Feb 192003
Authors: Ab Berendt

I was de-virginized Tuesday night. It was my first time. I had told myself I wouldn’t do it. I know everybody is doing it because it’s the cool thing to do. So, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t enjoy it. I was going to be different. I wasn’t going to give into the pressure. But on Tuesday, I caved in. I did it.

I am now one among the many who’ve experienced the ecstasy; the pure joy. At first I was tentative. I just sat back and wondered what would come. There was no talking. It was like I was floating. There was screaming, and synchronized bouncing, and vocal percussion. And there were more dreads than a peace rally on Pearl Street. I had witnessed what I believed to be one of the biggest hypes of our generation: a live Phish show.

I woke up Tuesday morning with a pounding headache. I skipped my first two classes but finally dragged myself to work at noon. I was sick, and my boss knew it was his fault. So, in his reverse psychological “sorry”, he offered me a ticket to the sold-out show. He knew my obsession with this band. No, it wasn’t your normal “I know all the lyrics and set lists to every show they’ve played” obsession. Mine was weird. Known at work as “the hippie,” my Berkenstock-Cordory-wearing-hemp-necklace-making-Jetta-driving personality screamed: “Holy crap, you Phish-Head.” But, shockingly, I own two Phish CD’s. Billy Breathes because I got it for free from the BMG ‘buy 1 get 12

free’ scam. And Live Phish 13, because they cover the White Album (I’m a huge Beatles fan). I truly had convinced myself to not like Phish. I didn’t want to be just like everyone else, worshiping that fish shape Phish bumper sticker.

However, a FREE ticket to see the legendary band? In my over-drugged and sickly state I agreed to go, understanding full well that my hazy mentality would

fit right in. We got there late, about three songs into their set (which was about an hour). I walked in the Pepsi Center to see more than 20,000 people dancing, drinking, screaming and smoking. We found our seats and looked around. Directly in front of me: two frat boys bouncing in unison. To my right: a sheer replica of Jerry Garcia. To my left: a free-spirited dancer, arms flailing and hips shaking. I felt as though I had traveled back to my freshman year at CU Boulder. The air was thick, and smelled of more than patchouli. I began to wonder if I actually needed to be high in order to enjoy this music. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like jam-band music. But I had yet to understand the insanity, and obsession with Phish.

I tried to open my mind and focus on my surroundings. The audience was amazing. It was as if an invisible “applause” sign came on every time Trey hit a high A on the first string. The crowd would go crazy. They would scream and shout and throw glow sticks. It was weird and intriguing.

And the lights were a show of their own. They flew in and swooped out with different colors. They smacked down a sweet rhythm, perfectly in-sync with the band. It was a glowing trance, one that complimented the insane skills of Jonathan Fishman, Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell and Michael Gordon.

After an unexpected and awkward intermission, I strangely began to feel a part of this huge family. There was jumping on trampolines, choreographed bouncing and piano solos. It was carefree and playful. And as corny as it sounds, I began to


I began to understand that there wasn’t anything to understand. There wasn’t anything to grasp. It was just a feeling. And granted, even though I started to

feel a bit light-headed because the Pepsi Center was hot-boxed tighter than your high school neighbor’s garage, I was happy. Everybody was dancing and laughing. They were smoking and eating. They were happy.

So, in lieu of my own protest, I now claim proudly: my first time wasn’t bad. I am no longer in denial with the greatness of this incredible act. In fact, I am thankful I went against my own will, because it’s a night I will always remember.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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