Curveball 2.0: All About The Flow

by Russell S. Glowatz

Traveling down a big river this weekend with a group of amazing people really set the theme. Pondering large things and small, we discussed the river…the water…the flow. Why it speeds up in some places, why it slows down in others, when there’s rapids and when there’s not. We determined the driving force for all of it is flow. It’s all flow.

From the forming of the Grand Canyon to our synapses burning, we all were created by countless different factors converging and after some bad times, and more times good, there we were. The flow followed the natural order and the result was US. And now flow guides every aspect of our lives; all of us, even non-sentient things. But we have one choice: do we surrender to the flow, or do we fight it?

Like Salmon bracing against the tide, we all go against the flow sometimes. It’s in our basic nature to do so. But more often than not, despite circumstances or because of them, we surrender to the flow and everything’s in its right place. This weekend had its fair share of trials and tribulations with emotions running high, but when we surrendered…in those sweet sweet moments, it was pure bliss. And slowly but surely everything became right, and we just held tight.

-Sitting beside the Delaware River, more or less content, watching the fire die down. 8/18/18

And then after all was said and done, I felt a longing for something more. I needed a therapy session stat. Recalling that Peter Shapiro opened up his venues this weekend to displaced Phish fans, I popped onto the Brooklyn Bowl website. Sure enough a screening of Clifford Ball was going down. So after a grueling day of ten hours packing, traveling, and unpacking, I hopped into my car for the hour ride to Brooklyn. I’m so glad you all were there! Phans from all walks of life basking in the glow of bowling, beer, and Phish. We laughed, we danced, we raged, we cried. Beautiful closure to an emotional rollercoaster of a weekend. And it almost for a moments time felt like a real Phish show!

I love this community, all of you, with every fiber of my being. Together we’ve been through something truly intense this weekend. We surrendered to the best of our ability and maintained the flow of our lives. I think we will all be stronger for it in the end. See you on yonder with brighter days ahead!

-Sitting at home on Long Island, feeling optimistic knowing we’re all safe and sound, and will be together again real soon. 8/20/18

Copyright © 2018 Stand For Jam™️

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The Night Before A Phish Run: Reflections on the Final Chapter of Summer Tour

by Russell S. Glowatz

The night before any of my many Phish runs have been adrenaline filled. Full of expectation, gathering of essential staples, packing, making sure my tickets are in tow, etcetera ad nauseam. As I sit here listening to rockin’ good tunes in preparation for what are sure to be a handful of blissed out days and nights, I am attempting to take one step back – one moment from my day to ponder and remember what IT is all about – the deeper meaning behind this band and community that keeps us all so engaged year after year.

For most of us it started with the music. Some were unknowingly catapulted onto our soul planet as they were dragged to their first show. Unbeknownst to them, that show served as a catalyst for a life changing journey. Whether they knew it or not, through the exploratory jams, blissful peaks, and dark and dirty valleys, they discovered meditation through music – a healing phenomenon that adds years to one’s life and often results in incessant smiling for days afterwards. Synchronous happenings began to occur. New phriends and loved ones seemed to materialize out of thin air. All of a sudden that newbie dragged to their first show found themselves at home.

And that’s what Phish is to me: Home. A home that’s open 24/7 all year round, even outside of shows or venues. A place where we can be our truest selves – our best selves. A form of escape from the monotony that daily existence often entails. So we save our pennies for someday, scrimp and get our thrift on waiting for the moment when that New Year’s run gets announced, or the next summer tour, festival, or exotic destination event. But it’s never really about the destination – rather the journey. And when that journey reaches its culmination, we reflect, “was the juice really worth the squeeze?” Always.

So as this multilayered, multifaceted, majestically constructed home is indeed where our heart is, like any other home it requires regular maintenance. How can we make it better? How can we keep it as awesome as it is? No home is perfect – there’s always room for modification or improvement. And with self awareness, community wide reflection, and a little bit of elbow grease, we can make this place shine, as it almost always has.

After a few exceptionally disappointing events that occurred early this summer tour, I already see improvements taking effect. Whether it’s Phans for Racial Equality addressing the racially motivated incidents at the Gorge with the band and fans, GrooveSafe raising awareness about the despicable reality of sexual assaults occurring at shows, or Green Crew and the community making concerted efforts to lower our carbon footprint we often leave in our wake, good things are happening all over Phish land. These groups have been working hard to make an impact long before this summer, however we need them now more than ever. Thank you for being here, and being you!

So as we embark on the final chapter of this summer tour, I feel immense anticipation for the joyous rituals and communion with friends and family that are about to take place. I’m also hyper aware of what I’m bringing to the table to not only help our scene to survive, but thrive for many years to come. Picking up after myself, not throwing my cigarette butts on the ground, and looking after any fellow phan in need is of paramount importance, next to getting my groove on and soaking in the serenity that the days to come will surely manifest.

Phish is my therapy – a conduit to being truly present in the moment. This community is medicinal – together we make a spiritual elixir that’s revives the soul. This in my mind is something worthy of protection and vigilance. Nobody fucks with my Phish – if you do, you’re gonna hear about it! So stay safe out there everyone, satisfy your souls, and let’s get this show on the road!

