The Top 100 Moments: 1-10

Starting from my first show.  Here are some things that I remember.  A quick hit from each show.

1. 7/1/95 Great Woods – The opening notes of Ya Mar.  The guy sitting about 10 people away from me who can clearly be heard on tape yelling “Fishman!” repeatedly.  The best If I Could ever played.

2.  12/2/95  New Haven Coliseum – Listening to part of the Funky Bitch soundcheck on 99.1 WPLR preshow.  Hearing Runaway Jim for the first time and having a moment with Dan O realize what an awesome song that it is.  The Tweezer Hose Jam.  Page’s solo during Squirming Coil – the most attention I have ever seen a crowd.

3. 8/16/96 Clifford Ball Day 1 – The innocence of the first major festival.  The perfection of the 2nd set.

4. 8/17/96 Clifford Ball Day 2 – Miracle-ing that dirty smelly skinny tour rat who had done the entire tour.  Old Home Place opener.  Ben & Jerry jumping in the bathtub during Brother.

5. 10/17/96 – Bryce Jordan Center, Penn State – 2001 opener with deep red lights and smoke machines.  Star Spangled Banner acapella.  Walking through campus zig zagging through the dorms with Dewey.

6. 10/21/96 – Madison Square Garden, NY – Pretty Meh show.  Had great seats right next to Fishman.  4 guys in the row behind us had homemade tshirts: Trey is Good, Page is Good, Mike is Good, Fish is Good.

7. 10/23/96 Hartford Civic Center – Extra drummer during the 2nd set.  Straight forward and rocking from the start.

8. 12/31/96 – Fleet Center, Boston, MA – Preshow at the Boston Museum of Science.  Bitter cold night.  Impossible tickets.  Saw one guy trying to trade a bar of soap for a ticket. Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough tease during Punch You in the Eye. Balloons falling from the ceiling!

9. 8/14/97 – Darien Lake PAC, NY – Camping behind the lawn listening to Crosseyed and Painless soundcheck.  Walking through the amusement park to get to the venue.  Bozo’s walking through the crowd at setbreak.  The Jam after Harry Hood.  BOZO MADNESS > Camel Walk.

10. 8/16/97 – The Great Went, Limestone ME – The band came on at exactly 4:20 and opened with Makisupa Policeman.  Took me 11 shows to get my first You Enjoy Myself.  Pretty sure we were sitting next to Tom Marshall before set 1.


Counting Crows: November 16, 2004 – Roseland Ballroom – New York, NY

The best concert I ever saw?  Definitely not.  But it was certainly the most unexpected – and was a fun night from start to finish.  The lead singer Adam Duritz drank about 12 Coronas during the show.  It was loose and fun, but well played at the same time.   The ballroom felt like the entire audience was sitting on the stage with the band and we were all a bunch of old friends just hanging out. 

This was my first concert I attended after Phish’s Coventry debacle and it was the perfect night to get me back on the train.  Coventry was so hopeless, ugly and dirty – this night was good clean fun. 

The text below was written by me a few days after the Counting Crows show in 2004.

