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Thoughts from my noggin put into words and then typed into my computer with my fingers. Topics vary from personal development and self awareness to music and those that participate in the process of creating it, or enjoying it on any level. 

My First Show - Nathan 'Ginger' Calvert - Phish - 12/7/97

Ryan Stanley

Happy Spring Everyone! I know it's been a while since we've placed any content into the blogosphere, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a guest blogger submission from last summer. Nathan 'Ginger' Calvert saw our request for write ups about a pivotal live music experience and was quick to submit this piece about the night he first stepped into the freezer in 1997. I added a couple of pics and videos from around the interweb to keep it saucy. Enjoy!


My name is Nathan. Most my friends call me Ginger.

Growing up in my early teenage years I was a huge Dead fan and was lucky enough to actually see Jerry play 4 times. When Jerry died I was a lot like many deadheads and was a little lost musically.

I had heard a bit of Phish, albeit mostly studio stuff. They were good, but for whatever reason didn't feel like my cup of tea. Then, I met and befriended some kids from a different school who happen to have  tons of tapes (like dressers full) of live shows. Lets just say it wasn't long before the Phish from Vermont grew on me. I even quickly found myself with a favorite song, AC/DC Bag.

About a year later I had some friends who happen to be going to Dayton Ohio to sell their patchwork clothes on lot at a Phish show. They had room for one more in their car, and even though I didn't have a ticket, I also didn't have anything else to do. So I said "Screw it!" and hopped in the car for the ride.

We got to lot fairly early, laid out a blanket to sell our merch and started chilling. As we got closer to the start of the show I decided to walk around with my finger in the air looking for my miracle of the day in form of someone's extra ticket. I was 17 and had maybe $30.00 to my name. I was having no luck but having a blast.

Suddenly, almost out of nowhere this guy and girl came to me and asked if I had $2.00 and 2 cigarettes. I was happy to help and told them I did but only give them in exchange for a hug from each of them. Money, tobacco and embraces were exchanged. I went to walk away with my finger back in the air but before I could, the young lady handed me a ticket and said "This is the kind of generosity we were looking for!" I gave them both hugs again and ran back to the car to tell my friends I got my miracle and not to head in without me!

As I crossed the threshold of the security gates the excitement started to set in. I went directly to the back of the venue as I assumed my seat wouldn't be any good. I asked the usher where I was supposed to go and he pointed down to the floor! Yes!!

I made my way to the floor and the usher who worked there pointed towards the front and said "way down up there'! At this point I am literally getting more excited by the second and almost jumping for joy as I continue down the aisle! As I get closer to my seat, I realize it's a 4th row isle seat!! The couple that had given me the ticket in the lot were there in their seats and again I hug them both so hard! The lights go down and crowd turns electric.

The show opens with the starting notes of my favorite song AC/DC Bag! So I am literally jumping up and down! I remember the girl from the miracle couple singing along with Trey at me while giving me a shove "time to put your money where your mouth is". The band definitely got the show on the road.

As the Bag closes out they go into 'Psycho Killer' by The Talking Heads... and not just any Psycho Killer but what many consider to be legendary. At this point I'm obviously throwin down when they they flawlessly move into Jesus Left Chicago. I remember thinking "Are you serious right now!?!" As the name of the blog posting eludes, this was the 12/7/97 show, which to me, for so many reasons is the GREATEST Phish show EVER!

My Mind's Got a Mind of it's own > It's Ice > Swept Away > Steep > It's Ice > Theme from the bottom!?! Once you think that's the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard they come out and do this Tube > Tube Jam thing that will go down ( mark my words ) as the greatest Tube ever!

After the super Tube they closed with a powerful as always Slave to the Traffic Light to end the first set. THAT WAS JUST THE FIRST FREAKING SET!!!! It was hard to believe there was more to come. 

12-7-97 A.jpg

At set break I had to sit there and gather my bearings. This was by far the best show I'd ever seen and it was only the first set! I was soaked from head to toe in sweat. Thankfully, my new friends  the miracle couple continued to provide some love as they returned to our seats from a setbreak adventure and gave a much needed re-hydration with a  bottled water. 

The lights go out again. The second set starts off with a rockin Timber, and the band just never quit playing... Timber > Wolfmans Brother > Boogie on Reggae Woman > Reba > Guyute > Possum! They go onto encore with A Day in the Life by the Beatles. By the time it was over I kid you not I was forever changed musically. I mean they got (I know, terrible pun but so true) me hook line and sinker!

I had found my favorite band! There was no comparison! I ended up doing 12 of their 22 fall tour shows. Here I am in the year 2017, 20 years and 100 something shows later and I still get that tingly feeling when the lights go down.

