Friday, November 20, 2009

Phish at the State Theater; Ithaca,NY

This was one of the best Phish shows (that I have been to) of all time. It was located in the intimate State Theater in Ithaca, NY (upstate) on February 14, 1991. I was a college student at Ithaca College at the time and Phish was in the early years of their rapid fan base growth.

At the time, Ithaca had a diverse music scene and many bands passed through while on tour in the northeast. Phish was quite popular in Ithaca back then, as they had performed at a local bar/venue called The Haunt for the past few years prior (The Haunt is in a much larger space now, but back in 1991 it was a small bar with a stage on Green Street. I always considered it a fire trap, but boy did they get great acts to come through town - which kept me coming back!). The Valentine's Day Phish show in 1991 at the State Theater was sold out.

State Theater in Ithaca, NY

The State Theater was a great venue. The seating without an open floor in front of the stage allowed you to move around. Even though the show was sold out, they didn't oversell it so it wasn't so crowded that you couldn't move around. The theater itself was built in the 1920's and had a lot of charm. Finally, Ithaca was a pretty small town. I knew a lot of people at this show, including my friend Marc who was part of the "security" detail. Here's his shirt on our cactus from Festival 8!

This show was particularly memorable because they gave away their old tour van by throwing the keys into the audience. The lucky fan who "won" the van was a friend of mine named Eric (aka "Toast). The van ended up being more of a curse than a gift, as it ended up needing a lot of work and I think it cost him all sorts of money in repairs, tickets, tows or whatever. I don't recall what we did with it, but I know he didn't keep it for long. Too bad, it would be quite a relic today.

The end of the video has the announcement about the van giveaway.

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