Archive for The Moment

Coincidences? Maybe So, Maybe Not…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 20, 2008 by Mr.Miner

The Phish experience always reminds us that we are part of something far greater than ourselves.  Uniting with thousands of others to immerse ourselves in universal spirituality can be a powerful process.  Often we have left shows in awe of life, its wonders, and its possibilities- all sparked by three hours of music.  It is this life-affirming quality, the glow deep down inside radiating through us, that separates a Phish show from most other events in the world.  People often connect Phish and religion, citing the parallel qualities of connection to a higher power, a portal directly to the divine.  While grandiose, this statement rings true for so many of us that we can not deny the overarching fact that Phish represents the universal spirit.  Can this spirit be accessed in other ways?  Sure, but never as routinely and consistently than at a Phish show.

Robert Mayer

Big Cypress- photo: Robert Mayer

Connections to the metaphysical realm often appear when stars align and things occur at Phish shows that seem too perfect to be a coincidence- but similarly impossible to control.  While Phish did their best to respond to natural situations with specific songs (e.g “Drowned” during a rainstorm at Darien’00),  this synchronicity between Phish, the natural world, and ourselves has at times been striking, even eerie.  When we inspect these rare “coincidences” that have taken place so many times at Phish shows, one begins to wonder- “Is something else at play here?”

Mike

Big Cypress Sunrise - photo: Mike

Many of the significant “coincidences” throughout the band’s career have involved weather.  Let’s look at some examples.  Would we have witnessed that surreal uber- psychedelic sunrise in Florida if Phish hadn’t just finished the most magical journey of our lives?  During the legendary 7.22.97 Raleigh show, was the band orchestrating the storm or the storm orchestrating the band?  Either way, there has rarely been such a congruency between stormy conditions and equally stormy music, with the highlight of this confluence being the lightening strike at the peak of the first set “Taste.”  Similarly, at Nashville ’99, the rainstorm that had been holding off all night burst wide open with the onset of the monumental YEM jam.  At the IT, as Phish improvised a blissful afternoon “Reba ” and began to explore a more abstract texture, simultaneously, a cool breeze blew across the crowd in unison with the musical vibe.  During the summer of ’99, a tour that featured a lot of dark music, many times Phish pulled into a new city and like clockwork, clouded darkness and inclement weather would envelop the area.  An obvious parallel between the natural world and Phish was the flooded, muddy quagmire that surrounded a particularly gloomy final weekend in Coventry, VT.  On the contrary, what artist painted the sky a thousand hues ranging from royal purple to majestic orange on the second night of The Went before the band and their massive crowd had a magical peak experience together?  One of these incredibly surreal moments took place in Japan.

John Greene

6.11.00 - Hibiya Park: photo: John Greene

Throughout the one outdoor daytime show in central Tokyo, the weather was gray and rainy all day long, yet as the band peaked the uplifting “Harry Hood” jam to close the set, the heavens parted giving way to a brilliant rainbow over the stage.  Colors in the void.  Coincidence?  I’m not so sure.

8.17.97 - Great Went sunset

8.17.97 - Great Went sunset

Transcending mere weather, another facet of Phish’s connection to the higher plane often involve our own personal experiences and thoughts.  We have all experienced a time- mine was at Deer Creek ’96- when the band steered a scary, menacing jam into lighter waters just as you were about to lose your grip on reality.  Did they do that just for me?  It always seemed so.  After a 30 minute Mike’s, in which the drum beat was speaking in tongues and the music was overtaking my sanity, “all I needed was a little Weekapaug,” my friend told me afterwards.  Could the band read our minds?  How did they know what we needed?  And what about all those times you knew what song was coming before they played a note?  Some sort of connection of consciousness was certainly present.  In fact, when my brother called that they would open the last set of The Went with NICU, I corrected him saying, “They won’t open with it, but may segue into it.”  Then boom- the set opens Buffalo Bill > NICU.  Bizarre?  I think so.

Adam Foley

1.1.00 - photo: Adam Foley

These random synchronicities that involve our own lives remind us that Phish is something so much more than music.  The stories go on.  A friend lost her hoodie during the 4.3 show, and after searching feverishly for it, decided to “let it go” only to find it at her feet when the set break lights came on.  In the days before cell phones, we would randomly meet up with our friends at the most bizarre points on the road, only to be heading to the same place.  And, this post can’t conclude without a mention of my prophetic “Bohemian Rhapsody” dream.  I wrote an entire post on it early on, but many of you probably never read it.  It was one of the most metaphysical occurrences of my life.  Check out the story right here!

