, attached to 1999-12-30

Review by whatstheuse324

whatstheuse324 I drove to Big Cypress in a mini-school bus with seven friends from Rutgers. My friend Aland bought the bus that fall from his brother-in-law that worked for the NYC school transportation department or something. It only cost him $100.00. He removed the seats, put in a bed and a bench, and used it to drive around New Brunswick to pick up drunk kids and to find trouble and fun. Aland named it FLAPJACK 2000.

Anyway, the stories from this entire trip are countless and amazing, it was one of the best weeks of my life. We left New Brunswick on 12/26 with seven of us on board. We had to first drive to Miami to pick up our eighth companion because he was home for Christmas vacation. We pulled into Big Cypress two nights early to see if we could finagle our way in to the camp grounds but it was to no avail.

We slept in the bus in a rest area parking lot on the side of Alligator Alley. When we woke up there were about six other cars in the lot that crept in during the night. My friend was urinating on a tree when a swamp tour helicopter landed in the parking lot right next to him and the pilot waved.

We drove to Naples for the day to kill time and buy supplies. When we returned to Alligator Alley later that evening the rest area with six cars and our bus now had about six hundred cars and three thousand people partying hard in the middle of the swamp in the dark. Needless to say that it was an amazing experience, but I will bullet some highlights:

*Forming a parade around the parking lot with Felipe, our fearless leader, playing his guitar singing "The Walking Riff"

*Dudes shooting fireworks at my boy for talking to their girlfriends (he was ok) (same guy with the helicopter, not his day)

*Seeing a shooting star twice every minute all night

*Scoring the extra ticket for our friend that somehow lost his ticket the day we left

Life was good, we partied until dawn, and we then got in "the line." Anyone that went knows this infamous line. Well let me tell you...

My friend Achal and I were sitting on top of FLAPJACK 2000 waiting for the line to move while everyone else was still inside the bus. After a while Aland finally snapped. He had driven the bus the entire trip because he was the only person insured to it, so exhaustion and dementia finally set in. Aland pulled out of line and started hauling FLAPJACK 2000 down the opposite lane. Achal and I were still on top of the bus holding on for our lives. I was banging my fist on the top of the windshield yelling at him to pull back in line, but he wasn't having any of that. As we drove by countless people in line, a beautiful girl standing on the top of her car yelled, "F*ck you, cheaters!" and threw a muffin that hit Achal square in the face. Finally I saw a police car coming and figured Aland would come to his senses and pull back in line. WRONG. Instead, Aland drove FLAPJACK 2000 on the left bank, which sloped directly into the swamp, passed the police car coming head on while driving on the edge of the swamp, zipped back up the embankment again, and kept going, all with Achal and I still on the roof. And the craziest thing was that the cop kept going and didn't even stop to think twice about us. I couldn't believe it. Finally Aland cut in line right near the entrance, we crawled back inside still alive, and when it was all said and done his insanity resulted in a great camping spot. I thought for sure someone would recognize us from our very distinguishable school bus, but miraculously we left that weekend with all of our teeth intact.

I caught the sound check with my friend Jared and was very pumped for the show to start the next day.

I spent the majority of the 12/30 show about sixty feet back from the stage, Page side rage side. I filtered out the Everglades, lit up but didn't leave it alone, and raged it during the first set. The jam in LUOLMA set the tone right off the bat and I had a warm inner feeling reconfirming that all of the travel adventures leading up to that moment were totally worth it. I thought Chief Jim Billie was larger than life during Big Alligator Song. Like Keanu Reeves said in the Matrix, "Whoa." Trey was shredding guitar like nobody's business during Possum and Ghost, especially Ghost. Wow. The Character Zer0 closer ended a fantastic opening set.

The second set started with us all yelling for Wilson, we followed the lines going south, and we ended up in the freezer with Uncle Ebeneezer. Taste came out of Tweezer and the hits just kept coming after that. Mike played a very Jibboo bass line during the jam out of LUOLMA and the real Jibboo finally escaped a set later. I was caught off guard by how early Harry Hood showed up to the party, but that was fine with me. A rocking GTBT closed the second set, and we regrouped knowing full well that there was one more ridiculous set of Phish coming our way.

Chalkdust opener put the wheels in motion, Moma Dance got us down and dirty, Antelope had us jumping, and eventually came one of the greatest Mike's Grooves of all time. Mike's was crazy evil with red lights shooting through a cloud of fog on stage. This will go down as one of Kuroda's most momentous moments with Phish. Simple>Hydrogen>Weekapaug>BAM!!!! Oh what a night! Boogie on Reggae Woman kept the dancing alive before Phish blew the roofs off of the little straw huts behind the concert field with Tweezer Reprise.

This show set the bar incredibly high for the next night. Phish played effortlessly and with divine energy. Like the rest of the world, I'm just waiting for the official dvd release at this point.


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