I am so thankful I decided to hop in the car and go on that winter day in 1997. 


Ginger Calvert is a a 37 Year Old Construction Worker from Louisville Kentucky who has been to 104 Phish shows.

'Listen To The River Sing Sweet Songs: My Weekend at Fare Thee Well

Ryan Stanley

A Guest Blog Contribution by Stu Kelly


    I never thought I would make it. Statistically it seemed impossible. With more than 60,00 different mail order requests for tickets (accumulating over 360,000 requested tickets), only about one out of every ten requests was honored. Somehow I managed to secure tickets in the onsale and locked down a flight soon after that. I grew up listening to studio albums like American Beauty and Blues For Allah and I never thought I would ever see the surviving members play a show billed under the name the Grateful Dead.


    When the rumor mill started to turn in 2015 that Trey Anastasio was tapped to step into Jerry Garcia’s spotlight and fill the sacred role of lead guitar with the Grateful Dead anticipation was already astronomical. It wasn’t long until the rumors became a reality when three nights of music featuring the core four (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann) featuring Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s legacy. The core four saw this milestone as the perfect way to retire touring under the name the Grateful Dead and they bowed out with grace in the same venue where Jerry Garcia played his final show with the band in August of 1995. The result was a legendary set of performances that will forever cement an invaluable chapter in the jam band community and a priceless piece of musical anthropology billed Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of The Grateful Dead.


  The three nights in Chicago were more than simply just concerts composed of six sets and three encores as everything blended together to become one long marathon event. It felt like the city of Chicago was draped in a cloak of the Grateful Dead’s culture as the band’s influence could be felt from the moment fans got off their airplanes at the airport, to the moment they ordered a drink at a bar and heard Grateful Dead blasting through the speakers, or walking around downtown at night and seeing things office buildings strategically spelling “GD” in their office windows after hours. This was an event that felt like a family reunion as thousands of fans came together to create a culture that parlayed off what the community had been doing for the past 50 years.

  By the time the band descended on Chicago for their final three performances they were much more dialed in and relaxed, especially after the two warm up shows in Santa Clara. The momentum in Chicago shifted as Trey Anastasio stepped into more of a defined role, taking more lead vocal responsibilities and pushing the improvisation well beyond the band’s comfort levels.


    Exploring musical parts unknown has always been part of the Grateful Dead’s manifesto but this particular lineup was still getting acclimated to moving into uncharted territory as a unit. When the band was able to break through the stratosphere you could see the inspiration on stage. One of the best examples came early in the first set on the third day, when the band opened up “Estimated Prophet” and took it for a ride. As Trey pushed down on the gas pedal, he carved out a pocket where he could still keep the song driving forward and still keep Bobby in the spotlight. As the jam took shape Bobby even let out an extended vocal jam that really showcased how lose everyone was feeling on stage. My own personal highlight from these shows came deep in the second set of the final day when the band played “Althea” and Trey took the lead vocal responsibilities. I remember there being a long pause on stage after a ripping “Cassidy” and as the band members positioned themselves, Anastasio counted off before the opening notes of “Althea” came crashing through the PA. The crowd erupted in excitement and in that moment I don’t think I’ve ever been more blown away by the power of being apart of an audience. Live music is the most pure form of art in my opinion. Standing in a packed arena and feeling the sense of community is priceless, but standing there and surrendering myself to the music was when I felt totally free. The music coming out of the speakers hit the ears of over 70,000 people, so that means the music was interpreted in 70,000 different ways inside the venue.


  By the time the band wrapped up the shows in Chicago it felt like they were just starting to hit their stride, but when it was all over the end result definitely lived up to the hype. This was a unique experience that I’ll never forget and I feel so lucky to have been apart of this unique event.  


  This was more than just a farewell appearance to the band that inspired the jam band community. As the final note of the Fare Thee Well shows were put to rest, it was another turning chapter for the core four. As each member continues to tour in their own respective ways, their legacy, both as the Grateful Dead or in their side projects, will forever be considered one of the most significant in rock and roll history. The Grateful Dead created a cultural phenomenon and their impact still reigns just as pure and impactful as it ever has.

If you get confused, listen to the music play.


Stu Kelly is a music journalist living in Washington D.C. who has contributed to JamBaseRelix Live Music Daily and NYS Music. He's got s psrticular affection for vinyl and is an an alum of the University of Mississippi. You can follow him on Twitter at @sbkelly9 

My First Show - Jeremy Streem - Phish - 11/21/2009

Ryan Stanley

SetListTees recently put out a call for Guest Bloggers on our Social Media and Newsletter. We're pleased to present our first piece which was submitted by Jeremy Streem and is about attending his first Phish concert on November 21, 2009 at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH. Enjoy!



