Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Second Time Around (16 years later)

I think this show is where it really hit me. Classic Amphitheater in Richmond, VA was a 10,000 seat venue. It was a small venue by today's comparisons, but I had seats up in the edge of the pavilion. So, to me, the place seemed much bigger. My first show had only been a couple of months before in an even smaller venue. This was a huge leap in scope for me. I didn't realize it at the time, but my first two shows would be the smallest venues I would see the band for 15 years. It was also the first time I had seen the band cut loose and have fun onstage. This is one of those shows that you have to listen to in it's entirety.

There are far too many highlights to mention, so I upped the entire show. The show is tracked, labeled and numbered 1-28 for an Mp3 player or your computer. The Mp3s have been encoded at 320. The download, setlist, and taping credits appear below.

Classic Amphitheater, Richmond,VA

Set 1: Down with Disease, Gumbo, Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Split Open and Melt, Glide, Scent of a Mule, Bouncing Around the Room, Frankenstein

Set 2: Wilson -> Maze, You Enjoy Myself -> Yerushalayim Shel Zahav -> You Enjoy Myself, Sparkle, Axilla (Part II), Harpua -> Kung -> Harpua -> Honky Tonk Women -> Harpua, Run Like an Antelope, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Chalk Dust Torture

Encore: Sleeping Monkey > Poor Heart

Notes: Sean Hoppe, an audience member, was invited on stage during Harpua to sing Honky Tonk Women as Jimmy. The Antelope intro and HYHU subsequently included Harpua teases. Split Open and Melt included a vocal jam. Love You contained band intros and an unusually long vacuum solo. Both the YEM vocal jam and Sparkle had “Redrum” screeches from Trey, referencing the movie The Shining. Trey also used his megaphone during YEM. (from

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Weekend at Merriweather

Considering the hype that surrounds Merriweather Post and it's parking lot, I found the  experience at the 2010 shows to be a breath of fresh air. Albeit, hot and muggy fresh air. The police presence was thick, as per usual, but folks generally were allowed to go on about their business. To have the helicopter constantly circling overhead was still somewhat intimidating.

The Phish "merch-police" were also out in full force. Surprisingly, they were ok with the Reba shirt. I personally witnessed several other shirt vendors get a pass with shirts like the Hally's Comet, and Llama standards that have been making the rounds over the last several
years. I did meet a lot of folks who had been looking for the Reba shirts. Thanks! The Alliance is always looking for qualified X-Wing pilots.

As I have mentioned many times before, you will not get any kind of song by song analytical review here, but I will say these are up there with the best shows I have attended. I thought both second sets were some of Phish's finest Type 2 moments this year, if not in recent memory. Night 1's Rock and Roll, Tweezer and Wolfman's were among my favorites of the night, not to mention a beautiful cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, and a near perfect Sugar Shack. Some friends were able to get us to third row behind the pit right before my son's Tweezer was dropped right in our lap. Having Mike shake your fillings adds quite a bit to the experience.

My wife and son were originally going to skip the second night. After some discussion and an incredible offer of a pair of pavillions for them, they committed to a second evening with me. At this point I couldn't imagine them not being there with me to share in what my son called "The Best Phish Show" he had ever seen. I can't really argue with him at all. Even if the first set didn't have the energy you were looking for, you have to admit the rare covers and some old shelved standards really made it special. And what can you say about the second set? I can say this is what Phish is. This is why I go see them again and again. Pure and unadulterated hose.

Tweezer Madness!!

Thanks go to yetimon from Reality Tour for inspiring this propaganda-fueled lot shirt. Based on the 1938 film Reefer Madness, the design features a 2 color front print with great details. The shirts are, as usual, printed on Gildan 100% cotton pre-shrunk Ultras. The color is called 'Cardinal Red'. Sizes range from S-XXL, with 3XL available in the closest available color. Ladies sizes are from S-XXL in 'Maroon Red'. Also available in a hoodie (7.75 oz., 50% cotton/50% polyester fleece pullover) in 'Maroon Red', sizes S-XXL, with 3XL available in select colors.

