Phish New Years Run (Sushi) Miami, FL - 12/29/03

Miami Travel Blog

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Cruising Miami.

Coming down from Jupiter for the first Miami Phish show on 12/28/03, 12/29 was our first full day in town. Jordan's Japan buddy Steve had rented out a top-rated South Beach sushi restaurant for the afternoon, and 45 Phish heads enjoyed the finest raw Phish in the state of Florida. Zagat agreed, giving it a rare "26" rating for food quality. And we had the entire restaurant to ourselves, an all-you-can-eat affair with never-ending sake: perfect for this sushi-loving pescevegetarian

The whole amazing event was coordinated by Steve and his lovely girlfriend Candice. Steve extended the phamily to my group of friends in the same way he opened the door for my brother in Japan 2000.
 
In all, there were 13 of us heading to South Beach: 10 for sushi and the others to check out the historic beach.

South Beach sushi.

Someone thought to rent a van, and we were hauled from the Clarion parking lot for $6 each and a heady schmear.

On the way back to the hotel it was revealed that Ricardo I. Veas, our driver, was celebrating his birthday. An impromptu van-wide sing-along of Feliz CumpleaƱos broke out, creating a rather surreal Miami moment.

I was just grateful to have such a great meal--the only one for the day--with so many great people. Steve, you once again showed why you are the man. Thank you for motivating for this and extending the invitation to so many friends (and their friends as well!) A fantastic, protein-rich culinary experience only set the tone for a simply exquisite evening.

Then there was the show. 12. 29. The date just never seems to fail when it comes to legendary Phish shows

Settling in our mail-ordered seats in 4th row center, I noticed a familiar face.

"Antelope Greg"
Greg, the famed "Antelope Greg" of Phish tour was directly in the row in front of me (See picture at right).  I wondered how his presence might affect my state of mind, as he has been known to negatively alter people's experiences.

But I've known Greg for a long time. We even did a leg of a tour together in the summer of '98. I know he's not a bad guy, despite some unkind incidents from his past. And I know he'd recently been through tough times. We chatted about the shows--he had missed everything after Deer Creek until now.

Unsurprisingly, he started to bother the neighbor to his right. Greg was taking up two seats, and the fellow fan was getting squished and harassed by flailing arms. It looked ugly.

Then something remarkable happened. A confrontation ensued, and Greg responded by putting his arm around his neighbor and whispering in his ear.

Beth and Chrischuck: Ecstacy
By the time he was done talking, the two men were embracing, patting each other on the back. The neighbor was smiling, and space was no longer an issue. Greg danced like mad as usual, and everyone seemed content. I was flabbergasted and overwhelmed by the unexpected positively emanating from the third row.

Not only were the vibes in front of us amazingly positive but the folks behind us only added to the evening. Two buddies from Chicago were equally psyched to see Phish up close, and we bonded as only Vermonters and Chicagoans can. Their names confused me, but the one who called himself Chrischuck grins goofily above, giddy with Beth.
 
With nothing but good spirits surrounding the strangers beside us, we had nothing else to focus on except the music. And starting from the opener, Piper, the music seemed to be at a different level.

Show Opener: Piper 12/29/03

 
The music was totally transcendental.

The second set, especially, mushed together in a perfect, flowing series of masterful notes joining forces. Songs were secondary.

During the Free, Gabe finally received the long-awaited promised Meredith massage, earned with a few hours logged behind the wheel of the RV en route home from IT.

Not in my entire 133-show career had Phish ever came out for a second encore. I even decided on the last pre-hiatus show that such an event would never happen. That it did, on that night, confirmed my thoughts on the show.

It was Beth's first time seeing Phish so close, and it was a special night for her and Russ.

During setbreak I got a call from Gabe, who was sitting behind the stage. As much as I was enjoying life in the 4th row, I also missed my friends.

Russ and Beth - A Dream it's true, But I'd see it through.
Part of me wanted to share in the experience with everyone I knew, much like I did during the previous show on 12/28.

Gabe waved an arm, and I saw him directly behind Fish's drum kit, straight ahead. Then I saw Aaron and Jill next to him. Then it struck me that a giant crew of my friends were all sitting together on the other side of the stage. They were all waving, and I could hear their hoots and hollers to say hello.

In an intense instant I felt surrounded by my friends again, even if we were separated by the stage.

By the time the encore ended, I was in a state of musical shock and an emotional wreck. Sometimes I forget how powerful a mere concert can be. The band left the stage and people began to file out of the exits. I couldn't move, paralyzed by the energy of the night.

Page Coil Solo

Then the impossible occurred. Phish returned for a second encore--encore #2--for a fitting and magnificent Squirming Coil. Phish simply had to go on. The energy was too high, the playing too good. No one could leave: not me, not Beth, not Chrischuck, and not Phish.

As special as it was for all of us, the night continued for many hours afterwards with all our friends.

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Cruising Miami.
Cruising Miami.
South Beach sushi.
South Beach sushi.
Antelope Greg
"Antelope Greg"
Beth and Chrischuck: Ecstacy
Beth and Chrischuck: Ecstacy
Show Opener: Piper 12/29/03
Show Opener: Piper 12/29/03
Russ and Beth - A Dream its true,…
Russ and Beth - A Dream it's true…
Page Coil Solo
Page Coil Solo
Page McConnell - 12/29/03
Page McConnell - 12/29/03
Trey vs. Mike: Trey and Mike battl…
Trey vs. Mike: Trey and Mike batt…
Trey Anastasio - 12/29/03
Trey Anastasio - 12/29/03
Miami
photo by: ellieperla