Friday, June 25, 2010

The Phish Concert

I previously remarked that the concert was amazing, but I'd like to briefly elaborate on my experience. "Experience" is the word of choice here. The event was about more than just the music for me. It was a rare opportunity to glimpse into an alternative way of life. I sincerely doubt that I would have attended a Phish concert but for movie.girl's invitation. Oh I've heard of the band before, but I had not yet been exposed to their music nor would I have anticipated so. Really, it's not my "scene."

So, the scene in question. We got there about 1:15 before kick-off and found ourselves in a long line of cars in search of parking. We ended up leaving the car at a Motel 8 about 0.5 mile (guesstimating) from the venue.. for $25. And that was the best/only nearby option at the time.

At least part of the reason for the jam was a Cirque du Soleil performance being held less than 1 mile from the concert venue. Wonderful planning that one. Parking that otherwise would have been free instead featured a large tent. And more cars.

After parking, tailgating. *Everyone* was tailgating. If you weren't tailgating, you weren't attending the concert. Once inside, I better understood at least part of the reason. Inside the gates, 2 beers and 1 water cost a total of $28. Very ugly.

Once we reached the official/real parking lot, the vendors began. Well, the majority of the vendors. There were some selling things like stickers, hats and glowsticks outside that area. The "real" vendors were selling all sorts of things, such as: food, beer, water, t-shirts, stickers, patches, buttons, posters, backpacks and assorted other paraphernalia. It was difficult to get to the venue, wading past the vendors with the crowd.

Inside, we eventually made our way to our seats. Good view, not too expensive. movie.girl made friends with the guy to her left, both being Phish-heads and having seen Phish at many other shows. Apparently, that is the thing to do – follow Phish around and go to many/all of their shows. Later on, the guy shared various beverages (tequila + Red Bull = not bad) and such with her and, by extension, me.

The people. Most of the people fell into the category of what I will term "modern day hippies." Prior to the concert, my mental image of hippies included tie-dye shirts, long hair, relaxed attitude, a penchant for herbal relaxants and a smidgen of left-ish politics. Lose the tie-dye, politics and hair requirements, add a penchant for body art (tattoos, piercings) and you have the modern day hippie. Relaxed, certainly, but many/most of them look not all that dissimilar to you or I (barring visible body art). Very interesting. I never appreciated that we as a society have a "class" of modern day hippies. Apparently they all go to Phish concerts. *shrug*

The overall attitude was extremely relaxed. Very little tension. Everyone was there as part of a group, i.e., with friends. While most/all had cell phones, relatively few were playing with them at any given time. For pictures, of course, but not a ton of generic texting, e-mailing, etc. Most people were there mentally, not just physically. Plus, everyone seemed pretty friendly with one another. United, to at least some degree, in Phish-head-dom. Or something.

The concert itself was awesome. Lots of solos, lots of improv. Overall, a relaxing, fun time. Almost everyone danced to the majority of the show, grooving out to the tunes. Occasionally a waft of smoke would pique my nose, cigarette or otherwise. Glowsticks and other phosphorescent objects were tossed about in gleeful joy. Cheering, singing along with the tunes, because almost everyone knew almost all of the songs, and generally having a good time.

I found it particularly interesting when the band would devolve into a formless, abstract stretch. Without a solid beat to latch onto, it was nigh impossible to dance to such parts, but they were very interesting. Almost nouveau or new age or I don't know what. As if each of the four were playing their own tune to their own beat, but it still meshed together to form something larger and more powerful. Very fascinating.

movie.girl informed me that all of their shows are available online for download ( I think it is). I will have to purchase a copy of that show. It was music in every sense of the word. And it was something I hadn't seen before. And that's pretty damn cool.