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Archive for July 2nd, 2010

Trey Anastasio ~ Hartford, CT

Trey Anastasio ~ Hartford, CT

PHISH 2010 TOUR

Trey Anastasio ~ Guitar

Jon Fishman ~ Drums

Mike Gordon ~ Bass

Page McConnell ~ Organ

What can I possibly say?  And how do I say it? Many times, music is a feeling to us.; something that can’t be expressed in words.  I try on so many levels, but still feel as though many times I fail in my own wanting to express these massive musical adventures.  And THIS was MASSIVE on day one.  But by day four…This was EPIC.

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish is a band that has been worshiped and written about by the cult masses for years.  A band whose name many times doesn’t ring a bell to your average passer-by yet has a cult following in the tens of thousands.  A band who has outsold the likes of Madonna, Elton John and Jay-Z in ticket sales numerous years over.  A band whose entire studio album collection I own, to include hundreds of live shows spanning almost two decades.  However, until this past weekend, I HAD NEVER SEEN THEM LIVE!  Being as dedicated to live music and wonderful musicians as I am; being that this is considered THE “IT” GROUP to follow in the Jamband community…having never been, well, this fact was considered to be straight up blasphemy amongst my fellow music tribe.

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish @ Hartford, CT

I will flat out tell you that I boycotted Phish for many years.  I have always been and will always be a Deadhead first and foremost.  Where as Phish‘s touring phenomenon is my generations equivalent to the Grateful Dead tours, Trey Anastasio IS NOT Jerry Garcia and thus, nothing would fill the void.  Also, and more importantly, I boycotted Phish for the reason that everyone DID consider them the “IT” group.  Because I saw how people fell under the SPELL of Phish, swearing they were the end all/be all of the Jamband world.  And so I didn’t go to their shows.  Instead, I choose to apply my time and money to the hundreds of other bands being left in Phish‘s dust.

Comcast Theater @ Hartford, CT (06/22/10)

Righteous! Much Love Jay!

Righteous! Much Love Jay!

So, I have this buddy, we shall call him Jay.  He is a total Phish head, by way of the Grateful Dead.  He spends thousands of dollars on Phish tickets every year for his friends and for himself.  Enough for every venue, every show, for whoever might need them, and always great seats.  He does this with the greatest intentions of sharing his tickets, stubbing his crew down and working it so that all his friends can be together for the show, grooving together as he bops all over the venue.   He offered to treat me to my first Phish show, swearing to me that I would continue on to as many shows as I could after the taste I got in Hartford.  This was his world, a world that I was ready to allow myself  to enter and already found slightly intoxicating just by the movement that occurs when it’s PHISH TOUR time and those ticket lotteries occur.  And it was about to be introduced to me in a pretty sick way.

They each have thier own tour bus. No Biggie.

They each have their own tour bus. No Biggie.

We climbed into the car around 2:30pm Friday afternoon and arrived at the Comcast Theater in Hartford, CT around 5:30pm.  This is where the beauty of my Phish experience truly begins.  As we are driving through the toll booths, Jen asks the gentlemen if he is going to the show.  “Phish?” he says. Jay leans over and tells him to jump in the car with us and that we had a ticket it for him if he just jumped in.  I could read the pain on his face.  And with that, Jen asks how much.  Without missing a beat, the kid goes, “No charge.” “Excuse me?/What/Huh?,” we all say.  “You’re good,” he says and we pull away in mid thank yous.  We were MIRACLED at the toll booth.  And it just got better and better.

The car fit nicely!

The car fit nicely!

Stompin grounds for the evening

Stompin grounds for the evening

With Jay’s All Access laminate, we were able to drive through the masses, past VIP parking and parked it right backstage next to the tour buses.  I knew immediately that with this laminate, things were going to get a little rowdy.   We chatted up the guard and walked right into the venue through its side you see above.  None of us ever being asked to produce our tickets.  It was lovely.  I snapped pictures and we wandered around the venue checking out the layout, running into other friends along the way.  We checked out our seats (Section 200, Row U, Seat 241).  I was so excited.  I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to rage front row like I normally did but I knew I would be able to see Trey.  See his smiling face and his bouncing, vibing, cute, happy self all over the stage and that made me so happy.  After combing around the lawn and seeing how far the stage looked from there, I was so very grateful for Jay.  We ran into our teenage posse who had been taking pictures on the stage and then we then took off for the lot parties.

