Show #185. I woke up on the floor of my hotel room in Charlottesville, VA and slowly pieced together the happenings from the previous 24 hours. I recalled how all of this had begun... waking up before sunrise on Saturday morning only a few hours after Phish ended their three night run at MSG in NYC. I hailed a cab on Broadway and my driver was drunk and/or incompetent. He somehow got me to JFK airport in time for my flight to Richmond, VA. I arrived on schedule but my ride did not. The Disco Sisters were delayed from their North Carolina departure. Plus the oldest Disco Sister has a bladder issue (it's small) and they made many unscheduled stops along the way. They were two hours late so I dicked around the airport, wrote, and played online poker.
Daddy and Larry had arrived in snowy and wet Charlottesville. Daddy scoped out a bar a couple of blocks from the venue and we decided to use that as a base of operations due to the inclement weather which would have put a damper on any Shakedown or lot-related activities.
Halfway on our journey from Richmond to Charlottesville, we spotted the first snowflakes. After a few minutes we were pummeled with tons of wet snow. Some of it started to stick to the ground and Disco Sis #1 asked me to drive. Her car did not have snow tires and she was nervous driving in snow. Since I grew up in NYC and had snow-experienced, she handed over the keys. I guided us the rest of the way into cold, rainy, snowy, and wet Charlottesville. We checked into our hotel and drove to Buffalo Wild Wings to meet Daddy and Larry. I told the rest of the South Carolina crew (Otis, G-Rob, Andrew, the lovely wives, and everyone's favorite weathermanUncle Ted) to meet us there. The next few hours were a blur. Lots of college hoops and football. Lots of drinking. Wing eating. Shit talking. Degen gambling.
G-Rob and his brother were in a high stakes pool. $100 to enter the show opener pool. G-Rob had first pick and went with Runaway Jim. Andrew picked Llama for sentimental reasons. They offered me a chance to buy into the pool knowing their picks. I wrote about this previously -- I always bet on AC/DC Bag and/or Runaway Jim as a safe choice. Yet, Jim was already spoken for and there was no way Phish would play AC/DC bag for a third time in seven shows. I went with Party Time.
The C-Ville Crew
We took off for the show and realized that Disco Sis #2 forgot her ticket in the car. I wrote her a wook ticket for attempting to enter the venue without a ticket in hand. On the way to the show, a frat boy bummed a smoke off of one of the Disco Sisters. Then he tried to pick one of them up.
"So I'll catch up with you after the show?" he said.
"Or not," matter-of-factly spoke Disco Sis #1.
Ouch. His weak-ass attempt was shot down in front of the venue by one of the Disco Sisters.
We wandered inside without any hassles but realized that the booze situation was a pain in the ass. Jesus, another move from the Nanny State trying to tell adults what they can and can't do. The venue strictly enforced a four beer maximum. Wooks were bumped down to two a piece. The beer vendors marked your wrist band or hand with an X after you purchased a beer. Four X's and you were cutoff unless you did a scrub job in the bathroom and tore off your bracelet. The lines to get an ID Check were insanely long -- mainly because there were only two inside the entire venue.
Since the show was in the college town of Charlottesville, the crowd included plenty of college kids. Yep, tons of frat boys filled the venue including a significant amount of high school kids. The party favor scene was mellow - which meant the crowd was not as raucous as I had seen at other shows. Yeah, the coke and molly snorters from the Garden did not make the trip down South.But where were all those boisterous Spreadheads sauced up on coke and whiskey?
Charlottesville, VAOur crew was scattered all over the venue. Disco Sis #1 and I had the best seats out of the bunch -- only a few rows off the floor in Sec 114 raging it up on Page side. The lights went down and we lost Disco Sis #2 out on the floor.
Set 1: AC/DC Bag, Chalk Dust Torture, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Divided Sky, Naked Guy > Ya Mar, Sneakin' Sally through the Alley, Old Home Place, Cavern, Funky Bitch, David Bowie, The Wedge, Bold As Love
Set 2: Tweezer > Light > Piper > Free, Sweet Virginia, Harry Hood > Suzy Greenberg, Golgi Apparatus, Antelope
Encore: Loving Cup, Tweezer Reprise
Phish took the stage to a thunderous applause. The horseshoe-venue was significantly smaller than MSG, but the crowd was louder. Request signs hung from the upper deck; LaGrange, Tela, and Dog Log. Talk about a waste of time. Didn't these kids know it was going to be a "Repeat Show"?
AD/DC Bag left me saying "What the fuck?" Luckily, I did not lose my bet and we all pushed since no one picked Bag. That opener came out of nowhere. Shocked that they played that song for a third time in the last six shows that I saw since Albany. The Bag opener was foreshadowing the evening of repeats, but I was not thrilled hearing Bag for a third time (and I am fully aware that most of the people inside the venue were seeing it for the first time on this tour) and Phish could have used that time to strengthen one of their new songs -- many of which need "game time" experience in order for Phish to polish it off.
Chalk Dust Torture was rocking and kept the crowd moving but the show really didn't kick in for me until Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan. This is a hit or miss song for me and on this instance, it was a hit.
Disco Sis #1 thought that "Divided Sky was rushed." I agreed since they seemed as though they wanted to get it out of the way. Daddy was begging to hear some reggae and the boys responded with Ya Mar, yet they couldn't get a few seconds into the song before a streaker appeared on stage. Yes, a naked guy jumped on stage and hugged Trey. Two burly security guards appeared onstage. Usually they extract the streaker immediately, but the naked guy was agile with some quick moves. He ducked behind Trey a couple of times before he broke towards the end of the stage and was tackled behind Fishman's kit. The band attempted to play on especially Fishman who wasn't about to stop the beat. Trey cracked a joke and they re-started Ya Mar.
