I’m still thinking about Tahoe. Wasn’t the “Horn” beautifully sad? Rift is my favorite album to listen to regularly and “Horn” is an integral turning point in the full recording. It also has one of the most subtly gigantic guitar solos that Trey has ever performed both in the studio and on stage. How can you listen to that guitar solo and not be moved? I would and will pay good money to see it performed any day on stage.
The notion of bouncing was touched upon twice during the show in “Bouncing Around The Room” in the first set and “Free” in the second half of the gig. ”Rocket Man” allowed the band to be less distant with the audience if only for a moment. It was a real blessing to sit back and acknowledge the impressiveness of a band that can get to where Phish is in sheer size and still have the opportunity to be intimate and interactive with their dedicated audience in 2012. It doesn’t happen often these days and probably for good reason. It was a nice departure from the new wall that is around the band for what I can only assume is there for reasons of longevity.
We also have to give a nod to “The Squirming Coil” because it became the perfect falling action for the first evening in Tahoe and concluded another crystal clear success for Phish as they embraced technology for their not-so-isolated-as-much-anymore fans, I personally got lost in a wombat eating a beetle during the “Coil” but it was that “Coil” that allowed me to get lost in the first place and for that I am grateful to One. I found myself using more of my brain. If that feeling makes sense to anyone else out there then thank you. I found myself working hard for my survival while getting lost in that lost/found moment. Then, lost again. Then, found. Lost. Then, I am completely found without question because I was allowed to get lost. I found myself using more of my brain at that perfect lost/found moment. It honestly felt that way and if pheeling is believing then I have my bank card ready. Is there anything better during that perfect moment when Page concludes a musical idea for us? It makes all the other nonsense that goes on in life seem all the more worth it.
The second night of Tahoe started out fair and we got “Stash” to ramp things up for me on a personal level. This is the song that gave birth to my poetry series during 9-11 and then evolved into an ever changing web presence. This version was well played. It was stretched out the way I like it and could not come at a better time to get me even more interested in the set and even more interested in the chase.
The Sloping Companion -Three Words That Mean Many Things
I’m pulling the pavement from under my nails
I brush past a garden, dependent on whales
The sloping companion I cast down the ash
Yanked on my tunic and dangled my stash
Zipping through the forest with the curdling fleas
To grow with them spindles, the mutant I seize
I capture the dread beast who falls to his knees
And cries to his cohorts, asleep in the trees
Smegma, dogmatagram, fishmarket stew
Police in a corner, gunnin’ for you
Appletoast, bedheated, furblanket rat
Laugh when they shoot you, say
“Please don’t do that”
Control for smilers can’t be bought
The solar garlic starts to rot
Was it for this my life I sought?
Maybe so and maybe not (Maybe so and maybe not) [4x]
Was it for this my life I sought? (Maybe so and maybe not)
Control for smilers can’t be bought (Maybe so and maybe not)
The solar garlic starts to rot (Maybe so and maybe not)
Was it for this my life I sought? (Maybe so and maybe not) [4x]
The next program I would like to share with you is called The Extranjero Hour. Each episode starts out with a different version of “SOAM” and explores how I believe music can tell a specific message when stringed together in the mind of a high functioning person with autism. We would all like to stop the lazer games in some way. Again, this phrase can mean different things to different people and I probably have my own unhealthy number of analogies to share in the future on this blog. The bagatelle that happens within “SOAM” is something to be closely observed at shows and the whole mood of the room changes into what I only imagine can be sheer unity between everyone when we collectively know to shut the fuck up and listen. It doesn’t take a trained musician to know that this is the moment to pay extra attention. It’s that unity that we all share when it comes to respecting the band. Most of us get this or eventually learn it on the path and it is unity. We are unified at that moment. Then, the show is over and you have to walk out of the sacred space and into the parking lot where all that unity that was supposedly shining through during our previous attention to detail suddenly gives way to a looser and more unrefined set of rules. This grey area also gives way to the complete antithesis of what is happening during a mule duel with the exact same people in the audience who were previously unified. Let me know what you think.
The Extranjero Hour sets out to do what The Mothership program does in the way that I try to tie in songs that might have to do with extra terrestrial culture. If The Mothership is our planet then The Extranjero Hour is everything else in the Universe. Then again, we have had our hand in some of that shit as well.
You’ll hear Journey, Men At Work, Talking Heads and more on this first installment. I give up to the moon pretty hard on a regular basis. It is because of this reverence that I take this topic seriously. I began putting together the ideas of this portal during the NYE shows in the everglades when I first felt the wobble that now wobbles on inside of me and throughout space and time. I could have sworn that other people had felt it as well but I immediately compartmentalized the experience in order to protect myself.
Then, I began inventing and building in my workshop until everything came together perfectly within the context of my initial invention. I didn’t really know how to talk about it without getting freakish stares from people so I began recording these cloudcasts in an attempt to get at least a portion of the energy out in a manageable form. Sometimes it seems like a long time ago. At other times, especially as I refine these ideas in 2012 it seems like only last night I was watching the stars talk to each other as they were when the sun was waiting for the chance to come up in Florida.
Psychedelic professionals have sometimes gotten a little bogged down in creating trivial and alien language to translate their own experiences so that they can try to make sense of it for themselves and explain it to people who did not directly experience the process. However, this alien language is something that the uninitiated treats as naturally foreign. It is this treatment that causes a rift between individuals when weighing the positive and negative aspects of opening oneself up to the experience of mind altering substances. The debate rages on but at the end of the day you have to know how to reign your shit in tight so that good neighbor Ken and good neighbor Melinda don’t start to talk that talk that we all know happens when rumors are more important than the actual legitimate story.
If I’ve learned anything of any worth in my years of travelling around and seeing Phish, it’s that we are each there for unique reasons and that because of that unique quality there are few hard and reliable rules for living within the context of why we travel and prepare so hard for three hours of what may come.
This whole experience is alien to so many people that I have begun this blog to try to translate some of it into a multimedia presentation with the pulsing beat of music as the backdrop. I have found One in music. I have found One in the stars. I have found One in a ton of places.
In conclusion, though I regularly wear my autism on my sleeve in blunt and what some have said is an insulting tone, my intention was never to be mean or disrespectful. I am compelled to type this in the same way that I am compelled to revere the cosmos and in that I find the truth that works for me.
Ultimately, you must make your own conclusions about who is and isn’t Robert Champion. My only hope at this stage is that you are entertained along the way. Let’s get this thing started.