The parking lot is filled with expensive foreign cars and yuppies, I was kind of expecting a similar situation to the Phil Lesh and Trey show I went to two years ago, but that was not the case. There were no people selling special rice crispy treats or micro brewed beer. I guessed that Phish fans were of a higher socioeconomic status than that of Phil Lesh fans. As I walked towards the venue, the class of cars and people changed, I then had my epiphany, the overflow lots were for those of us that worked and the front lots were for all the hippies that lived off of their parents and followed Phish and went to every music festival I have dreamed of attending.
The cars went down in value and I started to see American cars and more bumper stickers, I wish more New Yorkers had bumper stickers, it give me something to do when I was stuck in traffic, I have loads of them – just doing my part to entertain the stop and go on the Belt every morning.
At first he just had his hands tucked under his arms in a shy air guitar move, as the show went on he became more comfortable, easily switching from air bass, to lead guitar and even to drums and organ. It wasn’t one of those air guitars like at an 80s metal show in which the hands move up and down all the while giving the metal sign to the air, it didn’t combine any head banging, just merely a side to side sway and an occasional fist throw to document some part of the song when the music would stop momentarily and the band would say something like Possum.
The 10:1 guy to girl ratio making it an undeniable sausage fest reminded me of my travels in the north country around the Yukon and Alaska, where women are tough to find and when you do find one, they tend to be hairy and non-human looking, pretty similar to what I was looking at right now, save for a few dread lock wearing cuties with those nose rings and flow skirts that frequently displayed their tramp stamps and tan legs whenever the wind would gust.
No one seemed to notice the sausage fest, bodies swayed and jumped and moved to the rhythm, and as the shower of light sticks rained upon us, my friend Sara wished me Happy Phishing, told me we’ve been waiting 4 years for this and then zoned in to the music like the rest of the human wave pool that was forming around me.
When I discovered Phish, it was around the same time of their last show in Vermont, I had known about them for years, but my musical exploration didn’t begin until the middle of college, when I shrugged off my fascination with 80s hair bands, country music and ska and discovered Jam Bands and Jazz. The vibe was good, the girls were cute and I could dance anyway I liked and no one cared or they were too high to notice.
The sound at the beginning of the show was terrible, tool much bass and not much of anything else. My brother had warned me about the Jones Beach Amphitheater sound quality, the last time I was at Jones beach was for Def Leopard in the late 90s, so I didn’t remember it much. Besides for the urine overflow in the bathroom that I had to walk through in my sandals, its actually a pretty nice venue, and yes the sound got better, way better thank God.
Black velvet yarmulke at 6 o’clock, Sara tells me, as I have tried to turn on my Jewdar for no reason in particular other than spotting proud Jews at shows is one of my things. I myself am sporting my black suede yarmulke and have already noticed several girls with head coverings and skirts a little too frummy looking to be hippie, black velvet yarmulke guy passes and then I overhear 3 hippies talking yeshivish, using words like Takka and Mimayla, unheard of I tell you.
Besides for the air guitar guy, there is this “too cool for you” dude who has been wearing his sunglasses during the entire show. It wasn’t even bright when the show started, it was hazy and humid and threatening rain, but lo and behold this man is wearing sunglasses and its dark outside, what’s the deal? Maybe he’s a professional poker player and doesn’t want people knowing what’s on his mind? He could be a Narc, they are those 1980’s cop sunglasses like they wore on CHIPS.
Speaking of cops, I saw someone getting arrested in the parking lot and his head was being held down by the cops knee. Getting arrested before the show must suck, my heart goes out to the guy, but if he was caught smoking, I have no sympathy for dumbasses, seriously, they didn’t even need the smoke machines, there was so much smoke. It really reminded me of the 420 festival I went to in Boulder, Colorado last month, clouds of smoke floating to the air and the sweet smell of Marijuana.
I have noticed that during the slow songs there are some people who dance exactly how they would during the fast songs, are you too high to realize or there is just one hippie/jam band dance? Happens to be that there is the spaced out hippie dance in which you must keep bumping into your neighbors and always stand sideways, its also important to close your eyes as if you were one of those really spiritual girls at Carlebach that sway their heads and sing really loudly. Moving your arms as if they were tentacles, is also part of the typical hippie dance and if you really want to show your skills, get down low and act like a monkey and spin in circles, its really hard to explain to folks who don’t go to many shows. All I really wanted to say is that when you jump up and down and spin around during a raise your lighter or cell phone ballad you look like an idiot.
In a lot of ways the show was kind of like a Chassidish event, facial hair was a necessity and if you groomed it seemed that you were out of touch. I am pretty sure that many of the crowd was into skinny dipping as many Chassidim do on a daily basis. Lots of the women wore skirts, didn’t shave their underarm hair and wore some sort of scarf in their hair – furthermore everyone was smoking and the food was greasy and overpriced. Maybe the concert promoters were chassidish?
I was expecting a dirtier, sketchier crowd, but besides for the proliferation of whippets dealers in the parking lot after the show, the fact I had to walk through a flood in the men’s room to pee and the complete lack of women, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between this show and a Third Eye Blind concert, the hippies were non existent and although some folks were swaying hippie style – the bulk of the audience seemed like accountants who went to good private colleges and liked to wear over priced sandals and Patagonia shells. Although the music itself was amazing the people were kind of boring, but based on the overwhelming amount of people driving with their windows closed before and after the show I could tell the crowd was going to be like their driving habits, climate controlled. I have this theory that people who drive with their windows open are just more friendly and interesting, less stand offish.
Either way, Phish rocked the house, played two solid sets and jammed like mad, and yes I am going to try and see them again this summer.