We all know that Phish brings power greater than four musicians to the stage every night.  Harnessing the energy of the galaxy through their minds and instruments, the band are prophets delivering the word of the universe directly to our imaginations.  Privileged to be part of such mysticism, many events prove too powerful and parallel to ignore.  It is these mysteries, these small synchronicities, that often remind us we are part of a greater web of life, our existence unquestionably tied to those around us.  Some people call it magic, some people call it religion; we call it Phish.

What are some “Maybe So, Maybe Not” coincidences” you remember form your time with Phish?  Respond in Comments below!

it-glowsticks

8.3.03 IT – photo: phenster.com


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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.26.97 Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT < LINK

Hartford Civic Center

Hartford Civic Center

Let’s keep the Fall ’97 train rolling.  Here we have one of my favorite shows from the tour. The second set opening segment of “Character Zero > 2001 > Cities > Yamar > Punch” rates right up there with anything from the run.  A sinister trip into the dark side, this Zero evokes the spirit of Jimi as Trey guitar screams in honor.  An often overlooked first set contains a chunky show-opening “Tweezer,” a thick “Gumbo” and a twisting “Split.”  Enjoy this gem from the fall that never stopped giving.

I: Tweezer > Sparkle, Gumbo, My Soul, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Dirt, Split Open and Melt, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Taste

II: Character Zero > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Cities > Ya Mar > Punch You in the Eye > Prince Caspian, Poor Heart, Tweezer Reprise

E: Cavern


IT

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 14, 2008 by Mr.Miner

“Here’s a guy and everyboy’s there, right? Up to him to put down what’s on everybody else’s mind. He starts the first chorus, then lines up his ideas, people, yeah, yeah, but get it, and then rises to his fate and has to blow equal to it. All of a sudden somewhere in the middle of the chorus he gets IT- everybody looks up and knows; they listen; he picks it up and carries. Time stops. He’s filling empty space with the substance of our lives, confessions of his bellybottom strain, remembrance of ideas, rehashes of old blowing. He has to blow across bridges and come back and do it with such infinite feeling soul-exploratory for the tune of the moment that everybody knows its not the tune that counts but IT.”

–Jack Kerouac, On the Road

This quote from the classic Beat writer inspired Phish’s name of their 2003 festival.  They didn’t make any bones about hiding it, they had a large wooden plaque in the concert grounds at Limestone with this quotation on it.  It is a vivid description of a saxophonist hitting his sacred stride and transcending his art form- reaching that place, that indescribable place that we all know so well.  What makes Phish such an other-worldly band, is that they seem to have a secret recipe for IT.  Four mere humans who can tap into IT far more easily than the most any band, these are the superpowers we have come to adore and expect from Phish.

IT is the reason we go on tour. IT is the reason we fly cross-country for three days or less.  IT is the reason credit cards are abused for hotel rooms, rental cars, airplane and concert tickets.  IT is the reason we have driven the path of each and every every highway in this vast land.  IT is the reason you are reading this blog.  IT is the reason for it all.

Those quiet moments of your soul, when the band is soaring into alternate universes and the energy enters you like osmosis.  There is no effort expended, you are just a part of IT, flowing through you, as IT fills up your reserves of inspiration, energy, and adrenaline.  This is what we quest for, from Tennessee, to Iowa, to Michigan, and beyond.  These are the moments during which the band and audience together have peak experiences, as all is forgotten in the majesty of the moment.  We forget who we are, where we are, why we are, and for just a moment, we simply are.  Not to sound too hippie, but it is these time-and-spaceless moments that carry us, propel us, and allow us to realize that we are but a sponge for this magic if we allow ourselves to be.

IT is the reason there there is a lot scene.  IT is the reason people cut the 3 for $5 deal.  IT is the reason we have made up a ridiculous number of excuses for missing days of work.  IT is also the reason so many of us took the “non-four year” path in school.  But regardless of anything you missed at home, IT was always worth it.  It was a no brainer.

