Sunday, September 16, 2012

Puma Passion


Matthew Golia
Branch Manager
514 Bridgeport Ave 
Shelton, CT 06484



Dear Puma,

My name is Matthew Golia and I have been a fan of your product line since 1995 when I was a young boy playing basketball in your Puma Super Baskets Mid in Navy Blue. At the age of 15, with my peers gracing the court with Pump Action sneakers, Air Bubbled souls, and mounds of leather, plastic and suede weighing them down, I graced the hardwood, sans sock, with my foot and ankle wrapped in an Ace Bandage sporting my Pumas; I felt as if I was harkening back to the days of the mid 1900's, when an Athlete's style sprung from their moves made on the court, which in turn brought attention to their feet, not the other way around. It is that minimalist, yet timeless style that I feel has helped Puma to endure, while cultivating a mass following with unique takes on the color palette, turning heads with it's brimming style. As I have grown into adulthood, shifting further from day dreams of the playing in the NCAA Tournament, and being a top five pick in the NBA draft, I find (like many) that iconic images of my past,stir up such positive memories, and help that youthful energy and passion rise back through me. 

It is with that thought, coupled with the fact that my hoop dreams (ala Arthur Agee and William Gates) have dissipated into the ether, that I write to you proposing an idea for new line of clothing and possible focus for  sponsorship for Puma. Many woman and men, who once sacrificed their very body and soul (insert blood, sweat and tears cliché), now are part of the corporate work force. Many of these positions entail nearly as much movement, if not all day activity, where the necessary flexibility, durability, comfort and, above all else, style are integral to looking your best, performing at a higher caliber, while maintaining an overwhelming sense of well-being. Many of us, while passionate about our specific sport, did not make it to the "big show", a vast majority, though many of us played high school and collegiate sports, entering into the work force after school, and have to settle for intramural teams, pick up games, and the pangs of watching others at professional sporting events. Our dreams though, have not died, and we bring the same fire and attention to detail, motivation and teamwork to our corporate professional positions.

I work as a manager for Enterprise Rent A Car in Southern CT. Our dress attire is suit and tie for men, every day of the week. There is certainly a lot of style out there, but there is limited versatility and ruggedness available to me. This ensemble is truly a professional presentation to our customers. In a time, for many companies, when casual Friday has bled back into the work week, Enterprise Rent A Car holds its stance as a corporate professional company. My position not only entails that I present myself well manicured and sharply dressed to these customers and local accounts, as well as to my employees, but necessitates that I am always on the go, picking up customers, delivering cars, moving between different offices, and sometimes stepping into our wash bay to clean cars perform other basic maintenance procedures. Moving between these two wholly different aspects of my day to day responsibilities, my clothing is put under nearly as much stress as I am. I consistently blowing through the elbows of suits and shirts, wearing the bottoms of my pants, and interior lining of my suits. (In our procedures for checking customers in and out of vehicles, it is necessary to bend to an umpire position at all four corners of the vehicle; and we check in nearly 20 cars per day). 

Recently I was turned onto your Golf clothing line as leisure wear. The durability of the apparel is necessary for the movements of an active athlete. The style and corporate look is necessary to be presentable on all golf courses across the world. The similarities abound…and those professionals who would be your target market, are all of the high school and collegiate athletes like myself, who still close their eyes from time to time, and propel themselves back into that youthful enigma that was once them, on the court, or field, or on the bench, drenched in sweat, cheering their team to victory. Imagine the excitement each day, the passion and drive that would be elicited from these same professionals, bringing with them to work, each day, adorned in the same athletic brand, now corporate professional outfit that fueled their youth. Imagine a Tie line, or Button Down Dress Shirt, affixed with small Puma emblem; a durable dress shoe, with rubber sole which cushions the foot. Imgaine a suit, made with a more durable, yet light weight material, that moved with the person, and not against them. Imagine the excitement of the prospects of the day, the tasks and responsibilities that these corporate athletes must complete and follow up on every day; Imagine the youthful exuberance and drive to succeed that would be harnessed from a clothing line that linked the athleticism of their youth with the critical analysis and problem solving of their adult lives. Imagine!

There have been times when my mind has rambled to a consistent murmur, and my thoughts seemed to formulate to some whole entity of an idea. That idea, followed through to fruition, would elicit some projection of the future that would be better shaped by the ideas my mind was in the process of calculating. Most of those thoughts, never form to a solid mass, and drift away in the atmosphere, incomplete. But my passion for this idea stems from my inability to believe that what's past is truly passed. I bring a grit and determination to work every day, yet there doesn't seem to be an outfitter that can keep up with me. But most of all I want to bring the memory of dribbling up the court, setting the play as the general on the court at point, back to life. The cross over dribble, bringing my defender into a screen set by my big man, him, rolling from the screen and my arm extending out past his defender, curling the ball around, and a bounce pass towards the bass line (the quintessential pick and roll), my big man grasps the ball and with one dribble, lays the ball into the hoop for lead and win. Daily, with my team at work, we weave the same plays, the organization and sales drive that keeps our customers happy and our branches profitable. There is an inextricable link between the past and the present; I want Puma to be a part of that link! 


Sincerely,

MG

   

Fire

With these words I ignite fires,
recited to majesties and sires
by jesters in their courts
required to incite riots,
their humor, anger thwarts
tends to smolder funeral pires
But its my desire to perspire,
in this lyrical attire
like a top hat,
and my pumas
the statics hectic
now sinking in the mire
I shock like I'm electric
stammer like I'm wired,
perpetually inspired
like a groove that requires,
a little hi hat but no driver
by the likes of the mainliners
that shoot through my desires
like blood coursing through the veins of the those that sit higher
floods forcing their stream through the levies and the bayous
but my label is not dated and I will never expire.

this Philosophical misfit, gets mis-fit, and mis-hits attempts a quick fix
he uses bandaids on liquid, like insider trading for stock tips, he gets dismissed
as a lyrical conniption fit, unfit for this gig, is mis-judged and blows his lid
bliss follows en suite and leads to him quitting his engagement, gets black listed

I'll certainly give it til tomorrow, pay you back the dollar that I borrow
the one you didn't know, I borrowed, cause I won't borrow it til tomorrow
the sorrow, it scars though, like a hard blow to the stomach, its a body blow
leaves a scar though from incisions in the skin that cuts deep but looks shallow
blood pools from the cut, almost blue on the skin, feigning a grin, laughing cause it heals slow

(KRS) one time,
the sun's lines,
cast shadows on the fault line,
burned like terpentine,
poured on an open wound,
and we're resigned
that KRS one time to act matter of factly

(Run DMC) me,
with these white lines,
cut so purely,
unrefined, mystically devine
gets my lips to rolling,
in double time,
trolling the blood that is boiling
through (RunDMC) me

(Snoop)dog days,
these long days,
a sharp haze,
of nights gaze, the purity plays exactly
cataclysmic catalyst
enigmatic addict,
is active and ecstatic
of (Snoop)dog days of the holy

Devine intervention,
sublime sensation,
creation from the apple,
that fed Eve,
threatened Adam
They had em, out on a limb,
back against a wall,
empty within,
limited in sin, quite serpentine
quick to quench the thirst,
brimming without,
lacking with doubt,
fear from thought that threatened

Enter Satan, saint-misbehaving,
his eyes shifty and hands shakin,
concocting stories, like the doubt he was baking
earth quaking, catastrophic events he was emanating,
debating with the ages, the question of the waking


DC(ARE)U KIDDING ME!


