As we were walking in, first set kicked in, and I remember hearing Buried Alive start up. Kind of ironic that our group all started running to get into the venue to see the tail end of Buried Alive. Buried Alive evokes the feeling of running from something / someone to me. Rift kicks in, and I'm in heaven. Rift was the soundtrack for me during the summer of '93. It segued into Caravan, and the weirdness of a live Phish show began to sink in. I was off-kilter. Who were these nerdy guys on stage? The only picture I had seen was off of the Rift liner notes. I was expecting alt rockers, and instead I felt like I was looking at nerds stuck in the 80's. Here they were on stage blowing me away. Trey, what the hell man?
Next is Nellie Cane, and I had a great time dancing my ass off. Maze, Horse > Silent, Punch. I was sober, but the music was tweaking my brain synapses. Maze tore open my face, and I was soaking it all in. At some point I yelled, "Lizards," a few times because that was the song when I first "got it," and really wanted to hear it. I was way too far for them to hear me, and I must've annoyed the guy next to me, because he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. I stopped. It's Ice had Trey and Mike sliding back and forth on those ubiquitous gliders found on early 90's infomercials, they were very dangerous. I'm glad they stopped using them. But, they were a great visual. Cavern closed the first set, and someone threw a pair of shoes onto the stage at the very end. The first of many shoes I would see thrown at the band in the early to mid 90's. Set ends and I'm soooo happy, sitting with my girlfriend.
Second set begins. 2001? I hadn't heard that yet! It was SICK! Into Poor Heart. I enjoyed it at the time. Poor Heart segued into Antelope, and I got to experience setting the gearshift of my soul to the high gear for the first time live. What a transcendent experience that no one outside of Phishdom would understand. Faht? What? Who is this hairy beast up front playing an out of tune guitar. Well, I knew who it was, but it was still bizarre. The venue slowly turned into a Urban Jungle. Then My Friend, My Friend. Evil. Uncle Pen, fun. Big Ball Jam. WTF? No other band I had ever seen had such a connection with the audience. I was dumbstruck. This is the best band I will ever see. The You Enjoy Myself was one of the more original and bizarre ones I've ever seen. It didn't finish, but segued into BBFCFM. More confusion for me. I knew these songs, but seeing them live was completely different from tape. Chalk Dust and then Highway to Hell to close the set. Encore with Amazing Grace, then Daniel Saw the Stone.
I had just witness the most face melting, awe inspiring, transcendent music I had ever seen live. This music fit my brain perfectly. On top of that, the band played music with the audience with 3 big balls. They slid on gliders, jumped on trampolines, played an out of tune guitar as car horns and monkeys shouting got louder and louder. They screamed at the top of their lungs, "WHY DO I TRY TO KILL YOU?" They played bluegrass. They sang a capella. They finished the show seemingly chanting, "F-ck, f-ck, f-ck, f-ck. F-ck, f-ck, f-ck, f-ck. F-ck, f-ck, f-ck, f-ck." (Daniel Saw the Stone). They left me walking out of the venue on a new natural high.
I just saw the greatest band of my generation, and they changed my life irrevocably.
Thank you Phish.
Sidenote: I was going to hit Waterloo on 7/25/93, but didn't because it was my Mom's birthday. Bad choice. My friends who would have driven me to Waterloo, went to 7/24/93 as well and bought tickets from someone who also gave them backstage passes. They hung with the band, and Trey was very chatty, asking them what they thought of Rift. Anyhow, I decide not to go to 7/25/93, and as my friends are driving to the show, they see Phish's tour bus broken down on the side of the road. They slow down, and ask if they need help. The band recognizes them, and Trey thanks them and let's them know that a ride is on the way to pick them up. But, Page was in a hurry, and needed to get to the show. He asked if he could have a ride. Of course they accept, and...MY FRIENDS DRIVE PAGE TO THE SHOW. My thoughts at the time were, "Damn it, why didn't I go???"
Page gets in the car, and hears some strange music. He asks what they're listening to. It was a Phish soundcheck. I think the "Hey Andrew" soundcheck. He mentioned that he thought they didn't release soundchecks. He was wrong. He didn't want to listen to his own music, so he asks what else they have. They sheepishly hand him their tape box. All Phish. Except for one Dead tape. Page deadpanned, "Seriously?" He put on the Dead. Page was also a hawkeye, he could spot a cop a mile away. At SBIX I knew Trey would say Page was the best driver because of this story.
Well, my friends pull into Waterloo parking lot. Page thanks them, says he'll put them on the guest list for that night's show (I think he also offered them money, but they refused), and gets out of the car and walk away. Everyone around my friends are looking at Page and then them, and then back at Page and back at them. Someone finally asks if that was Page they just drove. Yes it was. I decided not to go to that show.