So eight years later and with slightly more lucid vision we went to see Phish. We arrived on site five hours before the show was scheduled to start and took a walk down to Shakedown Street. Shakedown, a Grateful Dead verbiage, is the area where Phish Tour people sell the things they sell, to get the phunds they need to get to the next show. Phans back their vans and set up tents making walkways of Phish inspired tee shirts, ganja goo balls, glass art, crystals, jewelry, sweaters, stained glass, patch work clothes, grill cheese sandwiches, fajitas, pizzas and lots of ice cold beer and water. We set up our LL Bean Sleeping bag and watched the madness unfold.
The line in Dazed and Confused “I get older, they stay the same age” could not be more spot on to describe the scene. Nothing has changed, the dynamics are the same, the interactions, the spirit but with different people and different distractions. There were still hacky sacks (back to the 90’s much) and I saw some devil sticks but to my great amusement a prop that is becoming popular at my local gym was a major presence, hoola hoops! Ribbony psychedelic ones. The fairy winged girls were all about the hoolahoop tricks, still wearing their knee high rainbow colored or argyle socks and barely anything else. I was mesmerized by one gorgeous nymph with bare pert breasts and a loin cloth tirelessly hoolahooping in the lot.
The first show I ever ‘got taken to’ was in 2000 at Radio City Music Hall. In retrospect that is an amazing first show experience venue. Not all venues are created equal and not all sites are as clean as Radio City Music Hall. Darien Lake in Buffalo is a dirty show, can’t be clean after that one. Luckily I already knew I was going to have a blast and knew my limitations on how to have a good time.
So this is my theory on how to have an awesome time at a Phish show. Just dance. Seriously.
I don’t know all the songs, I don't know the story behind the story or what they covered, I have no idea why one of them wears a dress, why they sometimes play a vacuum (yeah as if it's an instrument!) or why there are trampolines on stage at some shows. When they start playing some long 'hippy jam' I feel like scratching my actual brain out, sometimes.
Dancing like a wet noodle is fun. I had a fantastic show. Great experience. The band was more sober and even though it took about 48 hours to feel normal again I can’t wait to go to some of their West Coast shows in the fall.
Here is a link to Dr. J’s favorite Phish blogger about the show at Darien Lake- This guy knows the story behind the story.