I finally found the Virtual Band

by Yome NetSan 10. August 2012

Remember when I wrote about a comment on the Headphones Jam that mentions Phish as a "Virtual Band" ? I couldn't recall where was the original post on the Internet but I just had a flash !

Actually, it was just before my eyes because it's the first review on livephish.com ! I don't know how I didn't think about it before...

TheSpaceman  (1/16/2007 9:31:15 AM)

I would be happy if Phish got together every now and then and recorded new jams like this for livephish.com

If touring is going to be an unworkable situation for the band...they should do this stuff on their own. Be a digital band. Screw the tours, screw the major label hassle...if the only way Phish can come back is by being radically different, while still moving forward, i think this is a great answer. No 3,000 person guest list, no lot scene...just new, great music with no pressure.

I would dig it and I bet they would end up making some great music.

p.s. - this jam is very cool.


Traveling to Festival 8

by Megan 2. April 2010

Though I was hoping for the miraculous announcement of a Summer Tour in Europe this year (don't we deserve it too?) it looks like it's not going to happen. Phish is in their element in the summer time of the good ole US of A. The land where rock and roll will never die. Since I was in the US as recently as January, another trip this summer is not a financial possibility for me. Instead I'll just have to live vicariously through my friends and the internet, like the rest of us Phish fans in Europe have grown accustomed to doing. Phish is even playing Merriweather Post Pavilian, in my home State of Maryland. I have been to Merriweather several other times, to see the likes of Radiohead, the White Stripes, Velvet Revolver, O.A.R., Ben Harper, Manu Chao, and the Thievery Corporation. That venue holds a lot of great memories for me. Coincidentally the shows there on the 26th and 27th of June will be attended by a Polish friend of mine for whom it will be his 26th and 27th Phish shows! Just goes to show that with a little dedication and a lot of free time, dreams really can come true :) Can't wait to feel that feeling I forgot.

For all of you though, that may be considering the oceanic voyage, and all the other cars, trucks and busses that will take you for the ride of your life, I could perhaps give a bit of advice taken from my 'recent' experience to Festival8 in Indio, California for Halloween weekend in November. I was extremely fortunate to be able to go to my second Festival.

My booking plans were pretty routine. First I flew home to Maryland, where I am originally from. There I was able to gather some of my own camping gear that has been conveniently stored at my parents house, such as a sleeping bag and a cooler. Then, I flew into LAX airport, using the cooler, filled with my other camping necessities (sequined costumes, glow sticks, face paint, flags, you know- just your basic camping necessities) as my check-in luggage on the flight. Sure, I got a few funny looks trollying that thing around the airport, but when you're on your way to see Phish, a few funny looks only give you additional satisfaction. The knowledge that you will be seeing your phriends and phamily in a world which remains only an elusive to concept to those on the outside....

Once in LAX where there were shuttles for the show running to and from Indio for the festival. This information for the shuttle was widely advertised on the official Phish website. Additionally, there are plenty of other Phish phan sites that use forums to arrange ride shares, airport pick ups, and so forth. If you feel comfortable to arrange rides with 'strangers' I can give you a vote of confidence in this matter. Phish fans really are birds of a feather, and everywhere I've gone, there have been wonderful people willing to give the shirt off their own backs if needed. When I went to Coventry in 2004, I simply went to the parking lot after the Camden, New Jersey show with a sign that read 'Peace, love, and gas money' and within no time I was cozied up in a van with several other Marylanders (one that juggled and could solve a rubics cube in less than a minute) headed North on what became a 24-hour car journey to Vermont (this however, is such a story it deserves its own post). However, For Festival 8, I arranged with several friends to rent an SUV, and from there we drove ourselves to Indio for the festival. There were some flight issues, mainly regarding flight cancellations in Denver from snow, which resulted in us driving the SUV from LAX airport to John Wayne and back when the luggage was misplaced.... But otherwise, the travel went smoothly.

For the festival, camping passes were sold as part of the tickets package. Separate shows however, do not always have a camping venue available, so you will have to look at the location of the show and see what kind of inexpensive hotels, hostels or campgrounds are available. In the summer time, a cheap and easy way to go is to camp. Coming from abroad to the US, it may be no simple task to bring the necessary camping equipment. However, you can follow your own preferences according to your affinity with nature, and your budget. The other thing about the camping is that, so many other people on Summer Tour are doing that as well, so campgrounds turn into the 'afterparty' and that aspect of Tour is really part of the whole experience. Staying in a hotel each night after a show certainly would be comfortable, but then you'd be missing out on making all of those phriends in the campgrounds and picking mud from your toes the next day. Who'd want to miss that?

