Noonan at Noon

The Jam Band Parking Lot


College was a great time to experiment with such novelties as responsibility and studying. Ultimately though, it’s also a fine time in your life to experiment with music. For some, this leads to jam bands.

In the past, chances are you or someone you love has dabbled in Phish or Widespread Panic. Some of the hardcore among us might’ve tried some moe., eaten a little String Cheese Incident, swallowed some Leftover Salmon. (If you’re cleaning out your garage and come across a dusty old CD of the Disco Biscuits and can’t remember where you got it, you may have had a problem.)


 When your child asks what you did in college, you may be at loss for an explanation.

I myself admit to many a dalliance with the scene many moons ago. But much like moving from Jagermeister to Laphroaig, tastes mature. Sure, you occasionally go have a little nip of the weird German stuff, but there’s really no going back after a swallow of Scotland.
23 minute guitar solos  vs.  depth and character

A trip down memory lane is a good trip indeed.  Arriving at a Phish show a few years back, I was surprised at its timelessness. There I was, the man who stepped into yesterday, having just re-entered my 1997 prime in 2019.

Clearly the Scene Remained the Same.

One can learn a lot from the Phish parking lot. All manners of life swim in and out of it.

The Head

It’s either his 10th show or 10,000th but he’s been a stalwart on the scene. As sure as Trey will hit a long, sustained hi-note, the Head will be ambling through the lot selling t-shirts, necklaces and things guaranteed to erase your memory of the next few hours. They are the hustlers and the entrepreneurs. The good, the bad, and the smelly. They keep the wheels of counterculture turning.

Deadhead or stir fry entrepreneur?

The Wookie

The Wookie is the darkside of the Head – those who’ve been swallowed on tour and want nothing more than the fix of another show. I once saw a Wookie dance barefoot in a pile of vomit. Yes, it’s revolting, but these are the tales you must tell your children so they don’t follow a similar path.

Dark Star meets The Dark Side.  The force is strong in this one.

The Newbie

The Newbie stumbles in with wide-eyed innocence and the eagerness of a 17 year old. Usually because they’re 17 years old.

Next time, leave the jamming to the bands, son.
The Casual Observer

Girlfriends, wives, friends reluctantly dragged to the show, and 98.7% of America fall into this category. Good folks, most of ‘em..backbone of society.



These are the dreadlocked slouches you see crawling through the lots, up to their eyeballs in chemicals, nitrous and pretentiousness. Had you not seen them emerge from an $80,000 Land Rover, you’d have taken them for Wookies. A fair number end up as Wall Street executives.
Jambands today, Eyes Wide Shut parties tomorrow.
The Old Timer
This is wear yours truly fits in. We’ve got the good head on our shoulders and the good beer in our coolers. We are the keepers of the 19th hole and had the good sense to bring lawn chairs in our trunks (who can stand for 4 hours?) All we can do is hang in the back, bob along to “Down With Disease” and shake our heads at kids these days. We were never like that. Right?…RIGHT?
Westfalia. German for “Jam band tested. 19th hole approved.”

Well, enough of my noodling solo here. The show was fun, and the memories were as thick as the smoke that hung like mosquito nets above the crowd. Ah well, time marches on…now where’s my Strangefolk album?

Until next time, be the ball.
Comments are closed.