, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by RunawayJim4180

RunawayJim4180 I'll try to keep this brief. This weekend included my first shows, which is a pretty insane way to experience Phish for the first time. I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the scene, the music, everything in between really....we packed three cases of beer, some herb, PB&J supplies, some chips and maybe a gallon or two or water...for three days. Epic fail that resulted in a lot of barter for basics over the course of the weekend. No matter, the people were friendly and options were unlimited for all types of trade.

After an absurdly long drive from Southern NH (I'd guess 10-12 hours, half of which was spent just waiting in line to drive into the venue) I recall an epic rainstorm the first night that pretty much rendered our tent useless, so we slept in the car instead. We woke up and checked out the scene for the first day, drum circles, lots of vendors, people searching for their friends (god, remember the days before cellphones when you relied on chance meetups or those message boards?), just a general party scene everywhere we looked. I was 17 at the time and had never seen such a massive collection of girls my age before, so I was floored by that alone. We acquired several good beers (Longtrail if I recall) and a couple of Goo Balls, and settled about halfway into the crowd, Page side.

The first set on the 16th was wide ranging and super captivating for my first set of Phish ever. I distinctly remember it being the first time I had heard Harpua, and I was just as confused as the friends I was with (most of my listening had been confined to A Live One and a smattering of live shows from UNH and other local schools). At the end of the set, my friends and I decided to partake in said Goo Balls, and all was well in the world...until right around "My Soul". I started to lose it, and suddenly I noticed I was alone in a sea of people I didn't know. This, of course, wasn't the head space I wanted to be in, so I wandered allllll the way back into the "camping" area (more like a line of tents in a semi-row) and settled into my sleeping bag to shake off the demons. I could still sort of hear the music so no big deal there....

I came to a few hours later having missed an entire set (which was awesome, btw), waking up to someone shaking me and saying "hey dude, I think you have the wrong tent?" I panicked and jumped up, trying to quickly escape before things got rough, but the guy laughed it off and said "no big deal man, it happens". I stepped out of his tent and looked around a bit, but could see nothing familiar, not my friends, our car, tent, nothing. This dude (Sean was his name) let me hang by their site in a camping chair, munching snacks and hanging out until we passed out well after 3AM. When I actually woke up a few hours later, I noticed in the grey daylight that I was about 25 yards from my intended target, not too far off for a Noob!

After missing most of 8/16, I stayed relatively sober for 8/17 and that day simply changed my life. I'm not entirely certain how anyone with ears can rank any show save 12/31/93, 12/31/95 or Big Cypress above this one, but then again, I'm pretty biased since I had several out of body experiences during that incredible day of music. The sight of 70,000 people leaping for joy during that Gin is something I return to whenever I am down about life. It never fails to bring me back to where I need to be....just epic. Everyone I've spoken to that was present felt the same thing, just that collective energy that could change the world if harnessed correctly. Even if you weren't there, you can just hearing coming through the recording, just this wave of energy! And also, the Hood, the 2001, the Disease, the Taste, the Delay Loop Jam, it was all way too much for me to take in at once.

I've been chasing that feeling since, and have come close, but never again, and thats totally ok by me. Everyone eventually has a similar peak with this band, and I can't wait until you do! Thanks Phish.


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