My first Phish show was a 3.0 show. I know…

I’m like the opposite of a hipster. I usually find my way into something well after it’s already been cool. I didn’t truly discover the Grateful Dead until after Jerry’s death. I had some passing appreciation for Phish in college, but it was mostly limited to boozy hangouts with ‘Junta’ as the soundtrack. The Phish ‘thing’ didn’t unlock for me until well after Coventry happened and Phish was no more. Two friends of mine during my deployment in 2006-2007 were huge Phish fans, and they helped me ‘get it’, providing me with hundreds of hours of concerts to listen to. Once again, I found myself enamored with a band that had already come and gone.


And then… Hampton 2009.


Of course I couldn’t get tickets, but Phish was back! It meant that I might finally be able to experience the Phish community in person. I just needed to find my way to a show. That problem didn’t take long to solve. Phish was playing two nights at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati as part of the Fall 2009 tour. My buddy Chris and I got tickets to the second night, snagged ourselves a hotel room and headed down to the Queen City.

We stayed across the river in Kentucky and took a cab over to the arena. Since the arena is nestled on the banks of the Ohio, it’s not the most friendly or accessible when it comes to parking. Resourceful as ever, Shakedown Street organically appeared in a dead end area underneath one of the freeway overpasses. Chris and I spent time wandering around, running into old friends (including my friend from halfway around the world who was responsible for making me a phan) and meeting new ones until, finally, it was time to head inside.

This was my moment! I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. Up until the point that I hit the doors, my excitement had been tempered by the knowledge of the setlist Phish had played the night before. It was like a recitation of all my favorite tunes, and I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t hear any of those songs during my first real show. Once I had my ticket scanned, none of that mattered anymore. I was actually going to see Phish perform live, with my own eyes and ears! 

Our seats were Page side, in the corner back behind the stage. It gave us a great side view of the stage and the whole band, as well as the floor. Finally, the house lights went down, and my heart rate and blood pressure went up. As I saw Fish, Mike, Trey, and Page come into view from behind stage and take their places, I had a grin plastered across my face that could only be described as an impression of Jack Nicholson’s Joker. My grin stretched even further as I watched the band members communicate and smile with each other as they were getting ready. I could tell that they were enjoying each other, and that they were in this for real. I found myself rocking back and forth on my feet, almost lurching in anticipation, waiting to spring into the sweet release of action as the first song hit my ears.

What’s it gonna be?

What’s it gonna be?

What’s it gonna…


“Duh-dunt… Duh-dunt”


We were off and running. Cincinnati launched with a ferocious, bounding energy, fueled by Skyline Chili, Magic Hat on draft, and the simple realization that what had been gone for 5 long years, what had meant so much to these 20,000 plus people, was back. Recommitted and refocused, the band steered the ship through a first set that could easily be described as riding a lifeboat through a hurricane. We held on to each other and rode the waves together, overjoyed at the prospect of simply being able to be in the boat again (or, in some cases, for the first time.)

Regardless of all the great moments that I had on that wonderful night, my absolute highlight had to be ‘Split Open and Melt’. As Trey ripped through the complex opening runs, I felt myself lock into his playing. Being a musician for most of my life has led me to experience live performances in a unique manner. Throughout a show, I’ll find myself alternately rocking out like a typical fan, and then I’ll realize that I’m listening intently to one musician or another, trying to focus on what they’re doing, or how they’re doing it. Trey had me charmed like a snake in a basket, and the song rolled on, quickly moving into the jam.

Being familiar with a song through recordings is no comparison to LIVING one. This particular ‘Split Open and Melt’ wasted no time getting dark and nasty. Atonal riffs, delay, and echo reverberated throughout the arena while Kuroda gave visual context to the building tension on stage. It was one of the most wonderful and terrifying things I’ve ever experienced in my life. In fact, it scared me.

I’m not kidding. I felt like I was trapped and needed to escape. This cacophony and visual overload pushed me to the brink and I almost had to walk out of the arena onto the concourse.

Almost… And yet, just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, it was as if the band felt my panic and let me off the hook, because they finally brought it back into the structure and finished out the tune. It was one of the most breathtaking experiences I’ve ever had at a musical performance.

Phish finished the first set with a delightful high-energy version of ‘Antelope’, which set the crowd into a jolly mood through set break. They returned for a fairly perfunctory second set, which included my first ‘2001’. It was my first show, so it was my first experience with the Glow-Stick War. Our corner seats allowed us a wonderful view of the neon showers that rained and exploded throughout all levels of the venue.