I requested 2 tickets for the show in Telluride, Colorado, but didn't get them. I wasn't planning on making it to the show, but if I were chosen from the lottery, I would have given the tickets to some of my friends who wanted to go. You can find more information from the Phish homepage, but many ticket sales are done by a pre-request lottery, then a phone booking on a specific date. If you know already which show you are interested in seeing, you need to look online at the sales date ASAP and use a cheap international call carrier (like the preceeding '99588 +number' here in Finland) because you may be on hold for a while to get through. Otherwise you may have to use some other sites, like phunkybitches.com, phish.net or other Phish fan sites to try to arrange tickets, or hope to find your tickets outside the gates when you arrive (this can be risky as they can be more expensive this way). In otherwords, though, the conventional online purchasing of the tickets from the official websites is not the only method of obtaining tickets, and certainly at this stage in the ticket sales, not the most probably way either (the 'virtual band' becomes even more elusive).

Aside from the purchasing of tickets, my best advice is to travel light, and buy what supplies you need when you get there. Lawn chairs and other things are nice to have, but are a big luxury and travelling with them is next to impossible if you are taking a flight. When you get to the US you will find many discount superstores, e.g. Walmart, that will sell cheap camping supplies. If then you have no way of bringing them back on the flight with you, you can give them away at the end of the tour to those with cars living in the US who will be able to keep them, rather than throwing them away. They'd happily take your extra tubes of sunscreen, your $10 sleeping mat, or the cooler you buy for the tour but can't fit back into your luggage. These things you will want to have, but know that you can find them cheaply at superstores or camping supply stores like Sunny's Surplus, and giving them away later only adds points to your karma. Surely another Phish fan will have certainly given you something along the way. We stopped at a funny little alcohol bait and tackle place in the middle of nowhere on our drive from LA to Indio, where they sold everything from booze, to porn, camoflauge belts with the playboy bunny on them, and dry goods who's shelf life had long expired. There we were charged above the normal selling price because we were obviously out-of-towners, but we were too tired from our back-and-forth between two airports to notice/care. We decided then to make it our mission to visit the 24-hour Walmart before heading in to the campground. There, we got all the beer, fruit, sunscreen, and booze that we needed. Unfortunately they weren't selling water guns, because it was November :(. We were in good company, while shopping there were plenty of other Phish goers about, and many of them looked even more interesting than our motely crew. Though mostly I can say with certainty that the last people to judge us are the people working the night shift at a 24 hour Walmart, it was quite funny when the woman in her 40's lacking some teeth propositioned my friend (a girl) at the check-out. Though she added afterwards that her girlfriend would have her sleeping in the doghouse if she were caught cheating.... oh the people you'll meet....

As for the actual Festival 8, I was not disappointed. The venue was very well chosen, and as usual, the band spared no expense in gimmickry or amusement! If you're travelling in large groups, or have more than one car in your travelling caravan, you may want to make sure to drive into the parking lot right behind them, in order to get adjacent parking/camping spots. That way you don't have to go all looking for your friends after the show, though this is also an experience that yields some interesting adventures and new friends as well. The grounds was a very well manicured horse polo grounds and therefore, any camping spot was nicely flat and soft. The Los Pedros mountain range in the background and the palm trees everywhere added a nice scenic touch!

My friends had purchased a foldable picnic table with benches attached that they brought as checked luggage from Denver, and also an easy-up for shade. We brought also Halloween decorations for the 'easy-up', including solar powered LED lights, plastic spiderwebs and so forth. Finally, we marked our spot. Going to a large Festival where you will want to find many friends that you did not come with, OR at the end of the night, in case many of the camp grounds look the same and you would otherwise have difficulty finding your camping spot, marking is important. Many people do this with large helium balloons or tapestries. We used a Maryland and a Finland flag. The campsites were also sectioned off and named for convenience. Each campsite was given the name of one potential candidate album for the cover show on Halloween night. We stayed in the lucky chosen one, 'Exile on Main Street', which is the Rolling Stones album that they ended up choosing to cover :) It was to the surprise of many when they found that 'Loving Cup' was not a Phish original, but rather a Rolling Stones cover.

