Walking and meeting in Philadelphia

by Yome NetSan 24. February 2014

After nearly three busy months, I finally found the time to continue my series of articles about my trip to the USA. The worst thing is that I really wanted to share this encounter at the earliest but I could not. Sorry for the wait and, as this is the first article of the year (it's about time), I wish you a very good one!

 

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 - Noon - Philadelphia, PA

After a 2 hours drive, we arrived in Philly at around 12:15. From there I had two options : jumping on the first bus to Atlantic City at 12:30 or wait for the next one at 2:30 PM. I started to get hungry and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to have a walk in the streets of Philadelphia (na na naaa, naaa... na na naaa, naaa...), so I took my ticket for the second one.

One of the fan who were with me on the bus asked me if I had a facebook or something. So I gave him my card with my name and links to my website and the EU Phans Page (By the way, go check Holger's NYE pictures).

 

There's some funny characters in Philly

I put my bag on top of my small rolling suitcase (what a clever idea to travel light) and at the exit of the Greyhound bus station, I decided to go left. At the end of the street, I stopped at the crossroad, looking at the city around me. When the traffic light turned green, I began to cross the road.

And suddenly, I froze, my eyes opened wide and my jaw fell on the crosswalk.

Coming the opposite way, crossing the same road as me, walked Trey Anastasio.

I tried to say something, basically just "Hi", but I couldn't make a sound. I stood in the middle of the road, staring at him. As he was about to pass me, he noticed me with my Fishman hat, my golf-ball-eyes and opened mouth. He removed his headphones, walked to me and HE said "Hi".

I couldn't believed it. I was feeling awkward with my luggages on the road so we went back on the pavement to shake hands.

What went out of my mouth at this moment was certainly hard to understand. Man I was talking to Trey Anastasio!

Basically, I told him that I came here from France specifically to see Phish for the first time after listening to then for 16 years. He asked me from what part of France I came from and I answered "Lyon". He obviously knew the city. I explained to him who gave me the chance to buy my tickets for the Halloween run and he said "Oh yeah! She's great. We love her". After talking about the show the previous night at Reading and telling about a hundred times "That's crazy", I suddenly remembered that I had a gift for the band in my luggages! I asked him if he could wait one more minute because I didn't want to bother him too much. He said "Sure!". So here I am, opening wide my luggage on the sidewalk, in the middle of Philadelphia, before Trey Anastasio's feet! What a funny sight it must have be!

While I was spelunking in my suitcase, a girl who had witnessed our conversation introduced herself to Trey. She wasn't sure he was really him until I began speaking with him. I finally found the present and handed it to him explaining it was for the whole band. He laughed and looked really surprised. "Oh wait! There's also a card!" It was in my other bag but I found it quickly. When I think back, he certainly took me for a complete loony, totally freaking out in front of him.

The girl asked me if I could take a picture of them with her phone. I said "Sure! If you take a picture of us too!". Taking a picture with an artist, as some people ask during signing sessions, isn't my thing. So I guess if she hadn't been there I wouldn't have thought to ask Trey for it, but I couldn't miss the opportunity!

After that, we thanked him and he went away. The whole encounter didn't last more than 2 minutes.

I stood there, totally in shock. I kept saying to the girl next to me "I can't believe it! That's crazy!" She asked me "Are you ok? Because I'm not! I'm shaking!"

The two pictures have been taken with her phone so she asked me my number. But as I couldn't connect to a cell phone network over there, I gave her my card with my email address and she promised me she'll send the picture. Two of her friends arrived and after a small chat, I closed my luggages and left : "Don't forget to send me the pict!"

 

Back to (virtual) reality

I resumed my walk in the streets, with a big smile on my face, looking for a place to eat.

Ironically, I ended in a kind of snack called Au Bon Pain ("Good Bread", in french). I found a table next to a plug on the wall so that I could refill my phone's battery. The place also had a free wi-fi access, so I quickly went online to share my story, by mail to my family, then on Twitter and facebook.

I couldn't stop smiling and thinking that I was such a lucky bastard! I chatted with Holger while eating my chicken and apple sandwich. As the minutes passed I felt more and more anxious about the fact that the girl wouldn't send me the picture. I kept telling to myself to be patient, that she'll send it to me tonight or even the next day...

But a few minutes later...Continue reading...

Dancing and raging, my first Phish show

by Yome NetSan 27. November 2013

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - 8:05 PM - Reading, PA

Lights switched off.
Speakers muted.
People screaming.
Phish coming on stage for the first time in Reading, PA.
Phish coming on stage for the first time in front of my eyes.

 

First Set

My first Phish song caught me by surprise.

When I thought about what would be my dream setlist, I came up with too many songs to fit in a regular show, even in a two days/three sets festival, actually ! And yet, I didn't thing about this one, even though I had a kind of obsession for it several years ago.
Cars, trucks, buses.
What a fit choice after the countless hours of travels I had that day !
What a way to start a week of concerts I've been waiting for so long !

The rest of the set was like a dream too, like the dream I had so many times but better : Stealing Time from the Fault Plan (one of my favorite, maybe a little more favorite than my other favorties), Divided Sky (the pause seemed endless, I felt suspended on air), Sparkle (I used to sing this one a lot when I played the guitar), that Split Open and Melt jam...