After sending us out into the chilly November night with a headbanging encore of ‘Axilla’, Phish likely got on their busses and hit the highway to make the overnight trek to Syracuse for their show the next day. Chris and I chose to forgo the taxi and walked back across the bridge to our hotel. As I breathed in the crisp night air, I couldn’t stop thinking about what had just happened to me. It was more than ‘What did I just hear?’ or ‘What did I just see?’. It was the long overdue realization and understanding about my college friends who would travel to an abandoned Air Force base to sleep in a tent and see the same band for three days. It was the confirmation that they were on to something special way back then. It was the relief and gratitude that Phish had, indeed, come back, and that I had the opportunity to be a part of that.

I didn’t just see it. I didn’t just hear it. I lived it. I was a part of it.

I couldn’t wait to do it again.

“We’re all in this together…”


-Jeremy Streem is an Army Musician and longtime Deadhead. He discovered Phish during many late nights of listening during his overseas deployment. He is also an unapologetic die-hard Cleveland sports fan. You can follow his random tweets @cymbopp and see lots of pictures of his cross-eyed cat on Instagram: Armysax


Set 1Wilson > NICUWolfman's BrotherOcelotTorn and FrayedStrange Design,Ginseng SullivanAlbuquerqueSplit Open and MeltDirtLimb By LimbRun Like an Antelope

Set 2Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I CouldBackwards Down the Number Line >Prince CaspianSuzy Greenberg > Also Sprach Zarathustra > The Squirming Coil

EncoreSleeping MonkeyAxilla


5 Lessons from a Musical Perspective in Creating an Enjoyable Life Experience

Ryan Stanley

As we celebrate our country’s birthday and the freedom that we are lucky enough to have go along with being a citizen of that country, I’m quickly reminded of the everyday freedom that most of us not only take for granted, but more often than not don’t even recognize. That’s the freedom to choose how we experience life. 

As a fan of live improvisational music, I’m often enamored by not just the music and the way my body reacts to it, but also the journey of the improvised music itself. When done to my liking, an improvised jam will be made up of an ebb and flow of energy that keeps you paying attention and waiting for the proper release. Sometimes you’re not sure where it’s going to go, but often the longer you pay attention to the changes, the more you get invested mentally in the path that the song may be taking.

As a life coach who typically works with clients who are musicians or others within the music industry, I’ve found the act of creating improvisational music or participating in a jam to be an interesting comparison/metaphor for how they approach their interaction with life.

Here is a quick list of 5 lessons that we can steal from musicians and apply to everyday life:

1.      Be Present ~ When I ask my clients “When do you perform best?” typical answers are: “When I’m in the zone – when I’m not thinking about anything else.  When I’m listening.  When I’m not worried about what’s going to happen next.” In other words, they’re not worried about what happened earlier that day and they’re not worried about what song their going to play next. They are looking at, listening, and feeling everything that is going on in that moment and recognizing that they are a part of it. They are creating.


2.      Be You ~ We all bring millions of unique seconds of past experience into everything that we do. When we embrace who we are and add that to how we create and participate in the song of life, we our signature and style to everything we do. Feel your part and play it because it aligns with who you are and what you’re there to create.


3.      Play with Others ~ This is a two part lesson:


A)     Intentionally spend time with others who have similar tastes, styles, interests, purposes and goals. Be open to teaching and learning from them.

B)     Intentionally spend time with others who have different tastes, styles, interests, purposes and goals. Be open to teaching and learning from them.


4.      Share your Gifts ~ We are creators. For my clients, they are creating music. For you it may be another form of art, such as photography, painting, writing, cooking, or entrepreneurship. It may just be how you interact socially with others in conversation. We first and foremost often create for our own benefit because of an innate drive to express ourselves, and make sense of and enjoy this crazy adventure called life. But if we keep those creations to ourselves, in this coach’s opinion we are doing our gifts and natural drive to create a disservice. When we share our creations, we are giving that which has been given to us. By giving, we offer opportunity for others to align with, be inspired and or entertained by our creation, and even potentially co create more with us.


5.      Learn from the Experience – From the musician’s perspective, the end of every performance can be an opportunity to decide what they learned from what just came out of their existence. For the rest of us it may just be the end of each day that gives us that opportunity. The great news is, (and this is where that freedom of choice thing comes into play) that we can love what we created and experienced or we can choose to prefer it went in a completely different direction. Both are choices and both can benefit our journey. Of course there is third choice which is to hate it, and wish it never happened at all, but that choice doesn’t serve us or any purpose that empowers us to be who we deserve to be.