The festival transformed the polo grounds into it's own Gamehenge, a miniature city taken over by peaceful nomads from all walks of life. It included a 'merch' area for necessities and amenities alike, water bottles with the Phish logo on them which if purchased, could be refilled for free at the many water-refill stations (a great way to cut back on waste). There was a farmers market, where you could buy fresh local produce and other earth friendly amenities, like organic coffee and comb honey. The nearby 'shakedown' provides an opportunity to buy souveniers, like homemade merch, t-shirts, PhanArt, and other goodies. Nearby to 'shakedown', there was live open art being created and constructed including my personal favorite- a large boat constructed from plastic recycleables! We were freely invited to contribute, and the art became a massive group endeavor. Inside the venue, a labrynth shaped like a snake tempted visitors with distorted mirrors and other illusions. Reaching the top, an elevated view of the stage was a nice vantage point for those who don't aspire to be entrenched in the pulsating, glowing swarm that is the crowd. There was also a Giant Wheel, providing a magnificent view of Los Pedros mountains and the entire grounds (see the picture of my friends and I in our Ocelot costumes).  For me, little extra touches were what made the band's playful creativity come to life, for example the doughnuts shaped like an '8' that they were giving away on Sunday morning, or the giant glowing zeppelin that floated and changed colors throughout the music.

These are all just suggestions, things that I have experienced, and have witnessed working for others, but everyone has a different travel/tour mode, and their own preferences. Hopefully sharing this experience with you has given you some ideas of how things go and what you'll need to do to prepare yourself for the geat journey! Let me know if any of this has been helpful, and if you need any other suggestions, I am happy to help.

The Virtual Band

by Yome NetSan 23. March 2010

I heard this expression when livephish.com released the Headphone Jam during de 2004/2009 break. The idea was that Phish would become a virtual band, not performing live but gathering on some occasion to record hour long free form jam. They would still be "broken up" but still playing in a way. I thought it was a good alternative at a time when reunion wasn't even hoped.

But from my point of view, Phish has always been a virtual band. I discovered them in 1997 with a studio album dating back from 1988. As i've never heard about them, I thought they were disbanded for long. Then I became aware that they were still playing lot of shows and starts following them on the Internet.

My computer has always been, and still is, my only link with the band. Browsing several websites and blogs about the band and fans, downloading audience or soundboard recordings of almost every show, watching, at first very poor and then very good quality, videos is a everyday occupation.
I remember watching songs' name appearing in setlists. At one time, some where only names as I haven't listened to them yet. I discovered Mike's Song, for example, with Slip Stitch and Pass.

Internet is also the almost exclusive way to buy Phish related material, although I managed in 1999 and 2000 to buy somes albums at my local store in France. This was possible, I think, because the band toured sporadicly in Europe and Japan from 97 to 2000, so their releases were better distributed outside the US. So I bought a lot of Phish albums, live releases, boxsets, dvds, books, goodies, promo cds. All of that gave me a rather complete view of the band, their music and their career, but in a virtual way. There hasn't been any physical connexion because everything went thought the computer.

Oh wait, There's one ! I managed to buy the Green Sparow, Mike Gordon's last studio album, with a signed booklet. The signed booklet was added to the package along with a regular sealed CD. I understand that it's a lot easier for every one (including Mike) to have a pill of single booklets signed without having to open a cd, pull out the booklet, sign it, pull back it inside and then send it.

Phish is the only active band that have a big impact on me that I've never seen live in concert. In fact, Phish is the artist entity that had the most impact on me for my whole life. Bigger than Michael Jackson back in the 90's, who is the artist that woke up my musical tastes (and I got to see him live in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1997).
The only other band for which I would travel the globe to see live is Pink Floyd. Another dream that I will never live for obvious reasons.

I felt very broken in 2004 when I knew about the break up, again by checking my emails. I cried when I read the news and I cried again on august 16th morning when I woke up and read the setlist and reports on the Internet.
I feel almost as broken up since I took the decision last week not to go to the USA this summer. I always fear that a break up (or worst) can happen any time and that I will never see them, althought the musical and health situation for the band is very different now than in 2004. I'd never listened to the Las Vegas 2004 run since this week, and I'm glade to enjoy the music I heared in 2009.
By the way, 2009 is the only year during which I listened to every single show played by Phish, at worst 2 days after it was played. In 2004, I listened to all of the summer tour but out of order and in the following month, without regularity. I started in January to listen to every 2002/2003 shows and even if it's not 1994 or 1998, I'm enjoying it very much.

