, attached to 1995-06-24

Review by Doctor_Smarty

Doctor_Smarty This early summer weekend was to be my first time seeing Phish on back to back days. Over the course of the two shows I became aware of the striking effects that set and setting can have on the way the events of a Phish show can play out. On the 24th, I spent the day at a wine festival in the Poconos with my girlfriend (now my former roommate Rocky's wife) and a long-time friend and Phish companion who goes by the name of Motorhead. It was sticky and moist all day and I had a pretty decent wine buzz when we settled into our eighth row center seats. A fourth ticket, which I had been unable to convince my roommate to take, was traded in the lot for five dollars and a hug to a passing "wookstress".

I had also heard in great detail from several people how the Canandaigua Fleezer had either sucked harder or flown higher than anything else Phish had ever done before or could conceivably do in the years to come. There is nothing like being down in front. Being that close to the band for the first time since the 1993 Weedsport show was cool. It is much harder to be distracted by the fog that surrounds when seated only a few dozen feet from the monitors. I was fully immersed in the sounds cascading off the stage while having the opportunity to watch how they were produced close up.

The first set seemed to be all about the letter S ("Spock's Brain", "Stash", "Silent in the Morning", and "Squirming Coil"). S is for spooky, S is for spacey, S is for stupefying, and S is for scary. The second set was all of these things. The "2001," "Halley's Comet," "David Bowie" opening triad tore the roof off of my skull, dumped out its contents, and replaced them with fluorescent neon liquid metallic goo. I was ecstatic, I was chaotic, I was psychotic, I was catatonic, and the universe imploded upon itself to become an infinitely dense, infinitely small, gravitational singularity intent on erasing any memory or shard of my existence in consensual reality. Then"...just when I needed it most"...the band tossed me a "Lifeboy." Shell-shocked, I eased back into reality just in time for a rocking "Suzy Greenberg" and a near-transcendent "Harry Hood." The "Axis: Bold As Love" encore was perfect.

The next day, Motorhead blew out of town toward Albany and a Monday night show at SPAC. Rocky and I made our way down to the Northeast Taproom to climb aboard Uncle Pete's "Phish Bus." Unlike the previous Taproom trip to the 10/7/1994 Lehigh show in a fifteen passenger van, this "Phish Bus" was an actual bus. Plush seats, three kegs on tap, and a full spread of the various Pennsylvanian meatsticks were laid out for our enjoyment. Pit stops included the "K-Mart Brew Pub" for a taste of their generic microbrew and a round of reinforced Margaritas at a nearby Mexican restaurant. I say reinforced because Pete ordered an extra round of kisses from the Mexican Cousin to supplement the quantity of distilled Agave which the cocktail contained.

By the time we hit the lot, I was spinning and reeling, so I kissed a set of pink and blue lips, let the El Camino reel me in and got spun around the block once again. Somehow, I found my way into the show. The show opened to the sun-drenched tropical groove of "Ya Mar", which was buoyant and tight and slid nicely into "AC/DC Bag." As the "Bag" spiraled toward its short, sharp, shock I was jettisoned into the stratosphere high above the Mann Center. I would learn much later that evening from a quite terrified Rocky that I had vaporized and disintegrated on the breeze before his eyes. He had immediately run from the venue to hide under the bus"...which is where I found him three hours later.

I was out of body until deep into the second set. When I suddenly reincorporated, I found that I was grooving hard on the back of the lawn with a cute girl I did not know who was screaming at me in unison with Fishman "Why Don't we do it in the Roooooooaaaaad?" Confused by the question, my current location, a two hour loss of time, and the rather surprising onset of darkness, I declined, turned, and ran like an antelope, convinced I had once again been victimized by alien abduction. I could smell burnt mule-flesh and laser beams, and I hate laser beams. I spent the encore, which consisted of "Bouncing" and "Slave," tracking down the remaining stray molecules of my previous form on a meandering path that cut back and forth through the lawn and back down into the pavilion. Finding no Rocky at the seats, I made my way out to the lot to find him under the bus. Things have never quite been the same between us since.


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