Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Story Time with Tom Marshall
Every now and then, Tom Marshall will make a special appearance on Phantasy Tour under the handle "SimpleTwist", and tell everyone a story related to Phish. Yesterday evening someone posted a thread requesting his presence, and sure enough, around midnight he posted:
"ok -- this story -- it looks like one big run-on sentence to me now...I'd change it...but I won't...
I was on deadline -- Phish Inc. called me and asked me to write something about 12/31/95
Going Onstage 12/31/95
[this originally appeared on the Phish.com website as part of the online "Doniac Schvice" newsletter promoting the release of the 12/31/95 New Year's CDs -- in late 2005 I think]
The boys just make it look too easy. I suppose when you start with two people in your audience, and work your way up to an average audience size of around 20,000 over ten years, you get used to it. But on the evening of December 31, 1995, I definitely was wishing that I somehow was used to it. I was alone, trembling in the pit – ready to charge onstage to sing “Shine” by Collective Soul as part of the Gamehendge/New Years story. Trey had told me to come on for “the story part” in Forbin. Trouble was, I had no idea what he was talking about. You see, I was so nervous, nothing registered with me. I wisely had written the lyrics on my hand, and that was the one bit of comfort I had: no matter what happens, I’m not going to forget the words. I withdrew into that happy place…knowing that I would be all right as long as I could get the words out. But now that I was there, side stage…my heart pounding through my shirt, and each armpit just gushing sweat…a new panic confronted me: when the HELL am I supposed to go on? What song IS this? Will Trey signal me? Does he even remember I’m here? He’s forgotten…thank god. They’ve already played Forbin, right? Maybe one of these gentlemen will know… Looking around me though, I found no helping friendly person with all the answers. In fact, one of the crew had clearly noticed my impending breakdown and walked up to me holding a 50-pound coil of electrical cabling: “when you go onstage, give this to Trey” he shouted. I nodded and grabbed it obligingly, thinking “a favor for a favor…maybe he will now let me know when to go on…” Needless to say, the backstage crew just pointed and laughed at me for holding this immense coil like an idiot until someone finally came up and grabbed it from me: “Gimme that!” Then I realized the joke…and right then, Trey signaled me to come on…and right then the lights changed…the audience roared…and I forgot my lines. But when faced with Page’s happy smirk, Trey’s excited welcoming gestures, Mike’s encouraging nod and…above all…Fish’s HUGE ear-to-ear grin…it all came back. Right at the last second. Right when I stepped up to the mic…and began an almost yearly tradition of singing offbeat songs at Phish’s whim. A tradition, I must add, that I treasured dearly and miss deeply. People afterwards said I looked happy and calm. Well…the truth is: yes, happier than ever before…and no, not even close."