[A relatively new Phish fan, Sal Orsino, who first saw Phish at MSG on January 2, 2016, was so inspired by the Baker's Dozen, and by the ten shows he's now seen, to write this piece, which is his answer to the question, "What do the Baker's Dozen shows mean to the community?" Sal is a senior computer science student at Montclair State University in New Jersey. If Phish has inspired you and you're interested in writing something for the dot net blog, email it to charlie at phish dot net. While there is no guarantee it'll be posted to the blog, you'll always be able to post it in the Forum, of course (and we encourage you to continue posting about the greatness of the run there). Thank you, Sal.]
The Baker’s Dozen has ended. We return to our normal lives for those who took off work for the whole run, and for those that didn’t our work week has become that much less exciting without five, absolutely jaw-dropping concerts to attend each week. But that matters not, because we know what just happened this past month. We felt what happened this month, and we lived at these shows. These shows weren’t just a stunt done by the band to give out free doughnuts, or to confuse the hell out of all those outside of the Phish community. While those were simply added bonuses, this run of shows meant so, so much more than that to the band, to the phans, and more importantly, to the community that connects us, and them.
So I'd like to sincerely thank the band, the crew, and everyone in this community for making me feel like I am part of something special. Scratch that, for making me know I am part of something special. Thank you.
These shows truly exemplified the power of the Phish community. People from across the country came together for 13 nights of pure, unforgettable magic, and together we witnessed phenomena that cannot be easily described in words. The loyalty of this powerful community was showcased in ways unlike it ever has been before: either you took off work for 3 weeks and flew to NYC to see all 13 shows, or you didn’t take off work and suffered through 4 hours of sleep on those week night shows because you knew that it was all worth it, or you fell somewhere in between, where you may not have made it to every show, but you damn well did what you could to see as many as you could. And that is what is so spectacular about this run. No matter how you did it, you were part of it.
The Baker’s Dozen could not have been possible without the love and support of this community, and I could feel from the shows I attended that everyone in attendance, despite the world gone mad, was legitimately vibrating with love and light.
But of course, there is an equally if not greater side to the equation than just the phans, and that is the band itself. What did this Baker’s Dozen gig really say about the band? That they have a lot of songs? That they have fans willing to spend all their money to come see them 13 nights in a row? That they really like doughnuts? While the answer is definitely yes to all of those, this run signified something greater. It was a way for the band to thank us for that support, and a powerful statement to say “We’re here, and we are not going anywhere.” They know how the phans work, they understand the community, and this was a way for them to show us that they hear us loud and clear, and that they wanted to give back to us. I feel I was given an absolutely enlightening experience that I will never forget, and for that I again thank the band, and each and every person whom came out to the shows.
If you were lucky enough to make it to all 13 nights, you have probably seen almost every single song in rotation that you ever could want to see. You got your "Esther," "Forbin's/Mockingbird," "Harpua" (not to mention all in one night), "Tela," "Sanity," and just so much more. And of course there are the songs that certainly are not in rotation, like the two or more debuts every single night, or the incredible bust-outs, like "1999" and "Cinnamon Girl." Lest I forget about all the record-setting performances of a number of songs, each and every night; longest "Tube" of 3.0, longest "It’s Ice," longest "Lawn Boy" (arguably the best jam of all time, period), longest "Mike’s Song" of 3.0, longest "Swept Away" ever, the list goes on, and on, and on. Whichever song you were chasing, if you hit the whole run you saw it. Whatever songs you heard before, you heard them again in ways you never expected to hear them. What this does is not only put notches on the belts of stat-chasers, but also unifies us all by allowing us to say, “Yep, I was at the Baker’s Dozen, and it was f*****g awesome.”
There are the shows that you hear others talk about that you just wish you were there for but weren’t, like Big Cypress, Island Tour, basically anything from ‘97 and ‘98, and you, if you are like me, sometimes felt left out. No more is this the case: this run united all phans of all ages and all experiences, and it closed the gap between “jaded vets” and “chompers” into one, sound, harmonious community. I can already tell in the years to come, when you enter whichever venue you may be at, and you begin to find new partners in crime for the evening, you will always have at least one piece of common ground: the Baker’s Dozen.
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