Tag Archives: Jam Bands

A Baker’s Dozen (Phish Style)

At the end of January the band Phish announced that they would be playing thirteen nights at Madison Square Garden, aptly titled “A Baker’s Dozen”. Running from late July into early August, this announcement has excited Phishheads everywhere. I have to admit that when I first saw that they would be spending so much time in my backyard (I live an hour outside of NYC), I knew that I would be able to see a couple of shows.

When the shows went on sale in mid February, I was lucky enough to get the two shows that I wanted and I thought that would be enough. But as any fan of Phish (or any jam band) knows, if more shows are for sale, then you have to see what is available! So a couple of weeks after getting my initial two shows, I went back to Ticketmaster fully expecting the run to be sold out. But lo and behold, it wasn’t. Now I am going to three shows.

Over the next five weeks I kept getting alerts from Ticketmaster and ended up going to the website to see if tickets were still around for this unprecedented string of shows. I soon added a fourth, a fifth and then a sixth show. My question is, when will it end? Isn’t six out of thirteen shows enough? Spread out over the full run, it’s not like I’m going to first six, last six or the middle six shows. I should get a full representation of what they will offer their fans this summer. So what do I do?

Oh crap, can’t answer that now. I have to go. I just another alert from Ticketmaster…

The Wonder of Music

Magic is what we do. Music is how we do it.

-Jerry Garcia

Ideally the point of music is community, not the player. Musicians are simply channels to link the audience to the music and to each other.

-Trey Anastasio

Wrapped in a shroud of psychedelic wonderment,

The music washes over the senses, dripping lyrical sweetness.

Each musical trajectory soothes, shifts and drifts, melting

The false perception of what we believe.

Each reality in its beginning, each note building and climbing,

Waves, rolling and splashing, being absorbed as one, by all.

Musical movement, slow and meandering, snakes through the mind,

Flashing lights corrupt lucid thought, unencumbered by the blizzard

Sweeping in and around the soul. Auditory and visual bliss are within reach, for now.

Does music soothe your savage breast?

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

-John Burroughs

“Music to me is the air that I breathe, it’s the blood that pumps through my veins that keeps me alive.”

-Billie Joe Armstrong

I love music. I always have and always will. Music has been there for me through all of the good, bad and indifferent times over the course of my life. The lyrics I have memorized and the melodies I love to hear play over and over again on a constant loop like my own personal soundtrack. This is twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

As the years have passed, I have found that my musical tastes have mellowed along with my demeanor. Gone (hopefully) are the days of constant anger and aggression, replaced in part by a sense of well being brought on by making certain positive life choices and then implementing them to see what direction they take me in.

Now, while I still listen to the bands that I did when I was younger (Ozzy, Mettalica, Black Sabbath),  today I am drawn more to the likes of the Grateful Dead, Phish, the String Cheese Incident as well as old classic rock favorites such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. When I really feel a need to decompress after a particularly trying day, I’ll put on Bach, Enya or perhaps George Winston.

Each of these artists, depending on my mood and frame of mind, allows me to transcend my personal reality and as a result, I do not have to dwell on whatever that particular day has brought to me. It is my goal to not live in the past, but instead do the best I can with the present so it can enlighten my future.

Although I do not usually listen to music while I am hiking, I will pull out the ipod when I reach a viewpoint or stop to take a rest. The music I listen to when I am hiking are the woods themselves. The soft crunch and swishing of the leaves  as I walk along the trail puts me at ease, the same way that music does. The best thing about this is that when you allow yourself to hear the music of the woods, the song never ends! Even hiking in the rain provides a melody all its own that can’t be denied.  I like to think of days like this as being under the influence of Mother Nature.

So where does that leave us? Whenever I go out into the woods I do so with a purpose. While hiking for the sake of hiking is ok, you can make a choice to bring each and every hike to a different level after answering a few questions.

First, what brings you to the trail? Thinking about why you are heading out and what you would like to accomplish by being out in the woods. Are you just trying to clear your mind after a bad day? Are you looking for answers to a problem? Whatever the case may be, clear your mind of everything else and get out there. The rest will take care of itself.

Second, think about where you are hiking. It may not seem that important, but subconsciously the hike you choose to do on any particular day reflects the frame of mind that you are in at that time. I know that when I really need to clear my mind, I pick a hike that I know will be challenging. I pick a hike that I know will force me to take full account of what I am doing. I am hiking!!!

Third, getting outside, embracing nature and taking advantage of that time and what the outdoors has to offer is very therapeutic and transformative. When you are hiking, either with friends or alone, take the time with your thoughts so you can really embrace each moment. You can think and focus on what you need to configure your own revitalization and rejuvenation.

So take the music that is the soundtrack of your life and your love of the woods and savor those memories. Take the time to file each of them away in your heart instead of just in your mind. That is what makes not only hiking, but your life, special.