Step Into the Bieber

Justin Bieber – LA (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It all started in Long Beach. During a setbreak conversation, a friend told me that Justin Bieber was the show and had stood right next to her at the soundboard for much of the set. “Interesting,” I thought. I had heard of Justin Bieber. He was the teen-aged idol of today’s generation of young girls; a teen pop star through and through. I had never heard a lick of his music, but I thought it was cool that the kid came to the LBC to see Phish. After the show, more information came out. Bieber’s guitarist, Dan Kanter, was a huge Phish fan and had brought Bieber and his girlfriend, Selena Gomez (who I had never heard of) to the show that night. The trio had met the band during setbreak and hit it off while talking music. Then more. Since Phish had no plans for fall tour, Chris Kuroda would be designing the light show for Bieber’s upcoming tour (!), which was one of the reasons Kanter brought him to the show. Over the next couple of days, there was some confusion in the Phish community—was Kuroda actually going in tour with Canada’s pretty boy, or was he just designing the lighting schemes? It soon came out that Kuroda would actually hit the road on Bieber’s “Believe” tour while Phish spent time with their families and solo projects. Taking his Jedi-like skills to the most mainstream act around, CK5 would now see how the other half lived, all while lighting up the minds and imaginations of teeny-boppers across the land. Kuroda worked for The Black Crowes, Aerosmith and R. Kelly during Phish’s haitus, but this would mark his most crossover effort to date. Once everyone figured out the truth of the matter, laughter prevailed in community, but Bieber Fever went into remission as Phish went on to crush the second leg of tour.

Bieber and Kuroda Light Up Los Angeles (Jeff Kravitz)

Fast forward to last week when Bieber’s North American tour kicked off in the southwestern states. In scrolling my Twitter feed, I noticed YEMBlog had posted a short piece about Kanter teasing “Divided Sky” in a live show! “Cute,” I thought, but certainly didn’t think anything of it. And I didn’t even bother to check the clip. In addition, the short piece mentioned that Kanter had also threw in a tease of “Fluffhead’s” “Bundle of Joy” section in a different song! Apparently, Kanter and Kuroda were having some fun while getting paid. It’s doubtful if Justin, himself, let alone the thousands of prepubescent girls in the audience, knew anything of the musical trickery.

Kanter and Bieber (Jeff Kravitz)

Then yesterday, the Phish Internet exploded with Bieber talk. Kanter had worked in significant sections of “Sand” and “First Tube” into Bieber’s show! Several websites had written up the entertaining blurb (all which contained priceless comments from a mix of Bieber and Phish fans.) This time I checked the clips. Amidst a more “grown up” part of the show that flashed images of street action and aggressive music, Kanter sure enough tore right into the themes of “Sand” and “First Tube!” It was not subtle. To see Bieber running and dancing around in a multi-million dollar, mega-production to Trey’s melodies was just too hilarious for words. I immediately retweeted the clips to my followers as I watched and laughed. Kanter had taken the prankster spirit of Phish and wove it right into one of the cheesiest shows on the planet! And I can only imagine the shit-eating grin on the guitarist’s face, let alone Kuroda’s, as he did so.

Biebs In Action (Jeff Kravitz)

I jokingly Tweeted to Kanter, “When are you gonna drop “Tweezer” licks in a Bieber show?” Within a minute, YEMBlog responded that Kanter had already posted on Phantasy Tour that “Tweezer” was coming next! My mental response was a fusion of “WHAAAT?!?” and “That’s fuckin’ awesome!” Within minutes, a multi-party conversation started with people making all sorts of Phish/Bieber jokes, primarily focused on the absurd possibility of a Bieber-focused gag on New Year’s Eve. I suggested that Tom Marshall would be announced as Bieber as he descended from the rafters of MSG at midnight with the goth-angel outfit that Beiber has worn for the same stunt to kick off each and every show. Marshall responded, suggesting he would be introduced wearing an overcoat onstage only to have Bieber shed the costume and appear on stilts to sit in with Phish as the clock struck twelve! Everyone was in on the humor! But then people started worrying about Phish embracing the Biebs too much. “Really?” I thought. Fans were actually concerned that Bieber’s fans—and more particularly his music—would cross over to Phish. Now this seemed a bit absurd. Perhaps the guys work a Bieber allusion into a New Year’s joke or tease a pop song in jest, but theories hypothesizing the potential of Justin singing with Phish felt a bit too ridiculous for me. But, hey, he’d probably pull it off far better than Kid Rock did! The bottom line is “Who Cares?!” But for those sweating it out, the Canadian heartthrob is off for New Year’s Eve!