Part of being free is to recognize that we are free. Free to experience joy, adventure, awareness, growth, change and life. The other part of that is to then make the conscious choice to participate accordingly. Improvising in the song of life with purpose takes some practice, but when we do it means we have an opportunity to build that internal super muscle which is able to listen, feel and participate simultaneously. Anticipating and creating changes instead of dreading them or being scared of which direction they may go. Sometimes as part of that practice we become awkward or uncomfortable. In those moments I suggest that we choose to be present and press on. Let go of the end of the song and follow the flow. Allow yourself to feel the flow and it will only lead to more creation.

When done correctly, not only do we feel the flow of this song of life but so do our co-creators and our audience and they react accordingly. This in turn creates more energy, more alignment, and more freedom.


Freedom is a choice. Sing your song. Create.



When Your Life Coach is Also a Phish Fan

Ryan Stanley

Here is a brief list of 28 things that I know I do when I attend a Phish concert. My intention for the remainder of 2016 is to also do them in one way or another every single day no matter where I am.......

Show up with excitement for what's to come no matter what it is because you know it's going to be good.

Have expectations of awesomeness with no attachment to the result.


High five strangers.

Spend time with friends.

Spend time by myself.

Make new friends.

Connect with old friends.

Be grateful for the entire experience because it is just that: The gift of an experience.

Appreciate improvisation.

If something comes on the stage that isn't your thing, you can recognize it as part of the show and look for things to enjoy about it or walk away and come back for whatever is next.

Have engaging conversations with people who are both like minded and not like minded to you.

Spend time thinking about what else I want in my life and the best way to manifest it.

Eat, Drink, Be Merry.




Be polite.



Earn money.

Donate money.

Practice Gratitude.

Be Kind.



At the end of the night, discuss the highlights. 

Look forward to doing it again tomorrow.

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2014

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2014


How do you spend time at your favorite concerts? How does that compare to  how you spend your time during the rest of your life?

Is there a lesson here?

Maybe so, maybe not.

What would you add to this list?

Words I Sailed Upon

Ryan Stanley

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I first discovered Phish in October of 1992 when a friend of a friend of mine left a cassette tape in my car which would, in the grand scheme of things forever change not only the way I listened to music, but also the general path in which my life took from that point on.  That tape was “Picture of Nectar” by the band Phish.  At a time when Grunge was beginning to peak, and gangster Rap was just beginning to really explode on to the airwaves, Picture of Nectar was like nothing I had ever heard before.  The music was an amazing blend of Rock, Jazz, and Bluegrass and the lyrics weren’t about love or anger or any of the usual emotions that you find in popular songwriting.  In fact often I didn’t know what they were about, but speculating, and wanting to know what they were about, was part of what made this band that much more intriguing. 

Phish released the album “Rift” in February of 1993.  Of course I was quick to purchase the CD, (which to this day is one of my favorite studio releases by the band) and as I went over the liner notes I noticed that a majority of the songs were written by lead guitarist Trey Anastasio and someone by the name of Tom Marshall.  I couldn’t help but wonder, who was this guy?  Where does this stuff come from?   

23 years later, many of these lyrics have been burned into my brain, and at first, through the power of the interweb and then later after a considerable amount of time spent with Tom, I've gotten the low down on or at least gotten a genuine inkling of where some of these tales come from. 

I worked closely with Tom and his other musical project Amfibian from 2006 through 2009 while he was writing and recording his 'Skip the Goodbyes' album with Anthony Krizan in Raritan, NJ.

During that time, I came to know Tom not only as one of the most uniquely creative minds that I've ever come across, but also as a genuinely nice guy who is a music fan, an entrepreneur, a husband and a father. 

Often those unfamiliar with Phish in depth  will hear lyrics from songs like 'Glide' and 'Guyute' and dismiss everything ever written by Tom as silly and childish and not worth their time.  The first thing I do in those situations is point them to lyrics for Beatles songs like 'Happiness is a Warm Gun', 'I am the Walrus', 'Dig a Pony', and 'Octopus' Garden'. Then I point them to lyrically amazing Tom compositions like 'Steam' and 'Pebbles and Marbles' for starters. 

I think Trey says it best in this clip from 'Bittersweet Motel' below when asked about Tom's lyrics:


I've been meaning to write this blog post for a while now, and as the new year begins and we embark on year number seven of Phish 3.0, now seems like just as good a time as any. 

Phish is this amazing musical experience that for many (including myself)  is not only a daily  soundtrack, but a catalyst for life adventure and social interaction. I've opened my mind to, and have come to truly enjoy so many different types of music simply because of the diversity in music that I've heard Phish explore. It is without a doubt first and foremost about the music and the energy that surrounds that music.

That being said....

With every culture there is a language. When I look around at twitter handles, tee shirts on lot, tattoos, names of Phish fans' pets,  and signs inside shows. It's clear to me that Tom wrote a large part of this cultural dictionary.

