Our National Pastimes

4198_1152308280374_1007653377_30464754_3849393_n-21We now sit on the brink of Summer Tour, with just over three days left until we congregate in Boston, and interestingly enough, this will be the second consecutive summer tour that is starting at a baseball stadium.  Phish has been called up from Keyspan to Fenway this year, due to their super agent, Coran Capshaw, and they are primed to make their major league debut.  Forging two subcultures of America- Phish and baseball – the Fenway opener may be more appropriate than meets the eye.  While Phish’s psychedelic scene and baseball’s mainstream crowd may seem on different ends of the spectrum, the two cultures are far more similar than they appear.

fenway_park_home_plate_and_green_monsterA striking connection between the Phish fans and baseball fans are their love of statistics.  What songs were played; how long since the last version; how long was the jam; how many shows have you been to; what songs have you seen and how many times?  The list of numbers goes on and on, not so different than the national pastime’s fanatic following of home runs, RBIs, ERA, batting average, on-base percentage, strikeouts,WHIP, and what not.  Yet it’s not just how these numbers accumulate, but how each group obsesses over them like fiends.  Fantasy baseball leagues thrive on people’s desire to follow the numbers over the internet, and, ironically, this was the same original premise of Phantasy Tour.  In each scene, fans will both glorify or criticize their heroes, depending on their performance on a given day, and they’ll make damn sure their voices are heard by someone.  Grateful Dead aficionado, David Gans, once made a coherent analogy “Why Grateful Dead Shows Are Like Baseball Games,” and I’ve always thought the comparison to be spot on.

Phish @ Keyspan Park - 2004 (MSJ)

Phish @ Keyspan Park - 2004 (MSJ)

Both cultures come from rich traditions whose participants value and honor their past.  The Boys of Summer, speaking of either Phish or baseball players, come from a lineage who forged a path for them to follow.  Whether referencing former heroes of the diamond or the stage, the best became cultural icons of their era.  Jerry Garcia, Joe DiMaggio, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Mays, John Lennon, Jackie Robinson, Miles Davis, Babe Ruth- these people were larger than life, transcending their sport or art and defining a place in time.  With a certain charisma and flair for the dramatic, sectors of society gravitated around these symbolic figures who pushed their art forward.

phishfenwayThe season of summer is a centerpiece for both Phish and baseball.  Tours and games, reassuring fixtures of every year’s middle season, are always there to provide us with that fountain of youth; that magic reminding us of how life used to be.  A double-header in the sun or a psychedelic adventure under the stars- both are spiritual endeavors that remind us of an innocent place inside of us; that kid who just wants to have fun all day.  And so we go- to shows and to games- to feel that idyllic innocence and to discover what will happen, again and again, for a lifetime.

Stage at Fenway

Stage at Fenway

Both Phish and baseball are ways of life with their own rites, ceremonies, and innate, underlying credos.  Steeped in history, fans of each like to sit around and talk shop all night, while time stands still.  Debates, arguments, and smack talk are the fabric of both conversations; but in the end it is the process that is remembered rather than the results.  Eternal bonds that could never be broken are formed within each culture-friendships- companions on this ride.

And the funny thing with both Phish and baseball is that some just don’t get it.  What’s the big deal?  Why the obsession?   If people aren’t into them, they couldn’t care less, and sometimes, therein lies the beauty.  Often thought of as mere concerts and games- nothing but recreation- the magic in both Phish and baseball lies within the hearts of those who believe in their ethos.

These timeless entities will converge in only three days, when we migrate to Fenway to see Phish battle The Green Monster in a showdown that is guaranteed to be an instant classic!



6.22.95 Finger Lakes PAC, Canandaigua, NY < TORRRENT LINK


Summer Tour '95

Often referred to as simply the “Fleezer” show, this second set is downright nasty.  In a summer of experimental jams, this “Tweezer” ranks right up there.  Dominating the entire second set aside from an opening “Theme,”  this “Tweezer” winds through many stages of improv, including a section of  The Who’s “My Generation.”  A true beast in every sense of the word, this one holds a special place in Summer ‘956 history.

