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Just returned from the mud/coventry


dancingbear
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I was talking with a person from seatle, when mike broke the news. It hurt. After so much time, money, energy, and love given into something, to be told to go home after travelling from newfoundland sucked. really sucked. they could of told us to walk...at the very least! but to say we will play for those in already, the rest go...how could they? how can you truly groove to people who told you to leave? legalities is my only explanation. legalities of the phish monster, instead of kindness, caring and concern, the characteristics that drew me in to this scene originally.

should of taken it as a sign of things to come.

We were pretty lucky, as right when we heard the news we drove up and got pretty close to the venue, the back way (hour and a half or so hike). But its not the hike so much as the ill-preparedness. You cant bring everything on your back, when you were going to car camp. so instead of running through the mud on day 1, you feel you got to keep your pants reasonably dry to avoid all measures of discomfort later. not exactly free spirited i know, but practical.

anyhow, sucked more that vendors inside were selling water to people for 3 bucks a small bottle. thanks, phamily?. karma. then there was the VIP camping with a suitable road we could of walked up to get back to our tent...until the security guard told us to transverse a huge, huge, huge, mud pit instead.

it might of been saved if the band was on. but musically i think they were lacking.

sorry for all the negativity, just the place stunk, it was dirty, you see all these people with little ones (ie. less than 2 years old) who are dirty and the kids stuff is all dirty, (not all but some) and you just get a bad buzz.

energies were really low, not a whole lot of smiles, i think mostly because those that hiked were exhausted. And to go anywhere took so much energy.

the icing was on the cake before we even got started however. We were in line from the north, but were going to run out of gas. So we had to go south to fill up (only direction could go). filled up...and decided we wanted to rejoin the north line, not bud, just go back and come in from the north. so we were driving by the south line in the open lane...eyes of the world playing...and one beautiful tree loving hippie threw a rock at our car.....picutre it .........

"wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world"...thunk.

ahh well, I appreciate all the wonderfull things that have happened in the past,

pharewell phish,

dancingbear

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We got in line on Friday night at around 11:30, by most accounts about 4 miles north of the magic Exit Twenty-Six. We spent about forty-five minutes finding a kind oz in the lineup and proceeded to find friends and party until about 5:30am, when I moved the car ahead about 30 feet, only because somebody got the idea that squeezing all the cars together would be a fun. Nobody was going anywhere but nobody seemed to care. I fell asleep in the car with my two travelling campanions curled up in the back seat around six and was fast and dead asleep when I was rudely awoken by a friend, an act that kept me awake until around 9:30am when I heard a hubbub outside.

"IF you're parked on the I-91 right now you are not getting in the show. We're very sorry and will reimburse you the ticket money. There is no walking in the venue, if you leave your car it will be towed. Have a good trip back home."

Really? Really.

My daze due to lack of sleep allowed me to feel only numb, but all around me I saw anger, confusion, bewilderment, and scheming. The one thing I did know is that I was now in possesion of an expensive commodity that now had a shelf-life of two highway exits.

Our first thought was to go north one exit, park the car in someones yard for a fee and hike into the venue. But of course the police will have thought of that and shut down the exits to local traffic only. People were abandoning their cars and walking from the I-91. I saw three people head off the highway into the forest, aimed vaguely at where they assumed the venue would be. I'm sure they're still wandering the woods as I type this. Gradually the unending lineup of cars along the highway were leaving or being deserted, so as a safety precaution I ran around relieving myself of my precious cargo, at a slight financial loss. Despondent and just about to get in the car and drive outta there a local handed me a slip of paper with a map, telling me they're letting us walk in and we can park at his place. Certainly worth a try.

In the end we did exactly what our first plan was, and in doing so we ran into several friends from back home, all of us parked withing 10 cars of each other on the Comeau property. Young Bo in the yellow t-shirt was taking $40 per car in a very disorganised manner, with a claim that there would be a shuttle to as close to the venue as possible. So we repacked, fast. We had to abandon the camp stove and most of the food, many of our clothes and a tent - we can all share mine. I find the yellow t-shirt kid.

"Hey, uh, where's this shuttle my man?"

"Oh, well, I'm gonna be driving people over in my moms Saab, right over there."

My eyes scan his freshly mowed backyard that now has about forty vehicles in it, and room for plenty more. There's a hundred people or more to shuttle over already.

