A Jumping Off Point
Before I embark upon personal journeys, these vision-quests which I know will undoubtedly toil with my mind and ultimately alter my particular points of view, I tend to view them with a great amount of exhilaration and limited but palpable trepidation. I grip the steering wheel a little tighter, knowing the approaching of the next city, the next big event, the next rollercoaster scream attack of a night, dipped and now ready to ooze in all the pulsin
g and sensation of another Phish circus will ultimately suck me up, duck me down, turn me round and spit me out like a sugar ravished kid on a sit and spin. I knowingly enter these moments, the ether blistering with possibility, with choice and freedom, with the knowledge that there is No-Thing that can be pieced down, pinned out and sewn with any real understanding of what will come...It is the innocence and bewilderment that is the still gestating tour, the verbage that gets coined in the first few carnival nights, the "whale tones", the "New Phish"; it's the old faitful language of a culture that far and wide has a pulsing and rhythm and heartbeat all it's own. Having thought I lost this loved one, and now reaffirmed of their existence, I shutter at the thought of our reunion; of our sonic conversion, where planets align, the stratosphere bellows open like a gaping head wound, and in their melodic irreverance, the world catalyzes as a string of notes holding together and binding the cosmos for one mere moment.
"Phish as Avatar"
This "Avatar" of sorts, this multi headed, yet seemingly single brained visage, that which had laid dormant, the growing cobwebs adorning it's extrerior like streamers that still hung from a now defunct and depressing dance hall, this mass, alone in shallow darkness and verified silence, had for many years been motionless; yet in these same years this "Vultron" (mightier, the whole, than in the sum of its parts) sparked, by its hibernation, contro
versy amongst it's disciples, their voices and words billowing subtle insight as smoke churning from the stacks of their concrete cannons, busy within the inner-workings, trying to hold fast to the dream that such an organic and evolving natural machine, the Phish, may live again. These Phans, joyed at the whispers of re-union; to once again enter into that tacit consent and sublimely uplifting single consciousness that formulates and eeks it's bubble bodied form throughout an evening from fraught filled fret frenzy, bass implosions, keyboard collision courses, and high hat hilarity, all focused hell bent on creating something from nothing, and in that, that that "No-thing" had no idea it may have ever had a chance of existing.
The Reunion Verified
With the rumor now a full fledged fact, that Phish would be "no more" no longer I personally began revisiting old favorites in hopes of conjuring the spirits of an era of Organically Grown-Home-Spun, and Freshly Squeezed Music; I entered Pre-Hiatus funk fests, veritable boatloads of fizzling bass bomb-debris shoveled offshore from the barges of fabled jam sequences. I launched back to my origins, to the nauseating likes of NO2, my first take on Jimmy, his lovable cat, a comet crashing into Jupiter, and the slip and slide splash of Page's Keys as he invoked the God's in his solo as if he was "hit in the head by a comet!"
But I also entered labyrinths of seemingly maze-like dead ends of my post-Hiatus quests to resecure "my band" to the ever evolving "me"! But I had found it difficult at times to latch my cerebral cortex to the always elusive formiddable blob that showcased, night in and night out, in the darker years surrounding 2002-2004. I sensed a dense fog criminally en
gaging the music and in the back alleys and piss stained snow caps of those winter tours, their was more than meets the eye, Jacob's Ladder style; as evil incarnate glimpsed from broken glass and busted shuttered windows. In the highlights that fluttered in, off beat and unexpected (a Tweezer-turned-Stealth Mission-turned-Happiness Jam-turned-Sinister)and eased me, infrequently, to a tranquil slumber, I was always certain of the moment when my transcendence would dissipate and I would again be forced to outrun an angry pile of joggers, or an over-zealous Church Mob, in my failed effort to evade my own mortality.
In all, I managed to scrape by the post-Hiatus, pre-Phish-End era, working my way to some miracle moments, but more often than not, a Giant's helping of every "Walls of the Cave" ever offered up; and done so ubiquitously to appease the ravenous flock of Basket Hangers, perched, captivated, and chomping at the bit behind first row steel bars and netted stage skirt! (I consistently think back on how that song reminds me of wiping my A$$!) When Phish said good-bye, I was even okay with it, knowing, as most had been murmuring, that it would "never be the same!" Then, Trey said it, too! And like a hero I admired, letting me know that my excitement and enjoyment of their craft was simply a waste of (fill in the f'ing blank), I didn't want to be where misery was!
