Phlying Light Sticks, Phlying High, Phlying Phish – My Phirst Phish Show… Phenomenal!!!

Boy, I am trying to live my life without any regrets, but it is not easy!

On one hand, there is something positive if you use those regrets to power your dreams and not make the same mistakes over and over.

On the other hand, and with it, we keep slapping ourselves in the head.

I could have had a V8… I should have done this, or stayed here, or seen this band or that band…

Sigh… I only saw the Grateful Dead once… Yes, I SHOULD have seen them more… but at least I got the one in! And up until this past Friday, I had never seen Phish… and I really cannot tell you why. I love their musicianship and music… and I love jam bands. So, I just don’t know why. I can tell you, after Friday’s show I do wish I had seen them in younger days, and for many reasons I may or may not get into. Stay tuned… we’ll see…

The parking lot was most reminiscent of a Dead show… The air-filled with smoke… guys hiding behind cars doing helium balloons… or something in balloons… and probably “Whip-Its”. This crowd was not going in any time soon, even though the show was called for 7:30.

Assuming it would start on time, and knowing how long the band plays, us two “old guys” went inside. We did try to finagle our way into the Forum Club… but try as we might, we were shut down.

At 7:30 the place was empty… by eight o’clock the GA was more packed than I have ever seen one before… a literal sea of people… sea of humanity… Not a single space of floor could be seen from our seats in 210, except towards the back.

This was one of the more eclectic groups I have ever seen… Definitely the Dead of this generation… and at least two before it…

Mostly 20 somethings and 30 somethings… and 40 somethings… and maybe a few 50’s-60s…

Parents with kids under 10, and not to be a stick in the proverbial mud, but considering how badly my eyes and chest were burning by the end of the night, I do question that… and not even for the volume…

No pot was needed as we were literally surrounded by joints, mister pipes, etc. This was the haziest show I have ever seen, too… and that includes Jazz Fest at the Bowl… Reggae Fest, the Dead show and a Cheech and Chong show at the Greek… Okay, that one might have been close…

And yes, I was very relaxed and DID have the munchies when I got home… I did miss the stop at White Castle after shows at the Brendan Byrne Arena or the old Giants Stadium and while Del Taco AND Taco Bell tried to woo me in, I held out for grub from the fridge…

For as young a crowd as this was, I saw very few phones out and up. Good on you! This was the real deal, lighter audience… Love it… well, except for the folks smoking actual cigarettes… Sorry, but the air was just too thick with smoke… Did I mention how badly my chest was burning?

The new Forum has great sound for sure, but the seats blow and were clearly modeled after most major airlines, with no leg room… and just way too narrow.  And $25 to park… Come on!!!

Other than that… what a phantastic show. These guys are such amazing and gifted musicians and so very tight as a band. There is very little banter, just wall to wall music.

They played from 8:05-9:26… took exactly a 30-minute break and then played another hour and 15. Then a three-minute break, before a 15-minute encore. Set list below.

I would love to do a documentary on the audience as my buddy Russ and I were fascinated. I do not think any two people were moving to the same rhythm, but everyone was dancing and swaying and allowing the music in so deeply. At one point I looked over at a guy who was probably in his 50s… eyes closed and arms extended to the heavens as if he was praying… the music washing over him like a musical baptism… (Look, that is MY PHRASE, so I can use it as much as I want… and I KNOW I use it a lot!!!)

People seemed to be so free and happy… There were two guys in front of us hugging and high-fiving when they realized there was a song they had never heard live before… It was a celebration reminiscent of me at a Bruce show getting a tune I had never seen live before… (Message to Bruce: Please play “Meeting Across The River” the next time I see you. Please… PLEASE!!!)

One other thing I will say is while the banter is light, the “light” show is amazing and really, truly INCLUDES the audience…  With varying patterns and colors and shapes, the crowd is enveloped in light… and that does not even include the beach balls, light-up balloons and handfuls of light sticks tossed into the air, creating multiple, neon fireworks displays.  And when the string lights on the ceiling came on, creating a sky full of stars effect, the crowd went even nuttier.

So why do I wish I had seen this band when I was younger??? See all the above… But now I have no regrets… or at least less regrets.  So go out there, my friends… support live music… and live… LIVE!

Set 1:

46 Days


Train Song



Sample in a Jar

Divided Sky

The Line

It’s Ice

Kill Devil Falls

Bathtub Gin

Set 2:

Backwards Down the Number Line

Down with Disease



Bouncing Around the Room

David Bowie

Character Zero


Harry Hood



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