Sunday, November 29, 2009
Phish with Earplugs
Though I was a poor college student, I managed to make it to see Phish whenever they came to the general vicinity (as long as you consider the "general vicinity" within a six hour driving radius...) From my freshman year on, I had not missed a Philly show, nor very many of the Pittsburgh shows. For each of these, I committed at least four hours of driving time to and from the show, not to mention a lot of missed showers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for meals (which are really delicious when you are very very hungry, by the way.)
This summer, the first summer I have been in Baltimore during a Phish tour, they played in Columbia Maryland, just 45 minutes from my residence. No hours in traffic, no sleeping in a friend's basement on a floor required. And I missed it. We didn't get tickets in the pre-sale, we missed out on tickets in the actual sale, and despite committing four hours to drinking pitchers of less than stellar beer in order to win a drawing, we did not win tickets. I was very very sad.
So, when the Fall Tour was announced, I was there. I missed out on pre-sale tickets again and was prepared to miss yet another tour. We attempted Madison Square Garden tickets, and once again, they sold out before we were able to score a pair of seats. So, despite the inconvenience of weeknight shows in Philly, we widened our search. Lo and behold we got seats!!...Section 109 for night #1 and Section 209 for night #2!!
Again, I can't explain the joy with which I awaited the beginning notes of Set #1. Normally, I attempt to guess what songs will be played, or rather, what songs I want to hear. But for once, I didn't care at all. I was just so happy to be there, despite having to leave early from work and battle construction traffic and rush hour traffic and traffic for traffic's sake.
The set began with "Chalkdust Torture", a song that demands to know, "Can't it wait till I'm old, Can't I live while I'm young?" and I laughed to myself as the crowd cheered during the refrain. "Am I still young?" I thought. The members of Phish sang this song, as they have for over 20 years, and I realized it has taken on new meaning for me. I no longer rejoice in youth, but rather, rejoice in the present. I no longer wonder, what comes next? But think to myself, hey this here is pretty cool. I listened. I enjoyed. I raced to the car through the parking lot in order to grab about four hours of sleep before work in the morning.
Like the many Phish fans who used to arrive in two door hatchbacks with questionable axles and cheap tires, I got into my newish reliable four door and got into line with mini vans and SUV's, ready to do it again the next day. I'm a little older, a little wiser, but still crazy enough to drive a few hours for a show.