Monday, June 13, 2011

Phishtisical Improbability

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.

4 comments:

Mel said...

SO JEALOUS!!!! The closest Phish comes to me this summer is the UIC run in August -- which is sold out -- and just days before I go back to school. Still trying to decide whether I should be responsible and just pass on Phish for the summer or throw caution to the wind, screw getting ready to go back to work, and just go phishing. ACK!

CaraBee said...

That's awesome! Glad you had such a good time. I guess the Phish gods were smiling on you! :)

ape2016 said...

I used to live at concerts as a teenager. Back in the stone ages (1987, you had to smuggle cameras into concerts and they were *gasp* film cameras! Once kept a little kodak 120 stuffed in my bra that flopped out of my half shirt when I all but jumped the drummer of Skid Row. Anyhoo, I have a photo album full of photos of blurry lights from all the concerts where I was too far away to see the show and close ups of the band when we met them backstage...ok, so I was kind of a groupie. Hey, I used to be quite the looker! BTW, I think you should try the lotto, considering the odds you have been beating lately!

Katie said...

Hey! I've been to Merriweather Post Pavillion! I saw Death Cab for Cutie a couple years ago, and last summer I saw MGMT. The MGMT concert was the best concert I've ever been to!