Phishy Business


On December 28th, I had two firsts.  My first Amtrak train ride was a blissful four hours of leg cramps and hunger pains.  However, you learn from the first, so my trip home on the Amtrak was much better. On the trip home I brought coffee and snacks.  My other first was attending the Phish concert in Madison Square Garden. I am not a huge Phish fan and if it was not for my boyfriend, I never would have attended this concert.  But, he is a fan and I promised to go with him. So entering this concert, I was not a fan and had very little exposure to their music. How did that turn out? I am so glad you asked.

As we left for the concert, my boyfriend packed his backpack with glow sticks.  At the time, I was very confused and I heavily underestimated his explanation. He told me that fans throw glow sticks during the concert, but only at certain moments.  I thought he was joking, but I was in for quite a treat.

Since the concert was to start at 7:30 P.M., we made sure to get there early to scope out the area and get comfortable before the show.  I was warned by multiple people about the band and the fan base that follows. Yet, like the glow sticks, I underestimated these warnings.  The band, Phish, formed during the 80s in Vermont. So it is understandable how the audience was comprised of people around my parent’s age.  What I did not realize was that some of them still partied like they did when they were my age. If you ever intend on attending a Phish concert, I beg you to look around at the audience as well because they take the show to the next level.  The audience was comprised of the happiest and most energetic group I have ever seen at a concert. They hyped over songs about possums and the crowd danced their hearts out.

The energy at the concert was added to by the lights.  I have been to many concerts before, but I have never seen the lights used as they were at the Phish show.  I am used to the lights being used only on the stage and on the band, but this was different. Most of the lights were used on the crowd to make various shapes in multiple colors.  It was truly mesmerizing. Speaking of lights, the glow sticks were not a joke. During pulses of a song, fans from all over Madison Square Garden would be seen throwing glow sticks down towards the center.  Now we were lucky enough to be far enough up in the seating to see the stage and not get hit by the glow sticks. And there were tons of them being thrown one at a time or in large bundles. It was quite exciting and drew me into the show even more.  

Also, for those like me that are not Phish fans, the band is known for their improv music playing after songs which can go for tens of minutes.  I think this is my boyfriend’s favorite part of their music because when they walk on stage there is no set list of rules of what they are going to play.  This was interesting because you had no clue what would happen next. Would they continue to jam for another ten minutes after this song? Or what song will follow?  This uncertainty made the show even more special because it flowed so well. Yet, you leave the show knowing that no show has ever been or will ever be exactly like that again.  Which also explains why fans will go multiple nights in a row because you are guaranteed a different experience each time.

All in all, I really enjoyed the concert.  Mostly because of how happy my boyfriend was, but also because of the little quirks that make Phish the band it is.  The trip was a memory I will never forget, and I look forward to trying more new things.