On November 25th, 2016 I drove down to Burlington, Vermont to see Phish’s Mike Gordon at Higher Ground. Again.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen Mike Gordon play, though it’s been several, and if I remember correctly (and there’s a great chance that I don’t) all but one of the shows has been at Higher Ground in Burlington (the only time I can think that I saw him somewhere else was when he played in Toronto. I remember that show kind of like it was yesterday. I’m assuming that it stands out specifically because it was in a different venue/city).
(Occasionally I use a whole lot of parentheses. This is generally unintentional, and I tend to wonder if people read parenthetical statements differently, like in an echo-y voice or sotto voce, like a Shakespearean aside. Come to think of it, I wonder if anyone out there is asking, “What the heck is a parentheses anyway, and why is he putting everything in brackets [which would be a silly question, of course]? And while we’re at it, what does “sotto” mean, and why didn’t spellcheck add an “i” when he spelt “voice” wrong?
Sometimes you guys ask a lot of questions.)
As a result, I have a very, very hard time distinguishing one Mike Gordon Higher Ground show from another. They all involve the same four-hour drive, the same border, the same fruitless search for cans of Heady Toppers at the same local grocery store, the same strip of hotels across from the bar (hello, La Quinta!), the same scouring for a reasonable place to eat way out there on the wrong side of Burlington, the same too-long lineup to get into the show in the same chilly weather, and of course the same band up there on the stage.
So why do I keep going?
Because the music is always different. And the music is always great. And I always have a whole lot of fun at the show. And I can’t imagine why anyone would do something different, great, and fun and then say, “Well, I don’t think I’ll bother doing that again.”
I mean, seriously, that’s the attitude of most people. “Hey, are you going to see Roger Waters next week?”
“Nah, I saw him the last time he came to town.”
“Really? Did you have a good time?”
“Oh yeah, it was awesome. But I don’t need to see him again.”
I’ll never understand. What is wrong with people?
To be fair, I remember one of Mike’s Burlington shows very well because Page and Fishman joined him onstage, and this was during Phish’s hiatus, so it was like a 3/4 reunion and kind of a big deal. Also, I remember another show there because m’lady’s friends spent the show glued to their iPhones. I later found out it was because of some major sporting event, like the World Series or something. Until then I thought they were weird.
So I suppose I can at least pretend to remember this show as being the one that wasn’t either one of those.
Ah, who cares. I went to Burlington to see Gordo and had a blast. What more do you need to know?