Often we experience things in one context only to have them framed in another context that completely shifts our view or understanding of that thing. It can provide for learning or for greater appreciation of the thing… or it can just flip our heads by recontextualizing what we have understood the reality to be for certain circumstances. This sort of thing occurs fairly frequently for we who follow this band called Phish when we see them in a venue we went to as a child to see the circus or the ice capades or perhaps when we visit a city again after only having been there while passing through on tour many years ago.
As we know, the experience around the show is as much a part of memory of it as the music. The stories we tell are of the funny things that happen in getting from show to show and in connecting with other like minded people. Which is why when we see something we know only from Phish in another context it can really mess with us and cause us to reconsider whether what our memory of that thing is real or a contrivance of whatever mental cocktail we had brewing on that past visit. It can also allow for greater appreciation of that prior experience in knowing that the palette is not as rich without the artistry of the Phish scenery layered on top of it.
Which all beings me to my current point. I am in Las Vegas for work and it is the first time back since being here last fall for the wonderful Halloween 2014 Run. I get to walk past the entrance to the MGM Grand Arena multiple times a day and each time it brings a smile to my face both in remembrance and in knowing that we who were there shared something that those who pass by now probably have no frame of reference for understanding what that experience meant to me and others.
Another aspect to this is that seeing a venue outside of the Phish context demystifies it to a degree which is an unfortunate side effect. I experience this every time I take my kids to the Worcester Centrum for the circus or whatever because the veil is lifted and the magic that we know that happens when those lights drop and the band takes the stage just isn’t there. But the memory of it is and often that is enough to again spark that smile and invoke dreams of jams gone by.
So with that I invite you to share your own experiences with similar awakenings to the world when the curtain has come up. Where have you been that differed greatly from your memory of it when you experienced it with Phish?