2010...it's finally here. After a week of some of the best music Phish graced us with in 2009, they slammed the door shut on the decade in style. I hit the streets pumped up for the new year, camera in hand, and tried to capture the as much as I could. I filmed, I danced, I walked more than a herd of pack mules....but we made it!
Time to bury myself under loads of footage and start pulling this film together. I've already had a grin plastered on my face from cheek to cheek as I review footage. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to talk to me or support the film in some way.
Now it's time for graphic designers, animators, and post production specialists to step up to the plate. We've got lots to do by this summer to finish the film, so we're going to jump right in. Anyone who wants to help out, shoot me an email. See you at TAB at 9:30 Club?
Noah Wilderman Director/Producer Maybe So, Maybe Not
What a blur. Although I had my doubts about filming in NY, it turned out to be a great trip, both filming and otherwise.
Special thanks to Pete Shapiro, Mike Greenhaus, and everybody else in the Relix office who basically allowed me to use the location as a home base of sorts, and film there throughout the 3 day run. Many unexpected interviews were filmed in addition to the one's planned. Thanks everyone! I can't wait to watch the footage.
As for the shows and the fans..it was just like we hoped. City folks meshing with Phish phans - fingers held high. I was lucky enough to catch up with some old friends for night one and two, but night three was an unexpected blessing as I was shut out for the first time in 15 years. I wasn't the only one. Tickets were scarce, and fakes were out in force. I used the opportunity to get some filming done and get ready to drive straight to MD after the show. I'm glad we did, because if I had woken up in NY to reports of snow, I may have backed out of going to Cville. As it was, when I woke up in MD to snowfall, I was more committed than ever.
Cville was a great way to cap off the tour. After a slow drive on icy roads, we arrived in a lot that slowly evolved into the Fall shakedown/ocelot that we've seen time and time again. Due to weather, I didn't film too much, but was committed to enjoying this last Fall show. The floor was as empty as you could ever hope for at a Phish show, probably due to weather. After the naked guy ran out on stage during Ya Mar, the rest of the show turned into a party. Thank you Naked Guy.
We cleaned up some bottles and cans with the G Crew (thanks!) and then immediately headed back to MD. It's going to take a few days to catch up on lost sleep from this week, but I'm glad to finally have a few weeks to dive into footage before the final shows for several months, in Miami.
Great to see you all again on the road. Get your patchwork shorts out. Miami is coming.
It's time for that final big push. With a three-night run at Madison Square Garden and the Fall Tour closer in VA looming on the horizon, and the incredible nights of Philly and Albany in the seemingly distant past - it's a mad dash to the finish line. Thankfully the six and seven hour drives of upstate New York are gone. Now we're down to two and four hour drives.
Musically, big things are expected at MSG, but the scene will most likely be a sudden rush of people flooding the streets like roaches as they scurry from work to the shows. The last time I saw Phish play the garden, it was during most people's school and family vacations and consequently, the streets were flooded with fans throughout the afternoon. On your average Wed., Thurs., Fri., in November, It should an interesting mix of city folks and fans wondering where to find some organic hummus.
Interviews at Relix and Headcount will accompany the routine "lot" cam, minus the lot, plus a city. If you're on the street and scurry by, don't be shy - say hi!
Thanks again to all of the amazing phans who have contributed throughout filming. Albany and Philly were pretty hectic, but I still managed to connect with some old characters as well as new ones. As usual, friends were made, and generosity was demonstrated with an ease that has to be experienced to be believed.
As usual - keep those photos and videos coming. Thanks for all of the responses and sweet videos.
Who's going to NYC?
Still trying to lock down Fall tour plans, both for some pick up filming and just for some good old phun. Tentatively, I'm going to Syracuse without a ticket, Philly 1, Albany 1 with, Albany 2 without, and trying to work out Portland travel plans.
Fall tour should bring back some of the dark claustrophobic mayhem that defines Fall Tour Phish. I'm personally excited to catch up with friends made on the road this past year, and to pick up needed interviews for the film.
See you on the road!
Special thanks to the Kimock family and Matt Urban. The crowd was treated to one long amazing set of Steve's style of fusion at the Baby Grand, presented by The Light Up the Queen Foundation and Mobius New Media. The show featured Melvin Seals of The Jerry Garcia Band. After a few tunes that pulled the crowd in, often fueled by the thoughtful interaction between Steve and his son Johnny (drums and percussion) the room nearly exploded when Melvin let loose.