Get one here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hartford Whalecallers Update

To those waiting for the Hartford shirts...they are currently being printed and look as good as the mock up. Depending on a few other things happening I expect these to ship to me by the middle of next week, which means you guys will start getting them in the next couple of weeks. The orders have closed and no more orders will be accepted for these. More updates to follow.

The Joy in the Journey

One of the best feelings in the world is the split second that the lights go down. In that moment there are infinite possibilities. Most people I have talked to have experienced this the same way; with great anticipation and wonder. It’s happening. You are here. You made it.

Running a close second for me would be the 'road trip'. Maybe it's just that I am used to driving long distances. Or, maybe I find comfort in  the repetitive sounds the car makes at 75MPH when you are cruising along in the right lane. I'm not sure exactly what does it, but I find as much joy in the actual trip itself as I do in arriving.

Depending on how long the drive is, and whether or not you have seen the band yet on that particular tour, there is a prolonged level of anticipation. I mentioned the lights going  down, because it's very similar to that. Except, sometimes it lasts for several hours.  Granted, the feeling may come and go, but it's always there motivating your drive.

It tends to peak for me when ever we pick up a line of cars obviously bound for the same  destination. Sticker coated vehicles are not quite as common, but there are always signs that you are not alone. It's a feeling that you are headed towards something bigger than yourself. There's nothing quite like starting up a random conversation at a gas station with "So what do you think the opener will be?" and getting a heartfelt and real response from someone who is just as excited as you are.

See you on the road.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Down With Links, Up with Tweets

You may have noticed there are no links to purchase shirts or stickers. These links have been removed so that I can manage my stock for the upcoming shows. I don't know what vending will be possible, but I don't want to over sell anything here.

The only links that will become available are pre-order links for a new shirt debuting at the end of this month. Watch the blog for that one. Other links will return after this tour leg with an add to cart feature, by request.

I will be tweeting updates from MPP this weekend whenever possible, and occasional crappy cell phone pictures. Please keep in mind that I do not own a smart phone, and will not be able to respond to Direct Messages through Twitter.

Kuroda's Latest Trick

Last night in Mansfield, during a new song debut, Chris debuted a lighting trick reminiscent of the days of the "phish Logo" gobos used up until 94. Very cool. For those that doubted the photo, the YouTube (via parkerjh)  is directly below. You'll want to see it around 5:08 or so.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Forest, Trees, Bark…Sap

Not seeing the forest for the trees can be a real issue for some fans. Like a movie critic willing to sit through endless movies and attempt to construct a review that all readers can relate to, fan reviews can seem more than a little self indulgent.

How many times have you seen a movie with a poor review and have gone anyway? Why? Most likely because you knew what you were getting yourself into. No one goes to see Michael Bay movies hoping for an M Shamalan reveal at the end. What was the last romantic comedy you saw that had a series of car chases and explosions? If you know you don’t like those kinds of movies, why would you go to see them? (Besides your significant other…) Perhaps a closer analogy would be the sports franchise. Loyalty can produce an interesting breed of fanatic. You can bitch about the players, stats, and management, but you are still there in the seat at game time rooting for your team. You will be every time. You may also feel that you have a right to complain, because you were there during many stages of the team’s history.

Phish fans are similar, but a funny breed themselves. There are statistics. There are certain songs that are either liked or disliked. However, when the music is happening, there are a lot of varying opinions as to what is ‘good’. ‘Good’ can mean many things to many people. In my experience, there are fans that refuse to acquiesce that show reviews are subjective. In the same way that examining a quark changes it’s nature, claiming something as fact that has affected you personally changes a piece from a review to a rant. Subjectivity is what fuels many of the “best version ever” debates online. You will never find reviews here, but you may find highlights of things I enjoyed.

