Posts Tagged ‘Phish’

Disclaimer: This post really doesn’t have anything at all to do with the trip; it has to do with Phish and the band’s effect on me (an in a way, my love of travel) and how excited I am that they are back together playing live tonight. Feel free to read on or skip, no offense taken.

All the way back before we left for the trip, on the morning of October 1st, coincidentally both mine and Megan’s first day “off” after our last days of work on September 30, I woke up, checked my email, and saw an email I had been so excited about seeing since August 15, 2004. PHISH UPDATE was who the email was from. PHISH TO PLAY THREE CONCERTS was the subject line. The phone started ringing, the texts started flying, the message boards were clogged. I even wrote a blog post about it that morning ().

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I’ve been a HUGE Phish phan since high school. People who aren’t into them just don’t get how someone (or in this case, 10’s of thousands) of people can be so into a band to follow them around the country going to show after show after show.

And really, it’s kind of hard to explain. The best way I can explain, for myself, is that I’ve honestly NEVER felt the excitement and anticipation I feel when I’m at a Phish show. When I’m standing there, amongst friends and thousands of strangers all there to get their minds blown for the next 3 hours, and those lights go down, and the four of them walk on stage, it’s a feeling I just don’t get from anything else. I love sports, I love traveling, I love many things, but as far as experiences go, nothing touches a Phish show for me.

It’s special. It’s something magical. And until you experience it, you just don’t “get it”. I started getting into them in high school, rabidly collecting tapes of their live concerts. I finally saw them for the first time in 1996. I was already hooked before I saw them live, but seeing them live for the first time had me addicted. Literally addicted to their music. I couldn’t get enough.

The next summer solidified my addiction. One of my best friends, Zach, along with two of our other friends were driving to the northern most part of Maine for a 2 day, 6 set, Phish festival. I was 19 years old, just finished my first year of college, had never really done much traveling, and I was intrigued. After talking to my parents and getting the thumbs up; they even let us drive their minivan (probably not their wisest decision), I was in. The four of were off, first to NYC to visit another friend, and then up to Limestone, Maine, near the Canadian border, to an air force base that would serve as the concert ground, camping, and parking lot for the weekend (Limestone is a place Megan and I would return to for another Phish festival in 2003). You know you kinda like a band when you’re willing to drive 1500 miles (one way) on two separate occasions to see them and only them.

It was a weekend that truly changed my life, as I was not only addicted to this band, but also to travel. I loved the excitement, the not-knowingness (yeah, I know it’s not a word), the anticipation, the newness, the sights, the sounds, really just everything about it. It was my first soiree into traveling, and I loved it.

I would go on the next few years planning my vacations around Phish shows. It doesn’t sound too appealing to the common person, and people at work always raised an eyebrow before I would take off for a week of vacation.

Coworker/Boss: “So, Adam, where are you going on vacation?”

Me: “Well, first I’m going to Bonner Springs, which is right outside of Kansas City, then I’m heading back here to St. Louis, then up to East Troy, which is in Wisconsin, then to Noblesville, Indiana, right outside of Indianapolis, then to Colombus, Ohio. Then I’m heading home.”

Coworker/Boss: Blank stare

But that’s how it was. It didn’t matter where they were playing, just that they were playing. Phish fans get giddy when hearing the words Alpine, Deer Creek, the Gorge, Camden (yeah, New Jersey), Burlington, Plattsburgh, Worcester, Limestone, Big Cypress, Hampton, Madison Square Garden. We all know exactly what that means, even though it seems like nonsense to 98% of people. But for us, it fires us up. It gets us excited. It brings back memories.

I know this sounds crazy, and this may change some people’s views of me, but my BIGGEST regret in life is not going to Phish’s Millenium New Year’s Eve celebration down in the Florida Everglades. Biggest mistake I’ve made. Now while most think that not going to a concert is something minor in one’s life, I like to think it means I’ve had a damn good life if my biggest regret is not going to a concert. But I honestly do think about that often, still, almost 10 years later, and I truly regret not going.

After calling it quits in 2004, and for good reason, Phish was done. It seemed like, after 21 years, the band had run its course. They were all older, they had different priorities, they had issues and demons to deal with. But we all knew, deep down, that it couldn’t be the end. When 4 musicians have the talent and connectedness that Trey, Mike, Jon, and Page have, and they are only in their early 40’s, it just can’t be the end.

So while they all did what they had to do for 4+ years, whether that be getting clean, playing with other musicians, getting their family lives in line, disbanding the huge organization they had created over the last 21 years, it became time again. Time for them to take the stage. They were ready to come back and do it right this time, not like their last “break”. All signs point to them coming back for all the right reasons, and that’s to make great music together and have a great time doing it.

So tonight, Phish takes the stage at the mothership, the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, for the first time since the disaster that was their “last” show in northern Vermont in 2004. And for 12,000 lucky phans, they will get their minds blown, their faces melted, their dance on. There will be hugs, high fives, screaming, yelling, and utter mayhem when the lights go down tonight.

As for me, I will be going out in Bogota, Colombia for some dinner and a few beers. But we’ll be back in our hostel around midnight, where I’ll be downloading the show, without seeing a setlist, and listening to it in our hostel room. It won’t be Hampton, but that’s OK. I am just so excited for everyone in attendance and so stoked that my favorite band is back, that I will see them again. It’s consolation for me knowing it won’t be long until I’m back in the US this fall, seeing Phish, and I will again “feel the feeling I forgot”.



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What a great first morning.  Yesterday was our last day of work, so there is no way we should be up right now, but I woke up at my normal time.  I thought that maybe I should stay in bed for a while since I didn’t have to work.  But I was awake, and there were things on my mind, so I thought I’d get up.

During the day yesterday, there was rampant speculation about a Phish reunion that was imminent.  So I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t thinking about that when I woke up this morning (I’m a HUGE geek when it comes to Phish).  So I open up the computer and go to my email.  When I saw the email from Elis Godard, I got a smile on my face as big as can be.  “Phish reunion” was part of the subject line.  Something I’ve been hoping to see since 8/15/2004.  They’re back.  Hampton, VA–March 6, 7, and 8.  Best first day off EVER!

Now this brings up quite the dilemma.  We’re supposed to be on our trip in March.  Probably somewhere in South America.  But I WILL try to get tickets to these shows.  And if for some reason I do, well, we’ll just have to go from there.  Hopefully I’m still alive after my lovely wife reads this post.  If I am not able to get tickets, I’ll be kind of torn.  It will honestly be nice not to have to worry about even trying to convince my wife to come back to the States for a concert (even though she knows this isn’t just any other concert–now don’t judge, us Phish phans are a wacky, kind of insane group of people).  But chances are I won’t get tickets, so if now, then I’ll another great thing to look forward to when we get back.

What a start to our first day off.  I can’t imagine better news.  The Phish is back, and even though chances are that I won’t see them during any of their reunion shows, I now know that I will see them again, and there’s not much that can make me happier than saying that.  So welcome back, boys.  We’ve missed you.  Here’s to those 17 more years you promised us back in the fall of 2000.

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