Getting to this show was more exhausting than the actual show itself – highlights included sort of squatting in an apartment somewhere in southeast Chicago, a card game called Montana or Montoya (we could never figure it out) and being circled by Hell’s Angels in a McDonald’s parking lot. It was summer, desolately hot. I was 20 years old. Perhaps this could be an entire post about everything BUT the show- I contemplated demonstrating different dance styles before starting this, but that is an entirely different story. Also another thing – I’ve been to a dozen or so Phish shows. I don’t have any photographs or memorabilia other than ticket stubs and a few instructional concert flyers. I have Paul Languedoc’s (he made the band’s guitars) autograph somewhere too.
A few observations before starting the review in earnest- Bong rips on the tollway are never a good idea, ever. The Hell’s Angels seem relatively harmless when in transit. They’re like, a big school of perch. Small, many and completely allusive to laws of any sort. Where will they be next? Who knows. Parking lot of McDonald’s, maybe. More of a revelation may be the fact that the Hell’s Angel actually eat food let alone fast food. Also to note -young, impressionable college types will buy psychedelic mushrooms called, “Colorado Golden Reds” at inflated street prices. I told my friends later they’re just lucky that they weren’t poisonous when it became apparent that they were not getting psychedelic from their purchased fungus. And I will also remember fondly, who at the beginning of the show, with “Chalkdust Torture” revving up my roommate said to me, “This is it! This is why it’s all worth it!” I had never been so happy to be twenty years old and exhausted as the band shifted into second gear. After that moment, everything went downhill. Let’s begin with the review of the show. It’s just links! Haha. I point out a few highlights below them. Stay with me.
I could try to go song for song as a review but shit, this was twenty years ago. I can hardly remember twenty days ago. The general impression I am left with, so many years later, is that I wanted it to be great. I wanted it to be a summer blowout. Sure, the show had its high points and listening to it twenty years later from the comfort of my Spotify account it’s easy to gush. But when I think back to that night, I just wan’t feeling it. By the time Purple Rain touched down I felt lost and homesick. It wasn’t like I could text my mom or place a cell phone call. I couldn’t even find a pay phone. I remember being jealous of all the kids that would take off after the show and be home, safe and sound. Me? I had the tollway to look forward to.
One weird thing from the show though. I remember this distinctly. Trey announcing midsong –
“with aaahh five minutes left in the third quarter… cardinals three…bears ten”
They keep rolling “Daniel Saw the Stone” with no reaction from audience at all. Either everyone was too far gone or Phish just wasn’t that big of a deal yet for people to care about a random sports announcement even if it was the home team. Probably just the pre-season game anyway.