Friday, August 15, 2008

Feels Like The First Time - 8/14/96

Exactly twelve years ago we piled into my friend's mom's metallic blue van and left Baltimore for Hershey, PA and my first live concert experience with Phish. On the way up we listened to some bootleg tapes of the band that would be considered unlistenable in today's age of digital filesharing. But back in 1996, these tapes were gold to us. Just being able to hear Trey's vocals, Page's twinkling keys, Gordo's funky bass lines, and Fishman's complex fills at a louder volume than the hiss of the tape was good enough.

Hershey Stadium turned out to be a sweet venue to see the band for the first time, given that the entire infield leading up to the stage was General Admission and we were able to get quite close. I certainly didn't appreciate that aspect at the time, but now with some more perspective, I realize how rare that setup actually is. I don't have as many memories from this show as I do of others, but I do distinctly remember the first set Mango Song and the second set Cracklin' Rosie. How could I ever forget seeing the dress-clad drummer running around on the stage wielding crash cymbals for a Neil Diamond cover! This was a band I knew I needed to see again. The band continued on with their very next show being the infamous Clifford Ball and I returned home a changed man.

One of my friends that I shared this experience with, he would go on to many more Phish shows than I, is as of Wednesday the proud father of a new baby girl. Congratulations!

08-14-96 Hershey Park Stadium, Hershey, PA

1: Wilson-> Down With Disease, Fee-> Poor Heart, Reba, The Mango Song, Gumbo, Stash, Hello My Baby

2: Runaway Jim, You Enjoy Myself, The Horse-> Silent in the Morning, Cars Trucks Buses, Tweezer, Theme From the Bottom, HYHU-> Cracklin' Rosie > HYHU, Sample In a Jar-> Tweezer Reprise

E: Julius*

*Dedicated to Matty Sands, Brad Sands's brother.

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