Wednesday, June 30, 2004

5 of My Favorite Ben and Jerry's Flavors...

1. Cherry Garcia
2. NY Super Fudge Chunk
3. Mint Chocolate Cookie
4. Chocolate Fudge Brownie
5. Chocolate

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Phishy Thoughts: Do Tigers Sleep in Lily Patches?
"Brain dead and made of money, no future at all..." - Phish

I'm going to miss Deer Creek

Editor's Note: This is one of my longest posts to date. It's best read if you print it out and read it in parts. Just my suggestion. If you are not familiar with Phish, I posted a Glossary of Terms and Slang in the next post for a little help if you get confused with the lingo. Now, here's the post that everyone's been waiting for...

Following Phish is the closest thing to being a rock star that I will ever experience. Sure, I don't get up on stage every night, but I'm living the lifestyle, which is probably more fun without any of the responsibilities of holding iconic rock star status. Unlike Trey, I don't have a thousand barefoot children outside my house, dancing on my lawn.

Following Phish is like being a rock star. I'm on the road, in a different city every night, mostly places I never would choose to visit if you put a gun to my left testicle. I stay up very late, way past seeing the sun rise after partying hard while a steady flow of cheap booze and expensive drugs which they eagerly line themselves up for quick ingestion into my body. I'm always kickin it with some friends, but usually complete strangers, and it really doesn't matter, because they thought I was a golden God among pimps and hustlers, and that's a high I hope some of you get to feel once in your life. Alas, when I do wake up, with wicked cotton mouth and a groggy head, it's always in a different place; lying face down in a middle of a cornfield with a dozen mosquito bites on my hand, or passed out on a friend's couch with his dog licking my face, or curled up in generic bed in some generic hotel with a young girl fast asleep, her angelic face vaguely familiar and her hippie name a thousand miles away from any semblance of me trying to recall it when she eventually wakes up.

Mike in Brooklyn

I have that vibe. You know, that vibe that people get sometimes about cool people. Complete strangers walk up to me and ask me for drugs. Other times, they want to buy drugs from me, and the best times are when they just hand them over. Strangers have given me the following items at Phish shows: bottles of hard liquor, joints, balls of hash, Jamaican red hair seeds, opium, painkillers, beers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and hits of ecstasy. Man, you know you've done something right when a beautiful girl taps you on the shoulder and hands you a packed bowl of kind buds in the middle of the Brooklyn show. Maybe it was my sleek red dinner jacket that I wore the entire tour (rain storm in Brooklyn excluded), but I was putting the vibe out once again. People knew I was a party guy.

I cite evidence from the parking lot after the second Saratoga show. Traffic was hell getting out of the lots. It was standstill until 1:45 am every night. The Joker and I knew this and set up a late night lounge at our parking space, complete with rave music (from XM radio) and candles and the two of us jumping up and down like those Roxbury guys from SNL. One adorable Phishy chick wandered out of the woods and asked, "Do you guys have any Molly?"

We didn't have any, but seconds later a random guy offered to sell us an entire gram! They could have asked hundreds of others in the lot, but we were giving off that probable cause vibe that I hoped the coppers and federalies weren't picking up on. Sure, we looked pretty freaky, but at a Phish show, freaky and weird are just par for the course. You know it's going to be a circus sideshow when I look like the most sober person at the concert.

Niagara Falls

Then of course I wandered off to Canada, where the rock star status continued. I got $200 Canadian dollars and hit the casino, then a fancy gentleman's club afterwards. We lied to the strippers and told them we were in a band, and slowly but surely, all of the better looking girls stopped by our table looking to give us table and lapdances. I shrugged my shoulders twice; once when I attempted to discuss literature with a not-so-bright adult entertainer. Now I know... most strippers don't read the same books I read. (And I have gotten a few off-the-record comments that most regular women, aka women with clothes on and with real jobs, don't know who Milan Kundera is as well) and the second time was when I witnessed the two hottest performers lick each other's vagina... while both were standing up (and bending over). I was impressed, but didn't want to overextend my enthusiasm. OK, enough about me gloating over how cool I am. You get the picture. I am a drugs, sex, and rock and roll kinda guy.

Fish in his Moo Moo

The Phish. How about those guys from Vermont, huh? Phish played some of their best stuff in recent memory. They know how to put on a good show. They rocked out for three hours, more than half of it in the rain on the first night in Brooklyn. The next night, they showed their range as musicians and artists. Phish has always been willing to take risks... they do stupid shit sometimes, but it's always different.

Jay Z with Phish in Brooklyn

In Vegas, Trey tried to sing a Jay Z cover, which was funny, but really a bad train wreck after three minutes. But... in Brooklyn, they brought out the real deal himself, and Jay Z took over with Phish as his backup band. For ten minutes the entire crowd on the floor was going crazy. I heard all the black ladies who worked the concession stands left their posts and got down with all the heads, dancing, groovin, and chanting Jay Z's lyrics with the chemically flooded crowd. Phish playing trip-hop? Why not. The boys were Big Pimpin' all night long.

Here's what one NY Times writer had said about the Jay Z appearance:
"It was yet another brilliant stunt from an incorrigibly stunt-happy band. During "99 Problems," when Jay-Z rhymed about eluding an illegal search ("Well, my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk in the back/And I know my rights, so you gon' need a warrant for that"), there was a sympathetic roar; who says Phish fans and hip-hop stars have nothing in common?"
He got that one thing right. If the NY Times takes the space to print up those words, it must be newsworthy.

Phisheads with the munchies in Coney Island

Sure, they were still sloppy at times, and a few times they lacked cohesion in the setlists. But for the most part, the boys nailed several tough composed parts in songs like You Enjoy Myself and Reba in Saratoga, and when they jammed out songs... the jams were insane, heavy, and they pushed each one to it's limits. Take Piper from Saratoga for example. That was one of the best jams I ever heard Phish pull out. The energy level was high, the band was having a blast, and the crowd kept wanting more. The next night, Seven Below was a tune that exemplified the nature of Phish. They can go off on a tangent at any moment and rock out licks that you have never heard before, but they suck you in and you're caught up in their madness. I noticed that the played a lot of songs where they could go into uncharted waters... songs with some composed sections, but a definite point of entry into the depths of in the moment insanity. That's why I go to so many Phish shows. I love getting lost in the music and taken on a journey.

My setlist from second night in Saratoga

The second night, second set at Saratoga was an epic set. If you enjoy trippy Phish, then it's a must have for your collection. Seven Below is a song that I really got into last summer. At first, the lyrics hint at a definite winter song. In fact, it's great to listen to during a light snowstorm. The boys like it because they can go off and jam out the latter part. At Saratoga, the mushrooms kicked in and Phish swept me away in their noodling. The version of Ghost still lingers inside my half-burnt head as I write this. One of my favorite versions I've seen live.

On the trampolines during Y.E.M. in Saratoga

I really like sets when Phish plays three or four songs, jamming out each one, yet maintaining a distinct sound particular to that night. In some ways, Seven Below, Ghost and Twist all had a similar sounding background jam that Phish weaved throughout the insane set. You Enjoy Myself was a rager. I didn't think they were going to play YEM until Deer Creek. Again, the second set is a must add for your collection. Personally, I was pretty far gone most of the second set. I couldn't even pack a bowl I was so jittery. Luckily, I pulled out of the darkness at the start of YEM. Man, the boys really kicked my ass at Saratoga. The Good Times, Bad Times encore was the cherry on top of the sundae. It's one of my favorite Led Zeppelin cover songs, and I love Page's singing on their version. I left Saratoga with some great memories of Phish. Man, and I was looking forward to the Deer Creek shows.

I Fuckin' Love Deer Creek

Some of the best shows I had ever seen were at Deer Creek. For an outdoor amphitheatre, the sound is near perfect. The lawn is spacious, and there are no bad pavilion seats. They allow on site camping nextdoor, adjacent to a corn field. That's where the party never stops. For a two day event, the camp grounds take on a festival and carnival like atmosphere. Anything goes in the campgrounds, and the police are very cool. They won't step inside. It's self contained.

At our campsite in Deer Creek

You can get anything inside... sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The barter system is the most preferred form of currency. I had a few dollars, but plenty of nugs to trade. I was able to get a few different kinds of strains... from the Northern Lights to Smurf to White Widow cross bread that these guys from Georgia shared with me. I would offer up a few nugs for pharmies. I scored a few Valium to help me sleep after being up for the shows. I also got offered yay yo a bunch of times from a few crusty chicks, in exchange for a few pharmies and nugs. The tour has been flooded with yay yo since last summer. Times are a changin'.

We set up camp near the back of Shakedown. A cool band called EN2 were scheduled to play the after-show party in the campgrounds and we had the best view. There was a van selling balloons nearby and plenty of hagged out freaks wandered by late night, some asking for drinks, others just so far gone that they would stumble by like idiots. I wandered around Shakedown late night, and everyone was pretty far spun. I scored a grilled cheese and found a tent with a cardboard sign with the words Texas Hold'em Poker scribbled. Was I seeing things? The tent was wedged in between a couple of Phishy chicks selling Fajitas and grilled cheese sandwiches, and a guy selling crystals and other rocks. I poked my head inside and saw four guys sitting around a small camping table. They didn't have chips, but used dollar bills instead. I didn't get a good vibe from two of the guys running the games. They were skecthy and didn't look like an average head. I was too spun out to play cards. After all, I was on hiatus from poker, so I left. I also noticed a makeshift blackjack table a couple of rows over. It was the coolest thing to see at Deer Creek. A casino. I have now seen it all.

Vending and Shakedown Street

We got up fairly late on the second morning in Deer Creek. The band at the after-party played until sun up, but I passed out a few hours earlier. The Joker set up a makeshift bar in the middle of Shakedown Street, next to a vendor. There are two types of vendors in Shakedown, the professionals and the non-pros. The professionals have huge stands and are usually older than me. They have a legitimate setup with signs and great food. Some of them sell clothing, stickers, posters, and the jewelry. The non-professional vendors are much younger. They often just have a cooler filled with beer or water. The Phishy chicks roll up burritos or make ganja goo balls and other baked ganja products and sell them out of baskets. And of course, the straight up drug dealers stand in the middle of Shakedown and whisper their product as you walk by. I would hear faint callings of Molly and Nugs with every step. When I need something in particular, I would walk around blurting out, "Who's got my XYZ?" Where XYZ = whatever you were looking for... pharmies, marijuana, mushrooms, extra tickets.

