I tried not to write this post. I’ll admit I was in denial about the community’s interest as far back as August 15th. Yet, time and time again, articles, editorials, and tweets all rose to the top at the mere mention of the 18-year old, Justin Bieber, and the band we always try our best to cover in depth every Friday, Phish. This particular off-season for Phish has been interconnected with the pop culture star in the oddest, yet most interesting of ways. The culprit, Mr. Dan Kanter, Musical Director and guitarist for Justin Bieber. Let’s timeline the events to see how it’s transpired and evolved.
June 11, 2011 – Reports surface on the internet that Dan Kanter teased a few notes from Phish’s “Divided Sky” at a recent Justin Bieber show in Saratoga, CA. Clip at 4:30 [VIDEO]
February 17, 2011 – Rolling Stone quotes Kanter talking about Justin and the Vermont jamband: “He’s also going through a huge Beatles phase right now, and I’m trying to teach him about Phish and how great they are. We actually met Trey [Anastasio] at a show. He brought his daughter to see a Bieber show, and what a world colliding there that was. Scooter [Bieber’s manager], said to Justin, “This is the reason why all my friends dropped out of college.”
August 15, 2012 – Dan Kanter brings Justin Bieber to his first Phish show along with his girlfriend, Selena Gomez in Long Beach, CA. The Hollywood Reporter picks up the story. Glowsticks are indeed thrown.
August 16, 2012 – Word begins to spread amongst the Phish community that Chris Kuroda, lighting director for Phish, might help in the design of Justin Bieber’s upcoming fall tour while Phish is on break. The request of none other than Dan Kanter. A likely reason why Justin attended the Phish in Long Beach.
Aug – Sep 2012 – Phish destroys their Second Leg of their Summer Tour. Phans are in a euphoric state coming off the tour closing Dicks shows. Dan Kanter attends the shows in Denver, further cementing his status as a “true fan.”
September 15, 2012 – Confirmed via Twitter. @DanKanter gets Chris Kuroda to join the social networking site as @ChrisCK5. Reports that CK5 will be on the Bieber Tour as Lighting Director prove accurate. Some have even reported that Kanter made sure the tour didn’t conflict with Phish’s upcoming dates.
September 29, 2012 – Justin Bieber kicks off his North American Tour by puking on stage. Was the fever induced by CK5’s new light show? We’ll never know.
October 5, 2012 - Kanter teases “Divided Sky” during a Bieber gig in Fresno, CA. (13:40 mark in clip)
October 6, 2012 – Kanter teases “Sand” and “First Tube” into a segue of Bieber’s “Love Me Like You Do” and “She Don’t Like the Light.” (4:30 and 5:35 mark for the teases)
October 7, 2012 – Kanter continues the teases with the Fluffhead segment, “Bundle of Joy.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reviews the Justin Bieber performance which cites Phish and Chris Kuroda. “The MVP on the technical side was Phish lighting director Chris Kuroda, who made the whole of Oracle Arena look and feel like the inside of a pinball machine. Excellent work.”
October 8, 2012 - @phishnet tweets that Kanter ends the Bieber show with a Lizards quote. Dan Kanter confirms. Kanter posts on Phish message board, Phantasy Tour. Promises “Tweezer” later that night and also delivers. Video of “Tweezer” and “2001” teases. (:13 Mark.)
Tom Marshall, longtime Phish lyricist joins the Twitter discussion later that night. Laughs about Bieber being incorporated into Phish’s midnight gag this year.
October 9, 2012 – The Phish community on twitter begin requesting Phish songs for Kanter to tease at upcoming Bieber gigs. A hashtag is even coined, #PHIEBER. Entertainment Weekly, Gawker, and MTV pick up the story.
October 10, 2012 – Phish fans begin the early signs of paranoia as they realize the chance of Phish incorporating a Bieber gag or Bieber himself into their upcoming #YEMSG run has increased. The jokes turn to fear. Is Antelope Greg going to have to fight off a group of thirteen-year-old Beliebers?
All joking aside, what works about this Phish / Bieber connection is simple. It’s rooted in one man’s love for Phish. Something we as fans of music and the band can certainly relate to. He hasn’t just seen a show or two — he gets “IT.” Dan Kanter is attending the upcoming NYE shows in New York City. Your guess is as good as mine if he’ll bring Justin along. He’s free that night unless Selena has already made his plans for him.
And to the folks complaining about the people talking about Justin Bieber, lighten up. And to the people talking about it, shut up.