a serious loner when I got into Phish
    I saw Clifford Ball, Worcester 97, 98, Albany 98 all solo.
    Loved it. I still take off most shows and get into it alone together with everyone.

  2. joe Says:

    nice story Mr. Miner. I’ve only done 2 shows solo, both in 3.0 at msg. Having bb meetups scheduled made it much easier for me. Both times I met and grooved with good people. Met a nice woman who was very much into the band like us here. setlist writer and all. That was a first for me, seeing the lady setlist writer. Although it was fun, the music actually made me miss having my (perpetual) fiance or show going friends with me. Hitting Thursday solo, although picking up a bb’er at the airport so I don’t know if that counts or not.

  3. Exree Hipp Says:

    High hand, I’d be down to hear your stories of doing the fests solo. Sounds daunting to me but it could be satisfying.

    Hope everyone will give my new film project a look today. Trying to crest that $5k number this afternoon. See the trailer!


    Believe it or not from the trailer, Phish’s do-it-your-way approach informed a lot of the choices I made in production.

  4. garretc Says:

    Done a handful of my shows “solo,” the caveat being BB meet up, as is wont to happen.

    My song list for my shows (in, you know, August…):

    Any 2.0 vehicle (Waves, Scents, ASIHTOS)
    What’s The Use?
    Spanish Moon

    In no particular order. Think I’ve got caught most of the normal rotation tunes.

    Tweezer. Always want to see Tweezer! Last summer was a two Tweezer summer, and a three Tweezer year, gotta love that.

  5. BTB Says:

    I’ve only hit one show by myself, but it didn’t affect anything. Less distractions actually. Allowed me to fully focus on the music.

    I always consider a phish show to be a safe place for me. I really do look at everybody like they’re a brother.

    Most people are there for the music. I think I find it pretty easy to spot who’s good people and who’s there for other reasons – in terms of surrounding yourself with good strangers to rock out with!

    There’s all kinds of characters at a show, tho. For instance…

    A million bowl-pack’s guy
    the glowstick people
    Fat guy, slow jam dude
    The frat boys
    The clappers
    The 16 year old newb with mint condition dry goods t-shirt
    Old stoner guy
    The wrong seat space creeper
    The talkers
    The hula-hoopers

    and then there’s this guy…Which is totally ME!!!!!!!!!!!!


  6. Plord Says:

    Been solo to a few shows but always hit the BB meetup. “Sometimes I find it hard to stay together as a group.”

  7. joe Says:

    the camera phone recording of someone dancing at a show bothers the fuck out of me. makes people self-conscious. My one wish is that every single person in the place didn’t give a fuck about what they looked like and just let themselves be 100% into the music. Caveat being that the also have to respect the space of others.

  8. Exree Hipp Says:

    I agree that there is a certain reduction in distractions. You can focus purely on your own relationship to the music and not whether other people are having a good time. That can be an important shift in your take on a show, I think. Flip side is there’s less opportunity to grin at a pal who is grooving alongside.

  9. BTB Says:

    ^truth. Way too many people holding cell phones these days. Makes me think I’m at a U2 concert

  10. joe Says:

    I’ve come to accept taking pictures or videos of the band as the way things are now but it’s the taking video to post on youtube of someone dancing at a show that kills me.

  11. MiA Says:

    T3, needs a huge SOAM in there.

  12. voopa Says:

    I could give a fuck about how I look or who’s recording what at a show, but I wasn’t always that way. Free at last.

  13. MiA Says:

    I’m really having to try not to snore into this Genentech conf. call. I’m totally nodding off.

  14. Selector J Says:

    Tried to get the Hooters Room Package (room + plate of wings + pitcher of beer + telling your friends you got the Hooters Package = $98… A steal!) but… they were sold out.

    The nice lady said they were sold out of all the room packages. Something about “a big Phish concert is in town” that weekend. Ya don’t say… Oh well.

    While I was at it, looked to see if the rate had changed for the room that I booked. Expedia had it for 15% off. Boom! Cancelled the old reservation through Trop and re-booked through expedia.

    Everything’s coming up Milhouse!

    AC bitchaz!

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    If someone vids me, i’ll take it as a compliment. Usually have my flatbrim low anyway so I can’t see anything.

  16. MiA Says:

    I’m too old to care what people think about me. Well, except Trey, when he’s staring at me.

    Then I suck in my gut a little.

    hot dreddy hippie chicks kinda make me nervous too. But in a good way.

  17. sumodie Says:

    I’ve hit lotsa shows solo. still don’t get why some react so strangely to hitting shows solo. i like phish, therefore i go. if someone i know wants to come, great, if not also great.

    same applies to many other activities

  18. BingosBrother Says:

    I love going places with myself. I’m excellent company.

  19. snow Says:

    LLFA @ MiA.

  20. kenny powers Says:

    my solo shows were all in 2003: 2/24, 7/30, and 7/31

    man, it sucks that it’s been pouring all day here in Worcester, i totally would have spent my 45 min lunch break circling the venue for any chance of hearing some thumping, or seeing the boys grab lunch.

  21. joe Says:

    for clarification, I don’t care if they video me. It would be an instructional video for all the kids on how to get the fuck down. I just don’t like the thought process of going to a show, thinking hey look at that guy’s stupid dance. I think I’ll take a video of it to put it on the internet for other people to laugh at.

  22. Kaveh Says:

    @bingos: here you go: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3pkvqv/

  23. mr.palmer Says:

    Agree Joe, total bullshit.

  24. Calpain Says:

    nice work @Selector!

    I rarely care what people do at shows, unless they are endangering others. kinda weird how many people are on their phone during shows.

    merriweather 1 last year, I set up a canopy tent in the dirt lot w/ large metal stakes. security asked me to move the tent and it took me about 10 minutes to uproot all of the stakes and move that shit.
    …as a whole golf cart of security guards waited patiently (amused by the fact that i literally just hammered in the last stake and it was 90 degrees outside)— fans began to gather, take pics, record video and laugh at the entire situation. after the last stake was removed I let out a giant battle-cry, the fans rejoiced and all was well in world.

  25. BTB Says:

    lol at “suck in my gut a little”

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