15. August 2016
Here comes a new challenger !
As an ardent reader and fellow European phan, I noticed that there hasn't been much content posted as of late and I offered to post some stuff, keep the train rolling.
I'm a phan from Waterford in the south east in Ireland and I got into Phish early 2014 from an offhand mention from an online music critic, which fascinated me, so I listened to the PYITE/Sloth opener from the NYE '95 show. It completely blew me away and was simply the greatest music I had ever heard. Since then, I've been completely hooked, buying every Phish CD, vinyl, shirt, hoodie and webcast I can afford.
Sadly I haven't been to a gig yet. I was going to go to MagnaBall, but I had to refund my tix because my ride couldn't get off work. I was especially annoyed that I couldn't go when I watched the webcasts, that Gin was just brilliant, and the Drive In Jam was incredible. I tried going to Dick's this year, but again plans fell through and I had to sell the tickets.
This year, I've done reviews of most shows since The Gorge in the comment sections of Phish.net for their respective shows and here are those of the first two San Francisco ones...
4. December 2015
After a great Fare The Well and a spectacular Summer tour, the end of the year sounded a little too quite. But that was before I received lots of good LPs to spin...
New Year's Eve 1995:
Live At Madison Square Garden
Originaly released on 3 CD in 2005, Phish's New Year's Eve 1995 show made its way again to independent record stores on 6 LPs during the Record Store Day on 18th april 2015. This huge boxset is limited to 4500 copies and costs an arm. Of course, no store in France had it and it popped pretty quickly on eBay. Due to its already hish-sky price, scalpers can't charge much more but I've been reluctant to buy one of them over here. I waited several month to see if it would appear on Dry Goods but in september, I've been told by my contact at Phish Inc. that it won't be sold there. Thanksfully, this person managed to got me one of the remaning copies and sold it to me ! I finally received it on the 20th november, around the same time as the other vinyls bellow. But surprisingly, it ended on the Phish merchandise site on 3th december ! Grab it while you can !
The boxset is rather simple but quite nice. With six 12" discs, it's huge and, of course, heavy. It's also my first and only 6 LPs boxset. My second biggest one is David Gilmour's Live in Gdansk with 5 LPs.
All pictures and texts are taken from the original CD boxset but re-arranged on six sleeves and a leaflet. A download card is also included and, if you're lucky (if you're the first one actually), you can use mine : just find it on the pictures. One strange thing : the image used by Phish in february to hint at this release (a green square with the words "Side K : you Enjoy Myself"), isn't part of the boxset at all. Actually, the only green things on it are the tittle's letters and side numbers on the outside of the box.
I haven't got the chance to isolate myself for more than three and a half hours yet to proper listen to the music. I haven't listened to the show for many year actually as I haven't been impressed the first time I heard it. Maybe my expectations were too high knowing that Rolling Stone Magazine named it one of the "Greatest Concerts of the '90s", or maybe I wasn't in a good mood...
10. June 2015
I'm sure you already aware that Phish's Trey Anastasio will play the five final shows of the Grateful Dead in Santa Clara and Chicago between June 27th and July 5th.
My friend Gilles from Switzerland is trying to go to the Chicago shows.
The three last shows will be webcast but apparently, the MLB stream will not be available in Europe.
They will also be broadcast in a lot of cinemas in the United States.
But for us in Europe, the very last show (on the 5th) will be shown in selected cinemas all over Europe on the 6th night ! Holger will attend one of the many events in Berlin.
What seems to be the complete list of cinemas can be found here. As of now, there will be 11 events in France (most by Kinepolis) and one in Switzerland but unfortunatly none anywhere near Lyon where I live...
I would love to see this in a cinema and party the night with other fans. I hope more theatres will be added to the list but the time is short.
Please make it happen !
3. November 2014
I woke up at 8.30.
Or so I thought.
Gilles had sent me an email during the night to remind me that there was a time change today.
It was actually 7.30 !
I went back to bed for a welcomed extra hour...
When I woke up for good, my goal was to fit all that I've bought to my luggage and I achieved it quite easily.
After checking out, I took the bus to the city.
I had a few Souvenirs to buy, like a train toy for my son that I found at Toy'R Us.
I still had two hours until my appointment with Gilles so I went back to the Boardwalk.
I bought some Atlantic City T-shirts and a mug for my brother.
Then I just walked on the beach reflecting on the few days I've live here, living my dream. I ate a slice of pizza and took a coffee with more donuts. I quickly met Kevin from last evening bus, totally by chance.
3. November 2014
We were back at our hotel in the middle of the afternoon so I've been able to rest a little more. I took the bus at 6.20PM while several other obvious Phish fans ordered a cab.
During this ride, I witnessed another thing that couldn't happen in France. At the bus stop, I began talking with this young man, Kevin, and we quickly found out we were both heading at the same place. He asked me what I like in America. I answered that I love how welcoming people are. Talking like that with a stranger is quite rare, at least in my experience.
He had an appointment at a bar and asked me if I knew where it was. I wasn't sure and started to tell him what I knew. We were seated at the front of the bus and the driver heard our conversation. He naturally begun to explain him where the bar were from the bus stop. As he opened the door and we were going out, several people from way back inside the bus yelled at Kevin to show him the direction !
