Busy, busy, busy...

by Yome NetSan 21. October 2013

After 8 days in Morocco, I'll head up for my trip in the US of A. I better get some rest on the beach because I'll be very busy during my stay across the ocean. 

I like to plan stuffs out so I have landmarks, althought things are always subject to change of course. But this is basically to help me keeping tracks of the mandatory eandez-vous like bus departure, concerts...

I sometimes have several options for things like the bus from Philadelphia to Atlantic City or IMAX 3D screening for Gravity.

 

October already ?

by Yome NetSan 3. October 2013

What happened ?!

I thought I would flood this page with dozen of posts in the weeks leading to my trip in the US to see Phish. I wanted to change the blog's design and colors, even lighten the overall color as the days past, ending in a completely bright website. I'd have loved to add a widget on the top right saying something like "34 days before my first concerts !"

But time past too quickly and I happen to be too busy with work and family to do all that. It's not that I'm not excited to go, but maybe I don't fully realize yet that I'll be living a dream I dream for so many years in just about a month from now !

 

Meeting some fans

A nice thing that happens during the process of finding tickets is that I met some french speaking fans ! Some contacted me though this blog and I found others on the forum of phish.net. They are from France, living in Paris, in the south or in the US ! One of them, Gilles from Switzerland, has been seeing jam bands for years and has been writing in a web fanzine some years ago. He might write some trip report here in the future (he's been to Alpharetta this summer) and will be at the same shows as me in the fall.

 

 

Planning my trip

Right after I secured my concert tickets, I searched for hotels and flights. I found out that the booking fees were lower depending on the hour of the day I place the order. So I woke up in the middle of the night (4AM or so) to booked my flights to have free fees !

As I accidently bought a ticket for the October 29th show in Reading, I made arrangement to be there. The thing is that I already have vacations booked in Morocco the week before and I'll be back from there on October 28th. I didn't want to leave my wife too early and I tried to avoid one more hotel stay. 

I'll finally take off from Lyon very early on Tuesday morning to be in Philadelphia early in the afternoon. Gilles will arrive from Geneva an hour before. He plans to rent a car and offered me to drive me to Reading and from Atlantic City to the airport for my flight home on the 3rd November. I'll arrived in France on the 4th and my return to the office on the 5th (with a work meeting already planned at 9AM) will be tough.

I also quickly booked my hotel nights. I was afraid of finding myself with only expensive and far await possibilities. I'm not that satisfied with my Reading option but the one I found in Atlantic City is rather near the venue (it's actually across the street from Bader Field) and cheap. I don't know if the quality will meet my expectations but I don't think I'll spend a lot of times in my rooms anyway. 

I don't know neither if there are many things to do in Atlantic City except for the beach and the casinos. Anyway, I already spotted several video game stores in town !

 

Still things to do

Apart from that, I still have things to do to be ready. I almost forget that I have to change a bunch of Euros to Dollars !

A Halloween costume is also mandatory. I thought about several possibilities like dressing like Guy Forget (because of the Phish connection and he's french) or the Eiffel Tower... I now have 2 options, both related with video games. We'll see...

The trip from Reading to Atlantic City also have to be planned. I'd have loved to take the train but that's long gone apparently. Greyhound buses are one of the only options so I checked ou their website. Times and rates are fine but it's better to search for two seperate rides instead of one :

  • Reading to Philadelphia = 18 $
  • Philadelphia to Atlantic City = 12 $
  • But Reading to AC = 52 $ O_o

 

Predictions 

New Year's run at Madison Square Garden has been announced so we know there won't be an 30th anniversary show on the December 2nd. We could have predict that because they already did a 25th anniversary run in 2003. 

The overall guess is that the minestrone will be celebrated in a way or another at Halloween or MSG. The fact is that the 30th Phish show in the Garden will happen... on December 30th !

About the musical costume, many assumptions have been made, from the brand new album they told to have recorded to Junta or the White Tape. I also thought about Michael Jackson's Thriller because it's an iconic album, it's been released in late 1982 (that's almost 30th years ago) and it would be a funny nod to their first show ever. But they already paid tribute to the man on 6/25/2010 during a marvelous 2001.

