The way into a Phish show is always plagued with pitstops to accommodate excited conversations and the ever so often assurance to other phans that, though they currently do not have a ticket, that some miraculous event will arise to allow them the benefaction of dancing the night away within the venue. Thanks to the kindhearted vibe that phish lot allows, these aspirations tend not to be pipe dreams and many such lot rats make their way into the show, with a ‘miracle’ ticket or by some other sketchy method or maneuver. For the love of music, may we all see the show!
Kevin Coughlin and I made several of these said stops along the way into the venue at the PNC in Charlotte, NC. We had been wise to have purchased our tickets at the venue about an hour prior to the opener and were surprised to see that most had not made the decision to head to the box office sooner. An impatient line of Phish-goers cascaded into the street protruding from the box office as Coughlin and I arrived to enter the venue. It was already the second song, ‘Back on the Train,’ and all of these people, fueled by dancing fever, were stuck outside the gates waiting to pay for their pleasure. Coughlin assumed that this was, in fact, the line to the gates, but no, there was no wait at all to get into the PNC. The security waved us through peacefully and wished us a great night.
Page side, Rage side, center field was the premier location to prance merrily as Trey’s guitar echoed, Page’s keys sang, Fishman’s drums bellowed, and Mike’s bass boomed. The first creature that happened upon us was a middle aged man that was melting into the ground at a sloth like rate. His body drooped and he staggered his way into our lives with no intention. We had him sit by us and made sure his important items remained his. A comrade of his was quite pleased to find his amigo safe and sound and we spent the rest of the night rolling with laughter with our new friends.
‘Mike’s Song’ bled into ‘Back on the Train’ and now ‘Weekapaug Groove’ got the crowd in to a funky feel. One of my favorite songs, Coughlin and I got down, only bumping into a couple of heads, (people whom one may find at a jam band concert). ‘Wingsuit’ came up next. Some truly enjoy this song, some prefer the classics such as ‘Meatstick’ or ‘Run like an Antelope.’ Whatever you are into, Phish never ceases to entertain. Their new songs are attuned to the style of their older material, so many people have been captivated by watching them evolve as a band, while still sticking to their roots.
‘Possum’ stole the show with an incredibly long set of entering notes, a “Dun, Dun, Dun, Dun,” that seemingly went on forever got everyone amped up and jumping for joy, (the feeling not the song). ‘Possum’ ran into ‘Tube,’ which was certainly a crowd pleaser. ‘My Friend, My Friend’’s creepy vibe and awesome light show was ended by a new song, ‘Winterqueen.’ Up next was another newbie, ‘Beauty of a Broken Heart.’
A good ‘David Bowie’ is always welcomed vivaciously in my book, and Phish pulled it off with tact. ‘Golgi Apparatus’ with its iconic, “I saw you with a ticket stub in you hand,” hits close to home for most Phish phans. An extraordinary number of friendships have be cultivated on the lot scene and within the show at a Phish concert, obviously many people have met with ticket stubs in their hands.
Phish at the PNC in Charlotte, NC was inundated with songs from Phish’s newest album, Fuego. The second set was opened with ‘555,’ a favorite of their new material of our dear friend Mike Vercellone. ‘Chaulkdust Torture’ played next reminding us all to, “Live while I’m young.” ‘Fuego’ jammed on for a bit until ‘Twist’ spun us into a beautiful moment, meeting new friends that had happened to pause to talk next to our perimeter. These boys were in their mid-twenties and were suspicious of us for a moment before realizing our heckling was of the best, most loving nature.
‘When the Circus comes to Town,’ a Los Lobos cover, is a downtempo song that gets everyone to remember what a circus life really is. Phish finished off strong with a ‘Piper,’ ‘Rift,’ ‘Waiting All Night,’ ‘Reba,’ and a ‘Character Zero.’ Coughlin was especially thrilled about the killer ‘Reba’ Phish pulled out of their hats, or lack their of. A typical encore, ‘Loving Cup’ swept over us as Coughlin and I exited the venue to possibly sell some waters, which never happened. Too many people to enjoy the company of to sell waters. The night was young and we had no idea where we would be staying that night, it was time for the next voyage.
1. Mike's Song
2. Back on the Train
3. Weekapaug Groove
7. My Friend, My Friend
9. Beauty of a Broken Heart
10. David Bowie
11. Golgi Apparatus
13. Chalk Dust Torture
16. When the Circus Comes (Los Lobos cover)
19. Waiting All Night
21. Character Zero
22. Loving Cup (The Rolling Stones cover)