May 9, 2009

Clifford Ball, Trey Talks Drug Court and a Complete Roundup of Recent Phish News

22 days and counting until the first notes float over the Green Monster at Fenway Park ...

First of all, here is the link to streaming video of the second set, second night from Phish's legendary, landmark 1996 Summer Festival, The Clifford Ball, available at The Bonnaroo website for the next few days.

The Clifford Ball is the show that started it all ladies and gentlemen: The Bonnaroo, Rothbury, 10,000 Lakes, Live Oak, moe.down, Camp Bisco, AllGood, Gathering of the Vibes -- you name it. If there is a summer festival in existence today it used The Clifford Ball, and subsequent Phish end-of-summer camp outs Lemonwheel, The Great Went, Camp Oswego, NYE Meltdown Big Cypress, and IT (Coventry ... ahhhh, not so much), as its road map.

The only festival of any significance that came before it was Lalapalooza, but the granddaddy of summer festivals has since fallen off the significance map, turning into nothing more than a glorified weekend in Chicago making poor use of the Lalapalooza name -- I don't even think Lalapalooza Founder Perry Ferrel is involved with it anymore.

Does anyone remember the 1992 H.O.R.D.E. tour (which stood for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere)? It was the original Jambands tour, put together by John Popper, consisting of Phish, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the Spin Doctors and The Samples. For some reason, H.O.R.D.E. doesn't get the credit it deserves for putting the Jamband scene on the map.

But I digress ...

A small number of tickets have been released for Trey's upcoming performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on May 21. Trey will join the BSO and Musical Director Marin Alsop at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to perform orchestra versions, with guitar accompaniment, of "classic" Phish tunes, as well as the East Coast premiere of Anastasio's latest major composition, "Time Turns Elastic."

Additionally, for the past couple of weeks, the BSO (which apparently is considered the "hippest orchestra" in America, according to the blog "On The Record,") has been dropping hints on Twitter about a secret location where Phans can find two tickets to the performance.

Here is the first Tweet (@BaltSymphony) sent from BSO Marketing Coordinator Jamie Schneider: "Phishing for the last two Trey Anastasio tickets? Be the first to arrive at our secret location on May 5 @ 5pm."

A later Tweet read: "Hop to our secret location @ 5 for 2 free tickets to the 'Resurrection' of Phish tunes. Just a stone's throw away from the Meyerhoff."

Finally, on May 5th at 1:48 p.m. Schneider revealed someone found the tickets: "Josh is our winner! He found us at Brewer Art (Baltimore's Best Bar). A BSO and Brewer's Art Fan. He gets 2 tickets and dinner for 2."

Four minutes later she added the following Tweet: "There are still a few tickets left for those of you who didn't win. Call 410.783.8000." Not sure if those tickets are still around, but it may be worth a call for those of you in Charm City.

Trey, who has professed his desire in the past to stay out of politics (even going so far as to turn down a personal endorsement request from Vermont's own Howard Dean when he was running for the Democratic nomination back in 2004), addressed a gathering of drug court professionals and congressmen in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, May 6th supporting the drug court system as a positive alternative to prison- or jail-time for convicted drug users and addicts.

Anastasio, who interestingly introduced himself as a "recovering alcoholic" rather than a recovering addict, told the gathering of officials that his life "had become a catastrophe. I had no idea how to turn it around. My band had broken up. I had almost lost my family. My whole life had devolved into a disaster. I believe that the police officer who stopped me at 3 a.m. that morning saved my life."

Trey went on to talk about the 14 months he spent in the drug-court system, providing anecdotes about time spent "scrubbing toilets" and "cleaning fairgrounds."

According to the Huffington Post, Trey said, "I've been sober for two-and-a-half years. My children are happy. In August, my wife and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. My band is back together with a sold-out tour. And in September I'll play a solo concert at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic." (The article mentioned that this statement by Trey impressed the crowd more than mention of Phish's "sold-out tour.")

He dropped a little news there, considering there has been no announcement of Anastasio performing this September with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, nor is the show announced on the NYPO website.

There was also a National Association of Drug Court Professionals official press release with several quotes from Trey, including this nugget: "Prison will turn a person with a substance abuse problem into a lifelong felon. Drug courts can change that same person into a sober citizen, someone who takes responsibility for their actions and who stands ready to help others."

Not sure if he is required to do these public service announcements or if Anastasio is doing them of his own volition. Either way, being a recovering addict myself, I say Bravo Trey! Bravo!

Ticketbastard took one on the chin recently when two private citizens, simply referring to themselves as "music fans," filed a lawsuit against ticket pricing practices and policies of the monopoly.

According to this story in the USA Today, two women claim they were screwed out of buying tickets at advertised prices when Ticketbastard's online system re-routed them to their own ticket resale (scalper) site, (it's TicketsNow, but if you capitalize the S instead of the N it reveals the company's true modus operandi).

Another story in the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper says the lawsuit, a 22-page complaint, is being filed "on behalf of fans who tried to purchase tickets" to see Britney Spears, Hannah Montana, The Dead and/or Phish (quite the entertainment grouping there) and were instead re-directed to TicketSnow. "This artificial manipulation of the market price for tickets results in purchasers having no choice but to pay grossly-inflated prices for tickets just minutes after the tickets first become available to the public," the article states.

So far, Ticketbastard has declined to offer any sort of public response to the lawsuit (at least none that I could find).

Following similar events in February surrounding the sale of Bruce Springsteen tickets in New Jersey, Ticketbastard agreed to a settlement with the Attorney Generals Office that "entitled some fans to gift cards, tickets at face value and chances to buy seats to future Springsteen shows," the Star-Ledger reports. Supposedly, Ticketbastard also agreed to "erect a wall between its site and" and to pay a $350,000 fine, which it should be able to cover by scalping a few tickets to shows this summer, don't ya think?

But earlier this year, Ticketbastard North America President David Butler, in a March 25th interview with Hidden Track covered here at The Wagger, said Ticketbastard plays "virtually no role in the secondary ticket market."

So why the need to erect a wall between the two websites since that interview? What an asshole ...

Vegetarian Star, a blog that says it is devoted to "celebrity vegetarian gossip and news," reported that a recent Tweet by Mike (that's right, one of Mike's Twitter entries received press coverage) professed his love for Vegan Carrot Kugel.

According to the blog, "Kugels are awesome traditional baked Jewish dishes that features vegetables, fruit or other starches, and thickening agents."

Makes me want to run right out and get one myself for a hearty breakfast before I head out later this morning for the 10-hour drive south to Shoreline to catch The Dead on Sunday night.

Yechhh ....

On a horribly sad note, as posted at "On April 29th Kristy Manning, Trey's sister, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. She was on of Phish's first fans and biggest supporters. In recent years, Kristy helped form and lead Trey's non-profit endeavor, The Seven Below Arts Initiative."

The complete obituary is available at this link.

Kristy was famously seen on Trey's arm at the Grammy Awards a few years back. Originally, when I saw those photos (which unfortunately I can no longer find) I thought she was his wife, Sue.

Condolences to Trey and his family from The Wagger.

1 comment:

Trish said...

Looks like you should be the one backstage, and not me. To answer your question I won a contest through my local radio station. Thanks for reading! I'll be back to your blog. Very informative.