Monday, October 25, 2010

Phish - 10/22/10 - Providence: 1000 Barefoot Children Outside Dancing On My Lawn

Friday I journeyed down to Boston to meet my brother-in-law, Dan, and then we continued on down to Providence to catch Phish at "The Dunk" - The Dunkin' Donuts Center, formerly the Providence Civic Center (where I saw Smashing Pumpkins some 15 years earlier).

Traffic to Boston was brutal, and even worse continuing to Providence, but we made it to the room Dan's buddy Glen had secured in the 4 star (sarcasm) establishment that is the Seekonk, MA Ramada Inn.  The hotel had been overrun by Phishheads, and they had the staff flummoxed.  As we were walking in, we saw a pack of 8 wooks with their own camping gear piling into a room down the hall.   We had a mere hour to pre-party, but Glen had smartly hooked up pizzas and beer already, and we ripped through them like a tornado.  Upon trying to get a cab to the venue at 7:30, we realized that we had a problem, as there was a 30 minute delay.  We managed to pile in with a nice couple who had already been waiting 45 minutes, and thanked them by paying for the cab, which got us to the venue at 8:05.  We made it to our seats and had 90 seconds before the lights went down and Mike Gordon's base wanked out the opening chords of Down With Disease - one of my favorite Phish songs.  

The crowd was fired up, and DwD was tight and short, followed by Funky Bitch.   Fluffhead was somewhat of a surprise next, and as they entered the dissonant jam part I went in search of Dan and Glen, who'd gone for beers 15 minutes earlier.  I found them 2nd in line, dealing with a Bajungi tilt situation in the incompetent beer girl.  Glen had a bunch of speeding tickets, so his license was, for a time, restricted - it says "valid 7am to 7pm" on it.  As he gave it to young Brittany, she looked at it, looked at her watch, and said "It's after 7pm, I can't serve you."  That should have been really funny, but she wasn't joking.  Glen provided another expired license, and after checking with her supervisor, Brittany said she couldn't serve him.  

"Ok - just 6 beers then, instead of 8,"  I countered, aiming to confuse and confound.
"You only have 2 people," she was getting more confused.

"No - there are three of us," I pestered, but she informed me that Glen couldn't be served and that I'd get in trouble if I handed the beers to him.  "Ohhh okayyyy," I mocked, as I handed the beers to Dan, who handed them to Glen.  Brittany then tried to short me $20 on my change, which I somehow caught, and then Dan made me laugh when he said "I'm just gonna stand here and order 2 more beers,"  which he did, and Brittany blurted out, "HEY - you TRICKED me!" as she woke up to the simple reality of the situation.

We returned to our seats for the end of Fluffhead and were hit with Roses are Free - a Ween cover - which gave me the opportunity to tell the classic Ween story of when I was out in NYC a few years ago with Dirty Dave and JC.  Dave somehow was in touch with a friend of a friend of a friend who was at a party with Ween at the La Quinta Inn near Herald Square.  "If you want to destroy my sweater?"  I sang out - but Dave chided me: "WEEEEEEN - not Weezer."  We ended up in a surreal scene, walking into the "penthouse" at the La Quinta.  It was a smoke filled room straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie, with girls passed out in the bathtub (clothed) and weird music playing.  We beat a hasty retreat.  Anyway, back to the Dunk:

Rift was hot, and the lyric "and shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite," resonated with me, as the crowd bounced into a frenzy.    Moma Dance confused me, despite the fact that I've seen it many times, and Ocelot was a nice happy shift.  I love NICU, and spent the next 36 hours whistling the melody while chanting the refrain "Would you please, make clear to me, I'm peering out through your opacity. And you've rehearsed tomorrow's verse, forgive me if I don't sing in your key."
I tried to put Dr. Pauly on tilt during Sample in a Jar by sending him a text that said "Sample is the nuts," but it didn't work, and a raging Julius closed the first set.  Pauly came down to visit us during the set break, and I gave him his ticket for Tuesday's Manchester, NH show, which we'll be going to together.  I chatted briefly with the crew of guys behind us, who were from Concord NH!  They gave me tips on the Concord hot spots, and talked about the afterparty.

Rock and Roll got people back in their seats, but the dark and angry Carini got the crowd frenzied for real.  It's always hard to describe the audience at a live show, and even in video it rarely translates, but Carini was the beginning of some serious bee-hive activity inside the Dunk.  They slowed it down with a song I've never heard before "My Problem Right There," but I thought it was a pretty good song.  Interestingly, Phish's fans seem to know EVERY song they every play from the first note, but it was clear that I wasn't the only one who didn't know this song - the vast majority of the crowd seemed unaware, but also seemed to like it. 

From there, the roller coaster picked up speed - Mike's Song was intense, and Sanity in the middle of the Weekapaug sandwich pleased the crowd greatly.  Suzy Greenberg was the intensity highlight of the night - with pure energy exploding from the band and the crowd in one.  I swallowed my gum while screaming "SUUUUU-ZEEE, SU-ZEEEE, SUUU-ZEEE SUUU ZEEE, SUUUUU ZEEEE SUUUUZEEEEE GREEENBERG" and jumping up and down, but I rallied and recovered.  Light followed, then Character Zero and 2001, which generated the expected enthusiasm from the crowd.

Not quite done, Loving Cup pushed it over the edge, and First Tube as an encore was, strangely, almost a letdown from the frenetic atmosphere that had been established.  I normally find First Tube to be one of the most intense songs Phish plays, and have seem some sick versions of it - but this night it just didn't work for me.  Maybe I'll change my mind when I listen to the MP3s again.

We'll do it again on Tuesday


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