On August 14th and 15th of 2004, Phish was playing what was supposed to be their last concert ever. According to Trey, they “were done.” The scene was right out of the Woodstock Movie. Except all the rain came before all the hippies got there. So when everyone was trying to park their cars in the big grassy fields in Northern Vermont, EVERY car got stuck in the mud. Giant farm tractors were on call to pull every car to a parking spot. 50,000 (?) people in the middle of nowhere with no place to escape from the mud.
The scene itself was not far from parts of Apocolypse Now. A giant tent village setup in the rice fields of Vietnam. The constant helicopters overhead only added to the mystique and mayhem. The band was breaking up partly due to the people in the scene, but mostly due to their own personal demons. This weekend in Vermont was supposed to be a celebration of the band’s career, but instead turned into a funeral.
So here I am, 8 years after Coventry – sitting at my desk searching for my ticket stub and the wristband that adorned my arm for the entire weekend. I take out my phone and snap a crappy cellphone picture under the lamp. My son Boom Boom wakes up. He had been asleep for an hour and is really good at sleeping through the night. Boy, who would have thought that 8 years ago in a muddy field in Vermont, I would be writing that sentence?
In the middle of the 2nd set on the last night that Phish was playing – the band was just awful. They completely broke down in tears during one of their slow ballads – “Wading in the Velvet Sea,” and spoke to the crowd from their hearts. They were spewing emotion from the stage. The next song that they attempted to play was a song called “Glide.” With its upbeat rhythm and childish lyrics, it should have been a nice comic relief from what had just gone down.
And we’re glad glad glad that you’re alive
And we’re glad glad glad that you’ll arrive
And we’re glad glad glad glad glad glad glad
And we’re glad glad glad that you’re a glide
Instead of playing it like the “professionals” that they have been for the past 21 years on stage – they completely butchered this version. So badly that Phish fans still refer to it as the “Coventry Glide.” The absolute lowpoint of any concert I have ever attended.
On August 15, 2012 – I walked into Boom Boom’s room and he is sitting up in his crib sobbing – covered in his own vomit. His bed is a mess, the walls are dripping. It is in his hair and up and down both arms. For a kid who is usually such a good sleeper, tonight was his “Coventry Glide.”
Unfortunately this is a trend for both of my kids. Both Boom Boom and Miss A like to throw up when they getting new teeth in. Luckily I don’t think I need to worry about Phish throwing up on stage anymore – I’ll take my chances with my kids.
For the record, Coventry is the only Phish concert that I have attended that I have never re-listened to. I attempted to listen to one song, but my iPod completely froze. I immediately deleted it out of my iTunes and off my iPod. I listened to it once – and that was enough.