IT is an exciting time! With Summer tour about to begin, one can't help but wonder what Phish will bless us with this time around.
Will this tour's shows feature original set openers and encores, e.g., a set-opening "Fuego" or "Devotion to a Dream" or "Leprechaun?" Or a set-closing "Tweezer -> Waiting All Night" or "555" or "Leprechaun?" Or a 25-minute "Halfway to the Moon -> Leprechaun-> Halfway to the Moon" encore? Will Phish jam-out versions of songs that ne'er have been jammed-out before, like a 10-minute "Sample" or "Lifeboy?" Will we bear witness to improvisation that attains the titanic peaks of the Tahoe "Tweezer"? Will the shows this Summer bliss us out with bust-outs, and will we merrily sing their praises for weeks, even months, to come?
Or will Great Woods open on July 1 with versions of "Chalk Dust Torture" and "Wilson" so plebeian, and so meh, that All Hope Will Be Lost, and living while young and still having fun seem pathetically ironic, and you spill beer on yourself and others as you grab your head, collapse and sob inconsolably?
Who knows, but it's entertaining to think about, and will be far more entertaining to soon experience. And, frankly, I cannot be more grateful that in my 25th year of seeing this band, they're continuing to play well enough and passionately enough that it's worth the time and coin to hear every note, be it LIVE, be it on COUCH, or be it by DOWNLOAD.
And it's in this gracious, and readicculus, spirit that I offer the following list of show-going "Do's and Don'ts" for your consideration, whether you're about to attend your first, your tenth, or your whateverth show:
- APPLAUD for the opener, at least while the band gets on stage, and then for the first measure or two of "AC/DC Bag;"
- CLAP during "Mound" and "Stash" (only at the appropriate times);
- RUN to the bathroom ideally on the first note, but at least within the first two measures, of "Alaska;"
- WHISTLE along with Trey during "Guyute;"
- DANCE without hitting anyone around you (unless your name is "Greg Phelps," in which case you get a free pass for being a rail-riding-flailing antelope for an embarrassingly-long time);
- SHOUT-OUT the name of a song within its first measure, and smile broadly and wide-eyed at those around you, so they can admire how awesome and clever you are;
- SCREAM at the top of your lungs during the dramatically-ascending chords in the measure before "BOY!" during "YEM;"
- STFU during the jam segments of jamming songs, especially "Reba" god damn it;
- SMILE as much as possible, even during your sixtieth version of "Cavern" or "Rift" (think of how Fish LOVES "Rift"!), and be kind to and considerate of your fellow fans, unless they're drunk, deaf, noob fratboys who blow smoke in the faces of those around them and whose favorite song is "Picture of Nectar" (scorn them-- with extreme prejudice).
- THROW glowsticks anywhere near the band members, unless you are a jackass;
- CUT in front of other fans in a bathroom, poster, merch, beer, or other line (unless you want bad karma, and eternal damnation);
- SCREAM during the quiet acapella tunes, or the serene parts of songs like "Hood" and "Slave;"
- VOMIT on your fellow fans or anything they own (at least have the decency to vomit on yourself and your friends first);
- SPILL a fellow fan's beer without immediately apologizing and offering to buy him or her a new one;
- YELL "Hood" back at the band after Trey sings "Harry" (this asinine practice was started at Red Rocks in '96 in part thanks to yours truly, and I will never forgive myself...or its creator, Darius Zelkha);
- CRASH the stage, especially if you're a naked man, unless you want everyone to think you're mentally ill;
- RUN to the bathroom after the first few measures of "Alaska" (you missed your chance, and will just get in everyone's way, and the bathroom line will be too long by the time you get there, loser);
- POP balloons willfully and with malice, you god damn sociopath;
- PUSH your way through other fans in an effort to collect and hoard glowsticks (a classic, albeit hilarious, Noob-Wook maneuver);
- SHOUT-OUT the name of a song that Phish just began playing if someone else beat you to it, UNLESS it is the first time it's been played in 50 or more shows, in which case don't stop shouting-out the song's name until one of your friends grabs you and shakes you and slaps you across the face;
- YELL the name of a song as it begins when it's an obvious song that everyone around you knows, like "YEM," even during Trey's 1-2,1-2-3-4 count off, noob;
- SIT or STAND or DANCE in the aisle, unless you're highly skilled at considerately avoiding getting-in-the-way-of your fellow fans, especially those carrying $16 beers;
- SAY condescending, douchebaggy things that your fellow fans around you can hear, including (in addition to the above remarks) "You are why I don't go to shows anymore," "3.0 is so 3.0," "I miss versions of 'Mike's Song' that are worth hearing more than once," "I can't believe I paid for this shit," "Everything was better pre-hiatus," and "Set was good, but there wasn't the feeling that you had a good chance of catching 'IT,' or that 'IT' could happen at any moment."
Next time, when NoobSkool continues, you'll learn how to identify a "Below Average-Great Show," and how to best articulate to your friends why they're deaf and suck at the Phish.
Future NoobSkool Lessons May Include:
- Proper, And Grossly Improper, Showgoing Attire
- How To, And How Not To, Use The Bathroom At A Show, Including How To Find It When You're Blind-Drunk
- The Differences Between Bowie's Hi-Hat Intro And Maze's Hi-Hat Intro
- When To, And When Not To, Applaud After A Painfully-Ordinary Version Of A Song
- Communication With Wooks
- Finding Your Seat When You're So High You Can't Read Your Ticket, Assuming You Still Even Have Your Ticket, Holy Shit Where's My Ticket
- Getting Arrested, And Avoiding Life In Prison
- Was That Set Average-Great, Merely Solid, Or Something Else Entirely
- How To Carry Four Beers, Several Sausages, Three Waters, A Poster, And Your Ticket Stub (In Order To Show The Aisle Nazi To Let You Get To Your Rightful Seat) At The Same Time, Without Spilling A Beer Or Soiling Your Poster
- How To Differentiate Type 2 From Type 1 Jamming, And Vice Versa
- Advanced Communication With Wooks
- Drug Etiquette, Including What Not To Do With The Joint You Were Just Passed
- How To Politely Tell Your Neighbors To STFU During The Jam Segment
- Best Places To Pass Out At A Show
- Telepathic Communication With Wooks
- Recovering From The Ripcord (In Twelve Steps)
- Cash Or Trade? Know The Market!
- Navigating Shakedown: A Survey Of Merch Options And Prices
- The Art Of Dancing Without Touching Anyone Around You Like An Inconsiderate Asshat
- To PT Or Not To PT
- Ways To Enjoy Yourself During "Wading In The Velvet Sea"
- Hotels: Checking In Through Checking Out, With Tips On How Not To Lose Money, Friends
- Sitting In Someone Else's Awesome Seat And Getting Away With It
- The Seven Types Of Fan, Including Their Diet, Size, Habitat, And Range
- A Survey Of North American PhanArt From The 20th Century Through The Present (With Co-Instructor Pete Mason)
- Babysitting Your Friends When They're Dosed Beyond All Comprehension
- Over-The-Counter Medications That You Should Never Tour Without
- Glowstick Handling, Avoiding
- Where To Find Your Lost Backpack
- Tips For The Designated Driver
- Calling Whales: Using Your Pitch Shifter To Make A Jam Sound Atrocious When You Don't Want To Play The Beautiful Melody That Almost Everyone Really Would Prefer To Hear You Play
- Lot Food: Steals And Deals
- Touring With Diarrhea
- Touring With An Asshole
- Touring With No Money
- Touring With An Asshole With No Money And Diarrhea
- "Fuego:" Great Album, or Greatest Album?
- ...[see Comments below]