Dear NooBs,

First and foremost, Welcome!  You are about to arrive at the greatest place on Earth; Phish.  Yes, I speak of it as a place because in many ways it is.  In the most literal sense, you must go to the show, so it is a concrete location.  But more figuratively, Phish is a place inside of you.  Phish ultimately has nothing to do with the spectacle and madness of “tour,” and everything to do with what happens inside of you.  Sure, everything else is a blast, but it wouldn’t exist without that inner connection.

When the lights go out, you can’t see all your friends- all you have is you and the music.  And this is the part that you have no idea about.  You may have listened to every bootleg from ’95 on or ’97 on, and you may know every jam like the back of your hand, but in the end, that has nothing to do with it- those are the fun tangentials.  Listening to the tapes afterwards, talking about the shows, compiling stats, post-show parties; these are the external frills.  Of course they are fun, but they also wouldn’t exist without that connection.

One the music starts, nobody will look at you.  There is no such thing as cool or uncool.  Image is nothing; soul is everything.  Regardless of if you stack hemp necklaces five deep or wear an Izod shirt to the show, it doesn’t matter.  Wear what you love- nothing else matters.  You don’t need to wear patchwork and grow pseudo-dreads to be a fan; all you truly need is you!  Once the lights go out, that is all that is present- yourself and the Phish, and this is when the magic begins.  These frozen moments will transform you like you never knew possible. You will discover an intimacy that is impossible to achieve via headphones, and with nothing but a blank canvas and Phish, your journey will begin.  There are few thing as beautiful in the world; this is what you will learn.

Phish is going to be different than they were on those old tapes and CDs, so I wouldn’t come with a list of your top 15 songs you’re dying to hear.  Odds are you’ll be disappointed.  Be thankful for those tapes- they brought you here, but you needn’t try to recreate them.  This holds true for experiences as well.  Don’t try to recreate Phish experiences you’ve read about online or have been told about over the years- this is your time!  Forget what you’ve heard and discover your own adventures with yourself, the band, and whatever music they churn out.  There is no doubt it will be special.  There is no reason to fret about being too young for the ’90s, because you’re here now, and that’s all that matters.  Now is the time.

(J. Huntsman)

So don’t bother coming armed with glowsticks, tortillas, marshmallows and whatever else you’ve heard people throw at Phish shows; don’t worry if your hair is clean and you like to shower daily; don’t worry about figuring out how to look cool, or what to wear.  Just bring comfortable sneakers.  Because once your eyes close, the only thing that can stand in the way of your night-long bliss can be uncomfortable shoes.  I don’t jest.  I have had trial runs for tour kicks- don’t ask.  Surely there will be other variables, but whatever you do, take care of your shoes.

Lastly, if I can leave you with any words of wisdom, they would be, “Dance your heart out!”  You are about to discover that you can dance better than you ever thought you could- well, most of you.  Rage like there is no tomorrow and without a care in the world.  Regardless of what is going on in your life, for those sacred three hours each night, you can’t affect that stuff and nothing else matters.  When the song ends, everything will still be the same- relatively, of course.  Don’t get too preoccupied with where you are in the arena or amphitheatre, just find a place that’s loud and where you have some room to move.  Everything else will take care of itself.

Oh- and if you get separated from your friends at setbreak or during the show, don’t freak out- they didn’t go far, you are all there for the same reason.  The best solution is to relax and continue raging.  Once the lights come on, they will magically appear.  And in the end, this isn’t about your friends.

You are about to uncover a mystical world that you never knew existed, and guess what- you DESERVE to be there!  Enjoy this time; it will never come again!




Phish Thoughts is kicking around the idea of offering “No Spoilers”
versions of the Hampton shows for download as soon as possible after
they’re available.  Since there are so many fans unable to head to Hampton, this would be the next best thing to being there.  You would experience the show in tape delay, but also in mystery, without knowing what magical journeys Phish decided to bust out.

These downloads would be hosted on a separate page, as you would need to avoid Phish Thoughts (and other electronic devices, for that matter) until the show was ready.  These would be decent quality MP3 versions, with identifying information scrubbed clean (i.e. generic file names, and no tag information).  We’re even toying with the idea of having two files for download: Set 1 and Set 2+E, so you wouldn’t even know how many tunes they played in each set. (Will the 4-song 2nd set return in 2009?  you won’t know until you listen to the whole damn thing!)

Is this obsessive-compulsive and geeky behavior taken to a whole new level?  Sure, but we think there are a few fans that fall into those categories.

The caveat is that these downloads wouldn’t be available until approximately 12 – 24 hours after the show, so you would have to possess ultimate patience and not find out what was played. (Exactly how long depends on the tapers.  If you are a taper and would like to collaborate on this crazy project, please let us know!)

Email us at and let us know your thoughts- i.e. should we do this?



8.3.98 Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN < LINK

This is the second show of Phish’s outstanding two-night stand in the cornfields during Summer ’98.  Highlights abounded from this night at one of Phish’s Midwestern homes.  Opening with Smashing Pumpkin’s “Rhinoceros,” out of nowhere, the band started the show with some fun and excitement.  But the second song “Halley’s Comet,” kicked it into high gear with a devastating jam. The second set is anchored by one of the defining versions of “Gumbo” of all time, and a classic Deer Creek “Antelope” for an encore.

I: Rhinoceros*, Halley’s Comet > I Didn’t Know, Ride Captain Ride**, Cars Trucks Buses, The Moma Dance, Strange Design, Character Zero

II: Gumbo, Axilla, Limb by Limb, Meat, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head U, Tube, The Wedge

E: When the Circus Comes > Run Like an Antelope

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