The Virtual Band

by Yome NetSan 23. March 2010

I heard this expression when 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.

Good answer !

by Yome NetSan 28. January 2010

Pfff, I'm seeing the end of it !
Too bad I won't see my 6 months baby with a Phish beanie anytime soon...

Here's my contact's answer and mine bellow.

Hi Guillaume.

I’m sorry I missed your first email. It was set aside by my spam filter – presumably because of the numerous exclamation points in the subject line. I apologize for not seeing it sooner.

I’m also sorry to learn that they processed your new shipment with the shortage of those items. Totally ridiculous. I’m refunding you $31 for the cost of those items, since we are completely out of those items. That refund should occur sometime today. I already refunded your shipping last time around, so I can’t do anything further there.

I agree with you that those shipping rates are ridiculous. I’ve long complained to my bosses that we are well above reasonable rates, and have already forwarded your emails to them to remind them yet again. It’s not like I’m pocketing that money personally.

The best I can do is extend some good faith to you as a fellow Phish fan. I’m going to set up a couple of unique discount codes for you which can be redeemed for free/discounted shipping on future orders. It might take me a day or two to get these set up, but I promise to send them along when they are ready. If you choose to shop with us again and use the codes, great. If you want to give them to a friend, that’s fine too. I also understand if this has soured you so much that you never shop with us again.

I’ll be in touch with those codes when they’re ready. Again, sorry about the poor communication on these out of stock items.

Best Regards,



Thanks for your answer, I was about to send a "third try" ;-)

Indeed, I didn't calculated the currency change ($>€) between the refund I got and the actual shipping fee. So there's no problem about the missing item, except that I was informed at all. It was really a downer when I open the parcel after the joy (!) of actually received it !

I appreciate your honest answer about the shipping rates and the discount coupons.
Of course, I'd be tented to say I'll never buy from Dry Goods any more. Unfortunatly, there's no alternative for some items...
I just hope my next order won't took 5 months to come and, if it happens, that the normal customer service will answer me properly :)

Thanks again for your help with this issue. Sorry I had to send to you so many emails ;)



Now I can relax and finally appreciate my Joy Box, my Joy Vinyl and my Joy CD.

Still waiting (part 4)

by Yome NetSan 14. January 2010

Good news !

Music Today's merch account manager answered me very quickly on Friday !

Thanks for your email Guillaume, and I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t received your order yet. Let me correct the situation for you as best I can.

I will have a new order shipped out to you by expedited/trackable shipping method right away. I will email you once I have tracking information -- hopefully later today, but definitely no later than Monday. Can you please confirm that there aren’t any errors in your shipping address? This is the address we used on the previous package:


I will get back to you later today with an update on the new shipment. Please do let me know if we should make any changes to your shipping address.

Also, we will refund your shipping charges, as we’ve clearly not give you proper service in this regard. You should see that refund on your bank statement within the next 5 business days.

Best Regards,

I got another email later after I confirmed the shipping address.

I have good hopes that this issue will finally comes to an end but it's thursday and I'm still waiting the tracking number and the refund.

Still waiting (part 3)

by Yome NetSan 8. January 2010

New year a new messages to Dry Goods...

I haven't received an answer to my 17th december email (already in holidays) so I sent 2 more this week. Still nothing.

So this morning, I emails directly Music Today's merch account manager which address as been given to my by a fellow reader. I hope it will make things moove...

Hello Mr. .......

I'm sorry to write to you directly but I have a serious issue with Phish's Dry Goods and I didn't get an answer to my emails since the 23th november 2009.

You can read the whole writing bellow but to make a long story short here is my problem :

I made an order on Dry Goods site on the 11th august 2009 (#24332894, $225.20 including $59.14 for standard international shipping as I'm in France).
This order contains, amongst other items, Phish's Joy Box which was delayed until mid-november.
I sent an email on the 17th november asking when my order will be shipped. I received the following day the shipping email and then an standard answer to my message saying that it was shipped on the 17th (strange cohincidence ?) and that international orders don't have a tracking number.
1 month later (17th december), I was still waiting for my order and ask again your custom service.
I sent again emails after the holidays but I still got no answer and still got no order (I checked my post office).

