Free Poker Chips, a Band, and a Mini Casino Tour

If the Pandemic cooperates, Phish will continue their 2021 4.0 tour into the Fall. Starting Aug. 13, the band plays Atlantic City, and then will be at Harveys Casino in Stateline, NV starting Aug. 31. The Fall tour ends with a Halloween run in Las Vegas.

Ask anybody and they know that I love gifiting creative items to unsuspecting people. Over the past 20 or so years, I’ve given away stickers, posters, buttons, stencils, and other fun items. The fist sticker I ever made was the “Creativity Begins Within” for 2000 Burning Man, and I gave them all away. I love the concept of “Free” espoused by the San Francisco Diggers, and Burning Man is onto something with the ideal of giving it for nothing in return.

Then there is the ancient concept of Dana, practiced for centuries, which can be about giving just to feel the goodness of the act while expecting nothing in return.

When I saw that u/churchisweird and his wife were giving away poker chips (with fun band quotes and show details) at all the Phish shows in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, I got excited. A few Phish subredditors had already asked about the Harveys shows in Stateline, but u/churchisweird and his wife weren’t going to the shows.

Phish redditor u/churchisweird and his wife designed some great chips to give away at 7 different Phish shows! I was inspired to join in on the giveaway fun, and made two more sets for the Harveys NV shows.

I DMd him, told him I loved his idea, and said I’d give away chips for Stateline/Harveys if he wanted to make any. We started chatting, and he told me that he actually bought the chips from an online company (Chiplab). He wouldn’t be making any for Harveys. Along with the chip-making site, he also shared a great Phish resource for word searching songs to get money-themed hits within Phish’s original and cover lyrics.

We both agreed that giving away something to the community we love to be part of was a great idea. The good vibes of the idea kept piling up for me, and I happened to have some free time to poke around on Chiplab. After some trial and error with their simple graphic design interface, I had two chip designs for the two-night run at Harveys. I made sure to use a color and some Phish lyric quotes that u/churchisweird hadn’t used, and I ordered several dozens to get printed for my own free giveaway.

The 2021 Phish Casino Tour poker chip giveaway is complete! Now phans can possibly snag a chip from every run in a gambling town/city, and my two designs make 9 total chances to collect them all… if you’re lucky. 🙂

The chips were delivered this week, and are now ready to hand out to the lucky few in Stateline. I’m quite excited about this and hope that the shows don’t get postponed due to the current Delta wave of the Pandemic. My plan is to dress up as a Phish-themed croupier (ahem, a GROUPier, lol), with a vest, a bow tie, and my funny fish hats, and wander around a bit each day of the show to hand out some chips. I’ll take what’s left to the show each night.

The table is open and ready for play. Put your money where your mouth is and drop some goodness in your pocket. Time to feel that tingle that gifting gives, being present with each moment where a phan smiles, laughs, or wanders off a bit confused. Whatever happens, it’ll be all right….

Updated: Roger Waters and Friends Blew My Mind 31 Years Ago

Set up in what was literally a no man’s land months before (they even swept for landmines), I posed at a long remnant of the Berlin Wall with the official Roger Waters program (how did they make it so fast?) before going into the gates of the event.

I guess the Pandemic caused me to miss the 30th anniversary of Roger Waters performing the Wall in Berlin as promised. So I caught this year’s after seeing a post up on the Internet. I would say this was one of the craziest live music experiences I’ve ever had. The fact that I had an actual ticket, mailed to a travel agent in Greenville, SC, helps make the whole thing feel more real.

Thank you, Richard Young, wherever you are!

I still have that program, along with the t-shirt (XL, doubt I’ll ever wear it again) and the paper mask hand-out they gave us to hold up at a point in the show. In good timing, I just visited back East and got to pull out my memorabilia from the show. My mom has always kept articles for me to read, so one of these photos has the clippings she took from the two local newspapers (both AP reports, but one was longer than the other).

I recently bought a used CD of the show, but must admit I haven’t watched the video in a while. After finding this link below, I got sucked into the amazing spectacle once again and watched it all the way through. This version of “Mother” is the go-to version I always listen to when the ear worm hits. And it is still quite powerful to hear the masses roar when the staged wall comes down.

After posting the stub on Facebook, I decided to write out the adventure that started when the Post Office delivered my subscription copy to Rolling Stone. Once the travel agent made that phone call to NYC (or it could have been London), everything worked out and we lived to tell the tale. I’ve lost touch with Virginia, the person I knew who, prior to this Berlin weekend, let me crash under her sink in a small dorm room in Innsbruck. I am glad she and her friend (cannot remember much about her) had the patience of a mountain to get through that crazy weekend!

This very lucky adventure all started with a subscription to Rolling Stone, where I read a short article about this concert. I knew someone from college who would be in Innsbruck, and she and a friend were down to go. I had no idea how to work out a way to get to the show, and that puzzle piece was found when my mom suggested I talk to a travel agent she knew. I think his name was Richard Young. He was a “let’s make it happen” person, so got on the phone with a ticket broker and literally lied his way into getting me 3 tickets for the event. He booked a hotel room in Berlin, early enough to get one of the last rooms available (1000s were sleeping in the parks and train stations the night of the concert). He even got us train tickets with reserved seats (the train was packed to the ceiling when it arrived in Berlin). I knew this show was going to be insane, so we got there early and grabbed a spot by a sound tower. Good thinking, since most of the crowd got pushed around on and off during the now free-for-all show. That was about 200,000 people! The two people with me were not used to going to shows, but understood the “do not move so we can go to the toilet and find the tower to get back together.” The sea of pushing scared them, but folks around us were so nice and helped protect them. The show was an insane spectacle, complete with a full marching band and dozens of “drones” building the wall. When the wall came down, the joy of the masses was powerful. We were exhausted afterwards and had to catch a train back to Innsbruck very early the coming morning. We walked over 100s of people sleeping in the train station to get to our train. We slept well that day back in quiet Innsbruck!