It occurred to me during Phish’s Sunday night “THANK YOU” encore at Dick’s that perhaps part of the reason Trey Anastasio played with Dead50 was so that he could train under their leadership on how to make a community feel more banded, more connected and more uplifted by spreading a peaceful, positive message, giving thanks, and playing a unifying song that makes people feel stronger, like “United We Stand”.
After Friday night’s show I saw a status update from a Deadhead friend who said the people on Phish lot are mean and rude and that he didn’t have a very good time. At first I wasn’t sure I agreed with his post, until I coincidentally experienced people be rude to me on Phish lot the very next night.
First I walked by a guy who had a table set up with glass pipes and he asked me if I wanted to buy one and I said no. He responded with a nasty attitude and told me to “keep walking, then.” First of all, I was still walking, and second of all, there was no reason to be nasty to me just because I happened to walk by his booth and didn’t want or need to purchase a glass pipe from him.
About thirty minutes later I had a girl be a bitch to me because I bought a burrito at the stand next to hers and she didn’t like that I stopped to take a bite of the burrito in front of her stand and she came out and commanded me to “go eat my burrito somewhere else.” I had just put condiments on my burrito and had only been standing there for about 30 seconds when she rudely asked me to move.
I realized then that my friend was kind of right; the scene contained some unconscious, non-friendly people, which of course happens everywhere, but shouldn’t. I think the Grateful Dead always made valiant effort to fill their fans with good words, lyrics, messages and vibes, and I think this is something they told Trey Anastasio – that he needs to ensure his band carries on the legacy and uplifts their fans to feel like better, kinder people than they were yesterday.
The Phish scene will never be the Dead scene, and that’s OK, because it is what it is. I think this was also made evident to me in the camp site, when people were listening to Hanson and 80s music that I had to get away from, and when some idiot sat down in our camp and started talking very loudly about how he thinks Donald Trump is the best candidate for presidency. I asked him to take his conversation elsewhere and he responded by telling me that I probably don’t even vote, and I don’t know what I’m talking about. He pissed me off more than anything the entire weekend, he made my heart beat fast and he made me want to be mean back to him, but I kept my mouth shut, because deep down I know that anyone who has to talk at a louder volume than anyone else to make sure his opinions are heard is really the most ignorant person in the group. Plus, of course I fucking vote, and I’m an organ donor, because that’s what Bob Weir and Phil Lesh asked of me years ago when I fell in love with their music.
Phish definitely knows how to throw a party, and I love dancing to their grooves, and I think I see that they are trying to take their power to the next level and unite their fans. Hopefully their message spreads, they stay healthy and continue to play together for another 20 years so I can attend their 50th anniversary concerts one day.