Thinking Back to Coventry

Coventry (Boston Globe)

Coventry (Boston Globe)

Coventry. The mere mention of the word makes any Phish fan cringe. But here we are, ten years later, on the heels of Phish’s sixth summer tour since their return and on the brink of their fourth fall tour in six years. One can say we’ve come a long way from the mud ridden disaster that was Coventry in 2004. Sometimes the universe just provides the exact combination of elements to match a particular mood, and between the traffic debocle, the mud-soaked concert field, and fans being turned away from the site in cars while others hiked in, everything about this weekend was an absolute fucking trainwreck. And then we had the band. In what was supposed to be their swan song, the came out in arguably the worst form of their career—in every way. Despite a few highlights over two days, the music, overall, matched the vibe of the festival as well—an utter fucking mess. Calling Coventry a travesty would be the understatement of the century. It was really that bad. If you need any memory of just how bad it got, watch some footage of the final night. Viewer discretion is advised. There wasn’t much takeaway from that weekend in Vermont, other than Phish was gone, and this time it was for good.

And somehow, I was ok with it all. I was devastated when Trey announced that they were done, but at Coventry, everything was already a foregone conclusion for me and I wasn’t all that traumatized by the events. I just knew things couldn’t be right with the band, because they just played their farewell festival without dropping “Tweezer.” And that’s not a joke, but a funny truth. There was no stepping into anything that weekend except mud, and lots of it. I remember walking back to our RV after the final show and just seeing abandoned shoes stuck in the mud, and somehow it felt like an apt analogy for the entire weekend. You had to just let go to enjoy yourself at all, even if it meant leaving your shoes behind. Phish was done and this was one last hurrah. But the irony was that there was very little joy at Coventry, and it was hardly a hurrah.

Coventry (

Coventry (

When they say the crowd went the way of the band in this era, its no joke. I didn’t have to look further than my own RV and my closest tour friends to see the effect that oxycontin and other hard drugs had taken on our scene. I was always someone who kept it lighthearted, I got spun and smoked weed all night, but I never saw the point in the “post-show” drugs. At some point, things shifted for some of my friends, as I’m sure they did for the band, and the entire tour experience became intertwined with hard drug use that went far beyond any recreational habit. Band members, my friends and way to many people in our community were in the grips of the same drug that had its grips on the nation, the semi-synthetic opiate named oxycontin that had become easily attainable in America during this time. It is a drug that chips away at one’s character and zest for life as quickly as it does their health, and in retrospect, it’s amazing Phish cranked out the music they did that summer. Leg one was solid the whole way through, and they had even played a fairly strong two-night stand at Great Woods just before Coventry. Through all the substances and internal issues, the band could still jam. Their composed playing had gone the way of the wind, but those guys could jam up until the end. Just about.

Many people say that they knew Phish would be back. I wasn’t one of those people. I took it at face value. Phish was done. I had to in order to put it all behind me and move on. After a little bit, it almost became easier to live a normal life without Phish, because I didn’t want to leave town every couple months for weeks on end. I didn’t have to make excuses to families, employers, schools and beyond in order to sneak off onto the astral plane with Phish. But throughout the band’s five year absence, I never found something that spoke to me as personally as Phish had, thus when I heard they were coming back, this entire blog began as a place to simply process my thoughts. I guess those people were right, because Phish came back, and they came back in a big way. Though it took a couple years to shake off the rust, Phish had climbed back to prominence, adding chapters upon chapters to their legacy that few dreamed possible. Thinking back to Coventry now is like remembering a bad dream from long ago. I can still relate to the emotions of the weekend, but they don’t sting any more because we are six years into a new era. Now we can all legitimately say, imagine what our lives would be if Phish hadn’t come back? And that, my friends, is pretty damn sweet.

Coventry (

Coventry (

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1,437 Responses to “Thinking Back to Coventry”

  1. phishm Says:

    If anyone is feeling down give this a listen, stat. It is great. Days Between. Love it.

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Have given Morning Phase another spin or two and have come around on it a little bit..

    It’s Sea Change’s little brother… Love Sea Change.

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    Not a Morning Phase fan myself. Only a song or two I dig. Beck still cool though.

  4. tela's_muff Says:

    totally a grower Palmer. took me several spins to get into it, but i like it. it’s the poor man’s Sea Change (an album i consider to be great).

    @JG – hang in there. good luck to you. a dear friend of mine had been battling alcoholism for the past 20 years, finally hit bottom, and put himself in rehab for two months. he’s never looked or sounded, or behaved better. he saved his life.

