Hello everyone, and welcome to Attendance Bias! I am your host, Brian Weinstein. Before anything, I want to begin today’s episode with a message of gratitude. A few weeks ago, I put out two requests to you, the attendance bias audience. First, I had to swallow my pride and ask for monetary donations. Attendance Bias, or any podcast, is not free to produce. It does take quite a bit of money to produce each episode on a weekly basis, and I’m happy to cover it, as long as I can. After all, as the listener, you pay for it. Not with money, but with your time and attention. And those are the most important commodities we have, so I am truly grateful to every one of you. If you would still like to donate to keep the lights on at Attendance Bias, you can go to www.buymeacoffee.com/attendancebias and contribute anything you can. Every penny will go to the operating costs of the podcast.
Now if you’ve listened to every episode of this podcast, you’ve heard me introduce myself and the episode literally 99 times. That is because today is a special episode. It marks 100 episodes of Attendance Bias, and I cannot believe it. From the day I had the idea of beginning a podcast about Phish and their fans, it took me nearly three months to put one episode together. Now, two years later, we are at the 100th episode of Attendance Bias.
For Phish fans, 100 shows is a sort of milestone. In one sense, it’s pointless gatekeeping, as a person’s first, ninth, 57th or 90th show could be just as meaningful as their 100th. But as a culture, we celebrate anniversaries and round numbers, for whatever reason. A couple’s 10 year wedding anniversary. A baseball player’s 20th season. 40 years since a classic album came out, and so on. For Phish fans who are obsessed with statistics, happenstance, coincidence, and and date numerology, 100 shows takes on a significance that could mean everything and nothing at the same time.
I fell victim to this, for sure. When Phish announced their 2016 holiday run at Madison Square Garden, I took a look at my stats and realized that my 100th show would be on the same date, at the same venue as my first: it would be on December 29, 2016, exactly 19 years after my first show on December 29, 1997. What did this mean? Double rainbow? It meant that that the Phish gods somehow conspired to make this incredible coincidence…or it just meant that I’ve lived in the NYC area for virtually my entire life and it was only a matter of time? Either way, I was so jazzed about it that I began to write a blog called Phish100. In it, I detailed every Phish show I’d seen, leading up to my 100th. In many ways, it was a precursor to Attendance Bias. The biggest difference, though, was that Phish100 was entirely about my experience at Phish. Attendance Bias is about the guest’s experience at his or her special show.
So how does this 100 show threshold translate to a podcast? The fetish for round numbers holds tight in this case, but again, Attendance Bias isn’t really about me–it’s about the audience. So for today’s celebration of 100 episodes of Attendance Bias, I wanted to split the stories. For the first half of today’s episode, I’ll review my 100th show on December 29, 2016 and then for the second half, I’ll hand it over to the Attendance Bias listeners. So many of you reached out to tell your stories about your 100th Phish show, and I’m thrilled to share them. But first, let’s start with Phish at MSG on December 29 2016 at Madison Square Garden.