The Joker performs Cities for the crowd

The Joker had a great pitch, "Cute girls like Bloody Marys!" It at least got a smile out of any girl who wandered by the makeshift bar. Sometimes we could tell a few girls were from Chicago and the Joker would yell out, "Cute girls from Chicago like Bloody Marys!"

Sometimes it worked, especially with those Dave Matthews chicks. Of course, everyone else had their own creative sales pitch. "Sexy grilled cheese. $1!" or "Ice cold beers... $3. Two for $5!" As you can tell, with plenty of people coming to the shows to party before hand, they almost instantly hit Shakedown to score whatever they were lacking; food, drinks, drugs, extra tickets... and the random chance you bump into someone you know.

Selling drinks on Shakedown Street

I got Al Can't Hang drunk before Noon on the second day in Deer Creek. The Joker traded a Bloody Mary for a fat plate of pancakes, biscuits & gravy. I traded a few nugs for two breakfast burritos (two eggs, cheese and ham) from an old Deadhead nearby. I also scored two lemonades from a girl with two puppies who was seeking a Miracle. I promptly poured vodka into the lemonade for my eye opener of the day. After smoking a few hits of Smurf in the hot Indiana sun, I was pretty much luggage for the next hour or so. Sloshed, you betcha. I was teasing girls who didn't want Bloody Marys. I dunno how I managed to find Maggie (the girl from Miami in the Truckin' story: Maggie's Flight), let alone make a few drinks for customers in search of White Russians. I would wander off from time to time into the dense, afternoon crowd of Phisheads, wearing my sleek red dinner jacket, hoping to strike up an interesting conversation with someone looking to trade for any different types of drugs. Really fucked up people loved the jacket. Some of the rolling girls wanted to feel the fabric. Although I never signed any autogrpahs, I took one picture with a nice couple from North Carolina.

With half a bag on, I also managed to pen a few poems and jot down some thoughts while we waited for customers in Shakedown.
Ode to Shakedown

11:05 am sitting in the sun,
Spun out girl stole our celery, while
The Joker played Cities three times
Attracting cute girls from the Midwest.
Funny accents on adorable waifs make me blush.
A guy with a parrot waves at me,
Then slings some nugs my way.
A wookie lost his dog,
and we laugh and shoot rubber bands at them.
Sipping Vokda Lemonades with
Blonde Wisconsin girls who are trying to
Find extra tickets.
Ask me if I care what time or
What day it is,
And I will flip you the finger!
Yeah, I managed to take a few pictures too. It was a nice boost of creative energy for sure.

Last Show at Deer Creek

I saw some kick ass shows in Deer Creek, most of them with Angela, like the infamous Moby Dick show 7.11.00. But the last show was one of the best performances I've witnessed at Deer Creek. Every song was solid and the jams were tight. I swear everyone around me was uber-wasted. I can't recall a show where more people were completely polluted. The first night they played some of my favorite songs in the second set. I was still giddy about the night prior when the boys broke out Halley's Comet > Crosseyed & Painless > Slave. Crosseyed is one of my favorite Talking Heads cover songs, and Fish rocks out on his version.

Trey during intro to Prince Caspian

Anytime Phish opens up a show with a smoking song like Loving Cup, you know it's going to be a special night. Page was rockin on the vocals and piano. The next song was a little bit of a surprise. Cities is another Talking Heads cover song. It was short and sweet. Ironic, since the Joker had been playing Cities a lot in Shakedown while selling Bloody Marys. The second set was were the magic continued. I was as wasted as I had been in a very long time. I made sure I was extra sauced up for the last set of Phish ever at Deer Creek. And the boys did not disappoint me one bit. I got to hear one of my Top 3 favorite songs in Tube. The Walls of the Cave closer is a song that Phish nailed the composed sections, then went off on a slamming jam. The closed out their last show at Deer Creek with a mellow closer, a fan favorite for sure, and a song that has since grown on me post-hiatus. I had goosebumps as Page played the last few notes to Squirming Coil, as the other members of Phish slowly, one by one, left the stage. I thought perhaps that might be the last song Phish might play in Coventry in August.

The morning after...

I wandered around after the show hanging out with Zobo, and then Alea in the parking lots. I was still pretty out there, and took my time getting back to camp. Alea wanted to beat the traffic back thru Chicago and Zobo was heading back to Atlanta. I bumped into some Japhamily, Craig, on my way back. I didn't see too many others from Japan. When I did return back to base camp, the Joker busted out the Christmas lights that he powered up through an adapter in his Honda Element... which he had named Marco. Indeed, Marco was the coolest touring vehicle I have ever encountered. I already miss the guy.

Notes from the Shows

I scribbled the following notes during the concerts...

6.17.04 Brooklyn... Joker points out twirling girl... guy in skirt with three foot chiquita banana... rain falling during Free looked awesome in the purple lights... security guards couldn't catch a fence jumper... shaking lights in the rain on the crowd was cool... raindrops the size of silkworms... Gil had the biggest umbrella, ever... I can see the PJs, the Cyclone (rollercoaster), the beach, and the subway from my seat... let's go out to dinner and see your boobies... thanks guys for Divided Sky encore

Senor and Gil before the Brooklyn show

6.18.04 Brooklyn... floor seats... ten rows back... Mike going off on Camelwalk... The Joker showed his sign: Dubya Loves Phish to the band... Page did a double take and Trey giggled... Mike dropped a few bass bombs... Senor told me had hadn't seen Phish in seven years, he's way off... I'm too faded to do the math myself... hot girl in wifebeater hands me a bowl of the dank in middle of Down with Disease... she looks like Catherine Zeta Jones, but hotter... I got hit in the head with a red glowstick during Harry Hood while on the phone with Molly... looked up to see a single star in the faint sky... Joker said they are playing songs they like... Big Pimping with Jay Z... way cool... Tweprise (Tweezer Reprise) rocked out... will that be the last Phish song ever in Vermont?

Brooklyn ticket

6.19.04 Saratoga... Joker made fun of the probable cause guys in front of us... sat behind the soundboard... could see Kuroda work the lights... Page was on fire in the jam on NICU... Mike was going off on Wolfman's Brother... SICK ASS PIPER > JAM!!!... at least 30 mins?... Trey dropped a few loops during Gotta Jibboo

Cool lights from Chris Kuroda

6.20.04 Saratoga... have balcony seats... great view... shroomies coming on... fast... balcony rocking during Julius... Page's dad came out to tap dance... it's Father's Day... too wasted to speak to the guy next to me, he has 5 on his shirt... cute girl in front of me with a bag of rubber bands... gives me a bunch... went wookie hunting shooting at wookies that wander by during setbreak... too scared to go to the bathroom when I take the rest of the mushroom chocolates... afraid to get lost... wanted a trippy set... Ghost was dark, trippy...

Day 2 in Saratoga

6.23.04 Deer Creek... on the lawn... some highschool kids next to us... Meredith tells me that "Texas is warmth"... both the weather and people... Dough Boy was wasted before the second song... sun sets and the moon rises in the same sky... the molly we snagged in Shakedown was mellow, could use some more... Bathtub Gin rocked... Joker called Wendy during the song... Slit Open and Melt was tripped out... met Lori from Kentucky, she's cool... lines to get out to the bathrooms were insane... smoked opium at setbreak with a crusty spun out kid in line at the bathroom... feet feel very heavy... I can't sneak into Zobo or Alea's section... they both come out to say hello... the boys read my mind... Halley's Comet > Crosseyed > Slave... my favorite songs... intense

Page in Deer Creek

6.24.04 Deer Creek... today is my 145th Phish show... hung out with Lori on lawn before the show... had pavillion seats behind the tapers... Loving Cup opener? Wow... Cities short and sweet... DWD > Rock and Roll = AMAZING!... the molly kicked in during DWD... thirtsy for beer for some reason... found Alea and Daddy (met for the first time) at setbreak... couldn't find Zobo... then the roll kicked in... called Tube opener... I went nuts... dropping the funk... the roll kicked in by the end... Wedge rocked... Page was the shit on Coil... last Deer Creek show... ever!

Last show at Deer Creek

Closing Thoughts

It was special to meet people that only know of me through the internet. My blogs have reached a Phishy audience as well... and getting to meet Lori from Kentucky and Daddy from Indiana was very special, especially the last few shows the boys were playing in the Midwest. The Joker was one of the coolest tour buddies I ever saw Phish with. It seemed fitting that I close out this first leg with a Texas Phishead. I partied hard with a few back in the late 1990s. I saw plenty of shows with Molly and Angela, both Texas girls. I never had to worry about him not holding his mud or flaking out on me. I can't wait to see the Vermont shows with his Texas crew!

The Joker and Dr. Pauly in Saratoga

Post Phishy Travels

After the shows ended, the Joker dropped me off in Chicago. I hung out with Bob for the night. We caught up and chatted about the good old days when we partied hard in Atlanta. I saw a bunch of Phish shows in the early 1990s with Bob and his brother, including the infamous Atlanta Fox Theatre 4.23.94 show, which still sits in the Top 5 shows of all time. Bob took me to a cool bar near Wrigley Field called Goose Island, one of his favorite hangouts. We watched some of the Cubbies game and I sampled the local brews. I also ate some spicy Buffalo chicken strips, which rocked with extra blue cheese. It's always good to see Bob in his hometown.

Waterfront in Grand Haven, MI

After Chicago, I drove over to Grand Haven, Michigan to meet the infamous Boy Genius himself. We seem to have very similar tastes in music, pop culture, and ceratin actresses. He was a mellow guy and his dog, Frye, was very chill. We wandered around the local arts festival downtown (a few blocks away from his house). Grand Haven in beautiful town on the Lake. We strolled by the waterfront and I saw all the cool boats that folks from Chicago and Milwaukee sailed over for the day. One boat was blasting the Grateful Dead. Fitting I thought, since the boat was named Touch of Grey.

BG bought me dinner at a swanky restaraunt (the Kirby Grill?) on the water, in celebration of his 30th birthday. I met his smoking hot neighbor who was a waitress there. Man, she was a looker for sure. We drank some expensive wine and I had the best meal on my entire vacation, thanks to BG. The muscles in garlic sauce were tasty and the T-bone steak was sensational. BG had a Veal Chop that he'd been awaiting for sometime. Afterwards, we played some poker. I met another poker blogger from Western Michigan named Lord Geznikor and I came in 8th place. I didn't play bad, just didn't get any flops. I also met BG's darling cosuin, who looks like Summer from The OC. And I behaved. I know what you are thinking... 19 year old girls and Dr. Pauly after Midnight are a dangerous combination. Anyway, BG gave me a cool book and I tasted some of his homemeade bread.

