The ten most memorable people, places and moments of the jam-band scene in 2013
This past year saw quite a few interesting things happen in the jam-band world, with some bands announcing hiatuses while others had their songs sung at NFL games. While people enjoy heckling jam-band fans, there is no doubt that they are great at making things happen and making people laugh. Here are the ten most memorable people, places and moments of the jam-band scene in 2013.
10. Perpetual Groove's indefinite hiatus Longtime Georgian jam-band favorite Perpetual Groove announced an indefinite hiatus this year; guitarist Brock Butler stated that he needed to work on developing better touring and life habits. The band performed its last show together to a bittersweet audience at the Georgia Theatre on April 5, followed by Butler embarking on a solo project while the rest of the band performed under the name Ghost Owl.
9. Rain delays Rain is always going to be a threat in late summer, and this summer was no different. Torrential downpours and flooding showed up many times this year, causing Phish to cancel and evacuate night one of their Chicago run, as well as reschedule its Toronto date. At Summer Camp, many had to camp in their cars due to flooded campgrounds, while freezing rain poured down on them and cut shows short. Even Red Rocks, a venue that is used to going on with the show in the pouring rain, had to delay a few shows because of terrible weather, even canceling and rescheduling Lotus due to flooding.
8. Dave Matthews hitches a ride Dave Matthews fan Emily Kraus got the surprise of her life when she was heading to the show at Hersheypark and stopped to help a stranded cyclist on the side of the road. Lo and behold, it was Dave himself. Evidently, he had popped a tire on a pre-show ride and forgotten his cell phone. Krauss popped the bike up onto her bike rack and got him to the show on time. In return, she got front-row seats, an invite back stage, and props from Dave during the show. Always be a Good Samaritan.
7. Umphrey's McGee's headphones This year while on tour with STS9, Umphrey's McGee offered the option to listen to the show via headphones and an in-ear monitor hooked into the soundboard in their "Headphones and Snowcone" campaign. Audiophiles excitedly ponied up $50 plus a deposit to listen to the music at its audibly pristine best. Hopefully the idea catches on with more bands.
6. Justin Bieber and Phish continued to overlap in pop culture Justin Bieber's musical director, Dan Kanter, was loud and proud of his Phish fandom, even bringing the Biebs to Dick's this past Labor Day weekend. Not only did Kanter continue teasing Phish songs during shows, he snuck "Sand" in Bieber's SNL performance. Moving even one step closer to the dream, he got to play with John Fishman and Mike Gordon at Second City after the first night of the Phish Chicago run was evacuated.
5. Bob Weir collapsed on stage The audience at the Port Chester, New York Furthur show got an unpleasant surprise this year when Bob Weir slowly began to collapse on stage. A chair was brought out for a bit, but Weir exited the stage once the jam ended. The band continued on, Lesh stating that Weir had strained his shoulder in a workout, and Kadlecik verifying the injury and adding that he accidentally took an Ambien rather than a pain pill. Whatever the problem, Weir quickly bounced back, but not before reminding his fans that this train will not go on forever and to appreciate every moment we have.
4. "Widespread Paaaanic" Sometimes it only takes two words said just the right way to become an Internet legend. A local news channel was reporting on the cleanup after the Lockn' festival in Virginia, when a festival-goer who was still on the grounds walked through the background and stole the show by just saying "Widespread Panic" in a thick Southern accent. The Internet immediately erupted with love and laughter for the guy, and now it's how we read the band's name every time.
3. Phish performs Wingsuit on Halloween Eat a Peach and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road were popular guesses leading up to Phish's Halloween show in Atlantic City. So needless to say, it took everyone by surprise when they entered Boardwalk Hall and saw unfamiliar artwork on the playbill. Despite confusion and an angry minority, for once, the entire audience was on a level playing field, with the band playing twelve never-heard songs written in the Barn while the guys listened to various great past jams. Abe Vigoda in a wombat costume brought a bonus level of surreal, adding a classic bit of Phish humor.
2. Furthur's touring hiatus This year, Furthur announced that after its NYE run, the band would be going on touring hiatus for the year of 2014. Phil Lesh is very involved in his successful Terrapin Crossroads venue/restaurant, and Weir is spending more time putting on radio shows at his Tri Studios. The band's last run at Red Rocks showed it in extremely high form, so it will be interesting to see how the group sounds when it comes back together after exploring other avenues.
1. Seattle Seahawks fans chant "Wilson" This summer at the Gorge, Trey told the audience that Seattle fans should chant "Wilson" when quarterback Russell Wilson took the field, and at their final pre-season game this year, they made it happen with the help of the stadium P.A. playing the song. This moment showed once again that the strong, supportive Phish community can really rally together, and now NFL Films is making a show about the whole thing that is scheduled to air in January.