DC(ARE)U KIDDING ME!

      Opening day for sports fans pales in comparison to any organized religion. So for those of us that covet Phish's music with the intensity equivalent to sacrilege, Tour Opener couples the excitement of gorging after a long and spiritually cleansing fast, with the pit of the stomach excitement of the Christmas Day!
     
      My mind's cogs and sprockets, wound to precision, become a proving ground, and I lurk these battle grounds for memories of past tour openers. I hold the Island Tour Opener as the first of life stand of shows, and while I try to not compare 1.0 with it's ladder day brethren, I will employ the same Logic that helped me "wrassle" my way through a Philosophy Degree: use similar data to compare (so that your thesis can be summed up in less than 100 pages)
     
      Bethel Woods set the stage for a weekend of improvisation that, we thought, would be a new beginning for our beloved four horsemen of the apocalypse. What a stark contrast to one year ago. Bethel Woods was relaxed, open air, breathable, breathtaking, expansive. If I was to tweak out, this is where I want to lose my shit! Worcester on the other hand: Dark, dank, Cavern-esque, smokey, eerie! (D)ark (C)avern (U)nrelenting!
     
      Buried Alive set the tone, and throughout, even with the Dark themes presented, the tease factor was in full effect, and these subtle nuances poked fun at what was otherwise a pathway to Mephistopheles. There was a certain context to the music, a maneuver that held as its precept, that once in the thick of the grime and smoke filled caves of the inner reaches of ones own dungeons, out from whence we came was a moment of clarity that then brought the house to its knees with jarring beauty.
     
      It was later on, walking away from the venue that a new friend made the point, (you don't try to talk when you eat, just chew and enjoy, well I chewed every morsel to it's fullest potential, and wallowed in the musical palette that this show expressed in droves.
     
      Second Set Focus:
      Carini's opening heavy metal riffs started these fists to raging. I knew I was going to battle for the ability to breath, and the boys challenged my mental and physical stamina by truly weaving the best of patience and unveiling, with brief melodic interludes, that segued back to the sound of fury! Out of Carini came a strategic flight on the back of Falcor. Minutes unwound and engrossed the crowd to a fevered pitch, where in their most intense moments, lulled the crowd to a staggering quietude. When Page sprinkled the opening of Taste, and confirmed the band's next progression, we had come from a vastly different starting point. Moments like this (fluid segue, when that arrow pointing to the next song, is worth its inked imprint) stop me in my tracks. It wasn't an ambient traipsing through one door into the next. I never knew I had been transported through a portal, I was simply at TASTE. Coaxing the jam into a Norwegian Wood Fusion, I found myself yearning for What's The Use. Using the ambiant theme out of Taste as a fitting start to Ghost was a telling sign to the thick mire the band has lulled us into. The thick molasses groove that never quite sped up, was a far cry from the speed racer that had been wound up inside me.
     
      What stood out this far into the show was the ability for any band member at any moment to stand at the forefront and lead the group in a four part conversation, led by each of them. The intent ear with which each band member listened, was so accessible to the crowd. Plays on notes, and roles down scales were mimicked by each band member. This tease and yet all out assault on every note, phrasing, and song played was what grasped me with such vigor.
     
      And Mike was next. After grappling Falcor's white shag hair and riding his mythical back through this second set, the groove set in and the dance party was underway. Trey stepped back and presented more patience at letting his band mates lead the conversation, and I found myself second guessing when he might take control. (Where in the past few years, I heard myself, many times, asking him to step back.) When Trey took control, he did with vigor and attention to not be over-bearing. (Midnight Rider and Dead-Esque themes in this section of the show) So when Trey took the reigns and steered the four headed horse to If I Could, it was with my backing that tell us where we were headed next!
     
      If I Could was the 8 minute display of orchestrated beauty that could be attributed to Trey's off-season antics with conducting. Listen to Page here play a series of notes rolling over each other. Hell F'ing Yeah!
     
      Stepping from the DCU center after a strong finish, Hood that could do no wrong, with more patience from the crew, and a wonderful nod to the fact that summer tour started in doors with Cavern, I could not find the words at the time. That is because I was still chewing and digesting. My new friend's advice was spun, and only hit home later. Tonight, I learned patience.
     
      MG Out!

BETHEL WOODS: PRE-APOCALYPTIC GAMEHENDGE


BETHEL WOODS: PRE-APOCALYPTIC GAMEHENDGE

      It wasn't until Memorial day of 2011 that I first encountered Bethel Woods. Built on the historic original site of Woodstock, I was introduced to this venue as the opening run of Phish Shows 2011. One week before the shows I scored a room at a bed and breakfast, the Lazy Pond, in nearby Liberty NY. This review begins with the back roads winding entrance to the back side of the venue, veering through the roads of Upstate New York that fell in love with during college many years ago.
     
      As this was a three show run, and allowed us to really settle into our temporary home, we revelled in the beauty of the campus the bed and breakfast was built upon. Strolling around the multi layered facility, we interacted with other fans, fraught with anticipation of Phish's opening run for the summer 2011.
     
      Arriving at the back entrance of the venue, we were forced to traverse the back roads for a while until the lots began to open. We decided, on day two to get there early because of the advice from some friends we had made the night before: Upgrade your tickets!!!!
     
      Somehow at the venue, if you have tickets (non-mail order) for the lawn, or even rear pavillion, you can (based upon availability) upgrade your tickets to tickets that are re-released. I waited at the box office/will call for about two hours, walking back and forth from the venues gates, to the window, to find out if they re-released tickets. After two hours of no luck, I ended up purchasing two lawn seats that released for a friend who was hauling it up (or down rather) from Albany and was ticketless.
     
      After meeting him in the parking lot, we wandered for a while then made our way to Venue entrance, greeted every so cheerily by all the members of the staff at Bethel Woods. Everyone who worked there, and the police who helped to facilitate all patrons through the myriad of paths that led to the venue proper.
     
      We made our way to the venue entrance and, in a last ditch effort, walked to the window where the gentleman, the one we bugged for two hours about upgrades, was sitting. He nodded that he remembered us, we handed him four tickets, and he took them back, charged us $40 US Dollars and we were in luck: Section 5 Row J, end row seats!
     
      This venue is created for the fan to enjoy both the musicianship of the band and the stunning beauty of the rolling hills of upstate NY. What makes this area perfect for the venue is that the amphitheater proper is but one dimple in a myriad of dimples that speck the landscape. When you enter, the venue is clean, and the path way, much like the paths running as veins through a golf course, veer up, over and down, until all at once you stumble upon the grassy lawn and amphitheater.
     
      Upgrades abound at this venue, and you don't need to upgrade outside the venue, you can enter in and upgrade at mysterious kiosks that are sprinkled in random sections of the venue. To the left and right of the stage, veering out, there are eatery sections, which, coupled with the hill top eateries, makes for most autonomous units of snacking at any venue ever.
     
      To the right of the stage, facing the stage, there is a tent with multiple micro brews, and seldom any lines. Drinks and bathrooms, food and seating area, there is so much in terms of amenities, this venue makes it peaceful to relax and enjoy.
     
      During the show, the venue security is very relaxed, though getting inside the pavilion is like trying to enter into fort knox. You need a stub! This is where security should be har nosed. The wings off the covered amphitheater, on both sides, allow for dancers to regal in the excitement of the show, much like the walkway ring underneath the theater covering.
     
