I Am He As You Are He As You Are Me

Phish Halloween Vegas 2021

It was one of those warm, sunny, fall Colorado Sundays when my mom called and told me “Michael has been in a bicycle accident. We are at Good Samaritan. I have to go.” Instantly my mind went to the e-bike that he had purchased recently, as we talked about how dangerous it could possibly be. When I talked to my mom again, she told me that he crashed in the neighborhood riding back from the gym. Nothing dangerous at all! Michael was a lifelong cyclist, but just a few weeks earlier we had noticed scrapes on his face from falling on the bike. He said he had slipped on a puddle, and we were all grateful that he always wore a helmet.

“Right now he has no feeling in his left arm,” I heard her say. Unfortunately, I was stressed and heard wrong. It was the opposite. He ONLY had feeling in his left arm. This quickly spiraled into a very serious situation that finally left him needing a ventilator to breathe. The chaplain made it clear to us that it was ok to let him go, but more importantly, Michael wanted to go. On September 23rd in the early morning with my mom by his side and many of us staring at the sky praying for a quick release, he passed on. At home we played “Fearless” by Pink Floyd, a song and band we had listened to so many times with him when hanging out.

Suddenly the October we had looked so forward to that was filled with Phish Fall Tour shows didn’t sound so thrilling, but with the insistence of my mom telling me that it would be good for me and my husband, we followed through with our plans to see the band in Sacramento, Phoenix, and Chula Vista.

The shows did in fact do me a world of good, and armed with those good vibes under my belt, we traveled on to the Thunderdome – the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas for the Halloween run. As soon as we hit the ground the place was abuzz with chirping Phish phans, and suddenly I felt trapped. Gone were the easy, lazy desert pavilions and ocean breezes. There were people walking in every direction, the longest lines I have ever seen no matter where you went and when you tried to go, and as I started to lose my breath in the halls of the MGM that first night I realized I was about to have a panic attack.

We quickly went back up to our room at the Signature where I went out onto the balcony and cried and cried. I was so raw, and my sensory issues were at full volume. As I was crying and wondering if I was even going to be able to go to the show, an image of Michael’s face popped into my head and he said “I want you to have a good time.” A huge weight lifted, and suddenly I felt calm and at peace. Back downstairs at the arena, the lines had cleared out and we went into the show and had a great time.

Two nights later during the animals show, “I Am the Walrus” started and my heart felt like a lump in my throat. When my stepdad was dating my mom, he bought me the entire Beatles catalog, winning my friendship and cultivating my lifelong love of rock and roll. I could feel Michael right there with me as the song played, and just as the image of his face popped into my head, Trey said “Hello, how are you? We hope you have a good time” from the stage.

It was one of those moments where I felt like the entire history of my universe went into fast-forward and everything collectively met right at this exact moment – it was maybe the most naturally psychedelic moment of my life. It felt like a message straight from my stepdad himself, and now every time I listen to that song it is like hanging out with Michael.

Strawberry Letter 23

“Hello, how are you” starting around 3:18: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvB8jsyGCQg&ab_channel=GregoryMarcus

Stocks rocks Denver at Tap Fourteen

Grunge inspired rock band Stocks plays Tap Fourteen in Denver Colorado

I knew Ryan Brashier‘s new band Stocks was going to be good, but I didn’t know they’d be THIS good. Thanks to Phantasy Tour bringing a lot of us Denver Phish phan degenerates together, over the years I’ve become good friends with Ryan and his wife Erin, from living just a block away from each other to taking down our tents in the rain when Curveball was canceled.

Beyond friendship, he is also my go-to guy for everything guitar. This guy knows his pedals and rigs! So Wednesday night at downtown Lodo bar Tap Fourteen – Rooftop Beer Garden, it came as no surprise to see lots of pedals on the stage. Joined by Matthew Norcross on guitar, Chuck Obmaces on keys, David Simutis on bass and Matt Fisher on drums, Stocks has a big sound that draws heavily on 90’s grunge influences.

Always remember where you came from

So many jam bands that are out there come from funk and bluegrass backgrounds, so to get to hear raging guitar jams through a grunge lens is fresh and sure to tickle the fancy of any 90s kid. Just in case you didn’t get the memo, a searing cover of The Smashing Pumpkins “Cherub Rock” drives it home with Ryan’s vocals sounding eerily just like Billy Corgan.

Ryan Brashier glows

With Phish listeners on deck, segues and mash-ups are sure to happen, and my personal highlight from the night was a charging rendition of ALO‘s “Dead Still Dance” with a surprise cameo from The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” in the middle. At this point, my camera had to get put down and joining the other dancers was a must. Take a listen to the audio here on Ryan’s Soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/playthestocks/dead-still-dancetomorrow-never-knowsdead-still-dance-stocks-7282021-tap-xiv-denver-co

Matthew Norcross sending psychedelic messages to the cosmos

Make sure to follow Stocks (they only go up!) on their Instagram page for news about upcoming shows: https://www.instagram.com/playthestocks/?utm_medium=copy_link&fbclid=IwAR0ZugZwH25NkjsXWena2xCAuArMs124aBFD3qe9hif7X0RLIzTnd3mAoEg