Recently I attended my second Phish show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. As my friends and I drove to the Garden at 7:00, we could feel a special happiness in the air. The thousands of “Phish Heads” surrounding the Garden were quite a sight.
As we all packed imo the Garden and found our seats, the anticipation was unbearable. From the second the lights went down and the band ripped out their first few notes, we all knew it was going to be a great night. The band opened up the first set with “Curtain,” a song about Grateful Dead guitarist, Jerry Garcia. They then played such crowd favorites as “Bouncing Around the Room,” “It’s Ice,” and “Sparkle.” They finished this great set with another classic, “You Enjoy Myself,” followed by the vocal jam. The light show for the vocal jam was totally breath-taking.
After such a great first set I didn’t think it could get any better. I didn’t know what to expect next. But as the lights went down once again, and the band walked out, we were all up and ready for a great second set. The guys totally surprised me when they opened the second set with “2001: Space Odyssey.” It was probably the greatest thing I have ever seen or heard. Then they went into another crowd favorite “Down with Disease.”
A few songs later the band played one of my personal favorites, “Scent of a Mule,” and they played it better than ever. They started out really lively which led into a great piano solo. That then led into something that resembled an old Hebrew folk song, and as they sped this up it went right back into, “Scent of a Mule.” It was amaizing. As the last song, “Weekapaugh Groove,” started to play, a circus of men and women dressed as spiders, birds, and other creatures began to dance onto the stage. At this point I had already decided that these four guys from Vermont were not human.
As they walked off the stage, we knew it wasn’t over yet. A few seconds later they walked back out onto the stage. But now they had Buddy Miles and Merl Saunders assisting them on drums and piano. When Buddy Miles asked the crowd if they had ever heard of Bob Dylan, I immediately knew what they were going to play – “All Along the Watchtower,” which was the biggest surprise of the whole night.
I must say that this was the best show I have ever seen. To find out more about Phish, and to find when they’ll be playing in a town near you, you can go to their web site: www.phish.net.