I was fortunate enough to work a Phish concert a few nights ago. Now this isn’t my regular gig-anyone who knows me is aware of my uncanny ability to juggle 2-3 jobs at once. This could be attributed to my multi-tasking personality, lack of any real real skills, or the fact that I’m 1/8th Jamaican. Who knows?
Back to Phish. I know they’re a huge band with a Dead-like following, but if you put any of their songs in a line-up, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one committed the crime. My earliest memory of anything Phish was a poster on the wall of my dorm room in boarding school, sophomore year. Did I put it there? Hell no. That was my roommate from Saudi Arabia’s fault. She always brought me chocolate covered coffee beans from home, so I assumed she had decent taste. I thought the poster went very nicely with my Snoop Dogg poster and mural dedicated to the now defunct Jodeci.
Phish has a cute, colorful logo that you can see plastered on fan t-shirts all over the world. I would use the same words to describe their fans: colorful. Below, I will gladly give you a rundown of the many interactions I had with the Phish heads:
7:30pm: A woman gets stopped at the main gate trying to bring a Folger’s can full of weed into the arena. When she is denied, she contemplate what the problem is.
7:45: Contact high begins. The show hasn’t even started.
8:30: I meet a guy from Chicago. We trade Midwest horror stories ( I’m from Detroit). He came down to Miami for the concert with his brother, and they were planning on a scintillating trip to TAMPA for New Year’s. He bids me adieu. Twenty minutes later, a guy in a De Paul sweatshirt who cold be mistaken for Chicago’s twin comes up to me and says that a “lady at Guest Services ” (aka: ME) had his lost cell phone. I look at him blankly and try to explain to him that no cell phone was turned in. He adamantly tells me that his brother told him that a lady found it and brought it to my booth. He is also speaking directly to the wall. Suddenly, Chicago shows up. I give him the WTF face, and decipher that De Paul is his bro. He then tries to explain to his drunkard of a brother that there was a lady AT Guest Services who could help him-not that I had his Blackberry. De Paul simply says “Oh”, and proceeds to ask me once more if I had his phone. I say sorry to Chicago with my eyes, and off they go.
8:45: A guy comes up to me if I’ve ever heard of Phish. I explain my Phish poster story. He laughs a hearty laugh, but I’m unsure if he thought my story was funny, or if he was high. He then proceeds to tell me his name is Ben and that I should be honored to be witnessing Phish for four days straight. I explain to Ben that I’m only working tonight, and he apologizes.
9:00: A guy in a kilt and a crown offers me a brownie. I decline.
9:05: De Paul returns, asks if I have his phone.
9:10: My head starts to hurt.
9:30: A Guy wearing a gold cape asks where the “water wheel” is. This makes no sense to me. I am reminded that I am at a Phish concert. I instruct him to head down to Section 107.
9:46: De Paul is back, asking for his “IBerry”.
10:00: “INTERMISSION”-Phish is about 45 minutes behind schedule. There is a break in the concert, in which concert goers have the opportunity to load up on water, candy, and more greenery. During this time, I am offered more food and alcohol than any first date ever has. These fans are pretty nice. They are all smiling. One guy points out to me the “deal” he got on 2 tacos for $10.
10:15: My boy Ben returns and asks if I caught the mistake the band made. I contemplate whether he is actually serious. Then I realize he may have forgotten our previous conversation. So I decide to play along. Ben tells me the last time the band played in the MIA four years ago, they brought out P-Funk during the 3rd show. George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic???? Phish instantly goes from 98 Degrees to N’Sync on my Boy Band Awesome Scale.
10:30: I finally get a break! I head down to the main concourse to get a basket of fried calories for a late-night snack. Before I even get to the front of the line, a guy falls out on the floor besides me. I immediately try and call fire rescue, but he promptly stands up and his “friends” try to tell me he’s ok. “He just needed some water. He was dehydrated- he’s fine”, his friend tells me. Apparently, the water needed to be doused over his entire body, because he is drenched from head-to-toe in to what appears to be his own sweat.
11:00: Encore finally begins. We may actually get out of here on time. The smoke inside the bowl (yes, I know I walked into that one) is so thick, I can barely distinguish the crowd. I see a group of people across the arena who appear to be having seizures, but as I look closely, I see they are just dancing.
12:02: It’s over! So happy! As I lock up my booth, De Paul makes a final appearance. He looks completely defeated-it’s as if he lost his best friend, or in his words, his beloved “IBerry”. Of which he inquires its whereabouts one last time. I ask him for the millionth time if he wants to fill out the lost and found form. He looks at me, his lips curl into a mushroom-induced smile, and then he walks away.
12:05: For a moment, I contemplate picking up a shift to possibly witness a P-Funk sighting and more offers for brownies and Phish beer. Then I would rather watch football.
KEEP IT A HOT MESS