  5. Darth Vaper Says:

    If you are feeling down, there is this too

    Too Many Dicks (On the Dance Floor)

    Going to the party
    Sippin’ a Bacardi
    Wanna meet a hottie
    But there’s Adam, Steve and Marty
    There’s Billy, Todd and Tommy
    They’re on leave from the army
    The only boobs I’ll see tonight will be made of origami

    Tell the fellas make it understood
    It ain’t no good if there’s too much wood
    Make sure you know before you go
    The dance floor bro-ho ratio
    5 to 1, it’s a “brodeo”
    Tell Steve and Mark its time to go
    Wait outside all night to find
    Twenty dudes in a conga line

    Too many dicks on the dance floor, easy to fix
    Too many dicks on the dance floor, spread out the dicks

    Too many dudes with too many dicks
    Too close to my shit, too hard to meet chicks
    I need better odds, more broads less rods
    I came to do battle, skedaddle with the cattle prods

    Too many men, too many boys
    Too many misters not enough sisters
    Too much time on too many hands
    Not enough ladies, too many mans

  6. butter Says:

    Article on GD shows being medicine from Relix written by a Psychiatrist

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Thanks phlo. Don’t know if I’ve got anything figured out yet but at least I’m starting to be honest & develop a plan which is sure as shit more than I’ve done up to this point 😉

    That’s reassuring smuff. & thank you for your encouragement. Feeling much better than I was a few days ago that’s for sure. It’s cliche but the truth will set you free.

  8. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Word to that butter! Foresee myself spinning a bunch of Dead in the coming months.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    So was just playing a record and when the needle came to the end of the side it jumped through the wax onto the label. I got it pretty quickly but did anything get fucked up? I tend to be worrisome and OCD about this shit.

  10. tela's_muff Says:

    not really Miner. prob took a little life out of it, but it happens. if you grabbed it quick, it shouldn’t be catastrophic.

  11. Darth Vaper Says:

    Yeah, that’s happened to me many times (needle skips to label). Needles are pretty hard. Should be fine.

    Clean off the needle. Let her rip.

  12. butter Says:

    Just saw TBa linked article earlier

  13. little umbrellas Says:

    Move on Up!

    -just found we got this place we’ve been looking at. Hellz ys. Living just got a little better. ..And she’s freaking out. Was on the phone with her when she got the message. Was like hearing someone win the lottery over the radio. James brown screamage.

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    @Miner, what record? Spinning tons of music over here. I’ll bump it.

  15. CPTMURIKA Says:

    “Ewe’ve Got a PHriend in Pennsylvania” 😉

    *I will fall to my knees and weep like a little child when they encore w/ “All of These Dreams” to close down DICK’s…since ya asked*

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Billy the K
    Aron Manger
    With Taj Mahal, Col. Bruce, EOTO, Keller, Tom Hamilton, and Papa Mali

    Say what you want, but stylistically that is definitely the most unique post-dead lineup I’ve seen an original member put his name to. Another example of the type of quality collaborations Lock’n is producing.

    some nice quotes from Billy in this RS piece.

    Best to you, Jerome.

    And best to you and your family, snow.

  17. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Thanks T3.

    What pg is snow post on? Heart goes out to your dad you & yalls family.

  18. George w. Kush Says:

    JG my reasonable wants for Dicks are Dinner/Movie, a silky deep Reba, a Peaches, and a ha ha ha (less reasonable)

    My unreasonable wants are an All Timer Ghost (the forgotten beast of deep space exploration), Spocks, Forbins>Mock

    Also, I want a standout Wingsuit. I love that tune.

    ::::ducks tomatoes::::
    ::::runs from clown with stage hook::::

  19. George w. Kush Says:

    Usually those diamond tip needles can handle a little bumpage long as the stem isn’t bent you should be good

  20. tela's_muff Says:

    i’m still chasin’ my Dog Log, along with Alumni Blues and Spocks Brain, and of course, Spread It Round. if i get a Dog Log, look out. i’ll poop right then and there.

  21. phlorida phan Says:

    ^ lmao with that zinger.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Spock’s would be dope… I’ve caught a couple of them.. Mann ’95 and Camden ’03 off top of my head… never ever seen a Tela though… Dirty bitch eludes me…

  23. phishm Says:

    I hope they play Fuego. And it’s only 10 minutes long.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Really enjoyed the Spock’s that Gordo’s band dropped this past winter also…

  25. Darth Vaper Says:

    I caught both Spread it Rounds as well as both Spices. And 8 of the 19 Scents and Subtle sounds.

    Never have seen/heard a Highway to Hell.

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