As Mike Gordon has explained, IT is about that place where you are “half awake and half dreaming,” somewhere muddled between your conscious and subconscious self, letting go- releasing.  Allowing the moment to move you for once, as opposed to the opposite.  Literally, “surrendering to the flow.”  Once you let go, a whole new world appears, a world more colorful and more vivid then anything you remembered.  Sure, it sounds like Willy Wonka, but would you argue it’s not true?

IT is the 8.10.97 Deer Creek Cities.  IT is the 7.6.94 Montreal Reba.  IT is the 12.30.95 Harry Hood.  IT is the 12.6.97 Tweezer.  IT is the 4.3.98 Nassau Roses.  IT is the 12.1.94 Salem Split.  IT is the 6.14.00 Fukuoka Twist.  IT is the 3.20.92 Binghampton Antelope.  IT is the 12.30.93 Mike’s.  IT is the 7.21.99 Star Lake My Left Toe.  IT is the SPAC Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.

Gazing up in awe of what is sonically surrounding us, IT is that elusive feeling, that when once we experience it, we must seek it out again and again.  More addictive than a drug, IT can direct your life if you’re not careful.  Have you ever heard of a junkie driving five to eight hours per night through three states just to get another fix?  When Hampton was announced, and it sparked a middle of the night party across the nation- that stuff doesn’t happen if this whole Phish thing isn’t the most transportive experience since Doc Brown’s flux capacitor.  Found nowhere else in the musical world, the adventures on which these four take us rival those of the greatest improvisers of all time.  And IT is all happening again.

IT is why there were 100,000 ticket requests.  IT is that feeling of weightless connection when nothing else exists as you dance with your eyes closed.  IT is why we feel childish “Christmas Eve” excitement the night before a show, and IT is why we have butterflies all afternoon before it finally happens.  Because we know that before long we will to be re-attached to the shooting star of Phish, leaving a trail of cosmic debris in our collective wake, as we hold on with one hand and reach our other out to catch IT passing by.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.1.95 GREAT WOODS, MANSFIELD, MA SBD <LINK

This is the last show before the tour ending weekend at Sugarbush in Vermont.  The second night of a superb two-night run, this second night was captured on soundboard as it was broadcast on FM radio.  First set highlights feature the bizarre It’s Ice and a raging Split.  The second set gets going with a crazy Maze, peaks with a gargantuan Stash, and winds down with a gorgeous Hood.  The encore on this night, was the then-rare, Funky Bitch, dedicated the heads on tour- closing this last night in amphitheatres with something special.

I: Ya Mar, Llama, If I Could, All Things Reconsidered, It’s Ice*, Prince Caspian, Split Open and Melt, Bouncing Around the Room, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Wilson, Maze, Theme From the Bottom, Uncle Pen, Stash, Strange Design, Acoustic Army, Harry Hood, Suzy Greenberg**

E: Funky Bitch#

*Jam in middle featuring Fish on vacuum and Mike playing with an electric drill. **With “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Smoke on the Water” teases. #Dedicated to the tourheads as an always requested but never played tune.

(All photo’s from Michael Copeland’s (Meaty) Phish Photo Compilation)

Take Me To Another Place…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 24, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Aside from amazing music, great times, and great friends, Phish provided us with something even greater- an alternate reality.  A realm where the most pressing issues were tickets, dance space, and finding your way from venue to venue on the maze of interstate highways, Phish tour provided a break from every day monotony, real-life problems, and cumbersome responsibilities.  Yet, the funny thing was, time spent on tour was as real, if not more real than many days spent at the office, at school, or at work. It was here that you were living.

“Waiting for the time when I can finally say
That this has all been wonderful but now I’m on my way.”

photo - Otar Taktakishvili

photo - Otar Taktakishvili

In an alternate take on this lyric, a friend once explained to me that this line represented leaving all that crap behind, and heading out to Phish tour.  Instead of bittersweet feelings, this song should evoke feelings of excitement and celebration, in line with its musical direction.  I always found that interpretation to be thought provoking and pretty spot-on for my own life.  On tour, whether for a weekend or a month, you were genuinely following your heart; your deep desire for human transcendence through music- a portal for your soul to reach the divine.  Wasn’t that more real that than what you did at work every day?  You never listened to tapes of meetings, recalling the feelings they evoked in you- that might be masochistic.  You get my point, you were following your passion.