I was specifically reminded about this in November of 2013 in the final show of the three day Halloween Run in Atlantic City. During the start of the second song of the first set, I first noticed a woman on the side of the stage signing lyrics to the fans in the audience who were hearing impaired. The song was Rift. I happened to be standing next to Tom at the time and I glanced at her for the first time as the lyrics 'And shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite!!' were repeated.

Watching those words being signed, combined with the energy in the room at that point in the song, while standing next to Tom, not only brought his words to life, but gave me a clear realization and joyful reminder of the impact his unique perspective on life has brought to thousands and thousands of people.

So I just wanted to take this moment to say... Thank you Tom Marshall! Thanks for being you! You are appreciated!


I'd also like to obviously share some serious gratitude for Steve 'The Dude of Life' Pollak and the work he has contributed to the world of Phish. Clearly anthems like Slave, Fluffhead, Suzy and Antelope are the stuff that dreams are made of. Thanks Dude!

What I would ask Trey...

Ryan Stanley

So, I just purchased tickets today to see Trey Anastasio interviewed publicly by Alec Wilkinson  next Friday in New York City for the New Yorker Festival. This will be the second such interview I've attended in the last 8 years. The first being with Rolling Stone Contributing Editor Anthony DeCurtis in early 2007.

Otherwise, I've seen/read/heard what feels like hundreds of additional interviews on TV, magazines, radio and the internet. All of which are often great, but usually leave me wishing that I was the one asking the questions. Clearly in my mind, my questions are much more in tune with what other people in my community really want to know. I mean of course, we all like to hear about and mostly already know the history, and are usually somewhat interested in the process of whatever new project he's currently working on,  but what we we really want to know is... If Trey and I were hanging out  at my house, what would we really talk about?

So with that premise in mind I came up with the following list of 19 Questions for Ernest Joseph "Trey" Anastasio III:


If I were to ask you for three really funny stories about being on stage at a Phish show over the past 30+ years, what would the Titles of Those stories be?  No pressure for a favorite or details, just the titles of the first ones that come to your mind. For example: “That one time that….”


What advice would 2015 Trey give to 1983 Trey if you could go back in time?


Tell me anything you want about The Clifford Ball and include a perspective with some sort of a comparison to your experience at Amy’s Farm.


What’s the difference in the energy in any performance and crowd response/interaction, if any, between an original and a cover? Ie: Character Zero vs. A Day in the Life. As a fan of that covers or the Beatles, does it shift the energy behind your passion of the experience? Not to ask if it’s better or worse, just how it’s different.


How would you calculate the influence of Ernie Stires in your and/or Phish’s music, overall musical journey, and output?


What’s been your favorite lesson in life?


If I could choose three covers for Phish to play they would be (in no particular order):

La Villa Strangiato – Rush

Ode to Joy - Ludwig van Beethoven

Rubin And Cherise - Jerry Garcia Band


And I’d love to hear TAB cover:

Same Boy You’ve Always Known – The White Stripes

This obviously wasn’t a question, just a seed or two that I hope to plant.


What’s your favorite part about Fatherhood?


Top three venues to play at in no particular order are:


How has your preparation for the Fare Thee Well shows had an effect on your life both musically and personally?


Talk about your relationship with Tom Marshall and what that relationship has brought to the Phish universe:


How does gratitude play a part in your daily, personal and professional life?


If you could introduce Phish/Trey fans to one musician/group who they more than likely have never heard of, but would be worth their while to listen to, who would that be?


What musician/group of musicians would your fans be most surprised to know that you listen to and admire?


Who is your favorite classical composer? I’m partial to Vivaldi myself.


Do you have a favorite Piper? As of this writing, mine is the 7/6/98 Prague Piper. Which reminds me… Whatever happened to the slow build Piper?


Talk about your perspective on any of the following artists:

Frank Zappa

The Beatles

Pink Floyd


Talk about Energy. Not the song that you’ve covered by The Apples in Stereo, but Energy itself and how it plays a role in not only any particular stage performance but also in everyday life.


What’s your favorite Beatles album? … and while I’m at it… Lennon, McCartney or Harrison?


Those are my questions... What would you ask him?



When I first realized I was a Noob....

