10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Seeing Over A Hundred Phish Shows Over The Past 18 Years

by (@katespencer)

This is an actual photo of me, trying to get a ticket to my birthday show, Summer 1999. [Photo: Teresa Christiansen]

This is an actual photo of me, trying to get a ticket to my birthday show, Summer 1999. [Photo: Teresa Christiansen]

I saw my first Phish show at the Worcester Centrum on December 28, 1995. I was sixteen, it was freezing, and my only warmth was a chunky, brightly patterned wool sweater that smelled like the patchouli-laced BO of the old Deadhead who sold it to me. I was in the middle of a crowd pushing its way to the venue doors, when a patchwork-clad, glitter-covered girl handed me a plastic necklace with a reindeer on it. “Here mama! It’s an antelope!” she said, referencing one of Phish’s iconic, frenzied jams. Then suddenly, some drunk dude next to me peed on my leg, soaking my wool socks and patchwork pants. And in that moment, I learned the first of many important life lessons that one can only collect while devoting a good portion of their life to following a band of four, nerdy Vermonters around the country.

1. Be prepared for anything and everything.

Always be prepared: bring your backpacks, coolers, and clown wigs to every show. [Photo: GettyImages]

Always be prepared: bring your backpacks, coolers, and clown wigs to every show. [Photo: GettyImages]

Sure, this is obvious, but it cannot be restated enough. Inevitably, you will get your period at a Phish show, or a headache, or someone will puke on your shoes. You’re not just going to a concert, you are going to war. A very chill war where your main weapon is a glow-stick, and your fellow soldiers are very kind people and the battlefield has lots of great veggie burrito options – but still, be a soldier. And bring extra socks if you think you might be standing near someone with an overactive bladder full of cheap beer.

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