Up until that moment, I thought that the show was blah... like a re-heated meal the day after a feast. Not only were they playing greatest hits tunes -- they were bland repeats of spicier versions I had seen days earlier. However, the naked guy fired up the crowd which in turn kick Phish in the ass. They stepped up their playing for the rest of the show.
Sneakin' Sally through the Alley is a perfect example of the band stepping up. It was the highlight of the first set and for the first time all that night -- they boys let it rip. Old Home Place got all the locals and redneck Phish fans all teary eyed before the boys re-elevated the energy with Cavern.
Otis said that he wanted to hear one song... Funky Bitch... something that I told him had a good chance of being played. It almost as though they played it specifically for him.
The set could have closed with a better than average David Bowie with Fishman leading the charge. That song was lacking earlier in the year. Listen to versions from the first part of the summer. Fishman's drumming has drastically improved since then and it looks like he's back to his old self.
The boys tossed everyone two more bones with The Wedge and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's Bold As Love. I love covers where Page can display his chops, but as per usual Trey stepped on his toes and stole the spotlight with another self-masturbatory jam. The spun out heads in the first row enjoyed every second of the spoogefest.
Second set looked great on paper but was inconsistent. Tweezer opener made me smile. I knew that Tweprise was guaranteed as one of the encore songs and that Tweezer was a vehicle for a batch of heavy jamming. The greatest hits schtick had grown tired on me. I was eagerly awaiting the big jams like the boys unleashed in Albany and in MSG. Trey got pegged in the face with a glowstick. One of the Disco Sisters noticed that he winced in pain. Yet, Trey played on. By the way, if you threw that glowstick... you're a total dick and I owe you a swift kick in the nuts. Why throw glowsticks at the band? I save errant glowsticks for assholes whoa re talking too loudly. I throw glowsticks at them hoping to shut them up.
Light jam was one of the highlights of the second set. Piper had several key moments but seemed "rushed" which was a bad habit that the boys were doing a lot of the previous week -- rushing through songs and not allowing a jam to take on a life of its own. Disc Sis #1 thought she heard a few 2001 teases but I swore that I heard Free coming. Sure enough... they segued into Free.
Aside from festival 8, the only other time the band performed Sweet Virginia was in the state of Virginia. This version was tighter than Halloween and Fishman's shaky vocals were on steady ground. Nice work, Fishman. He got the MVP of the show from me and MIP (Most Improved Player) on this tour.
Harry Hood was fun and the crowd was extremely receptive. Mini-glowstick skirmish erupted, but the crowd danced themselves dizzy with a roof-shattering Suzy Greenberg. The entire band was firing on all cylinders.
Something happened to Mike before Golgi Apparatus. he had some sort of tech issue with his bass. The band started the song and he stepped around Fishman's kit to yell down to one of the roadies. They eventually cleared up that problem before Trey asked Mike to sing the bass parts.
Antelope featured more Trey masturbating on stage, but I couldn't stop dancing and watching random people in the crowd going ballistic. Trey included "naked guy" into the lyrics... "Do you have any... naked guy?"
Rub your balls on Trey and he'll sing a song for you. Trey also inserted, "Run like a naked guy out of control!"
The naked guy really affected the outcome of the show -- in a positive way.
Page and Trey hit a home run with Loving Cup. Trey wanted to keep that jam going but ended it in favor of another wankfest during Tweezer Reprise. That's how you close out a show... with all out smoke.
The entire crew met up after the show at Buffalo Wild Wings for another round of booze and food. Daddy and Larry had been partying heavily for 13 hours at that point. Larry was toast and asked to take a nap in the back of Disco Sis #1's car. We continued on with our post-party without him. Daddy was shitfaced and hitting on the waitress. At first she seemed mortified but then warmed up to his advances. It took him over seven minutes to describe how he wanted his potato wedges prepared by the kitchen including multiple cheese types and jalapenos.
I was wearing a Snailtrax t-shirt and had to explain to the Disco Sisters the significance of that original story by Daddy called... How to Fuck a Donkey. During his performance of that epic story, Daddy had actually dropped his pants in the middle of Buffalo Wild Wings. The dramatic effect enhanced the story but freaked out the Disco Sisters. They politely requested that he hoist up his trousers, which he did before he finished his story.
We closed out the bar and went outside. We hoped that Larry did not freeze to death in the back of Disco Sis #1's car. He fine, but out cold. It took several minutes to wake him up so we could pile in the backseat. When he finally opened his eyes, Disco Sis #2 sensed that he was ready to hurl. He opened up the car door and let it rip. Larry blew chunks.
Passed Out Larry
We eventually made our way back tot he hotel. Daddy was hushed by hotel security for belting out Soul Shakedown Party as loud as he could in the lobby. The heads in the room next to us had a nitrous tank. Larry passed out on the floor and we had two beds for four people. the Disco Sisters cuddled together which left the remaining bed for Daddy and myself. He's 6'3" and a shade under 235. I'm over 6 foot and 180. The twin bed was too small for us but we tried to sleep anyway. At 5am, Disco Sis #1 heard me screaming at Daddy.
"You fat fuck, stay on your fuckin' side of the bed!"
Then he unleashed the wet farts. I gave up and decided to sleep on the floor. I woke up an hour or two later and wandered into the bathroom. I realized that I was standing in cold piss. Someone in our crew peed on the bathroom floor! Was it Daddy? Passed out Larry? Or one of the Disco Sisters?
Yeah, just another day on Phish tour as I woke up on the floor of my hotel room in Charlottesville and tried to piece together the previous 24 hours.
See y'all in Miami for New Years.