An open letter to the people who swooped in and bought up all those extra tickets for: friends in far off places who won't make it to Virginia; for the off chance they could get off work but like their job too much to press the issue because it's finally the one they like and won't quit to go to on tour anymore; to get them out of the hands of scalpers and resale agencies; or just to miracle kids in the lot...
...I don't deserve your ticket any more than anyone else. I haven't been listening to phish since they were tots in a pub in Vermont, or even since the 90's at all. I never completed a whole tour start to finish. This isn't going to be my first time ever seeing them, so there is no cherry to pop. I'm just a regular old fan. My appreciation for them has grown in all the best ways - over-exposure, passionate friend telling you to listen to a lyric, from outside an arena, floating out the back of open subarus, from a cd someone traded me for a shot of whiskey...
The point is, I just really want to go. My friend got a hotel, my car is fun to drive, and I haven't been to a phish show in 5 years. I wake up happy and excited to think about this one weekend in March and I make it through the whole day smiling. ...And I work in a law firm.
I would like a second chance. Come spring, I will decidedly quit my job because I already started printing the posters and stickers I'm going to sell and I will tour again. This time start to finish. This time the right way. I'm 27 and have been having a quarterlife crisis since 25. I hadn't been able to shake the feeling that things were just different. Summers lacked their luster and I started thinking about other ventures – not just the big decision every year of whether to save up to be an official vendor or go out there guerilla style. I started thinking about different careers I could possibly enjoy and how my life would shape itself if I ever decided to settle down. I worked a whole summer at a straight job for the first time in my life when I was 25 and at the time it seemed not so awful. It didn't seem completely right, but I thought that was just natural resistance. I was never able to place these feelings, and wrote them off as being a part of leaving my twenties; staring down the barrel at 30 and shifting into real adulthood. I made it to Polaris, the last show before hiatus, and I made my peace at Coventry. I never thought closure was an issue in this respect.
But when the announcement was made, those feelings melted immediately and so thoroughly it was as though I never had them. I felt breathed into, awakened, rehabilitated. I felt like I had something to offer and was inspired in a new and constant way. I started creating and planning and celebrating my situation. It was a simple switch and I don't know why this is what it took to turn it, but I live in gratitude these weeks as a result. If I feel anything other than elated, I just think about the prospect of this summer and I'm done. Smile on my face, giddy disposition, and I just don't give a shit about anything. I don't worry about how I spend money, or where I will be in 5 years, or how much better it may fiscally be to own instead of rent. I feel protected and cared for and loved and satisfied and grateful. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be and how I'm supposed to live. In fact, the ONLY thing stressing me out has been these tickets.
And ultimately, I know the tickets aren't necessary. I am going anyway. I'll have my time in the lot, I'll eat a stupid garlic grilled cheese, I'll sell my shit, maybe I'll even get miracled. But I want to be inside. I want to hear their first announcement. I want to hear the quiet of the crowd before the first note. I want to hear people around me predicting the song by the way he breathed into the mic. I want to hear the urgency of everyone's bated breath and I want to hear them answer the call for the first time.
Something told them that this is the time and place and situation for them to rekindle what has been missing in the american cultural diet for 5 years. Their service contract has not expired. There is something innately necessary about them playing and moving and performing. The way they flow the songs. The way they take us from place to place. The way they boost the sales of local Walmarts 600% for 3 days. I don't know what fuels the universe. But I know they crank out something that contributes to it and unfortunately it costs $750 a barrel now and I can't afford to pay that to fill my tank.
So whoever had the foresight or the shortsightedness or the lack of funds or the priority of job or the burgeoning family or the resistant spouse or the flat tire or the lack of interest or the kind heart, please sell me your ticket at a little over face value (I can throw in a heady poster by a sick artist and any number of random stickers for your trouble) so I can enter the mothership.
Thank you for your understanding and thoughtful contribution. I look forward to seeing you on the inside...