, attached to 2002-12-31

Review by pipchick

pipchick The first Phish show I saw was the most memorable, probably because I was transported to another universe and my life was changed forever.

It was New Year's Eve 2002 and my first contact with the Phish community. From the moment I walked in through the front doors of the Garden, I knew this was like nothing I had ever experienced before. As I strolled up the ramp, fairies and wookies were walking hand in hand; faces were glowing with anticipation and glowsticks; bowls, joints, and everything else, short of bongs were being lit; and there was a constant roar of celebration from the crowd. My mind was blown and the show hadn't even started yet. There was a trail of wetness behind me and by the time I got to my seat, a quarter of my face had already melted off.

I was attending by myself, but not once did I feel alone. I told the people around me that this was my first show and they welcomed me by showering me with gifts of beer, joints, and towels("to wipe my face off the floor afterwards", I told them I should be fine). Everyone was getting antsy, just waiting for the moment...and then it happened. The Garden blew up, not the building, but every single person individually exploded. The song was "Piper," but all I could hear was 20,000 people yelling at the top of their lungs, demolishing the foundation way down below the train tracks of Penn Station.

Midway through the set everything went black. For a split second, I thought there was a malfunction, but then realized nothing could possibly go wrong at a Phish show, duh. The jumbotron lit up to confirm my thoughts. At this point, I was really confused, as it showed Tom Hanks from Castaway. And then it hit me, "WILLLLSOONNNNN!!!!" We were in for a real treat, Trey invited Tom Hanks onto the stage, and Hanks belted out "BLAT BOOM, BA DIGGA DOOM" as if he had been doing it for years.

By the end of the second set, there was a large puddle accumulating on the floor in front of me from the severe face meltage. I wasn't sure how I would handle another set with midnight set to strike midway through. I ended up borrowing that towel early, initiating some friendly jeers of "noooooob" from my surrounding phans.

As the new year neared, I could feel it getting colder and colder. Phish busted into "Seven Below" and the temperature dropped until all of a sudden, it started to snow. The entire arena was a winter wonderland with snow angels descending, abominable snowmen emerging, snowball fights ensuing and phans sledding down the aisles. The time ticked down to midnight, everyone focused back on the stage and as the clock struck 12, the Garden blew up again, this time for real. The stage exploded into fireworks, the ceiling crumbled into massive balloons and every person rocketed 20 feet into the air. It was the most amazing New Year's celebration ever.

The show came to an end, and I realized that my face was completely gone. Yet again, I borrowed the towel, soaked up the spill, wringed out my face and got everything back into place. I started to head home and thought back to what had just transpired. "Was that a dream? Is this a joke? That couldn't have actually happened." The disbelief overwhelmed me, but whatever had happened, I knew I would never be the same. Phish had changed my life...


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