Like I had expected, the glance of the band coming on stage haven't driven me nuts. I was over-happy and bouncing of course, but I've watched so many videos, dvds or webcasts along the years, that I have had no real shock when the show started. I felt like I was in my element, like I've always meant to be here. I made eye contact with everyone around me, smiling and sharing high-fives. I've always loved watching people at concerts, sometimes more than looking at the stage actually. Everybody was so cheerful, so happy, so nice, so welcoming. I've never felt this at any other concert in my life. It was the first time but I felt at home, in my family.

My Phish family, at long last.

Continue reading...

Flying and driving, two Europeans in America

by Yome NetSan 20. November 2013

This is my first article relating my trip to the USA to see Phish for the first time. It took me longer than I wanted to finish it and I hope the following ones will come quicker. I'll try to be as complete as possible and will throw every good (or at least not too bad) pictures I took during travels and concerts. I won't write extensively about the music itself as I'm not good at it and you had already listened to the shows anyway. Moreover, I haven't listened back to the shows I've been yet so it will be about my first impression as I was there.
Let's start where I left this tuesday morning, on my way to the airport...

 

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - 6h50

My first flight was short, just a hop to Brussels. While the clouds glide below me, I wrote two cards for the person who helped me buy my tickets and the band, in the hope to find a way to give them along with the gifts I prepared before leaving.

I was the first time I went to Belgium and the hour and a half long stopover gave me plenty of time to visit... the airport, on my way to Gate B01. I took 2 minutes to pay me a coffee and I was soon joined by Gilles. After writing with him since August, it was great to finally meet him in person. Immediatly, we began to talk, naturally, continuing our perpetual ever-going email conversation, just if we knew each other for years. We actually talked so much that the US Airlines staff were already calling our names when we realized we were late for boarding ! And it was not a flight to miss !

The plane was half empty so we easily managed to sit next to each other, with a free seat for our stuffs ! The 8 hours flight went very smoothy between talking Phish and sleeping. One of our worries was the customs. But we were among the firsts in the line and it went fast. I spent less than two minutes in front of the officer before hearing "Welcome in the USA".

Continue reading...

Firsts and counting

by Yome NetSan 6. November 2013

I have too much to write about, I want to take my time to do it right. So I'll start slow...

 

Firsts

First time I speak in french with another Phish fan (Gilles from Switzerland)
First travel by plane with a stopover
First time Phish played in Reading
First time I wore a costume for many years
First time I went to Belgium
First jammed Twenty Years Later
First time the 12 songs of set 2 on Halloween night were played
First time I attend shows of a same band so close to each other
My first Phish Show

 

 

 

Counting

8228 miles by plane
5953 days between the first time I heard Phish and my first show
1279 pictures taken
94 Songs
20 pills for the pain in my back
19 hours and 20 minutes of flight
16 years of waiting
13 hours, 12 minutes and 14 seconds of music
12 new songs
10 video game items bought
9 Sets
9 pizza slices
8 Phish items bought
6 LPs bought
4 Phish shows
4 repeats
4 donuts
4 dancers + 1 Wombat
3D Imax Gravity
3 Game Boy games bought
3 continents in less than 48 hours
3 hamburgers only
2 hotels
2 beers only
2 Greyhound buses
2 T-Shirts bought
1 surprise meet
0.12$ left in my wallet
1 unforgettable experience

 

 

 

Getting started

by Yome NetSan 29. October 2013

Horizontal vacations

Last week was weird and stressful. I was on vacations in Morocco, in my wife's parents house. It's about 3 minutes away from the beach... a 3 minutes walk! I planned to spend time on the sand and in the ocean, playing with the waves and my son. 

But I broke my back on the first day! 

Well, not totally broke, but I couldn't walk or even stand on my feet! I went to a doctor and spent the 3 following days laid down in my bed or on a flat and hard long beach chair... but without the beach. I wasn't sure if I would be able to stand up on Monday to come back to France... and I didn't want to think about dancing at a Phish show! 

Damn! I was just a week from my first Phish concert after 16 years of waiting and I couldn't budge!! 

I staid patient and use this time to relax how I could. I finished a book about the PlayStation history and a Zelda game that I thought would last until after the US. I listened to Miles Davis while I read the books from the Complete Sessions boxsets. I also watched two videos of past webcasts : Dick's 2012 night 1 (it Fucked my face) and TAB at the Capitol Theatre

Coming back to life

I've been mostly fixed just in time for my flight back to France yesterday. But if it wasn't enough, I also catched a cold so I'll be flying with my own clinic

I packed my luggage in a hurry yesterday evening and went to bed early. 

Now it's 4:50am and I'm eating my last breakfast before leaving to the airport. 

 

I'll try to get online often to post report. I hope the venues will have a free wi-fi network like the Melkweg in Amsterdam.

You can follow me on https://twitter.com/#!/YomeNetSan and I'll try to stick with my hashtag #YomePhish (hopefully there will be a #YomePhish2014, #YomePhish2015...)

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 !

 

Can I go to Reading by bus ?!

by Yome NetSan 12. August 2013

I live near Lyon, France. And it looks like there's a direct bus from Lyon Station to downtown Reading, PA !
It's Route 22 from Batrabus.
Very convenient ;)

From Berlin to Chicago : 3 wet nights of Phish

by Holger 31. July 2013

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 !




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