After the gig, Steve was kind enough to sit down for a long interview. It was a semi-surreal moment because we conducted the interview in Matt Urban's office space at Mobius New Media, where he was having an after-party. Although I expected some natural casual background noise due to the party, the lights went off and the party fell dead silent for the entire interview. It was like a VH-1 storytellers moment. Thanks to everyone for their impressive silence, and I hope you enjoyed the interview. I sure did! Matt, thanks for the amazing hospitality. Christine - Awwwooooooooooooooh!!
Back from Indio! What a weekend. We basked in the blazing sun, froze as the desert night chill hit us, and watched a lot of art installations involving fire. OH yeah - there was also this band Phish at the Festival.
I'll endeavor to write a full-length rant and either message it to the group or post it here or the discussion board; but for now, I’ll try and keep this shortish (under 10 pages).
Phish fans were treated to an adult playground this past weekend. After thorough car searches upon entering the Polo Club, event staff seemed present to help out and facilitate things rather than to intimidate and intrude - just how we like it. After some initial lack of information by the event staff and some problems with the access provided for the ADA camp site, they pulled it together and provided a great weekend.
One new friend told me that Quantum Coincidences were becoming and more frequent, and I believe it. Every time you’d turn a corner you’d meet someone from your home town, or who knew your sister, etc. I camped with a friend who dressed up as the purple teletubbie on Halloween (Kinky Winksy?). He told me that he drifted off to a solitary part of the lawn to dance alone, and at some point he looked up and realized that all of the fans dressed as teletubbies had gravitated to the same area, now swarming with more than a dozen teletubbies. Good times.
The vibe at the festival felt very Maybe So, Maybe Not. There were more average looking families with children than you could imagine without seeing it. Despite the family vibe, people came to party. Like an adult candy store, your pick of the black market liter could be found within feet of your tent if desired, but with or without these party favors there was also an amazing interactive experience waiting for all.
One of my favorite examples of this was the interactive Shamanic Transformation tent on the main camping drag by the general store (I forget the corner). A team of professional stylists from a hip So. Cal. salon (more details later) provided hair styling and coloring, air-brushing and makeup, accessories and tattoos; in order to transform and empower fans. I watched and filmed the process as one woman was turned into this fierce Thunderdome warrior with feathers and 80’s floofy Mohawk. It looked killer. I even caved in and let them style me a sweet Mohawk with red accents running around my head. I loved it and consequently received a bunch of compliments over the next 24 hours – not something a 34 year old dude like me typically receives. More frequently it’s like, “you have hair?”
The only negative comment I have about these experiences is that due to one camping ground being cut off from the rest (mine!) these experiences were almost inaccessible for many. The disabled or handicap who should have had priority access were almost denied access for half of the festival when shuttles and promised paths across the festival grounds were not provided as promised by Festival 8 literature. Many I spoke to in this camp ground (which included a very large number of non-disabled fans) had no idea that interactive experiences were even available on the other side of the Fest. With camera gear it was nearly impossible to get over there in the 90+ degree weather. I managed to con a cart driver into zipping me over and picking me up after I filmed. Whew!
Inside the venue, a ring of overpriced vendors led to an expansive field. As you wandered across the field you could check out a variety of looming metal sculptures, robot battles, the coil, the Phish music tent to remix a track, too many clothing vendors for inside (if you ask me) and great booths set up by Waterwheel and Head Count. Of course the Ferris wheel at the far end of the venue loomed in the distance. The best part that the massive capacity field was nowhere close to being filled. What the people on the floor every night didn’t realize was that the real party was on the lawn! With very low hanging delayed relay speaker towers pointing straight at your face from 20 feet in the air, the crisp treble from the floor speakers mixed with the strong bass pumping out of the relay speaker provided for an amazing sound experience combined with a all out free-for-all dance floor. To top it all off, the two hearing disabled translators stood on raised platform directly below the relay speaker and put on their own show. It was nothing short of amazing. They not only signed the lyrics to Phish songs (Guelah Papyrus was interesting) but expressed the music between lyrics with such passion and expressive dancing that it was beyond interpretive art as much as language.
