Being a young 19 year old with a heightened sense of exploration and adventure, I decided to travel to Albany a day early so there would be no accidental delays that would keep me from seeing Phish. I took the train from New Brunswick to New York and then hopped on a bus from Port Authority. I was in downtown Albany by the early evening on a cool October night. My sister was at the show in Nassau Coliseum that same night, and I was in Albany for the first time, alone, and with no plans. One of my friends I knew from Rutgers, Todd, was from Albany and I was planning on surprising him. He had graduated the year before and was living in an apartment not far from the downtown. I found a payphone at the bus station, (I did not have a cell phone for another two years), and gave Todd a call. "Hey, It's Eamon, I'm in Albany to see Phish and was wondering if I could crash out on your floor tonight?" His answer totally shocked and surprised me. "Dude, I can't. I am having a girl over tonight. I'm sorry man." This was the same guy that our group of friends had ribbed for not having a girlfriend in four years. Damn! "Ok," I said, "good luck."
Anxiety and excitement set in. I only had a little cash and I needed to pay Melissa for the hotel room the next night. I had a walk-man with Rift inside, my backpack, and my sneakers on my feet. I decided that I was going to get a tour of Albany first hand and started walking in a straight direction away from the bus terminal.
I walked around the many streets and side streets for a while and was amused how the crosswalk signals chirped like birds. I was having fun until it started getting a little colder, as it does in New York in the fall. Mound was playing in my ear and I suddenly felt like the old man in the song. I didn't know to behold what the cold frost could do and I had wandered back in circles. I saw the bus terminal again and I was back to square one. During my journey, I noticed a shelter run by a church not far from the where the bus station was. Should I do it and check in? No way.
I marched on.
Around midnight I finally checked into a hotel with vacancy about four miles up the road from the terminal. I had had enough of being cold and busted out the forbidden credit card. The warm shower and bed were worth it. It was a long walk back downtown the next day and I had finally made it to the bus station, but not before I saw a man attack a mailman because his check did not arrive as he had expected, apparently ruining his plans. I was in uncharted territory and kept moving with pace.
Jukey and Melissa came to town around 3 PM from Portland and I was relieved to not be in a strange city by myself anymore, not to mention that they were equipped with heady nuggets from Maine. After some serious mellowing at the Swiss Chalet, it was time to finally see Phish!
Phish still had the set-up with Fishman at the rear center of the stage and we were sitting on Trey's side in the upper level. The lights went down and the apex of my adventure was about to begin. PYITE was rocking and went right into a strong version of Wilson. Guyute came next before the wailing sirens of Ghost emerged. It was dark, powerful, and felt like the perfect song for an October night in upstate New york. Ghost segued into a really cool, spacey jam that I would later find out was dubbed My Left Toe, although it does not sound anything like the version on the Siket Disc. From My Left Toe Trey began the heavy downstrum of D major and Phish cut through the darkness with a solid version of Free. Sparkle and Possum rounded out a really dark and fun first set.
Trey's guitar lick for Limb By Limb started the second set. It was a very good version with peaks and valleys that lasted a little over fourteen minutes. From the Limb By Limb came the defining moment of the show, in my opinion. Fishman dropped the drumbeat to 2001 out of the spacey darkness, and for the next twenty minutes or so the Pepsi Arena was rocking in a deep, dark, funkadelic bliss. DWD kept the party going through the third quarter of the show. Velvet Sea was a welcomed breather and added to the Story of the Ghost vibe of the evening, which was then followed by a very good stand alone Simple. A beautiful Loving Cup closed the set with a beautiful buzz and it was time for the encore. Phish played a very heartfelt Slave to the Traffic Light in the encore, which I found out was played for a phan that was supposed to have come to the show but was killed in a car accident. Apparently it was the person's favorite song.
One of the last things I remember about that night was almost blacking out after the show because I was so hungry and eating really expensive pizza at the pizzeria outside Pepsi Arena. Life was good, Phish had totally rocked, and I made it back to New Brunswick, NJ the next day no worse for wear. Thank you Phish.