I saw Phish 68 times from 7-1-95 through Coventry  (8-14,15-2004) .  It was difficult walking away from the stage that last time.  Yes, the music was emotionally subpar and the mud made it hard to move, but the real reason it was difficult to walk away was what we really left behind on that field in Northern Vermont.  I saw Phish for the first time when I was 19.  When I left Coventry I was 29.  Almost 10 years of traveling to shows with my tour buddy – meeting new people and seeing new places.  It was more than just the music – IT was an experience.  That’s what I’m going to miss…
But anyway…  
So I got free tickets to the Counting Crows Show at Hammerstein Ballroom on Tuesday night.  As the band took the stage the lead singer Adam (Something) stepped up to the mic and said,
“This is going to be our last show.”
My heart sank.
Not because I cared if it was the Counting Crows last show – 3 months after Coventry, it finally hit me that Phish was never going to play together again.  Hundreds of memories flashed through my head within the few seconds it took him to continue,  
“Of 2004.” 
I didn’t think it was very funny.
I will miss posting Fakebeave’s Fakesetlists, finding out when Ticketmaster rereleased pavillion seats and reading reviews of shows I couldn’t make.  I will miss reviewing the shows that I went to, reading about people whose favorite song was my least favorite, handing out UNO cards at a show and not having people look at me like I’m crazy.  I will miss the moment when the lights went down to start a show when I just got to my seat.  I will miss dancing in the balcony at the Worcester Centrum, sitting on the concrete floor at the War Memorial in Rochester, feeling the building move in Madison Square Garden, the  thousands of balloons in the Fleet Center on New Year’s Eve.
I will miss walking past the roller coasters at Darien Lake and Coney Island, freezing my ass off in Providence during the Island Tour and the Oh Kee Pa -> You Enjoy Myself opener that blew me away.
I will miss the covers during the summer of 98.  Sabotage, Terrapin Station, Trenchtown Rock, Ramble On, Vernon Down the House and Sexual Healing. 
I will miss going to a show by myself in Albany and making new friends for a couple of hours, the hour long Runaway Jim in Worcester and Page singing Strange Design to bring us all back to reality.     
I will miss all the Crosseyed and Painless teases, Andy Gadiel’s Phish Page, glowstick wars, marshmallow wars and tortilla wars.
I will miss the Wipeout show I was at, and the Halloween shows that I wasn’t at.
I will miss buying things in the lot and the things they did to me during the shows.
I will miss going to shows in my home state of New Jersey and the band ALWAYS delivering for me.  Doing the Meatstick with Sofi, BB King and the kid at the end of that set who said “I didn’t think they would ever stop playing JAZZ.”  I will miss the heat in Oswego New York, the long drives to Limestone in Maine and Big Cypress in Florida , taking shortcuts to venues while everyone else sat in traffic.
I will miss all the lots in Philly and our own personal delivery guy the last time we were there.  I will miss having great seats in the pavillion, sitting behind the stage and sitting in the last row in an arena.
I will miss guessing the opener, calling the next song, being disappointed when Trey started Character Zero, listening to Bouncin before it was cool to hate it, still not knowing what they are saying in You Enjoy Myself, the disco funk of 2001 and After Midnight from Big Cypress.
I will miss the Post-Hiatus music and the feeling that they were back.  I will miss the flubs, forgotten lyrics, segues, SEGWAYS and the stop and start jams.
I will miss Mike driving through the lots in a golf cart, almost driving over Fishman as he stepped out of the tour bus, Page when he was on crutches and Trey counting off the beginning of Guyute.  I will miss the Waterwheel Booth, the custies, the wooks, the white hats, burnouts, techno kids and dogs.  I will miss the vendors and all their glass, hemp everything, Lot Shirts and hairy armpits on cute girls.
I will miss drinking an icy cold Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat in Maine on a perfect summer day.
I will miss going to the movie theater, Jay-Z in Brooklyn, the SPAC Piper and the Clinic at the Aftershow.
I will miss the debacle that was Coventry – the cost of fake tickets on Ebay whan I had bought one at Face Value, the rain, the mud, the farm tractors, the mud, the ANNOUNCEMENT by Mike and already having camp set up since the night before.  I will miss watching thousands of tired people hike into the venue.  I will miss the way we all pulled together for one last party.
I will miss watching the sun rise at Big Cypress after they played from midnight to 6:30am  – it will never rise again.

Thanks for everything,
The Real Beave
In case you were wondering you CAN find anything on the Internet.  Below is video and audio from the entire show.  Listen at least to the first minute so you can hear my thoughts racing through my head as Adam Duritz begins the first of his many drunken rants from the night.  Thanks to my wife for inspiring this post.  Read her memories from this night here: WHATIWANTMYKIDSTOKNOW

August 6th, 2000 – Santana in Hartford, CT.