For the same reason, I don't think it will be a Pink Floyd album, although that would be my top choice !

I could be a Grateful Dead record because of the obvious links between the bands and the recent sit-in by Trey Anastasio with Furthur.

My personal favorite (but totally unlickely) would be Daft Punk's Discovery. Since the fist time I listened to this record in 2001, I thought that it could be played by our band. Just imagine the a giant funky dance floor Boardwalk Hall would become !

 

Will 2013 be finally THE year ?

by Yome NetSan 29. July 2013

When the fall tour 2013 has been announced last week, I read the news like any Phish tour announcement for sixteen years. Where will they play ? How many shows ? Basic stuffs. But when I saw that they'll play 3 days at Atlantic City from October 31th to November 2nd, I got pretty hyped : Halloween + 30th anniversary show during the same run ?! I HAVE TO GO !

Ok, I realized a few minutes ago that their birthday was on December 2nd, not November 2nd...

Nevertheless, my brain was already on fire. The run will be at the very end of the Toussaint holidays in France. I already planned a family trip to Morocco but it won't last the 2 weeks. With one flight to the U.S.A., I could attend 3 shows, including a pretty rare Halloween 3-setter ! I talked about it to my wife and her answer was both encouraging and full of common sense : "How much would it cost ?"

Yes, the main concern will be the money, as it has always been.

The following day, I checked several websites for flights booking to have an idea of the grand total.
First surprise : Atlantic City International airport can't be reached from Europe. So I search for Philadelphia from Lyon, Paris or even Geneva. I found several possibilities with or without stopover for a price from 600€ to 700€. I can find cheaper with 2 stopovers but I don't want to spend 24 hours in planes and airports...
A 3 day ticket would be 180$ but I have to add the fee and shipping for a total of 217.10$.
I have also to count 4 hotel nights, a way to go from Philly to Atlantic City (it seems I won't be alone), food and pocket money.

OK so I have to find a 1200€ bill.

I could fight against my habits to buy countless video games or vinyls to finally save this amount until October. The problem is I have to spend most of it (tickets, plane and hotel) at least in august and I don't have it now. So, like many times before, I dug the idea...

 

On Saturday, I received a letter from my company about my annual bonus. Usually it's stuck on a special bank account for 5 years unless I get married, have a baby or buy a house, which is not planned. But for the first time, this year, I have the option to request the full amount to be paid immediately.

 

Wait a minute...

 

This morning, I did something I've been dreaming of for sixteen year : I request tickets for a Phish show on tickets.phish.com

Oh my. I'll go to a Phish show !

Phrench Poker Magazine

by Yome NetSan 14. February 2011

I don't play poker (or every once in a while), yet this morning I bought a poker magazine, Poker 52. Indeed, it has Phish in it.

2 pages about Phish in a french magazine is very rare, and it's even more surprising it arrives in a poker magazine. The author is a regular writer in this magazine and, this time, the editor picked an article about our favorite band, we must salute the effort.

The story is about a fan's travel from Bruxels, Belgium, to Madison Square Garden, New York, for the NYE Run.
At the beggining, he has already missed the first show in Worcester but plan to arrive at New York then rent a car to drive to north east for the 28th december concert.
But due to bad weather, his flight is canceled. Several options are sugested by the company like a direct flight that arrive on January the 1st or another to land late on the 30th.
Finally, his trip goes like this : Bruxels > London [3h wait] > Chicago [3h wait] > Boston [landing at 1.30am] > 5h Drive to New York on the 30th.

The original article (in french) can be read on the author's blog here : http://benjodimeo.blogspot.com/2010/12/gone-phishin.html

Thanks to Coventry Blog for the story.

Japanese dreams

by Yome NetSan 17. June 2010

I've been in Japan last year for a trip around traditions and video games, organized by a french retro games book and magazine editor : Pix'n Love. I've been to Kyōto, Osaka and Tōkyō. It was a defining trip for me. I loved everything there : the weather, the mood, the people, the streets, the temples...
My only regret is that I haven't met too much locals and I definitely want to go back there one day.