“We gotta get on the road, destiny unbound.”

photo- Laurie Gough

photo- Laurie Gough

There was nothing like a long road trip to Phish with some friends and some weed to leave your problems in your dust for a while.  Watching the fields of Iowa, or the desert of Utah, the farms of western Pennsylvania, or the coast of California fly by your car window- your consciousness slipped into your subconsciousness while the Bowie > Cities > Bowie provided the soundtrack for your journey.  Your thoughts drifted into a state of nothingness as your imagination took over.  The open road was inspiration, eternal possibility; perfect interludes between cosmic evenings of music and inward exploration.

“The passion that sparked me one terrible night
And shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite”

And each night, nothing mattered except every note coming from the stage.  Life-sized Phish grooves as imposing and alive as any thing in the “real world” dominated your evenings and mind.  Tomorrow didn’t matter as you danced like you had never thought you could; realizing this was it; this was you.  Discussing setlists you had just lived through, and basking in the post-show glow, this is what spoke to your soul.  Some people from back in that other life just didn’t understand, but now it didn’t matter.  All that mattered was finding your friends and your spot for the show, and raging it for all you were worth.  Embracing the privilege of being in front of the Phish, nothing else mattered when Trey dropped the the opening lick of Mike’s, or into when the band exploded into a Tube jam.  Those “time and space”-less moments were the fabric of our dreams.

“The winds will lift you into the sky above
Where you will see a trail of treasure, memories you love
A rainbow record of the thoughts, the moments you’ve enjoyed
Arcs behind the earth as spectral colors in the void”

Some of our most treasured memories still come from the adventures of Phish.  Whether in the venue, on the road, at a hotel or campground; these were our “trail(s) of treasure.”  High times, cruising the country, living the dream with an unparalleled soundtrack.  We have file cabinets worth of colorful memories at this point, and we are about to write some more.  But, when it is over, what will remain are the eternal feelings, memories, and music. So even when life gets crazy, we have the respite of our minds to return to these times, and derive the power to persevere, the power of the void.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY: 8.6.97 Riverport Amp., Maryland Hgts, MO

Surrounded by The Gorge, Alpine, and Deer Creek, this Summer ’97 gem often flies under the radar.  With a killer first set sunset combo of Twist > 2001 > AC/DC Bag, followed by Yamar, YEM, the was place buzzing by half time.  Another 20 plus minute Ghost exploration highlighted the beginning of the second set, while one of the best Antelopes from the summer took it home, this show full of amazing improvisation from start to finish.  With a tight Stash tucked in this one as well, it’s the best show from Summer ’97 that you haven’t heard.

I: NICU, Stash, Beauty of My Dreams, Twist > 2001 > AC/DC Bag, Yamar, You Enjoy Myself

II: Runaway Jim > My Soul, Ghost, Prince Caspian, Cars Trucks Buses, Sample in a Jar, Run Like an Antelope> Makisupa Policeman* > Run Like an Antelope

E: Julius

*Instrumental, with Page on Theremin and Mike on mini-drum kit.

Scents and Subtle Sounds

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 28, 2008 by Mr.Miner

If you would only start to live

One moment at a time

You, would I think, be startled

by the things that you would find

Creeping out like a the opening of a old fable, Scents and Subtle Sounds begins.  Whispered like cryptic life instructions to their audience, as we navigate an overwhelmingly complex modern age, Trey and Tom suggest a more examined life- with simplicity comes virtue.  With slowed down conscious moment-to moment living, most people in this country would be baffled with what their life would be like.  The pace of life today is absurd, and seldom do people stop to appreciate the fabric of it all.  This song is all about the fabric- the subtleties in life that often inspire the most beauty.  The unexpected often arrives when we stop trying and doing for a while, and just let things unfold– paying attention the the usually glossed over details.  If we can manage to live in the ever-unfolding now” the things that we “might find” are the things we have been questing for our whole life- peace, happiness, fulfillment, inspiration, focus, positive energy, love.  As “startling” as it may be to reach these places, the song suggests that “it” is ultimately possibly for us all.

