Suppose there is a Phish Show near your home theater. Your "Home Theater" is the one closest to your house, and really any theater within a two hour radius. As a younger person, my home theaters were in PA - Hershey or State College or Pittsburgh, and NJ - Camden (which is just outside of Philly). Now, my home theater centers around Baltimore, so we have the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, followed by the Philadelphia area venues. At your "Home Theater" you are more likely to randomly run into someone you know, and you are increasingly less likely to meet an acquaintance at a show that is further away. So let's say, for arguments sake, that you know 1% of the population at your "next of kin" home theater. Out of 25,000 people at the Show, you know 250 of them. But, at your "extended family" theater, you know, like, half that many. Say 125.
Narrowing further, there are only 12,500 seats under the pavilion, so you might know as many as 62.5 of those people. (I always feel bad for that extra fraction of a person...) Anyway, the odds of you sitting RIGHT NEXT to someone you know, without any pre-meditated planning, according to my calculations, is about 0.000000002. It's like one in a billion. Or one in a billion billion. (Full disclosure: I actually got a D in Statistics. Eh.) The point is, it's statistically unlikely (I am like 70 percent sure) that you would be assigned a seat in a show of thousands, next to a person you know. But that is what happened at Phish Show #1.
Phish Show #2 was the normal, enjoyable experience of a typical show, with nothing more statistically amazing than my normal ability to telepathically connect with the band and tell them what song to play. We danced in the lawn with the rest of the sweaty hippies, and at one point I caught a glow stick with a cup of beer, because I had two beers and was unable to deflect the glow.
Phish Show #3? We didn't get Lawn Seats. We didn't get section 200 tiered seats. We didn't even get section 100, front row seats. We got "General Admission Pit". Yes, after a combined 65 shows, Adam and I were selected at random to be in the pit with 150 of our closest friends. (I am 80 percent sure that getting into the pit is statistically less likely than sitting next to a person you know.) It was amazing to be close enough to the band to practically look up their noses. Alas, I feared for my camera and didn't bring it inside. I did have my phone, and I proceeded to take some low resolution crappy pics:
Y'all may not appreciate this, but seriously, go out there with a camera that does not zoom or flash, and just try to get something decent. Only then will you understand how freakishly close to the front we had to be. Also the show was super. Who needs music videos when you can get the real thing??
Last, but not least, the odds that I would remember my phone, get service to the phone in a crowd of thousands, AND have enough battery power to take 25 pictures? It's not just improbable, it's damn near impossible. One in a billion trillion.
Excuse me while I go to play the lottery.