It was many years ago, now. For me, it all started in 1992. It was my freshman year in high school. I was coming off several years as a DJ. I started a little DJ business with a friend in middle school and we spent 7th and 8th grade as the entertainment at our school dances. We called ourselves "Prime Time"...we were such dorks. It was this experience that got me hooked on spending all of my free time at Borders Books and Music in Danvers, MA. I'd spend hours in that place combing through the cassette singles and CD's, looking for stuff to play at the next dance...and often (much to my parents dismay) in my basement in between gigs!
When I went on to high school, I started to spend more time listening to bands like The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, and Hendrix. I also spent a lot of time listening to lesser known bands like Solar Circus. On October 30, 1992 several friends and I went into the Boston Garden to see this band Phish that I had been listening to a little. They were part of the WBCN New Music Concert , opening for Chris Baron and The Spin Doctors!
I'll never forget that first show. What would follow would be the most important self discovery period of my life. Over the next 4 years I would see the band at every opportunity I got when they were in the Northeast (which was quite often back then). A friend's mom drove us down to Hartford in April of 1993, and to UNH a couple of weeks later.
After getting my show legs in shape at several more dates after that (including the New Year's run of 1993 culminating in the fish tank NYE show in Worcester),I began to understand the way the scene worked. I became an avid reader of the Schvice. I also remember waiting in line at my 'local Ticketmaster outlet' to get tickets when the original PTBMs (that we had to buy with money orders) failed me. I managed to convince my parents in the summer of 1995 (at the age of 17) to let me and some friends take the car on a 10 show tour around the Northeast, starting in Waterloo and finishing at Sugarbush. We managed just fine. On several occasions we left right after the show and drove through the night and got in around the same time as the tour buses arrived. There were so many great stories from that trip...the marshmallow ban at SPAC, Mimi Fishman seeing our Phish stickers and following us to a rest stop and sitting down to lunch with us and showing us baby pictures of Jon and then inviting us to hang in their slope side condo before the show.
After 1995, I graduated high school and went off to college. I spent my summers working 2 jobs with very little time for travel. I did still make it to a few shows in that period, but this began my period "away from the band". I admittedly wasn't plugged in for the Phish Destroys America Tour. I was in Syracuse NY, trying to get my GPA up so I could transfer back to school in Boston...and I did. Then I got married, had 4 kids...and really had no time to go to shows.
When the band came back in 2009 I was somewhat jaded, but I really wanted to re-connect with my 1995 self. Those were such good days, filled with happiness, that I had to give it another shot. Time had gone by so fast, it almost felt as if it was yesterday that I has last been a part of one of those magical nights. I had to see if I could let the Phab 4 back in. And so, my love for the band was rebooted at Fenway in 2009. These days, I do as many couch tour shows with my 4 kids as I can. I'm very proud that all of my kids can "name that Phish tune" within the first 4 bars of at least 75% of their songs. I do still get to shows in the Northeast whenever I can. I was fortunate enough to get to 5 of the Baker's Dozen show. My wife and I are finally taking our kids to their first show this summer at Merriweather! That may just be the best day of my life...stay tuned!