Our night began as one of the coldest nights of the winter set in. Stepping out of my car in the lot of the First Union Spectrum in Philly, I immediately hopped back in to scrounge for another layer of clothing; the bite of the wind instilled a feeling of arctic frost throughout my body. After strapping on another layer of clothing, I threw my gloves on and toured the lot with a feeling of utmost excitement after realizing that in just a couple of hours we would be hosed off with some kicking rock and roll after a laid back night with BB King in East Rutherford the night before. Born and raised near Philly, I have grown to respect and praise my hometown and the many, many fans from here. In regards to sports and concerts, Philly fans "love ya when you're up, and hate ya when you're down". No matter the situation, though, Philly fans will bring enough energy to fuel an epic show; as always, this night brought warm vibes through the bitter cold, at all costs.
It had been over two and a half years since Philly (area) had seen the boys, and everyone felt the heat of the excitement upon entrance to the arena. This show proved very special for me as I had traveled with a friend familiar with Phish, but not familiar with the reasons for hysteria during/outside a show. I continued to try to explain the way this band flows together more than most bands around, and that the intensity of the tension/release would have him bouncing off the walls; to just get ready to dance. Maybe because it's my hometown, but every show I catch in Philly seethes with explosive energy from the crowd, and then the lights turned off......
The scratch of Trey's voice through the atypical song choice of “Talk” helped me grasp the idea that our favorite band really was back and here to blow our minds as always. The “46 Days” that followed really began opening the doors for my friend dancing next to me, as stellar riffs from Trey laid atop a wicked bassline from Mike. Many songs off the album Round Room (i.e. “Waves”, “WOTC”, “46 Days”, “Pebbles and Marbles”) really spotlight the band’s ability to rock the house like a full blown army. “Slave to the Traffic Light” (after “Frankie Says”) obviously hit the spot for 20,000 people, as the place exploded from the opening all the way through Page's solos and to the end.
At setbreak, my friend had been hit by some beam of consciousness, as the first set brought him to true understanding of the frenzy that follows these four (five counting Kuroda) amazing artists. Through the funk of '97 and the wailing cries of '99, we now have a band set for the heart of the sun, kicking its way through the new millennium with no holds barred and just the fans and music in mind.
The two song encore that closed the night sealed a perfect evening just right, as fans filtered out of the arena with a feeling of refreshment and inspiration. The two years without Phish proved lonesome, but in the end, we now see that in order for inspiration to guide us in the future, we must respect and understand the times of now. Phish teaches lessons of life through their music, words, and even actions. You win some, you lose some, but in the end we're all in this together, and we love to take a bath!