"So, when's the shuttle happening Bo?"

"Oh, I guess I should start soon."

My heart racing I try to walk fast yet casual back to my party. "Guys, grab the stuff and lets go wait by that Saab." Two backpacks, tent, sleeping mattress, cooler, snacks, eighteen bottles of water, forty cans of beer, wine, two bags of ice, and the three of us pretty much run unnoticed to the Saab. There were two others doing the same thing and somehow the six of us and all our gear got into that thing and drove the eight miles or so to the corner of highway 5 and Airport Road. My friend got Bo's number and we waved goodbye, half thinking we'd never see that kid again.

So it was true. The cops were letting everybody walk into the venue. The sun was screaming down on us and we hiked those three miles or so with all that stuff, uphill all the way, along a steady steam of the lucky ones in cars that were already on Hwy 5 when the news hit this morning and a constant barrage of ATV's and golf carts willing to truck you to the top at $20 a head. We were exhausted and hungry, potless and sweating our asses off, but we weren't on our way home, so we were happy. Finally the top of the hill emerged before our eyes, and another twenty minutes in line and we were in. We walked about eighty feet and decided "This is a great place for the tent" and had that cold we-were-gowdam-crazy-enough-to-bring-it-here-we're-gonna-bloody-well-enjoy-it beer. Set up camp on nice dry grass, went on a short mission to replenished our sold off stock and we were set. Exhausted, worn out, down right tuckered, but we were in, the sun was shining and all was good.

After a good three hour rest we decided to hit the venue. We were camped with a couple of guys from Montreal that we met on the way up the hill, one of which was a passing acquaintence of mine, and the five of us joined another group of friends and started walking. Let me say, I don't begrudge our choice of campsites at all despite the two mile walk from tent to stage, but wow, two miles... Once we got to the common area with the vendors there was mud, and though it was pretty bad I was just in sneakers (all weekend) and my socks never got muddy (all weekend), so it wasn't apocolyptic. The security going in was all but non-existent, while the next night it would be entirely non-existent, we got seperated and found and seperated and found, and five of us dropped a tarp and pretty much stayed put for the next seven hours.

So, here was Phish, last time ever. I'm not an authority on Phish by any stretch, though I'm not a novice, seeing over twenty shows in the last ten years, so I won't go into detail about the music, but all the sets were between good and great with some huge moments. The jams were solid and creative - Page was so on the first night - good music from a good band. Trey played the composed parts of most tunes like this was the reunion show twenty years from now. The first hint was the opening bit for YEM, and Trey was embarrassingly bad, and I mean bad. He was completely lost most of the time and trying to keep up the rest of the time. And it happened again and again. By the second night anytime a composed section would come up it wasn't a matter of if he'd get through it, but how bad he'd fu©k it up. Sorry fans and people on too many drugs, but he was more off than I have heard him or imagined he could be. Wow.

We slept three in my tent that night for eleven hours solid, until 1pm Sunday. I haven't been that tired since after Red Rocks/SPAC in June.

The second day mirrored the first, thankfully without the endurance hike element, though the sets were much more emotional, with the guys saying goodbye and getting choked up and such. Another fine night of music, flawed as it was.

Monday morning we woke up around 11am and packed up trying to beat the dark looming clouds. Got 'er all squared away and set off down the hill, much lighter than when we walked up it. Halfway down we sparked our phinal phatty and called Bo. He was having breakfast. Nobody had called him for a ride yet, and he would meet us at the bottom of the hill in half an hour.

And then the rains came. The rains we missed by not arriving until Friday night, the rains we were told to expect all weekend, the rains we thanked for not coming each and every set, the rains that would have made this festival really suck, those rains came. And they were refreshing. The rain was warm and cleansing, and it had held off for us. I would not deny such a rain. Several people offered us free ponchos. Nay, we said. Let the rains come, it's Over Now.

Drenched to the bone, we finally found Bo and true to his word, he got us back to our car. First ones in, first ones out. Twenty minutes later we were back in Canada and looking for a Tim Horton's.