      There is no poor view from this venue. You can be far off in the lawn, or back row of the reserved; doesn't make much difference. The first night I had the front row of the back section of the venue and it was masterful. I snuck under the railing, with no hassles and had a very open forum for interpretational dance.
     
      My final point of this review, and I urge everyone to attempt a show here, is wandering back to the top of the pathway that leads outward into the evening air. First off, the evening in upstate New York, after a blistering hot day, is glazed with dew. If you can time it right, Phish will be playing Loving Cup, while you twirl through an open field, embraced by moon light, and knowing that the world, at least for the moment you are in, is made better, by the place that was created for your amusement.

SKIN IT BACK, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE, A WARM GUN...


SKIN IT BACK, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE, A WARM GUN...

      Phish began their east coast return in style and much of what is conjured of Little Feat is that gritty primal urging instinct to something that feels wrong yet so right. (Heroin comes to mind, or just the act of shooting up- sorry for the buzz kill) But when Happiness dropped, presenting the same theme as Kin it Back, just in a completely different platform, I was all smiles. I had to skin back (yup, i went there) my expectations after what seemed like, and was a four minute Tube, hoping, like the Halleys that dropped later, we were in for a loop session and start stop jamming that lingers on the forefront of my mind as soon as the opening lyrics of that song are sent hurling from the stage. But with Trey working off effects alla Camden 2009, that jaded sound that lulls one in and makes them feel invincible and vulnerable all at once, we were certainly in for a fully formed entity compact into that four minute realm. And though Happiness is a Warm Gun definitely made me feel special, so many years after the initial time this song was played, and beyond that Mike's Groove, followed by the teasingly simple Halley's bled into Axilla, bled into Ya Mar, into Joy, and I thought the set was ending. And then Jesus, Jesus, oh how that bloody bloke left Chicago, in need of some saving, and Paige's solo gave way to smoking guitar, which foreshadowed the second set Walk Away scorcher yet to come, Number and Golgi just solidified this longer than ever first set! Something happened, but what? Huge gaps between songs 2000 plus in the first four songs! Set Break boiled up more anticipation then the last few weeks since Worcester, brimming to explosion.
     
      Set two, like Miner specified a few times in past reviews, conveniently, was filled with a highlight of summer, a highlight reel, and contender for top summer jam, a far and away bombastic couplet, (or triplet) of Golden- bloody-Sand, or (Chalky Golden Sand), which proceeded to venture into type two and type three jamming, areas relegated to area 51, the ether as it were, where all of our conspiratorial dreams go to be forgotten. When the ship landed twenty five minutes later, we had come through loops and funk, ambiant jamming and groove based improvisation that fueled my dancing shoes, and the legs attached. A deep in the second set Wolfman's->Walk Away appeared and blew the walls off the wall free Jones Breach(freudian slip) setting, and when everyone had given up on the set, in the VIP area, with Trey swatting the Bug-call, helped to cripple the crowd, (as Bailey always says, just wait five minutes, everyone will be rocking) so I got some dance space back. Yours truly was in blissful awakening. Fluff, Wedge, gave way to lightning in a bottle, complete with Miko- Gordo call and response. And as Zero was launched, I was left dreaming, boiling this one down to one of those shows (cooking down) I was so uncertain of, even in it's birth, existence, and completion, but knew my evening had been enhanced once again. I love this band, and I love that tonight they sent me on a fucking trip, once again, with nothing more than ambiance, and musical instruments! (oh yeah, and some ninja like skill!)

JONES'N FOR THE FUNKY BITCH


JONES'N FOR THE FUNKY BITCH

      I wasn't surprised when I got to JB, all wide eyed and mind staring at the phallic symbol that rises from the atlantic coast. Beyond the second lots rising dune, and brush, Shakedown blossoms with gnarly characters that, in my day to day life, I would most likely reject, like myself, from my own store front sure that they would "shake me down" for the keys to my chalice! Quite the adventurer, I wandered to the female dominated port-o-let, line where I was met by hostility. Boys can do it outside according to these female centerpieces. Cordially I wandered to the ocean, intent on baptizing myself with the Atlantic's sperm laden rip curl. Mass bulk chronicles of the ocean's capturings, having risen from the murky depths, flooded the shore, and page's key work could do nothing to keep them from blogging the scene with their tweets, face book status changes, my space updates, and neo-natal intensive care unit fiascos. Life was but a bundle of joyous excuses for being out-whitted by the gnarliest of cocaine cowboys. World turns, head spin, my leg is broke and here goes another hour of my life!
      Peace!

THE BAND WHO STEPPED INTO YESTERDAY...AND BEYOND


THE BAND WHO STEPPED INTO YESTERDAY...AND BEYOND

      Tonight, honestly, I wasn't sure what was going on...in a good way! My girlfriend and I had two songs apiece we allowed ourselves as wanting to hear at JB. (we haven't done the SPAC choices yet) and mine were Tube and Alumni. I don't know what it is about the song, maybe the connection to school (pretty sure Trey exclaimed in muted fashion "...from Goddard!") So when I thought my sun-burned viasge would need to sideline himself for most of this show, having expended more energy from my body the evening before, then in the last few weeks, and meandered the boardwalk of Long Beach, then sizzling under the mid day sun for the afternoon, and my dancing legs showed up again, I knew this evening would be special.
      
      Let me preface, yours truly did not bring cash to Long Beach, walked the boardwalk from its beginning, to the Alegra Hotel, whose ATM was out of order, then to a BOA whose kiosk would not open, it was nearly an hour after we arrived, feet blistered and clothing soaked, that we finally hunkered down in the sand for really expensive hour in the holiday sun!
      
      Happy Fourth, quatro de julio, and welcome to Phish's house; Jones Beach got owned tonight. Alumni->Letter->Alumni, Head Held High got the crowd moving and positioning myself between VIP tent and Taper Section throughout the show, I was able to meet my spacial needs at the drop of a hat when need be.
      
      The first set seemed to have a surreal flow, but KDF is where things began to take off, and while there was certainly a relief song occasionally, KDF has solidified itself as premier Type I track, that can occasionally hit type II and certainly is a rocker, Trey came party tonight, and unlike the minimalist approach, the role which he assumed, and which almost propelled him further to the forefront, his presence was felt, and he showed his leadership starting with this KDF. And though the Bowie was short, there was a conciseness to it that while not being a 20 minute rager, with a three minute tease intro, it got to the point; something that Phish has been able to do more and more frequently. Meandering jams, where notes are played for notes sake, and not for their placement in the midst of the tapestry created are a seeming thing of the past. And no, the gumbo didn't get jammed out, but the latter part of this set that wouldn't end was just straight up fun. Punctuate with Star Spangled Banner and the first frame did not disappoint. Theme-wise, Hold your Head up, or hold it high, and Hotel-Motel-Holiday inn, seemed to resonate. The former certainly a nod to the fact that any true fan in the venue need not fret at the almost always clean playing of this group of college buddies on stage.
      
      Frame two saw a bass bomb onslaught finalize an early Tweezer. Moving from plinko funkiness , Boogie on gave way to yet another unique and complete Tweezer, that extended from the song proper, and saw Trey expand from the central theme with a vengeance, starting off with that Wacka wacka signature that he has added to this song this era, Tweezer, after being infused with some space age Trey loops, stepped from the freezer, and expanded initially on a type I movement, with searing licks from Trey, branding this version like a well cooked steak, grill lines neatly emblazoned into its sides. But as the song began to drift from its roots, a sound, very reminiscent of 4.0 emerged and fusing all eras, complete with Space Age Loops, bliss seemed to formulate from the ether, and I swore I heard Uncle Sam exclaim from his watery grave. Trey cued Twist into the virtual Wurlitzer that was this evening and what came next just floored me.
      Again, Trey at the helm, this single minded ship navigated the musical spectrums, working away from Twists main theme, flirting with very Dead-esque territory, blissful in it's creation, like the birth of this nation, Phish brought magic from the mid summer sky and I swore Uncle Johns Band was somehow cued to this playlist.