If you find yourself analytically inside the sap of the tree, try panning back out to the forest and take in the band’s history. As fans, we came very close to losing the thing that makes us so fanatical. Thankfully, the band continues to evolve and move forward. Those that refuse to move along and grow are forced to themselves become caricatures, while the band continues to reinvent itself. The complaints coming from people who have never picked up an instrument echo like those of a cynical movie reviewer who has not spent a second in front of the camera. It’s just impossible to dissect those moments of wonder into something scientific. There is no way to factually prove I had a good time other than the smile on my face.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Phish Mad Libs for Fluffers

Recently I attended the Phish show at ___________ (venue name). I love seeing the band for many___________ (short units of time) on end, and I would be willing to sell my  _________ (body part) to attend a show at ____________(smallest venue on tour). This particular night was no different as this was a huge __________ (exclamation) show. In fact, I think this may have been the performance of the _________ (long unit of time). I really couldn’t believe how much I loved it. From the opening notes of ________ (2009 Leg 1 opener) to the ending notes of (Regular Rotation song) it gave me chills. There were no less than _______ (3 digit number) tension and release moments, and while I clearly knew I was on Earth, I felt the ________ (Alien Spacecraft) take us away. They never do the ___________ (expletive) jam the same way twice. They also had the balls to cover ______ (98 or 2010 cover song). I love the way they play it _____(adjective)! I am one of their _______ (adjective) fans.

I am actually considering trading all my  _________ (noun) for tickets, but I have responsibilities. I hope that I can get close enough to Trey to explain how __________ (adverb) he makes me feel when he is playing. I feel like this was the best ________ (expletive) show I have ever seen. I hope to see some more ________(Mystic/Star Wars reference) sounds coming out of his guitar. I am quite sure I speak for everyone when I say the band is ___________ (adverb) taking us to new heights.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Phish Mad Libs for Haters

Recently I attended the Phish show at ___________ (venue name). I have been seeing the band for many___________, (units of time) and I think that I have a very good _________ (body part) for music. I can pretty much tell when the band makes a __________ (size) mistake. In fact, I can often tell what the band members are thinking; I am such a/an __________ (adjective) judge of live shows. I am actually pretty amazed at myself for being able to render an opinion so __________ (adverb).

That being said, I can confidently say that the performance was a total _________ (adjective) show. I really couldn’t believe how much I hated it, considering that they played ________ (rare or never played song). There were no less than _______ (3 digit number) flubbed notes, and while I clearly knew which way they wanted to go, they never did the ___________ (expletive) jam the way I wanted. They also had the audacity to repeat ______ (1 digit number) songs. Why would they _____(adverb) do that to me? I am one of their _______ (adjective) fans.

I am actually considering trading all my tickets for _________ (noun), but I have pavilions later in the tour. I hope that I can get close enough to Trey to explain how __________ (adverb) he is playing. I feel I owe it to all the other fans in attendance to prevent him from making ________(animal) sounds with his guitar. I am quite sure I speak for everyone when I say the band played much better in ________ (Mid 90’s year) and never missed a note on any tour in that year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hartford Whalecallers

Thanks to Animal Chin from for inspiring this idea.

This was originally a joke...but if have an interest in one, leave a comment. If we can get 15 or so, then I will put up a pre-order link and get these made.

Edit: So because of popular demand I am putting up pre-orders for these. If you want one, put in for it now. Pre Orders will close in about a week. No more will be made of this run. The shirts will be blue(the color is called 'metro blue'), and the image will be a 3 color design on the front with the blue shirt color showing through as the whale's tale The first paypal link is for S-XXL Men's and Ladies sizes, the second is for 3X sizes if those are needed. I am only making as many as are ordered, then this run will close. Keep in mind it may be a couple of weeks once the pre orders close. I will keep everyone posted where the shirts are.

12:10AM 6/23/10 - The Paypal links have been removed. The order period for this shirt has ended.
The art is currently going to film and the shirts will be ordered next week. Follow Jiggs on Twitter for periodic updates on production.