At one point in the weekend my new Quebecios friend said "I'm glad I'm here, and I'm glad it's the last time." A lot was said about the band over the weekend, but that sums up my feelings the best. Frankly, if they weren't quitting, Phish might have been fired. When we reached the venue on that sunny day and saw how little mud there really was and how sparsely packed the cars and tents were, I realised that we had been lied to the whole time. 70,000 tickets sold and that's it huh? The guy selling tickets in line assured me that the rumour of tickets available at the gate were very true. The place is a disaster area? Now I'll admit, parts of it were bad, and when the rain was still fresh Friday night I'm sure things looked bleak, but there's no way it was bad enough to stop letting people in. There's no more room to park the cars! There was plenty of room. Don't come until Saturday morning was the mantra on the Phish website as of Thursday, and when did they announce that nobody was getting in? 9:30am Saturday morning. No walking into the venue. Outright lie. Don't leave your car, it will be towed. We all knew that was unlikely, but just another lie. "We love you." Yeah, right. You love what we gave you.

Okay, alright, enough of the bitching. By Sunday night it was obvious that this was Phish's festival and not ours. But all the other shows and festivals seem like they were for us, and these guys worked hard for us for twenty-one years. Fine, here's your last hurrah, and an extra ego boost from seeing thousands of fans haul their heady asses miles on foot just to lay down at your feet. Lay down we did. For the first time, and the last.

Quote of the Weekend: "If I eat another burrito I'm gonna sh!t a hacky-sack."

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Seeing the blue sky (and later, the sun) through my tent flap on Sunday morning was, perhaps, the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

I think the mud got to me, psychologically: as much as I wanted to walk around, check out the commons area, maybe go to the House of Live Phish, check out shakedown street, try to find more of my friends...I just couldn't take it. I had enough psychological stamina to get to and from the concert grounds.

Am I glad I went? Yes, I think so. Am I glad I wasn't driving? Yes, I know so, because I'm pretty such I would have pulled up stakes (literally, in this case) and rolled out on Saturday sometime, especially with the reports of the hurricane we were expecting on Sunday (which didn't materialize, miraculously).

Aloha,

Brad

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Well.. my write up won't be nearly as detailed as Velvet's (though we did run into him in the lineup on Friday night)

I swear man.. I'm going to be 60 years old, vacationing in Tahiti and I'll run into Velvet.. but that's another story..

Anyway.. I got a drive with Jakis on Friday night and we hit the line about a mile closer to the exit than Velvet and his crew, but pretty much had the same experience.

When the call came in on Saturday morning we hooked up with three guys from Virginia and headed into Newport (from what I could tell it was the closest town to the venue) to look for parking.

We totally lucked out and ran into a guy who owned a business and was letting people park for free in his lot, and then was driving us down (again for free) to the roadblock.

We hiked in with just our clothes and a tent (I was able to bring my sleeping bag, and Jakis brought a blanket). No food, no cooler, no cooking supplies.. just the bare survival essentials I guess.

When he got into the venue we immediately starting looking to see if there was a camp canada. We wandered aimlessly around the site for at least an hour before giving up. We ran into some guys with a camper from BC and were able to leave our gear there. I figured maybe there was a note at the message board about where camp canada was.

Nothing at the message board, so we went back to our gear, and went to set up. We find a nice, dry spot right close to the Airport road (which separated the camping area from the stage area) which totally worked out for us cuz it allowed us to take the nice dry road into the concert area as supposed to treking through fields of mud and slop.

It also meant it was super easy to go home on Monday, again, hop the fence, and thumb a ride.

Anyway.. we got the tent set up around 3:00 pm on Saturday (though we entered the venue at around noon or 12:30) and crashed for about an hour before heading to the gig.

The first set on Saturday (which I think was the hotest of the weekend) we were right down next to the taper section. Mud everywhere!!

It was cool to be that close, but by the end of the first set I had enough of the pushing and shoving and mud up to my ankles.

I wandered off, got some food and found a great spot further back, up the hill. The ground was dry, I was close to a tower so the sound was good, and I was on a hill so I could see just fine.

I was so beat though that I wandered off to bed and missed the last two songs of the third set of Saturday night.

I slept for 10 hours or so.. it was great, and woke up around 11:00am on Sunday, went for a walk to find my heady breakfast and ran into another guy we were inline with selling the heady pharms.

He had a buddy selling pancakes and I got hooked up with a big plate of chocolate chip pancakes and real maple syrup for three bucks.. sweet!

We hung for a bit and then Jakis and Matt (one of the guys from Virginia that was crashing with us.. they didn't have a tent) walked by and we wandered off together.