10 years ago, Phish was coming back from a 7 shows tour in Japan. It was the last time they played outside of the American continent. Several trip reports and journals give us a glimpse of what is to see Phish in Japan, and after reading them I guess I'd prefer Phish to announce a tour over there than in Europe. Those articles remind me of the feelings I got in april 2009 when I was wandering the streets of Ikebukuro and Shinjuku by myself.
If a new tour in Japan would happen, nothing in the world could prevent me to make the trip. Yes, I know it's almost what I said for the US summer tour this year...

 

Hidden Track :

 

Dr. Pauly on Coventry Music Blog :

 

Mr. Miner's Phish Thoughts :

 

Other random pages and downloads :

 

The fifth show of this tour, played on the 14th june 2000 in Fukuoka, is available on CD and download as Live Phish Volume 04.


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.

Summer dream

by Yome NetSan 19. March 2010

While it's still at the dream state, summer is taking shape.
As you can see on my map, I'm considering 3 options with a wide range of possibilities.

 

My initial idea was to follow the entire second leg in August.
As the tour starts with 3 nights at the Greek Theatre in Berkley, I could take a flight from France to San Francisco. Then I planed to rent a car (maybe a SUV or even a van) to take the long drive to Telluride, Colorado. After the 2 festival-like shows in the mountain, I'd drive furthur east to attend the 3 other 2 nights stands. The tour and summer ends on Jones Beach, in Long Island. Really close to where my story with Phish begun twelve years earlier in a warn july night of 1997 (see my story here). I'd take the plane in New York to come back home the following day.

Sure enough, traveling alone by car all of the USA from West to East should be a wild ride, but a long one. The distance between Berkley and Telluride, Telluride and Noblesville and finally East Troy and Wantagh are promise of day long drives, respectively 1766, 2255 and 1497 kilometers (sorry, I don't count in miles even if it'd seems shorter). I didn't investigate the possibility of continental flights.
The fact that the Greek Theatre and Telluride tickets might be the more difficult to score in the whole summer is another downer. It would be tough if I book such a trip and happen to not have tickets...
Flying from France to San Francisco is also very long and has almost every time a stop in another country (London, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam or Toronto).
Because of all of these reasons, it's the most expensive and exausting option.
On the other hand, it would be 11 shows in a 15 days period with only multi nights in mythical places, an initiatic trip and a great adventure.

 

But what about the first leg ?

At first, I gave it a no go because it would make me miss my wife and me anniversary. Then I recall that as far as I remember, I've always told her that if a Phish concert was to be balanced with our anniversary, and even more as time pass, Phish will have the priority. I might sounds mean but, technicaly, I felt in love with Phish before I felt in love with her. Fortunatly, the summer tour makes a pause during most of July and so doesn't interfer with my baby's first birthday. Of course, I wouldn't have missed this for anything.

So I checked the shows that didn't imply a long drive around New York and narrowed the list to 9 to 11 shows.
Both options make me land and take off in New York (JFK Airport or Newark). Still with a car rent, I'd drive to Hartford, Saratoga Springs, Mansfield, Camden and Columbia. I could add Hershey and Portsmouth at the beginning if I don't mind to drive twice 700 more kilometers for 2 shows.
Those dates and flights make the whole trip a lot cheaper.
In the end, I'd attend 9 or 11 shows in 12 or 16 days without driving the 68 hours of the August run. Of course, the adventure is less thrilling but should be more fun after all without all of the exhaustment.

It's a first draft, as I may adjust my flights to land and take off nearer of the first and last show. I could also choose another airport in Europe as it wouldn't be very different in terms of train to begin in Paris, Lyon or even Geneva.
And as the price of the flights Europe/New York are mostly the same whatever the days I choose, I could also take an extra day in Manhattan or Long Island, to meet old friends from 1997 who knows...

