I'm personally not huge on psychedelics at concerts for the most part. I tend not to see them as a recreational substance, and feel like I'm taking them lightly by partaking before and during events of this nature. I had, however, been unable to find any at all in my hometown, and was nine hours and three states away, seeing a Phish concert. It was sold out, at a huge outdoor arena, and I knew the light show for the second set was going to be mind-numbing. I also knew that my friend who was driving absolutely refused to allow me to take any acid back in her car. So, I bought a strip, dropped five hits shortly before the show would begin, and handed three to another friend.
We'd been smoking some dank kush all day, and I'd had a bit of nitrous on lot which always makes me feel a little wonky even a bit after I'd taken it. I was starting to come up as we walked to our awesome general admission area in front of the stage, and some dude was standing near the entrance chowing down on some chocolates. My friend was completely sober, and he offered her half of his remaining chocolate, which she thanked him for. I decided I had to do something to pass the good karma along. I still had two hits of 'cid on me, and knew that I had to gift someone with them.
Near the end of set one, we were standing a few people back, directly in front of bassist Mike Gordon. It was a good time, and I remembered the doses in my pocket. I turned to a guy I didn't know standing next to me who I'd seen talking to my friends before the set started while I dug through my bag trying to find my bottled water. He didn't look at all sketchy, so I said, "Hey man, want two hits of L?" He asked me how much, and I said free, that it was me passing on karma because some guy gave my friend free shrooms on the way in. He thanked me profusely, and then asked if I wanted a hit. I said sure, and he dipped the j in something and handed it to me. I took a hit, thanked him, and looked over because my friends were trying to get me to move closer; it was set break and a space had opened up. I handed it back to him, said, "Enjoy, man!" and made my way back to my friends.
I was starting to feel wonky, and had begun to come up from the LSD anyway, so I thought it was just hitting me really hard. I told them what I'd done, and my friend said I was covered in cold sweat and all jittery, which I knew was not a typical side effect of LSD. I was also feeling a lot different than I had on LSD ever before, so I said, "I don't know, I just did the Noz on lot, smoked with you guys, dropped, and smoked with that dude next to us." My friend looked at me and said, "The dude with the PCP?" and then proceeded to describe the guy I'd just smoked with. I was kind of taken aback, and really fucked up at this point.
I was having huge issues getting my bearings and couldn't tell if I was standing up or sitting down at any given moment. I finally managed to crouch on the ground, head in hands, and felt better but still not great. Everything was loud and jarring in a way that was completely terrifying. I kept forgetting my name, looked up to see the people in general admission, forgot where I was, and thought I was at a high school bonfire I'd attended my freshman year of high school - even though I'd graduated high school four years previous. I looked up to see who I thought was my principal's son, and wanted to talk to him, but I couldn't figure out how talking worked. My mind was kind of going into panic mode, before I finally became able to remind myself I was just tripping. I knew that I had also just taken a hit of a PCP dipped jay, but I knew that it was just the substances, and I'd be okay. I probably wasn't even going to feel the PCP much longer, right? My entire body was thrumming with energy, my muscles were twitching and I wanted to run around, but knew somehow that I shouldn't so I convinced myself to stay crouched on the ground.
Phish started their second set, and I was gone. I didn't even recognize the songs they were playing, thinking "Backwards Down the Number Line" was "The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday". I was clearly hearing something completely different than what was actually going on.
Several songs into the set, I trusted myself to stand up. The lights were the most intense thing I'd ever seen, and the stage was so close. I noticed how tight Mike's pants were, as he stood less than a dozen feet away, and turned to my friend, tripping balls, to tell him "I can see Mike's balls!" It wasn't a lie. I looked back up, and Mike was looking directly at me, so I had intense paranoia that he'd heard me and was pissed. The people around me were now also looking at his balls and giggling. Poor Mike.
They started playing "Also Sprach Zarathustra" which, if you're familiar with Phish will know that they do some extremely intense lighting effects. When they hit the "DUH DUH!" at the end of the phrase, lights go up and it's madness. The first couple of "DUH DUH!"s I was fine, albeit tripping really hard and not quite sure where I was. With the last one, though, they lit the entire stadium from the stage, with this insane white light.
I fell straight back when this happened, and the people behind me caught me. I was convinced that I had disassembled into atoms, and was vibrating through the air. One atom, which was my consciousness, landed on Trey's low E string. He hit the string, and all of my pieces flew back together, reassembled, as the people behind me were pushing me gently back to a standing position. That sensation was seriously one of the most beautiful feelings I've ever had in my life. It was beyond intense, and it was magical.
After the show, I was still fidgety and tripping pretty hard. I, completely unaware of where I was going, accidentally led a bunch of people the wrong way on the way out. We met up with a fence, which was pretty flimsy, and I managed to rip the fence open so we could get through. I had no idea it was backstage, but we saw the loading dock and all of that good stuff, but no security.
After walking the length of backstage, we came across some busted up bleachers against a 15+ foot fence. Everyone kind of hesitated a moment, then I walked up the bleachers and everyone else followed. There were probably about 100 of us back there. I got to the top of the bleachers as other began hopping the fence around me, and froze, zoned out for a minute. Finally, I heard from the bottom of the fence on the other side my friends calling to me. I looked down, and experienced the definite sensation that the other side of the fence was a pit, thousands of feet deep, and that everyone down there was dead, their spirits calling to me to jump so I could die like them.
I didn't want to die. They kept yelling at me to jump, and I climbed on top of the fence in a standing position - I don't know how my balance was that good, but I'm lucky I didn't fall. Just yards away, I saw a tour bus pull up, four familiar figures clearly silhouetted in the windows. I knew where I was. Shit. From the general vicinity of the tourbus, Phish security drove at me in a golf cart. I was frozen. He shown a flashlight in my face, looked amazed at how I was standing at the top of the fence and then laughed and said, "Get off the fence, you animal, go around!"
I looked at him, thinking he wanted to arrest me, then at my friends on the other side of the fence and jumped. Going through the air was terrifying, but it felt great when my feet hit the ground hard, I took one stumbling step and then got into stride and began walking back to the car.
The rest of the night was largely uneventful, just some confused thoughts about where I was and a fascination with headlights on the way back to the hotel. It was, though, one hell of a night.