The RAGE Stage! Comcast Theater, Hardtford, CT

The RAGE Stage! Comcast Theater, Hardtford, CT

Checkin out the lawn...

Checkin out the lawn...cant see stage! Yuck!

As we stumbled upon the parking lots, the scene appeared no different then a musical festival mixed with a Jimmy Buffet concert, full of tailgaters and hippies as far as the eyes could see.  Once there, we decided to hit The Shakedown, a rogue section of the Jamband scene that pops up in places surrounding shows/music festivals where folks vend their wares.  Definitely a wook-filled vibe in spots but just like all things in life, it was easy to look past the grimy and the dirty to see the beauty in the environment I was walking through.  We met some friends at the end of the Shakedown and made plans to meet up inside.

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Page McConnell @ Hartford, CT

Page McConnell @ Hartford, CT

The show was slated to start at 8:00pm and so we walked back to find our seats and get the party started.  At this point, I still hadn’t used my ticket.  Jay takes me by the hand and we walk right into the venue, no questions asked.  My ticket was never taken out of my pocket.  For this venue, we held down five seats in Section 200, a few rows back from the front, towards middle left aisle.  I was in the isle as PHISH walked on stage.  A security guard leans over to a guy near me and says, “Teach her the rules right now.” Apparently, I had to stay within a certain line so as to be out in the isle…fire hazards and what not.  Duh! And that rule was so broken so fast but not by me because  within SECONDS of the music starting, Jay once again grabbed my hand and led me to the front row, left side…PAGE side.  There it was, I was up front for FEE!  And there I stood/danced/smiled all night.

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Phish @ Hartford, CT

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

A perfect view of the band.  To be standing in the front row at my very first Phish concert was a little overwhelming.  I was not expecting anything so great.  I figured I would be out in the lawn like most other big shows I attend or in the seats stuck behind some big dudes.  I had been assured of our wonderful seating prior to the show but being 5 foot nothing, I am always weary as no one truly knows how little I can see.  But I knew going into this trip that things would be above average.  It’s just the way things work out.  And I was blissfully happy because the energy in that place was hitting me like a freight train.  If you think I was happy, magnify it by 1 million and stick that energy into all the people around me who KNEW what they were in store for.  The people who built up what was around me and what I was feeling and becoming apart of.  Everyone was SOOOOOO happy.  Fee was great.  A cute song about a weasel named Fee who gets his nipple cut off.  Sure, why not!

Thanks Chris!

Thanks Chris!

Chris Kuroda's lights ~ EXCELLENT!

Chris Kurodas lights ~ EXCELLENT!

I was pleasantly surprised to hear how lovely Page was right in front of my face.  Happy to hear the piano a little louder then the other instruments.  This song had such great piano amongst the chaos of the story.  First song in and I was silently questioning why I had boycotted them for so long.  The energy in the pavilion was sick.  Everyone was singing, jumping up and down, blowing up balloons and raging in the isles.  Sure, this happens at tons of shows where the fans are ridiculously fanatic but this was different.  This was extremely more intense.

Thank you Chris Kuroda!

Thank you Chris Kuroda!

They jammed out during Rift but I wanted more during that song to be honest.  A guy a few rows back screamed, “This is my first Phish SHOOOW!!”  Of course, I scream back, “ME TOOOO!!”  There was a big commotion of hugs and high fives between our groups and I fell in love with our community all over again.  He smiled and ended up finding me later during intermission for more hugs. Now, you tell me what other show is like that…on this MASS a scale.

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

Trey and Mike @ Hartford, CT

With it’s gorgeous melodic intro, Summer of 69 got the venue swaying with its lyrics reminding us that it’s SUMMER and IT’S TOUR TIME!!!
“Glad to find anytime alone / and it’s summer once again / The days are full / but they’re not our own / Remember our life back then.”
And with Mike Gordon‘s bass reentering after the chorus, they ALMOST got me crying.  Such a pretty song and SUCH a loving vibe blasting through the venue at that moment.  It truly is an experience that so many people just will never attempt nor understand.
Backstage @ Phish, Hartford, CT

Backstage @ Phish, Hartford, CT

In case you didn't know...

