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June 24, 2002
It's hot as hell here

It's hot as hell here in my corporate row, so I'm protesting by blogging at work. My brain is nearly fully cooked. More likely, I'm just trying to kill the next 21 minutes so I can get the hell out of here; home to my probably a lot hotter apartment with my definitely a lot hotter girlfriend.

Anyway, it was about time for an update, eh? And such stories I have to tell. My stars.

Leen and Paul arrived Monday night, and Paul and I stayed up until about 4 playing video games. It was nice to have a guy in the house, someone to watch Sportscenter with or play snowboarding. I'm totally bored of those games, but they're different with company. Tuesday I worked a little bit and then we all set off for Radio City to see Trey. We met up with Dave and some friends of Paul's, and off we went. Radio City is always a nice experience, regardless of the show. The place is so grand and beautiful. I love the concentric arches in the ceiling, all red and orange. It's like a frozen sunset.

Liz and I made it down to our seats in about the 6th row, and then did the old 2-for-1 to get Dave down there too. The show opened and I've never seen Trey so exuberant. He was jumping all over the stage, smiling and laughing. What an amazing thing it must be to love your job that much. I'm feeling a bit distant from that feeling just now.

Overall, I didn't get too into the show at Radio City. I thought the sound up front was too loud and blare-y, making it hard to pick out the instruments clearly. It was obvious that the band was having a blast, and that's great, but for me it wasn't always the best stuff to listen to. In the end, though, this is why I love Phish, Trey and all manner of improvisational music: They take risks, don't play to a formula, and put themselves out there fully. Sometimes it doesn't pay off for some people, but that's the game and it's a good one. It would be a thrill for a little while to hear them play the songs right from the album, to know all the words and all the chords, but I'd get bored pretty fast.

Despite it not being one of my top 10 musical experiences, I still had a great time, danced and sang and whooped a bit. Towards the end of the show, the pace matched my mood a little more when as they played Ether Sunday, At the Gazebo (with four members of the Vermont Youth Orchestra) and then had a giant Carnival party for an encore. Capoeira dancers (practitioners?), show girls, drummers, a whole gang of people all over the stage. They marched right off the stage and apparently had an impromptu block party on 53rd St for 10 minutes or so. We missed that part.

Skipping ahead, Friday evening we headed down to Baltimore, had crabs and beer with the family, then Saturday went to see, and ride, the real Thomas the Tank Engine. He was very useful. It was quite a scene down there, like a Dead show for toddlers. They were all freaking out.

Saturday evening it was off to Merriweather, one of my favorite venues around here. I've always had good luck with Merriweather. It's a beautiful spot, in the woods, with a pavilion designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the sound is always great, and there's nothing like an outdoor summer concert. The security was a little ridiculous at the gates (disturbing trend), but once we were inside, we never saw them again.

Anyway, this show kicked ass. It was just what I was looking for on a nice summer evening; the band smoked, the weather was great, and I was with my favorite people in the world. I couldn't have asked for anything more. It was bliss. The show rocked full ahead all night, then closed with Push On Till The Day, the same song that opened Radio City, and one of my favorites. Perfect bookends for a great couple of days.

We spent the night at Dave and Cass' new place in Arlington, went to DC on Sunday, the Holocaust Museum, American History, the pool, Mexican food, margaritas. We dragged ourselves away at about 10:45, arriving in Brooklyn 4 1/2 hours later.

Them's the facts. Opinions come later. Three minutes.


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