, attached to 2015-08-07

Review by Pinhead_Larry

Pinhead_Larry Dear reader, my anonymous and invisible (but still pertinent) audience, I write this review with the benefit of hindsight. There are things I know now that, quite frankly, I did not know at the time of the concert that have proven most symbolic, or epiphany-like. I am writing (reflecting, really) about not necessarily the show itself, but of my experience in regards to the show, and of how much they mean to me. Like many great, or self-indulgent authors (not to say I, myself, am either of those), I take great pride in examining as many aspects of life that I can, picking away and analyzing every known detail. So here, reader, is my own account of what has proven to be a most prosperous memory.

Before I get too far in, I'd like to address one theme that can be taken from this essay on the difference between "knowing" and "realizing." Up until this concert in particular, I "knew" what a great community we have, and I "knew" (or "know") that Life has its own ebb-and-flow current, but I did not "realize" these facts until the afternoon and evening of August 7, 2015.

I am now backtracking a few months in early June when I ask my father and brother (who've seen 2 and 3 shows, respectively), and a very good friend (who has never seen Phish) if she would like to see Phish with me. All respond with a very definitive "yes," which brings me great joy. Nearly a quarter of a year later, with tickets purchased and adrenaline flowing through veins and neural pathways, we all hop on the turnpike to head toward beautiful Blossom Music Center, eager with isostatic anticipation and light-headed, dreaming up all the possibilities that could happen at a Phish show. It is around here that we encounter what I will call Omen 1. This was me, stupidly forgetting the tickets on the coffee table at home. Not just five minutes later, we encounter Omen 2. Omen 2 is a much more monstrous and ugly omen than Omen 1. This particular omen took the form of an RV camper which has been charred to a crisp on the right-shoulder lane of the turnpike. Omen 1 suddenly feels much more like an "inconvenience" than Omen 2, even though, to my perspective of life until that point, Omen 1 was the end of the world. If it makes a difference, Omen 2 could have been much, much worse. We can see what are presumably the owner(s) and family of said owner(s) of the RV camper on the side of the road, talking to police.

Still, we are able to turn around and head home to grab the tickets that were eagerly, and blindly forgotten by me so as to reverse the damage done by Omen 1. Unfortunately, time, or at least in our dimension, is irreversible, so the aftermath of Omen 1 remains. Still, I feel guilt over Omen 1 as it was my friend's first show, and now we are going to be late, missing anywhere between 30-60 minutes of music, but still, I feel reassurance in simply surrendering to the flow, and dealing with the consequences of my inaction. When we finally do make it to the venue, "Rift" is heard playing from the parking lot, so we were not too late, which further brought my spirits up. By the time we found our space on the lawn, "Moma Dance" had reared its funky head in. I knew then that we had not missed too much of the show.
--Forgive me, I need to go to work. I'll try my best to resume this review in the style its currently written in after work.--
--I essentially passed out after work, and am continuing this review the next day after initially starting it. I was on a roll too.--

The rest of the first set didn't really stand out too much, save for an old-school "It's Ice" with a funk breakdown (this is just an aside, but a lot of people are complaining about the flubs in the first set, and honestly, I can't hear that many flubs. With songs like "Ice," you should expect some mistakes every so often because it's a difficult song in their repertoire. I think sometimes we need to loosen our ears and our definition of "flub," because the "flubs" are sparse). The "Bathtub Gin" closer was something else entirely, not like the legendary "Gin's" (7/29/98, 6/28/00), but also not like the standard "build-to-a-peak" Gin's either. Trey and Jon bring the music and the climaxes up, and the crowd gets down. It is here where I think my friend finally gets IT, as I explain to her that the jam is actually not technically part of the song itself, but is actually merely using the song as a medium through which their creativity and impulses can take place, and where magic henceforth happens (in other words, I explained to her what a "jam" means for Phish). She "knew" what Phish does, but I think it is here, and most certainly by Set 2, where she "realized" what Phish does.

Set 2 sets the stage for another event, something I will call Omen 3. Omen 3 is a tall and staggering black fan who is being carried by two friends (or passersby) as he can hardly carry himself. From an outside perspective, it appears as though he had taken too much of "something," or was dehydrated, or maybe a little of both (or something else entirely). These two men carrying him brought him to two police officers, or venue security, and left his fate in the hands of two unfamiliar, and oft-touted people, where they bottle-fed the man water, checked his pulse, shined a light in his pupils, and, despite him fighting back with his I-don't-know-what's-happening-right-now-reflexes (albeit with as little energy as he could muster), the guards safely restrained the man so he did not fall over and hit his head on the ground. Eventually the guards flagged down a, what I assume to be, medic cart where he was driven away, never to return to my peripheral vision for the rest of the show.

All of the events of the previous paragraph started as soon as Chalk Dust Torture started, and ended not long after the final refrain (before the jam). The rest of the set is well recorded amongst the usual set of reviewers, and I can assure you, I'd echo them, but I don't want to waste anymore space (as if I didn't waste enough already, but seriously, in layman's terms, CDT>Tweezer>Lizards is money). This show, and in turn, this review, is more important to me because of my own various realizations, hence why there was less focus on the music, and more focus on my various epiphanies. But I digress; on August 7, 2015, I experienced: forgiveness from family and friends of an embarrassing blunder on my part, firefighters tending to a charred vehicle and a family thankful and blessed to have each other, and normal, everyday citizens helping a man in need, and then police officers more concerned with said man's safety rather than making arrests. Suffice to say the "Good Times, Bad Times" encore cemented my realizations that night.

A Phish show is no different than any other part of life in that there still exists the potential for bad things to happen, despite our "escapism" in these shows (as quoted by Trey from the IT documentary). But it is in these bad things and how people react to them that proves that for each potential bad event, there is equal potential for a good outcome. When Life threw its chips down, everybody acted as though they were holding a royal flush, and I am proud, humbled, and blessed to be a part of this community, just as I am honored, and likewise, glad to have brought a few friends along for the ride.

I must stop now, as I think my point has been made. I hope this description of my experiences leading up to, and during the show does the real experience justice, but honestly I don't think it does. Something hit me that fateful night that will likely change my outlook on life for the foreseeable future. We all "know" that Phish shows are events themselves, but on August 7, 2015, I had my own "realization" of this fact. Please be kind, and I hope you enjoyed reading my review as much as I enjoyed writing it. It should go without saying that I hope you enjoy the rest of tour as well.

Peace and good sounds, and as always, thank you fans, and Phish.
-Pinhead Larry


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