August 4th, 2017 was the date of my 100th Phish concert. The show was at MSG, night eleven of the Baker’s Dozen run, the doughnut was lemon poppy seed, the band closed the second set with a killer Fluffhead, I didn’t sit in my actual seat and the strangers sitting beside me were so nice they were almost as cool as the strangers sitting behind me. It was an epic show and a fantastic time.
Now, you may be asking yourself: A hundred shows!?!? Why on Earth would someone want to go see the same band a hundred times? Todd, are you crazy? Who in their right mind…!?!??
And to be fair, you would not be alone.
Tell someone you have season tickets to the local sporting team and nobody even blinks, unless they are maybe a bit jealous. Lots of people plunk themselves in front of the television set and watch the same program every night, nothing unusual about that (“But I wouldn’t pay to watch it,” they might cry. “So you’re saying you sit and watch something every single day and you don’t even care very much about it?” I might respond).
Heck, I know people that take the same vacation every year, and others that go to the exact same cottage every single weekend.
And there’s nothing wrong about any of that. I don’t consider any of these to be examples of strange behaviour, and though a lot of these activities aren’t for me I can easily see the attraction in each of them.
And yet, going so many times to see a band that plays a limited amount of shows per year (like a hockey team does), where every show is different, if thematically similar (like a tv show), and where I find a revolving groups of friends and likeminded strangers and generally have a really great time over a few drinks (like going to the cottage) always seems to raise eyebrows.
Like, what’s the difference?
I’ll tell you what the difference is. While most people follow sport teams, watch television shows and yearn for more cottage time, most people don’t go to see the same band over and over. To do so is unusual, and you gotta be crazy to do something unusual, at least if you do it often enough. But like I’ve always said: sanity is decided by consensus, truth is not™.
But what about the money!?!? Fortunately Phish still keeps their prices lower than most bands at their level; to date I have never seen a Phish ticket priced more than $75. So if you average it out I’ve spent about as much on Phish tickets as I would have on a used car.
Asked to choose between all the memories I have from Phish shows and a used car you can give me the shows every time. Heck, I wouldn’t even trade the things I’ve forgotten at Phish shows for a used car.
Not to mention all the great places I’ve visited and the amazing friends I’ve met along the way. It’s always an adventure, and it’s one I love. Lake Tahoe, SPAC, The Hollywood Bowl, The Gorge, New York City, Atlanta, Miami, Maine, Mexico*…I’ve seen so many amazing chunks of the continent because of this band and when I get there I always hang with good people.
And people say I’m crazy! I say: Bring on the next hundred shows.
*Okay, two used cars.