Somewhere in Michigan

Sometimes, when I get on the road, I never want to stop driving. Do you ever get that feeling? Travel is like a drug. I want to keep seeing new places, and visit old places I loved, and hang out with old friends, and make new ones. The road is one of the few places where I am truly myself, and I have no one else to blame for my troubles. The act of moving forward is never more evident, and I somehow always seem to figure out some of the problems that had been bugging me for months before. One day I'm going to hit the road, and never come home... and keep stay on the road forever. Maybe I can make that happen...

Disclaimer: All black and white photos were taken by me... all of the color photos were stolen from
Glossary of Terms

I realize that I have to point some of you towards Urban Dictionary and FAQ to get a quick tutorial in some of the lingo and slang peppered in my previous post. But I'll also give you some quick definitions.
The Band

Trey: the frontman and lead guitar player
Fish: the drummer, he wears a dress and plays a vacuum cleaner
Page: the piano and keyboard player, my favorite member of Phish
Mike: the bass player, infamous for the tune "Mike's Song"

Mike, Fish, Page, and Trey


Kuroda: aka CK5, Chris Kuroda does the amazing lights at Phish shows
Japhan: a Japanese Phishead
Japhamily: Americans (and Japanese) heads that toured the Japan 2000 shows
Crusty: see Wookie
Newbie: someone at their first Phish show
Wookie: long haired, or dreadlocked, unkempt hippies that resemble Chewbacca from Star Wars
Wookette: a female version of a Wookie, usually with armpits hairier than mine
Phishy chick: a young hippie girl adorned in either hemp jewelry or a patchwork dress
Dave Matthews Chick: a very attractive girl on the borderline of hipster and hippie, her favorite band is Dave Matthews Band and she wears Birkenstocks and has on a pair of Victoria's Secret panties
Spinners: Phishy chicks that will twirl around in circles the entire show, and usually afterwards for several hours later
Tour dogs: unleashed dogs that accompany heads on tour, usually following a group of four or five Wookies
Tour rats: group of people who follow Phish... but not for the music, rather for the drug scene in the lots before and after the shows
Veggie Burrito Girl: a Phishy chick selling her food in the parking lot after the show
Vendors: people selling items in Shakedown Street

Drug Speak

Shakedown: named after the Grateful Dead song, Shakedown Street is a part of the parking lot where vendors (legal and illegal) set up shop
Nugs or Nuggets: high grade marijuana (aka the Dank)
Pharmies: pharmacuetical drugs for sale like Valium, Xanax, and Klonapin
Rolls: Ecstasy pills
Molly: pure MDMA (Ecstasy) in powder form
Yay Yo: cocaine
Mushroom Chocolates: magic mushrooms cooked in chocolate
Doses: hits of LSD (acid), sometimes called Dragons
Rolling: (aka Spun out) tripping on Molly or Ecstacy
Slinging: selling or trading transactions in Shakedown Street
Balloons: filled with nitrous oxide, otherwise known as Hippie Crack
Bunk: no good, fake

A glimpse of Shakedown Street in Deer Creek


Extras: extra tickets to the show
Miracle: from the Grateful Dead song "I Need a Miracle"... someone who does not have a ticket to a sold out show needs a miracle, or an extra ticket
YEM: You Enjoy Myself... a Phish song
Setbreak: Phish plays two sets every show (sometimes they play 3 for special shows) with a 40 min. break in between, first set is usually 65 to 70 mins. long and the second set is at least 90 mins.
Yemen's War On Terror

Jon Schanzer posted an excerpt on his blog of his upcoming book. I also think it appears in Orbis. Here's a bit:
Yemen has emerged of late as one of the more fertile locations for Al Qaeda activity. Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan (IAA), has executed a number of spectacular attacks against Western interests in recent years. It was responsible for the 1998 kidnapping of sixteen Western tourists in the southern province of Abyan, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, and an assault on the French tanker the Limburg in 2002, among other attacks. Despite these international strikes, the IAA is the classic Al Qaeda affiliate: a local phenomenon that assists the larger jihadi network in its war against the West.
Good work, buddy. Can't wait to read it all.
Week 6: Pauly-BG Challenge

Since I was on the road following Phish last week, it seemed natural that I try to stump Mr. Boy Genius himself with my wandering musical exploits. I asked:
Did I see Phish, The Grateful Dead, or NONE in the following cities...

1. Amsterdam, Holland
2. Reyjavik, Iceland
3. Toronto, Canada
4. Boise, ID
5. San Francisco, CA
6. Portland, OR
7. Buffalo, NY
8. Austin, TX
9. Minneapolis, MN
10. Charlotte, NC
11. Denver, CO
12. Jackson, WY
13. DC
14. Hampton, VA
15. Chapel Hill, NC

Make sure you pick 5 Phish cities, 5 Dead cities, and 5 NONE cities. If you get 4 correct, you will win.

BONUS: there is one city on the list I HAVE NOT VISITED, pick that and you get one bonus point

OK here's BG's answers (in italics) and my answers follow.

1. Amsterdam, Holland: I can't imagine Pauly NOT having been to Amsterdam. I'm going to guess that he saw THE DEAD in the Dam.

Pauly says: NONE. I almost saw Phish open for Santana in 1996, but missed the show by two days. Boy Genius = 0/1

2. Reyjavik, Iceland: I've read "The Blind Kangaroo" and I think that rules out Pauly NOT having been to Reyjavik. But did he see a concert there? I'm going to guess that he SAW PHISH play in Iceland.

Pauly says: NONE. I took a spur of the moment trip to Iceland with Senor in Jan. 2001. I never so saw many beautiful women before outside of NYC or LA. Wow. Good pick up on my novel, though. Boy Genius = 0/2

3. Toronto, Canada: I fully believe Pauly wouldn't open up his numerical selections with one of each (Dead/Phish/Neither), plus, Toronto seems like a likely Pauly destination for a show. Specifically, THE DEAD.

Pauly says: PHISH. Summer tour 1999, headed north of the border with Gil and Senor for a killer show. They played Led Zeppelin's cover of Misty Mountain Hop for the first time, and it was a smokin' show. Boy Genius = 0/3

4. Boise, ID: No one goes to Boise on purpose. I also don't think Pauly would have such an obvious choice on this list for the one place he HASN'T been. I am therefore going to guess Pauly SAW PHISH in this city.

Paulys says: PHISH. Pretty funny. I did a bunch of shows in the Pacific NW for fall tour 1999 with my then girlfriend, Angela. She locked her keys in her car after the show. Boise was the middle stop in between Portland and San Francisco. Boy Genius = 1/4

5. San Francisco, CA: Too easy? The Dead are from San Francisco, but as I'm looking at this geographically, a roadie in the Pacific Northwest seems like it might not have resulted in a San Fran stopover. I'll say Pauly's been there, but NO SHOW was seen in Frisco.

Pauly says: PHISH. I like your logic, but it backfired. The Grateful Dead is from San Fran, there home base, but alas, I have never seen the Dead on the West Coast! Boy Genius = 1/5

6. Portland, OR: Hippies are abundant in Portland. He absolutely SAW PHISH in Portland.

Pauly says: PHISH. I used to live in Seattle for almost two years, so it was natural I took a quick trip down to Portland for some Phishin'. Boy Genius = 2/6

7. Buffalo, NY: Chances are excellent Pauly's been to Buffalo, especially for a show. Let's say he saw THE DEAD up there.

Pauly says: The DEAD. Do you know the lyric, Truckin' up to Buffalo...? Well that was me!! Boy Genius = 3/7

8. Austin, TX: Pauly has neither been to Austin, nor has he seen a show. NO SHOW.

Pauly says: PHISH. Big whiff there. Austin is my favorite city in Texas. My Phishy ex, Angela, is from Texas, so I spent some time down there, especially following Phish. We even took her parents to a show (in Houston). Boy Genius = 3/8 (also missed the BONUS question)

9. Minneapolis, MN: Ah, the crown jewel of the Twin Cities. This seems as out-of-the-way for Pauly as Boise and Jackson are, but maybe this is just an airport stop-over? NO SHOW in Minny.

Pauly says: NONE. I have not been to 4 states in America; Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Minnesota. I've been everywhere else. I skipped the lone Phish show in Minnesota on their fall tour in 1999. I almost went to Minny but backed out at the last minute. I shall visit Minnesota someday soon, to meet Chris Halverson! It's the only town I have never been to on the list. Boy Genius = 4/9 (and clinches the win!)

10. Charlotte, NC: Two North Carolina picks? Sheesh, this gets hard. I'm thinking he saw a band in one, and no band in the other. Since Chapel Hill is a college town, Pauly saw NO SHOW in the land of the NBA's Bobcats.

Pauly Says: The DEAD. I went to college in the South, and that's when I saw most of my 46 Dead shows. Boy Genius = 4/10

11. Denver, CO: Denver seems like a great place to catch THE DEAD at old Mile High Stadium, right?

Pauly says: NONE. I wish I caught shows at nearby Red Rocks, but didn't. Boy Genius = 4/11

12. Jackson, WY: This was the toughest one of the bunch. I've been to Jackson Hole, and list it as one of my favorites spots on the planet. Frankly, there ain't much up there. But, since I confidently typed answers to every other entry on the list, I'm left with one remaining choice: Pauly saw THE DEAD here. I grit my teeth and await your answer.

Pauly says: NONE. I almost saw Widespread Panic there in 1999. Cool town. I love Wyoming. Boy Genius = 4/12

13. DC: While I'm sure Pauly has visited the seat of our nation's government, I would bet that if you got technical about it, the concert venues Phish and the Dead would play in that area lie outside the city. In places like Hampton, VA. NO SHOW.

Pauly says: The DEAD. RFK stadium baby! Boy Genius = 4/13

14. Hampton, VA: Pauly SAW PHISH here, possibly at some sort of festival.

Pauly says: The DEAD. I used to live in the South... and VA is just a stone's throw away, sort of. It was a trick question. Phish played a series of shows for a live CD back in 1998 in Hampton called Hampton Comes Alive. Boy Genius = 4/14

15. Chapel Hill, NC: College town, and smart money says Pauly SAW PHISH on Tobacco Road.

Pauly says: The DEAD. At the Dean Dome too! Most of my Phish shows I saw in North Carolina were in Raleigh or Winston-Salem. Boy Genius = 4/15.

