[Miami really rolled out the red carpet for Phish and the Phans, renaming many longstanding, venerable local businesses to include Phish references. Many thanks to the Miami Chamber of Commerce for making us feel right at home!]
I had been hoping to update this blog daily during the MiYEM(less)i NYE run, but sadly there was no wireless ("wireless? What is that?? You mean WiFi??" the clueless front desk guy said to me) at the Chateaubleau Hotel, so here we sit. Nonetheless, I actually have internet access (for the moment, knock on wood) at the Travelodge Fort Myers Airport where I'll be spending tonight, so hopefully I can make up for some lost time here.
All in all, the trip was a successful one. I had been worried that, sans even a single member of my beloved "crew," I'd wind up feeling lonely, but thankfully that was the least of my worries. Boston's own SteelCrew, whom we'd first met when we shared a house with them at SPAC '13, adopted me for the run and it worked out great. Beds were soiled, meals were eaten twice, tall tales were told, I did all manner of chauffeuring / DDing, and generally I laughed waaaaaaayyyy more than I'd expected to on this run. Hoping to cross paths with them all during Summer Tour '15, or possibly before that during my next trip to Beantown.
Of course, logistically (and motiviationally) I suffered more than just a little bit, with much of my "day planning" consisting solely of me hurriedly consulting TripAdvisor while in transit. No LotBevs were mixed, few local landmarks were visited, and an inexcusably miniscule amount of time was spent near any kind of beach. Wound up doing a lot of sleeping in, and due to the astonishingly slow pace of seemingly *EVERY* aspect of life in / near Miami (more on this later), accomplishing even the simplest of tasks ate up so much of my time that most of my days basically went as follows:
1.) wake up 2.) clean the pipes 3.) errands 4.) meal 5.) back to hotel for shower 6.) pick up SteelCrew 7.) drive to venue 8.) tailgate 9.) head to shakedown / purchase ticket 10.) attend Phish concert 11.) rock the eff out 12.) drop SteelCrew at their hotel 13.) clean the pipes reprise 14.) gorge myself on leftovers from said earlier meal 15.) hit the hay.
Not that that's a shameful way to spend the day overall, but I'd bet there are some wonderful hikes that went unhiked, sights that were unseen, and tanned boobies and asses that went tragically un-gawked at. So it goes.
The music on this run traversed easily the widest gulf between "incredible" and "lackluster" that I've witnessed probably since, wait for it, Coventry. When the boys were on, we were treated to such highlights as one of the year's finest sets (12/31 II), possibly the finest "Weekapaug" I've ever seen (1/2), and a damn near perfect second stanza setlist for the ages that actually is as good as it looks on paper (1/3). When they weren't, we got uninspired first sets (truthfully, the first three shows) and unprecedented levels of bed-shitting in the form of (what has to be a record) *4* (!?!???!?!) consecutive ballads in Q4 (1/1). More than any other recent run, I can't wait to get back home tomorrow night and start plowing through my mp3s to see if my disparate feelings are merited.
In other news, the town of Miami can largely go suck a dick. I found it to be populated nearly exclusively by arrogant, humorless douchebags and possibly the worst drivers I've ever seen stateside. Service *everywhere* is maddeningly slow; nobody bothers to use their goddamn turn signals; the architecture is absolute crap. OK, maybe that last one isn't fair, since you can't blame a town simply because Taco Bell chose to boorishly co-opt the California Mission style, but face it, if you went to San Francisco and every house had the fucking Golden Arches on it, you'd secretly hope it would burn to the ground, and fast.
I was also amazed to find that the simple custom of waiting in line at a place of business is different in Miami than anywhere else. Three separate times (at three separate CVS's, actually, hahaha) the individual ahead of me in line made his / her purchase, only to have a friend / relative hop in front of me in line at the last second with his / her *own* pile of items, thereby inserting an entire full transaction before mine in the process. What the hell is that?!?! Now, don't get me wrong, this type of horseshit goes down regularly at bodegas near my apartment in Brooklyn, but it does, you just wad your two singles up into a ball, bounce it off the cashier's forehead, and shout "TAKING A GATORADE!" while walking out the door.
I regret not being better informed about good food options while I was in town. Yelp did a fairly decent job, but although I went into this trip excited about eating as much Cuban food as possible, I come home more than a bit disappointed. Maybe it's my own fault for choosing to eat food from a place that obnoxiously has "THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS CUBAN RESTAURANT" as its service mark. Long story short, I had hoped to unravel the mystery of what makes Cuban sandwiches so awesome, but now I'm all "so it's basically a ham sandwich panini, and they added pickles?" Really, who cares?
Hehehhhehheheheheh just re-read the above, and WOW that's a lot of bitching, but I swear to Jah that I had a really good time on the trip. Naptime for now, since I have to drive 100 miles north, back to Sarasota in the morning before catching my flight back to LGA. Tuddd out, for now.