Saturday, June 27, 2009

phish, 6/6/09, great woods, mansfield, ma

phish, 6/6/09, great woods, mansfield, mass

The Great Woods show was mostly a journey of mysterious mysteries. I had always wanted to see Phish at Great Woods because it's supposed to be such a cool venue (a similar WANT for Canandaigua). Then they broke up- and at some point of course the name Great Woods was changed to the Comcast Center- but we need not discuss that because it will always be: Great Woods. Yes, Great Woods, the spot of so many legendary New England Phish shows and Marty scored mail order tickets, so that was phatty dank like a kind lot veggie burrito*.

To up the ante, I invited my brother Dave & scored an extra** for my fake brother Matt so we could try and have a little 1993 reunion. That's when Matt & his now wife Amy gave my brother and I their extras for our first Phish show: 12/29/93, New Haven Coliseum, CT. We trekked up on the snowy & icy 95 to have our faces melted from right behind the stage. So, we all hit Great Woods together (along w/ Marty, the whole VT crew, some herns/4dice action, etc.)***. It's impossible to go to these shows without running into a handful of friends. That's probably the 2nd coolest thing about Summer Tour '09. It's a great big family reunion. The 1st coolest thing is that: Trey is off the junk, Mike still rules, Page has a giant noggin, and Fish almost looks like a productive member of society. That may look like 4 things, but it's actually 1 thing.

Anyways, we got a sweet fucking deal on a hotel thanks to William Shatner and we converged upon Milford, MA with a subtle elegance that only goes along with a pony vest ("that's real pony").

And then we slipped into Great Woods amongst the gen-pop and tried to blend. While not real pony, I was wearing a 100% cotton Yanks Swisher 33 t shirt cuz I was ready to start some fights. Oddly enough I mostly got compliments from Yanks fans and only a few "SWISHAAA"'s, (k, I lied- this was the real reason I wore the shirt)- it sounds exactly how you'd expect. There's some fucking weird shit in the chowdah up there.

Gorgeous day! Especially after 2 days of shit at Jones Beach (but pre TN/Bonnaroo micro bursts, ho ho!). The po' po' were everywhere and they were on bikes, taboot taboot. No glass, firearms, veal. Red solo cups all the way- you know the drill. Our neighbors in the lot were supercool, very funny, and even liked my brother's Pony Vest and encouraged him to wear it inside- "are you gonna pony up?" (he didn't).

Eric D. & I figured out we were standing 20 feet from each other and I got to hang for a few w/ the vt/li funkmob peeps including DISCO TONY. Good times! A no go on the herns/c4d, etc. who were shitbombed in a party shuttle somewhere. They were in a different realm than I. We headed into the show.

"SWISHAA!" Awesome.

Once we made our way into the ampitheater the place looked kind of familiar. I'm still fairly certain this was my first trip to Great Woods but Marty suggested that the structure is similar to Mann Music Center in Philly. Curious. Hm.

Oh yeah, Phish. Golgi was cool and got people batty, Sparkle was fun to hear even though Marty hates it and screamed, Jiboo- fine, Lawn Boy- it's cool, it's not like it's going to blow your mind musically though. Page got up and did the lounge singer swagger for a few minutes, cute. Makisupa was totes fun to hear and Prince Caspian is pretty but not mind boggling.

It's recently been brought to my attention that Page is very self-concious about his bald spot/receding hairline. Rumor has it he instructs film crews that there are to be absolutely no overhead shots of him or cu's with his bald spot. Try and pick up on it next time you see a show. Page- darling, we love you but the denial is doing you no good. Just cut your hair already, please. The long hair is actually just drawing attention to the bald spot. Sorry, dude. I've heard it's like ripping off a band-aid. Go for it. Trey quit the black tar heroin, you can do this.


Set 2 started out with a song I don't know and it made no lasting impression so- uh- whatevs. BUT... FLUFFHEAD! YES!! AWESOME! Scent of a Mule- YES YES! Mike is the fucking BOMB! I love this song, so psyched to hear it- sweet sweet music to my ears. Heavy Things, sure, Harry- also fun, but sometimes feels long and like an unremarkable journey. Possum was great, enjoyed it much. Bug- if I have to-- at least it wasn't Time Turns Molasses.