Copyright © 2018 Stand For Jam™️

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These Cats Are The Real Deal: Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band w/ Melvin Seals & Nicki Bluhm – Central Park SummerStage – 8/30/2017 (Review, Videos, Setlist)

by Russell S. Glowatz

There ain’t nothing like a Phil show at Central Park. When the weather is airy and light, the scene is right, and the music is tight. All sources of serene sonic sorcery combine to manifest a sublime state of serendipity. The bucolic surroundings alone are a rare respite in a city of steel and smut. Add a heaping spoonful of Deadheads, a dollop of Phil Lesh, a sprinkling of The Terrapin Family Band, a dash of Melvin Seals, and a pinch of Nicki Bluhm, you have yourself a recipe for psychedelic communion at the Church of Grateful Dead.

Traversing what could be termed as “Shakedown Rock,” a geologic grouping of boulders outside SummerStage central, Deadheads’ can be found cavorting, carousing, communing, and commercing. A handful of vendors are selling heady handmade goods. Others are reuniting with old cohorts, and mingling with new friends alike. Some folks are sipping on craft brews, or eating homemade sandwiches before the main event commences. There is no lot, nor a typical shakedown, but Central Park makes for a pregame of perfection. One with nature, attune with the chime of the leaves in the breeze, there’s not many better places to take in the show before the show than the placid pastures outside Rumsey Playfield.

Such an enchanting encampment, loosens the soul from the grime of the daily grind. So once entering the venue, many Deadheads find themselves appropriately apart from the maddening melancholia of modern day materialism. We find ourselves removed from our ragged runarounds, primed and ready to escape inside the symphony set before us.

As was advertised, we are met with a set of Jerry Garcia Band tunes to open the evening. We are no longer “Tangled Up In Blue” as this euphonious ensemble tears through the Bob Dylan original, and JGB staple. “How Sweet It Is” to dance in the setting summer sun, as Nicki Bluhm soars through this peppy rendition on vocal lead.  Soon we find ourselves half passed 7:00pm, but it’s “After Midnight” in the daylight as Ross James & Grahame Lesh trade licks on J.J. Cale’s classic with vigor and grit. Throughout the entirety of the JGB segment, Melvin Seals serves as our rock, channeling the soul of Jerry and his old side project, tenaciously with his trigger finger on his Hammond B-3 organ. Jason Crosby serves as his worthy counterpart on the keys with effortless execution.

As set one moves us brightly, set two lights the fire under our ass. From Phil’s opening bass bomb, love is shakin’ on “Shakedown Street;” a simple poke around proves it to be true. “The Music Never Stopped,” and while singing and romancing, it’s evident we’re all “Playing In The Band.” On drums, Alex Koford is our engine, driving this collective train, as we’re “bound to cover just a little more ground.” We traverse through the “transitive nightfall of diamonds,” before walking out in that sweet sweet “Morning Dew.” Not a single soul around fails to “Turn On [Their] Lovelight” as the music plays the band, and the band plays us. Wrapping up our psychedelic parkscapade, shakin’ like “Sugaree” at a jaunty jubilee, one cannot help but exude profound gratitude and incalculable thankfulness.

At 77 years young, Philip Chapman Lesh continues to defy expectations and boundaries with a musical troupe that’s currently playing some of the best live Grateful Dead music out there. It seems he’s relying more heavily on The Terrapin Family Band as of late, as this group’s congruous chops shine brightly wherever they choose to throw down. There is something to be said about a band, a true band of brothers (and sometimes sister) that regularly plays together. The camaraderie of this company of players is palpable at every single performance, and it reflects in the harmonious, out of the box, mind fuck music they create. This is not a cover band, nor a nostalgia act. These cats are the real deal, and if you have yet had the opportunity to catch them live, get on that shit. Stat!


“Second That Emotion”

“The Music Never Stopped”
“Estimated Prophet”
Set I:
Tangled Up in Blue
They Love Each Other
How Sweet It Is
Mission In The Rain
Reuben & Cherise
Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
Second That Emotion
After Midnight

Set II:
Shakedown Street
Music Never Stopped
Estimated Prophet
Playing in the Band
The Wheel
Dark Star
Morning Dew
Dark Star
St Stephen
Love Light

Donor Rap

© Stand For Jam, 2017.
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Keepers of the Flame: Review – Melvin Seals & JGB, Brooklyn Bowl, 10/23/2015

  Walking into Brooklyn Bowl on Friday night, one was struck with a mellow mood. Tip-top tunes from the opening act filled the intimate venue, and the multitudes milled about imbibing in choice brews, gobbling up good food, and mingling with positive people. The New York based Turbine is an exceptional jam band, and those that showed up early received a surprise treat as they laid down lick after lick loosening up the crowd for the night to come. As the main event approached, fresh folks filed into Peter Shapiro’s flagship venue. Part bowling alley, part concert hall with a bar and grill, Brooklyn Bowl has the makings of an adult playground, perfectly conducive to communal carousing. As the venue never reached critical capacity this night, there was copious dancing space for the crowd to let loose, and once the melodies started flowing, the audience took every opportunity to spread their wings and fly.

Opening the night with a high energy…

Read more and see more photos at Grateful Music!

Words: Russell S. Glowatz 

Photos: Lori Bockelken