, attached to 1996-08-16

Review by Shangho

Shangho My first Phish show!I had previously only seen one big concert (Van Halen and Vince Neil at the Groton Sub Base in CT.) and a handful of smaller shows (Max Creek,Smashing Pumpkins,Flaming Lips).I had been to a couple of Grateful Dead shows but was never lucky enough to get a ticket,so i had it in my head that I knew what to expect as did my other travel mates,most of whom were also seeing Phish for the first time.Our caravan departed R.I. early Friday (or was it Thursday?...) and had a cozy little mattress set up in the back of my brother's truck.Being only 17 at the time it took some serious begging to get my folks talked into letting me go,but by then I had been listening to Phish for years and they knew how much this band meant to me.Upon arriving I can truly say that i'd never seen so many people in my life!!!And the overwhelming amount of kindness that we encountered (Not EVERYONE mind you....the "Sid & Nancy" looking couple that were walking through the crowd on the hill slapping food and beer out of people's hands springs to mind..)really floored me!The weather was perfect and after setting up camp we took to exploring the grounds and Clifford Ball Square.Now this to me is what has always set this band's festivals apart from other large shows.Everywhere you turned you could see the band's humor and touch on everything!It was truly a small city unlike anything i'd ever seen.It's been a long time and i can't remember all of the setlists (I also was not too terribly familiar with the songs at the time either,so many tunes were BRAND new to me) but the acoustic mini set always stayed with me and the beauty of "Strange Design" in the sunlight was unforgettable!!!!It was surely one of the best weekends of my life!And I distinctly remember having the conversation with my brother about how Harpua was abruptly cut short and I said "Watch,they'll finish it at the next show!",which they didn't (as we were at Hartford,which I think that was the next show....),and to my brother's dismay they did finish it a year later at the equally wonderful Great Went (which due to him moving to St.Augustine he could not attend)!That is what this band has always been to me!Mythical,paradise like retreats,slightly odd,off humor,meticulous musical pranks and tricks,and a community like all of us who could teach the rest of the world a little bit about looking out for each other and finding the simple things in life to get us through some of the darker times.I learned alot that weekend and 17 years and 52 shows later I still strive to apply it everyday,and now my 13 year old nephew caught his 1st Phish show at Saratoga this summer!What an amazing time it's been.


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