Originally, I had painted three separate paintings to commemorate Phish’s triumphant return to Hampton. For the second night, I chose to work out a large train to tie in with the opening song, one of my favorites and thematic of what I thought the whole weekend was about for myself and a lot of others: Back on the Train. The painting looked like this
When Phish announced the holiday run, Central Part of Town Pins and I immediately thought the train would work and have multiple meanings for this particular occasion. Penn Station runs, of course, beneath MSG and the grill of the train, when viewed upside down, actually kind of look like MSG. This was unintentional…purely serendipitous.
We changed the original number of the train (3079) to “1111” to coincide with the first ever Phish show on a new year’s day. We intended for a little symbolism…the idea of the past and future occurring simultaneously…how time is indeed not linear. It kind of blew our minds when the Meatstick thing happened on NYE. I mean….really. Shocks my brain. The other thing that blew my mind was that, at Big Cypress, I’d had some mescalin and hallucinated that the Trey and Mike were walking into the shadows and then emerging in different time period clothing. For example, they were first sporting their own clothes, then they’d step into the darkness and emerge wearing what seemed to be Colonial wear or some other type of uniform. Then they’d step into the shadows again and come out with something else on. It was one of the most vivid “hallucinations” I’ve ever had. I remember thinking they were flipping through time, whether in reality or on some other level (pneumatic?). Needless to say, it did indeed shock my brain…I can’t overuse that phrase enough.
The next day, retelling that to a friend, someone stopped and said, “Dude…I had that EXACT SAME HALLUCINATION.”
So anyway…Back on the Train...always reminded me of Back to the Future and well….we all know about that. So I hope that makes sense….our intention was to point to the presence of the now, the then and the future. And when I saw those costumed dancers on stage, I knew, again, that the world is one mysterious place and that Phish are pretty much shamans or at least our collective intentions of positivity and progression in some way. It might sound crazy, but there it is.
The third eye headlight gives a nod to the Grateful Dead.