On June 4th, 2011 I pulled into Ohio’s Blossom Music Center for the second of a little two-night Phish run. This was my first time at the venue and I was pleased to find that the parking area was nothing but lawn and trees with not an inch of asphalt in sight. I followed the waving arms of the traffic control dudes and parked in the park next to a trio of young partiers who had already set up their huge sound system.
I got out of the car, poured myself a drink and introduced myself to the neighbours who were absolutely raging out to classic rock. They had a cooler, no shirts, a pair of PA speakers wired to a generator in the back of their pickup truck and a whole lot of ironic energy.
As my crew and I settled into lawn chairs it occurred to us that the guys parked next to us weren’t just listening to cheesy ’80’s music, they had the same two songs on a loop: Rosanna and Africa by Toto. It was pretty fun for everyone walking by, the three young long-hairs were getting plenty of high-fives and occasionally someone would join in the dance before continuing on their round of the lot, but for those of us stuck within continuous earshot the joke got real old real quick.
It didn’t take the four of us long to pack up our lawnchairs and go on a lot stroll of our own. I can’t imagine how the three guys could stand it. I amused myself by imagining that one of them wasn’t that into it, but endured the two-song torture just to fit in with his bros.
M’lady and I were lucky enough to have pulled pit tickets for this show through Phish mail-order so we were as close as you could get to the band without actually fighting for a spot on the rail. We danced and stared and just had a great time at the show, which seemed extra-awesome due to our proximity to the stage.
One thing that stands out in my mind was the debut of their new song Steam. I liked the song immediately, and I kept trying to figure out how they were getting the steam sound. I was convinced it was Fishman splashing away on his Chinese cymbals but m’lady insisted it was a keyboard patch played by Page. Even from our spot so close to the stage it was hard to tell – especially with all the accompanying dry ice – but after seeing the band play the song many times since I’ve become convinced that m’lady was right in the first place.
When it comes to Phish she usually is.
Oddly enough one of the three Toto ragers was in the pit too, a fair coincidence given that about two hundred people out of a crowd of perhaps twenty-five thousand manage to secure pit tickets. He was still raging it hard, and he was holding up a sign that said “Africa Reprise” for the whole show, which was actually a pretty funny little post script to his gag of the day.
I don’t recall where we stayed after the show but it was probably in the direction of Canada. Though we had tickets to the upcoming Phish show at Darien Lake we had for some reason decided to skip the Cincinnati and Great Woods concerts, and with three days off between shows we probably went home to Ottawa.