Well... congrats to Boy Genius. He just made the cut! Good work. I'm awaiting Week 7. We are all tied up.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Almost Home...

I had a slight detour. But bare with me. I'll be blogging a bunch in the next few days. Stay tuned for an uber-post on my trip and afterthoughts on my one of my last Phishin' trips. And yeah, Deer Creek was a raging party!

In the meantime, you can visit two other blogs that have plenty of Pauly content. Check out what Boy Genius had to say about our meeting on his birthday in Grand Haven. Here's a bit:
Pauly rolled into town in his rented Dodge Stratus with the Mississippi plates (doesn't it just put a spring in your step to say, "Mississippi?") about 2PM on Saturday from his overnight stay with friends in Chicago. For my birthday, I received an authentic Pauly Painting, and I didn't even have to crack aces with the Hilton Sisters to make that happen. Nice!
Yeah, I had Mississippi plates which drew a lot of random and curious looks from folks on the road.

Also, The Joker posted another update on his blog Bathtub Gin. Here's what The Joker wrote:
The party back at the camp was a little more chill than the night before, but EVERYONE was just fukked up. I mean, I had so many weird conversations with people and it was a lot of fun being wasted and talking to wasted people.
More to come.
Congrats to Girtz and Orange

Yes, the Tao of Pauly welcomes a new reader. Orange gave birth to Ethan Kohl on 6.25.04. Congrats to the lovely couple. Jodd has a new buddy to pal around with.
Hilton Sisters Challenge Update

My favorite pair of Queens

While I was away on Phish tour, I was giving away a Pauly painting to any poker blogger who took down the best hand in poker: A-A... if they beat AA with a pair of Queens (aka the Hilton Sisters). Congrats to Bad Blood, who cracked AA with QQ very early into the contest. He wins a Pauly painting! You rule, Bad Blood.

Chris Halverson also cracked pocket aces with the Hilton Sisters this weekend and I'll find something cool to send him. Good job guys!!

I will be having another Hilton Sisters contest at the end of July. Stay tuned.
Phish Letterman Pics

Phish playing a set on the Late Show marquee

Gil posted some cool pics of Phish on Letterman last Monday.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Michigan and Boy Genius

Woke up in Chicago yesterday and woke up on Boy Genius' couch this morning in quaint Grand Haven, Michigan (on the Lake). Played in a poker tourney and finished 8th out of 12. Boy Genius came in second. He also introduced me to the two hottest chicks in Grand Haven; his neighbor and his lovely cousin (who looks like the chick from The OC). Anyway, heading back to NYC soon. More updates to come.

The Joker and Alea both called me from the show last night. Sounded like a smoking show!

Dr. Pauly

Friday, June 25, 2004

Holy Rollers, Batman! Deer Creek, Phishy City

Quick greetings from Chicago. Deer Creek was simply amazing. I wish I could see every Phish show there!! I wish I went to Alpine Valley to see the last two Phish shows on this leg of their summer tour. Alas, I'm kicking it with Bob in Chi-town until tomorrow. Both the Joker and Alea called me from Wisonsin. The boys busted out Roses Are Free. D'oh!!

Anyway, I had been on the road since Monday. Spent time in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis before we camped out in Deer Creek, which is one of my favorite venues to see Phish play. We camped out on site. The Joker sold Bloody Mary's in Shakedown. We hung out with a couple of Michigan girls who camped next to us. Met heads from all over. I bumped into Maggie again. I didn't make any money with my sign: Ask me any question for $1

The coolest part of Deer Creek was meeting some new firneds and some old. I finally found Alea and some of her friends from Wisconsin. Yeah, Wisconsin girls know how to party. I have bruises as proof. Zobo showed up as well and we hung out late last night. I also met two readers of my sites. Lori is a cute law student from Kentucky and a fathful reader of the Tao of Pauly. I met up with her at setbreak the first night. Then I met up with Daddy (I forgot his addy to his poker blog) a fellow poker blogger and Phishead. We hung out during setbreak last night.

It's always a pleasure to meet fans of my blogs!

So what did Phish play?
6.23.04 Verizon Wireless Music Center, Deer Creek, IN

Set I: Llama, Bouncing Around the Room, Bathtub Gin, Ya Mar, Pebbles and Marbles, Army of One, Split Open and Melt

Set II: Halley's Comet > Crosseyed and Painless, Slave to the Traffic Light, Nothing > 46 Days > Scents and Subtle Sounds > Brian and Robert, Limb By Limb, Cavern

Encore: Waste
The highlights were Gin and Split Open & Melt. The first three songs of set 2 were amazing. I got my Deer Creek Slave. It's always a special night when your favorite band plays your favorite song. Halley's > Crosseyed & Painless was a hot way to open a set. Too bad they cheesed out with a Waste encore.
6.24.04 Verizon Wireless Music Center, Deer Creek, IN

Set I: Loving Cup, Cities, Back On The Train, Vultures, My Mind's Got a Mind of its Own, Down With Disease > Rock and Roll

Set II: Tube, Antelope, The Wedge, Timber Ho, Prince Caspian > Simple, Walls of the Cave

Encore: The Squirming Coil
Holy apetits, batman! We had good seats rigth behind the taper's section. Last night was the hottest show of the run. I knew it was going to be a magical night when the boys opened up with Loving Cup. Cities was short and sweet. DWD > Rock and Roll was one of the best first set closing segues in recent memory. I was lit up like a dozen Christmas trees all night. I was twenty miles past Shittysville. I was having the time of my life.

Tube openr of Set 2 kicked my ass. I was waiting all tour for Tube... and I got it!! The boys broke out the funk. The Wedge made me happy and fuzzy inside. The crowd went apeshit during Antelope. Rest of the set was 100% pure smoke. Yeah, it was one of the best shows I had ever seen. More serious commentary to come. But I finished a tour with the Joker, one of the best tours to date. I met his friends from Dallas including Dough Boy, Meredith, and Corey. And I met two fans... Lori from Kentucky and Daddy from Indiana.

OK, I'm in Chicago for one more night. Time to hit the bars with Bob and meet nice Midwestern gals. I think I've had my fill of strippers and half naked, tripping college girls. Ah, who am I kidding? I meet Boy Genius tomorrow on my way into Michigan. Time to break my poker fast.

Until then,
Dr. Pauly
Week 6: Pauly-BG Weekly Wager

I sent this email to Boy Genius.

From the road. My turn. Please blog for us. Give me your answers on Saturday.

I have only seen Phish or the Grateful Dead in 5 of the cities. In the 5 others, I didn't see either.

Did I see Phish, The Grateful Dead, or NONE in the following cities:

1. Amsterdam, Holland
2. Reyjavik, Iceland
3. Toronto, Canada
4. Boise, ID
5. San Francisco, CA
6. Portland, OR
7. Buffalo, NY
8. Austin, TX
9. Minneapolis, MN
10. Charlotte, NC
11. Denver, CO
12. Jackson, WY
13. DC
14. Hampton, VA
15. Chapel Hill, NC

Make sure you pick 5 Phish cities, 5 Dead cities, and 5 NONE cities. If you get 4 correct, you will win.

BONUS: there is one city on the list I HAVE NOT VISITED, pick that and you get one bonus point.

best of luck,

And now... here's what Boy Genius guessed:
My Guesses...

Did Pauly see Phish, The Grateful Dead, or NONE in the following cities:

1. Amsterdam, Holland... I can't imagine Pauly NOT having been to Amsterdam. I'm going to guess that he saw THE DEAD in the Dam
2. Reyjavik, Iceland... I've read "The Blind Kangaroo," and I think that rules out Pauly NOT having been to Reyjavik. But did he see a concert there? I'm going to guess that he SAW PHISH play in Iceland.
3. Toronto, Canada... I fully believe Pauly wouldn't open up his numerical selections with one of each (Dead/Phish/Neither), plus, Toronto seems like a likely Pauly destination for a show. Specifically, THE DEAD.
4. Boise, ID... No one goes to Boise on purpose. I also don't think Pauly would have such an obvious choice on this list for the one place he HASN'T been. I am therefore going to guess Pauly SAW PHISH in this city
5. San Francisco, CA... Too easy? The Dead are from San Francisco, but as I'm looking at this geographically, a roadie in the Pacific Northwest seems like it might not have resulted in a San Fran stopover. I'll say Pauly's been there, but NO SHOW was seen in Frisco.
6. Portland, OR... Hippies are abundant in Portland. He absolutely SAW PHISH in Portland.
7. Buffalo, NY... Chances are excellent Pauly's been to Buffalo, especially for a show. Let's say he saw THE DEAD up there.
8. Austin, TX... Pauly has neither been to Austin, nor has he seen a show. NO SHOW.
9. Minneapolis, MN... Ah, the crown jewel of the Twin Cities. This seems as out-of-the-way for Pauly as Boise and Jackson are, but maybe this is just an airport stop-over? NO SHOW in Minny.
10. Charlotte, NC... Two North Carolina picks? Sheesh, this gets hard. I'm thinking he saw a band in one, and no band in the other. Since Chapel Hill is a college town, Pauly saw NO SHOW in the land of the NBA's Bobcats.
11. Denver, CO... Denver seems like a great place to catch THE DEAD at old Mile High Stadium, right?
12. Jackson, WY... This was the toughest one of the bunch. I've been to Jackson Hole, and list it as one of my favorites spots on the planet. Frankly, there ain't much up there. But, since I confidently typed answers to every other entry on the list, I'm left with one remaining choice: Pauly saw THE DEAD here. I grit my teeth and await your answer.
13. DC... While I'm sure Pauly has visited the seat of our nation's government, I would bet that if you got technical about it, the concert venues Phish and the Dead would play in that area lie outside the city. In places like Hampton, VA. NO SHOW.
14. Hampton, VA... Pauly SAW PHISH here, possibly at some sort of festival.
15. Chapel Hill, NC... College town, and smart money says Pauly SAW PHISH on Tobacco Road.
My answers to follow in an upcoming blog!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

On the Road, Piper, and Oh Canada

I woke up in a seedy hotel a block from Niagara Falls this morning. My head hurt a little (and my wallet hurt a lot) after a rowdy trip over the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. We hit up the Niagara Casino where the Joker won a few Canadian dollars playing blackjack. No poker for me. Afterwards, a hot bartender (I'm smitten with cute girls with Canadian accents) at the bar next door suggested a kick ass gentleman's club called Sundown, a short taxi drive away. And that's where things got very fuzzy. It had been a while since I've been in a strip club. And you know what? I had a blast.

