BAKER'S DOZEN AND BACHELORETTES
I first found Phish in 2009 - I ended up staying an extra semester after graduating from Binghamton University and the sounds of the quartet from Vermont filled many of the rooms of friends and after hours hang outs. My best friend, Eitan, took me to my first show at Jones Beach Amphitheater in Long Island, New York shortly after, on June 4, 2009. I immediately went back the next night and the rest is phishtory, but I definitely could have never imagined how much the band would truly change my life. Growing up in New York made me a lucky Phan because they often came within four or so hours from my front door. A dream I never thought would come true would be them playing THIRTEEN SHOWS AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN!
If you knew me a few years ago you would bet that I would be at every single one of those thirteen shows. But living in Vermont made it difficult for me - believe me I wish I could’ve took a month off from working, plus I was also wedding planning, supporting Ryan with his music and trying to find time to spend with family and friends. Luckily I was able to hit almost half and each of the shows I went to held some really special moments.
The first weekend of the Baker’s Dozen was sandwiched between Twiddle After Shows at Irving Plaza. We were off to a running start that’s for sure. Walking through the doors of Madison Square Garden that night I felt like a little kid on Christmas just waiting to unwrap all of the presents sitting right there, just for me (well and the tens of thousands of other people walking in with me and even tens of thousands more sitting on their couches!). But it was also a bittersweet show for me and my great friends, Eitan, Christina and Aaron. It was our first Phish show without one of the greatest people we’d ever known, Michael Luckow, who had passed away just a month earlier. We all decided to go together and rage in his honor - and what a way to rage!
We had found out shortly before the show that donuts were being given out, and not just any donuts, but FEDERAL DONUTS, co-owned by one of my first Phish “Twibe phriends,” Felicia D’Ambrosio. I met Felicia when I did the “never miss a show” year of 2013 and, honestly, no one deserves such an awesome honor more than this Phish Chick! Awesome surprise one, CHECK! The setlist was filled with a number of songs that have become funny inside jokes between us all over the years, and when they ended the second set with Coconut (also the flavor of the donut) we almost lost it! They were playing songs to match their donut flavor. Another awesome surprise!
Night Two was Strawberry night and again they had songs to match! I was heading to the show with Ryan after being gifted some awesome seats in the family section on Mike’s Side. An a cappella Strawberry Fields Forever opened the show so you knew it was going to be a crazy night! A second set Disease sandwich featured another strawberry reference in Shuggie Otis’ Strawberry Letter 23, Trey on the marimba lumina and some amazing jamming throughout.
Night Three Ryan and I got stubbed up to a phriend’s suite - open bar and delicious food with no one to push past you to grab a beer or use the bathroom when you’re in the groove! One of the most beautiful moments standing out in my mind was the literal “velvet sea” of lights on all of the fans below as they ended the second set with Wading in the Velvet Sea.
Unfortunately, after that I had to head out of the city and away from the music, missing the Jam night (and the next few shows to follow) and crying inside the entire time. But at least it was for a good reason, we were heading to Canada on a family vacation and then Twiddle was hosting the second annual Tumbledown Festival. And I knew I’d be back the following weekend for my bachelorette party with some of the coolest chicks, Phish and not.
For about half of my girl friends attending the bachelorette it was their first show, some even probably the first time hearing Phish ever. The things you do for the people you love, right?! My sister, Samantha, planned an awesome weekend where we would all attend the August 4th show, Night Eleven, and then take a party bus out to Southampton. It was Lemon night but it definitely wasn’t a lemon! We were treated to a cover of Radiohead’s Everything In It’s Right Place (“sucking on a lemon”) and a classic peaking moment as they busted out into Fluffhead. The weekend was so much fun - lounging by the pool with delicious cocktails and couch-touring for Night Twelve after an even more delicious lobster bake.
The next morning I awoke to another AWESOME SURPRISE - a Phriend had gifted me a ticket to Night Thirteen, the final night of the most special run there will ever be at Madison Square Garden (unless next year they play fourteen!).
Of course the folks at Federal Donuts saved the Glaze flavored donut for last - Glaze On! I spent my last night with the crew that took me in for so many years of fun, dancing and laughs ... my Toronto crew. We got an insane 24 minute Simple to open the second set with Page on the theremin YES!, an IZABELLA (thank you to Trey’s daughter for that request), and, of course, the Tweezer Reprise we’d all been waiting for since Night One. Perhaps the most special moment of the night for me, though, was one that most wouldn’t expect. Shortly before my Phriend, Mikey, passed away he had told me he would play Loving Cup at our wedding, an inside joke we had because I would cry during that song. As second set came to a close I was overcome with tears hearing the crowd screaming the words and knowing that no matter how far your friends are you will always have those special moments in your memories, and when you hear that one song it will always remind you of them.
So that brings me to the end - even though I wasn’t able to attend as much as I had hoped for, the Baker’s Dozen brought me memories with phriends, some amazing jams, and a newfound appreciation for how this band has changed my life for the better. Thank you Phish!