July 6th, 2012 was day one of a three-night Phish run at one of my favourite venues, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). This was the weekend that m’lady and I stayed at the nondescript and relatively unfun Holiday Inn, which was just close enough to the concert shed to make you think you should walk and just a little too far to be comfortably walked.
The show was super. We were inside the pavilion (ie not on the lawn, thank ye gawds) pretty much dead centre. The band kicked things off with a blood-pumping Runaway Jim and 20,000 of us jumped to our feet together and stayed there for three straight nights, shaking our bones to seventy-nine of our favourite songs over a half-dozen sets.
The first two nights were absolutely riddled with cover songs; we’re talking twenty covers out of fifty-two songs. Nutty. First came Funky Bitch which is so standard you could be excused for thinking it was actually a Phish tune (it’s by Son Seals) but then a couple of songs later they played the Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer for just the fourth (and to date, final) time (I’ve seen the last two). They invariably play Hold Your Head Up as an introduction to some cheesy-ish cover and in this case it bled into Neil Diamond’s Cracklin’ Rosie, which was followed by a killer Stash, which is one of my favourite Phish songs.
The rest of the set was back-and-forth between covers and originals, the second set kept it up with the barrage of cover songs (including an especially great Roses Are Free) and they encored with, you guessed it, another cover.
But can you actually guess it?* M’lady did.
But all that aside, in my brain this show is famous for a rather jarring late-night snafu. M’lady and I were sharing a double room with a friend of hers and his girlfriend. Sometime in the wee hours I was sawing logs in one of the double beds when I found myself being scuttled over to make room. Shaken into semi-consciousness it quickly occurred to me that the bed already had two people in it. I popped open one bleary eye and was surprised to see Bernie squeezing in for a snuggle. “Um, dude…”
“Huh, wha?” he muttered, suddenly awake and sitting bolt upright. “Oh, sorry man,” Bernie said, getting up and retreating to the other bed. “I crawled into the wrong bed.” You can say that again.
“My bad.” You can say that again too.
It made for a continental breakfast jam-packed with jokes and teasing at Bernie’s expense, which was pretty fun. But the final joke is on me (isn’t it always?) because I can never ever remember who it was that crawled into bed with me that night. I only know that it was one of the many, many guys I’ve met along the way that I haven’t hung out with enough for my brain to put into a solid memory-box. As I was writing this m’lady reminded me that it was Bernie – as she always has to – but that info will surely slide away again by this afternoon.
As a result, whenever I run into any of the aforementioned guys on tour I always think it was them that had tried to share my bed, and when I lean in with a funny comment making reference to it – as I usually do – I get a blank stare (at best) and have some explaining to do.
Which is probably one of the reasons why I spend a lot of time on tour by myself.
*e: Loving Cup by The Rolling Stones.