A safe estimate would put the number of ticket requests for the upcoming Phish reunion at 250,000, all vying for maybe 15,000 pre-sale ducats for the three-night return engagement at the Hampton Coliseum. Somehow, some way, by the grace of the gods, my face-value dream hath come wondrously wet.
Until the unlikely confirmation came through earlier this evening, I could barely muster the excitement for the reunion I'd normally expect from my compulsive self. It's difficult for me to get too tangibly amped for a wedding when the engagement news begins to circulate. Unless there's a quasi-eloping situation in the offing, the nuptials generally loom way too far into the future to garner that genuine feeling of tingling anticipation. Eventually that excitement materializes, but at first, the natural reaction is something like "Oh, shit, well, that'll be cool. Open bar."
Similarly, despite it's obvious awesomeness on every level, it's been difficult for me to get too tangibly geeked for this Phish reunion, nearly five years in the making. I know what lays in wait, but the early-March run won't pop up on the "awesome things to do this weekend" horizon for another five months. For now, it's just another future weekend event without an open bar.
Make no mistake, hysteria is out there. Most of the popular rock band Phish's fans are overtly and rightly freaking the fuck out about the return of the subjectively greatest rock and roll band of our lifetimes. I know I will be -- and this day started me down that path -- but I'm still not entirely there yet. I want these shows here now. I don't want to wait through pumpkins and Macy's-sponsored parades. I don't want to wait through Jesus-atop-Santa chickenfights and Time Square confetti. I don't want to wait for that Punxsutawny rodent to decide whether or not we'll be freezing our wintry nips off for three more fortnights. I want a Phish show now. Hey, Daddy, I want a Phish show. I want you to get me a Phish show right away!
At this juncture it's a far-off concept. A post-hiatus, post-breakup Phish show is like an interstate Denny's when you're at your hungriest -- you know it's coming, but it ain't quite here yet. I can visualize the lots and fans and lights and grins, but it's hard to imagine the Hampton house lights coming down and the smoke going up. I can recollect all the notes and chords and songs and sets I've heard before, but it's hard to imagine the sound of those four brilliant dorks collaborating on a public stage again. I can remember the scent of the patchouli and reefer and...ahhh, shit, sorry, I just gagged a bit from the imaginary but vicious stench of patchouli -- 'tis enough to permanently damage the olfactory receptors and drive a man to assault and/or battery.
There's been nothing more enjoyable in this world than a well-executed Phish show (that hyphenated modifier clearly excludes the no joy in mudville called Coventry). From the "Here we go" at the start of the road trip to the "Holy fuck, what a day" at the end, there's nowhere I'd rather be on March 6th than in Virginia (regardless of whether they go Bradley Effect on us in November). If I didn't get lucky tonight, who knows what I'd be spouting off on this here rag. All I know is that when it comes down to it, I wouldn't miss the release after almost five years of tension. I couldn't. I wouldn't miss the adrenaline rush in between the PA's last song and the band's first note. I couldn't. I wouldn't miss the ability to high-five a stranger without impunity. I couldn't. I wouldn't miss the Curtain With exorcism opener. I couldn't.
But right now, I'm just a guy, like many of you (and sorry for the definitive gender use, but you are likely guys due to the sausage festiness of Phish shows), dealing with a stressful job and a suddenly Trans-Atlantic relationship trying to make it through the week just to watch a football game. The excitement will build, but tonight, tonight I'm in a place I'd never thought I'd be, the stoic lifelong fan with an e-mail confirmation and a whole lot of time before it gets real. Oh, but when it gets real, that's boogie time. That's the goods.
Good luck with The Ticket Master, my friends. I'll see youse all there.