Phish’s Festival 8 was one of my greatest
concert-going experiences in my life. The band played 8 sets over 3 days over Halloween weekend 2009, in desert of Indio, CA. Seven of us (who had “met” on Twitter) flew to Las Vegas and took an RV together to the festival site. And it was amazing. I have never had a more enjoyable experience at a concert than the 3rd set on Halloween Night, with crazy impromptu dance offs in our Halloween costumes.
At that point, I vowed that I would go to the next Phish festival. I assumed they’d do something in 2010, but they didn’t. I went to a few shows in 2010, including the entire 3 night New Years Run at Madison Square Garden, but there was no festival.
Now, a new festival has been announced. Superball IX, which will be held during July 4th weekend (but not on the 4th itself, go figure) in Watkins Glen, NY. And I have chosen not to attend.
Over the time between Festival 8 and the Superball announcement, I got a new job. I’m a manager at a movie theatre, at the same chain that a bunch of us reunited to watch the Phish 3D movie, which was filmed entirely at Festival 8. Besides the money and health insurance, I am learning a lot about leadership, dealing with other people and my own self growth.
It is a night, weekend and holiday business (please come see a movie on Monday afternoon), and taking off work for an entire major holiday weekend, with some of the biggest movies of the year opening, is a major no-no. In fact, for the three MSG shows, I did not have a single day off from work. I woke up, went to work, went to the show, and went home for a very few hours of sleep. Repeated over 3 straight days.
Now, with the cards on the table, I know that the possibility for me to go to Superball IX exists, but I’m choosing not to go those many routes. It is possible that I could quit my job and find a different way to make money and/or support myself, but here in 2011, I am choosing not to do something that outrageous just to go to what will likely be a spectacular weekend with my favorite band. In 2009, I designed my life around seeing Phish, and ended up seeing them a total of 9 times, including on the other side of the country. At that time, it served me quite well. As long as Phish is touring, I will be seeing them.
Please understand that my job is not preventing me from seeing Phish this July 4th weekend. The only thing keeping me from going to Superball IX is me. If I wanted to go there more than anything, I would be there. However, it would come at prices (not money), which I am not willing to pay. Chances are I’ll be off one of the nights that Phish is playing, and will happily plunk down some $ to watch a streaming webcast.
However, no Superball IX does not mean no Phish for Ian. They are on tour in June, and I have circled four shows in my vicinity, two at PNC Bank Arts Center, as well as back to back nights in Mansfield, MA and Darien Lake, NY (as well as the 8 hour drive between them). I shall see you there!