Of course, I fell quickly for a Romanian girl with short blonde hair. She told me most of the girls were from Hungary. I tried to engage one stripper in a literary discussion as she slowly slipped her g-string back on during Pump Up the Jam. I asked if she read any Milan Kundera. Big mistake. It's gotta be one of the top 5 stupidest things I ever tried to talk to a stripper about. Note to self: Most strippers don't read the same books I read.

OK, anyway, since strippers never use their own names, I was determined not to use my real name either. I was Mike. The Joker was Trey. When they asked us where we were from, we said Vermont. If you are not a Phishead, Mike and Trey are members of Phish, based out of Vermont. We told them we had the day off of tour and wanted to party with them. One girl actually knew about Phish, even asking if we were the guys who spelled it with a P-H. Anyway, by the end of the night all of the strippers thought we were the guys from Phish. One of them in particular said I had magical hands. I can't wait to write that short story up.

One of the lovely ladies was convinced she "danced" for me before, at another club. I had never seen her before I walked into the strip club. But I played along. After all, I was Mike from Phish.

I blurted out, "Toronto. 4 years ago. Before the implants. Your hair was darker." She almost fell over.

"I knew that was you!" she squealed as she shoved her $4,500 (Canadian dollars) breasts into my face. Lucky guess. She gave me a free lap dance... for a old customer.

Anyway, we were pretty near Al Can't Hang drunk when we stumbled back over the bridge into America. I was shocked the border patrol let us back in. Niagara Falls was lit up in pretty cool colors.

This morning, we shall head to the falls to take some pictures then drive to Deer Creek. I apologize for the not-so-good entries about the Phish shows. Dealing with dial-up and a head full of party favors sucks when trying to capture coherent thoughts.

Anyway, four shows into the tour, I am having one of the best Phish tours I've ever had. Phish is playing some of their best stuff since Japan. The Joker is an awesome tour buddy. He's the party guy and shows up to the parking lot with lots of props for people to entertain themselves with. It's a great way to meet girls. And we've been meeting a bevy of them.

The Brooklyn shows were special since it was the last time I'd see Phish in NYC. I saw my first Phish show in NYC in 1989. Fitting that I also got to see my last NYC show with Senor as well. The show in the rain was magical. The Divided Sky encore was epic. The second show was high energy and Jay Z coming onstage was a shocker. The crowd (including the Brooklyn women working the vending) was into the show. The Saratoga shows were kick ass. We had good seats both nights. The highlight of the tour... the highlight post hiatus was Piper on Saturday night. Sick. Unreal. Amazing. Sensational. All great buzz words to describe that version. It might be one of the top 5 jams I ever saw Phish pull out. Insane. And I got to see the magic up close. That's why I go to so many shows. They are always making me walk away shaking my head in awe.

If I were to select the best tracks from the last 4 shows, they would include:
Suzy Greenberg
Divide Sky (encore)
Down with Disease
Bug > Tweezer Reprise (encore)
Wolfman's Brother
David Bowie
Piper > Jam (the best of the bunch)
Good Times Bad Times
Sunday's show was one of the trippiest and more spacey shows I had seen in a very long time. Ghost was something I woke up dying to see. And I got it. Trey broke his first string on stage since 1995. Pretty odd, eh? Sunday night was crazy because after the show we partied with a room full of heads from Western NY in their room. Joker broke out the props and the guitar and played songs all night. We were all staying at the same Super 8. It was a mini scene.

It feels good to take a break from worrying about writing, or a career, or playing poker. I needed a break from all those things. I will return to the big city refreshed. For now, it's listening to kick ass music and meeting cool people from all over. I'm expecting some more fun to come in Deer Creek. OK, enough for now. I won't have any internet until Friday at the earliest. This is the last update for a while.

Visit Joker's site: Bathtub Gin for some of his updates.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Saratoga Night 2

Phish 6.20.04 Saratoga, NY

Set 1: Rift, Julius, Bill Bailey (with Page's dad), Waves, Gumbo, Water in the Sky, Horn, Poor Heartl, Drowned

Set 2: Seven below > Ghost > Twist, You Enjoy Myself

Encore: Good Times, Bad Times

The funniest thing I overheard so far on this tour... from a really young, wasted Phishy chick: Man, I was pretty wasted... until that third hit of Ecstacy kicked it.

I wish I could make this stuff up.

I almost stepped on a puppy. Some wookette thought my red blazer was cool. She called me, "Pimp Daddy".

Saturday night's Piper was the best Phish song I heard post-hiatus. Sunday's show was very trippy. Drowned was sick. Waves was loopy. Second set was insane. Crazy, long, tripped out jams. Great to see some trippy Phish, because my mindset wa spretty much on the same wavelength.

Rockin Zepplin cover to close the show.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Saratoga Day 1

Phish, 6.19.04, Saratoga, NY

Set 1: Reba, Runaway Jim, NICU, Scents & Subtle Sounds, Wolfman's, Walls of the Cave > Jam > Bowie

Set 2: Ocean, Piper > Jam > Gotta Jibboo,Limb by Limb, Cavern

Encore: Velvet Sea

We arrived in the mid afternoon, checked into our hotel outside of Albany, which was filled with heads. Loaded up on supplies and headed for the venue. We wer ein a overflow parking lot, which didn't have too much pedestrain traffic. Joker's mini-bar out of the back of his vehicle didn't pull in the monster bucks like he did in Brooklyn. but we met some cool people and that's all that mattered. In addition to Bloody Mary's, Joker was also making White Russians (the drink of The Dude) and Screwdrivers. I made a killer White Russian for a cute Columbia girl.

We had great seats in the pavillion. the lawn was small, crowded, and hectic.

First set was a lot of fun. The only downer was Scents and Subtle Sounds. Aside from that I loved the first set. Whenever you open a show with Reba, you know it's gonna be a lot of fun. They nailed it. No mistakes. Page went off on NICU. Mike was the shit on Wolfman's. The boys jammed ot a smokin' Walls of the Cave.

The highlight of second set was Piper, high energy and the peak of the show. The would not stop the jam and kept pushing along. Very cool. Fishman was the man during Limb by Limb. Had an amazing show.

I bought a couple of grilled cheeses after the show. Some crusty chick was totally diggin' my red blazer. "You're pimpin' brother!" she yelled out at me as we walked out of the show.

3 hours of Phish. Not too shabby.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Joker's Update

The Joker just posted some pics and a mini review of the show on his site. Check it out. Here's my favorite part:
Another fun tidbit last night was that I wore my George W. Bush mask and a T-Shirt give to me at Bonnaroo that read "George W. Heart Getting Spun". To complete the joke I made a sign that said "Dubya Heart Phish" on one side, with "Because Mike Drops Bombs!" on the other. I got nothing but good hearted laughs and about 10 people had me pose for pictures with them. It is hard to tell, but I also am fairly certain that Trey, Page, and Mike all read the sign from stage and chuckled.
More to come. We're off to Saratoga. Two shows the next two days.
Big Pimpin' in Brooklyn

Phish 6.18.04, KeySpan Park, Brooklyn, NY

Set I: AC/DC Bag, Camel Walk, Crowd Control, Stash, Cars Trucks Buses, Carini, My Sweet One, Character Zero, Tweezer

Set II: Wilson, Down With Disease, 99 Problems**, Big Pimpin'**, Chalkdust Torture, Harry Hood, Taste

Encore: Bug > Tweezer Reprise

** with Jay-Z.

Some cool pics: Brooklyn Phish

Yes, Jay Z came out and played two songs. Hung out with Senor and Gil. I bought Bruce Cohen a bum ticket. It was fake. I traded one of my Saratoga extras with some chick and it turned out to be a bad ticket. The Joker drove his vehicle to the show. We got to Coney Island early afternoon to get a good spot in the parking lot. The Joker made $60 selling bloody Mary's before the show. Some cute blonde with a big black dog hung out next to us for an hour and sold ganja brownies. After the show, she walked by, and we stopped her. She had no clue who we were. I wish I had what she had. Senor and Gil finally arrived, and so did some of the Joker's friends from Texas, Kevin and Jessica. We found a cool spot close to the stage. I had not been that close up to Phish since Japan (on the floor... I was Page side all of Vegas and in Miami I had behind the stage and Page side kick ass seats, but there's something special about the high energy of the crowd right in front of the stage).

First set rocked. It was one of the best post hiatus. AC/DC Bag was perfect since Senor was there. He was having a blast. Camelwalk had high funk value. I called Molly during Cars Trucks Buses and Page went off on that one. I had my eye on Fishman the entire show, the band is named after him, after all right? Been focusing on him the entire run. I was pretty hammered the first set.

Second set was a lot of fun. I got hit in the head with a red glowstick during Harry Hood. I was on the phone with Molly when that happened. Joker made a comment to me that the boys were playing songs they really like.

Jay-Z was a shocker. He played two songs both high energy. Very cool.

I saw a single star in the sky. I was on the floor, about ten rows back, from the stage.

I made a small sign: Ask me any question.... $1.

I made $2.75. First guy asked me: Why are dogs flammable?

I am not shitting you. He asked. I answered and made $1. I made 25cents when some guy asked me, What 2+3 equals?. I nailed than answer.

Some cute chick was giving me a rough time in the lot after the show. Anyway, I got $1.50 off of her. She asked, What's the meaning of life? And then I got 50 bonus cents when I guessed her home state of Ohio. Don't ask.

I met Maggie again. I partied with her in Miami at the first Phish show on the NYE run. She inspired a short story called Maggie's Flight. I'm too wasted to find the link. Anyway, she gave me a huge hug and remembered my name. i should have told her about the story I wrote.

Highlights: Camel Walk, Carini, Tweezer in the first set and the Down with Disease and Hood was pretty solid.

Anyway, my thoughts are scattered. And I must crash before getting up to drive to Saratoga tomorrow. More to come...