Good Use of Laser Pointers

Thanks to Twitter user @cjyohe for showing me this one. Please don't try this at home.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Positive Report from Portsmouth

Thanks to PYITEGreg from RT for pointing this one out. It's good to see a local news show who doesn't portray us as inarticulate nomads with dreads. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Little Traveling Music

It's been awhile since I have made a mixed CD. A good friend will be making the drive down from points north to accompany us on some of the southern run, so I have been inspired to make one...or two. Among many other CDs I made for her are two mixes which I call RoadTrip Revisited Vol. 1 and 2. The mix is designed to be burned to a CD, or run through a playlist with no gaps. The songs are faded together in order, so keep that in mind in case you have shuffle or random selected on your MP3 player.

Vol 1
Vol 2

Monday, June 14, 2010

From the Stage to the Couch

When I started seeing shows the only way to check on the night before was by word of mouth. No one had easy access to the internet. Even if they did, it would have been fairly long wait to check and see what they played. Getting into the lot early meant checking with those who had been writing down the set. You'd have to practically interview your friends to see about special appearances or interesting versions of a song. It was not uncommon to ask someone to copy down their setlist to get an idea of what you might hear that night, or the coming nights. We would flip through each other's tour journals and trade stories and interpretations of the songs. Every now and again, we'd get our hands on a Tour Newsletter and have a run down of the tour so far. For the most part, the human element played a large role in checking in to what was happening on the tour.

Once it became easier to interact online, setlists became easier to obtain. The exponential expansion of the Phish knowledge-base took hold and eventually made it's way to the recordings. You no longer had to wait months to get that recording of the summer shows you attended. With a little effort, you were able to find these online or at least reach the people with the large caches of tapes willing to dub these for you. When Maxell II's were replaced by the standard blank Fuji CDR as the preferred media for shows, the quality of what you heard began to improve overall.

While show media and quality were improving, so was camcorder and cellphone technology. Now it was getting easier to keep up with each other during the shows and get better quality video of the shows afterward. You could actually start getting text messages during the show and follow along to the setlists online. It was actually like being there (we had no idea). Then, we could send pictures via cellphones....and then video. In about 10 years, we went from word of mouth, to watching setlists online, to getting the shows the next day, to ...literally being able to watch the show from your couch. Sites like Hoodstream and Phishtube have made it possible for a volunteer to provide coverage from the lot and from inside the venue.

We have even been able to enjoy simulcasts directly from shows with THX sound in air conditioned theaters.

Perhaps the increasingly over-analytical fanbase can be attributed to having unprecedented access to moments that were previously only for those in attendance. Still, you could get an HD feed directly from the Front of House and you would still miss the elements that make attending the actual event special. So when you are watching the stream drop in and out, remember that the show will be available in a few hours...and not in a few months.

The Whale Call

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seen Around....the light board

Mindi and Chris posing for a photo op in Chicago (6-11-10). Thanks for getting the picture, BigLlama!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pre-Show Music

For as long as I can remember I have avoided listening to the band the day I am going to see them. Of course, that sometimes meant several days at a time. I just can't see, even as much as I love it, listening to that much Phish in a single day.

Another reason, and the one I identify with the most, is living in the moment. Maybe this is the reason that some find fault easily and are not willing to suspend themselves in the moment. Once I can remember being in the lot and hearing 3 or 4 versions of Possum all at different points of the song. Often I have heard the show from the night before. When I say live in the moment I'm not talking about being content with a Coventry Glide. But song by song, minute to minute set list analysis has never been what I am about.

Not listening to Phish the day of a show allows the anticipation to build up. The 'what may be' makes me practically giddy with excitment. Granted, I may be following the tour up to the leg I will be seeing. So, there's a chance I can make a few predictions about the shows I'll see. But, at the point I am heading to the shows, I will disconnect and be ready to hear the shows with an open mind. Though I do keep some Phish in the library for the ride back.

That being said....what are some of your favorite non-Phish listening selections in the lot?

Seen Around...Last night!

This was posted to Twitter by @ChinaKatSunflwr. Jiggs shirts in their natural habitat. Thanks Kat!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Children of All Ages

One of the most interesting and heated debates I have participated in is whether or not you should bring your kids to a show. This subject is amazingly divisive and has brought out the intensity usually saved for political bickering.

