Phish Collapses Onstage

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Vol 30 Issue 15

Reedsburg Chamber Of Commerce:'Come Grow With Us'

REEDSBURG, OH—According to the Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce, the small Central Ohio town is a great place to relocate a family or business. "Reedsburg Is On The Grow!" said Chamber of Commerce President Fred Frisch, unveiling Reedsburg's new slogan. Frisch added that if you visit Reedsburg, "You'll Like What You See" as, with its low crime rate, clean water and great schools, the town is "A Perfect 10!" Frisch then broke down in tears, adding, "Please move here. The county really needs the tax revenue. We're desperate."

Single-Parent Families Get 'A' Rating ,From Drug Kingpin

ST. LOUIS—Area drug lord Darryl "Cootie-Fish" Jackson gave an "A" rating to single-parent families Monday. "A child raised by one parent is more likely to rebel," Jackson said. "For me, that's great for business." He also commended the nation's moral decay in recent years. "I applaud this decay, and I hope to fill this moral vacuum with drugs." The "A" award was presented at the corner of Third and Dempsey near Fat Sam's Liquors. Receiving "F" grades from Jackson were the St. Louis Police Department, Sesame Street and NBC, for the network's "The More You Know" public-service messages.

Claire Danes Fantasized About

VAN NUYS, CA—Actress Claire Danes, 17, was fantasized about Monday evening by Van Nuys plumber Doug Blodes, 38. "I have been impressed with Danes' acting skills and nubile body ever since first seeing her on My So-Called Life," Blodes said. "Unfortunately, she was only 14 at the time, and I was unable to bring myself to fantasize about her. Though she is still a year away from legal maturity, after seeing her in Romeo and Juliet recently, I could wait no longer." Blodes added he looks forward to the eventual video release of Romeo and Juliet, so that he can "enjoy the film" in the privacy of his own home.

Local Youth To Insert Coin

EVANSTON, IL—According to sources, Evanston resident Danny Vebber, 16, will insert a coin later this afternoon. Though not confirmed, it is believed the coin will be dropped into a Mortal Kombat II video game machine. "Danny's planned coin insertion does not surprise me," Northwestern University professor of sociology Herman Janks said. "The average 16-year-old boy spends the majority of his day inserting coins, whether it be into video games, soda machines or cigarette dispensers. And when these teens aren't inserting coins, they're usually busy looking for more coins to insert." According to Janks, by the time a boy like Vebber turns 17, he will have inserted more than 31,000 coins into some 4,800 slots.

Burundi Asks Neighbor To Keep It Down

BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI—Fed up with the constant noise, Burundi asked neighboring nation Zaire to "please keep it down" Tuesday. "We cannot get anything done around here with all that racket you're making," Burundi Prime Minister Antoine Nduwayo told Zaire. "Can you please hold your upheaval somewhere else, or at least do it more quietly? There are other countries that live around here, you know." Nduwayo added that Burundi's other neighbor, Rwanda, is "not much better."

Hubby Rick and I Just Got Vanity Plates!

Well, Jean's got some bad news for you: Lady is no more! Longtime readers of my column need not ask who Lady is, but for the benefit of you newcomers, Lady is my 1981 Plymouth Sundance coupe. For nearly a decade, Lady took me to work, carried my groceries and, most recently, accompanied me to RomantiCon '96 in Milwaukee.

Ro-Bots Are Trying To Kill Me

I'm often asked about the role of technology in our society, and whether it is ultimately beneficial or destructive. My reply: Technology is a scourge which must be abolished! I know this first-hand, for, as of this writing, a vast army of mechanical men surrounds my estate, ready to wipe me off the map!

Lucky Charms Phases Out Oat Pieces

MINNEAPOLIS—General Mills, maker of the popular breakfast cereal Lucky Charms, announced Tuesday that the morning favorite will soon become much more lucky with the addition of 16 new colorful marshmallow shapes, displacing the unpopular oat pieces that have hampered the cereal's appeal for decades.
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Phish Collapses Onstage

MORRISON, CO—The music world was shaken by tragedy Sunday night when members of the popular rock band Phish collapsed on stage after being overcome by the stench of concert-goers during a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater 20 miles outside Denver.

