Selection: “DEG Tease>Alumni Blues>Letter to Jimmy Page>Alumni Blues”
Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: Nailed “TMWSIY>Avenu>TMWSIY,” “Susskind Hotel,” “Tweezer>Twist”
From Jason Gucciardo:
When Memo asked me to contribute to the 33 in 33 my first thought was “I need to remember to put bacon on my grocery list.. Then after a few minutes of bacon fantasies, I reluctantly agreed to write a little sumtin.
After moving to FL from Long Island in 2010, my days of catching a few shows each tour were over, since Phish seems to have forgotten about America’s wang. After wooking it up across the country for most of Fall ‘95, some of Summer ‘96, a good chunk Summer ‘97, Island tour and holiday runs in ‘98. My last show was 10/08/99 before I took an almost 10 year show hiatus, ending at 06/02/2009. But when I got a call from a friend with whom I shared my first show (7/15/94) saying 7/4/2012 would be his 100th show, I decided to pack my bags and head up to ol’ NY to celebrate this and ‘Merica’s Birthday with my Pham.
Many people rank this show fairly low as far as summer 2012 shows go and there were an abundance of tix to be found “on the ground.” (Probably due to the webcast, because we all know Phish phones it on for these shows :-P) But for me, it was as special as any show since it had been over 2 years since seeing the boys last.
I chose to share the opening sequence of this show for a couple of reasons. One being that “Alumni Blues” is a great way to start a summer show. With all the recent graduates, what better way kick off the night than by remembering the years of debt you have ahead of you to repay all those student loans?
Now most of you have heard the “Dave’s Energy Guide” tease to start this one off but what many of you didn’t realize is that they actually played DEG backwards, GED, another nod to scholastic joys. Being a HS drop out and getting my GED in FL, I picked up on this right away. (FYI – If you can spell Gee Eee Dee, you too can get one from FL!). Had they played a full DEG to open the show, it may have been a bigger highlight than the previous night’s bust out of “Skin It Back” for me.
I mentioned my first show earlier because it ties into the other reason I picked this track.
On that faithful summer’s eve (not the douche) in July ‘94, I showed up on the Jones Beach lot, not sure what to expect. I had been seeing a bunch of Dead shows by that time but wasn’t sure what Phish lot would be like. Within minutes, I saw a topless woman on roller skates with an “I need a miracle” sign and knew I was home. As I scurried around the lot looking for a ticket (and more boobs), I ran into an older guy looking to get rid of a pair. He was asking $70 for the pair, which in ‘94 was way over face, but when I looked at them and saw “ORCH A Row A Seat 1” I was willing to custy up the extra cash. Being on the rail at my first show was unbelievable. I locked eyes with Mike but had to look away; I felt like a nervous schoolgirl with a full beard. When I got a highfive from Fishman after his first solar-powered vacuum solo, I knew this would not be my last show.
The second set of 7/15/94 opened with a very rare solo “Letter To Jimmy Page” (Not paired with “Alumni Blues”) into a must-hear “David Bowie,” complete with “Jessica” teases and, if you listen carefully to the recording, you can hear the faint sounds of a w00k/security fight! After that “LTJP” it took me almost 18 years to finally get my first “Alumni” on 7/4/2012, in the same venue it all started for me at. Now, all I need is the “Fly Famous Mockingbird” I was robbed of at Darien ‘97 when Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters took to the stage causing Phish to not finish “Col. Forbin > Mockingbird” we were all expecting. Curse you Bozos!
Anyway back to the show at hand… You could now imagine my excitement to hear those opening notes of “Alumni” after the long chase. I’m not going to get into great detail about this because honestly, there is nothing really extraordinary about this version. But with the exception of “Party Time,” not many other songs scream “it’s time to party” other than “Alumni.” On this Independence Day, Phish was the mullet of rock bands — although they are all bizness up front, it’s obvious they’re ready for a party (in the rear?).
At about 2:00min in, Page takes the first solo of the night. Clean, playful and just what Dr. McConnell ordered to make us feel “alright.” Afterwards, Trey proudly lets us know he got a degree “from Goddard college” before breaking into my now 2nd “LTJP” which is only about a minute long, but it packs a punch. Even though it may be a little loose at times, it just strengthens the feeling that the fellas are having fun.
The segue back into “Alumni” while not the tightest, leaves Gordo plenty of room to take the bass for a walk. Shortly after that, something happens and it kind of sounds like the rest of the band is ready to wrap this one up but then say, “Oh, I guess we should let Trey do his solo.” And solo he does! A nice ripper to pull the tempo back up after that little stumble.
As they end “Alumni,” and follow up with a surprising “Head Held High” and another favorite of mine “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu,” we are left to think, “This is only the beginning of the night”. A long one it will be, with a total song count around 33.
Unfortunately the Jones Beach run was all I got to see last summer but I was very satisfied with those shows. Caught a few songs I had never seen as well as some classics I wouldn’t mind seeing at every show. This summer I will only be hitting Alpharetta but still have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed in hopes of some FL love this fall. If not, I am extremely grateful for the shows I have seen and the ton of new phans, phriends and phamily that I have met and look forward to seeing again at shows to come!
Gooch is a major part of lawnmemo.com and does all the work to make the site look great, and make sure it functions. I have no idea how to do anything so without Gooch I would be lost. He is responsible for the now famous Portland Meadows Ghost Map.
From Jason Gucciardo (Gooch)
Favorite Ghost: Toss up between Slimer & Casper the Friendly Ghost
2nd Favorite Ghost: 07/23/1997 Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA, Due to the length and thick funk, I call this one “The Ghost of John Holmes”
Gooch is a jaded vet turned born again n00b, a dyslexic bra fly, pitbull loving, pirate, computer nerd. When he’s not making GIF’s (hard G) of his fellow Turntablers, he is usually snuggling up with a plate of bacon and dark chocolate. Gooch is happy to have been a part of the build and upkeep of lawnmemo.com and can be found spouting random bits of nonsence at @djgoocher