The events that took place recently at Furthur Festival, specifically the story regarding the mother nearly passed out with her child still attached to the “leash device”, would be an extreme case against. I might as well start here. If this is you…not only do you not deserve to be at the show, you do not deserve to be a parent. Still, I find it difficult to use this example to argue against bringing a child to a show, as there were probably issues with this family arrangement long before a ticket was purchased. Responsible parents keep kids out of harms way.

Another argument that I have actually heard is that children present at a show limit people’s ability to have a good time. As we were walking back to our car last year after Alpine Valley my son and I were discussing the chances of him seeing a Tweezer the next year. I overheard a couple of guys saying…”Oh…wait…[hisssss] wait dude, there’s a kid….” as we walked by. If your guilt overcomes you because you don’t want to be seeing huffing nitrous, then that doesn’t really fall on my parenting. That falls on your huffing. My son would never intrude on anyone’s concert activities because we have had numerous discussions on appropriate behavior. What good is it to lecture and advise your kids on what not to put in your their bodies if you can’t expose them to public places and public events? How can you advocate restraint if you can’t show them by example?

When we go to an amusement park, all we want to do is ride the rides. However, there is a little more to it than that. You have to endure lines, heat, poor attitudes of low paid park employees, foul language, and rude behavior. All of this for a 3 minute coaster ride. Sharing the Phish experience with your kid is not that much different. Actually, it’s a little easier. Planning and preparation, just like anything else, plays a huge part in making a successful, fun weekend.

My favorite comment has little to no basis in reality. It goes like this: “Your kid doesn’t deserve to be here [or]…doesn’t belong here”. OK. Stop reading. Go get your tickets and take a look at them. I’ll wait.

Do you see where it says ‘All Ages’?

There’s a pretty good chance that includes my 11 year old, too. While many fans will be texting the setlist, wandering the venue, waiting in the beer line, or heading for the bathroom, he and I will be right there in the moment, enjoying the spectacle and hoping like hell that Piper will drop into Tweezer. Who is to say that he doesn’t love it just as much as you do?
We are raising a second and third generation of Phish fans. The fanbase as a whole is growing older, and that means a fanbase with a much more varied age. I am extremely thankful that a new generation of fans that were my son’s age during the hiatus is now able to finally experience this music in a live setting. There is really nothing like sharing something you love. I would never endorse breastfeeding an infant a few feet away from Fishman’s riser, but taking the right precautions for a show here and there can make for great memories of summer vacation. Grant families at Phish a wide berth if you must, but also grant them the respect of a fellow fan.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seen Around...

"Got a nice surprise in the mail today from @jiggslikesphish - love it, and pumped to represent jiggs lot gear" - @wav4rm


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quitting Phish

You've all heard it. It may have come from a friend close to you or posted as a thread title. "I just can't do this anymore." These folks just can't spend another dime on a band that doesn't play exactly the way their bootlegs from 20 years ago sound. They just can't afford to do all 15 or 20 shows because the dates are too far apart, or the tour route is too complex.

When you think about's usually a valid argument. The other responsibilities that have cropped up in the time between now and when you were 20 have become your life. Things like marriage and children take precedent over acquiring tickets to an entire summer's run. However, I still just can't identify with these kinds of statements. Maybe I was never savvy enough to fund my tours through vending early on, or never irresponsible enough to walk out of a job based on the heady tour schedule in the Schvice.

I never wondered if it made me less of a fan to only try for a few shows in a summer, or skip a run or two to be able to afford to hit Big Cypress. It's just something I have always been able to balance. I either can or can't do it. Of course I wish that I had the resources then that I have access to now. Sure. Who wouldn't? Maybe planning and moderation have allowed me to not become fully jaded to the experience.

So, to those who are quitting, I say thank you.

I respect you for realizing that this is not where you want to be this summer, or in life. So it goes. I, however, will continue to save money when I can, and prepare and plan by taking days off of work. I will still plan and try to see runs of shows that are near us. I will go to the shows we can afford to. Maybe it will continue to be easier to buy tickets.