Friday, June 18, 2004

Phish 6.17.04 Brooklyn, NY Setlist & Mini Review

6.17.04 KeySpan Park, Brooklyn, NY

Set I: Song I Heard The Ocean Sing, Dinner and a Movie, The Curtain With, Sample in a Jar, The Moma Dance > Free, Nothing, Maze, Frankenstein

Set II: 46 Days > Possum, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Brooklyn Jam, Axilla, 2001, Birds of a Feather, Kung, Mike's Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

Encore: The Divided Sky

What to say? The Joker arrived in early in the afternoon. We headeed to the venue early, toured Shakedown and went inside. Gil luckily was able to switch to a Stadium ticket (he had a floor seat).

It rained. A lot. From the second half of set one thru the middle of the second set... and including the entire setbreak. Thank God for Gil. He brought his huge umbrella. The lights were shaking in the rain during 46 Days. You could see the raindrops.

The raindrops were as big as silk worms.

The rain came down during Free. I saw a twirling girl on home plate. I saw a kid wearing a skirt. He was holding a two-foot tall chiquita banana. I could see the subway, the ocean, the Cyclone, and the projects all from my seat along the first base line.

Breakouts: Dinner and a Movie and Kung and a Divided Sky encore (first one since MSG 12.29.98)

Highlights: MoMA Dance and Maze.... 46 Days and Suzy, 2001 and Weekapaug.

More to come.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

11 Hours... Until Phish

I'm seeing Phish here tonight and Friday.

Yes, in less than 11 hours, I'll be groovin my ass off at Phish, when they play at Coney Island.... in a minor league baseball stadium at that. I'm awaiting the arrival of The Joker. Tonight, I'm meeting up with Gil and on Friday, Senor will make a rare visit to see Phish here in NYC. Yes, the first leg of the their goodbye tour is underway. And I'll see 11 of the last 13 shows. Come to think about it... I have seen the last 15 Phish shows. Not too bad, eh?

5 Random Songs I Want to Hear Phish Play Tonight...

1. Makisupa Policeman
2. MoMA Dance
3. Tube
4. The Wedge
5. Guleah Papyrus

I forgot to post this picture in my Japan write ups, of a Pollock poster. Here you go.

Pollock Japan poster
The Hilton Sisters Bounty

Pair of Queens

Poker lingo... a pair of queens is called: The Hilton Sisters. Visit the Tao of Poker for more details on how you can win a Pauly painting and take down the Hilton Sisters Bounty.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Lone Star Molly

Yes. It's official. Molly changed the name of her blog to: Lone Star Molly. She took the suggestion of my brother. I like the new name change a lot. Best of luck.
Schanzer on TV

Jon Schanzer will be appearing on Fox News Channel tomorrow at 9:30am EST. Check local listings. He'll be discussing the latest terrorism news in the Middle East.
Pinky and the Donkey Punch

The Pink-clad, putrid, Princess paraded past me. I saw, but I didn't stare. She walked back my way and sat across from me. A quick pucker of the pouty, twice injected lips was followed by a light apllication of hot pink lip gloss. Her pink passion fruit patterned dress reflected my disdain. I bectha she owned one of those annoying, yapping tiny dogs, more like large rats than canines, dressed up in fancy China pink sweaters, and fed better food than I can scratch together on a junkie's salary.

I imagined cheddar pink bows and maiden pink ribbons entagled in the locks of her spoiled purse pet. The kinda dog I'd have to hide in a desk draw because he wouldn't shut the fuck up. She's the type of chick that drank rainbow pink colored cocktails at Happy Hours in Soho during the week or before the Princess passed out on sun drenched, faded pink beach chairs, a dental floss thin, flamingo pink bikini protecting her from Sun cancer in South Hampton.

If she pulled out a pastel pink flavored iPod out of her new Kate Spade piglet pink tote, I was going to puke up last's night's spicy chicken onto her pink flip flops. Instead, she pulled out a a pink chick lit book and right there I wanted to grab her, bend her over and subject the Pink-clad, putrid, Princess to a donkey punch, after she screamed out the twelve different shades of pink.
Paris, Part Deux

I wish I was the ice cream cone!

She's back. My favorite blonde heiress (ok, second favorite blonde heiress, Ms. Buttons) is back with a second season of her reality TV show. How much hijinks could she get into? I wish they ditched Nicole and signed me up. I think a road trip across America with a hotel heiress would warrant me a my own TV show. Anyway, Paris is on tonight. Two episodes. A double dip of Paris. Hijinks to ensue for sure. One at 8pm and the other at 9pm. All times EST.
Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. Demons and Angels by Dan Brown
2. The Elephant Vanishes: Stories by Haruki Murakami
3. Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
4. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver W. Sacks
5. I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
Today in Phistory 6.16.00

Zepp Theatre, Osaka, Japan

Phish 6.16.00, Zepp, Suminoe-ku, Osaka, Japan

Set I: Limb By Limb, Sample in a Jar, First Tube, Golgi Apparatus, Heavy Things, Dirt, My Sweet One, Reba, Character Zero

Set II: Runaway Jim, Theme from the Bottom, Dog Faced Boy, Driver, Slave to the Traffic Light, Julius, Bug

Encore: Bouncin, Harry Hood

I spent the day wandering around Osaka. It's the city of water, with plenty of rivers and canals conencting the city. The shopping area was dense, but not as hectic as Tokyo. Beano found glow sticks. We saw Page crossing the street and I took a quick photo. Senor and I went bowling and you buy your rental shoes at vending machines. Went over to Cosmo Square, where the venue was located. Zepp had a theatre in Tokyo (I think it's a chain?) as well. I saw a couple of posters and flyers around town.

Flyer for the Osaka shows

This one was spacious and there was a carpet! If you spilled a drink, guys in white shirts and towels sprinted into action and cleaned up the mess in seconds. They reminded me of ball boys in tennis at the US Open. They both hunched down, in the middle of the action, ready to pounced when duty called. You'd never get that sort of service in America.

The last Phish show was nearly perfect, borderline flawless. When I burned Phish shows for friends and newbies, I always include the last show in Japan... 6.16.00 Osaka. It's a clean crisp show, one of my favorites to listen to one rainy days when I need a morale boost. I had several hilarious moments at the show. I got separated from Senor and Beano and hung out with Zobo about fifth or sixth row for most of the first set. We had so much fun and enjoying life in the moment. During the lyrics in Golgi Apapratus, the band utters, "I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand!" Zobo dug into his wallet, whipped out his ticket and held it up over his head. With a belly full of mushrooms, and a head cloudy from hashish and Kirin, I busted out laughing, nearly falling to my knees in a hysterical seizure.

I heard all Japanese girls love Zobo!

During First Tube I truned around and say Senor jumping up as high as he could throughout the song. He had a wide smile and everyone around him knew he was having a balls out time. I've known the guy since 1990 and that was one of the happiest moments I had seen him encounter. With each note he tried to jump higher and higher... one of those rare moments when the music and Phish took over your entire body.

At some point during the end of a smoking first set, I was very inebriated and closed my eyes during Reba. I floated or wandered into the middle of a group of locals, about eight or so friends, who left me alone. They kept dancing and encircled me. When I came too, I was competely lost. I had that feeling like I woke up from a dream, but couldn't tell if I was still in a dream. It seemed like a Japan was one long dream. Did all of that happen? I came very close to freaking out. It happens on pyschedelics when you forget where you are. I turned to my left and saw a smiling Japanese girl wearing a tie-dyed shirt. I remembered! I'm in Japan. There was music playing and I looked up at the stage. I was forty feet in front of Trey. I whirled around and say Beano and Senor jamming out to the music. I'm among friends! Then I forgot what song they were playing. Was it still Reba, or did they segue into another song during the short period of time I was trying to get my space together? That's why I write down the setlists. A week straight of very little sleep, too many party favors, and very little food... made me very loopy. I hit a personal high in Japan. I can count on my right hand how many times I've been that far gone since then. I'm a head taller than everyone in Japan. I turned back around and saw the floor of the venue flooded with the dancing and grooving crowd. It was one of those memory burns.

The second set was just as intense. I had not yet heard my favorte song, Slave to the Traffic Light, and knew the second set was my last chance. An hour into the set, I was blessed with an Osaka Slave... shit, a Japan Slave! I stood in awe, near tears, and goosebumps three inches thick bubbled up on my entire body. I was so close to the band I could almost touch them. When I saw Beano soon after, he was pumping his fist. He knew I was waiting all week to hear my favorite song. Nothings more satisfying than flying half way around the world, and hearing one of your favorite bands, play your favorite song. Here comes the cliche... it was as though they did Slave to the Traffic Light just for me.

I can never write enough about Japan. Next year, I hope to go back and live for a short period of time, where I hope I'll pen my novel about my Phishy travels in 2000. There's not a day that goes by where I don't think about Japan. I made some amazing friends. We taught each other an unquantified amount of small things that blended culture, music, and life. I was moved by the Japanese's spiritual approach to music. Despite the communication problems, music and more specifically, Phish, was the middle gorund, where we found a place where we could share the finer moments in life. The friendships and bonds that were created are to this day, some the the strongest and most meaningful on my journey.

I haven't met any of the guys from Phish since their last show in Japan. If I did, I was going to tell them, "Thanks, for going to Japan. It's been an integral source of friendship, inspiration, and sincerity in my often stormy life. Thanks for sharing those intimate moments with me."

I'll be back...
5 Random Songs I Want to Hear Phish Play in Brooklyn... Tomorrow!!

1. Tube
2. Lizards
3. Sneaking Sally
5. Undermind
Monday at the Blue Parrot
"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive...
and all the impersonators would be dead."
- Johnny Carson
Well, it had been a while since Signor Ferrari hosted a game. I was eager to get back into the action. I fared well, my previous two times and wanted to get a little quick cash and gas money before I hit the road on Saturday morning. Last night, some familiar mugs were missing. Rick Blaine and his wife moved to San Francisco (anyone in the Bay Area looking for players, drop Rick Blaine an email. I will vouch for the guy. He's a gentleman and a scholar. Plus, he's the dude from Rick's Cafe.) Ugarte was away on holiday and Coach was on his honeymoon. A couple of occasional players dropped in and we had a new face to the mix. Apshnxma, a fellow poker blogger from Riding the F Train, has picked up Rick's old seat and was fresh off a satellite win at the Borgata (he won a seat at the $1500 NL later this year.) And writer, Diane Roy, joined the big boys for a second time. During her first appearance at the Blue Parrot, she took the money and ran! And posted a good sized win.
The Cast
Seat 1: Asphnxma
Seat 2: Dan
Seat 3: Signor Ferrari
Seat 4: Sugata
Seat 5: Diane (arrived late)
Seat 6: Charlie
Seat 7: Dr. Pauly
For a complete recap of the Monday Night game visit the Tao of Poker.
Wednesday's Wacky Bet of the Week

I have a running weekly prop bet with Boy Genius. Here's what were doing this week as BG reported on his blog:
BG vs. Pauly, Round 5

We’re all tied up going into round 5 of our weekly wager. This week, it’s my turn to propose. We’re going to play What Won’t BG Eat?