      Instead, Taste appeared and gracefully took center stage, Trey leading the pack, and thematically, it all worked. Quinn followed, and did not disappoint. (I am kind of through with -> denoting songs seguing into each other though...if the band rambles into another song, that should be denoted elsewhere, in a different way, because, while there was little in terms of stoppage, they did not fuse songs in each of the latter instances where certain sites denote "->") That is to say, these songs moved fluidly, in my opinion, and just as a seeming late set Bowie entered into the first set picture, Rock and Roll materialized as if to say, you have no clue what we are up to; the band masters of their own domain. Sprinkle on a very tight Hood, as well as a very inspired, albeit straight forward, Slave, and through the Sleeping Monkey (my girlfriend could leave it, where I could take it, at this juncture) and it may have not been the perfect game I am anticipating will arise from these final run of leg one shows, quatro de julio did not disappoint!
      
      PS I told the boys "where it hurt" and that was in terms of song count, so they acquiesced, and threw down 33 in total. JK, J f'ing K!

JONES BEACH VIP


JONES BEACH VIP

      My girlfriend and I got in to the show on the 3rd early, so there was no line in that congested culling of attendees that first night, just smooth sailing, and ease of use entrance going. So after peeling ourselves away from the bed of our Pick Up Truck Tour vehicle, complete with beach chairs, roller cooler, and a cool 10 knot southerly wind, we meandered the lot, climbed the sky bridge, deftly tackled the port-o-lets (females still angry at the male usage) and approached the Bovine-like culling of humans into a gated threshold we needed to avoid.
      
      This is where the VIP tent tickets ($50) comes into play. We asked a laniard adorned woman what our tickets could do prior to getting into the Venue and she points to the VIP overhanging walkway over to the left of the venue, away from the herding of cattle into frisking lines. We sauntered on over to the smiling crew of worker, wished them a happy quatro de julio, and briskly strutted into the venue, well in advance of the many people crying from the prodding of electrified johnny sticks!
      
      Once in the venue, the dry campus of Wantagh, those of us, like an ancient secret we won't let out, have our tickets de-chadded and are whisked away into the alcoholic oasis that is the VIP tent! Now, let me tell you, hot dogs come in two's, beer floweth from the chilled mouths of spewing taps, and part of the grounds are carpeted with sod like grassy substance that one might use if creating a putting green in one's own back yard, of one's own million dollar mansion. There are even chilled port-o-lets, benches in field's that seem lightyears from the stage and venue proper. There is a widows-watch that perches over the standing room only, which I did not feel comfortable getting to the edge, embarrassed I might feel like some corrupt politician, gawking at his constituents, losing their faith and vote.
      
      Jones Beach VIP, (I may add more later, alter my vantage point as I know I need to do it more justice) is the only way to see a show at JB. Whether it be Bieber or The F. Scott Fitzgerald Ensemble, Modest Mouse, Pink, Kenny Chesney, Adam Levine of Maroon Five, Brittany, Milli Vanilli, or any other high grade performing artist, do not see them in the venue proper...though you have access to that as well!

PRESSURE COOKER


PRESSURE COOKER

      JIm started off with that old school feel, and while the jam that ensues mid way, typically type one, didn't sprout much past that, Ocelot took that type one jam and extended it with that bluesy saunter that this song exudes bellowing through the amphitheater, or Sonic Sauna, as it were last evening. The heat was turned up once Tube dropped, and thinking, after JB I that I wasn't gonna here this song again, until maybe Dick's, I was thrilled. the groove started early, and with Trey bending those notes into a growl, the band hooked into a four minded onslaught that immediately catapulted into Psycho Killer. With flashbacks of Hartford 09, I knew that this was special, and that the night was early. Bringing the song to fruition and letting it drip into the ether, Tube cam back swiftly, and the band really growled this one out to it's close.
      
      Set one fire continued to burn through the opening frame, as the boys moved from zany antics, immediately into Stash. Continuing the onslaught, the internal jungle turned swampy and the deeper the we dove into the heat of the song, the murkier this venue got. Watching sweat roll from my brow in drops mixing with the humidity of the venue, the joint got down right grimy before the band finally wrapped up their jungle expedition.
      
      Needing a breather, the band strewn together some cleanly played tracks to ease, at least, this humble narrator, and before slamming into the last of the improvisational numbers of the first half, Corinna gave Trey a chance to lull the crowd into an emotional high, patiently nailing his solo, with the intensity and precision of a samurai, channeling through his weapon a balanced act of art and destruction. Not letting the totality of the first sets energy die, LUOLMA sprang force as if form the head of Zeus, struck like a thunder bolt, igniting the quietude of our surroundings into a frenzy, At the end of this first half, drenched in sweat, beaming from my upper balcony seat, I was left to marvel in the virtuosity, as well as the communal experience, the weapon the crowd wielded in their excitement at the playing of each note, of each crescendo, of each rise of musical excitement, and basked in the mid set glow, almost worried I may not make it through the second set.
      
      II
      I was taken aback with the CDT set two opener, not upset, but again, having JB flashbacks and took a double take at my surrounding, realizing in the ever increasing temperature that I was not near the ocean, but instead surrounded by a sea of green and the only water nearby were the already spoke for hot springs, Gideon Putnam had staked his claim on over 200 years ago. Stretching out the ending section of CDT, those sonic loops and other worldly sounds emanated from stage, and the opening licks of Carini rang through the veiled stage, heat, and revolving rhythms dissipating into the rafters. Stepping away from the song proper, the band had a sudden mind meld and surged into new territory yet again, jutting out just beyond previous versons of Carini, and as the band wielded their way through the nether regions, Sand's gritty opening announced itself on stage, and if the brimming anticipation and excitement were equated to discomfort, juxtaposing the brilliance of the stage performance, we were trapped on a beach, wet and hot, rolling around in the sand.
      
      With jams that knowingly will come to head with their demise, this jam held onto its own, not allowing any of the members of the collective band end its existence. A few times, I bit my tongue, hoping the rhythmic, onslaught and dip into the beyond would remain forever, all of trapped in the dungeon of this venue, aware that we were experiencing blissful torture. AMAZING.
      
      Where Roses seemed it would spawn another godly amalgamation of everything the band has cerated over almost 30 years (at least about that according to Fishman, nay Friar Tuck) Punch yielded that Punch that kept the intensity thriving. The crowd was in the hands of, not the band, but the higher energy that Trey speaks about, and intends to channel each night he steps on stage; and much more powerful than any drug slung on lot (even Bath Salts) this energy drives the collective whole mad. I admit, I was spastic in my motions as my feet tramped below me, attempting to keep my flailing arms from striking the family next to me. (I could not stop the sweat from careening off me to various onlookers...my bad.
      