Ryan Stanley

I heard Phish for the first time in October of 92 when this chick who I was kind of friends with, but not really, accidentally left a cassette of Picture of Nectar in my car. (Which, incidentally, clearly happened to be a life changing experience) Over the next four to six months my addiction to the band took hold. Suddenly, I was "coincidentally" finding friends in high school (including a new girlfriend) who were also into Phish. By the time Spring of '93 rolled around and I was preparing to graduate from highschool I was stoked to find out that I would finally be able to actually go and see one of these shows that I had been listening to on a regular basis for the past six months via bootleg cassettes that I would trade with other cool people who 'got it'. Unfortunately, I missed the sales for the legendary 5/3/93 show at the State Theatre in New Brunswick and the boys weren't playing in my neck of the woods again after that until July. So, with a credit card account that I had opened through a telemarketer from 'Concerned Women of America' using my step dads credit history (and of course his credit, since I had none) I ordered the maximum amount of tickets allowed to the general admission show on July 25th 1993 at Waterloo Village, NJ

To tighten this posting up, I'll put it this way.... it was a gorgeous summer day and I had turned 18 twenty one days earlier. There was a pre-party at a friend’s house that started around 10:30am and turned into a super carpool to the show. Actually getting to the show was an adventure in itself that I'm pretty sure I wish I could fully remember. Alcohol, Marijuana, and Mescaline, may, or may not have been involved.

When we finally arrived, the lot scene was basically in a large field, for a show, that was also basically in a large field. At one point during my first Phish lot experience I decided to take a walk and see who I could meet.  I'll never forget the feeling I had as I came across a parked car with two guys sitting out front. These guys both seemed to be roughly my age, maybe a little bit older and had a boom box sitting next to them playing a unique, obviously live version of 'If I only had a Brain' from 'The Wizard of Oz', while they drank canned beer from their lawn chairs. Enjoying my day, as well as what I was hearing, I figured that perhaps it was possible that, just as I had only discovered Phish less than a year before, this fun sounding, audience engaging recording was another new band that my musical path in life was about to expose to me.

So, being relaxed and social, I asked the guys: "Hey! This is awesome... Who is it?!"
They both casually glanced at each other through their 1993 appropriate sunglasses, like, 'Ugh, can you believe this kid is here and he doesn't even know that this is the bootleg from the 6-23-92 show at Philipshalle in Düsseldorf, Germany??!'

Then they both seemed to turn their glances to me simultaneously with disdain. One of them just said "Phish" in a way that led me to understand that they really didn't want anymore interaction with me.

I felt pretty shitty for a moment or two as I walked on past them with an attempted smile, in an 'oh... ok, yeah, of course' kind of a way. But shortly after I was filled with anger towards these two strangers with internal thoughts of embarrassment, such as 'Sorry' and 'How was I supposed to know?'

But, the truth is,  I wasn't supposed to know and I didn't deserve those feelings. Thank goodness, my disappointment in myself was only temporary and I went on to literally have one of the most influential and inspirational evenings of my entire life.

But since that moment, I've been keenly aware of how people who are new to a certain experience are often treated by others who have been around a scene a little longer and I've come up with this:  You can tell an awful lot about a person by the way they treat others who are new to an environment in which that initial person already feels they've mastered.

This may seem like an obvious truth in life, but nobody can choose when or where they are born and therefore when they end up discovering a certain band on their musical educational journey of life. No one can possibly know what they don't yet know, and/or understand a specific historical experience/significance that of which they haven't yet had the privilege of experiencing for themselves.

We're all on the same team gosh darn it! And it only makes sense that we treat each other that way! If you treat everyone in the same fashion that you'd like to be treated, I promise it'll be worth your while.

To paraphrase Ghandi, Be the light that you want to see on tour.


Are You a Victim or a Scientist?

Ryan Stanley

"Why me?”

Just reading those words, you can almost feel the weight of this question.  It’s usually asked by a person who feels trapped and alone. More often than not, it also has a lot of victim energy floating around it.

“Why did this have to happen to me?”

“What could I have possibly done to deserve this?”

“How will I ever get my life back to the place where I was before this happened?”

When something unexpected happens, and we label it as bad or overwhelming, most of us tend to naturally ask these questions from a victim point of view.

Here comes the opportunity: the next time something unexpected happens in your life, and you feel the weight of the questions you typically ask yourself, recognize that weight. Then, ask yourself those same questions again, but do so with the energy of a scientist instead of a victim. Instead of putting all of that weight and victim energy behind each question, approach these questions from the standpointthat you may or may not have a literal answerBe open to the fact that there might not be a visible answer right now –  and that’s okay.

Picture yourself in a lab coat, with spectacles and a Sigmund Freud look of curiosity on your face.

“Why did this happen to me? Hmmm…..”  Take down some notes that may lead you to better understand the possible lesson and/or opportunity at hand.

“What could I have possibly done to deserve this? Hmmm…. Maybe nothing? That’s interesting.” Then, take the next step to find a potential solution.

“How will I get my life back to the place where it was before this happened? Hmmm…” Write down potential steps to get you moving in the direction you’d prefer to be headed.

Anybody can be a victim; choose to be a scientist.