Here’s how the game works: I’m going to list 20 food items. Ten of which, I’ll eat, ten of which, I wouldn’t. If Pauly can put six items appropriately on the Won’t Eat list, he’ll win.

The List:
1. A Big Mac
2. Escargot
3. Sushi, raw
4. Sushi, cooked
5. Cheddar cheese, cubed
6. Potato Salad
7. Shepherd’s Pie
8. Oysters on the half shell
9. Deviled Eggs
10. Oatmeal
11. Duck
12. Beef Stroganoff
13. White Chili
14. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
15. Spinach
16. Creamed Corn
17. Green Olives
18. Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips
19. Yogurt
20. Bologna

Good luck!
Wow. That's a toughy! Here's my picks:
Pauly's Picks:
1. A Big Mac YES
2. Escargot NO
3. Sushi, raw YES
4. Sushi, cooked YES
5. Cheddar cheese, cubed NO
6. Potato Salad NO
7. Shepherd’s Pie NO
8. Oysters on the half shell YES
9. Deviled Eggs NO
10. Oatmeal NO
11. Duck YES
12. Beef Stroganoff YES
13. White Chili NO
14. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches NO
15. Spinach YES
16. Creamed Corn NO
17. Green Olives YES
18. Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips YES
19. Yogurt NO
20. Bologna YES
There you have it. I'll be awaiting the results.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

5 Toppings I Like on My Pizza...

1. Extra Cheese
2. Pepperoni
3. Mushrooms
4. Sausage
5. Onions
Undermind Thoughts...

I listened to the new Phish CD twice today. My favorite track is Undermind, the title track. It has a nice tinge of groove-funk, and yes, catchy lyrics that only Phish could pull off.

The new and last Phish album

I spent the late morning and early afternoon writing. I have a shitload of petty errands to run. Days like this I wish I had an intern. Too bad I never got a few NYU summer interns. I could use one badly right now. Tons of shit to do. Runs to the post office. Laundry. Packing for my trip. Working on three different blogs! Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I'm trying to help Molly come up with a new name for her blog. It was called Garlic Bread. Even my brother came up with a pretty good name. I personally like: Mollification. Or how about Garlic Molly?

OK, so I got the new Phish CD in the mail the other day. It's OK. I heard about four or five songs live before (on previous tours). My favorites are a Page song... Army of One and Two Versions of Me. Is it weak the rest of the album? It's too early to tell. Let me listen to it on the road the next week or so, and I'll get back to you. The best part of the CD is a bonus DVD! A mini movie about Phish. Worth the purchase for sure. Anyway, I have been writing to the new CD all day. It's growing on me. But in the end, it's still no: Picture of Nectar. I think that might be the best Phish album of all time. I recall going to the hip record store in Atlanta with my buddies WIlkins and Pizza to get the brand new CD. Phish was in the store signing copies.

OK, I have to get back to writing. Some stuff needs to get done for the upcoming issue of Truckin'. I played poker last night with Signor Ferrari at the Blue Parrot. I wona few bucks and will post a write up to the Tao of Poker as soon as I can.

And I need to hop onto Party Poker later tonight and kick some ass!
Today in Phishtory... June 15, 2000

Big Cat, 6.15.00, Osaka, Japan

Phish 6.15.00, Big Cat, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan

Set I: NICU, Chalkdust Torture, AC/DC Bag, Uncle Pen, Ghost, Frankie Says, Divided Sky, Farmhouse

Set II: Down With Disease, The Lizards, Bike, You Enjoy Myself

Encore: Gotta Jibboo

One of the many bridges in Osaka

Osaka was my favorite city in Japan. If I were to move to Japan, that's where I'd like to live. Tokyo gave off that NYC vibe, while Osaka was more laid back, much like San Francisco. We found a hotel near our venue and Beano went looking for glow sticks. I was on a search for a local head shop that sold mushrooms. I stocked up.

The venue was tiny and called Big Cat. I was up close for the entire show. One guy had a sign: RIZARDS. He wanted to hear Lizards and hoped his sign would catch Trey's attention. It did. NICU opener was smokin'! I had a moment during Ghost, one of those times when Phish went off and I quickly followed. It was pretty cool when even I cannot describe that feeling of being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and loving every second of that. I was pretty pumped to be half way around the world, listening to one of my favorite bands with two friends I knew for a decade.

The show was pretty insane and Phish finally gelled the night before. Nagoya was the best show of the run (up until that point) and Fukuoka was special because the boys hit some rare moments (to this day, they haven't matched that intensity)... but they seemed most comfortable in Osaka. After being in Japan for a week, everyone was comfortable. My Japanese was surprisingly passable. The locals were impressed. I gather that it had less to do with my pronunciation, than my effort to communicate in their language.

While we were walking down a street, a guy tapped me on the shoulder. He was Japanese and his long hair was a give away that he was a Phishead. He told me that he recognized me from every Phish show in Japan and he wanted to say hello! How cool was that! Wandering around, down a random street, and I'm recognized by a local. Yes by that point, all the Americans had met one another and formed a group called Japhamily. Roughly 100 or so of us had ventured from the States and we all mingled at various times.

Hanging out at setbreak with Beano and Japhans

The show was great. Crowd was into the vibe. We hung out with Aki and Kimi and their Osaka friends. I met Ryuji and his drunk friend Hiroki, who insisted that he was "a professional." He kept shouting that at the top of his lungs. I learned that he was a professional alcoholic.

After the show, we were invited to an after party, thrown by some of Aki and Kimi's friends. I met Page. I hung out and smoked hash in a dark corner with people whose names I forgot. We saw Fish waiting in line to use the bathroom. Zobo walked up and Fish blew him off. He was trying to talk to a chick. I laughed when Zobo returned slightly jaded.

Next up... the last show in Osaka.
Joker and Bonnaroo

The Joker posted an update of his travels and partying at Bonaroo this past weekend. Check it out. Here's a bit:
David Byrne, it must be said, is a genius and just radiates coolness. His set was a mix of solo & Talking Heads favorites. "Psycho Killer" was fun but probably the song of Bonnaroo for me was "Once in a Lifetime." Smiles all around and the whole crowd singing along, jumping up and down. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was. And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?
He arrives in NYC later tomorrow and I'll be doing the rest of the June Phish tour with the Joker and his vehicle, Marco.

Anyway here's the setlist (partial - Set 2) from Trey Anastasio Band at Bonnaroo:
Mr. Completely, Sing A Song, Alive Again, Night Speaks To A Woman, The Devil Went Down To Georgia, Curlew's Call, Sultans of Swing, Push On Til the Day, Small Axe, Last Tube, Ether Sunday, Black Dog

Encore: First Tube
Again, thanks to the Joker for the calls and the setlist.

Getting Ink
"Blogs are the new tattoos." - Me
I secretly love seeing my name on other people's blogs. Here's two recent instances. Boy Genius recapped a conversation we had. Check out his entry called: The New Tattoos:
I was talking with Pauly on Saturday, in very general terms about, to borrow a phrase, the viral phenomenon of blogs.

Pauly’s line, one that I feel is apt, is that “blogs are the new tattoos.” Everybody is going to have one, or already does.

Viral, actually, is a terrific adjective to describe blogs, as the Howard Dean campaign proved early on. For better or for worse, Dean’s supporters utilized blogs to at once rally and corral the troops.
Yes. And of course, I'm getting ink in New Zealand. The Poker Penguin recently mused about our conversations regarding Shakespeare. Here's a bit:
Pauly (Tao of Poker) and I both fessed up in emails to having memorised bits of Shakespeare. Now, this is actually a surprisingly fun thing to do. Big Will had a hell of a grasp of the English language, and memorising it as a speech puts it in a whole new light from reading it or watching it as a performance. It's a far more active way of understanding the text.

Pauly admitted to knowing parts of Hamlet. Which fits, I mean, I can just see Pauly in a wacko state, going on a murderous spree of vengeance (or at least writing insulting things about them). But really, I can only speculate on him.

Me, I know Richard III's soliloquy (Now is the winter of our discontent...) and one of *the* speeches from Henry V (What's he that wishes so? My cousin westmoreland) yes, it's the band of brothers speech.

Henry V is how I'd like to see myself, or even be. A brave, noble leader who is a lover and a fighter. I'd settle for being able to convincingly imagine this was the case. Richard III, by contrast is how I fear / believe I actually am. A devious, ugly (in body and soul), selfish bastard.

Niether are entirely true. Which is the way with so many things in life.

So really, this entire monster ramble has no real point, and just shoves the poker content futher into the archives.
See poker bloggers just don't blog about poker!!
5 of My Favorite Smells...

1. NYC two minutes after it rains
2. Pulling up to a gas station
3. A woman's neck seconds after she gets out of the shower
4. Anyone cooking bacon
5. A new bag of kind buds

Monday, June 14, 2004

Garlic Bread... Molly's Blog!

Molly, the grooviest chick is West Texas, started her very own blog called: Garlic Bread. Check it out.
My 3,001st post... Schanzer on TV Today

This just in. Jon Schanzer will be on Fox News Channel at 3:17pm EST. Here's what he wrote me:
I'll be doing an interview with Shepard Smith at the Fox News Channel today, talking about recent developments in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the USA. The hit is scheduled for a very specific time - 3:17.
And yes, this is my 3,001st post. The cartoon was number 3,000! Does this mean I'm a lock for the blogger hall of fame? For you non baseball fans, usually 3,000 hits is a good indication whether or not that player will have a chance of getting enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I think I'll need to get to 30,000 posts before I can consider being a top notch blogger.
Poker Hermit's Sketch

I was wandering through some on my blogger links and stopped by The Poker Hermit who is currently on a hiatus. But... he managed to post a "it's funny because it's true..." sketch of some of his fellow poker bloggers. Guess which one is me? Good job, Hermit! Alas... I 'm looking forward to reading more.