Regardless if the pop star ever steps foot Phish’s stage, I really don’t see an influx of fourteen year old girls and their parents infiltrating the Phish scene. Nor do I see Bieb’d out setlists as even a remote possibility. But to see fans began to sour over the potential was enough for another personal chuckle. Would some Bieberheads get turned on to Phish? Probably. Is that a bad thing? Hell no! But regardless of fan crossover, the real humor here is that Phish music that will continue to be woven into Bieber’s upcoming concerts! While the band is off tour, the question every morning will now be,” What songs did Kanter dropped on the domes of 20,000 unknowing teens last night?” And we will all sit back and laugh. Shit, if you were a Phish fan playing guitar for Justin Beiber, wouldn’t you do the same thing? I know I would.

8.15.12 Long Beach (John Florek)


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 8.17.97 I, Limestone, ME

Something groovilicious for any potential Bieberites stopping by.

[audio:] Tags: ,

403 Responses to “Step Into the Bieber”

  1. sumodie Says:

    Spun that UIC 94 Simple today on the lp app -whole show avail under the Archive tab

    Aching to dig back into 93-95 phish

    I’m an exercise addict, what a great high. Esp when combined with phish. Endorphin rush FTW

    Plus exercise makes everything else in life taste better

  2. Chonz Says:

    xpun, i consolidated my debt starting about 7 years ago. I had accrued about $45K and was starting to feel like I could do nothing but pay minimums on my balances (that initial credit card advance to go see Phish at Red Rocks in 95 kept gaining interest).

    I got in a program, where they consolidated my debt. I had it all paid off in 5 years, and in the process learned the value of living within my means. When I got that notice infomring me that I was indebted to no one, it was one of the greatest feelings of my life.

  3. marcoesq Says:

    word, I’ll come see what’s up Stoney

  4. snow Says:

    I’m out peeps.
    Stay salty.

  5. Chonz Says:

    OK, keeping fingers crossed that the girlfriend’s closing actually goes through today…it’s incredible how much dicking around they do with this process. Even today it’s still touch and go.

    Heading out to the title office now hoping for some good news. I’m ready to start moving.

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    whole generation of kids who will never know what it’s like to be debt free…


  7. SillyWilly Says:


    what kinda shoulder surgery?

    i’ve had surgeries on both of mine.

  8. sumodie Says:

    Love the Biebs NYE prank idea, but it’s gotta be done right:

    Lope G swoops down as the winged Bieber just before midnite. Sings a lil bieber tune, then starts leading the nye countdown

    Just before nye, Mike appears and rings his footbell, causing the Biebs to explode

    Phish comes out and lays into the nastiest 30 min Mike’s Song we’ve heard since ’95

  9. poop goblin Says:

    but we do have a whole generation of young philosophers, history and english majors SW that should be OK.

    cuz they got a degree!!

    how cool is that?

  10. poop goblin Says:

    I have an English degree from DePaul and I barely speak English


    8 yrs I’d love to get back. money returned would be hip too.

  11. Robear Says:

    Spit out loud at poo G!

    A scoping SW. Minor tear I guess.

  12. dusty Says:

    good luck Chonz. I actually have a house I owe being foreclosed on today. I’m amazed how cyclical the world is in general. I need to puff but bane and chainsaws don’t mix.

  13. sumodie Says:

    Any way to improve the responsiveness of my smartphone when typing here

    On my phone, the cursor is so hard to accurately move around

    Only site where i have this much trouble

  14. MiA Says:

    “Will need to master the one hand grind for a bit.”

    Is that like Page clobbering his organ?

  15. sumodie Says:

    It’s un American to be skinny, debt free, and speak good english

  16. ren Says:

    There isn’t much that I learned in college that I couldn’t have learned with some good books and some serious dedication.

  17. MiA Says:

    I learned to deal with an amazing bureaucracy of clowns that represent student loans, counselors and arrogant tenured professors.

    I learned that 95% of college isn’t intelligence, it’s tenacity.

  18. Phlorida Phan Says:

    Chainsaws and bane mix nicely! Better focused cuts

  19. MiA Says:

    Went to our local DMV to get my license renewed.

    3+ hour wait. Fuck that.

  20. MiA Says:

    Stihl FTW!

  21. bouncin fan Says:

    Nice sumo

    I’m skinny and never hold debt

    My English is more like Wooklish. Qualifies me as Merican.

  22. joe Says:

    thanks for reminding me to do that MIA. I have an expired license and couldn’t renew it due to an old ticket from 1992, no lie. I’ve renewed my license many times since then and now all of a sudden this ticket is blocking my renewal. some bumfuck town just got online I guess. (out in Sumo’s part of the world)

  23. ren Says:

    I learned that 95% of college isn’t intelligence, it’s tenacity.

    ^and establishing the right connections to milk for all they’re worth later in life. I made the mistake of going to art school.

  24. MiA Says:

    Sadly Bouncing, the suckers are the savers. And I’m a saver.

    That $200K in student loans will be seem like a steal when inflation hits.

    I should plan to owe $9M to some banker when I die. That’s the ‘Merican way.

  25. MiA Says:

    PSA: µTorrent remote is kick ass.

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