"Colonel Forbin, stared up at the mountain..."
I'm freaking out.
My 85th show, and I'm finally getting my first "Forbin's." But there's no one to share the experience with. I'm walking back from the front of the crowd, back to my wife, my best friends, my entire Super Ball crew...but where they are, I have no idea.
"...his tired feet were buried in the quagmire...."
Why isn't everyone going nuts?!?! Did they go to Charlotte this year, and Alpharetta '10, AND Hartford '09, and they're just used to it? Y'know: "Forbin's, big deal, I've seen this one a bunch, Phish always plays the same songs..." COME ON!! I'm moving through the crowd like the swamp thing, maniacally grooving my body along with the lethargic beat of the verses, looking frantically for anyone who understands, who knows, who I can share this elation with...
"and he climbed, so slowly..."
I spot him, ten people or so away. Backwards Mets cap, sunglasses, "Republique du Phish" 1994 tour T. I wonder if it's vintage or the replica. It looks too new to be the real deal, too crisp, too clean. Shit eating grin, just like Trey's, splattered across his face, his arms erect to the stage, as if to absorb every moment, singing along with every word, dancing like the foolish white boys that we all are. I don't know this guy, I will never see him again, but right now, he's my outlet, he's the one who will understand what I'm going through. I'm in front of him, we're both dancing, we're freaking out together, much to the consternation of the chick trying to hit a bowl next to us.
"Suddenly he heard the crack of thunder!"
We're singing to each other, as though each of us is narrating this epic tale of Col. Forbin to each other, as though we were each hearing of it for the first time. We are locked in - it's a moment of mutual recognition, we understand, we KNOW. Two strangers, dancing heedlessly, telling each other a fairy tale story about a man and a mountain. We know it's silly, but we do it for the love of the moment. The verse ends, I continue on, I want to find my family before Mockingbird...
"...the sacred creed will be yours..."
I point to a girl, smile shellacked across her face. She tells me "and if you wait until tomorrow, the sacred creed will be yours..."
"When the dust had cleared..."
Now I'm bounding, bouncing, boisterously undulating with the beat. I don't care if you know what's going on or not, I'm gonna share my moment with you. I start finding more and more people who seem to know, to understand, to be in that place that I'm in. Why do all the real fans stand further from the stage? I start giving imaginary names to the faces with whom I share a lyric: "and was driven to his knees" I sing with Jeremy, "and he saw the silhouette that stood before him" is with Kim, "and he bowed in reverence" with Paul.
"Icculus, the prophet..."
Cheers. So typical. Nobody reacts to this song, but everyone knows to cheer for Icculus. They must've heard it on an mp3 once.
I'm singing these vocalizations, not even words, at the top of my lungs. I'm getting a few looks, I don't care. I lock in with a couple of twirling dudes with dreads, also shouting these sounds into the sky. We dance around in their space, much to the enjoyment of the folks around us, who are happy just to see two fans enjoying themselves so deeply, so immensely. I'm moving farther and farther from the stage, more towards the area where my people are. I'm hoping I can find them.
My wife is jumping up and down, she spots me a few people away, we're singing together now. She's only been going to Phish shows since she met me, and only with me, but she knows what hearing this song means to me, and she knows what this moment is all about. I hug all my friends, we can't believe it, we're hearing the Forbin's. "Oh my god, LOOK!" my wife screams, and points behind us. As Trey begins playing the opening notes of Mockingbird, fluttering in on triplets, the giant balloon fish is moving in, getting closer. It IS the Mockingbird, coming in on the wind, there to save all Lizardkind.
As the final low B-flat of Mockingbird sounds out on Page's grand piano, I pull out my phone and text my friend, a jaded phan who chose to stay at home:
"Dude they just played Forbinbird with crazy narration!!" "Awesome bro, what was the narration about?" "explained last night's secret set noise jam by telling us they can control reality with music and that this entire experience is a mental projection through music started in 1988" "that's f***ing awesome."