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This Has All Been Wonderful: A Travel Monologue from Summer 1994, the Year Phish Became Phish

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1994 was part of an era before cell phones and ubiquitous Internet. Trying to escape the oppressive New Mexico heat, David “ZZYZX” Steinberg spent that summer driving around the country seeing a band. Phish was at a turning point in their career, still playing clubs and small theatres, but about to break into mainstream popularity. From Las Cruces to Vancouver, Canada, bac 1994 was part of an era before cell phones and ubiquitous Internet. Trying to escape the oppressive New Mexico heat, David “ZZYZX” Steinberg spent that summer driving around the country seeing a band. Phish was at a turning point in their career, still playing clubs and small theatres, but about to break into mainstream popularity. From Las Cruces to Vancouver, Canada, back to New Mexico and across the nation to Trenton, New Jersey, David saw twenty-six Phish concerts that summer. Bringing the wry sense of humor and random digressions that have made his daily “Phish Stats” Facebook updates a favorite of veteran fans and newbies alike, this book details the journey he took in the summer of ‘94. Between pointing out the best rest stop locations and explaining how to accidentally infuriate the band that he loves, ZZYZX brings the richness of tour to life. If you’ve ever wondered why someone would pack up their car with nothing but a tour calendar and a few cases of soda to sell, come along for the ride. There’s always room for one more.


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1994 was part of an era before cell phones and ubiquitous Internet. Trying to escape the oppressive New Mexico heat, David “ZZYZX” Steinberg spent that summer driving around the country seeing a band. Phish was at a turning point in their career, still playing clubs and small theatres, but about to break into mainstream popularity. From Las Cruces to Vancouver, Canada, bac 1994 was part of an era before cell phones and ubiquitous Internet. Trying to escape the oppressive New Mexico heat, David “ZZYZX” Steinberg spent that summer driving around the country seeing a band. Phish was at a turning point in their career, still playing clubs and small theatres, but about to break into mainstream popularity. From Las Cruces to Vancouver, Canada, back to New Mexico and across the nation to Trenton, New Jersey, David saw twenty-six Phish concerts that summer. Bringing the wry sense of humor and random digressions that have made his daily “Phish Stats” Facebook updates a favorite of veteran fans and newbies alike, this book details the journey he took in the summer of ‘94. Between pointing out the best rest stop locations and explaining how to accidentally infuriate the band that he loves, ZZYZX brings the richness of tour to life. If you’ve ever wondered why someone would pack up their car with nothing but a tour calendar and a few cases of soda to sell, come along for the ride. There’s always room for one more.

30 review for This Has All Been Wonderful: A Travel Monologue from Summer 1994, the Year Phish Became Phish

