Everyone in the car was asleep when I stopped at the gas station for directions to the Onogada War Memorial Auditorium. We had been driving for awhile. “You mean the Onondaga War Memorial Auditorium,” a police officer answered. After getting directions I was on my way to my second Phish show ever, driving someone else’s car…in second gear (it was an automatic). It all seemed so strange to me…why was I doing this? As soon as I got to the lot it made sense. I was with two close friends in the middle of one of the best times of my life. The lot was littered with the sounds of VW buses, people were abuzz about something called Glens Falls, and setlists from the previous show. I found everything about it to be fascinating. It was like this Bizarro world, where the only worries were of first-set-openers or extras for Indiana. All that mattered was tonight’s show.
As we found our way in, I meandered onto the floor where my seat was. Only there was no seat. It was a free-for-all. Everyone was stacking the chairs into towering piles. The floor had so much room, and I could see everything, unlike the night before at the Mullins Center.
Suddenly the lights went out and that was it, everyone went ballistic. At this point I was about tenth row, and the band opened with “Sample”. Knowing probably a dozen songs, I was psyched to hear something I knew (I was also psyched for the “Bouncin'”). Now I was mesmerized, studying the band that is the focus of all this. I eventually made my way to the front row, which rendered me immobile. I looked around at the arena; this is when I first noticed the lights. It was during “Bowie”, granted I was at the stage where I didn't know where one song ended and another began. Trey was wearing his jamming pants, those gold striped things that he used to wear all the time in ‘94. I watched him for the rest of the show. During “Colonel Forbin”, he did this crazy narration and he handed out these crazy 3-D glasses to the front rows. I got a pair and I was like, “Wow! Trey just gave me these glasses, I’m gonna keep these,” but then I looked around and other people wanted to see, so I gave them up. It was here I realized the communalism that existed at a Phish show. It’s not about one person, its about the whole experience, and having no worries.
Anyway, first set closed and ushers started threatening to end the show. They weren't excited about the chair thing. So I moved back to my tenth row seat. Although I didn't know it at the time, second set was killer. “The Curtain”, “Mike’s->Simple->Mike’s->Tela->Weekapaug” was insane. At the time, I heard “the band opened a curtain with some guy’s song into a simple Tela.”
Regardless, I had a great time and it was here I got hooked. Thirty-five shows later I’m driving a standard, hoping to go back to the OWMA again and wishin' I kept the glasses.