“This One Goes to Eleven—My First Eleven Shows” by Ryan Baird
After being shut out at my first phish show 4/4/98, getting arrested days before the Lemonwheel, and missing the first set of this show due to traffic on I-95, I was not off to a good start to my phish show career. This second set trifecta was just what I needed to be hooked for life.
“Gumbo” 11.28.98 I, Worcester, MA
For the first night of the tour finale [the night before] I found myself in a familiar place, on the outside looking in. Things were not looking good for this noob, but once again, these first notes I heard [on night two] reaffirmed that I was in the right place.
“Bathtub Gin” 11.29.98 II, Worcester, MA
$$$, I got IT for the first time.
“Foreplay/Longtime” 7.12.99 I, Mansfield, MA
I was beginning to understand that Phish could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, with a bit of humor, and completely nail it. This was my first outdoor show, I was front row, and the place exploded for this one.
My first festi of any type, and I was in way over my head. Completely broke after about five minutes of being on lot, but happy as I could ever be. There’s nothing that compares to the vibe of a Phish festival, and this opening sequence set the tone for the weekend.
“Runaway Jim” 7.18.99 II, Volney, NY
“It was so hot!” was the understatement of the year. I can remember the start of this set, and thinking that I can’t believe that they’re going to play another set after this one. Festivals are sometimes overwhelming and after my first one, I was happy to have made it out alive.
I honestly do not remember seeing the CCCC “Halley’s.” This might be one of the best jams that I was in attendance for but have no recollection of. And since it gets so much love around here, I don’t need to restate the obvious. However, I do remember the encore, which I thought was bitchin’!
“The Lizards” 12.8.99 II, Portland, ME
After hearing Trey’s thesis and listening to Great Woods ’94 a few times that fall, I had greater appreciation for the epic tale. This was my first real trip to Gamehenge that I can remember to this day. I think that Trey’s solo might be my favorite piece of composed phish.
“Sand” 12.13.99 II, Providence, RI
After hearing it for the first time live a week earlier in Portland, I was hooked. “Sand” has remained my favorite song since December of 1999. This version is pure fire, and foreshadowed what was to happen at my next show/festi.
“Light Up or Leave Me Alone” 12.30.99 I, Big Cypress, FL
“Water in the Sky” got everyone’s attention and “Light Up” set the place on fire. This special event needs the Shapiro treatment, asap. The swamp is one of my most cherished memories, every aspect, especially the amount of music they packed into two days.
“After Midnight Reprise” 12.31.99 II, Big Cypress, FL
The birth of my children, getting married to an amazing woman, and “After Midnight.” There are special moments in life, but as far as Phish goes this one can’t be beat. The vibe circulating within my friends, the crowd, everyone in the Everglades was pure bliss. Phish was sending a clear message, and I was pickin’ up what they were puttin’ down!
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