A Tale of Two Phish Shows: Albany Review
After a two-day Phish run in Albany, N.Y., complete with singing, dancing and partying till the wee hours of the morning, it’s solidified– Neil and I are party animals
The weekend started with a full belly, as the first show was only a day after Thanksgiving and I had stuffed myself to the point of wrenching pain less than 24 hours earlier.
[You can thank Rod Bunt and his delicious stuffing for us being well-fed. – Neil]
Me, Neil and some of our friends stayed at the Clarion in Albany (Neil’s hometown), and when we arrived at the hotel around 3 p.m. the hippie invasion had already begun.
We fought the bitter-cold wind and got a cab to the show. Our seats were decent, but Neil was feeling pretty stifled by the lifeless older men standing next to him while he tried to dance to “Maze.” We were also desperately asking those around us for a bowl, but all people had were Iphones. I discussed the possibilities of a “smoke-a-bowl” application– apparently they do not have an app for that.
At the beginning of the second set Neil and I made our way closer to the stage with the ol’ dance-and-weave method*. Phish opened the second set with “My Friend, My Friend” and soon the only thing that stood between us and the stage was a lonesome security guard. “You’re just gonna have to sneak past him. That’s the way it goes. It’s every man for himself,” said a sweaty Neil. ‘Nuff said. Neil gave me the go-ahead and in an instant we had broken through… “MY FRIEND MY FRIEND THE CLEVER RUSE / MY FRIEND MY FRIEND HE LIGHTS THE FUSE”
*Note: this method works much better if you have a vagina.
I don’t remember everything that was played; all I remember is thinking how much control Trey and the rest of Phish had over everybody’s mind (yeaaa… that’s what it was controlling my mind!) Watching him play his instrument felt almost voyeuristic at times; he was totally jerking that Languedoc off onstage. [Neil’s $.02 – “AC/DC Bag,” “Maze,” “My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own.” These three songs set the tone for a raucous, rocking evening. One of my personal favorites, “It’s Ice,” kicked off the second half of the first set, which featured the rarity “Timber (Jerry)” and a knee-buckling “Limb by Limb.” Solid first set, yet the best was still to come. Second set was tight, featuring a “Fluffhead,” (I didn’t cry this time) “Harry Hood,” and one of my all-time favorites “The Squirming Coil.” All in all, a pretty killer show, but they still had a ton left in the tank for the next night. Not to mention we got up very close and could see the sweat dripping of Gordon’s small frame.]
After the show ended thousands of people flooded onto the streets of Albany, and to make a long story short: walk in the bitter cold to a Hollywood-themed bar > ditch bar, stand outside and debate with a large group of dudes whether to go to the titty bar or not > hit up a Mobile and annoy the employee who clearly had fake gold grills in
his mouth> go to Red Square and watch Zach Deputy play until 4 a.m.
OH! Almost forgot– I happened to snag a sweet dancing spot at Red Square right next to a big fan, and as I danced my hair blew in the wind like I was standing in the Baywatch opening credits. Me and the girl to my left had a big joke about it throughout the evening, “It’s like we’re dancing in our own music video!” until I saw the man she had introduced to me as her boyfriend making out with her alleged best friend. We were pretty close after dancing in our fake music video all night, so of course I questioned it. “Oh, haha. That’s actually her husband,” she told me. Feeling pretty drunk and friendly I laughed and told her I wanted to be in on the orgy. Maybe not the best joke, because before I knew it her boyfriend was grabbing me around the waste and incoherently mumbling into my ear “what’s your nameeeee, what’s your nameee?”
[Oh my goodness. I was talking to some kid about “Kill Devil Falls,” when Ange comes gallivanting up to tell me her story. I suggested she take part in the oddity, but she wanted little to no part in that.
As if it couldn’t get any weirder, we decide to hop in a minivan cab which featured a deranged lunatic and a more deranged cab driver. I tell him to take me to the hotel. The lunatic, who was sitting in the middle seat, slowly turns his head and tells us they are taking us to Bethlehem. No. No you are certainly not. I make one last feeble attempt to get us home, when I decided it was time to jump up and sternly tell the driver he needs to let us out. On the side of the road. We were two feet from being on I-90. Wow. I thought stuff like this only happens in the movies.]
The next night of Phish brought about even more tomfoolery which began in the hotel bar. After a few drinks (er, lots of drinks) we braved the cold and headed to Shakedown Street. Veggie burritos were calling my name. [Aaaaanngela! Come eat my meat-free delight!]
Our seats weren’t as stellar this time, but we sneaked past an elderly security guard and got to the floor. *Dance & weave, dance & weave* [It’s a mode of survival when you want to get close to the band you love.] After getting grabbed by the guard twice I decided my seats were good enough.
I know I’ve only seen Phish handful of times, but the second set of this show was probably the most rocking I’ve experienced. Sure, they played “Joy” and [and “Alaska,” which is a killer song. Definitely one of the highlights], but “Wolfman’s Brother” and “Julius” absolutely brought the house down. Even the security guard who had grabbed me was dancing! Neil and I jumped for joy *wink wink* when the band closed the show with a “YEM” encore – which I (and I think the whole crowd) had been hoping for- not to mention the most insane vocal jam I’ve heard yet.
[I would be a horrible person if I didn’t rave about the second-set opener “Seven Below”>”Ghost.” In Phish 3.0, that was certainly the best jam the boys have put forth. The two songs lasted about 50 minutes and gave the middle finger to all the naysayers who said Phish is incapable of the epic jam. Now if only I can get some chicken and chicken stock to go with all that noodling.]
After the show Neil and I met up with some friends, and later headed back to the Red Square for more Zach Deputy. Didn’t see my new swinger friends, but I did party till 5 a.m. again.
The second night of Albany was the 5th Phish show I’ve been to this year. But I swear I’m not a Phish-head. Sure I’ve always been a fan, but after seeing them play Fenway park in May something grabbed me. The vibe, the crowd, the way “You Enjoy Myself” makes me feel inside about 8 minutes in – I can’t get enough of this band. And while I won’t be in Miami for the New Years run (we’ll leave that to Neil), you can bet that I’ll be seeing more of Phish in 2010. Can you say Spring tour?
[Phish’s return means we get so much great music to look forward to. Phriends, phamily and orgies. What? P.S. – I saw many shows on this tour and loved each one. If you would like to share in the groove, leave me your email and I can send you every crispy soundboard recording. See you in Miami!]
*Check out our pictures HERE!