The shows were interesting to say the least. From the first set I had the feeling that Phish was almost crossing songs that could kill the final two sets off their list. Time Turns Elastic, check. However, they were going through their usual suspects with a strange comfort. I perceived it as Phish trying to develop and find their new sound throughout the year, and finally getting comfy with it. As the sets progressed, I noticed small things like A-typical YEM accents from Page’s Clav. (our new favorite toy) and Mike dominating the grooves. Fishman was playing with a confidence and vigor that I only felt on a handful of occasions this past summer. Trey? He came out swinging. It was clear from set one that Trey had been practicing. Maybe it was the 3D movie they were making of the concerts, but Trey was trying hard, and succeeding.
I won’t bash Exile too hard because it was a singularly unique experience. I was content to wander the venue and experience the installations while the boys pumped out the Stones with the help of their great backup vocals and horns section. In general, many people including myself felt like Exile was too esoteric for the crowd to truly enjoy like past Halloween albums. Many fans didn’t know any songs from the album at all, and the songs seemed to blend together into one Stone rock set. I think that it missed the generational mark completely. Even if you were born in 1970, you were only two years old when Exile came out. Direly in need of some greatest hits material, I would have preferred just about any other Album of the 99. On the flipside, Phish was playing an album that they enjoyed, and that was clear. They seemed to really enjoy the whole experience and had a great time of it. We all enjoyed seeing them have a good time again.
I’ll skip the acoustic set until a later review – mostly because it was totally chill and way too hot out to sit for 70+ minutes listening to the most mellow Phish set in history. But, Wilson and McGrupp acoustic? Killer!
The final two sets were, of course, the highlight of the weekend. If Phish was looking for that 3.0 sound, never have they displayed it with such consistency as they did on 11/1. After six sets of Phish we had all basically written the Tweezer – Mike’s second set, but it was how it was played that made the night. Totally in sync, the band settled into a sound that didn’t seem like they were trying to figure out how to play their old songs anymore, but rather that they were playing their old songs the new way. The Undermind was ridiculous. Trey’s fingers started flying across the guitar and suddenly we were all mesmerized as he took a time machine back to 1993. The Mike’s > 2001 was a surprise that surely pleased her with a Tweezer. Although the entire show rocked, it puttered out a little with a lackluster Slave set closer. We knew that the Grind > ? > Tweeprise was coming, but it was a little disappointing that after totally nailing Grind, the band stumbled through Esther….yet again. That’s 3 times now, right?
We came, we partied, we danced our faces off. New friends were made, old one’s strengthened, and 30,000+ people demonstrated that people can still come together safely and exhibit trust, hope, kindness and generosity in a celebration of communal joy – the best of the human spirit. During these hard times we can all use a little reminder that the best of humanity still exists.
Maybe Not," is more than a documentary about the band Phish, their
music, or the fanatical fan base. This is a documentary about the
real, non-stereotypical lives of live music fans and how music is a
thread that connects many of us and reflects the world around us.
We'll primarily see a cross-section of children of the 70's and early
80's as they explore a a realtionship with Phish and each other in
their adult lives, reconnect with their pasts and show us what it is
that connects so many of us to the music.
BEHIND THE DOCUMENTARY:
many of our lives we have been in search of something that made us
passionate as individuals and as a community; call it a cause.
Throughout the Twentieth Century, music has played a strong part and in
many cases embodied political movement and change in America. From
whiskey gins to war protests, music was a key ingredient in those
communities. Children of the seventies are the confused members of
the generation of Madonna, Professional Wrestling, and The Real World.
Our heroes never fought in wars or achieved equal rights for women and
minorities. For many of us, in college or otherwise, the years
between 1989 – 1998 were a time when Phish represented the quest of a
generation with no obvious cause to find one. For some the quest was
personal, for others communal, and for most intangible and unrealized
at the time. As we “grew up,” we evolved as individuals - gaining
momentum on our own courses and drifting apart from each other.
a decade of decline, many are finding a slight tugging at their toe
with Phish back on tour. For those who help build the Phish vehicle
and rode the wave from the early years through the mid-nineties, the
connections go deep. Perhaps it's a subliminal connection to the
shared experience of a generation of change - technologically,
economically, politically, etc. We'll find out, and capture a mature,
three-dimensional look at the real fans, outside the lot primarily, all
in stunning 720p24 High Definition.
Maybe so. Maybe not. And this is just where it starts.