      So now comes the second helping of blissful perfection, Sally. Sally ebbed and flowed like the springs that exist somewhere below us, drifting from the vocal escapades and looming in the murky future, the music blossomed into some serious 4.0 creativity. I bridged it for aerobic relief, and thank goodness, because as Sally forged the limits of her existence, Ghost came through as an apparition of Perfection. Is this the perfect game the band was pitching. If we are talking straight energy with whole band interplay, combining both jam based gems, forged from the natural pressures of the earth, and solid showmanship, couple that with excitement, grief, fear, anticipation, deliberation, amalgamation, painstaking patience, and a shit load of humidity; then yes!
      
      And Suzy, an Antelope to rival JB's Antelope, and, oh, oh, oh, oh, Loving Cup...this show just wrapped it up, like a christmas present on christmas eve, opening prematurely by an over-zealous little child. (And it was his first pair of Air Jordans, III's in black) MY GOD, I am witnessing the dawning of the age of...(fill in the blank)
      
      Peace!
      
      PS let's hope the posters arrive tonight!

MSG'S FACE LIFT...AND THEN SOME!


MSG'S FACE LIFT...AND THEN SOME!

      (Disclaimer, it does turn into a venue review...I promise!)
      I woke up one morning...in december...and I realized I loved you! My growing suspicions rumbled to a boil, spilling their froth from the still teetering lid of the cauldron that is MSG, on their way, dousing the jerseys and banners with their wicked slippery paws. Simple words, easy to utter; I am addicted. My name is Matthew and I am addicted to Phish. Who else feels this way; a massive wave of quiet abounds and I am left pantsed and alone in a crowd (with my 13 year old naked legs; pant legs crumbled like Obi Wan on the floor!)
      
      Night one was captured via my pen, moleskin notepad, and two rapidly fading thirty year old orbs of visual sensory; made new by curved lenses and forged plastic and metal-an archaic jerry rig if you ask me.
      
      1. The pen captures the set list. It's ink globules trickle from the bouncing pen's erratic movement stuck nestled in the neck of my smoke embraced t-shirt, and in blind-frenzy fashion navigate the extra-terrestrial bounds of tiny lined paper and perforated inner binding. Segue to the moleskin, the death of three moles needed to forge its Mordor-like visage that, in it's absence, makes me pocked with age and worries of its ill-fated demise...only to resurrect it's divine bodice and return my feeble appearance to normalcy.
      
      2. Rapidly fading orbs, criminally caged, in orifices destine to trap light and wear out the tuning of their visual stimuli!
      
      3. I am addicted to Phish. Was that more subtle. MSG, been transformed into disjointed portals to cavernous seating modules; pod-like with entrances leading to stairs leading to nowhere. No less than 10 times did people attempt to pass by me thinking the seats I hovered over, was a tiny stairwell, seemingly, to the set of larger stairs, which in essence were blocked by my seats. It made sense to escape to my domicile, section 109 row 20 seats 6-7. It was logically expected that beyond that which you could see, into a dense melange of smoke and (mirrors and) must/musk emanating from what one might find less appealing that Ringling Brothers in the deep south, come high noon; one could, once here, saunter stealthily through my seats into an open air, uncluttered set of stairs. Why I mention this? Simple, in the chaotic pretense just laid out, crammed between X-laden whores (ironically juggling two blue balls for fun) I did not whine, nor whimper, pout....in fact (interruption style) I defended this in my head to anyone who was willing to attempt to break the confines of my cranial dome-lair; ready to justify the forced-forged entrance to seats, harder to navigate towards than some free climbing treks attempted by professionals. The lay-out blows!
      
      But oh, how the music was affected. While Free rang in a welcome home, forged with Bass Brilliance, filter effected and rattling brains, balcony sections alike, and Glide welcomed our entrance to the band...and Possum welcomed 3.0 to the set list (this devilishly sheepish vermin, poised hell bent on infiltrating all setlists til kingdom come) It was Cities that brought the Storage and psychedelia to the Garden. Folks in Penn Station might have been scratching their heads at the reverberation which leaked it's way through the very pours and into the core of MSG. Bending out of the song proper, Trey signaled with his quick solo, that Cities was not going to end of it's normal accord, but rather mange out into the landscape of the upper decks, harkening to AC's Cities, and burgeoning more than a couple times to a 46 Days Segue, the band, led by their Air Supreme Mr Gordon meandered the cavernous halls of the New MSG before limping to a halt after a brief face to face with Pail Sublimity! The venue is responsible, in it's infinitely awkward facelift, for sucking the life from this growing beast of a jam out of Cities.

DICK'S NIGHT TWO: I THINK I'M STILL ME


DICK'S NIGHT TWO: I THINK I'M STILL ME

      I don't know where to begin...Many say that you cannot yearn for the past, as you get caught up in it, missing what is right in front of you; myself, like many Phish fans argue the merits, accolades, precision, quality, etc...of "past" vs "present" Phish, even when there isn't an audience. I certainly think about 1.0 Phish and, just like one's mind, unable to quiet a rousing, tangential string of thoughts, I certainly think about past Phish, when about to experience "New Phish".
      
      My point is: it's all that past experience, both myself, the bands, on and off stage, the mixture of music and zaniness, excitement, spontaneity, that has allowed this band to get where they are now (where I an now)and that place is somewhere between elysium and hades.
      
      Antelope errupts from it's low volume first notes, and as I begin to take in all the implications that this song selection means, I am immediately vibing with a massive wave of audience members, spastic and focused hell bent on taking in this high energy offering. While # line filled its set one 2nd at bat position, very type 1, once the opening licks of Tweezer filled the very thin Colorado air, I realized that my lungs (aged 31 years) were going to have to summon some of that 21 year old wind, cause we in IT. Coming out of the Tweezer proper, with an Ebenezer Dionysian chaos that just felt a little more Dionysian, Trey stepped back in a groove, and the entire band fell into this Lull that had the audience bathing in the mire. Harkening to Tweezer->California Love->Tweezer, this funked rhythm gave way eventually to Trey Led sequence that brought the song to its seeming full circled end...but alas, the song would traipse into the ether of effects, and summon from it's vapor Fluffhead. From here the set was played with vigor, incendiary guitar work, interplay, and standards, that while not extending outside their well packaged box, certainly were wrapped in a beautiful wrapping; bow on top; cherry on top. The energy abounded, and capping off the set with Faulty Plan, the audience, myself, found ourselves at set break, knowing that this band meant business.
      
      As set two commenced, and Golden Age's words echoed through the very fabric of the band, the fans, this time in Phishtory, coming out of the very palpable and visual lyrics of this song, the band wove a delicate piece of music, certainly bring a few musical thoughts to fruition. From the ether again, super sonic loops ensuing, and effects driven outro, Trey sounded the the beginning to Caspian, which I thought was going to be light, once GA had begun, having paired these two before, with great success. Caspian (whose segue certainly left a little to be desired) would not disappoint from here on out, and the band would over the course of 48 minutes and 9 seconds, draw from all that they had previously conceived of in the Golden Age of their entire Career. Light sprung from Caspian like Athena from the head of Zeus, fully armed and ready to wage battle for the domination over earth.
      
      What made this passage of music special, (mythic, uncompromising) was the patience that the band, but especially Trey showed. At one point, Mikes signature bass bombs, which typically hailed the inevitable segue into Boogie On, were thwarted by Trey, and this was the point where I knew this was the juncture, so many times, we fear when the song selection shifter is adjusted and the jam become likened to a late-term abortion. (Fully shaped, hear pounding, you get the picture) Well the boys were pro life on this one and battling through heaven and hell, they brought their musical musings to a very jazzy, completion.
      