By the way, what if all that music was fake ?

I thought about it from the very beginning when I didn't really know the songs and where to find shows. I happened to download concerts from other band (Cousin Fungus, String Cheese IncidentDave Matthews Band, Greateful Dead, or other jam bands) without noticing at first it wasn't Phish. I even end up burning CDs and labelling CDs as Phish by mistake. At the end of the day, I was still enjoying all this new music, whatever the band was playing.
The idea came then that, even if Phish wasn't really playing this music, I wouldn't care as long as I'm enjoying what I listen to. I mean Phish's music could be computer generated, the band could fake playing on stage (like lips-synch with instruments), all of their improvised moment could be writen in advance. Sure I'd be pissed to have been fooled but, man the music is fucking good ! That's why I enjoy live DJ sets like Daft Punk's Alive 2007. Everything is written and planed but the music is fun.

That's what's important after all : music.
Phish can still be a virtual band playing (or faking) in a far away country, I don't care as long as I can listen every day of my life to new music from them.

It was the good old time....

by Yome NetSan 23. December 2009

I just found 2 invoices for orders I made to Dry Goods back in the days.

10/31/2003 : Live in Vegas DVD $17
International shipping : $5

06/07/2004 : The White Tape CD $11
International shipping : $5

Now that MusicToday manage Dry Goods, international shipping for a $14 T-shirt is $16.21 !
I tried to buy The White Tape to check the shipping fee and they are $15.21 (the CD itself is now $12), as for Live in Vegas.

So it's three time the price !

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for both my Joy Box and an answer from my last message to Dry Goods...


Anyway, have a Merry Christmas and try to start 2010 as best as you can ! Have fun in Miami Holger !


Let me introduce myself

by Holger 10. December 2009

Yome was so kind to let me blog on his site.

Let me introduce myself shortly before I start to post stories about my Phish travels and experiences. My name is Holger and I am a German Phish phan who lives in Berlin since 2003.

My sister was hosting a kid from Massechusetts as part of a youth exchange back in the mid 90s. He had some Phish records in his CD collection incl. “Hoist” and “A Live One” as far as I remember. I was interested but not blown away immediately to admit. 1-2 years later I was reading the German music magazine “Musicexpress” and my attention was caught by the record of the month article – “Billy Breathes”. I almost forgot about Phish since I first heard them but I gave them a second chance. The album was gorgeous.

Only a couple of month later I saw that they play a show in Munich which was about 150 miles away from my parent’s house. I decided to drive down with a friend. The show changed my life. In the same summer they played only 60 miles away from my parents home in Nuremberg. I bought tickets for me and my friends.Later my sister and me also won 2 tickets in a competition by our local news paper because we were the only people who took part. So we brought two more friends. The show was amazing. Only one year later another Europe tour was announced. This time Germany was left out but Prague was only 130 miles away. This was my best show so far. Unfortunately we did not stay overnight – big mistake because it was the last time they came to Europe since then. Who could foresee this?

In 1999 I was very close to book a trip to Big Cypress after I got mailing with the announcement but in December ’99 I felt in love with my girlfriend so I didn’t want to leave her alone over our first NYE. Years went by and as a student I had absolutely no money to follow Phish in the US while Europe was constantly left out of their touring plans (maybe due to the increasing drug issues of Trey which could easily cause trouble if you travel accross different countries). In 2002 I got my first real job and in 2003 my girlfriend and me were flying to the gigs in East Rutherford (with special guest B.B.King) and Worcester and also to Miami for 2 out of 4 shows of the NYE run. In 2004 we attended 2 of the Las Vegas shows. We never did this for Phish alone but always planned a road trip around it with classic sight-seeing stuff. I had some of the best times of my life on these travels.