Encore was pretty sweet with Contact but some crazy wook jumped onstage at the end of the song and totally fucked up the band. I wonder if it's the same dude who ruined Harpua at the Clifford Ball****? Dick. Used to be more lights and crowd participation in Contact- with the arm waving and such- I miss that. BRING IT BACK! I dig Julius, it always gets the crowd going and it was particularly funky & loud, so that was awesome. Except then the show was over! Well I guess that means we'll all have to file back out into the lot and blow some sheeeyat up!

Some dueling fireworks action entertained us as we waited to drive out. Then we rocked a sweet combination of the hotel concierge and GPS system and found an all night diner in Milford, near our hotel where we feasted (Johnny Jacks*****) and celebrated Mattyface's birthday with some breakfast after midnight. Happy Birthday, Mattyface.

Phish, 6/6/09, Great Woods, MA: 8.5 HUZZAHS! Great stuff! Thus began 2.5 days to prep for Bonnaroo.

UP NEXT: Bonnaroo--- "what have we done???"

SETLIST (courtesy of

06/06/2009 Comcast Center (Great Woods) - Mansfield, MA

1: Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, Nothing, Back on the Train, Golgi Apparatus, Sparkle, Gotta Jiboo, Lawn Boy, Let Me Lie^, Taste, Makisupa Policeman, Prince Caspian
2: 7 Below, Fluffhead, Scent of a Mule, Heavy Things, Harry Hood, Possum, Bug

E: Contact, Julius

Notes: ^ debut Phish performance (from Trey's solo album "Bar 17")


* or Jones Beach lot jerk chicken wrap, my how we've matured!
** Much obliged, Sontag. Now explain to your children where their missing 5 cases of Magic Hat are.
*** and Matt was gonna "party like it's 1993". I was rightfully scared. Also, sans Amy, always the responsible one- she stayed home to take care of their child.
**** was that the Clifford Ball or Waterloo? Dick.
***** Johnny Jack's in Milford, MA- 9 HUZZAHS! They served me even though I was wearing a Yanks t shirt! And I didn't get food poisoning!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

phish, 6/4 & 6/5/09, jones beach, ny

phish, 6/4 & 6/5/09, jones beach, ny

If I've learned anything about Long Island during the 6/4 & 6/5 Phish Jones Beach shows, it's that: a) it's always raining, and b) it always takes 2 1/2 hours to get there. Aside from my traffic woes and said precipitation (and Time Turns Elastic), both the Thursday & Friday Jones Beach shows were pretty great.

I had met up with Weiss who was walking around with Crazy-Tracy^ +1 and then he and I made our way over to the Hern, etc. crew. First impressions were made and I chugged ketel one cintroen & sparkling cherry soda cocktail in a red Solo cup (all class, baby). We heard soundcheck from the parking lot where we were quickly tying it on while hiding from the po' po' before heading into the dry^^ venue. Having 2 possible narcs amongst the running crew made us feel safe. Did I mention it was raining? We were all equipped with appropriate poncho-age.

Mike and I found our seats waaaay up in section 20 and a nervous excitement filled the air (or was that a weatherfront?).

Divided Sky was particularly beautiful, the drizzle had subsided and the sun had set. Approximately halfway through Ocelot Mike gets a text from Crazy-Tracy who tells us to take her tickets cuz they are leaving. We tried talking her down and convincing her otherwise but she wasn't hearing it. So, we ended up in the section behind the soundboard in the sweet spot of the Ampitheater. Thus the nickname, "Crazy-Tracy". Thanks, Tracy- you're crazy.

Squirming Coil, PYITE, NICU, Antelope!!! All fantastic! Awesometacular! SETBREAK.

Set II started out meh, Meatstick was fun, but Time Turns Elastic... it's so... long. Oh Jebus, why does it take so loooong? Our friends dubbed it "Time Turns Molasses" which is pretty spot-on. Much like the worst kind of Saturday Night Live sketch- it needs to be about 15 minutes shorter. YEM literally saved the entire set and it was FANTASTIC. Nice to see the guys are keeping up with their cardio routines. Encore: Rock and Roll. I'm lukewarm on this one.

It was a fun night. We headed to the Golden Reef Diner in Rockville Center, NY and I almost died from a migraine on my drive home. Ya know- the yoosh.

Day 2. Step 1) make sure you eat enough (see: debilitating migraine above), Step 2) get bitch-slapped by traffic at least 5 times, Step 3) assume your $30 EMS poncho will work a 2nd day in a row despite the heavier rainfall, Step 4) enjoy The Phish.