Created by The Poker Hermit (2004)

Click on the picture above for a better view. And yes, penguins don't have hands. If you don't read poker blogs... there's The Poker Penguin, Hdouble from The Cards Speak (a former semi-pro football player), Iggy from Guinness and Poker, Grubby from the Poker Grub, and yes... me from the Tao of Poker. The guy at the far former is the Poker Hermit. I love the Grateful Dead bong in the background.
Today in Phishtory... June 14, 2000

Drum Logos, Fukuoka, Japan 6.14.00

Phish 6.14.00 Drum Logos, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, Japan

Set I: Carini, The Curtain, Cities, Gumbo > Llama, Fee, Heavy Things, Split Open and Melt

Set II: Back On The Train, Twist > Walk Away > 2001

Encore: Sleep, Squirming Coil

The following is from my travel journal four years ago today:

14 June 2000... Fukuoka, Japan

Holly walks through our car on the bullet train with a grin on her face. “I lost my boyfriend,” as she shrugs her shoulders, “He got out at the last stop, went to go buy something on the platform, and the doors closed on him, and the train left without him.” Poor Holly, her boyfriend got off and never made it back on the bullet train to Fukuoka.

Somewhere on the way to Fukuoka

Our train arrives at Hakata Station in Fukuoka exactly one minute early than scheduled. Fukuoka is Japan’s largest and most populated southern city. A majestic port city, it is closer to Seoul, South Korea than it is to Tokyo, which gives Fukuoka a more international flavor, especially with a fair amount of American military around, the locals are more used to GAI-JIN. Señor and I walk through the busy Hakata Station and we find a crowd gathered around a stage with a live musical performance by a band and these tiny kimono wearing dancers. As we pause to check out the scene, I am aroused by the flavorful smells of baked goods. I turn around frantically, trying to seek out the origin of the smells, the aromas, the tantalizing treats that are making my already hungry stomach growl for more attention.

I find the bakery a few steps away called TANDOR. Upon entering the bakery you are walk among rows of baskets of baked goods, all various sizes and shapes, of fresh baked breads and pasties and cookies. The large brick bread making ovens are located right behind the check out counter, where all the workers are tiny Japanese girls who wear the most adorable white and red uniforms and lovely white gloves cover their tiny hands. They greet you with big smiles and sing a nice happy song to you as the customers pay. I have no idea what they are saying but it makes me smile anyway. I buy a loaf of garlic bread, a few rolls, a couple of chocolate doughnuts and three containers of orange juice. The portions are so small in Japan, that I have to buy almost double the amount of food that is presented to me. I lug my overstuffed backpack and my baked goods to the counter and the check out girl smiles and is overly enthusiastic about my sale. I bow my head and say, “Arigato!” And she smiles back and bows.

Señor and I walk out of Hakata Station and find our way to the subway, as I catch my first glimpse of downtown Fukuoka. It’s very sunny and warm, and this is the most sun I have seen since I arrived in Japan a week ago. I bask it up for a few moments before we walk into the subway and take a ride to the area of town where Phish is playing. We were suggested a hotel by the information desk at the train station, and like every city we traveled to on this trip, we never once made a reservation, we would just show up and take our chances finding lodging. Risky, but that's how we were doing this trip. As we exited off subway and started walking in the wrong direction, I stop to ask a local where our hotel was, he tells me I am going the wrong way and gives me the correct directions in perfect English! The Fukuoka locals are definitely more friendly down here in Sourthern Japan, and alot more willing to help with directions, as compared to the serious brush offs we were getting in Tokyo.

The hotel is overbooked, we unhappily find out upon arrival. But the manager recommends a cheaper place just a few blocks away. He even calls to make reservations for us! As I make small talk with the nice fellow, I find out that he’s not only well versed in English, but fluent in French as well. He worked at the Japanese Embassy in Paris for a decade, and I chat with him briefly in French, before thanking him and making our way to the next hotel. I’m pleasantly surprised by the friendly, curious energy and the laid back, Sunny California attitude of the locals. I’m really enjoying the vibe in Fukuoka and start to hope the vibe finds it’s way to the show later that night.

We check into our small rooms, shown to us by a very small and round elderly lady at the front desk who had been expecting us. I drop off my stuff, write a few lines, take a quick shower, make a quick inventory of my narcotics, Yen and tickets and head back to Hakata Station to meet Beano. He had separated from us in Tokyo and went to check out the mountains for a few days and skipped the Nagoya show. We are all excited to reunite, and when we finally find him, we’re all pumped and start to focus on Phish! On our way back to the hotel, Beano tells us stories about staying in a RYOKIN, a Japanese style hotel and a funny story about his bus ride from the hotel to the JR train station. We drop off his gear and head right for DRUM LOGOS, just a few blocks away, the venue where Phish should be starting up in less than 2 hours.

Random street in Fukukoa, Japan

For the first time all trip, I kinda get us lost and Beano and Señor don’t have a clue because they have instinctively been following me the entire trip. I didn't want to tell them we were lost, so I just keep walking. I’m starting to feel the beginning effects of the shroomies I took before I left the hotel, and I hope I don't start booming too early, while I'm lost. I’m very confused because the street signs are all in Japanese and the map I have isn't very good, so I finally stop on one corner and confess to Beano and Señor, “Guys, I can’t find the venue.”

As they look at the map, I notice Mike Gordon (Bass player for Phish) walking down the adjacent street, and I quickly say, “Well we can always follow Mike to the show.”

And I pull them off in that direction. We keep following Mike about 20 yards behind, until I see a few phisheads loitering about, then I know I’m going in the right direction, onward to Drum Logos. In Japan, they let you into the show by ticket number so we had low numbers and scurry right inside and get a good spot for the general admission show. It's larger than the last venue in Nagoya, but smaller than the Zepp in Tokyo. Señor meets two Deadheads living in Southern Japan and it's their only show of the tour. I meet a couple of kids from the Navy (they barely shaved) and they ask me for some LSD. I tell them I’m not holding and they explain to me how they get drug tested, but not for acid. Interesting. Good to know my tax dollars are being spent on random psychedelic experimentation for our soldiers throughout the world. G.I. Joe keeps asking me if they are going to play WILSON and I keep telling him (and showing him the setlist from the Nagoya show) that they played it last night.

I notice this show might have the most Americans in attendance. Most of them I haven't seen on tour. They is a lot of military personnel and Yanks working in Southern Japan which accounted for the new American faces. Zobo is with Aki and Kimi and they find us and sit down. I also see Dan and Marie from San Francisco and all three girls named Heather on tour, as the lights go down and the boys start out dark and I fire up the hashish and toke with Beano.

Carini is one of my favorite Phish songs to hear and I love the frantic and dark Phish to begin the night. Cities was fun because Zobo was making me laugh the entire song and Trey changed some of the lyrics to: “It's only the noodles... It's only the noodles” Gumbo was well placed and unexpected, and Heavy Things is a Japanese favorite and makes the crowd go a little crazy. A edgy Split Open & Melt closed the heavy, contumacious and dark set. When the lights came back on, Beano and I made a beeline for the Beer Line as I scribbled down the setlist:


A Japanese kid in line behind me recognizes me and says with a warm smile, “Tokyo show?”

I nod and agree, trying to remember who he was then I recall he had been wearing a Dog Faced Boy T-shirt at the Zepp show, and I then I exclaim, “Zepp Tokyo. Great show! Seiko!”

He gets excited and laughs and I chuckle as I am slowly becoming a celebrity, being recognized left and right by random Japanese tour rats. We make our back to Señor and he’s smoking with Aki and Kimi and they are getting very shitty. I turn to Aki and say, 2001.

His eyes get all wide, “Really?”

“Yeah bro, it will make my whole tour.”

Aki agrees and passes me some homegrown Osaka cannabis. Before the second set starts I put the vibe out. 2001, 2001, 2001. I keep thinking it aloud. 2001, 2001...

The set begins with Back on the Train > Twist > Jam. The Jam was a very odd spacey jam which then segued into Walk Away. Our lost member of Phish, Page was smoking during this tune. I almost forgot about Page this tour. He was just chilling back, grooving and waiting for his moment. Slowly Walk Away jammed into 2001! I turned to Aki and he just nods his head and gives me a huge smile! I nod back and get lost into the spacey grooves and loops of 2001. Phish peaked at this point and closed the set to the satisfied and funked out crowd. The Twist was 18 minutes long! And I finally got my Japan 2001.

Trey walked onsatge for the encore and someone yelled, “SLEEP”. Trey laughs and jokingly says, “We haven’t played that this tour. We were going to play another song, but we’ll play that. Two songs. We’ll play two songs!” as he holds up two fingers.

The crowd erupts as Phish accommodated a rare request from a Japhan in the front row. I’m not a big fan of Coil, but I focus on Page the entire song, and just watch him play for the last 15 minutes of the show. Page is on a different planet tonight and he does me right, as I finish up jotting down the setlist:

Set 2: Back on the Train > TWIST AROUND > JAM > Walk Away > 2001

Encore: Sleep > COIL

Happy, smiling, elated, over joyed, full of the Fukuoka vibe, we wander out of Drum Logos, only to find Asselope Greg selling one of his Antelope T-shirts.

“McGrupp, buy one. $20,” he yells to me.

“I’ll buy two of those overpriced shirts for 2000 Yen,” as he pretends to ignore my offer, “Well fuck off!" What an Asselope!

We look for a veggie friendly restaurant to eat in for Beano and settle for a Yakatori place on the corner. Every time someone enters and leaves the restaurant, the chef bangs a drum that is located above the bar and yells something out loud. It’s too funny. I can’t get enough of it. I’m booming just a little bit, so I still have the giggles, and I don't know what to eat so I just point to stuff on the grill and they serve it to me. Great eats, which are basically just veggies, chicken, beef and stuff grilled on sticks. Nothing special, but it sets us all right. We have a couple of beers and I’m not tripping anymore as my previous altered state enters into drunk mode. We leave the restaurant, as they bang the drum, and we laugh and take pictures before we stumble off towards our hotel.

At night the local restaurants, bars and hotels leave their recyclable goods on the street for a pick up and Señor and I find a few empty kegs and we start tossing them around and about the empty street. I pick up one over my head as Señor takes a picture. Yeah typical stupid, drunk Americans, doing stupid stuff overseas. We are what we are, drunk wandering the streets of Fukuoka at night.

I wrote this short story for my blog-zine Truckin'

McD's Japanese style, Fukuoka, Japan

Osaka next up!