Phish tour takes me to strange and exotic locales, like Weirton, WV. On Friday morning, we drove from the hills of West Virginia through the flatlands of mid-Ohio towards the corn fields of Indiana. As per usual... we hopped into Iggy's truck, cranked up the tunes, ate at Cracker Barrel, and got lost taking the backroads to Deer Creek.
Sitting in the back of Iggy's pick up, we had a Generation Kill moment. He drove like a bat out of hell while we sang cheesy soul tunes from the 70s and I pecked away on my laptop writing the review of Burgettstown.
Mr. Fabulous joined our crew and arrived at Deer Creek at noon to set up camp. He grabbed a spot at Close By Campground which boasted about a shuttle to and from the show. We rolled in super late around 5pm and were one of the last vehicles allowed inside. We scrambled to set up a big tent. Seriously, Iggy's tent was fuckin' big. It's for Shaq and Star Jones. And you could also fit in a dozen hobbits, three tour dogs, and a spun out wookie. We erected the circus tent next to his truck and secured the fucker down. I knew it could withstand wind, but we failed to add a rain tarp on top of the tent.. No cover against the rain. We fucked out out of laziness. Total rookie move on our part. As it turned out... it rained so hard that it probably wouldn't have mattered.
Yes, the weather was a factor in the lone show at Deer Creek this summer. It was a bit odd to only see a single show instead of a multi-night run. Throw in a rain delay and you had a recipe for one strange show.
We got in line for the shuttle, which was a big yellow school bus driven by a woman who looked like Shirley from What's Happening! She blasted R&B music and Keith Sweat the entire ride to the venue. We were so close that we could have walked... and we probably should have.... because we were caught in traffic for an endless amount of time.
We were drunk and restless. The bus was packed with heads and several were already sauced as they brought as much booze onto the bus as they could carry. A young girl in front of me had an entire bottle of whiskey. Space kids got shitty in traffic while another guy fired up a fatty in the back. At one point we learned the bus driver's name and began chanting it. She got all excited and decided to aggressive jump a lines to get us into the venue much faster. I tipped her $5 and kicked her down one Vicodin in appreciation of her deft driving skills. I asked her if she was single, because my buddy Daddy was looking for a rimjob after the show.
I found Daddy and his sister, who I have only met once before... at a Phish show at Deer Creek. We hung out and tried to sell a plethora of tickets that we accumulated. We had like twenty lawn seats and were practically giving them away for free. I had two extras. I miracled one heady momma on Shakedown Street because she told me her bad beat story of the tour (best friend arrested in Camden for DUI and she got her car broken into at Bonnaroo) and I handed her the lawn seat. She gave me a hug and told me that the aliens will be kind to me when they comeback to take all of the space kids back to their home planet... wherever that may be.
The other ticket? I scored two grams of bubble hash. The kid was trying to sell it to me for $60 so that was the monetary equivalent. In reality, lawn tickets were going for around $10 to $20. G-Money was hawking his extras and offering up a sweet deal, "Half price tickets! Almost free."
We scored doses from a chick with armpits hairier than mine. That's when I saw the clouds in the distance.
6/19/09 Deer Creek, Noblesville, INFirst set? 90 minutes of high octane Phish. Highlights? Moma, Wedge, and Fluffhead. The set was a well-crafted stew of new and old. Oh and a nice little debut of The Connection from the elusive Undermind album.
Set I: Backwards Down The Number Line, AC/DC Bag, Limb By Limb, Moma Dance, Water in the Sky, Split Open and Melt, Lawn Boy, Wedge, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Connection, Ocelot, Fluffhead
Set II: I Heard The Ocean Sing > Drowned > Twist, Let Me Lie, Tweezer > 2001 > Suzy Greenberg, Possum
Encore: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise
We hung out on the lawn in the middle. Good crew up there and we were smoking tuff and dancing and dosing. Towards the end of the set, the lightning storm flashed in the distance. As Fluffhead raged on, the lightning shards whipped the crowd into the frenzy. It was still dry but everyone knew a storm was coming.
Around 10pm, we finished up the end of the setbreak while everyone on the lawn marveled at the spectacular lightning. That's when there was an announcement... the show will be postponed until 11pm. They asked everyone in the pavilion to stay put and told everyone on the lawn to go back to their cars and seek shelter their. Play would resume at 11pm. Rain delay.
Mr. Fabulous scouted a place to ride out the storm... the concrete bathroom behind the lawn at the top of the hill. We waited out the storm there with 30 or so other people as tens of thousands of people spilled out into the lots. That's when everything kicked in as the sideways rain pelted everyone.
The boys resumed play at 11pm as promised and we scurried out to the lawn as the rain eased up to a light drizzle. The second set? The best set of Phish I witnessed since their triumphant return in Hampton. The low points (for me) were Ocean and Let Me Lie while everything else was pure smoke. Tweezer > 2001 > Suzy? Unreal. That's why I go to see Phish shows.
Page was on top of his game for Suzy. I can't wait to hear Mr. Keyboard Player's jamming out on that.
Sleeping Monkey was a nifty treat. A hidden gem. More Fishman singing hijinks. Trey looked like a little kid bouncin' up and down for Tweprise.
It was raining heavily during the encore and the skies emptied out as we walked out. Of course, we went out the wrong exit and had to navigate the entire moated complex to find the right parking lot... during the torrential downpour. Within seconds, we were drenched. Everything. When we finally found the bus stop, a wet drugged up anxious mob awaited the yellow bus. Security guards were practically pulling space kids off the sides of the bus in order to let the bus drive down the path towards the bus stop. A couple of wooks popped the back door and jumped inside. A security guard raced after the bus driving about 5mph as it tried not to run over any hippies. In a scene out of a movie, the security guard grabbed one wook by the dreads and pulled him out of the doorway. The security guard jumped onto the moving bus and then tossed another wook out the back door as the bus came to a halt. Unreal. All of this in a downpour.
I was one of the lucky souls who scored a spot on the bus. Iggy, Mr. Fabulous, and GMoney were all stuck waiting in the angry mob. It reminded me of the last helicopter leaving the US embassy during the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
Shirley the bus driver got lost and we headed into the darkness of the cornfields. She realized her error and blamed the "skinny cracker cop" who gave her the wrong directions. She pulled a U-turn in a cornfield and I quickly objected.
"This is how buses get stuck in the mud!" I screamed.
We eventually found our way back on the right track. She made fun of the space kids for camping outside in the rain. When one guy smoked up, she chastised him.
"You know the rules, don't smoke weed unless you bring enough for everyone!"
When I walked back to our camp, our entire tent was flooded and turned into the 9th Ward. We were forced to sleep in the truck. My phone was dead, I was on the version of hypothermia, and the drugs were wearing off. But... I couldn't have been happier. I witnessed the best show of the tour since Asheville and more importantly, my entire stash was miraculously dry. Small simple pleasures.
Next stop... Alpine Valley.