As the bus went away, I turn to Kevin and said : "That's the thing I love in America. This kind of spontaneous help never happens in France !"
Before entering the Boardwalk Hall
, I went to the band's hotel to leave my present. The person had a hard time understanding who it was for, even if I told him the exact name.
As I was entering the venue, my unprecedented luck stroke me again. Between the first person who scanned my ticket and the security check, I found on the floor an un-used golden wristband. Yes, one of those thing given to the holders of GA floor tickets ! I stashed it in my pocket without further ado.
Once inside, I took the time to eat a hot dog with French fries and bought two onesie for relatives' upcoming babies at the Waterwheel Foundation table.
2. November 2014
Still the same routine : woke up at 8.30, bath, breakfast.
I emailed Gilles to set an appointment at 11.30 in town, in front of Tanger Outlet.
But before our shopping adventure, I had to go back to Game Stop.
Remember I had reserved 2 limited edition controllers for the Wii U and for this, I had to subscribe to the Game Stop card ? Of course, I had explained to the seller that I was living in France and I didn't want to sign up for something that I could not use. The card costed $16 and he explained me that it would "pay itself" because of a discount I'd have on the Wii Remote.
So I double checked what I had to pay on my second visit and even with another game that I added, there wasn't any discount. As I supposed, I should had bought a lot more things to have one.
It wasn't the same person at the cashier but he was very understanding and refund me the price of card.
The rest of the day has been more shopping with Gilles at Tanger Outlet
(where I found Daft Punk
and Grateful Dead
vinyls, a Tetris card game
and a Lego book
) and at a nearby mall (where I bought Game Boy games
, a Zelda book
and a Pink Floyd vinyl
During the ride, we passed by a highway toll where the price was $0.75... exact change. We both run into sereval of these "Exact Change" signs since when arrived in the USA. When I took the bus in Atlantic City, I had to have the exact change to pay. The highway toll didn't even had another exit in case you did not have exactly 75 cents ! It looks like we should always have a bag full of quarters with us !
Gilles also showed me the "food court". There isn't things like that in France where tables and chairs are shared between several fast food vendors around. A very cool concept where you can eat different things with your friends at the same table.
1. November 2014
After more sleep, I was on the Boardwalk at 5.45.
They had a discount at Dunkin' Donuts so I bought 6 donuts for $3 but, as we say in French, "my eyes were bigger than my stomach". It was way too much for me and I couldn't eat them all.
A policeman call me out as I passed him to ask me if he could have one. He was joking but he was very surprised when I said "Sure! Help yourself" while opening the box in front of him. He thought I was joking too but as I was dead serious, he finally took one.
I gave 2 more to fans in the line. In the chat that followed, the guy told me, after he learned where I came from, "France? Never heard of it !".
Finally, as I couldn't enter the Boardwalk Hall with the last one, I had to trash the box at the security check, after telling the security guy to eat it. I hope someone finally took it.
1. November 2014
I don't know why I didn't use my "day off" to stay in bed late. Maybe I was afraid to miss the breakfast hours ? Anyway, I woke up at 8.30 and tried to warm my neck and back with a very hot bath. It didn't worked very well but at least I could walk better than the night before.
For breakfast, the food looked exactly the same as what was at my hotel in Reading. Like, exactly. But it was good enough and I didn't lack anything.
After a couple of minutes, I realized something felt awkward. I was alone except for the man at the reception on the other side of the room.
And then it stroke me : the music from the office was only old Christmas songs! I guess they didn't want a time off between the Halloween season (that ended the day before) and the Christmas one! I like Christmas time but it sounded strange on the 1st November!
I went back to my room at 10 and rested or slept the whole day. It rained outside anyway so I didn't want to go out. I don't like massage neither so I stayed in bed all the time, trying not to move.
Unfortunately, I still had to walk out to eat something around 12.30. After the pizza the day before, I choose the McDonald's, a mere few meters further, where stayed a little to write on my Journal.
1. November 2014
I arrived late at my seat, and missed the beginning of Ghost
. Who am I to wait 16 years to see my favorite band and miss a part of the concert ?! Twice as it happend at Reading too !
The music was imaginative, funky, great... as much as my neck was bad. I enjoyed the set but I spent most of it sat on my seat, head down. I couldn't stand up anymore.
People around me understood I wasn't feeling good and were nice with me. I was strange to be at a Phish show finally and to have to listen to it seated, head down, eyes closed, almost like I'm used to with my headphones.
As we're leaving at the end of the set, my contact advised me to go to one of those massages on the Boardwalk and to take some rest the next day.
On my way to the bus stop, I met Harry and his friend and we talked a little. Still costumed as Luigi and walking awkwardly, I passed a group of young gangsta-like men on my way to the bus stop. One of them called out to me : "Hey Luigi! Where's Mario ?!" In such a situation in France, I wouldn't have turned around. But, I don't know why, I felt safer here. So I answered "I don't know man, I think he's back at the Hall with the Princess!"
In my hotel bed, I quickly checked Facebook and found my picture in the Halloween gallery before falling asleep.