 

For those who keeps tracks (and that's including myself), here is the Excel file I compiled to consider all the possibilities : Phish Summer 2010.xls (133.50 kb)

 

But after 2 days of research and dream, I came to the conclusion that it would cost at least 2000€ and that I must take 2 weeks off from work for the trip.
Meanwhile, we are looking for a house to buy so I'd have to take the money from the house to the trip.
Technically, I could take enough days off in the summer without a problem for my company. But I already took days off for myself only in the past (I went to Japan last year for example), while I couldn't thoses last mounths when my wife needed help with the baby, because I had too much work.
I have to accept the evidence and listen to my conscience (aka my wife) who tells me that it wouldn't be reasonable to go. And even if she wouldn't blame me if I took the decision to go, I know I have to be serious and stop beeing selfish (without a play on word).

Going to the USA to see Phish on tour is a dream I have for more than ten years now, but it seems that there are dreams that aren't made to be fullfiled.
I'm sure there are many other Phish fans in France and Europe who will never ever see Phish in concert too...
Why not gather all of them in my future house for a listen party ?

 

Summer tour

by Yome NetSan 17. March 2010

Now that the summer tour 2010 has been announced, I have until march 26th (ten days !) to decide if I can go and register for tickets.
First leg is a no go because of the dates. I like the idea of traveling the whole USA from West to East in August. It should be a wild ride.

The main problem is that I have another projet that will interfere : we are looking for a house to buy. Money will be the issue.


See Phish Summer 2010 on a bigger map

 

PHISH 2010 SUMMER TOURDATES

06/11 - Toyota Park, Chicago, IL
06/12 - Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
06/13 - Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey, PA
06/15 - nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
06/17 - Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT
06/18 - Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT
06/19 - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
06/20 - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
06/22 - Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA
06/24 - Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
06/25 - Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
06/26 - Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
06/27 - Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
06/29 - CMAC Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY
07/01 - Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC
07/02 - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
07/03 - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GA
07/04 - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GA
08/05 - The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA
08/06 - The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA
08/07 - The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA
08/09 - Telluride Town Park, Telluride, CO
08/10 - Telluride Town Park, Telluride, CO
08/12 - Verizon Wireless Music Center, Noblesville, IN
08/13 - Verizon Wireless Music Center, Noblesville, IN
08/14 - Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
08/15 - Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
08/17 - Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, NY
08/18 - Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, NY

Phish NYE Miami Tour - Jan 1st (return to home)

by Holger 2. January 2010

The alarm clock rang 7.15 after 4,5h of sleep. Much too short for my taste. I felt every beer and irish whiskey that Justin was carrying around as usual. Unfortunately staying in bed was no option as we had to catch a flight from Miami to Philly.

The breakfast room was empty and so were the streets when we drove to the airport and returned to car at the Alamo station. The Jeep patriot was 175 EUR a week incl premium insurance package and one tank of gas! A standard intermediate car would have been 150 EUR so I can only recommend to pay the extra 3-4 EUR per day and enjoy the cool american style SUV driving. "I want my SUV" (was that Mark Knopfler singing in "Money for nothing"?).

At the airport we had to find out that our flight was delayes over a hour. We have two hours in Philly so we should still be able to make the connection flight to Frankfurt. The good thing was that they had free Wi-Fi at the US Airways gate so I could upload last night's pictures to Flickr where Yome is grabbing them to put them up here. The livephish.com downloads of all 4 nights are already on my Blackberry and ready to be explored in depth over the next couple of hours.

When we entered the plane I discovered soul singer John Legends sitting in the first class. Prominent travel mate I would say ;) The flight itself was horrible. Bumpy turbulences for 2 hours. My stomach was spinning in circles - the beers an whiskeys, you remember?

