061904 Phish, Saratoga Springs, NY

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I’ll tell you what I remember about June 19th, 2004:

I remember checking into a room somewhere at SPAC (that’s Saratoga Performing Arts Center for you newbs) with a crew of chums from Ottawa (don’t ask me how I got to SPAC – that would be me telling you what I don’t remember about June 19th, 2004).  It was a cheap strip motel with a small second floor – we were on the second floor – with a couple of side buildings that could have been separate strip  motels on their own had they not shared a parking lot (and ownership) with our place.

I remember seeing the double bed all made up nice with it’s early-70’s bedcover (that matched the curtains) and taking a running dive at it, causing the flimsy frame to immediately collapse under my much sturdier frame.  We called the desk and complained, I think they fixed it.  Regardless, the lines were clearly drawn; it was us against the hotel staff, and we weren’t going to lose.

The room was a suite, with a half-wall that offered my friend Andre and I a charming Linus & Charlie Brown wall-skit recreation.  You definitely had to be there but it was still good enough to merit recognition in this missive.

Somewhere in there we went to see Phish.  This was in the dark days just before their Ugly Duckling Song*, Coventry, and the show probably wasn’t anything to write home about.  Unless you’re the kind of person who writes home about flubs and train wrecks at the hands of a guitar player who used to be a serious contender, which I choose not to be at this time.

After the show I soon tired of my Ottawa compadres so I grabbed my guitar and a bottle of hard liquor and set out from our room to find an adventure.  This had long stood as a guaranteed recipe for success but on this night Casey struck out, hard.  I cruised up and down the many rooms of our strip-motel resort serenading one heady music fan after another, each parked in their plastic throne with fresh drinks at the ready.  And somehow, someway, I couldn’t cajole a single one of them to invite a traveling troubadour to their fire, as it were.  I had somehow tipped the scales to become party-irrelevant. 

I had, however, gained the ire of the evening’s sole hotel proprietor, who gave me the stink-eye in between fielding a thousand calls and hassles that he was obviously very unprepared for.  

Benevolent as I am, I eventually decided to spare him at least one problem so I slunk back to the room, where I did the only thing a chronic benevolent snorer could do in a proper wookstack: I cast my guitar aside and banished myself to the closet – where I slept like a dead man – using tomorrow’s t-shirt as a blanket and my small knapsack as a pillow.

And that’s what I remember about June 19th, 2004.

Glory days.

*A play on “Swan Song”.

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