If you find yourself with a ticket to a show this summer, but nobody to go with, just go, because who knows what could happen.
I’ve only arrived to one Phish show alone—11.17.97—and it fundamentally changed the course of my life. I graduated in Spring ’97 and come Fall, my closest show-going cohorts of ’95 and ’96 were off doing other things. Thus, Fall ’97 represented a transition in my Phish life. I planned to do different parts of the tour with different friends, and I was planning on going to the Denver shows with my non-Phish buddy, Leaguer. After a particularly hectic first night, suffice it to say, he had no desire to go back to the circus. Thus, I brewed up some mushroom tea at his Boulder apartment, put it in a Nalgene bottle for the show and headed down to Denver on my own.
I had a floor ticket for the evening, but when I went to my seat, I noticed plenty open up ahead. I walked up a section or two and found an aisle seat, asked if it was taken and sat down. As is usually the case, these guys told me they weren’t in their seats either, but I was welcome to stay there. We talked before the show for a while, officially meeting each other. Then the lights dropped and the infamous first set started with “Tweezer.” Taking gargantuan Phish jams to the dome one after another, we all bounced behind the seats into the larger space in between sections and blew it up. After the set ended, a bunch of their friends found their way to the floor and I met a series of people that I would never remember the next day, let alone the next hour. I hung out with the original two people I had met for the whole show, said good bye and went on my way back to Leaguer’s.
Fast-forward to Cleveland two weeks later. In a story far too absurd to get into, I broke away from the girl I went to the show found a platform to rage on my own. In the middle of the first set someone surprised me by saying my name and passing me a bowl. I turned around, not recognizing the person at all, and he explained that he had met me back in Denver during setbreak. Things immediately made sense and we hung out and raged the set together. For reasons still to absurd to get into, I had every desire to find some some new people to hang out with, and joined them behind the stage during setbreak to puff joints. I re-met the same guy and girl—Jon and Sarah—that I sat next to in Denver. I continued meeting people from their extensive group of friends—all from their hometown—and I got along well with all of them. I wound up hanging out with some form of their group of friends for the next couple shows before they hopped off. Good peeps.
Fast Forward to Europe ’98. Jon—the original guy I met in Denver—was spending the summer in Prague, and we met up at The Grey Hall on the first night of tour in Copenhagen. As we introduced each other to our respective friends, one of the guys I met that night became my tour comrade and co-psychonaut through 2009, and one of the girls I met became my wife. Ever since that Europe tour, I, more or less, merged with their extensive group of friends for the duration of 1.0, 2.0, beyond Phish tour, and still to this day.
SO…if you don’t have a partner in crime for any given Phish show this summer, you should go anyway—you just might find your wife!
NEW TO PHISH?
Everyone was a noob at one point, and we all sought information about the scene from anywhere and everywhere. Just recently, fan, Brent Nichols, sent me a link to “Phish: A Guide For Beginners” that he had written. If you’re reading this blog, odds are you don’t need to read his, but his piece serves as a great resource for that person in your life who just won’t listen to you about your favorite band. Check it out…Tags: 1997, Culture