Philly to Frankfurt was on time. Nothing exciting on the 8h flight but I got a beer for free (instead of 7 USD) because a salad bowl felt off the wagon of the stewardess when she was passing by and landed on my lap. Frankfurt to Berlin (usually a 50min flight) was also on time but couldn't land in Berlin because the airport was shut down for about 60-90min due to heavy snow fall. Once on the ground we couldn't get a parking position as the other planes couldn't start during the closing period. It took ages until we finally had the bags, passed customs (no officer on duty at all) and jumped into a cab that drove us to our flat. I hardly remember so much snow in Berlin. What a contrast?! +28°C sun and beach to -10°C snow and concrete. We have 2 days left to fully recover before Natalie and me both go back to work on Monday January 4th. My head is full of great memories and the trip and experience was definitely worth every Euro and minute of traveling. Would do it again without thinking twice! Take care all of you and happy new year again to the whole Phish community and sites which help us to connect, share, publish, etc. (phish.com, livephish, drygoods, fromtheroad,  phishthoughts, bouncingaroundeuroom.eu, thisweekonlot.com, jambands.com, phish.net, phantasytour, glidemagazine, relix,  archive.org, twitter, facebook, last.fm, youtube, flickr and many more).


2009/12/31 NYE with Phish in Miami

by Holger 1. January 2010

Last day in Miami and we picked up Justin at his motel on Biscayne Blvd to go to south beach at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. This is one of the nicest beaches I know! Perfect on time we got the best weather of the week (approx. 27-28C). We could even swim in the ocean this time. Before we left the beach we took the obvious pictures and got a random blessing by a really nice and wise man who loved to hear that we just got married. He asked god to bless us with health, a long life, happiness, luck, children, etc. And he told us that I am the "head" and Natalie is the "neck" and that the head is nothing without the neck. He also said that a table with 2 legs doesn't stand. So true! I really did feel blessed after the procedure as strange as it sounds. I definately took it as a good sign by any meaning.

Back in the hotel around 5pm we packed our stuff for the flight back and wanted to go to Shuckers again but due to NYE they didn't serve dinner. We walked up the street where I spotted a fish restaurant ("The Crab House") the days before. The waitress was enthusiastic about their special deals and special NYE 3-course menues but I politely interrupted her to tell her that we are looking for a very quick and short dinner because we go the see Phish. She didn't have a clue what I was talking about ;) Natalie had fish and chips and I had a combo with fish and chips, crab cakes and fried scampi. Yummie! They tried to support our evening plans real hard and brought the food in record breaking time. The difficult part was to get a taxi which took about 20min. The caribean driver was really funny ("NYE in Miami is CRAZY I tell ya"). He explained that it would be close to impossible to get a cab on NYE especially after midnight and on the Miami side as all cabs are in South Beach (I will come back to this later). He dropped us off across the street after a speedy 25 USD ride.

Everything was fully packed and the air was burning. It was a hot day and the streets were still warm at night. People were heated up for the show and NYE in general. You could see all kinds of crazy costumes, formal dresses, fake hairs, colorful clothes. The mass was screaming, yelling, cheering to let out the energy in some direction. There was also a strong demand to connect with others which resulted in a total breakdown of all mobile networks. I wasn't abe to call or text message Justin for over an hour! Suddenly the plan to party in advance of the show busted and we drank our bee alone. I was definately pumped for the NYE show and even Natalie was kind of looking forward to it this time.

I had just bought 2 beer inside and walking towards our section as set 1 started with "AC/DC Bag". I prepared a wish list of songs during the day and they played 14 (!) out of 29 - that's a 50% correct guess. After a perect dancing start they played "46 Days" which always gets me in a really good mood. "Water In The Sky" pleased the Florida crowd before "Bathtub Gin" took it to the next level. Then "Punch You in the Eye" got the arena through the roof. I have never seen such a wild collective dance. This set 1 was like a second 2 set if you know what I mean. Fast, groovy, jamming - like the pefect "The Moma Dance" which was followed by a singing "Guyute". Then the band gave the crowd a rest after the multiple orgasms. "Swept Away", "Demand", "Seven Below" and the cool bar tune "Lawn Boy" helped to save some power for the long night yet to come. They really know to make a perfect setlist with exciting starts, exclamation, rests and a grand finale like "Julius". Man, what a 1st set! Unfortunately still no Justin in sight.