It is really hard remembering stuff sometimes.   But, I Try…  Just like Macy Gray sang about when she opened for Santana in Hartford on a rainy evening in August of 2000.  I dare you to listen to this song and not have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day.  Macy Gray – I Try

I remember singing this song all night after the concert.  Maybe it was just me, or maybe these 5 can help me remember more about this night.

Pictured left to right: BlackSaab, Suzy Greenberg, Brown So Sloppy, Jannifer Kawaka and “Keith”

Our seats were on the lawn this night, but the rain had us doing a lot of wandering around.  During Macy Gray’s set, Brown So Sloppy and Jannifer Kawaka found themselves in a VIP tent and acquired a few VIP passes and a bag full of swag.   I don’t remember how it all went down, but at some point during Santana’s set – I had one of the VIP passes hanging around my neck.  For the first time in my life, my Concert Instincts kicked in.  With Suzy Greenberg in tow, we walked ourselves into the pavilion.  Just like that scene from Wayne’s World when Wayne and Garth win backstage passes to Alice Cooper, I waved that VIP pass at every person that I saw.  Every yellow shirted usher just waved us passed them – never asking to see the Lawn tickets that were in our pockets.  We suddenly found ourselves in the center of the pavilion.  We slipped into a section of empty Box Seats and within 30 seconds someone approached us.  I thought we were done for.  Instead of asking to see our tickets, a girl in a white shirt asked us if we wanted to order anything.

We had great seats, were dry from the rain and now I had someone bringing me a beer.  Life was good this night.  Sometimes the music gets completely overshadowed by the experience.


16.   JINGO


The Day We Drove for 2 Days

The drive from New Jersey to Limestone, Maine was supposed to take about 11 hours.  We left the morning of Friday August 1st, 2003 and got to the line of traffic leading into the venue right after sunset.  We parked our car as the sun was rising on Saturday August 2nd.  We were attending Phish’s 6th Festival – titled simply, “IT.”

On the morning of August 2nd – I learned that Leighmo had never pulled an all-nighter before.  A shocking revelation.  She was behind the wheel when we finally pulled into the retired Air Force base.  She had been up for a long time and had that look in her eyes.  You know the look that women get when lasers are shooting out of their eyes ready to cut you in half?  Yeah – this look.

That was the look she gave me as we were being directed towards our campsite.  At one point she pulled the car out of traffic and made a beeline towards the tent village that was already setup.  A Maine State Trooper had to point her back in the right direction.  Back to the same line of cars were were sitting in traffic with for the past 8 hours. We setup our tent in silence and were finally able to crash for a few hours comfortably.  But the damage had been done.  We never fully recovered from the long drive.  The tone for the entire weekend was set.

The highlight of the weekend was grilling the individually wrapped lamb chops that we had brought with us.  The smell of the delicious tender lamb turned a few heads on some Vegan Hippies, but Leighmo and I savored every mouthful that we had.   In fact, knowing that the mere smell of  it was offending some of our neighbors, made it that much better.

I compare this weekend to one wedding that Leighmo and I went to together.  I won’t say whose wedding it was to protect all parties involved, but there was ONE wedding that we attended together that we did not have fun at.  It was still a wedding and the drinks were flowing, there was a party atmosphere and good friends were everywhere – but something just wasn’t right.  Everything was forced.  From the ridiculous amount of pictures taken by the seemingly omnipresent photographer to the the overly loud band with way too many instruments, it was hard to step outside the psycho-bride’s preplanned comfort zone.   And that was how the weekend at “It” felt.  I had two of my favorite things collide that weekend,  Phish and Leighmo.  But they didn’t mesh.  “It” was the last Phish concert we would go to together.

Luckily Phish stopped touring the next Summer.  So I did exactly what I needed to do.  Got engaged on December 7th of 2004, married on October 8th of 2005 , and bought a house in December of 2005.

This weekend in Maine – I learned what not to do with the woman I would spend the rest of my life with.