If you've just joined us, earlier this week we gave away a pair of three-day, general admission field passes to see Phish this weekend at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Rather than just giving the tickets away at random, we asked folks to share their best Phish stories, and the response was overwhelming.
The frontrunners (the ones that received the most "likes") were obvious. All in all, there were great stories, Some tales were taller than others. Just in case you didn't have the time or wherewithal to wade through them all, we picked our top five favorites. We given them a light edit for readability, but otherwise, they're as they were written. Page down to see which ones we picked.
05. Two Buddies Take a Phishing Trip to Remember by @ Jimmy
In 1996, I was working at a summer camp in Minnesota. As the summer came to a close, my very good friend John and I decided we were going to travel cross country to the Clifford Ball, Phish's first large festival. We had at least a week to make it there, so we meandered through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, visiting buddies, crashing at plush vacation homes, and generally just taking in the beautiful scenery of the north, and given our youth undoubtedly drinking throughout.
At the last minute, we decided we were going to go through Canada, so we shot north to Sualt St. Marie, clearing the border with ease despite our appearance. We drove a lovely day along Lake Superior, through Thunder Bay, and on to Montreal. In Montreal we explored the city, drank legally, and experienced our first strip club.
Had the road trip ended here, it would have been a great one, but we still had the main event, and the next morning we hit the road for Plattsburgh. Surprisingly, we cleared the border easily again, and given our direction of approach were in the festival grounds in no time at all.
John and I were in awe. Just several years earlier we had been going to see Phish in bars and clubs with small crowds. And here before us was an endless sea of people. We were shocked, and it wasn't disappointment in the crowd size, it was elation. I never dreamed there were this many fans out there. But here they were, all of us 'in on the secret.' Suddenly, some girl next to our car yells, "Oh yea!? Well kiss my ass!" We turn and see a girl with her skirt up, ass bared to the world, and sure enough, another girl is kissing it. I turn to John, he is smiling. "It's going to be a good weekend," he says.
What resulted was more than a good weekend. We quickly found our friends, and attended what many consider to be some of the best Phish shows ever. Perfect weather, great times, and great friends all with a Phish providing the soundtrack... and firing on all cylinders.
Sadly, in August of 2005 my phone rang early in the morning, and I knew it was bad news before I could even check to see who would call so early. John had been killed in a car accident. I knew him since before I could remember, and we had many adventures, and incredible experiences. But whenever I think back upon my friend, it's almost always our trip to the Clifford Ball that comes to mind.
04. Confessions of the Secret Cab Driver @secretcabdriver
I used to work for Phish. I helped run the information booth from Lemonwheel through Coventry. I would work overnights. I didn't have to spend a lot of time IN the booth, however. We had staffers do that. Since I was a limo driver in the real world, and I had exclusive access to a John Deere Gator, I spent my time riding around giving people rides. I had only two rules when it came to picking someone up: First, they had to ask. I wasn't offering rides to anyone. But, if they had the balls to ask, I would pull over. That leads to the second rule: They had to have a destination. No party rides. That was never a problem.
So, imagine you're stumbling around shakedown at 3 a.m. Here comes a guy in a staff shirt, a lammy, and riding VERY slowly in a gator. What would be your first thought? Security, right? I heard whispers of "5-0" so many times it always made me laugh. Then, you're the one bold enough to say "Hey man, give me a ride." And to your surprise, I would pull over. "Where to?" I would ask. The reactions from here would vary just as there is from people riding in a limo. Some are just thankful to get off their feet for a time. Others found it the best thing since the last encore. "WOOOOO HOOOOOO!!! LOOK AT ME!!!" as we moved away from the shakedown curb.
For those who follow me on Twitter, or chat with those of us on PhishTwit during couch tour, I go by the name of secretcabdriver. I took that name because I would always begin the rides by explaining that they were in the "Secret Cab." At the end of the ride they would always ask, "how much do I owe you?" -- because this being a festival, everything came at a cost. I would tell them that I wasn't allowed to charge anything. BUT, tips were accepted. Most would fork over two dollars or so and be happy about it. (Of course, there were those times that people would come to me and say, "I'll give you ten dollars to take me and my friend to the other side of the campground." Those people got the same deal at the end. It was up to them if they paid or not.)
Most of the rides were just the random point A to point B. A couple were picking up gear at a friends' car and taking it to their camp site. One ride I remember in particular occurred at the IT festival. As you know, that took place at the closed Loring Air Force Base in northern Maine.in 2003. It was get away Monday. I had just dropped off a person at the exit of the campground located at the end of the three mile long runway. On my way back, about a mile from where I had just left, I came across these two guy carrying a large cooler between them. Their backs were piled high with backpacks. They flagged me down and begged me for a ride to their car.
