Last night Phish played one of my favorite venues; the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. This venue continues to sit in the top 5 due to the memories I have attached to it from the infamous 2004 Coventry tour.
It was 2004, freshly graduated from James Madison and my friends and I were all living in the Outerbanks down in North Carolina. Phish's (at the time) final farewell tour was about to begin and well most of us had tickets for all venues. I was lucky and landed myself a ticket to every show but one, thefirst night of Mansfield. I was okay with it. I was still going to travel up to the venue and just hang out in the parking lot with all the rest of the ticketless phans and wait for my friends to return to the car. In all seriousness I was completely okay with missing this show, once you have it in your brain ahead of time, the reality of it really isn't that bad.
So here is the scene, we are in the parking lot, my friends are all getting ready to go to the show. Me i'm finding people who were ticketless like me and willing to hang out during the show. Everything was going great. Then it got to showtime. My friends all got ready to go into the show, I took my beer and said "okay i'm going to go get myself a spot right over the fence so I can still hear it...i'll see you all in a few hours" We said our goodbyes and everyone was on their way.
On my journey to the gate I got separated from the crew of people that I had assembled. While trying to find them in the crowd I decided to just stop and take a break right outside the front ticket gates. By this time 90% of the people going into the show were inside, and you could hear the crowds start to erupt with the sound of the band taking the stage. I sat there on the sidewalk opened a beer and said "well lets do this boys". And with that not kidding you, three girls stumble into my view. Two girls are carrying the third on the way out of the venue to the parking lot. I stand up as they pass me to try and offer any assistance that they may need.
This is when I knew how much I loved the Phish scene.
As I stood up I made eye contact with one of the girls carrying her friend. I stuck my hands out and said "hey, you guys, anything I can help with?" They looked at me and said "yeah go take her ticket and enjoy the show... someone has to". I was shocked. Next thing you knew the three girls were out of sight and I had a free Phish ticket to a concert that was about to begin.
(I will never forget the next three moments for as long as I live)
I gave my beer away to the next person I can find, and skipped my way to the front of the ticket line, laughing the whole time. I gave my ticket to the man and ran up the long walkway leading to the show (above picture). I ran right into the venue, and as soon as I hit the walk way between the seats and the lawn they busted this out.
Anyone who knows Phish knows that Punch You In The Eye is one of the more energetic openers they could have. I lost it. I was jumping up and down, singing, dancing, nobody could get me off my cloud. I knew my friends were somewhere on the lawn, I found them after a few songs. We all shared a laugh, and one of the better Phish shows I had ever seen. It was truly a Phish moment I could never forget.
And that is why Mansfield will always be one of my top 5 venues. Memmmorrrieees.
(this weekend can't come soon enough....)