, attached to 2014-10-29

Review by RumpHead

RumpHead Everything I could say about this night would/will sound stupid, and probably obnoxious, to most human beings. For those who don't like baseball and for those who don't like the Giants, I know that part of the night probably won't register. But for many of us, it was the ultimate set 1 in a 3-set, 3-song encore mega experience, the likes of which the fates may not allow us again. Even for those not into baseball, the energy was palpable, undeniable and undeniably positive. GHFDAH!

Imagine, if you will, two events in one night that shake all the shit off your bones and break down barriers internal and external. Strangers making friends. Boys becoming men. Men becoming wooolves. Wolves becoming brothers of wolfmen. But more on that later. After watching the final out in Civic Center (the World Series watching Mecca that happens to be BGCA's front yard), I must have hugged or high-fived 50+ people from different walks of life, different ages, etc. There was one guy, in particular, who I had watched the last five innings of the game with--I’ll probably never see him again but I won’t forget him. His name was Jordan and his confidence in Bumgartner helped soothe my jangling nerves. Jordan, if you’re out there, thank you. And yes, I could use some entertainment industry-quality speakers. Hit me up.

As the fan phans entered the show, we knew this was going to be a very special party. I can’t remember the last time I said “very special” in earnest. Lots of hooting, screaming and slapping, in all the right ways. I missed the “We are The Champions”/“Moma Dance,” but it was worth it to see the end of game 7. As I came in and began to get down to "BOTT," I elevated to a natural high that simultaneously poured out into the world and enveloped myself in an Amma-like hug. This was the first time I had spent a set basically on my own--of course, I wasn't really alone. I closed my eyes and danced, taking time to appreciate this raw state of myself and swimming in a pool of pure joy. And I do mean pure. At the best Phish shows, I realize new and forgotten dimensions of appreciation, emotion and insight. It didn't take long for this show to attain that loftiness--but the World Series ebullience was oonly the beginning.

After a ferocious "Wolfman's" ended what felt like the shortest first set of my tenure as a hopeless phnerd (But I wasn't mad--how could I be mad?), I happened to run into friendly acquaintances I had driven to Denver with last year. This made me happier. Next, I found my roommate and we headed to one of those legendary bathroom lines, grinning ear-to-ear. A nice dude from SoCal who shared our desire to get down without inhibitions near the stage found us in line, and off we went.

My first First Tube, enhanced by Trey's tricky two-step (he was feeeeling himself), seemed the perfect song for our celebration and dance aspirations. The rhythmic playfulness and slow-building life-affirmation that is that song (live) got my body to writhing and jumping. I knew that this was my night and that I should ride it hard. A killer Disease/slippery, sick, beautiful "Theme" with significantly more sing-along than usual followed, and gave way to Split Open and Melt. Another first for me. I tend to lean a little in the weird direction, and this song did to me pretty much what its title advertises. I was a mess of awe, giddiness, wriggling limbs and wandering eyes. Apologies to anyone who felt uncomfortably ogled. Most people seemed receptive to the ogling. During the Disease guitar explosion, I had turned to my roommate and said, "Today, we won life." Man, that sounds stupid. But who cares? It was true. We were lucky.

During "Split Open and Melt," I felt like a freaking pioneer on the long-lost seas of Mars. It was otherworldly. Diving into atonal seas and coming up for air to that sick, sinister groove. Even "Heavy Things" seemed to bring the ruckus, though in a completely different manner. Phish pulls the strangest one-two punches of any band I've known. It's like being punched in the head by Tyson and waking up dazed only to see Hank Williams, Emma Stone or some cartoon character hovering above you. Then you rub your eyes and it's four fifty year old dudes having fun. What does it all mean?

The rest of the show was a sing-along, booty-shaking love fest. The encore featured two amazing, wonderful, dumb (but brilliant) songs, followed by a surprisingly ecstatic "Character Zero." It's not always my favorite tune, but it did its thing tonight. I had started to realize this experience would end, and it did. After the lights came on, they put on "I left My Heart in San Francisco," which is the song played after every Giants victory at AT&T Park. My very close friend, who is living in New York, used to go to games with me and we'd stay and croon the tune after an evening of baseball. I called him up and told him to listen. He could barely make it out, so I belted it with Tony and a smattering of other Giants fans who were reveling in this heady nod to the historic victory. My friend was moved and amused by my state.

When we left, I decided the only way to conclude this night was to stay out in the city and see where the night took me. I made several friends and we had a great time coming up with t-shirt designs, waxing poetic about a perfect San Francisco day, eating burritos.

Society looks at pure joy with a raised eyebrow. But life is too serious.
This night was one of my greatest, and many great people helped make it that way--my loved ones, awesome strangers I befriended, freakish baseball players and musicians, bus drivers, camera men, taqueria chefs...but I digress. Thank you to you all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6V2oCX3Hn4
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