Like scents you never noticed

And many subtle sounds

like colors in the landscape

And textures of the town

Running late, sipping coffee while getting off the subway, working with our head buried all day; only to race home, have a few drinks and start again.  This reality we live in is fast, but that doesn’t mean our minds have to be.  I’m no buddha, and certainly do not attain states of continued enlightenment- but I know that we set our own pace.  We need to; because as Ferris said, “Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  And what they are telling us in this song, is a metaphorical version of what Ferris told us over 20 years ago.  If we don’t stop once and a while we’ll miss out on the fabric.  The scents we never noticed and many subtle sounds.  The colors and textures that are woven into the fabric that make each moment unique- it is our choice how many we are present for.

Then the winds will would lift you up

Into the sky above

And you’d be treated to a view

Of everything you love

If we live in the moment- every moment- recognizing what it provides for us, we are bound to succeed.  Good or bad, foolish or smart, each moment is there to live to the fullest, teaching us, bringing us up into the sky above.  If we are true to ourselves, true to the moment, true to our souls; we will be always surrounded by love.  The winds of inspiration will blow eternal for us if we live focused for only the present, because in reality, there is nothing else.  Just as Garth once commanded Wayne, “Live in the now!”

And if the moment passes

You should try it once again

For if you do it right

You’ll find that moment never ends

We all make mistakes.  We can’t always be present, and that awareness of being in the moment is often fleeting.  All we can do is try our best.  But if we lose our path, or the moment passes- we should always remain determined.  If successful in blazing our path in life, happiness springs eternal.  That blissful moment, at the peak of your favorite Phish jam, is eternity- its possible.  I am sure of it.  Don’t ask me how- but I am sure of it.  I’ll be sure to post about it if I figure it out.

If you would stop and notice that we number every day

But allow the many moments left uncounted slip away.

We, as a mass culture, are missing it.  Ripping pages off the calendar, stretching for the weekend, but allowing the fabric to go unnoticed.  There is beauty in all moments, and we often choose to ignore it. We must try to appreciate each experience for the value it has, and move from one focused experience to the next.  We need to pay more attention.

You don’t have to count them, just enjoy them one by one

Then things would take a different hue and sparkle in the sun

The wind would lift you up into the sky

Just live.  Don’t count experiences.  Don’t count shows.  Don’t worry about how much of one thing or another you have- just enjoy.  Just be.  Rage every moment of every Phish show- rage every moment of every day.  Rage our showers, and our dreams; rage our classes and our families.  Rage life unconditionally.  If we can just live for the sake of living, moment by unfolding moment, things might look a little different and “sparkle in the sun.”  And here are those winds again.

The winds would lift you up into the sky above

Where you would see a trail of treasured memories you love

A rainbow record of the thoughts and moments you’ve enjoyed

Arcs behind the earth as spectral colors in the void

The void- nothingness, everything, the universe, eternity.  Lyrical poetry that barely needs interpretation.  Valuing the now will lead to rainbow trails in eternity.   Spectral memories of moments you enjoyed; you didn’t lose track.  You did it.  You never lost sight of the big picture for too long, and never lost sight of the fabric- the invisible art that paints our daily moments and inner galaxies- colors in the void.

At least that’s what I think the song is about.

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Download of the Day: E Centre: Salt Lake City, Utah 11.14.97

A year before shocking the Phish world by dropping “Dark Side” in this venue, Phish played an incredibly adventurous two sets that truly set the tone for Fall ’97. Boasting the first “four song second set” of Fall 1997 in Wolfman’s > Piper, Twist > Slave, this show was a huge foreshadowing of the type of playing would emerge on the now legendary tour. With a first set featuring a quality Runaway Jim, Gumbo opener, a funkadelic 2001>Funky Bitch, and a hot Antelope to close; this show smokes from start to finish. Download and listen to the show that really got Fall ’97 kicked off after a solid warm up in Vegas the night before. The second set is a can’t miss gem.

ALSO, Miner’s Picks: Summer ’99 have been updated to Mediafire.

11/14/97 E Centre, Salt Lake City, UT
Set I: Runaway Jim, Gumbo, Maze, Fast Enough For You, Gumbo, Also Sprach Zarathustra >Funky Bitch, Guyute, Run Like An Antelope
Set II: Wolfman’s Brother > Piper > Twist > Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Bold As Love