|Leg 13: 386 miles|
After a good night of sleep, I woke up to dreary weather that followed me the entire trip into northern Jersey. What should have taken only 5 hours took 8 and I was irritated until the weather broke. The drive well north of the venue was due to picking up my friend Kristina for the show. I met her at Faegan's in Syracuse (naturally) slightly before she graduated in May of 2000. Being awkward and nervous, I struggled to talk to her but finally did and we hit it off. She graduated but we stayed in touch over the next year, hanging out when she came in to visit for Homecoming. When I was planning my trip, driving through Jersey was unavoidable, and with the Trey show at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, I made it a point to invite Kristina and she happily accepted.
We arrived at Kristina's place in
West Orange and Halley hopped out and immediately looked for her spot to sniff and ran up to greet her. We exchanged pleasantries and went inside her house where they were having some sort of a party/get-together for her dad. Awkward timing but this was where I had to pick her up. We hung out for a bit with Halley waiting patiently in the drivers seat while we were inside. After a bit we got on the road and started driving down the Garden State Parkway. It was a difficult drive only because I had trouble keeping my eyes on the road with Kristina sitting next to me. She was a sight for sore eyes, and refreshing after a long trip and as I was now unattached. We got a late start on the road and hit some traffic so much so that all we could do was get to the show, let Halley out to go to the bathroom again and get her back in the car for the rest of the night. She was getting used to this and that was good, plus it was much cooler down near the shore. For her benefit, this was her last show for quite some time, until the 7/26/03 Phish show in Atlanta.
We went in, got a few beers and a bite to eat. To be honest, I had a crush on Kristina. It was fun hanging out with her, not knowing where the night would go. We enjoyed the first set and met up with Stacey, who I had known since freshman year at Syracuse, as well her friends who were at Red Rocks when I was there, although we didn't get a chance to meet up.
7/29/01 PNC Bank Arts Center
Set 1: Simple Twist Up Dave, Happy Coffee Song, Last Tube, Tube Top Flop, Mozambique, Cayman Review, Nothing But an E Thing, Alive Again
Set 2: Money Love and Change > Plasma > When, Sand
Encore: At the Gazebo, Push On Til the Day
The shows were starting to blend together at this point. What I recall from this first set is the return of Happy Coffee Song, a first since Red Rocks. Tube Top Flop was nice to hear again as well, although my 7th Last Tube in a row was forgettable. Cayman Review was cool to continue to hear but Alive Again was phenomenal and capped the set nicely.
During set break Kristina and I got a few beers and running into Z and Mark again, we drank even more. Ah, to be 23 and have no cares... It was great timing to meet up with them and we all had a blast talking about the tour, the show, Syracuse and such. Plus it helped me loosen up around Kristina who I was otherwise going to be awkward around. Well lubricated, we headed back up to the show for what turned out to be a MONSTER Money Love and Change. We had liftoff at the venue with this version, one I highly recommend you seek out.
And then they dipped into Plasma. In writing this, I recall why I still don't fully enjoy this song. I was dancing, having a blast during Money Love and Change, then sitting on the ground with Kristina we started to make out. Sparing the details, it was awesome.
Then the beer started to be unsettled and dammit if Trey didn't play When again. Kristina and I continued to make out.
And then I had to cut it short. I knew that feeling and goddammit if it wasn't the worst time. I was most definitely going to throw up so I excused myself and rushed towards the back of the lawn. The only problem is, at PNC, the lawn is sort of a triangle with a rise at the back, then a drop off. Lawn chairs are at the back of the lawn, not a gentle slope leading you to the bathrooms. So I sat down and started to puke. A fair amount, but the time spent up there wasn't helping matters any. I missed the rest of When, and just before the start of Sand, Kristina came up to me with some water and tried to take care of me. Embarassed, I puked some more. If this didn't attract her, well shit, what would? The pickup line was easy - "Want to go see a concert with me and drive me home after I get sick?" Somehow, that was what happened. Regrettable and a low point of the trip.
I was a bag of shit the rest of the night. Maybe it was the beer, maybe is was Kristina, she did have that kind of effect on me. It was just a terrible job on my part coupled with a lot of anxiety and I drank too much, simple as that. when the show ended, we walked back to the car where Halley was content in the car while Nitrous was popping up all around us. (This was the territory of the Philly Nitrous Mafia of course) Halley got out, we went for a short walk to let her go to the bathroom and I swear Kristina and I kissed again near the woods. Or some trees. After I had puked. I don't know if that's factual but I vaguely recall that. Granted, I had drank water and chewed gum by now, but still. Kristina drove us back to her dad's place in West Caldwell.
The downside to all of this, as if there wasn't one already, was that the initial plan was for me to sleep in Kristina's room. Being naive, I figured that meant the floor, and little else. But now I was relegated to the back porch with Halley. Ouch and ouch again.
Ok, so I slept on the back porch and wasn't feeling great. Such ended any chance I had with Kristina
Naturally, I awoke with a blistering hangover. I hated myself for blowing such an awesome chance with such a great girl. Kristina had to go to work at 8am which meant I had to get up and leave. I would have liked to have stayed since I wouldn't be a burden and I could show myself out, but yeah, I had to go.
I got in my car and headed as quickly as possible to the first place I could get some food and gas. There was a Friendly's where I parked in the back and took a few hour nap, long enough to hear the Yankees pre-game. I drank a lot of water while I rested. Jesus I was exhausted. Too much booze and I wasn't drinking this much on this tour again. I went in and had some food at Friendly's and shared the rest with Halley, who was being a good sport about all of this craziness.
Next stop was Jersey City to stay with my friend Kim from Syracuse. She wasn't home yet and I couldn't even find a spot to go to the bathroom for Halley or myself. I lucked out with some amazing parking in her back lot, took Halley and myself out and kept the car in the nice shade. With a cool day and overcast skies, I headed to the movies. (In retrospect, I really shouldn't have been leaving Halley alone in the car this much, but for the long car rides we would take in the future, it helped) I headed over to a big mall and saw the only movie that fit my schedule, Legally Blonde. Say what you will, it was a solid film.
I came back just as Kim was getting home. We ate some food at her place, played with Halley and went out for some drinks in Hoboken while her friend Lisa watched Halley. I spent the night at Kim's but being so close to home, I was thinking about driving back up to Albany.
Today I hung out in Jersey City again but without having much of anything else to do there, I was bored. I cleaned the car a bit, walked Halley around but otherwise, this day was forgettable. It was a fun night and Kim and I went out again at night, meeting up with friends at a bar in Hoboken. Fun times
Rather than hang out in Jersey the next day and with 3 more days before the next Trey show, I opted to go back up to Albany.I left Kim's when she left for work and headed north to Albany. I wanted a couple days at home to rest and relax. Plus I needed to drop Halley off since she couldn't go with me to Long Island and stay at Z's place. Bummer but we were going to be running around a lot the last few days of the trip and I couldn't put the burden on her of two more shows in the car.
When I got home, I hung out with my brother Chris and recapped the weekend. Our parents were in Florida with my brother Matt and sister Caitlin so Chris and I enjoyed the house to ourselves, grilled up some food, swam and had friends over.
A day of rest. Nothing more. Friends stopped by but all I could do was rest. The next three days would be an intense end to the cross country trip with three shows in three days. I took a nice and leisurely 4+ hour drive to Long Island that night to get to Mike Z's for the night. I got in around 10pm, we each had a beer and he headed to bed since he had to put in a 1/2 day in the morning before we departed for the Trey show at Jones Beach.