They didn't know how lucky they were that it was me who came along just then. They piled their gear in the back and off we went. They explained they were parked up by the exit, where I had just come from. When we approached their car, a flatbed truck had just begun to lower its bed behind the car. I pulled right up to the driver and said he didn't have to tow this car. He asked if my passengers was working here. I said, "No, but they're here and there's no need to tow their car."
This wasn't the streets of NYC or any other large city, so the guy agreed to take off. We got there literally in the nick of time. Had I not come along, the guy's car would have ended up at the opposite end of the runway. I like to think that I made a few people's lives just a little bit better while they were at their favorite band's festival. It was a chance for me to get to know a few fans on a first name basis. The IT festival motto was "Our intent is all for your delight." In a small way, that was MY intent, as well.
03. Handcuffed to a Hospital Bed by @kgiacg
So, my first Phish show, Fiddler's 2000, I had never even really heard of the band. Someone told me to go; it would be fun. So I get to the lot, and almost immediately buy 40 green gellies. BUNK.
So being all pissed off that I bought 40 bunk hits, I proceeded to get absolutely shit faced. So I'm rolling through the lawn when they open up with "Sample." I hear this other guy say that he bought bunk doses too. So I stop and say, yeah, the green ones from that big fat black dude? Same guy. So this third guy comes up and says, "Damn, that sucks. You both bought fake dose? How much did you buy?" I told him forty, and the guy told me to hold my hand up, then filled it with paper. Being all young and drunk, I ate the handful. The guy who gave them to me gets this huge look in his eyes, like "Did you just ALL that?" Turns to me and says, "Hey man, have a good show."
Needless to say, by the end of the show, I thought that Phish was playing the song that would end the world. I go up to some random guy and give him a big hug, saying "What a way to go" and lay down on the grass, thinking I would be frozen in that position for the rest of eternity. The guy I said that to freaked out and ran to get the paramedics.
They came and were asking me to respond, and I wouldn't, all the while thinking:these poor fools are going to be sooo uncomfortable when we get frozen for the rest of eternity. The next thing I know I was handcuffed to a hospital bed with a cop holding all my herb and talking to my parents.
BEST NIGHT EVER, even though it really sucked. Changed my life in a very good way.
02. Girl #1's Woeful Tale of Regret by @Chellanegro
It's early winter, Ames, Iowa, 1995. Two sassy ninteen-year-old girls make a pact in what looks to be a spaceship but what is really an event center on the UI campus. That pact: to meet Phish, their favorite band. Of course, being as it was fall '95 right at the beginning of the meteoric rise of Phish, the girls knew this would not be an easy task. After the show (and much teasing by their friends), the ladies set out to FIND THEIR BAND.
It wasn't as hard as they thought. They breezed through security like ghosts and outside to the lot where the buses were parked. Little did they know, it had started to ice storm outside. If you've ever been involved in a good ol' fashioned Midwest ice storm, you know this shit ain't no joke. Again and again they managed to escape the watchful eye of University security to find what they were sure was the band's bus.
While circling the bus, Girl #1 slipped and ate it super hard, right in front of the driver's door. It was then they decided to go back to Shakedown Street and tell everyone they tried their best. With their backs turned and their hearts at their feet, the door to the bus wheezed open and they turned to see Paige McConnell. He welcomed them in with a "Want to warm up?" and they just couldn't hardly move fast enough.
At the top of the stairs, Trey Anastasio was waiting and said, "Hi, I'm Trey." Wasting no time, Girl #1 said," Yeah, I know." Reader: This is not the first time Girl #1 will say something stupid. When offered a beer, she replied, "No thanks. We're not 21." A bit of food from Fishman's plate, "Oh, you have your names on the Saran Wrap. What did your mom put your dinners together?" Also, "Will you sign my cigarette pack?" And here, here is the biggest, dumbest move ever: When the band asks the girls to continue on tour with them for the next little while, free on the band, Girl #1 says, "No, I have to get back to school. It's finals soon."
The band and the bus drove the girls up to their friends' car not long after that and then went on to achieve mass fame and fortune. Girl #1 went on to drop out of college, move to Denver, and make country music, forever regretting her decision to stay in school not with her band.
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01. Denver Bronco Chocolate Treats by @Joker (allegedly)
Phish at Red Rocks - 7/30/2009
4:00 a.m. - Wake up after 3 hours of sleep and take a cab to Logan airport.
10:30 a.m. - Arrive Denver Intl. airport, meet up with friend, Matt, rent car, drive to liquor store.
11:30 a.m. - Enter liquor store and buy a case of Fat Tire and a case of Coors (we're in Colorado after all). Also buy flimsy styrofoam cooler that is sure to break before the day is over.