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    David Steinberg aka ZZYZX aka The Timer recounts his experiences touring with Phish in 1994 as they evolve from a small-time club band to the arena-filling powerhouse we know and love today. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone with just a passing interest in Phish or music history - there is full-on nerddom happening here. Chapters are broken up by specific shows on the run, and Steinberg intersperses stats, song descriptions and personal stories throughout. It can read a bit slow, but ther David Steinberg aka ZZYZX aka The Timer recounts his experiences touring with Phish in 1994 as they evolve from a small-time club band to the arena-filling powerhouse we know and love today. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone with just a passing interest in Phish or music history - there is full-on nerddom happening here. Chapters are broken up by specific shows on the run, and Steinberg intersperses stats, song descriptions and personal stories throughout. It can read a bit slow, but there is some great trivia, a few intriguing stories about the band back when they were still accessible beyond the rail and David's unique perspective having seen 300+ shows since '89. As a phan, it's fun to relate to his dedication (obsession), and I couldn't help but immediately listen to some of the recommended tracks.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Having just caught the band's run at Alpine Valley, including a Sunday show that is being discussed among the best outings of 3.0 (perhaps of all time), I figured now was the perfect time to read a book about Phish. I was correct. And having been on my list for a while now, David Steinberg's coverage of the Summer '94 tour got the nod. This is one of those books that I think everyone could get at least a little something out of, but there is a definite hierarchy of recommendation here. That woul Having just caught the band's run at Alpine Valley, including a Sunday show that is being discussed among the best outings of 3.0 (perhaps of all time), I figured now was the perfect time to read a book about Phish. I was correct. And having been on my list for a while now, David Steinberg's coverage of the Summer '94 tour got the nod. This is one of those books that I think everyone could get at least a little something out of, but there is a definite hierarchy of recommendation here. That would be.. anyone > lovers of music > lovers of jam music > lovers of Phish. The order of ascension is obvious I think. I could recommend this to anyone because it's a fun little journey into the experience of someone who hops on tour with a band and the shenanigans they get up to. I could recommend it further to anyone who really loves music, as the enjoyment you find will be amplified; especially if you are a fan of jam music. And finally, and most obviously, I can recommend it most wholeheartedly to Phish fans. Especially nerdy Phish fans who have their nose in the stats (which I always tend to do shortly after seeing them). I suppose I should give a short little run down for those completely unfamiliar. Jam is a genre that was popularized by the Grateful Dead and further accelerated by Phish, beginning in 1987 (and continuing today, albeit after one hiatus and one break-up/reunion; what band isn't without their hiccups?). It sets itself apart from your average concert by way of extended improvisational sections (jams) that lend a newness and sense of creation to the concerts that keep fans coming back time and time again. Sometimes multiple shows in a row (even if you hear a song twice in a row, chances are it won't be played the same way). And for the truly dedicated, even entire tours in a row, as Steinberg did in 1994 when he followed Phish's Summer tour for 26 shows. This may seem like madness to some. To others (like myself), a dream. Even if you can't imagine embarking on such a journey yourself, there is something to be said for the romantic flair of road life; setting out with no clear sense of how you'd make the trip work, not much money to your name, living only for the freedom of the music, getting by selling sodas post-show in the parking lot. When you let the music take control and truly dive deep into the experience, you open yourself up to all that the experience has to offer. The good and the bad. The mystic and the terrible. The monotony and the mishaps. Especially fun, at least for me, is getting a glimpse at what all of this was like in a pre-Internet era (or rather, just on the cusp of the Internet). This is a big focus of Steinberg's throughout the book (seeing as how he is still at it, and knows exactly what the modern scene is like) and proves entertaining for someone like me who has only known the post-Internet world of concert-going. No doubt, the convenience of the modern-era can't be ignored. Nor the benefits. Sitting on my porch listening to every Phish set Steinberg describes at the touch of a button, as he describes it, cannot be overstated as a positive experience. But one does long for the simplicity of the before. One thing is sure though. Keeping detailed setlist notes may have been replaced with instant post-show updates online, or even live streams of the concert. Tape trading may have turned into file sharing. Maps may be obsolete. You may not spend all day looking for a venue because your information was bogus, or have to think of some elaborate scheme to come up with a ticket because when you finally got to the box office (can't just buy one online) the show was sold out. Those things may be a relic of the past, but one things remains. That thing that we all crave. That we all love. The music! That force of creation that brings us all running back time and time again. As much as things may change, you can count on that to stay the same.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I spent way too much time during college on David Steinberg's website. His passion is infectious. I bought the book after hearing him interviewed on hfpod and loved it. It's amazing to me that you used to be able to road trip around the country on a shoestring budget and that there was a band worth seeing almost nightly that charged about $10 per ticket. I wish he'd added some more personal details and anecdotes The lack of pretension was refreshing. I spent way too much time during college on David Steinberg's website. His passion is infectious. I bought the book after hearing him interviewed on hfpod and loved it. It's amazing to me that you used to be able to road trip around the country on a shoestring budget and that there was a band worth seeing almost nightly that charged about $10 per ticket. I wish he'd added some more personal details and anecdotes The lack of pretension was refreshing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Lavetsky

    Closer to a high-ish 3 than a low-ish 4. ZZYZX is legendary and this is a nice insight into his world in 1994. Hard to tell sometimes if he is joking or if he is oblivious to his tone. I suspect a bit of both at different times. Much more concrete text than A Tiny Space to Move and Breathe but the musical discussion is super inferior. A book mixing both would be great.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam Hegg

    what I needed right now.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Great for Phish nerds. Incomprehensible to most everyone else.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    entertaining and funny; led me to check out some awesome shows/jams I hadn't heard before. well worth your time. entertaining and funny; led me to check out some awesome shows/jams I hadn't heard before. well worth your time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Connor

    A fun time capsule about a great time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Love Phish and really wanted to like this book, but the writing is all over the place. It just isn't put together well, jumps all over the place, and frankly just isn't very interesting. Love Phish and really wanted to like this book, but the writing is all over the place. It just isn't put together well, jumps all over the place, and frankly just isn't very interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tim Barney

    A must read for any Phish fan.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Friedman

    Not particularly well-written with entirely too many detours to non-Phishy realms. Still, it got me excited about the shows this summer!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alec

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Hamann

  14. 5 out of 5

    Debra Lefkowitz

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Helfand

  16. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Mol

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zak

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Mckinney

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris Poli

  21. 4 out of 5

    Harv W

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Forcum

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris Coldwell

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kitt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Belcher

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steven Barilla

  30. 4 out of 5

    PMB

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