When Phish broke up I was shocked and very sad. Once the first reunion rumors came up my fanatism was back on track. I tried hard to get tickets for Hampton through the lottery and on Livenation but failed. I retried for the summer tour and had tickets in the basket but the site crashed several times. Don’t ask me how but as I wanted to see Phish again so badly I somehow manged to get tickets for Deer Creek / Noblesville and both Alpine Valley shows. The trip was only 4 days – fly in, fly out (Berlin-Amsterdam-Detroit-Chicaco + drive to Indianapolis). I was all alone and came just to see Phish. Crazy? Life saving! The shows and people I met on the trip ("Hi" to Matt & Justin!) were worth every Euro and Dollar. People around me thought this could heal my hunger but the complete opposite was the case. A total relapse: I am more addicted than ever. “Joy” is a great album and tomorrow morning I will drive to customs to finally get my box set.

In a little more then 2 weeks my girlfriend (still the same after 10 years of tolerating my passion) and me will fly to Miami to see all 4 shows of the NYE run 2009. We got lower section tickets on ticketmaster (I might tell you the whole drama of buying them in a different post) so I have no doubt that the shows will be mind blowing. I plan to blog about the trip to keep you updated. We will see what 2010 and the future brings for us Phish phans - hopefully some Europe shows after then 12 years of abstinence…



Let's start with the obvious ones

by Yome NetSan 22. September 2009

I'm a collector. That means when I like something, I can't help but collecting everything about it. My collections span from video games (Nintendo, WipEout, Castlevania...) to Coffee mugs, Michael Jackson and of course Phish.

I will use this little journal to showcase my Phish collection and I'll start with what I started with : the studio CDs.

I discovered Phish during summer holidays in Long Island, on the 12th July 1997. I traveled from France to USA with my best friend/sister and her own sister. During my stay, I listened to a lot of new music like Bob Marley, Les Miserables or Jimmy Buffet along with what I used to listen a lot at the time like k's Choice or the Smashing Pumpkins. I also met several fine peoples and eventualy went to a party one night in a friend's home. At some point, a guy put a song that instantly catched my ears. It had a nice groove and funny melody. After the song, they switched CDs so I could borrow the showcase organiser. Man ! Even the disc is nice to look at ! I was Junta, disc 1. I asked which song as just been played. It was Fee and I was hooked.
Some days latter (16th July to be precise), I bought the double CD and stepped onto the Phish World (I've already told this little story on my other french web site).

When I came back to France, I realised that Phish was really famous in the US but completly unknown here, so finding new CD wasn't really easy. I wasn't into file downloading yet and didn't know the taping policy of the band. I didn't even noticed they had just did 2 tours in Europe, the last european show in Spain played just the day before I heard Fee for the first time ! My only fix was my only CD.

Near Christmas 1997, I found in a shop in Geneva, Switzerland, another double CD : A Live One (not in the picture as it's a live album). I then discovered the improvisation side of Phish. I listened furiously.
The following albums I got was Rift and Hoist that my brother's girlfriend brought back for me from her USA trip during summer 1998. 

At this time, one can wonder why I didn't catch a show during Phish's Europe summer tour in 1998. There are several reasons. Beeing a student, I wasn't very rich as so couldn't go too far away for a concert. The 9 european shows this summer were in Denmark, Czech Republic and Spain. That beeing said, I also met the woman of my life this summer so my mind wasn't into going to a concert (at least without her as we went to the Paleo Festival to see k's Choice). That's the way I missed the last european Phish shows.

During my studies in Valence, France (not to be confused with Valence, Spain), while discovering at last the magic of mp3 downloading, I encountered The Story of the Ghost and Farmhouse in the local Fnac shop. Several years later, I surprisely got The Siket Disc and Billy Breathes for two consecutive christmas. My parents found them in the same (and now closed) Geneva shop where I found A Live One several years before.

Once I got free to buy stuffs from Dry Goods (aka once I earned enough money with my job), I complete my collection with The White Tape and Round Room. I guess I got Lawn Boy and A Picture of Nectar this way as I don't remember how I got them...

My last Phish studio album was of course Undermind which I pre-ordered as soon as I could and received on the 18th June 2004 (as seen here and here). I listened to it at full power in my living room, while drinking a honey flavored beer.

Soon, my collection will grow bigger with Joy as I ordered the regularvinyl and Box editions from Dry Goods and I hope to received them by the end of October.


Have you been on Phish tour in Europe ?
Have something to write about Phish ?
If you are a european Phish fan, feel free to contact me to become a writter on this blog !

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