Right now, I'm rather upset that I spent $225 in august and I still didn't received my order.
Moreover, I'm really surprised that after paying $59 for shipping fees, you don't provide a tracking number.
I'm used to order items over the internet to foreign contry (USA, Europe or Asia) and Dry Goods has by far the most expensive shipping fees with the worst service (since its managed by Music Today).

You can read the following messages for furthur details and examples of overrated shipping fees (last example is $28.84 for shipping a $9.99 festival 8 playing card game, standard shipping !!).

I also post updates for this issue on my European Phish blog (, that's how I got your direct email.

I hope you'll be able to help me finally get my order and understand your international shipping fees

Thanks a lot.

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 !


Still waiting (part 2)

by Yome NetSan 17. December 2009

As expected, my new update about my Joy Box is another mail to Dry Goods...

Your standard answer to my email sounds like a bad joke. I wonder if you have really read my original message...

The fact is that I'm still waiting for my order #24332894.
I checked my shipping address on your website and it's good (I've already ordered several times with this same account without changing the shipping address).
I checked my local post office and they don't have this parcel for me (meanwhile, I received other orders from several websites from France, Canada and Asia during this 2 last mounths without any issue).

I'm in touch with other european fans who already received their Joy Box (but with a scratch) as you can see here :

I can't understand how you can make people pay such expensive international shipping fee ($59 in my case !!) without providing a basic tracking number ! Moreover, the items aren't that protected in the parcel and always come with a small or big scratch.
It is totally unprofessional and very disrespectful for your "valued" customer.
I'd like you to explain me how my order would cost you $59 to ship, with details. I have very high doubts about that amount.

Another example : If I want to order a simple t-shirt right now during the "7 Below sale", shipping to France would cost me $16.21 for a $14 shirt ! How can you justify those $16 without a tracking number ???
And of course, the free shipping is good only for US customers...

It's not a small order to an obscure seller on ebay in a difficult-to-reach country, it's a $225 order on the official web store of an internationally famous rock band !

I ordered on the 11th august 2009 and I doubt I'll get it before 2010 !

This is really a bad joke...

Please, I'm waiting for a real answer.

PHISH "Jox Box" finally arrived in Germany

by Holger 12. December 2009

Wednesday Dec 10th I finally got a letter that I can come to the German customs office in Berlin Schoeneberg to pay tax and release my delivery. So I drove to the department first thing in the morning on Thursday Dec 11th. From my previous experience I expected nothing less than 2 hours of driving and waiting. I was so damn right.

When you get there your have to show them the letter and you have to draw a waiting number - mine was #35. Next step after waiting is to go in, open the package by yourself, take out all contents and show them to the officer. Then he calculates the tax on basis of the value of the goods + delivery. It's 19% in Germany so on top of my 130,- USD value of goods + 50,- USD shipping I had to pay 23,- EUR tax. But you have to wait again before you are allowed to pay. With the receipt of your payment you can go back and finally release your order. What a hassle! But hey, fuck it - it's Phish :-) I would drive to Alaska.

The good thing about showing all contents of the box to the officer was to see them by myself for the first time in real. I got a huge smile on my face and the officer seemed to be kind of impressed as well. After driving to work I proudly showed the box to my colleagues. At home after work I made a couple of pictures.

The box itself is massive. Made out of heavy cardbox. Originally I thought its made out of plastic or wood. The cardbox seems not so stabile on the edges and corners. My box had a little scratch. Inside you find a hardcover book with lyrics, pictures and 2 CDs and 1 DVD. You also find 10 signed posters by different artists.

It's definately worth 75,- USD and you get a special price (11 USD each) for 2 Joy T-shirts.


Have you been on Phish tour in Europe ?
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