26 in 26 of 2019: #10 06/25/2019 Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor, ME (Lindsay Cole, @Lindsayclaire)
To put it in straightforward terms: the beginning of 2019 sucked. Just really, completely sucked. One of those world flipping seasons of your life where everything is chaos and you just have to wait for it all to land. So when Phish announced their summer tour, I thought to myself, “I’m ready to shine again” and headed out the door to see as many shows as I could. First stop on Lindsay Rebuild’s Herself Tour: Bangor, Maine.
This show marked my first multi-night run all by myself—I took a four hour bus ride from Boston to Bangor, sat next to the nicest old man who was very confused but very happy for me when I told him I was traveling for a band, and made sure to stop by my best friend Stephen King’s house on the way to my AirBnb to hopefully set the stage for some dark, evil jams later in the evening. The forecast did call for rain afterall.
By now I am a total veteran of going to shows alone, but this was one of my first and I felt that sinking anxiety feeling in my stomach of: can I do this? Will people look at me weird for sitting by myself before the show? I quickly learned that solo shows are wonderful in their own way, and you’re also never really alone at a Phish show. I found familiar faces in the crowd, shared laughs with the people next to me as we waited for the show to start, and just felt that overwhelming sense of joy that I was about to hear new music from my favorite band. No time for anxiety here.
As far as first sets go, this one filled my cup and left me with so many happy little moments: the perfect explosion of energy that ripples through the crowd when 46 Days opens; dancing to Back on the Train and smiling when the lyrics feel so perfect for the situation you’re currently in; the question Ass Handed poses of “if you’re not laughing during a Phish show than what’s the point?”; getting lost in those blissful moments of Bathtub Gin where the peaks feel like tiny sparkles in your brain; the dark dirty progression of Mike’s as the sun starts to set; how quiet, peaceful jams like the end of this Limb by Limb sneak up on you and have your body still with joy; and a pure shot of adrenaline that comes with a Weekapaug > Julius ending.
Set break came to a quick close, I zipped up my rain jacket tighter as the drops started to fall harder, and got myself ready for another round to come. We’ve all seen more set two Down With Disease openers than we can count and honestly, I’ll never get sick of them because they never fail to bring the biggest smile to my face, and this one was pure spacey heaven. We moved into my first Kasvot song heard live but then… but then! The true beauty of my night began.
Just as the rain picked up, the opening chords of Simple started and it’s possible my heart burst out of its chest and landed on the gravel pit of Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. You know that feeling when you take your first sip of fresh coffee in the morning? Or when you read a sentence in a book that is so beautiful that it stops you in your tracks? Or when you’re walking to the train and run into a friend you haven’t seen in a while and give them a hug that squeezes and squeezes? That’s how it feels when I’m at a show and I hear the beginning of Simple.
Hi. Hello. Do you have a moment to talk about the masterpiece that is the Bangor Simple? How about we pair my favorite Phish song with my favorite dark, dirty, evil style of jamming and tie it all together into beautiful blissful cohesion? Yes. Yes, that’s good. The slow melodic magic of minute seven merging so effortlessly into the dark introspection of minute ten, coming together to end in just pure bliss. I was completely lost in every moment of this and had never been so happy standing in the rain.
Hard for anything to get me down after those 19 minutes and 32 seconds. Some more highlights from the remaining portion of the night include: a beautiful succession into Piper that eased my disappointment of wanting to live in that Simple jam forever; my first Llama and grinding the gravel pit into mud as I jumped around; everyone laughing at the absurdity of doing the Meatstick dance in the rain; and my all time favorite way to end a set two: Slave to the Traffic Light. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: when I get this at a show, I just stand there still, with my hand over my heart, in awe that something so beautiful even exists.
For me, Phish shows are already an extremely emotional experience, but there is something extra beautiful and cathartic about dancing to Phish in the rain—some of my most favorite memories stem from it, and maybe it’s because in that moment you realize that even with shitty weather, there is absolutely nothing that can take away your love for this moment. We are all very lucky to have found something that gives us that feeling. Show me what you got, rain! It doesn’t matter that it’s pouring on me, I’m just going to dance harder, and get lost more in the music, and giggle at how silly and perfect life is. I remember looking up at one point and letting the rain hit my face, smiling from ear to ear, leaving everything that felt trapped inside of me to evaporate out with the raindrops.
The beginning of 2019 was probably the hardest year of my life so far, and there was nothing better than rebuilding myself, coming out of that fog, and kicking off the next chapter of my life with my favorite band. A lot of us share that sentiment. Phish is our happiest of places but it’s also the thing that can pull us out of the darkness. I ended that show thinking about how strong I was, and now everytime I hear this Simple, I can be proud of her and all she’s done and all the things she will do.
I hope to catch you all on tour this summer and give you one of those soul crushing hugs that feel like the opening notes of a favorite song.
@lindsayclaire is a Boston-based gal who spends the majority of her time reading, going to Fenway and hiking with her itty bitty pitty, Lily. If she sees you at a show she’ll probably ask you what your favorite book is and then put it on hold at the library right that second.