Phish bassist Mike Gordon, moments before he and his bandmates succumbed to fans' fumes.

The collapse occurred approximately 40 minutes into the song "You Enjoy Myself," when the four band members—Mike Gordon, Trey Anastasio, Johnathan Fishman and Page McConnell— became overwhelmed by a combination of body odor, marijuana and the patchouli oil many Phish fans use in lieu of bathing. The foursome was rushed to the emergency room of Denver Lutheran Hospital, where they were partially revived by emergency oxygen treatment. As of press time, the musicians are still listed in critical condition.

Though authorities are still debating the cause of the tragedy, preliminary reports indicate that a mechanical malfunction in the band's $45 million on-stage ventilation system is to blame. The system, which employs five computer-controlled, industrial-sized wind machines to blow fumes away from the stage area, has been used by the million-selling group since 1992 to combat the "danger layer" of toxic odors which surround the band's rabid fan base at all times.

Despite the ventilation breakdown, many observers feel that the real blame for the injuries lies with Phish itself, as for years the band has recklessly encouraged its fans' non-hygenic lifestyle.

"They've been burning the candle at both ends for way too long. This was bound to happen," said the EPA's Helen Duenoff, who as chair of the Hippie Band Toxicity Task Force has studied the effects of fan odor on members of bands like Phish, Rusted Root and Blues Traveler. "Phish's message of 'party now, wash later' has simply got to change."

Further controversy stems from the fact that efforts to save the stricken musicians were hampered by a semi-riot which occurred when rescue workers attempted to gain access to the stage area.

Surrounding the fallen performers in a circle of linked hands and attempting to heal them with "crystal light energy" and an improvised version of "Silent in the Morning," several hundred Phish fans erupted into violence at the sight of the gas mask-wearing, uniformed rescue personnel.

With angry shouts of "Attica!" and "Off the pig!" fans hurled hacky sacks and bongs at paramedics, and blocked ambulances arriving at the accident scene with hastily erected barricades.

Forming a linked-arm "human wall," the fans effectively trapped Phish and paramedics in a deadly envelope of unbreathable toxic vapor, holding off attempts to remove the band to safety for a full 30 minutes before finally being cleared by riot police, who used high-pressure fire hoses filled with a powerful soap/water solution to disperse the crowd.

"That was so wrong of those cops, man," said odorous fan Kathy Breyer, 20, whose brand-new hemp necklace and tie-dyed "Phishisgruvin" T-shirt were ruined in the hosing incident. "And worst of all, they did it right when the band was about to play 'Slave to the Traffic Light.'"

Added Breyer: "I have 940 bootlegs."

Only one member of Phish, singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio, managed to escape serious harm in the incident, going backstage unnoticed during one of the band's trademark hour-long jams to rest and consume drugs.

Anastasio was visibly moved as he spoke to the public. "I want to thank all our fans for massing here at the hospital in such incredible numbers, but believe me, we really need you to leave now," a gas-masked Anastasio said. "We appreciate the candlelight vigil and the chanting and all that, but the doctors all agree: We cannot hope to revive the rest of the guys unless we can somehow isolate them from the deadly column of vapors rising from the crowd."

Anastasio then attempted to rouse the assembled fans in a sing-along. "The skin is the part under the arm that makes contact with the soap," he sang to the crowd. "The soap is the bar that you use in the bath at your abode."

Two minutes into the refrain, Anastasio collapsed as well.

Phish's tour manager, Todd Geerholz, has vowed that steps will be taken to ensure that such an incident is not repeated.

"We are talking with Ticketron right now about requiring a chemical sponge bath for each customer before a ticket can be purchased," Geerholz said. "We're also definitely going to add a big personal hygiene appendix to next year's edition of the Phish Pharmers Almanac. If this is still not enough, Phish may have to forego touring altogether."

Preliminary testing indicates that as long as Phish's fans are not gathered together at one place for any extended lenghth of time, the stench rising from their unclean bodies will remain well under the life-threatening level.

Sunday's Phish collapse marks the most serious odor-related incident at a rock concert since July 1988, when Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh fell into a coma after an obese female fan ran on stage and hugged him during a show at Chicago's Soldier Field.

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