We ran into CanadianFan from this board (he admits he's largely a lurker) and some other cool people, and found a guy selling water for a dollar a bottle.. sweet!

We went back to our tent to crash again around 3:00 and slept until 4:30 and headed off to the last phish show ever.

We did all three sets further up the hill, around where I was on Saturday night and hooked up with some people with a huge tarp so we were able to sit down between sets and not get muddy.. sweet!

Monday morning we got up around 8:00.. we wanted to beat the traffic and rain out. We packed up.. jumped the fence and were able to get a ride back to Newport for $5.00 a head. Best $5.00 I spent all trip.

We got back to our car and just as we started to pack up to head home it started to rain. So we just missed it.. it was great.

The people who worked for Doug, the super nice guy who gave us the parking spot, let us use their washroom and directed us to our heady breakfast.

Man.. we ordered so much food.. it was awesome.

After stuffing ourselves silly (it was still dumping rainoutside) we exchanged emails with the guys from Virginia and went our seperate ways.

As much as the weekend was crappy, what with the mud, and the wet, and the no food, and minimal gear we had, it was still a great weekend. We met lots of really cool people, we were treated really well.. luck was really with us.

Anyway.. I was glad to get home, shower and climb into my warm soft bed, but I'm also really glad I went. All in all I had a great time. (and I've got pics to come)

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we gotinto line on I-91 on driday at 5:30PM. we were 1.5 miles from exit 26. by 9:30 AM we had move half a mile. after the requisite bitching and schemeing we decided to head north to exit 27. as we approached the site we were turned back by the cops, but then found a place to camp just a bit up on Coventry road. $20 a person. and we did the 3 mile hike to the show each day. I don't know what you saw, but the place looked like a disaster to me. there were many stuck cars, tonnes of mud - much of it ankle plus deep. first night i stayed in the beer tent on solid ground as i had enough of the mud. second day i ventured much closer as the mud wasn't as bad. I loved the show - actually rediscovered Phish! I'll write more later if I have time....

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To honest, I've been thinking about what to post here ever since I got home (which, relatively speaking from what I've heard is early) In so many ways this was truly, not in a positive or negative sense, an inbelievable experience.

I want to start out by saying I was one of the lucky ones. Not just lucky but skillful. I was travelling with veterans and that in and of itself was a bonus. We had been in the line-ups before. We knew the score. Northern Wish,Nina(you used to have a code-name Pirahna something?),Tungsten Gruvsten, Denise (our only rookie), my girlfriend and myself made a formidable caravan. But we also knew a bad situation was brewing. I admit, I was the biggest kid in denial. But wiser heads prevailed and after great debate, at 1:00am we pulled off of Highway 5 and into the thing that made our weekend the best it could possibly be, Ed and Patty.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Americans, individual have the capacity to be the kindest on earth because , like us, their freedom affords them this. Ed and Patty were one of the first people to take kids on their lawn, sought ZERO money for their land and provided us with fresh coffee and muffins every morning. They allowed us to turn this experience into a success. Our thanks go out to them hundred-fold.

Back to my anger. As I woke up in the morning, looked at the beautiful Vermont landscape and saw that the line had progressed roughly an hour worth of people since we had pulled in (translation, we hit the exit ramp at 9:30am, they had at 10:30am, ya dig) I knew our decision was solid. But I just could'nt shake the feeling that we were missing part of a "shared experience" As Brad M mentioned, that whole camping with strangers, walking up and down Shakedown, I truly felt we were going to miss out.

And then Mike Gordon came over the Bunny.

And then all hell broke loose on the highway. Lawns began to fill up. People were confused, angry, hurt but most of all, damned and determined to get into the damn show. We had already decided the night before we were ready to hike and now, we had company!

Except we never had to hike too far. Each and every trip, 4 total, back and forth, we ended up paying or getting for free a ride in a truck from some Vermonter (it really reminded me of the cab system in Thailand!) But still, very little time to sight-see as the world inside was mud and your primary concern daily was to get the tarp down inside the concert grounds and stay out of the mud. It would seem the shared experience was deperation and to focus on the music and the last few hours with the boys.

The music. Where to start. I don't know what I excepted. Did I expect them to be able to roll back the clock? Did I expect them to transcend the moment and go out greater than ever? Did I expect the Chicago Symphony and dancers and Gamehedge and Harpua and one last 2001? Maybe. I'll tell you what I got.

