PHISH Weekend At The GORGE! Survival Tips From A Tour Rat.

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For most of the world, Phish is “that hippy band” but little is known about them; however, the Methow has been all a fiery twitter about the band’s return to the Gorge at George this right this very weekend. My facebook timeline has been a constant stream of giddy Phish-preppers.

Phish, for the unknowing, is a super sensational Vermont jam band that have been touring off and on for nearly 30 years. Their shows are known for stellar jams, great light shows, and cerebral lyrics. If you know not of Phish, then simma’ down in front of your speakers and let them feast on this delicious slice of ear candy.

You can keep reading whilst you listen. I’m sure they don’t mind if you multitask. I remember the first time I heard this jam. Vancouver B.C. 1999 at the GM place. I didn’t really understand it. It was my first Phish show ever.

Six shows later I heard this song again at the Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View, CA and Phill Lesch litterally jumped in on bass guitar. On a trampoline. At about 8:35 on this video–when the groove gets down–the entire crowd was so insane with the thrill of the music that they practically ate eachother’s faces off. I was one of them. Yup, I became a tour rat after one show.

So, let’s say that tonight or tomorrow is your first ever ever Phish show. I envy you. You are in for the ride of your life. Live it the smurf up, I say. But you may not want to walk in there looking like a “custy.”

As tour rats, we typically set up hours and hours before the show and simply waited for the “custies”–the first timers or those whe were just out to see a show. We were the ones making food off of camp stoves and selling, well, whatever we needed to in order to get to the next show. The lot scene (or from the Deader days, Shakedown street) is part in parcel of the Phish experience. DO NOT MISS IT! Here are a few tips for your survival.

1)Shakedown Street. You’ll find it. Just follow your nose. If you hit the familiar scent of patchouli and grilled cheeses, you’re on the right path. If you smell port-o-lets, you should probably turn left.

2)If you don’t want to be approached like a custy, don’t be clean. Clean smells like money. Take it from the Trustifarians. The trustifarii flaunt their dreads and Rainbow clothes like a badge of pride. They also drive brand, spanking new Subarus. They fit in well.

3) Folks will not give you the shirts off their backs: They will, however, sell it to you for a smokin’ deal. Show t’s are an essential purchase at your first show and the best shirts are not found in the venue. This is where it gets tricky. Wolfman’s brother and his glossy posse (trademark/copyright enforcer-types who look usually look like Hell’s Angels with all access ID’s) try to nab all of the tour rats trying to schlepp this contraband. If you see a dirty hippy wearing a really clean Phish shirt, say, “dude, (or “sista”!) nice shirt!” and they will more than likely give you a deal.

Bathtub Gin–Epic song shirt. Here’s the vid:

4) Don’t be all deer-in-headlights. Yes, this experience will undoubtedly change the way you look at the world, but don’t eyes like saucers will make you look silly. Take a few moments to focus on your hands as not to draw attention to yourself.

5) Soak it all in. You may not understand the almost erudite language of the Phish heads at first, but fear not, good friend. You will. You will.