During setbreak Natalie stayed at the seats in case Justin would be looking for us. I was getting us 2 more beers and return exactly when the lights turned off and Justin made down from 4th level to our lower section (sec 118, row 20, seats 7/8). The rest of the night should bring massive excitement with 2 of my favorite covers by Phish. First one kicked off set 2 - "Rock & Roll" (by The Velvet Underground). It felt like the show contained a lot of "Billy Breathes" and "The Story of the ghost" songs. "Rock & Roll" was one of my absolute highlights of the whole night and it got an welcomed extension when it merged into "Piper" followed by "Simple" with a background choir of 20.000 phans. "Theme From The Bottom" gave us some air to breath before we collapse. "Shine A Light" is the second best song (besides "Loving Cup") from the Halloween musical costume which brought us a complete cover of the Rolling Stones record "Exile on main street". And it got better and better with the obvious "Ghost" which was overdue since 3 days and fulfilled all expectations. "NO2" and "Suzy Greenberg" closed an awesome 2nd set around 11.30pm.

From now on everybody was checking the clock for midnight to arrive. You could already see thousands of huge balloons holden by big nets under the roof of the American Airlines Arena. This is classic! 5min before midnight "Party Time" started the extravaganza and it seemed as it was only written for this occasion. The band moved into "Auld Lang Syne" exactly at midnight. The balloons were following down and filling the arena with pure joy. When the bass line of "Down With Disease" started the crowd totally freaked out for the next 10-15min. Balloons were EVERYWHERE!

Then the so called "NYE gag" with Fishman as main actor took place. Yome already wrote about it so I skip this part. I only want to add that from the audience you really couldn't tell if it was the girl or Fishman dressed up like the girl. And the faking at the beginning of "Fluffhead" seemed like a really well trained amateur drummer tried to play with Phish. "Joy" was the perfect song to nail down everyone's feeling. I was so happy and that's how the band wants us to be. "The Squirming Coil" was another crowd pleaser which made us all sing together one more time but one song was still missing after 4 unbelievable days and nights. And they delivered it big time. "Wash uffize drive me to Firenze"! "You Enjoy Myself" is probably THE Phish song ("Man...", "God...", "Shit..."). It ended in a vocal jam like most of the times in the previous 2009. I was exhausted but after "Blue Moon" I saved the rest of my power for  "Loving Cup" - "I'm the man from the mountain...".

Oh my god, what a monster night! Probably my best Phish show ever! It seemed like everybody was enjoying themselves and collectively a lot. The crazy mix of people at Phish shows from all kinds of different states and with all kinds of different styles is a story of its own. I am so glad that Justin joined us. He is such a lovely guy who is always entertaining and outgoing which is infectious to others. One night is was screaming really loud and people around us jumped in and suddenly it spread like wildfire across the whole venue. He just smiled at me and said to me "You see... ;)". He's also a wild dancer and a real party animal. And it all started at Deer Creek when I asked him and Matt if there's some space to sit down in the shade together with them.

It's often the little things. We don't recognize the importance at first but later (sometimes a lot later) we look back and understand how destiny pushed us in this or that direction. Like the guy at the beach who blessed us or the cab driver who didn't want to pick us up again after the show ("Hey man, if I tell ya I pick ya up I would be lying. Traffic is CRAZY in Miami on NYE. I tell ya.").

When we stepped out into the warm December night everybody tried to get a cab. The police had closed down Biscayne Blvd so there no chance to catch one at all. We decided to walk a few blocks. We wanted to get back to the hotel quick as we had to get up early for our flight back. No taxi in sight. Fuck! We walked further north parallel to Biscayne Blvd. Thousands of peoples on the street. Phishheads mixing with the local club scene and night bar goers. Traffic broke down completely around AAA. I was expecting a long walk. But destiny gave us a miracle. The first taxi with lights on which came from the exit of the highway while I was running up the exit to secure it for us was driven by the same Caribbean cab driver who dropped us off before the show. Can you believe that? What is the chance for this coincidence to happen in Miami on NYE around AAA? This time I was like "Hey man, I tell ya this is CRAZY" ;) After a 20 USD ride we fall straight to sleep. See you in the morning and happy new year everybody!

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/treyanastasio/sets/72157623084195140/

 




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