Just realized, with 3 hours left in the day, that today marks an important anniversary in my life. 15 years ago today, I saw my first Phish show.
Alpine Valley, 1996. A very large group of friends from the Chicago/Galesburg, IL area trucked it up to East Troy, WI - passing by the Mars Cheese Castle and promising to stop there on the way back - and set up camp in some campground whose name is long forgotten by this swiss cheese memory. It was my first time camping since I was a kid, or maybe it was my first time camping ever - my parents aren't exactly the roughing it type, if you dig what I am saying.
I don't remember too much from that night but I do remember long-stepping down that hill in Pavilion as the band took the stage and went into "My Friend, My Friend". I remember the whistles following "Reba" (which they abandoned for so long and to my delight and surprise, picked back up this summer at Superball IX) and I remember "Rift", the title track from the album that introduced us all to this amazing group of guys. And how awesome was it to get a "Hold Your Head Up" (HYHU) > "Whipping Post" > HYHU series with Fishman running around onstage like a damn fool in a ridiculous moo moo? And the encore of a silly little song called "Contact" ("The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road") followed by a hot cover of "Fire".
Great show. We went back to our tents that night with ear-to-ear grins and the next day, I got online and started trying to find a ride to the Clifford Ball festival the next weekend. I almost got there. I had the ride from Detroit to Plattsburgh, NY but could not find a way to get from Chicago to Detroit in time. That was one of the few times I regretted selling my '68 Bug to move to Chicago.
The next summer, I promised myself ... the next summer I'll go all the way to the end.
And I did.
Happy Anniversary to me.