11:33 a.m. - Flimsy styrofoam cooler falls over and breaks as I wheel out of liquor store parking lot. Go back to liquor store for second flimsy styrofoam cooler.
11:45 a.m. - Arrive at the 6th Ave. Travelodge. As I am stepping out of the car, a car pulls up and a guy leans out of the passenger side window to offer me mushroom chocolates at $20 a pop. I ask him if one will do the trick. He says yes. I buy two.
2:00 p.m. - Follow my friend Hugo and others into the Red Rocks parking lot. He drives a sky blue '76 Cadillac El Dorado convertible (hip). I'm driving a maroon Mazda 626 (loser). I proceed to scour the parking lot for the prerequisite ammunition I will need for the show. As I am buying a one-hitter from a dirty, bearded guy, a dirty, hairy-legged girl approaches me about some "organics from Oregon". I give her a perplexed look before concluding she must be selling mushrooms and bring her back to our car. My friends buy an ounce for all of us. I buy a quarter for backup.
2:40 p.m. - A girl asks us if we want any "Puff". 10 minutes later, a guy asks us if we want any "Dust". It quickly dawns on me that I am getting old if I am no longer familiar with the latest drug trends. We reject both and decide to stick with the stuff we know will **** us up.
4:30 p.m. - After numerous Coors Regulars, a couple of joints and a handful of caps, I've got a pretty good buzz going, especially for a Thursday afternoon. My friend Matt and I decide to eat our little chocolate treats which have been chilling in the flimsy styrofoam cooler. We notice they are shaped like Denver Bronco heads.
4:31 p.m. - We head to the line to get in the show early to get good seats.
4:45 p.m. - While waiting in line to get in, I notice that my friend Matt is starting to glance around nervously. When questioned, he tells me that we have to get into the show NOW! He also tells me if it rains, it might have serious consequences for his mental health. He also informs me that the handrail he is clutching with both hands is a dear friend that he's known since childhood. Looks like the guy was right about the chocolates.
5:00 - We take our seats on row thirty. Neurons are definitely doing a little dance in my head now. I perk up my ears when I overhear the guy behind us mention Denver Bronco chocolates. He advises his buddy to "only eat half or maybe even just a quarter" unless he wants to spend the entire show on Pluto. I turn to my friend Matt. He is a slobbering, incoherent mess. I write him off as a mushroom casualty after it takes him at least half an hour to decide which restroom he should use.
5:30 - Still two hours until the band comes on. The grassy hill behind red rocks erupts into a ball of green flames. I look away in horror and decide to concentrate on a harmless rock formation. Only problem is this rock formation is really a giant iguana that is trying to eat one of the speaker set-ups.
6:45 - Most of the people in the group I'm with start coming in and find our spot. They have also somehow found these little bronco mushroom chocolates, and ask me how im doing. As one guy's face contorts into something out of a bad '80s horror flick, I lie and tell everybody that I don't really feel anything. It's probably better that they take everything in the arsenal because these things are pretty weak. I decide if I'm going to be sailing the high sees of hysteria, everyone's going to be on the same ****ed-up boat. One girl eyes me suspiciously and remarks that my eyeballs look like black marbles. I turn away to see if the iguana has crept any closer.
6:00 - After the green tarp we're sitting on sucks my beer down into its gullet, I turn to my friends and ask if everyone is ready to go. They remind me that the band hasn't even come on yet. Oh right! We're here to see a Phish show and there's still AT LEAST AN HOUR 'TIL SHOWTIME!
7:00 - The band (at this point I don't even know who it is we're here to see) is late. By this time my entire group of people is a complete train wreck. Total chaos and incoherence. One girl is crying. I laugh at her. I ponder going to the rest room but decide the fifteen minute journey would be about fourteen minutes and thirty seconds longer than my jellied brain could handle. I decide to piss in a beer bottle. I notice a young lady staring at me, appalled. I tell her not to worry and that I'm from Tennessee, "where it's OK to piss outdoors." The nervous laughter quotient of the surrounding crowd is very high at this point.
7:30 - YESSSSSS!!!!! The band comes on. And the iguana doesn't even try to eat them! Phish opened with Divided Sky and the iguana and i decided to be friends. For the next 4 hours I intermittently find myself dancing and sometimes standing still just staring into space. I believe some drooling was involved somewhere in there.
At set break I wash down another handful of shrooms with some smuggled 1800 tequila. The rest of the night is more or less a blur. I remember dancing VERY hard for Mikes>I am Hydrogen>Weekapaug> Ghost>Wolfman's Brotha and being covered in sweat. I remember being lost in a parking lot.
I remember the look of fear on the Travelodge desk clerk's face when I tried to check in at midnight. I also remember that there was a group of aging hippies (50-60 years old) in front of us who were partying harder than anyone in the place and it gave me hope.