Rumors had been flooding through the parking lot, a scene debauched by the left over debris of a now tattered and war torn Gamehendge; rumors of its timid leader, Big Red, being overtaken by the domination of what seemed to be more like Saron's ring, than the seemingly soul saving power bestowed upon the possessor of The Helping Friendly Book! The vacated lots, no longer teeming with transient miscrients, off to the next all knowing Trash Heap, peddling their wares, looked reminiscent of a birthday party on crack (hippie crack)! Burst balloons relayed the story line of crackling synapses that had ignited, flickered, and sizzled to a blackened demise. I recall my final glimpse of the scene; my little red car, caked with mud, puttering dow
n back roads out of the Northern Kingdom, the dirty windshield hinting vaguely at sepia tone, and the scratchy melancholy chorus just out of ear shot in the workings of my brain. I could hear music playing in the thoughts that jumbled in my head, off notes hit out of stride, telling me that I should not let go so easily (cars ditched in the little divets in between the highway, and possesions scattered as many scrambled to catch the last dribbling of their all at once lost heroes, as they flubbed the final number, performing in the wrong key) I would have been better off not catching that Velvet Sea, knowing it might have been the last, but would only later understand what true loss was, having secured a split on par with the likes of The O(Phish)cial End! I climbed in and out of my head, travelling South that morning, having endured what was akin to the "everybody hurts" traffic jam come to life...I couldn't be sad, but I couldn't be happy. I teetered as if on a tipping rock unable to appease myself by balancing myself, and always trying to steady my position, I was a consistent shuttering tremor. I felt uncomfortable. But I had no control and that was how it was to be...
A Real New Start (Or Something Smells (Not So) Phishy)
I remembered the news of the re-union, giddy only in the relative quiet of me and my puppies; but while witty, wide eyed and crazed for another chance at any thing Phish, I quickly wandered into a sea of those caucaphonous and deafening pangs of cymbal crashing reality, reminding me of how "not so good" it had been! (But this too shall pass, right?)This is for another time...
My Awkward Transition (Throwing The Horse in the Sand)
So it was, and while I may have more to come on this Post Break Up terror/dread/Joy?! I will fast forward to the veritable thesis I know is wrapped up in this Cocoa Crispy, Cap'n Crunch crumbled High Grade Gooey concoction! What I have learned?!
I was certainly re-energized for Phish Tour this year! First off, I was going to play part one of the summer smart, i.e. Days off of Work, Places to Stay (hotels and not back seats of minivans), ample comfort level with repsect to reaching the lot and wandering of the lot, and finally a means of generating a minor amount of pocket change via some witty(clever) T-Shirt Sales!
Finally, while I set a few minor expectations of what I had in store for myself, I did not create any gnarly, Wookie-esque pre concevied notions about getting that Alumni Blues>Letter To Jimmy Page>Alumni Blues! I created an alter ego to what I thought was the older "matured" me. And in retrospect, that "Old Me" was...well...not as "easy going" as I wanted to be! This cool cat would soak it in, live the lavish life of a concert-goer once those house lights dimmed, but could still tear it up in the Lot before the Show!
I think it's mob mentality but when a song drops, and it is known fodder that the masses abhor it, Things Get Heavy, and blood runs silky as Velvet to Pools in the hemisphere during the encore. I escaped this, creating my own singular connection at times that transcended any negativity. So I opened up a third eye, one that was stymied by the light let in at first, but then able to grasp the creation and transformation happening all at once. I was here to critique a band I had always held to a high standard, to revisit their songs, their growth as a molecular unit, and was able to synthesize, and embody their ebb and flow with the surrounding environs; how they honed the samurai skill of stealthily breaking apart from the whole, to linger in the foreground, the background, with limitless patience; to explore, in depth, patterns of musical anomalies, with the sheer ability to graph themselves back into the larger whole, and effortlessly reform rhythmic patterns and passages, conversations, snippets and novels of formulaic Enterprise!
Further, I was able to bask in the knowledge that I was there to experience a creation that, as I always knew it, was limited only when limits where perceived, and my letting go, free form enjoyment of the Music that I yearned for, and seek passion from, gain energy and utilize like solar reflectors do the sun, like wind turbines do the passing wind, I re-engaged with a ferocity that only spiked as the days went on! So when it was that my expectations had nearly dissipated to the wind, and I was asked, what I might really get a kick out of hearing, I finally scoffed a breath of Alumni Blues, jotted in down in my blue set list book as a "Want" and ventured to Camden that Friday, to meet my fate! To Be Continued...
It all started with...