In case you didnt know...

During Cavern (the last song of the first set), it was time to rage the bathroom.  Jay grabbed my hand and led me backstage.  The walls were covered with large pictures of bands that have left their mark on the venue and in the music world.  Phun Fact #123:  A few days prior, they erected the below photo of Phish, so aptly located next to what was Trey’s dressing room for the evening.  Speaking with Trey the previous night, he had been VERY excited and happy about this honor.

Phish on All Star Wall Backstage @ Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT

Phish on All Star Wall Backstage @ Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT

Unlimited waters was a FABULOUS plus!

Unlimited waters was a FABULOUS plus!

While walking backstage, I was shocked at how quiet it was.  The band’s dressing rooms were lined up in a row, littered with hippie blankets and children’s toys.  Smelling of incense and just shockingly quiet.  All these toys but no kids.  I knew they had to have an entourage of children and wives and whatnot.  That threw me off. Wonder where their rage room was?

Mike's Sound Room

Mikes Sound Room

I walked past a little room with a TV screen and what appeared to be a sound board.  I would find out later on in the tour in Camden just what this room was meant for.  You will have to read that article because I got to hang out with Mike, the sound guy, for a few minutes and it was pretty rad.

Heading back to our seats, we met up with a few more friends.  The second set was by far the best set.  I was amazed at how well I just flowed into the concert, knowing more of their music then I thought I would as I had listened to them so much in high school.  I was thrown back 10 years, when CDs were all the rage.  I was actually introduced to Phish when a friend made me a mixed tape and put Bouncing Round the Room and Billy Breaths on it.

Like an alien space ship from SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!

Like an alien space ship from SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!

Our teenage posse had joined us, rocking their laminates with the biggest grins and raging with us instead of at their usual soundboard spot.  Issac, wide-eyed and holding a tee-shirt, tells us how he ran into Fishman backstage and how Fishman proceeded to proclaim that he “doesn’t LIKE tee-shirts” and gave it to Issac.  It was a dope pencil drawing of Jerry’s head, hair blowing across his face due to an unforseen wind.  It really was a cool shirt.  The following day, Issac was rockin’ that shirt.  Damn right, Issac!

Unreal.  Beautiful lights by Chris Kuroda!

Unreal. Beautiful lights by Chris Kuroda!

Trey = Light & Love

Trey = Light & Love

When the music started, our front row spot had doubled.  How was this possible? Didn’t people own these seats?  Were they raging the lawn with their friends? But throughout tour, this is how it went.  No matter how many people we brought to our spot, there was always enough room.  You always get what you need.  Later, I would be told that normally…generally…things like that never happen.  Many times, the guards are pushy, constantly asking for your tickets, shuffling people along.  But we were lovely music mamas in boas, not drinking, clearly having a GREAT time, staying out of the isle and behaving.  I mean, I felt like I was at the Brooklyn Bowl at times. Not like I had 14,000 people behind me raging.  I was surrounded by all my best ones, missing those who were not able to be there, and thinking about those who were still spread all over the venue.

Amazing Sauce!

Amazing Sauce!

Reba brought the spacey, obscure jam that I so adore from Phish.  Like rouge jazz insertions throughout parts of the song, while other parts are fast and solidly melodic. Yet, other sections were rocky and all sections were raging.

Kuroda is Obviously my fav member of Phish! Yes!

Kuroda is Obviously my fav member of Phish! Yes!

And Mike Gordon‘s bass really hit home with me during Cavern.  I have been hooked on listening to him ever since.  I LOVE Mike Gordon!  I LOVE his sound.  Whoever does sound for him during this tour is making him sound perfect.  He has stood out to me during the entire run.  And during Tweezer, ugh, that bass line.  Thwacking me across my dome.  Phun Fact #72: It is best to always make sure you surrounding security guard is well taken care of.  See if they need water, anything really, as it’s best to be on their good side.  Diplomacy and politics run in all facets of life including front row at giant venues.  By doing so, we were able to take some great pictures with Trey behind us as well as go to the middle for some great shots!

