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photos by Lara Shipley

Goodbye to All That

May 25th, 2004 · No Comments

So, when I’ve written about music here of late, it’s been about opera and indie rock mostly. But as folks who’ve known me for a while know, I was a hippie in a former life. So I felt a bit of nostalgic sadness when I was forwarded news by an old friend that uberjamband Phish has announced they’re breaking up. Over the course of high school and the first couple years of college, I saw the band somewhere between 25 and 30 times. I followed them up and down the east coast one summer with a couple of friends, sleeping in the van and living on lot food and Waffle House. One friend was a bootleg geek in the same way some people are sports geeks: We would sit around for hours with his vast live-tape collection, debating the relative merits of different versions of “Harry Hood” or “Harpua.” In the summer of ’96, I drove up to Plattsburgh, NY for the Clifford Ball, the first of a series of of massive summer camping festivals held at decomissioned air bases. (I returned for The Great Went and Lemonwheel up in Limestone, Maine.) It was as good an example of a Temporary Autonomous Zone as I’ve seen, a temporary tent city with spontaneous markets in goods licit and illicit forming and finding equilibrium prices almost immediately. It’s still also one of the best few concerts I’ve ever attended. Maybe later I’ll throw on a few old bootlegs in honor of the boys.

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