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. Nich Says:

    Kid can play a bunch of instruments.

    I’ve never understood, why in this perpetual landscape of talentless sexbots selling millions of records over the past 30 years or so, how did Bieber end up being the de facto whipping boy of right now?

    I’ve got him pegged as the next Justin timber lake. And if you don’t know how great futuresexlovesounds is, you should.

    Somebody dose this man! With deems!

  2. PigSong Says:

    nice ride.

    Bad Piggies, new take on angry birds, makes work fly by.

  3. joe Says:

    just put in my pre-order for 2 tickets, 4 nights. kind of hoping I don’t get em all. a little sting to the wallet there. Not even sure which ones I’ll be able to hit. Big job interview next week that would take me out of this hellish schedule and put me back with the Monday-Friday daytime, holidays off having crowd. Fingers crossed. It’d be a job that I would have been over qualified for back before I blew up my life, now I’ll feel lucky to get it.

  4. MiA Says:

    Good luck joe on both accounts.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    bad lip reading of the first debate

  6. xpun Says:

    I can’t say I know enough of timberlakes music to have a real opinion but my stereotypes say I don’t like it

    I like his movies. If you’ve never seen alpha dog watch it tonight. He is also hilarious on snl.

    Beibs will be fine. Look at the wahlbergs, they made out kind of okay all things considered.

    “hey goat. How’s your mutha?”

  7. joe Says:

    thanks. I did the back to school for worthless degrees on minimal debt. wish I did more debt and less of my own 401k dough. seemed like a good Idea at the time.

  8. xpun Says:

    That was the trippiest lip reading yet. Way better than the real thing.

  9. Calpain Says:

    what’s up evening BieBers?

    this VW talk motivated me to spin the 7.24.1998 Wolfman’s. groovy, textured and raucous towards the end.

    sampled the CCCC Halley’s this weekend. 3 segments of distinct jamming. happy to add that to my re-play list. thanks for kicking that down.

    also, for all you stoner f*cks out there–food is also a drug:

  10. snow Says:

    What up.

    Nice Work MiA. That looks fun to drive indeed. Kind of scary, but fun.

    Biebers is next in line for the psychedelic crown. I’ve been trying to prepare y’all for a year now. Oh well.

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    today’s study playlist is decidedly bieber free:

    Lakewood Tweezer
    Paradiso Stash
    Portland Gin
    AV 96 Reba
    Pyramid 2001
    Quad C Halley’s
    Star Lake Jim
    Cincy Split

    not getting through the whole thing, but it’s a beaut just to look at isn’t it?

  12. joe Says:

    I could envision a pop band who doesn’t play their own instruments, ala the Monkees, opening for Beiber and playing Pigtail off Trey’s new album. It is kind of catchy though.

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    I was just looking through my hard drive and I found the first 66 Pressure Sounds releases.

    how did I forget these!?

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    here’s the link to that Purple Dragon Studios recording we were discussing in the TT earlier today


    *Sun Ra cover

    gonna spin it to jog my memory, but my recollection is that from maze on it is pretty hot for a studio set

  15. snow Says:

    @Robear – nice link.

    1) Annoying liberal sensationalism. I’m not sure what that dude thinks is secret about the debate process but I have known that they negotiated the debates since Ross Perot. The terms are kind of secret. Kind of known.
    He has a good story. No need to sensationalize it with the secret BS. That just makes it easy to dismiss. Also, yeah, it’s sponsored by Budweiser. The candidates set the terms. I doubt this really makes a difference.
    (This is why I listen to Democracy Now anymore. Everything is so melodramatic.)

    2) It’s a shame. There really should be a more open debate. I understand why they want to limit it to a certain extent. You don’t want anybody who says they are running to be in the debate. I don’t know what the answer is…

    3) It’s another symptom, not the disease. Our two party system is broken. This is another symptom and not the cause. Let’s say they invited two more party’s – libertarians and greens. Does anybody think that would make much of a difference? I don’t. It would make a difference if both of those partys were polling at the needed 15% and they were putting up candidates at all levels of government.

    4)Governance needs to be more than electing people. The real problem is that we have so little discussion of issues. The presidential candidates discussing issues more would help but I doubt it would have much effect.

    5) League of Women Voters – I really like their intent. Very similar to what I have in mind. Either way, they dropped the ball on this one but not sure they could overcome the momentum.

    6) I was joking about Biebs.

  16. snow Says:


    Oh wait, that was my post.

    Pretty Good BLR. It’s kind of losing it’s novelty. Trick the Bridesmaid is still the gold standard.

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    The first pressure sounds release, Santic and Friends – An Even Harder Shade of Black

    is awesome

  18. littleumbrellas Says:


  19. Oldskool Says:

    We haven’t heard from Kaya since he started Vegas Wolfman’s…hopefully he is alright

  20. mr.palmer Says:

    knee deep in the cabbage I presume, that Kaya character.

  21. mr.palmer Says:

    I kinda don’t mind the night shift, the only problem is the day shift right before it…..grrr….

  22. Lycanthropist Says:


  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    forgot how much I like this take on carefree.
    the rest of purple dragon is pretty much just there, but that is a keeper.
    throw that jam in the middle of a second set vehicle nowadays and heads would explode. (I know, I know…)

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    This is fucking mental. Gangnam Style motherfucking mania. That place is blowing the fuck up and is huge.

  25. MiA Says:

    “not getting through the whole thing, but it’s a beaut just to look at isn’t it?”

    I kinda got a chubby looking at it. That’s like the Ferrari 430 of set lists.

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