I: Sample in a Jar, Scent of a Mule, Ha Ha Ha, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, It’s Ice, Strange Design, Maze, Cavern, Sweet Adeline

II: Theme From the Bottom > Tweezer > My Generation* >Tweezer > Tweezer Reprise

E: Acoustic Army, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

*The Who- first time played

Source: DAUD/OTS Schoeps CMC5/mk4 > Aerco > Casio DA-R100 @ 48k

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240 Responses to “Our National Pastimes”

  1. WhosOnFirst Says:

    sorry if this is a dup post, first one didn’t seem to go…

    I need to be discreet this weekend (long story, don’t ask), but still want to get down. I’ve never eaten raw herb before, and wondering what folks experience is. I’ve read conflicting results, and wanted to get first hand reports

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    raw doesn’t usually do a lot, for the amount you need to ingest – and can be quite a laxative I believe … careful! Best way is to use butter or oil and make cookies / gooballs / brownies .. these should all be available in the lot so that may be your best bet!

  3. RobAins Says:

    Discreet, meaning you’ve got a Drug test coming up? Eating herb won’t help you there, if that’s what you mean. I wouldn’t waste your stash. You’ll find PLENTY of ganja food in the lot…

  4. Chalkdustin Says:

    Mmm gooooooballs. Speaking of balls, I’m off to a good ol’ Wisconsin beer and cheese tasting. Catch you cats later!

  5. WhosOnFirst Says:

    it’s fenway, i don’t anticipate a lot.
    discreet means…. i can’t be getting f’ed in the open. i can be f’ed, but just need to do it discreetly

  6. Jack O Roses Says:

    Eat ganja food, then WhosOnFirst. But, know that a lot of times it’ll fuck you up more. That’s how it affects me, anyway.

  7. cottle Says:

    ^what they said.
    Raw ganja bad. Ganja butter good.
    Careful, you’ll need a nap by second set.

  8. Selector J Says:

    c0wfunk: My wife’s an ex-PB> JG, too. I bet we hung out once or twice at one of those old PB meet ups.

  9. McGrupp Says:

    ….take a cap instead. or 2 or 3, and a purple stem too…

    …you’ll have a much more enjoyable time, trust us…

  10. old dude Says:

    hello? did everybody go to Wooster?

  11. Camman Says:

    @robains, this is the real caamman. My grammer has only gotten better because my madre has been hounding me about it. Anyways, your right. Cept it shouldn’t be called a donation, but a “graduation present”. 😉 I’m gonna be jonesen for phenway of Sunday. Damn any can’t my uncle still live in bastan.

    If anyone else is intresting in getting me to the fox and or Knoxville email me @ camjackson591@gmail.com

  12. Jerrydamule Says:


  13. Eric Says:

    @ old dude:

    Yes, I was in Woosta tonight (I live not far from Tammany and the Centrum). It was sweet hearing the band practicing thru the walls of the Centrum, but there was no surprise show at Tammany. All in all it was a great night though -a pregame warm up!

  14. sumodie Says:

    @ WhosOnFirst

    I find goo balls way too intense and not in a good way -very heavy body load in my experience followed by tiredness. Have a good show.

  15. bryant Says:

    This is the first time i’ve ever thought you were way off … it was a nice try though … baseball need not be compared and doesn’t do justice to even draw the two together … sure 2 teams individuals, specific skill sets all doing specific jobs, yeah … its the setting here that is the star … that baseball is played in a distinct place that holds historical value … that can hold 45,000+ people also …. much like many other new and different places Phish has desired to play …air force bases, the glades … 200 people at the Melkeweg in the Dam … the parking lot in Bloomington, IN with banjo’s and the not … a botanical garden, etc, etc …

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