Walking and meeting in Philadelphia

by Yome NetSan 24. February 2014

After nearly three busy months, I finally found the time to continue my series of articles about my trip to the USA. The worst thing is that I really wanted to share this encounter at the earliest but I could not. Sorry for the wait and, as this is the first article of the year (it's about time), I wish you a very good one!


Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 - Noon - Philadelphia, PA

After a 2 hours drive, we arrived in Philly at around 12:15. From there I had two options : jumping on the first bus to Atlantic City at 12:30 or wait for the next one at 2:30 PM. I started to get hungry and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to have a walk in the streets of Philadelphia (na na naaa, naaa... na na naaa, naaa...), so I took my ticket for the second one.

One of the fan who were with me on the bus asked me if I had a facebook or something. So I gave him my card with my name and links to my website and the EU Phans Page (By the way, go check Holger's NYE pictures).


There's some funny characters in Philly

I put my bag on top of my small rolling suitcase (what a clever idea to travel light) and at the exit of the Greyhound bus station, I decided to go left. At the end of the street, I stopped at the crossroad, looking at the city around me. When the traffic light turned green, I began to cross the road.

And suddenly, I froze, my eyes opened wide and my jaw fell on the crosswalk.

Coming the opposite way, crossing the same road as me, walked Trey Anastasio.

I tried to say something, basically just "Hi", but I couldn't make a sound. I stood in the middle of the road, staring at him. As he was about to pass me, he noticed me with my Fishman hat, my golf-ball-eyes and opened mouth. He removed his headphones, walked to me and HE said "Hi".

I couldn't believed it. I was feeling awkward with my luggages on the road so we went back on the pavement to shake hands.

What went out of my mouth at this moment was certainly hard to understand. Man I was talking to Trey Anastasio!

Basically, I told him that I came here from France specifically to see Phish for the first time after listening to then for 16 years. He asked me from what part of France I came from and I answered "Lyon". He obviously knew the city. I explained to him who gave me the chance to buy my tickets for the Halloween run and he said "Oh yeah! She's great. We love her". After talking about the show the previous night at Reading and telling about a hundred times "That's crazy", I suddenly remembered that I had a gift for the band in my luggages! I asked him if he could wait one more minute because I didn't want to bother him too much. He said "Sure!". So here I am, opening wide my luggage on the sidewalk, in the middle of Philadelphia, before Trey Anastasio's feet! What a funny sight it must have be!

While I was spelunking in my suitcase, a girl who had witnessed our conversation introduced herself to Trey. She wasn't sure he was really him until I began speaking with him. I finally found the present and handed it to him explaining it was for the whole band. He laughed and looked really surprised. "Oh wait! There's also a card!" It was in my other bag but I found it quickly. When I think back, he certainly took me for a complete loony, totally freaking out in front of him.

The girl asked me if I could take a picture of them with her phone. I said "Sure! If you take a picture of us too!". Taking a picture with an artist, as some people ask during signing sessions, isn't my thing. So I guess if she hadn't been there I wouldn't have thought to ask Trey for it, but I couldn't miss the opportunity!

After that, we thanked him and he went away. The whole encounter didn't last more than 2 minutes.

I stood there, totally in shock. I kept saying to the girl next to me "I can't believe it! That's crazy!" She asked me "Are you ok? Because I'm not! I'm shaking!"

The two pictures have been taken with her phone so she asked me my number. But as I couldn't connect to a cell phone network over there, I gave her my card with my email address and she promised me she'll send the picture. Two of her friends arrived and after a small chat, I closed my luggages and left : "Don't forget to send me the pict!"


Back to (virtual) reality

I resumed my walk in the streets, with a big smile on my face, looking for a place to eat.

Ironically, I ended in a kind of snack called Au Bon Pain ("Good Bread", in french). I found a table next to a plug on the wall so that I could refill my phone's battery. The place also had a free wi-fi access, so I quickly went online to share my story, by mail to my family, then on Twitter and facebook.

I couldn't stop smiling and thinking that I was such a lucky bastard! I chatted with Holger while eating my chicken and apple sandwich. As the minutes passed I felt more and more anxious about the fact that the girl wouldn't send me the picture. I kept telling to myself to be patient, that she'll send it to me tonight or even the next day...

But a few minutes later...

Oh my! Oh my!

Of course, I posted it right away on Twitter and it arrived instantly on the EU Phans page, thanks to Holger. By the way, comments on facebook made me realize that I missed the opportunity to ask him THE question : "When will Phish come back to Europe?"

On the picture, the multi-colored package Trey is holding in his hand is my present to the band, with the card in front of it. Maybe you're curious to know what was inside? I was simply 4 CDs from french and european singers (Gaëtan Roussel's GingerDionysosWhatever the weatherWoodface's Good Morning Hope and Sophie Hunger's Monday's Ghost) plus a book for Chris Kuroda about the Festival of Lights in Lyon.

I couldn't stop staring at this picture. Like, every two minutes, I had to get back to it to tell me "No, you didn't dream it". The following days and even now, each time I browsed my pictures on my phone, I stopped on this one and smiled.

After finishing my lunch, I took a coffee at a nearby Starbucks and headed back to the bus station, taking some pictures on the way.

When I arrived, I found out that the two other fans I spoke with before were still there... and they already knew about my encounter! Harry, the one I gave my card to 2 hours before, had already seen the picture on facebook! When I'd left, I thought they were about to take the first bus but they finally ate in a restaurant beside the station.
We talked and laughed about my luck of meeting him on my second day in the US, after all those years. Unbelievable...

The bus finally came and we found another fan in it with his halloween costume in a bag. I shot a few more pictures of the city as we drove out and then slept most of the remaining miles before my next stop : Atlantic City.



When I look back, this meeting with Trey Anastasio was yet another consequence of this incredible accumulation of chance and lucky decisions :
What if I had taken the first bus?
What if I had known that Harry and his friend stayed at the station for lunch?
What if I had turned right at the station's exit?
What if I had immediately turned left on the pavement instead of waiting at the crosswalk?

As suggested by Gilles, I should draw a schematic of the different ways my experience could have turned, depending of my luck and decisions, from getting my annual bonus right after the tour announcementgetting my ticketsmy back problems... What a ride... And it was only day 2!

When I came back in France a few days later, I found out that my mother took the picture of Trey and me, printed it, framed it and had it sent to my home! I'm usually not the kind of guy who frame pictures of himself on vacations, but I'll sure keep this one in good view, right beside my record player!

Later, Stephen (my friend from Amsterdam) found the picture of the girl who met Trey with me on Instagram. What's funny is that I perfectly remember the truck behind them on her picture. It was the first vehicule on the line when I saw Trey crossing the street.

And guess what? I finally never crossed that street!

Comments are closed


Have you been on Phish tour in Europe ?
Have something to write about Phish ?
If you are a european Phish fan, feel free to contact me to become a writter on this blog !

NetSan NetworGamusik (Music, Video Games)Musique Vivante (Yome's Concerts)
Phish Phans in Europe on FacebookHolger's FlickrYome's Twitter

Contact me
© Yome NetSan 2009-2012
Log in