Everybody who has been to a show knows that the joy is in the total experience. The music draws everybody together, and it is as if all the people are just cells in one big body. I think the friendship felt at Phish shows is a phenomenon unique to the jam-band scene. There really is a wonderful camaraderie that seems to just flow from person to person at a Phish show. I would be content often to just sit in the parking lot and watch the parade of people pass by me. Everybody there is different: different jobs, different families, different cities, but for an afternoon or an evening, they are all feeling the same thing. That is some powerful energy.
I was at Lakewood in Atlanta in August of 1998, and I will take away an image from that show that most others probably didn't even notice, and, really, there was no reason they would have. I guess that is my point: The great thing about a Phish show is that everybody comes away with a different favorite moment.
Here is the moment I took away from Lakewood. "Oh Kee Pah"¯ got things started, and the split second it ended, they broke into a great "Suzy Greenberg."¯ Upon hearing the first note of "Suzie,"¯ this guy about ten feet in front of me with long curly hair (in a Fletch, Lakers-style headband) jumped as high as I think a human can possibly jump. One arm clenched in a fist, straight toward the sky. If you've ever seen the Simpsons episode that ends in Millhouse (holding a poodle) jumping up as high as he can, then you know what I'm trying to describe. If you haven't seen it, just picture one dude jumping as high as he can because he is so pumped. That is what I am getting at. That guy was so psyched to hear "Suzy Greenberg,"¯ that I automatically was as stoked as he was. That is the beauty of a Phish show. The energy just flows from person to person.
Lakewood was an awesome show, thanks to both the band and the crowd. Thanks to Phish for playing "Roses Are Free,"¯ my favorite cover. Thanks for playing a killer "Fluffhead."¯ Thanks for taking a chance with "Running with the Devil"¯ (it worked out great). Thanks to the crowd; as long as you are feeling good, so am I. Thanks to the dude with the headband who was so excited to hear "Suzy Greenberg,"¯ you made my show. Anyway, it's silly to try and sum up the Phish experience in words, it just doesn't work. So I am gonna stop trying, but thanks for letting me try.