1)Not my favorite show, but maybe my favorite live Wolfman's.

2)Not six solid sets, but a couple of doozies!

3)Not a spectacle, but a couple of wicked light goodbyes from Chris K

4)Not an explosive ending, but a rather sad and realistic breakdown of four humans trying to say goodbye to their lives as they know it.

5)Not blind adoration for our GODS, but a sense that one member continues to struggle with his demons to the point that he will look back at his last performance with this band with a sense of embarassment and that while he could jam the fu©k out of everything (improv was ON!) he was so wasted that he couldn't find the focus to put his fingers in the places he had composed them to be so many years ago.

6)Not a longing for more but the sense that the other three members should continue to play together, just in case.

Would I suggest you download the CD's? Unless you slugged through it, your time is better spent seeking out better versions of your old favs and buy the DVD.

All in all the experience was just that, a final trek in the sillier side of life, that sub-reality called the festival scene and Phish tour no more. I'm spent and look forward to musing more about this as the memories flood back (maybe even on this thread)

History has taught us that very few things that are great end on a high note. What Coventry was, well, it was closure. Some of those old highs, fond memories but the sense that although they could go on, it was time, it was wonderful, and on our way we go.

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Okay, alright, enough of the bitching. By Sunday night it was obvious that this was Phish's festival and not ours. But all the other shows and festivals seem like they were for us, and these guys worked hard for us for twenty-one years. Fine, here's your last hurrah, and an extra ego boost from seeing thousands of fans haul their heady asses miles on foot just to lay down at your feet. Lay down we did. For the first time, and the last.

Your a very wise man Todd.

Great read BTW.

Thanks.

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One thing I forgot to mention, that was probably my biggest suprise of the weekend: Whitey!

Somehow, probably after a random run-in with wanderboy Davey Boy, he ended up sleeping in the shade tent on Mount Mound Saturday night, and stayed with us through most of Sunday. It was the longest I'd been able to hang with him, well, ever. We started off the first set of Sunday together, and then he went off in search of one of his packs that was supposed to still be in a field somewhere. I heard vague reports, rumours, almost, of people bumping into to him, but we never crossed paths for the rest of the weekend.

Aloha,

Brad

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I was sad that I didn't cross paths with any of you on the weekend.. I was really hoping to faces to names (except for Velvet.. like I said.. I'll never shake that guy.. it's kinda creepy)

I did meet lots of cool people though.. and drank many a free beer (though I don't know if Michelob Light counts as beer.. maybe just poorly flavoured water)

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Definitley an emotional rollercoaster, for the crowd and very much so for the band. The messy playing didnt effect my enjoyment at all. Neither did the messy venue or organisation, we would get worked up or upset for a couple minutes, but things seemed to correct themselves in the most surreal ways. the acheivement of overcoming the odds, really felt good too. It was really a great time to reflect on so many of the great things life offers, and what the whole phish experience brought to all our lives. So great to see so many people (however brief encounters were). What a great community of people we're a part of.

I liked that Trey changed the Wilson lyrics to 'you can still have fun'.. yes, definitley a heady weekend. I wish everyone could've made it in and been there.

Whitey said to me at one point on Saturday between the first two sets, after a ridiculous first night of partying, 'I woke up not knowing where I was, or what had happened, I couldnt find my bag. Then I turned and saw bradm's ass, and I knew I was home' , magic.

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"I liked that Trey changed the Wilson lyrics to 'you can still have fun'.. "

I loved that as well. Trey called all of us Wilson....... ;)

Cheers to all those locals that made this weekend work. They handled the situation better than anyone else. They made sure we had a place to stay and a way to get to the venue. I dont know what we would have done without people like Rick and Linda Carter.

Just a wonderful vision in that neck of the woods.

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hey <gentlemonkey>, I was wondering what happened to you guys. I think I saw you last at about midnight on I-91. where did you all end up?

You really had to adjust expectations and just go with it if you were gonna have a fun time. i was pissed when I heard Mike's announcement Saturday morning, but the idea of NOT going just didn't really enter my mind. And it all worked out...now, if I had been one of the people that had turned away and headed home or elsewhere, I would be damn pissed. We kept saying that it really wouldn't be fair to do a show for the lucky 20,000 who were in the venue while the majority got sent home.

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