      At this point they could have packed up for the weekend, but like Hunger Games, this one is a fight to the death, all must be sleighed. Pulling out strong versions of Boogie On and The Wedge (spoke to the gorgeous setting), the denouement was the biggest surpriser since the opening of the show; a late set Mikes->No Quarter->Groove! Capping the night with the same intensity where the show started, I was scratching my head trying to figure out what tomorrow brings...let's wait and see.
      
      (Picture to come, as I cannot get the photos from the smart phone they are stuck in)

DICK’S SPORTING GOOD SPORTS COMPLEX



DICK’S SPORTING GOOD SPORTS COMPLEX

      The Short: Spectacular Plane Ride, Wondrous Views, Fantastic Arena, The Band’s Atomic Grooves!
      
      _____________________________________________
      
      The Long:
      (I am going to tell it like it is, cause that’s how it should be; it should, I say, because, who wants the run around…I’ll give it like an arrow straight to the bull’s-eye of the matter at hand: Dick’s is the greatest venue ever! )
      
      I know, I know, you are thinking, “Greatest Ever??” Surely some of that hippie crack has seeped from it’s metallic canister’s twisted valve, and surely been inhaled by yours truly…nope, not the case. I present to you an argument, or a rationalization, or just my perception of this reality. So here goes.
      
      First, the flight in; (of course you have to be coming from a place of much lesser altitude to appreciate this POV) it's phenomenal. As you burst through the clouds, finally catching sight of land below, little matchbox cars inching their way across interstate and rural roads, those which run so perpendicular and parallel to each other it hurts, when you do begin to see the approach, (stomach turning sensation of a downward trek) you expect your ears to begin their pressure building, like the drums are going to beat straight from their position in the inner ear, if you don’t somehow plug your ears. But no, as the approach becomes more rapid, the landing in sight, no uncomfortable feeling occurs. Flying into Mile High, is mighty fine!
      
      Second, the accessibility; from the airport it is a straight 10 mile shot to the first set of hotels, restaurants, and other purveyors of various accoutrement, haberdashers, tobacconist, the like…once arriving at ones hotel, there is no need to survey the area, much more than a few minutes from your new place of rest, that which you will call home for the next two days to fortnight. And, taboot, the prices for these captains of the lodging kind, being so competitive with their brethren, nestled so closely together, in relative vicinity, across the street, their pricing demands thrift; and who is not, when on tour, or a segment of tour, or flying in for a marathon two day run, thousands of miles from home, not trying to be thrifty!
      
      The surrounds, Greater Denver, et al. To see is to believe, and once you have begun to head west on I70, out of Aurora, and onto the main thoroughfare, lining the bottom of anyone’s view, and jutting up with majestic capped peaks, the Rockies thin air is almost breathable. The expansiveness of the Denver area is so in your face, you practically get inundated with breathtaking landscapes in every direction. Though I have heard, prior to Dick’s, no one stepped foot in commerce city, a transformation has occurred, but still, I am told by locals, do not look for anything else in Commerce City, all you will find is meth, it’s riddled addicts, and whores! (Saturday evening high school football games had to be switched to Saturday morning, as no one wanted to be caught dead in Commerce City after dark!
      
      The Venue: Parking Lot scene is very relaxed. While there are a few different entrances, the easiest is taking Havana off of I70 (whichever direction on I70, head North on Havana) and upon Exit taking that down to the end. When you get to the end take a left on to E 56TH. This will take you to the main entrance of Dick’s. Regardless of where you park, you pay $15.00. Regardless of where you park, you are very close to the venue. Regardless of where you park, you are in the thick of it, and its about to get weird.
      
      The Band: (See my reviews for more inter-reflection, and sub atomic weaving of particles, previously unknown in the vast confines of our galaxy) That being said, it might be the thin air that intoxicates everyone; (The Rocky Mountain High!); Possibly the jagged peaks that lay due west, just out of reach, that then fade like a rainbow into the clouds! (There was a full rainbow on night three, sick as all…); it is definitely the most intimate large capacity seating I have ever witnessed, and the band certainly gets a grand view from stage! What we now know of at Dick’s is phishy-goodness will ensue, previously unreported-now active volcanoes will erupt and send magma and lava and billowing into the air, implosions of earth will ensue, cosmic shifts in one or orther –sphere will induce all elk in the outlying area into birth, and Chris Kuroda will dominate yet another visual summation of what has just occurred. And right before the last notes ring into the night, spewing us from the venue in our post show glow, the world will right itself, trees replanted, volcanoes receding to the earth, elk’s baby’s dissolve from existence, and Kuroda’s lights will flicker to an accentuated ember, pop and fade. That’s Dick’s!



PHISHING THROUGH IOWA

      Half way between the West and The East, trucking towards Erie, Phish is only a breath or two away and we might not make it!
      
      I yearn for words to be formulated, calculus style, as a formation of thought an jargon into brief moments of genius, let these formations, much like the universe itself, still plague those trying to understand it's birth, it's construction, it's meaning. These words mumble from his mouth, at 75 miles per hour, drafting a Semi, down route 80, or 90…god knows where we are right now. Words like springingly; the delightful verbosity of the under achieved, and sleep deprived. Yakima; as in Ah, Yakima, (within it's use, the realization as the second word comes from the mouth, of it's inherent connection to the first!) These gifts brought forth by over indulgence, and under the influence of caffeine, and solely caffeine, are the gems of our trip, of this other wordily resurrection of understanding, that this country we live in, is sometimes more alien and foreign than countries we have never stepped foot in. Take for instance, Iowa. Little is known about Iowa; and I mean little in the sense that in my recollection of geography, of history, of topography and all the other graphy's that were bundled together into a nice little sixth grade ball of a class…mind you, taught by a teacher that you sort of like, and hope to get to know, only to realize that his disinterest is not just in the subject that he teaches, but in those he attempts to teach it to. Digression of sorts! Iowa, that's where we are, and now what I learn about Iowa is that they put up signs on the highways, just like other states, where there seems to be road work. The signs are diamond shaped, orange, held up by stands that seem to waft in the wind of the minivans, and other assorted vehicle-americana that pass: But, oh and this is one of those but's you place in the beginning of the sentence, capitalizing the first letter, and maybe all three letters for all to see; for all to think you are going to write BUTT, but don't: BUT in Iowa these signs pertain to a drug check. Yes, sir, yes ma'am, yes yes yes, a drug check. Now, I am sure we are far away from any borders, except that one going into Illinois, the one that now cannot come fast enough though I cannot speed, as State Trooper after State Trooper patrol the area, some scouting for possible victims, some with dogs, sniffing, growling, grunting, seizing the paraphernalia of a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan, as kids and parents wait on the side of the road, with their mutt in tow, watching as another of it's kind, who has prospered and been put to real use, searches, sniffs, marks, seizes! Matthew's eyes are straight ahead. It's as if we are walking through a crowd of people, trying not to be too obvious about our billboard signs around our necks stating "We have drugs, whoo hoo!" But when you are driving in a 1999 Volkswagen Beetle, adorn with Thule Rack and Storage Bin, denoting each and every state, as well as band you travel the country yearly to see, like a dunce cap that once seemed such a singular monumental token of achievement, now just down right dimwitted and the eventual down fall of your existence, when you are in this portal to the penitentiary, this vehicle to your demise, this…wait did we just make it to Indiana…holy motherfucking shit was that a close call.
      
