Tuesday, June 30, 2009

East Brady/Phish Vacation

Here are a few pics and tales from our East Brady and Phish tour vacation.

Em's Grandma lives in East Brady, which is a very small town seated along the Allegheny River in eastern Pennsylvania. This is a shot from The Narrows; a popular overlook high above the town and the river.

Em and Grandma Lois at The Narrows.

We spent two nights in East Brady. We mostly just chilled with Emily's grandma, aunt, uncle and two cousins. We ate amazing food that only a grandma can cook, and visited the local (and only) bar on the second night. "All-Stars" was fully stocked with interesting characters and every piece of Steelers gear that you could imagine. Clearly, I avoided any and all sports conversation.

After a couple of nights at Grandma's, it was time for some some Phish. We left East Brady and headed west. Our first show was at Deer Creek Amphitheater in Noblesville, Indiana (just north of Indy).

We arrived at our campsite the day before the first show. We set up camp, made some drinks, threw some Frisbee and played some Cornhole with a couple of guys from the 'Nati camped next to us. The "campground" was basically a field, a little patch of woods, a few port-a-potties and some booths of "vendors" selling glass jewelry and pot cookies.

The show at Deer Creek was amazing. We made our way the 2.5 miles to the venue via hitchhiking. We made it to the parking lot around 3:30. The parking lot at a Phish show is an impossible thing to describe. Phish tour is basically a traveling society/economy. There are thousands of people buying and selling any and everything that you could imagine. This is exactly where you want to be if you happen to be looking for extra tickets/burritos/cold beer/grilled cheese/t-shirts/any drug under the sun/jewelry/various glass pieces/skirts/stickers.....the list could go on and on.

Moving on to the weather. IT WAS HOT! I feel like it had to be teetering on 100 degrees that afternoon. After a few hours of hanging out in the lot, everyone was pretty much sun-kissed and fired up for some Phish. We got in to the venue ahead of the crowd and secured a pretty nice spot on the lawn. Phish came out and played an awesome first set (including a personal favorite, Fluffhead) under a lightning filled sky. Huge bolts filled the sky, flashing horizontally over the the crowd and invoking cheers and screams. The band seemed to feed off of the nervous energy and play harder. The crowd fed off of the band and screamed louder. It was a perfect example of the reciprocal energy that make a Phish show so amazing.

After the first set, Page (the pianist) addressed the crowd. He said that the lightning storm should pass by 11:00 pm, so they were going to take a break until then. He gave instructions to stay put if you were seated in the pavilion and to go wait in your car if you were in the lawn. Unfortunately, Em and I didn't have a car there, so we just bunkered down and waited. The lawn cleared out quite a bit, and I figured that a lot of people wouldn't come back. I was wrong. when 11:00 rolled around, the lawn was packed with thousands of people who took the opportunity to go back to their car and slam a bunch of their own beers and do whatever else. Not to mention, there was no way to check people's tickets upon re-entry, so tons of ticketless people outside took the opportunity to head in a catch the second set.

By the time the band came back out, the crowd seemed rabid with anticipation. They played an awesome second set as the rain began to get nuts. By the time the show was over, it was coming down in in sheets. It wasn't worth even attempting to stay dry. We made it back to the lot, grabbed a couple of grillies and headed back to camp. Instead of catching the shuttle, we decided to hoof it. It was a long, wet walk, but, for some reason, we didn't seem to care. By the time we made it back, we were soaked to the bone. I couldn't have been more wet if I had swam in my clothes. Our tent underwent minimal water damage, so we cleaned things up and crashed. We woke up around 7:00 am the next day, packed up and headed north.

Next stop, Alpine Valley Amphitheater in East Troy, Wisconsin. We had a bag full of wet clothes, minor head aches and two more shows to go.

This post is long enough, so I'll continue later.

Set-list. June 19, 2009

Set One
Backwards Down the Number Line
Limb By Limb
The Moma Dance
Water In The Sky
Split Open and Melt
Lawn Boy
The Wedge
Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan
The Connection

Set Two
A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing >
Drowned >
Let Me Lie
Tweezer >
2001 >
Suzy Greenberg >

Sleeping Monkey >
Tweezer Reprise

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An action packed couple of weeks

To the thousands (or five) of my faithful readers, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts lately. In the midst of a pretty hectic last couple of weeks of school, Emily and I had the pleasure of hosting a young man from Colombia for about two and a half weeks. When I wasn't studying and writing papers, I was doing my best to entertain him. For those who didn't get to meet him, Gabe is a sixteen year old who recently graduated from high school and is traveling the U.S. (on his own), visiting friends and family. I met Gabe and his mom when I was spending last summer in Colombia, and it was an honor to accommodate him. We did our best to show him all that the 'Nati has to offer, including a sweet Reds/Cubs game with a bunch of friends and family.

On top of all that, Em and I took Gabe to the Red River Gorge with a few other friends. We took him to some of our favorite spots and spent some quality time sitting around the camp fire chatting and playing Catch-Phrase.

A Few days ago, Emily and I joined some of our closest friends (Brad, Leah, Jana, Justin, Liz and Fuller) on a brief trip to Rocky Fork Lake. We had a great time chillin' in the Shaw (Brad Wise's Family) lake house. We played some mind-blowing games of Texas Horseshoes, drank some beers and cruised around the lake on the pontoon boat.

Tomorrow, Em and I are hitting the road once again. We are going to East Brady, Pennsylvania to visit her grandma, then we are heading to Deer Creek and Alpine Valley to hit a few Phish shows. Going to Phish shows has long been one of my favorite things to do, and I can't wait for Em to experience it with me.

I promise some sweet pictures and stories from the shows when we get back next week.

Until then, I will be out of the office. Gone Phishin'. I hope everyone is doing great, and I'll talk to you soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shin Kicking

I was listening to The Jim Rome Show the other day when he started going off about shin kicking contests. Apparently, these are pretty big in the U.K. Rumor has it that wealthy land owners used to settle disputes by kicking each other in the shins. The first one to fall down lost. Now, it has evolved in to a, uh, dare I say, sport? I'm pretty sure that these days the competitions are pretty much just huge drunk-fests where guys can blow off a little steam, get loaded and kick each other. Sounds sweet, as long as you make sure to stuff your pants with the an ample amount of protective straw. Oh yeah, and you have to wear a lab coat.