Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PHISH SPAC 8/17/09 - The Golden Ticket

Wow, last night was like a musical ice cream sundae complete with gooey chocolate sauce, nuts, whipped cream and a big cherry. It got better with each bite. It's really hard to put into words what I heard last night. I wanted to give my report as a PHISH live show noob. And, Wow what a show to pop a cherry too.

First I'm by no means a trained musician. Secondly I can only name a handful of Phish tunes, and if you guessed Bouncing Round the Room is one you're a winner. I don't know the abbreviations except for those I've figured out. It was only today I realized what this YEM is all about. I had no idea it was the trampoline song even though i saw the Saturday night simulcast of Coventry and remembered them giving away the trampolines.

When, I landed lawn seats for Phish I was excited for a couple of reasons. First of all I was going to be able to catch up with Dr Pauly who I had never been to any kind of a show with and who I hadn't seen since the last time I was in Las Vegas ( June 2007). Short of California Rob & Toni who I took in Coventry with I don't know of anyone more Phishy. Who better to guide me to the mothership. Second, it was a concert in my own backyard. Third, most artists generally dig Saratoga and play their asses off here. And of course BFF Kim was also going to experience her first Phish show and we've been to tons of shows together over the years.

I met up with Pauly and his buddy Bruce and they in turn met Kim about 5 PM or so. I knew a surprise was in store for me based on a text the good Dr had sent me from Merriweather. So when he handed me a golden ticket for the pavillion lower level which upgraded me from the lawn (steerage class) I was tickled and grateful. Thanks 100x Pauly you are the best. I even offered to take his balcony seat so he could see them from the lower level but he was insistent I take in my first show as close as I could get. Thanks to a girl we ran into in the lot, Pauly had traded an extra Merriweather for the SPAC. Lindsay was sweet and gave me a hug and told me I was cool as most deadheads scorn her. Yes, I guess some of my Deadhead brothers and sisters look down on phans and can be a bit snooty, heck I've heard hardcore Max Creek fans diss both Phish and the Grateful Dead over on our message board there. Which is weird since Scott plays with Mike Gordon in his band, and Bill Kreutzmann in BK3. But the convo of warring musical factions can wait for another discussion.

We wandered around Shakedown Street which was actually in the West lot off Rte 50 across from the Main Lot and where my SUV was actually parked. As we headed into the show the skies opened up. Kim and I had run into a brief rain shower crossing the twin bridges after I met her and her hubby at the half way point between our houses. She was going to ride back home with her son/my nephew Zack who spent the night up in the lower Adirondacks with friends before heading to Phish. I miscalculated that that would be the last rain shower, but with humidity 90% I should have expected it. I figured it would be no more then a 3-5 minute rain shower ala Colorado on a summer afternoon. Nope, it rained solidly for 15-20 minutes and I was wet to the bone. My golden ticket was now in two pieces as the driest place I could think of was my bra. Not sure why i didn't put it back in my purse. Yup, I went to Phish with a pocketbook and Coach Sunglasses (they are prescription trifocals for what its worth). I just decided to roll with it. I mean when it rains jump in the mud and splash in the puddles.

Kim was already in as she left us on Shakedown to catch-up with Zack, and went in early. She was under cover in the bathroom and didn't get wet at all. I took Bruce's cell phone so it didn't get ruined. Pauly and Bruce went up, I went down and we agreed to meet up at set break.

I didn't listen to ton's of Phish prior to the show to immerse/familiarize myself and I haven't read Mr Miner's review or any reviews other then Pauly's . I wanted to experience each song without any outside influences that could sway me . And it was kind of cool being alone because I could just get into it. I didn't even ask anyone what the songs name's were. Although I figured out Possum and Ocelot. I had fairly cool people around me although I had to boot someone from my seat when I first got there. Young dude was like, "I figured this would happen". Another dude was in the right row wrong seat. I wound up with a big tall dude in front of me as usual but he moved to the other side of a girl eventually, the better to feel her up, I think. I had two blonde, PYT's directly behind me who sat together and for most of the show they looked bored and like they took a wrong way heading to a Jonas Brothers concert. Not sure why they were there as they were definitely out of place and taking the seat of someone who really wanted to be there.

At set break Pauly asked me what I thought. I of course loved Possum and I was like, I loved the funky second song. Now I know its MOMA dance. I named some lyrics from another one that followed Ocelot and Pauly said Antelope. As Mountain Laura would say we had an Oce-lope. I asked, what about the song after Moma Dance with the lights? : Guyute. That one blew me away because the musicianship there was incredible to me. The song seemed to have four layers that swirled and spun and melded into a kaleidescopic jamgasm. Plus there were those weird off notes or chords like a signature lick. No idea if that even makes sense to the reader, and I was stone cold sober. The only slow 5 minutes was the Trey ballad. It didn't really belong in the mix, it being the only real slow number they played all night. I likened it to Jerry launching into Stella Blue after a rip stopping Scarlet/Fire/Estimated/Eyes of the World. We then went in search of bathrooms and water to drink. I said goodbye to Pauly and Bruce as I had to leave right after the show for a long 9.5 hour day of work in the AM. UGH.

Second set, I was still making my way into the shed because the line for food and water was ridiculous and long, and I headed to the bathroom during set-opener Backwards down the Number Line. One of the other songs I can name without asking. I got back to my seat and situated and was all ready when they launched into one of my favorite songs Haley's Comet. I love the harmonization in that song and its fun lyrics. Thought it was hysterical when a middle aged man in a dress ran around the stage high-fiving the front row, kicking his heels up with Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl (and he liked it). Clearly the band was enjoying itself. I'm pretty sure it was during the lights of Harpua that I saw sunflowers and the phish logo ala a bumper sticker along with the circles on fishman's dress. And of course I now know YEM is the trampoline song and an abbreviation!! And how can I forget the cover of Lou Reed & the Velvet Underground's Rock and Roll. I often quote his lyrics from Great American Whale:
Don't believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear

I like Grind. I love the harmonies. that isn't easy and I'd like to see any other current day band sing in key like that without instruments. Plus I figured out the numbers must change each time they do it and its the number of days they have been living. Highway to Hell was a scorcher closer and I left wanting more. I didn't get my Ya Mar or First Tube but I got my Haley's.

I can honestly say I was on my feet the entire time except once to take off my wet Birkenstocks. I earned three blisters and my feet were throbbing so hard this morning, that next time I think i have to wear my sneakers and orthotics. I wanted to chop them off at the ankles this morning when I got out of bed. Plus I have a case of wook foot. I also have a sore neck from flailing around and space dancing, jumping and jiving and I'm still hearing tunes in my head. Those two sets flew by at warp speed. Kim loved it too, although she said she wouldn't go out on tour to follow them like we did in our hardcore Grateful Dead days. She would see them up to a handful of times a year.

I''ll have a cross post up over on Irongirl blog in the next day or two which will have some preshow stuff, the lot scene and my rant on how you cant get of SPAC easily after a concert and they should have used some money to add a few exits when they renovated!! Plus look for a delayed Gathering of the Vibes day trip report (held off for phishing season) here. And guess what?? I have tickets to see The Mike Gordon Band play in Woodstock on 09/11/09 at the 250 seat Bearsville Theater so stay tuned to Get Bassed!!


Dr. Pauly said...

Glad you finally got to see Phish! And I'm happy that you had a blast.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Julius_Goat said...

Awesome writeup, IG. Here's to many future shows for you (and me too).