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Adulthood Is. . . Leaving the Phish Show Early

October 09, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

At 28, I've reached the point where I find myself saying "that's crazy" more than "that's cool."

On Thursday night, my boyfriend and I braved rush hour to drive to Irvine to see the neo-Grateful Dead band Phish, which we have followed since its days at the University of Vermont. I should have recognized the signs early on that we were out of our league: Instead of tuning in to bootleg tapes while southbound, we tuned in to the vice presidential debate on National Public Radio. Instead of joining the parking lot scene with its haute hippies and aging Deadheads, we splurged on preferred parking. The $15 fee didn't leave us with much cash for beer, but at least we'd avoid the crowds when the concert ended.

We parked the car and joined the psychedelic herd that was kicking beer cans and scrambling to hide the evidence before filing into the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. "We'll sneak you in," whispered a pixie-like girl to her hairy friend. Right.

After we found our seats, talk turned to practical matters, such as what time Adam would have to leave for LAX to catch a Friday night redeye to New York. We liked the music--save the extended "space jams," which tend to be more enjoyable when you don't have to worry about staying sober for the ride home. Next to us, a willowy guy in a skirt was rocking so hard I was afraid he was going to explode.

During intermission, we watched as a bespectacled nerd in a silver glitter cape threw loose change into the audience like some kind of strung-out superhero. We joked about a possible cape comeback in fashion.

I waited for what seemed like hours for Adam to return from the bathroom. When he did, he explained that he'd been waiting in what he thought was a line. Turns out, it was just a group of people standing around . . . for no apparent reason.

No sooner had the music started again than we began to eye our watches. When a jam prompted the audience to lob glow sticks at one another, all I could think about was how much it would hurt if one hit me on the head.

As it neared 11 p.m., visions of bed began to dance in my head. We made for the exit. "Look, hon, it's a baaay-by," Adam said, pointing to a child swathed in tie-dye who was being cuddled by an earth mama. He smiled for a moment, then grimaced, "Come to think of it, I'm not so sure that's such a good idea." In the car, we studied our Yahoo! map and argued about the quickest route home.

Ten, or even five years ago, I would gladly have driven all day to see a Phish show. I thought it was cool to dine on grilled cheese sandwiches sold by followers of the band and spend the night in my car after the show. Back then, I was a participant; now, I'm just an observer, and I can't help but feel like a little part of me has died.

Or maybe I just need a better buzz.

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