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Trey Anastasio @ Hartford, CT

Theme From the Bottom might have been one of my favorite songs of the night for nostalgic reasons.  Everyone singing with the band was fun to watch.  Glow sticks had made their way from the wars on the lawn behind us up to the front and all sizes of balls had made their way to the stage area.  Harry Hood brought another 15 minute jam session.   I loved Trey’s guitar in Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan.  So, so funky.  “Got a blank space where my mind should be,” sang Trey, one of my friend’s favorite lines.  The lyrics for Phish songs are great and that was definitely a great line 🙂  And as the guitar just rock-n-wailed, Fishman thumped the drums and the cymbals in perfect time. They are so tight, that even on a horrible night, they can’t be truly bad.

Trey rages! @ Hartford, CT

Trey rages! @ Hartford, CT

The best part of this show came at the end, during the encore.  Phish played a groovy Tweezer Reprise.  Aside from what was about to happen at the end of this song, Trey’s energy is so ridiculously evident in the video below.  He was having SO MUCH FUN on that stage that I was loosing my mind.  Sure, I loved the music, but as much Live music as I watch, I rarely see the guitar artist I adore bug out and just rage physically.  That is what I LOVE to see…when the artist is as much into their music as we are.  When their music takes them over, lifting them our of their chairs, off their feet, into the air or sprawling on the floor.  Skerik is a prime example of the crazy I like to see in my artists from time to time.  I was flipping OUT and it was as much Trey’s energy as the music or the atmosphere.  And then right as they finished Tweezer Reprise, Trey jumps back to the microphone and excitedly shouts”,

“You know what! We’re having such a great time.  We’ve only got a couple minutes before they kick us off this stage. And we played Tweezer in Hersey Park but we never did Tweezer Reprise. So, we’re going to play it again. THIS IS FOR HERSEY PARK!!!”

Front row ragers!

Front row ragers!

And RIGHT BACK into another Tweezer Reprise…clearly this was not planned as Mike took a moment to look around and then fall back into round two….and then the place erupted.  And by God, if Trey’s energy and the energy in that supernova that was the Comcast Center hadn’t reached it’s boiling point…right at that moment, the eruption shook me to the CORE!  I mean, just pure ultimate joy was radiating out of these people floating around me screaming their excitement.  Intense is the only word I can think of.  Trey was bouncing all over the speakers, the venue was lit on fire. This video will show you everything you need to know! It sounds amazing and looks even better…Definitely hit PLAY!

Set List I: Intro, Fee>, Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Summer Of ’89, Foam, Possum, Moma Dance>, Julius, Reba, Cavern

Set List II: Intro, Halley’s Comet>, Light>, Billy Breathes, Tweezer>, Theme From The Bottom>, Harry Hood>, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan

Encore : Sleeping Monkey>, Tweezer Reprise, Tweezer Reprise x2

Download: Phish 2010-06-18 Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT

So much equipment...

So much equipment...

Ragers leavin out the back....

Ragers leavin out the back....

When the music was over, it was over for good but like a festival, I LOVED knowing that I would be able to do this all over again tomorrow night.  Yet, like a concert, I was also happy that the possibility of sleeping in and not having to run to make early music was a nice positive that I immediately picked up on as plus for touring with a band.  For a while, we just sat in our chairs chatting over the double Reprise we were just thrown.  That was so ridiculous.  The power of the people in the pavilion and rolling up the lawn…I could taste it.  There were glow sticks everywhere, in piles.

We were staying with a gorgeous family I had met only weeks earlier at Mountain Jam.  They lived in Hartford and supplied about eight/ten of us with beds for the night in their lovely villa.

Das Villa! Thank you Levys!

Das Villa! Thank you Levys!

Waking up to the sun filled rooms and the breezy walkways, I was SO excited to think that we would be piling back into a car, and taking off for another state! Another night of Phish and another night of the biggest party you can go to that isn’t on a boat.  I can see why my parents kept me from touring with The Dead and Phish back in high school.  It was a raging party and they knew once I got a taste….I’d never come back!

Thank you Levys! xoxo

Thank you Levys! xoxo

Continue on tour with me: PHISH @ SPAC ~ Saratoga Springs, NY ~ (06.19.10)

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