The Herns, etc. and I arrived simultaneously and I managed to run into the VT Crew^^^ within a minute of parking. Of course, I promptly lost them. But the rest of us found jerk chicken wraps on Shakedown Street and maintained a solemn acceptance over the unfortunate weather. Having witnessed much "weather" since then, it sort of fades into jadedness, but I am pretty certain at the time it was pouring fairly shiteously.

I had scored a ticket from livenation (during the great ticket debacle of '09) right near the tapers, but both the VT Crew & the Herns, etc. were all up in section 20! D'oh! Additionally, there was no hope in finding Erika (she's tiny), 'Blingy! was also wandering around somewhere, and Simms was in the front section right in front of Page's giant noggin (it's huge). So, I started the night up in 20 with the Herns, etc., then went down to 7, got hit on by a bosox fan (why is it always the bosox fans?) but was still pretty content with my location and was soon joined by Simms who broke free of the tractor beam off of Page's head. The first set rocked hard. Great setlist- Wilson, Buried Alive, AC/DC Bag, I Didn't Know, My Friend x 2, Ya Mar, Split Open... Fucking awesome, actually. Fun times and good mood. Sweet sound in 7 and killer lights.

During setbreak we ran into the VT Crew and made the executive decision to watch the rest of the show with the gaggle of friends up in 20. Why the hell not? It was special in an "aww" way to watch Phish with my VT Crew, made me smile.

Hey and it even stopped raining for 10 minutes! Oooh that was exciting. DWD-> Twist-> Piper-> Backwards Down the Number Line was pretty cool, much better than Time Turns Molasses, no doubt. 2001 always rules and it is always on my list of WANTS and Slave helped me cope with the traffic ordeals.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- God Street Wine's version of A Day in the Life puts Phish's version to shame.

It was time to race home and get ready for Great Woods. It was also time to return my $30 EMS poncho and replace it with a far superior $40 Campmor full-body-poncho. I ended up buying a hoodie at setbreak just to have something dry to wear. My Campmor rain pants were the bomb-diggity, though. Fuck you, $30 EMS poncho. Totes boo too.

Phish, 6/4 & 6/5/09, Jones Beach, NY: 8.85 HUZZAHS! I have high standards, kiddies. 2nd night's 1st set was fucking stellar but 1st night's 2nd set fell flat (outside of YEM).

SETLISTS (courtesy of

06/04/2009 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater - Wantagh, NY

Soundcheck: Twenty Years Later

1: Grind, The Divided Sky, Ocelot, The Squirming Coil, Punch You in the Eye, Dirt*, NICU, Ghost, Run Like an Antelope
2: Water in the Sky, Birds of a Feather, Drowned, Meatstick**, Time Turns Elastic, Waste, You Enjoy Myself

E: Rock and Roll

Notes: * w/ Mike solo. ** with Japanese lyrics

06/05/2009 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater - Wantagh, NY

1: Wilson, Buried Alive, Kill Devil Falls, AC/DC Bag > I Didn't Know, My Friend My Friend, Ya Mar, Theme from the Bottom, Boogie On Reggae Woman*, Split Open and Melt
2: Down With Disease -> Twist** > Piper > Backwards Down the Number Line, Free, Twenty Years Later*** > 2001 > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: A Day in the Life

Notes: * with Ghostbusters tease. ** with Oye Como Va Jam, about two-minutes long. *** debut performance. Also, note variation in segues.


^ we'll get to the nickname in a moment, Tracy
^^ no, unfortunately not that kind of dry.
^^^ yes, I know not all of you live in VT nowadays, but live with your grouping, will ya?

Friday, June 19, 2009

god street wine, 5/30/09, a love ducharme

god street wine, 5/30/09, a love ducharme
ridgewood & wyckoff, nj

Wow, it's been a loooong while since I've reviewed a GSW show and I couldn't be more thrilled with the opportunity to do it. Winos have been waiting years for God Street Wine to get back together, unfortunately it turned out to be for a pretty shitty reason. Legendary first Wino (and taper) Paul Ducharme passed away in April. Perhaps you have some early GSW tapes from Paul? If not, you should download one and hear what the band sounded like in '89*. Thusly, the one and only God Street Wine got together for the most appropriate tribute to Paul: a full day of GSW that became a reunion on many different levels.

The afternoon started out with a tribute to Paul at Citizen's Park in Ridgewood, NJ, where friends & relatives shared thoughts about him. They played some of his favorite music and the band Native played a set. However, the bomb-diggity happened when God Street Wine gathered from various parts of the globe and made music together again. It's been roughly 8 years since the last reunion happened at Wetlands Preserve before it's doors were closed for good. Too long.

