Howdy folks, or I guess that should be PHOLKS right??? My name is Bill and I am substituting for my brother-in-law Martin (@Doctor_Smarty) for this article. He had intended to tell you guys about the Phish concert at The Met last night, but there was a problem. I am subscribed to SIRIUSXM and he isn’t. When I got the email asking me if I wanted to go to the concert, I entered the drawing assuming I could just give the tickets to my brother-in-law and he and his wife could go see their favorite band. Unfortunately, the tickets were non-transferable, so my brother-in-law and his wife stayed back in Oregon instead of coming out to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of our family. That meant that me and my wife went to the concert instead. He told me that you guys would be interested to know how it all went down, so this is my attempt to do that. Obviously I won’t know any of the lingo you guys usually use to talk about this stuff. But here goes.
I’m not very big into going to live concerts to be honest. I’m more inclined to be at home with a glass of Crown Royal and puff on a Cuban cigar while sitting next to my fire pit listening to classic rock on my Sonos. In fact, the only concert I have ever been to before last night was when @Doctor_Smarty took me and his sister (my wife) to see Guns N Roses at the Florida Suncoast Dome on December 28th, 1991. That was quite an experience, let me tell you. But probably best I don’t. Suffice to say, I had not been back to a concert since. I also never listen to Phish Radio on SIRIUSXM. My favorite channel is Classic Rewind. My favorite band is arguably, with all due respect to Bob Dylan, Bearsville Records’ greatest artist...FOGHAT!!. Man...I just can’t get enough of that “Slow Ride” if you know what I mean? Alright, take it easy. As you can imagine, other than when Martin comes to visit, I haven’t really heard any Phish and don’t really know the songs. My ears were a blank canvas in that respect. After last night, I’m feeling like they are more like one of those Jackson Pollock splatter-gram deals now. Are rock concerts always like this?
As instructed in the email, we showed up to the Poplar Street side of The Met right around noon. The wristbanding and ticketing process went very smoothly. With some time to kill before the show we went to Jennie G’s Dim Sum House to get some dumplings and Singapore Mai Fun. Check it out if you are ever in Philadelphia. Top notch. Next stop was The Yards brewery. Average great brews. Did the Revolutionary sampler flight and a pretty good spruce tip IPA. Bouncing further down Spring Garden back toward the venue we hit a not for profit brewery called Triple Bottom. A few feet better than Yards. Inching ever closer back to The Met, we found ourselves at the lobby bar at the Divine Lorraine Hotel. Very cool vibe. Awesome bartender. At every stop other than Jennie G’s there were other people heading to the show. The anticipation was building.
We arrived back at The Met as requested shortly after 6:00 and well before 7:00 PM. We passed quickly through security and made our way to the line to collect our free posters and then to our seats which were located in Orchestra 4 Row C. Just behind the GA pit on the right side of the stage. The crowd around us was nothing like the tattooed leather clad biker gangs and exotic dancers that seemed to dominate that Guns N Roses crowd back in 1991. We barely made it out of the Thunderdome alive that night. Anyway, you guys are nothing like that. At no point did I fear for our lives. We chatted with our neighbors, who we learned were happily expecting and sipped on a Troegs Perpetual IPA while waiting for the opening act. Then we found out there was no opening act. I guess so SIRIUSXM didn’t have to pay two bands? I mean, who does a concert with no opening act? Most of the concerts our kids like to go to have three or four “bands” these days. I put bands in quotes because I’m not even sure they play instruments. Not like the old Classic Rewind masters of rock and roll.
Exactly at 8:08 PM, the lights went down and the crowd jumped up. A standing ovation already and the band hadn’t even touched their instruments or played a single note. The crowd was going wild as the four dads took to the stage looking like they were ready to have some fun. They opened with an A’cappella rendition of “Hello My Baby” one of the four songs I recognized during the course of the show. Also, it looked like the drummer was wearing a mu-mu. Which was pretty funny, because it reminded me of one of the bar bands that used to play the full moon parties at our fraternity house at Zoo Mass. Their drummer wore a dress too. I wonder whatever happened to those guys?
Anyway, next up was a song that I don’t think they practiced before the show. Because they played it a few times throughout the night to make sure they got it right. Uncle Ebeneezer I believe. That tune was mostly upbeat and some serious hard rocking. Very similar to when I would sit in with the Wildcat O’Halloran Band at Seven O’s in South Deerfield. A bunch of people were dancing just like the Wild Kittens used to when we really tore it up. Seems like a crowd favorite. I hope the people seeing the shows in Pittsburgh or Charleston aren’t too upset they missed it. I really enjoyed it.
The next song they played that I recognized was ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” which was pretty great. The piano player especially was getting into that one. The guitarist is no Billy Gibbons, but what are you going to do? There was a song called “Free” which I’m guessing they played because the tickets to the show were. There was a waterfall song that got kind of out there for a while. Towards the end of the first set, the band gave the crowd some kind of signal that it was time to head to the beer line or go to the bathroom. I did both and picked us up another couple of Troegs Perpetuals. That is a tasty brew, let me tell you.
The rest of the show after the intermission was really a blur. The lights are pretty amazing and the Troegs were starting to go to my head. They opened with a song that I really liked. Something about living while you’re young. That’s the key to all of this shit we call life you know? Have a good time and enjoy what you are doing. If you aren’t enjoying it. Do something else you dumbass! Then they played the Ebeneezer song they were practicing during the first half of the show again. The pace really picked up for the next three tunes. The bass player was going crazy. The room was just resonating with the thump, thump, thump of his groove.
They slowed it down to let people take a breather with a ballad that was called “Miss You” according to the guy next to us. I was kind of wishing they had done the Stones version of that one for those of us that are regular listeners of The 70s on 7. Instead, to cater to us classic rock aficionados, they did a pretty true rendition of The Beatles “A Day in the Life” from their White Album. Next up was the fourth song in the show that I knew, mostly because of Elvis Presley. I love watching old videos of The King on YouTube. It gets me every time when he comes out on stage to the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey. This version was nothing like the original. It actually made me feel like I was being abducted by aliens. Unreal.
The ending of the show was very tongue in cheek. These guys are pretty funny really. End the show with a song called “More” because there has to be something else right? Then the encore is an invitation to “Waste” more of the time we are spending together. Then back to the same song that they had been practicing all night. They finally got it right though. That may actually have been the best three and a half minutes of the show. Really shows you what they can do with a song if they practice it.
Anyway, we had a GREAT time at the show. You Phish fans are some good people. It really is a shame Martin and Olivia couldn’t go. They probably would have loved it. Like the guys in Foghat say...take it easy!
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