      Those motherfucking cops didn't even think to stop the walking billboard…our bearded protagonist amped on Sobe Adrenaline, leg bouncing heavily to the beat of some unknown music that seemed to be formulating, in tight staccato licks, somewhere between both his ears, this dreadlocked young lad, in shambles from a twenty hour jaunt with highways and byways, flirting with veers and curves of the road--from Montana, now into Illinois, only part way through what will be a record setting ground attack, just flirted with the first real brush, the stroke of heavy paint laden brush…but the only ones stopped were the minivans, relatively un-obscure, normalcy of Americana, scattering a family of five, their "not pure bread, and their gear (check, 1 family size tent, CHECK, 5 his-hers-kids-matching camping chairs, CHECK 4 kids sleeping bags, adorned with their favorite cartoon character, Dora, Diego, Dark Wing Duck, CHECK 1 double sized, cushioned and insulated adult camping back DualSleeper, CHECK 1 doggy kennel with false bottom hiding 1 kilo cocaine?!?!, CHECK 5 matching short cut straws with red stripe piping used to…) Matthew's hair is adorned in a less than fashionable dread-tie up, tendrils of loose hair standing straight on end, and occasionally, as the waft smell of smoke ceases, escaping as it floats toward the cracking window, smoke shutters in it's drifting cloud with the winds entry through the now-open window, and is pulled from the vacuum of the vehicles cabin, occasionally, sometimes we are treated to the faint smell and subtle nostril singe of dried, dying fetid hair, lost in the globule that is the dread. He watches the road as he reaches, somnambulist, sleep walker (these are his words, that Philosophy/English Major getting good use at least in his vocabulary) and grabs for another heater, that energy boost, Mario's Blinking Bouncing Star, leg shaker of a beverage. Side note: we have two coolers in the back seat; like passengers themselves, one stocked with a myriad of beverages, Sobe Adrenaline (akin to red bull, but the taste is welcomed), stocked too, with Beer from far away lands, land seeming almost foreign, even in their most down to earth, back country american ways; lands where subtitles would be of benefit to some of the slack jawed, hootenanny, hound dog, rock-a-billy-jargon being pushed past the gap of missing rotted teeth, with complimentary Our dreaded chauffeur's idea of careening the country lends itself poorly to those who want to get out and explore. IN marathon pace, we have had more liquid meals from the cockpit of this now claustrophobic, part home, part vehicle, part food truck, part camping accoutrement, part hospital bed, part smoking section! His hair is as hard to follow as my thoughts as I cling to one like the deep brown facial hair that adorns our protagonist. This cooler, hand now inserted and scrambling through what is left of ice, dirt laden water, comes across an empty energy drink, then, EUREKA, another 8 ounces of, quite possibly, Cancer Causing Agents! Matthew's eyes are not quite blood shot, as we approach a Weny's prying lot, they are glazed over, marbles distinct now with use and wear, that he needs glasses but does not where them should be of concern, but when in a situation like this (what situation you ask. On a cell phone hunkered down between the passenger seeting, in the cup holders filled to the brim with smoked cigarette butts, cause the mother fucker won't litter them (littering your lungs, think of that lately) the cell phone, turned to silent has missed calls from the passenger's father begging for us to stop at a hotel, paid for by his credit card, so we may be safe, may rest, may make it through to another day.) That parenthetical situation; with another parenthetical situation tucked neatly between the sheets of the first parenthetical situation. But let's get back to the beginning. I am now a breath away from Phish!

3.5 from 4 users


HIGHWAY TO HELL

      Whether you chase jams, a specific song, that butterfly feeling of anticipation that surges through your entire body as you here that two tone "bah-dup" of the ticket scanner; whether it is Page Side, rear of stage behind Fish, crammed to the rail and afraid to even think about anything remotely close to your bladder! All these things have one key ingredient: A ticket. This is what I didn't have.
      
      Couple all this with an extremely vulnerable feeling of running out of time, a google map estimate of 4 hours and 46 minutes (which does not take into consideration the northern bottle neck of the Gardent State, and the odds are not in my favor. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...
      
      Hartford's escapades, full on emersion into the greener pastures of GameHendge, planted the seed. What, on paper seemed very straightforward was certainly lacked the real world equivalents epic pace.
      
      Friday: Full day of work then Hartford Phish. CHECK.
      
      Saturday AM: Drive 5 perfect strangers to JFK. CHECK.
      
      Saturday AM: After JFK, Work 9-Noon. CHECK.
      
      Saturday PM: Drive to Merriweather, get Ticket to Phish. See Show. CHECK.
      
      Sunday AM: Wake up in DC, drive to Saratoga, find Ticket to Phish. CHECK (I think)
      
      Sunday PM: Drive Home for Monday AM Work 6:45.
      CHECK.
      
      Total Trip Miles: 1,118 Approx. Travel Time: 22 hours!
      
      After waking up in McLean VA, late mind you, I double back past last nights debauchery, Merriweather, where nary a ticket could be scavenged, and olympic hurdling followed by a wardrobe change, found me mid lawn, camouflaging myself amongst other innocent concert-goers, and my only chance of scoring a ticket to the last night of tour is to call in a few karmic favors, dial in a hometown friend, purchase a 6 pack of Tecate Beer (that's pronounced Ticket, BTW) and pray that the (tires staying off the line) I might somehow finally, for the first time score myself a miracle...cause, guess what, I spent the last of the cash on a 6 pack of beer and 8.29 gallons of gas.
      
      Sean, my college buddy, Nyskayuna bred and familiar with the local scene, was my one and only chance to having a ticket waiting for me when I got to Saratoga. Having been to this venue many times, and each time getting lost in the labyrinth of pathways, trails, I never mastered the advanced military tactics of traversing what could be compared to the Vietnam-Cambodia Border.
      
      Alas, Sean answers his phone after five rings, a lifetime for me to rehearse my babbling incoherent about the necessity of getting into this event, the miles I would have to cover both mentally in recovery of marathon races to the home of the races, with horse power under the hood, equating to the inevitable finish line of the tour, of my life, the quarter horse, pushing past fatigue in the face of all that was holy about...All I hear on the other line is, "okay, I'll see what I can do."
      
      Now, that phone call was placed in southern Jersey, and between warm sips of my desperation, of bitter warm hope, last ditch effort of "luck juice", my Tecate Beer, my Tecate to the the last hurrah; my trifecta of a weekend, and Garden State traffic, I did everything I could not to think about calling Sean every five minutes and begging to know if he held the winning ticket to the winning horse, or possible the long shot to show!
      
      I did have a few moments, as it were, nestled in the cock pit of my X WING FIGHTER, sans R2 unit, to reflect upon my young Patowan ways. The medicloreans surging through my blood stream like the warm embrace of mildly bitter beer, warming my brow to a warm sweat, glistening in the high noon heat reflected off NJ Turnpike gray-black asphalt. I was sure that there was some cosmic connection between the hot bite of worn rubber giving way to hours of abuse upon the road way and the scorched brain cells and lost neurons and receptors losing ground as they made passage to numerous sectors of my brain. But this was Phish!
      
      Next in line, quelling my grimey and purely selfish urge to blow up Sean's phone with numerous text messages implying loosely about the goings-on of the lively Alcohol Free Zone that is SPAC (tee-he-he) and as my text savvy fingers trailed the keys and T9'd, cloaked in my nuance of formidable self-less question and fact finding, I would find a way to purge from him the true information I really wanted: Does he have my mother f'ing ticket! Oh yeah, what stopped me from doing that was the now, borderline, clinical psychological need to map out what songs were going to be played tonight that I was going to get to enjoy!
      
