by Dan Bolles
They came. They saw. They got arrested.
As numerous media outlets are reporting, last weekend's Phish reunion shows in Hampton, Va resulted in a perhaps predictable flurry of activity on the city's police blotter as 194 concertgoers were arrested and cops seized — are you sitting down? — an estimated $1.2 million in drugs and another $68,000 in cash. Read those numbers again slowly . . . holy shit, right?
In other Phish numbers, Hampton's Daily Press is reporting the shows infused more than $7 million into the local economy and apparently was a boon to . . . wait for it . . . Hooters. As DP staff writer David Sturdevant reports:
Hooters at the corner of Coliseum Drive and Mercury Boulevard had atie-dyed banner that read, "Hooters is Phish friendly." Servers dressedin their trademark orange shorts and tie-dyed tank tops played aroundin the parking lot with water balloons and hula hoops as Phish fansfrom as far away as Germany and Hawaiicame to get burgers and beer. Some fans were in head-to-toe costumes,and servers made as much as $400 in tips on just Saturday and Sunday.
Read that last sentence again. "Some fans were in head-to-toe costumes . . ." Oh man. That definitely gets my vote for Best Unintentionally Funny Reportage of the Year. I guess Virginians just aren't as accustomed to Heads as we are here in the Jam Band Republic. If I'd had the time, money and patience, it would have been fun to go and report the show from the Hamptonites' perspective. Maybe next time.
I know I've been especially snarky regarding the Phab Phour reunion — just wait until you see tomorrow's column . . . ahem. But in reality, I think the whole thing is great for Phish fans. Really, I do. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop poking fun any time soon. You guys just keep serving up hanging curveballs like this little, um, nugget from Phish Twitter-feed aggregator PhishTwit: "RT @jcrawfor: The cultural relevance of Twitter is gay. Rick Sanchez digs it. Senator Grassley digs it. I joined so I can follow #Phish." I mean, come on.
When I was a lad, "following Phish" meant hopping in your parent's luxury SUV clad in patchwork corduroys with a cooler full of shrooms and nitrous and hitting the road for months at a time, stopping only only to put gas on your parent's credit card and/or dance barefoot at rest stops. There was none of this namby pamby "free bootleg downloading" and "Twittering." We had to smuggle recording equipment into shows and tape on crappy cassettes to trade for even crappier cassettes of the same show. And we liked it dangnabbit! Kids these days.
But I digress.
Back to the point, anything that makes so many people this happy can't really be a bad thing. Congrats Phish-heads.