Saturday 01/18/2020 by phishnet


[We would like to thank Kylie, user @kyphi, for this guest blog post. Kylie has a photojournalism project on Instagram (The Humans of Phish) that you may wish to check out. -Ed.]

Synchronicity is when no observable cause connects two events, yet a meaning exists between them. In other words, these are your cases of real-life magic. They’re the moments that likely won’t rearrange the course of your life, but remind you that the cosmos are capable of playing little tricks to help you remember the mundane, in fact, does not always have to be so mundane.

© 2017 AZN Media (Andrea Nusinov) (2017-07-22 MSG)
© 2017 AZN Media (Andrea Nusinov) (2017-07-22 MSG)

I’m guessing little synchronicities occur in your life on a weekly basis. The trick is to recognize and appreciate them — without letting those miniature moments of magic pass you by.

It is no secret that I am a huge Phish fan. Many people don’t fully understand, most non-phans unable to see past the cut and dry of what “it” is — four dudes in a band providing concert-goers a similar experience, over and over again. What those people don’t see are the infinite moments of synchronicity I experience when I dive into the deep, shimmering expanses of the crowd. I say hello, trade stickers, tell jokes, and talk trash with fellow concert-goers — fans who might have been a stranger at one point, but this community becomes increasingly recognizable the longer you live inside it, so we will surely see each other again down the road... at the next venue, on the next tour.

Last year’s most hilarious moment of synchronicity sprung to fruition while Phish was on summer tour. I hopped on tour for three cities — catching seven shows in nine days — and the magic quickly began to unfurl.

My first stop on Phish tour was Camden, New Jersey, where about 15 of us friends rented an AirBnB just across the river in Philadelphia. Three long nights of concerts bled into three longer nights of AirBnB afterparties, where we stayed up on the roof singing, gabbing, and joking into the early hours of the morning. As it tends to go with late nights, people begin to peel off one-by-one, tired eyelids finally calling the shots. The one person who seemed to defeat all odds of weariness, night after night, was my friend Marina. When the house would finally fall quiet, Marina, with nowhere to turn, would look to her phone for company once there was no one left to talk to. On the final morning of Camden weekend, I woke to a series of screenshots from Marina. The screenshots are a long, convoluted story from the Phish subreddit. In this moment, my eyes are barely open and I can’t bother reading it.

© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)

I roll out of bed and walk down to the kitchen to find Marina, immediately asking me, “did you read the story???”

No Marina, I haven’t read the story yet. So we pull up the story and read it together.

It’s an odd story written by this random dude, the subject line entitled “compelled to throw the devil horns to Mike.” The story dives into a *subjectively* epic tale of this guy’s night at the Gorge Amphitheater years ago, where he claims to have been “momentarily tethered” to a nearby metalhead in the crowd, and was suddenly overwhelmed with the sudden desire “to throw up the devil horns.” Once he does, he says the band RIPPED into a killer "Theme From the Bottom." (This part is funny in itself because it’s not known among fans to be a rager of a song.) From there, the story goes on to explain how his night turned into one of the best he’s ever had.

“Isn’t this story so weird???” Marina asks. And I mean... yeah, she’s not wrong. The story is for sure out there. That’s the beauty of Reddit, right? Anyone can hop on and share what’s on their mind.

Off we go, onto the next tour stop — we pack up the car and head up to Saratoga Springs, New York. For those two shows, I was volunteering for the band’s nonprofit, so I headed into the venue early before it opened. After working a couple hours at the Waterwheel booth and watching the fans flood in, the energy was high, as the show was about to start. Once alleviated from my duties, I wander into the crowd to find my friends. With a giant smile on her face, I find Marina, and we’re ready to get the evening started. She turns to me and says, “I’m gonna do it.” And I’m like “do what?” And she was like, “I’m going to throw the devil horns up.” And I was like, “I don’t know... are you sure???” And in one swift moment, surrounded by a sea of people, she throws up the devil horns, and what do you f*cking know — instantly, Phish drops right into the song "Theme From the Bottom."

This moment is perfectly burned into the recesses of my mind. If that wasn’t some real-life magic, I don’t know what is. Synchronicity — it’s when no observable cause connects two events, yet surely a meaning exists between them.

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, comment by solestus
solestus Yes! Great story capturing the magic that surrounds the band and this scene. I have long thought that Mockingbird should solicit and collect stories of fans on this theme and, similar to the companion, publish the collected works to benefit the cause. For now, I will enjoy reading posts like this. Thank you!
, comment by kidrob
kidrob I remember getting a humans of phish sticker at the pool in Vegas in 2018. Theses youngsters must’ve just been starting it I think. Very cool
, comment by unoclay
unoclay True story. I learned the word synchronicity from Mike Gordon himself, in 1997, when a very synchronicity-type event happened to he and I. Not really at liberty to tell the whole story, but he used the word in conversation, and i had to look it up later, so as to avoid looking stupid. Never forget that definition, to say the least.
, comment by ThinkSnow
ThinkSnow Wonderful story, thanks for sharing. I first heard the word synchronicity back in 85 or 86 while reading Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" -- I was reading the part about the birth of Ken's daughter Sunshine, when...what the heck, there she is, standing on the porch at my front door on Harris Street in Eugene, Oregon with a massive tank of N2O! Good times indeed.

“The Pranksters never talked about synchronicity by name, but they were more and more attuned to the principle. Obviously, according to this principle, man does not have free will. There is no use in his indulging in a lifelong competition to change the structure of the little environment he seems to be trapped in. But one could see the larger pattern and move with it - Go with the flow! - and accept it and rise above one's immediate environment and even alter it by accepting the larger pattern and growing with it.” ― Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
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