Last day in Miami and we picked up Justin at his motel on Biscayne Blvd to go to south beach at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. This is one of the nicest beaches I know! Perfect on time we got the best weather of the week (approx. 27-28C). We could even swim in the ocean this time. Before we left the beach we took the obvious pictures and got a random blessing by a really nice and wise man who loved to hear that we just got married. He asked god to bless us with health, a long life, happiness, luck, children, etc. And he told us that I am the "head" and Natalie is the "neck" and that the head is nothing without the neck. He also said that a table with 2 legs doesn't stand. So true! I really did feel blessed after the procedure as strange as it sounds. I definately took it as a good sign by any meaning.
Back in the hotel around 5pm we packed our stuff for the flight back and wanted to go to Shuckers again but due to NYE they didn't serve dinner. We walked up the street where I spotted a fish restaurant ("The Crab House") the days before. The waitress was enthusiastic about their special deals and special NYE 3-course menues but I politely interrupted her to tell her that we are looking for a very quick and short dinner because we go the see Phish. She didn't have a clue what I was talking about ;) Natalie had fish and chips and I had a combo with fish and chips, crab cakes and fried scampi. Yummie! They tried to support our evening plans real hard and brought the food in record breaking time. The difficult part was to get a taxi which took about 20min. The caribean driver was really funny ("NYE in Miami is CRAZY I tell ya"). He explained that it would be close to impossible to get a cab on NYE especially after midnight and on the Miami side as all cabs are in South Beach (I will come back to this later). He dropped us off across the street after a speedy 25 USD ride.
Everything was fully packed and the air was burning. It was a hot day and the streets were still warm at night. People were heated up for the show and NYE in general. You could see all kinds of crazy costumes, formal dresses, fake hairs, colorful clothes. The mass was screaming, yelling, cheering to let out the energy in some direction. There was also a strong demand to connect with others which resulted in a total breakdown of all mobile networks. I wasn't abe to call or text message Justin for over an hour! Suddenly the plan to party in advance of the show busted and we drank our bee alone. I was definately pumped for the NYE show and even Natalie was kind of looking forward to it this time.
I had just bought 2 beer inside and walking towards our section as set 1 started with "AC/DC Bag". I prepared a wish list of songs during the day and they played 14 (!) out of 29 - that's a 50% correct guess. After a perect dancing start they played "46 Days" which always gets me in a really good mood. "Water In The Sky" pleased the Florida crowd before "Bathtub Gin" took it to the next level. Then "Punch You in the Eye" got the arena through the roof. I have never seen such a wild collective dance. This set 1 was like a second 2 set if you know what I mean. Fast, groovy, jamming - like the pefect "The Moma Dance" which was followed by a singing "Guyute". Then the band gave the crowd a rest after the multiple orgasms. "Swept Away", "Demand", "Seven Below" and the cool bar tune "Lawn Boy" helped to save some power for the long night yet to come. They really know to make a perfect setlist with exciting starts, exclamation, rests and a grand finale like "Julius". Man, what a 1st set! Unfortunately still no Justin in sight.
During setbreak Natalie stayed at the seats in case Justin would be looking for us. I was getting us 2 more beers and return exactly when the lights turned off and Justin made down from 4th level to our lower section (sec 118, row 20, seats 7/8). The rest of the night should bring massive excitement with 2 of my favorite covers by Phish. First one kicked off set 2 - "Rock & Roll" (by The Velvet Underground). It felt like the show contained a lot of "Billy Breathes" and "The Story of the ghost" songs. "Rock & Roll" was one of my absolute highlights of the whole night and it got an welcomed extension when it merged into "Piper" followed by "Simple" with a background choir of 20.000 phans. "Theme From The Bottom" gave us some air to breath before we collapse. "Shine A Light" is the second best song (besides "Loving Cup") from the Halloween musical costume which brought us a complete cover of the Rolling Stones record "Exile on main street". And it got better and better with the obvious "Ghost" which was overdue since 3 days and fulfilled all expectations. "NO2" and "Suzy Greenberg" closed an awesome 2nd set around 11.30pm.
From now on everybody was checking the clock for midnight to arrive. You could already see thousands of huge balloons holden by big nets under the roof of the American Airlines Arena. This is classic! 5min before midnight "Party Time" started the extravaganza and it seemed as it was only written for this occasion. The band moved into "Auld Lang Syne" exactly at midnight. The balloons were following down and filling the arena with pure joy. When the bass line of "Down With Disease" started the crowd totally freaked out for the next 10-15min. Balloons were EVERYWHERE!
Then the so called "NYE gag" with Fishman as main actor took place. Yome already wrote about it so I skip this part. I only want to add that from the audience you really couldn't tell if it was the girl or Fishman dressed up like the girl. And the faking at the beginning of "Fluffhead" seemed like a really well trained amateur drummer tried to play with Phish. "Joy" was the perfect song to nail down everyone's feeling. I was so happy and that's how the band wants us to be. "The Squirming Coil" was another crowd pleaser which made us all sing together one more time but one song was still missing after 4 unbelievable days and nights. And they delivered it big time. "Wash uffize drive me to Firenze"! "You Enjoy Myself" is probably THE Phish song ("Man...", "God...", "Shit..."). It ended in a vocal jam like most of the times in the previous 2009. I was exhausted but after "Blue Moon" I saved the rest of my power for "Loving Cup" - "I'm the man from the mountain...".
Oh my god, what a monster night! Probably my best Phish show ever! It seemed like everybody was enjoying themselves and collectively a lot. The crazy mix of people at Phish shows from all kinds of different states and with all kinds of different styles is a story of its own. I am so glad that Justin joined us. He is such a lovely guy who is always entertaining and outgoing which is infectious to others. One night is was screaming really loud and people around us jumped in and suddenly it spread like wildfire across the whole venue. He just smiled at me and said to me "You see... ;)". He's also a wild dancer and a real party animal. And it all started at Deer Creek when I asked him and Matt if there's some space to sit down in the shade together with them.
It's often the little things. We don't recognize the importance at first but later (sometimes a lot later) we look back and understand how destiny pushed us in this or that direction. Like the guy at the beach who blessed us or the cab driver who didn't want to pick us up again after the show ("Hey man, if I tell ya I pick ya up I would be lying. Traffic is CRAZY in Miami on NYE. I tell ya.").
When we stepped out into the warm December night everybody tried to get a cab. The police had closed down Biscayne Blvd so there no chance to catch one at all. We decided to walk a few blocks. We wanted to get back to the hotel quick as we had to get up early for our flight back. No taxi in sight. Fuck! We walked further north parallel to Biscayne Blvd. Thousands of peoples on the street. Phishheads mixing with the local club scene and night bar goers. Traffic broke down completely around AAA. I was expecting a long walk. But destiny gave us a miracle. The first taxi with lights on which came from the exit of the highway while I was running up the exit to secure it for us was driven by the same Caribbean cab driver who dropped us off before the show. Can you believe that? What is the chance for this coincidence to happen in Miami on NYE around AAA? This time I was like "Hey man, I tell ya this is CRAZY" ;) After a 20 USD ride we fall straight to sleep. See you in the morning and happy new year everybody!