091411 Phish, Essex Junction, VT

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In the late summer of ’11 Vermont was among the states hit with major flooding, the worst the region had seen in almost a century.  Good on the de facto hometown boys Phish to quickly organise a one-off flood benefit show just off the highway one exit north of Burlington on September 14th, 2011.

The showground was a field and not much else, perhaps there were some aluminum bleachers facing the stage but other than that nothing.  I grabbed a handful of beers and found lots of standing room, off to stage right (Page side).

While I remain a bit of a poster geek this was early in my geekery stage and lingering in the lot before the show had caused me to miss out on the poster.  They had also given copies of the poster to people with VIP tickets, so I took on a strategy of finding a VIP who wasn’t interested in their free poster and would they please sell it to me for $50?

As the beers flowed and the tunes rocked I asked more and more people to sell me their posters.  Or so I thought.  It turns out I was just basically asking the same dude to sell me his poster over and over again, thinking he was different people.  He eventually made himself memorable to me at which point I gave up my poster hunt and turned my attention to the show.

By then it might have been too late for me, except Phish just tore from one rocker to another in a fist-pumping free-for-all with Carini, DWD, Rock and Roll, Slave, Twist, Suzie Greenberg, and more, and with a hands-in-the-air Loving Cup encore, well I was just a little bundle of poster-free rage cage.  There was no reggae, no barbershop, no freaky vocal jams, no country twang, just a bunch of three-chord blazers in a straight-up rock and roll show, start to finish.  The highlight of the somewhat highlightless show was Character Zero.  The band really drove it for the distance and Trey raged.

The wook-stack at the hotel after the show had curious bedfellows.  There was a bass tourney going on nearby and the place was packed with fishermen.  So some were there for the fish while the rest of us were there for the Phish, though I suppose we were all into the bass.  The continental breakfast started at 4am when nobody in the building was asleep (yet or still).

You’re welcome Vermont, for all the help.

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