Friday, June 19, 2009

Walk Away in PA and the Adventures of Pirate Iggy

By Pauly
Weirton, West Virginia

I was excited for the third act of my Phish journey. The first act included four shows.... Jones Beach > Great Woods > Camden during the North East swing. Then I headed down South for the second act including stops in Asheville > Knoxville > Bonnaroo. I skipped St. Louis (ticket was too pricey) and rested up in Ohio for the last four shows.

My crew for the last leg included GMoney, Iggy, and Daddy. Both Daddy and GMoney are Phish veterans with GMoney having the most music seniority out of all of us. He caught almost 97 Dead shows back in the day and he's bred for the tour life. And Iggy? He was a Phish virgin... curious that three close friends of his were fanatical about the band from Vermont. Much like Otis in Asheville, Iggy was more than curious. He wanted to jump into the scene head first. He was looking to see what he missed since his last "jammy" show which was the Grateful Dead in Las Vegas circa 1992. He has not been in a lot in 17 years... and he missed it.

Since Iggy was a former professional gambler he was down for plenty of prop betting. Illicit drug use and degenerate gambling make everything slightly more interesting. We stopped at a Waffle House in bumblefuck Ohio and we set our first wager on our potential waitress... Iggy suggested that she would have "gang tattoos" while I went for the older "missing teeth" waitress. We had neither and it was a push. We also had a prop bet on the number of wookies pulled over by local cops on rural Route 22 on the way to the venue. I set the line at 1.5 and Iggy took the over. I won that bet. Only one group of spacekids were pulled over.

Next prop bet? Van Halen cover songs. I gave Iggy 100-1 odds that Phish would not play Running with the Devil at Burgettstown. I also gave him 50-1 that Phish would not play any Van Halen covers.

We stashed our gear at a hotel in West Virginia because Burgettstown and the PA border was just a few miles way. We arrived relatively early and set up shop. We wanted Iggy to get a full lot experience. GMoney and I thought about getting him a costume, but we settled on a simple eye patch for a pirate theme. It was a perfect way to introduce Iggy to the scene which can be extremely intimidating to newbies. The eye patch helped break the ice. It ended up being a huge hit. Pirate Iggy fielded plenty of photo requests which was odd because the old Iggy was extremely camera shy. Phish was bringing him out of his shell.

A shroom dealer thought that I was a cop because I had a small notebook out while we discussed a potential deal. It was my way of trying to figure out if he was a cop. That's when playing a lot of poker came in handy. The way he shifted his weight and flared his nostrils, I knew that he was a dealer worried that I was a narc. I assured him that I was legit and laughed at the situation. In 163 shows, I have never been accused of being a cop in the lot. In South America, I was accused of being a CIA operative since journalists provide the perfect cover for spooks. Anyway, the deal went down and I scored a batch of very weak shrooms. GMoney was our test subject.

My buddy Daddy and his crew rolled up and we finished out the last hour in the lot catching up on old times and prepping Iggy for his first show. And GMoney was raging and ready to go. His shirt was already dirty before we even went into the venue after slamming several beers. He was bringing his A-game for his first show back.
6/18/09 Post Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA

Set I: Golgi Apparatus, Chalkdust Torture, Bouncin, Wolfman's Brother, Divided Sky, Heavy Things, Walk Away, Wilson, Tube, Alaska, David Bowie

Set II: Down With Disease > Free, Guyute, Piper > Circus Comes to Town, Harry Hood, Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself

Encore: Grind, Hello My Baby, HYHU > Bike > HYHU, Loving Cup
I lost a couple of more prop bets with Iggy including on the start time and whether or not a faded space kid would fall down. She was barefoot and stumbling back and forth on the slanted lawn. Her wookie boyfriend did his best to hold her up but in between spurts of dancing he let her stand alone while he got his groove on. It was those moments when I thought she was about to keel over. I lost the bet when she got too wasted and his boyfriend took her away.

First five songs were part of the similar theme Phish has been doing... unleashing their greatest hits for fans seeing their first show back. My personal highlights were Wolfmans and Wilson. And the bustout? Walk Away first time played since 2000. Iggy ecstatically approved of that tune by the James Gang. He loves Joe Fuckin' Walsh. Who doesn't?

The boys brought the funk with Tube. It was not the best version I heard this tour, but I'd hear it at every single Phish show if I could construct the set lists every night.

Bowie was a little blah. They flubbed the end part but the kid next to me was going ape shit over the glow stick war. He was at his first show and never saw florescent flying around in the darkness before.

Iggy was blown away by the first set. He compared the show to attending church and called Trey "Eric Clapton on acid."

We hung out on the lawn the entire show and although Daddy had pavilion seats, he came up to the lawn for the second set. He was very sloshed and I never saw a fat kid get down like he did when he danced during the funky part in Free. Then he lost it during Guyute.

OK, so I'm short on time, so I'm gonna quickly wrap this up...

First set was rocking until the end when it got sloppy. The middle part of the show was a bit off and sloppy. But the boys got their shit together by Hood and closed out the show on a strong note.

The encore featured several songs including an accapella Grind followed by shortened Hello My Baby. It was nothing more than a set up for old school Fishman hijinks. Trey jumped on the drum kit and unleashed Hold Your Head Up before Fish admitted, "Welcome to the trainwreck portion of the show." He mused that he hoped he could remember all the words to the song.

The vac solo sounded like a deer getting slaughtered, which I fuckin' loved along with all the yokels and slackjawed rednecks in the crowd.

The boys finished off the show with Page showing off his chops in Loving Cup. Solid jam at the end of that.

In the lot, we bought veggie burritos. I got 2 for $7 and Iggy feasted on his first lot burrito. I also hustled him in throwing things prop bets. I had an almost-empty bottle of water and pointed towards a large dumpster. He gave me 20-1 odds and I wagered $5. I nailed it and he shipped me a $100 bill.

As we got our stuff together to leave, two college girls who were ushers at the venue passed us on the way to their car. Their night of work was over and they were commenting on the bizarre scene.

Co-ed Usher #1: "It smells like weed in the parking lot."
Co-ed Usher #2" "In the lot? It smelled like weed inside the entire night!"

All in all, another fun night with old friends. Next stop.... Deer Creek.

You can follow my crew on their individual twitter feeds... GMoney, Iggy, Daddy, and of course I'll be updating the last three shows on Coventry's twitter feed.

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