Enjoy the Ride!


Mid May SetListTees Update

Ryan Stanley

Hey guys!

As always, I hope that this Blog Post finds you well and that 2015 is treating you as well as you deserve.

For me, 2014 was mostly about personal growth. I purchased my first home and my wife and I got used to having two kids under the age of four keeping us pleasantly occupied.

But now that all of that has settled down, 2015 is all about the growth of SetListTees!!

I've spent the past couple of months hiring new designers to take care of the back log of design requests and I hope by now that you've noticed I have just wrapped up a complete overhaul of the entire SetListTees website.

Please take a couple of minutes to cruise around. I genuinely appreciate any feedback you have the time to give, both positive and constructive.

New highlights include:

  • A website that no longer looks like it was made in 2003
  • Easier navigation
  • Clearer pictures of our shirts in the shop section so you have an idea of what they might look like on an actual human being (we bought two mannequins, their names are Maurice and Jasmine)
  • Brand new video page - I plan to make a quick video for every shirt on the site. I must admit that I drank a 6 pack of 8.7% cold IPAs on an empty stomach as I was preparing for, and  during the filming of the first 12 vids I shot, so you'll noticed I'm a bit "relaxed". There are only four uploaded to the site right now, but more to come in the next month.
  • A Blog - Because there aren't enough Blogs on the Interweb. I'll do my best to keep this active and topical. By "topical" I mean sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the occasional quiche recipe.

As always, we truly appreciate your support and camaraderie. I'll plan to post another update sometime within the next month which will focus on more SetListTees awesomeness in the works including:

  • SetListTee Design Contest
  • Brand Spankin New Designs
  • Summer Tour
  • This Years Donations to Mockingbird and Rex

Thanks for your time, I look forward to an amazing 2015 for everyone. We've got that whole Fare Thee Well and MagnaBall summer approaching, and I turn 40 on July 4th. Life is the gift that keeps on giving! Enjoy the Ride!

Hope to see you all soon!


The Doc Brown Theory

Ryan Stanley

While, many of my blogs will be specifically about live music and the bands that make some of my favorite live music, today's is about the poor of choice in our everyday life. I origianlly wrote it a while back for my Life Coaching Blog, and thought that it would be a great place to start as I am planning on Doc Brown telling me how awesome SetListTees turned out to be! I hope you enjoy it. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Humans worry. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that a majority of us spend more time worrying about our past and our future then we do feeling excited about the present and the future.  We worry about our health. We worry about our finances. We worry about something that we might have said, and we worry about what we feel like we should have said.  During a recent discussion on this particular topic with one of my friends I found myself developing what I now call ‘The Doc Brown Theory’. Doc Brown as many of you know, refers to to Dr. Emmett Brown from the ‘Back to the Future Trilogy’.

The theory goes like this: Let’s just say that you’re sitting out on your front porch. You’re writing some lyrics or strumming away on your guitar worrying if you’re ever going to “make it” as a musician. Suddenly, after a thunderclap and a huge flash of white light, Doc Brown pulls up in front of your house in his Delorean.  He hops out of his car and comes running up to you shouting your name.

DB:  “I just want you to know that everything is going to work out exactly how you want it to.”

You:  “What? What do you mean?”

DB: “I’ve just come back from five years in the future where you are more successful than you ever thought that you’d be. You told me to come back here, where you’d be on your porch and tell you, that you never have to worry again, and that you are on the perfect path.  As long as you keep moving forward with the right attitude no matter what, the right people at the right time will be brought into your life, and you’ll be as successful as you want to be.”

You:  “Really? That’s awesome! Did I say to tell me anything else?”

DB: “Nope, that’s it. You just told me to be sure to let know what your future held and most importantly to Enjoy the Ride

Then he runs up to the porch, gives you a high five, and explains that he’s got to go because he’s got more time traveling to do. He quickly heads back to his car yelling something about 88 mph and 1.21 gigawatts. He hops back into his Delorean and with some burning rubber and another bright flash, he’s gone almost as quickly as he appeared.

Now, disregarding the insanity of what just happened, what would be different about the way you that you live your life and the pace at which you pursued your dreams?

Would you spend time worrying about whether or not you were going to succeed or would you move forward with your ideas as soon as they popped into your head?

Do yourself and your career a favor. Imagine that I’m Doc Brown.  I’m telling you right now while you’re reading this. You never have to worry again. You are on the perfect path.  As long as you keep moving forward with the right attitude no matter what, the right people at the right time will be brought into your life. Keep moving forward and Enjoy the Ride

You can choose to waste your time worrying about what might or might not happen, OR you can choose to spend your time moving forward and creating the future that you deserve.

(aka Doc Brown)