For those unfamiliar with the Phish world let me begin with a little background, we are a fickle group to say the least. There are Phish archives that keep a record of every show ever played, the length of each song, the frequency it is played, and how long it has been since the last time it was played. We have hundreds of Phish groups on Facebook – singles groups, mom groups, pet groups, girl only and basically any group you can think of. Countless Instagram accounts dedicated to making Phish memes, Phish apps, JEMP radio, Phanart, Podcasts, and hundreds if not thousands of Etsy shops. Recently, someone even took the time to make this video Data Drive – YouTube. You can see which songs were played the most frequently by year and to date overall.
With the longevity, depth and variation that one band has produced it was bound to generate its own counterculture, similar to what the Grateful Dead organically spawned with “The Deadheads.” Yes, we are aware we take it to a whole new level, but I am certain it’s because Phish “started a blaze from one tiny spark.” <wink>
Some fans (or “phans”) have marked certain years of their time spent following the band with the designation of 1.0; meaning you began seeing Phish between 1983 -2000 / 2.0 represents 2002-2004 / and 3.0 2009 to current. Each “era” coincides with a period of time the band broke up or went on hiatus. This may seem like a very basic concept and one that is just supposed to serve as a guide of sorts. But if you learn anything about Phish – nothing is as basic as it seems. In true Phish over-the-top style, we, the fans, must make it into much, much more. For some, their title serves as a badge and they are proud of it. Others you’ll hear sound slightly squeamish and uncomfortable to profess they are a 3.0 kid. Typically they will quickly follow up with the reason they feel into the 3.0 group. The hiatus, a sibling that was supposed to take them, or you know their parents simply didn’t consider Phish when conceiving.
In logical terms these “eras” also directly correspond to a fans age group – cue the jokes, jabs, jawing and sometimes turmoil within the scene. The 1.0ers can sometimes come off as a little “get off my lawn” to the 3.0ers and the 3.0ers can seem just a *bit* entitled to the 1.0ers. In true life fashion the 2.0 group is the middle child – they are the smallest group, by default, and entered this world when Phish was not at their prime as they were dealing with addiction and personal issues.
Generally, the 1.0 group feels blessed that we were there for “Machine Gun Trey” and truly what was the evolution of the band both lyrically and musically. We hold this very sacred place in our hearts for the community built on “free hugs,” high-fives, and sharing space. Many feel the 3.0 kids just don’t get “it.” The roots of the scene, the community, not just the party. We are sticklers about “wooing”, tarpers, unwanted touching, and talking during songs to name a few. You will hear us say things like, “Read the Book” when we feel someone’s behavior isn’t in line with the 1.0 mentality.
As a proud 1.0er and someone who spent a combined seven days or roughly 25% of December at Phish shows – thank you Charleston and New York I realized a few things. Mainly, good God I am way more sore than I remember being 20 years ago – even after probably sleeping on the ground in those early days. Ouch!! I decided it’s time to poke a little fun at our 1.0 group and enlisted the help of my faithful “Phish Chicks.” Collectively we made a list of things we do now that we never would have done when we embarked upon this journey with Phish.
In no particular order here is a summary from a group that could now be labeled as, “I saw you with an AARP card in your hand.”
This used to mean getting money orders, decorating envelopes, and mailing in your PTBM request or standing in line; possibly overnight at your local Ticketmaster. Basically we made it a party before the party was even close to starting. It could also have meant just showing up on lot because everyone always got in. Now? Ugh. Now it means online PTBM requests, then Ticketmaster online as your fall back the equivalent to the seventh circle of hell. The ticket trading, hording, scalping is at an all time high in the Phish world. Many of us 1.0ers have no interest in participating so we say, “to hell with it! I’m too old for this game!” and opt for the slightly overpriced but oh soooo cushy and easy CID package. Most of us have been working in the “real world” for awhile so opting to spend a little more and not have the headache, anxiety and stress of getting tickets and hotel is a small price to pay. Keep “wooking” 3.0, you’ll get there.
On the topic of cushy this was an area of strong general consensus – we want hotels, nice hotels at that, and plan to actually sleep. Not with as many people as possible to save money but with a few as possible to save sanity. Hot showers, good food (no longer existing solely on Goo balls), and no longer calculating every penny spent. We are probably flying, maybe even first class. Gone are the days of packing as many people as humanly possible in a car to drive to shows while following our highlighted maps. Since we are a bit older its possible that children, schedules, and work are in our way of our tour plans or some of us prefer to no longer attend multiple shows a year and opt for the ever so easy couch tour.
Yep the 1.0ers have you covered! Motrin, Tums, Dramamine, water – so much water consumed – on purpose! Maybe a solid nap prior to the show, a picture of our parking spot and everyone has tickets in hand. We’ve got our wet wipes, hand sanitizer, ear plugs, knee braces, sensible shoes – fashion is out the window! Don’t mind us while we stretch out our backs while chatting with friends before the show starts. Some of us have opted for Adderall over acid or to stay sober altogether because let’s be honest – we probably have to wake up early or will out of habit. We get massages during multi-day runs, pump breastmilk the bathrooms, make sure we snag the MSG Happy Hour and always have our tickets in hand.
We listen and I mean really listen. How else could we spend the next several days, weeks or months complaining and picking everything apart?! So, if you are chomping it up you may get that glare and a firm shhhhh!! Many of us have no desire to be at the rail and are very happy in a seat, our seat. If you do find us on the floor, you’ll probably see us on the outer fringe’s verses squished in the middle of a few thousand people. At set break, we rest, drink water and get our stretches in. Maybe snack on some chocolate covered espresso beans to help power through the 2nd set and converse with our group how happy we are that we wore good shoes. Our days of cigarette smoking have sailed as has our tolerance for “grabby” guys in the crowd, and frankly its now just annoying. Don’t worry we will throw that glare out and maybe some harsh words.
There’s no afterparty!! We know all too well that raging till 4 am means we need most of the next day to recover. A few years ago after night 2 or 3 of the NYC run I attended an after show with a friend – he fell asleep standing up against a pole. I am actually not kidding (face palm). Old man had to go back to the hotel to bed. Clearly, we belong back in our cushy hotels, taking hot showers and relaxing in our pajamas! Maybe drinking coconut water and eating kale chips reminiscing of the days gone in which we’d be sleeping in our car at rest area.
When people say new Phish is “dad rock” well they are dads and most of us are also parents, so that works well for us. We no longer mind every song not being straight fire – see previous sentence, many of us have carried children and are thrilled for a bathroom break! During the Charleston shows, a few fellow 1.0 Moms and I joked about needing express passes for the bathrooms. As an all General Admission venue, once you leave your spot potentially security might not let you back due to fire codes. Not ideal for the older Mommas.
At the end of the day, the Phish community is amazing and filled with some of the best people I have ever met. We truly are “all in this together.” No matter their era. I’m a firm believer in not taking life too seriously – I love a good laugh and why not help others laugh at us for our curmudgeonly 1.0 ways. Don’t worry 3.0, you are up next……. 2.0 ehhh we will just keep looking over you our little red headed stepchild. Many of us would like to forget the 2.0 years anyways………..