      LLAMA, for sure, because when we get Llama, first, we could get Gamehendge!
      
      HARPUA, Certainly a tour-ending Harpua, crouching behind some not-to-far off setlist, waiting to pounce!
      
      But the urge to look at my phone is too much and my list begins to pail in comparison to the one lingering question: is this going to be a Triple Crown Weekend, or is the luck of Ghost->Psycho Killer and a Plinko Funk, Catapult Icculus, follo, all that Colt has hidden under his Leather saddle! Was the prospect of getting into this show somehow limited due to the far off travels of The Gorge, Shoreline and Red Rocks! Had my streak of even filled concert goings, broken tents, lost in the foot hills of Northern Cali because of trusting a Mountain Pass, just to come out the other side, in Ukiah, hogged down all the fairy dust this Naive young lad had bought wholesale on Lot years ago!
      
      New York seemed a relief, though many miles still stood between myself and the prospect of parking, let alone figuring out the whole ticket mess. Empire State of mind ensues, and I am a hustler. My eyes dart from license plate to bumper, in hopes of trailing a rowdy bunch of misfits, wrangle them up at a gas station and begin to wax idiotic on the concepts of the fates, musical genius and its abilities to heal and the fact that this wounded soul needed, now more than ever, a band aid of sorts, on that with it's bar coded brilliance would bring about the only chord that really meant anything to me: God Damn It, the two tones that we all longed to hear, well before the opening licks to Carini, or Wilson, or Tweezer, or (insert defining opening lick song here): Bah-Dup!
      
      I day-dreamt about this, taking it well beyond the simple act of getting a ticket. I imagined one of the people in that group might become a close friend, that (being in the Catskills) we might one day learn to fly fish together; joke about the irony of our meeting in upstate NY, on the eve of the last "Phish" show of the summer, and now here we are...
      
      Anyway, just above Albany and everyone on this road, in my mind is racing to get to the lot, to seek out my ticket. Yes, now maniacal, tantalized by the prospects of what I now conceived was the Ring of Saron, my precious. And what better place to reclaim my prize but the middle earth of my Formative Years, Upstate New York. Each person around me is my foe, is a possible diversion to the only goal; that Ticket. Wait...wait wait, wait wait wait wwwwwait! "Matt!" I say aloud to myself, "Matt, there is no karmic way possible that hating is going to bring about a positive result to all of this seeming tom-foolery, liquid oozing swimming of my brain, eyes, arms, armpits, elbows, triceps, biceps, quads, all fatigued, all sore and bilking me of the last throws of Energy being brought into my self via my life drink, Tecate Beer!"
      
      I regroup, and am literally baptized, thrust to reality, and alerted to the torrent of rain that appears as a blanket, or sheet, that I enter into; brake lights and flashers screaming from the rear ends of every car that I can see, as visibility decreased to a mere car length! In this baptism, quiet calm of ethereal bliss filled IT moment, I calmed myself for a moment to understand that the mere act of getting in would be so eternally bitter sweet (oh, add that to the set list) and anti-climatic. I95 to NJ Turnpike to I87 from the hellish freeways (I missed that cue) of the Northeast corridor, to the last Sunday of tour, to make penance with my church one last time, amidst a crowd of sinners, a sinner amongst other mortals, we were all here for the same baked down, purest reasons! To see the band we love! Even if we have to listen as the notes trail through the trees to the other side of that god awful fence!
      
      I park somewhere near a pool, and after collecting my items; license, $5 Bill found stuck to the bottom of the inside of my bag, two Tecate beers, I seek out Sean. Service was very poor and each clearing brought only more comical re-creations of Verizon commercials with that Glass wearing spokesperson! I crossed the bridge over to Shakedown, aware that somewhere in this sea of people was Sean, and the prospects of my Golden Ticket.
      
      Sean's friend, who did not believe in motorized transportation was pedaling in from miles outside of town, this person, "Mary" would have an additional ticket for me. Her price was unknown, and at this point I began to take a mental inventory of my possessions, including myself, what ever, how ever I had to sell, in order to procure this thin card stock bar coded modern marvel; oh how a simple piece of paper, worthless tomorrow, yesterday, and holding value for a mere wrinkle in time, only tonight, at this particular place in existence could it cause such heartache and misery. But the sojourn was not over. My saving "Grace" was en route, maybe?! She was heading to the venue, possibly!? She was on a bike, definitely! She was only connected to the grid via cell phone, and here, that is about as accesible as being able to "wire" someone but not knowing Morse Code!
      
      I took a second mental recap, this time of my successes so far; Uneventful (for all intensive purposes) car ride; mental stability (one could argue this either way); the clothing on my back (still up for debate, not sure how much this ticket will be); car keys; license; $5 Bill (wow, I am way ahead). I find a spot, near the reflection pond, a sweet spot, and from here I make "the call!" "Sweet Caroline" as she is now being referred is on a bicycle, with a basket, and riding through the parking lot! There is a ticket, nestled in her basket, and the ticket is mine. I just need to find her.
      
      I appear as a mad man, scavenging through the parking lot, as if looking for a girl named Molly, and screaming it aloud: and not realizing the laughs I am getting, or why everyone thinks this is so funny! I double back to the far side of the venue, past that very narrow stretch along the fence, that brings one to the handicap and VIP parking. I am half jogging, half walking, half floating. As I reach the end of the line, and spill out to the parking lot, a glow of light peaks from behind a cloud, and with Lyres playing in the soundtrack sector of my mind, "Suzy" is here with her basket, and bicycle, and what could be, in just a few minutes (cause I am not that good) my ticket. As she swings her legs over the side of the bike and comes careening off the bike seat, hands still firmly grasping the handle bars, I pray she doesn't meet with some untimely accident that incapacitates this transaction from taking place. The mail order ticket is easily viewed at the bottom of the wicker basket adorning her Old School Schwin. "Sally" sneaks a glance down, then at me, then before she dips away to the fenced lined alley, she hands my the ticket and says, "here you go!"
      
      A hug, she just wanted a hug, and to know that I would enjoy myself tonight. As I began to cry, exhaustion, fatigue, cosmic spanking of sorts, I reach out my arms for the best hug, up until that point in my life, that I had extended another human being. As quickly as she came into my life, "Reba" spun off and left me wondering what, at final last, to do!
      
      The miracle of the day, it's energy pent up, was at epic proportions, and as the "bah-dup" sung from that ticket scanner, and my feet crossed the threshold, the sky finally gave in, and lightning strikes and rumbling thunder cracks, riddled the state park, everyone who was on the lawn, scattered for cover as torrential rain fell for about ten minutes. I was soaked, I was smiling, and I was inside my sunday church, about to embark on one last mass, channeling the energy of the weekend, of the summer, of my existence. As the frenetic energy of Llama set in, the show crescendoed at a very poignant, "look, the Storms gone!" line from Harpua. But as the boys came out for the encore, I promise you, no one felt more in the moment, as they absolutely destroyed HIghway to Hell. It wasn't irony, it was art imitating life, it was my life, and it all felt encapsulated in this brief moment where I could stand in between the music, and lost in it's sound waves, be transformed to oblivion, afloat over the crowd, to be dispersed in the quiet of the night, cast home, smiling!
      
      
      (Post Note: I get to my car, turn the radio on, and playing over some local radio is Hold Your Head Up! No lie)

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