The set was peaceful, beautiful, and sweet. Highlights? Well, pretty much everything- I ain't gonna complain. Shocked to hear Weird Dream, captured by Driving West, 6:15, Borderline. Shit. I wanted to hear the whole thing over again. 8 years? The familiarity came right back. It could have been last week. The audience was a bizarre mix of people which included both friends of Paul's & assorted Winos collected over the years. It was certainly interesting to see band members now with full families (a full soccer team roster of kids), das Bullethead (now a father-- scary), and those who haven't aged a day in 15 years (Dan Pifer).

But there was a little something extra up everyone's sleeve- namely, a full-on Jersey house party complete with GSW show.

What the hell is going on? A few hours later we converged upon the unsuspecting hamlet of Wyckoff, NJ where God Street Wine was about to go back in time and play their friend Steph Rein's basement. Literally- a basement**. Cinderblock, foundation, old fridge, exposed plumbing, B-A-S-E-M-E-N-T. Ohh, what will the neighbors think? Native opened the night with a set of soulful & funky hippie rock. Totally awesome but honestly, I can't remember much because I was incredibly preoccupied with the thought of another GSW show-- 2 in 1 day! In 2009! I had seen Lo & Aaron play during Echofission's set the previous week at Mexicali- but a full GSW show??? AGH!

We all scrambled to get good spots, people fiddled with a/v equipment, smoke filled the air and GSW took the "stage". No lowlights really, but highlights for sure: Gretchen, Pussycat. Other Shore was pure madness, jaws dropped, wide smiles all around, and a surreal feeling overcame us all. I don't know if it was from inhaling the black mold or what, but during the 2nd set- specifically, during Crazy Head, something mysterious happened- the air in the basement actually turned upside-down and then when Henrietta kicked in, every single one of us was transported back in time to the year 1994. I don't know how else to explain it. Something weird happened in that basement and only the witnesses can attest to it. My skin crawled, but it felt warm, exciting, and good.

Hey Joe, Electrocute, Epiphany, Diana-- all of it magical. A few of Paul's friends grabbed some instruments and played St. Stephen as a tribute. Then came the therapeutic chanting- a hypnotic seance of sorts as Aaron told the story of the origin of the chant, and everyone repeated "a Love Ducharme, a Paul Supreme". Wine, smoke, chanting, and a strange energy filled the air. Then, a touching Epilog, a fun & high energy GOTT, and a wailing Into the Sea.

It was amazing to see the guys but even more amazing to hear them after so many years apart- there were moments you couldn't tell the difference- they were rippin'. My ears couldn't have been happier***. Something very special happened in that basement and I'm incredibly fortunate to have been invited to share it. I want to thank all of Paul's friends for organizing such a special day and letting some random Winos (such as myself) crash and feel welcome. It was amazing to see tons of familiar faces and reconnect with such good people after so many years. The entire day embraced the theme of love & celebrating Paul's attitude by sharing some of his favorite music, it will always bring a smile to my face.

I got yelled at for suggesting that the Phish shows were anticlimactic because the GSW show was so mind boggling. You know what? Eff the haters, I'm standing by my words. GSW were back and they rocked my world. No- you cannot have my Phish tickets.

11 HUZZAHS! (yes, it goes to eleven).

DAY SHOW, West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ
Weird Dream
Waiting for the Tide
Driving West
Dear Prudence

NIGHT SHOW, Steph Rein's basement, Wyckoff, NJ
Good Dream
Goodnight Gretchen >
A Love Supreme >
Brand New Pussycat
Fortress Of Solitude
Other Shore >
A Love Supreme >
He's Gone
Home Again
A Love Supreme

Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Crazy Head
Princess Henrietta
Hey Joe
St Stephen #
A Love Ducharme - A Paul Supreme
Death Don't Have No Mercy
Get On The Train
Into The Sea

# w/ Andy Berian on guitar & Roger Sands on drums


ADDITIONALLY: Mike Weiss has an assortment of footage up on his youtube page from both the afternoon and night shows- give it a looksy!

*author's note: they sounded much better in '92+ so you may want to DL one of these shows too, the band would probably appreciate it. try THIS ONE or THIS ONE.
** Legend has it that GSW played this very basement in the early days
*** One lone complaint: we were totally gypped out of an encore- not even a Nightingale or Wendy? Hm. Better be saving it for next time. They'd better... (shaking fist angrily)