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Awaiting their return

March 29, 2012
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Phish fan camps at Loring for nine years

EDITOR'S NOTE: (This story is from The Maine Edge's annual April Fools Day edition. As such, you can safely assume that most of it - if not all of it - is totally made-up.)

'Phish is coming back and I can prove it,' says Brian Costigan, 37, of Concord, NH. For the past nine years, Costigan has been living in an RV parked outside the old Loring Air Force base in Limestone, ME site of the Phish festivals in 97, '98 and '03. Certain of the legendary jam band's return in 2012, Costigan claims the band has planted clues only those paying close attention could notice.

According to Harold Hood, media relations director for Loring Commerce Center (formally Loring Air Force Base), 'At first, we didn't know what to think this guy living in his RV, just waiting for Phish.' He said that Loring Development was initially against the idea of having Costigan live outside their gates, but the folks of Limestone convinced them to let him stay. 'They've taken a shine to him,' Hood said. 'He'll help anyone in need, and they help him if he needs something. He helps us plow in the winter and mow in the summer. He's polite and keeps his RV in immaculate condition.' When asked about Costigan's prediction of Phish's return, Hood replied, 'Who knows? We've never seen anything like those concerts. Business like you wouldn't believe. Good kids. Brian is our last connection to those times.'

Leigh Fordham, manager of The Rendezvous restaurant sitting on the East Gate Road at the entrance to Loring, seemed suspicious when I pulled out my recorder and asked if he knew Brian Costigan. 'Yeah' he said, 'why do you want to know? Just leave him be.'

I finished my coffee and headed down the East Gate road with the feeling that these people seem very protective of Brian. So why is he still here? The band split up in 2004 but then reformed in 2009 with some fans claiming that they're playing better than ever. Why Limestone?

Costigan's RV sat just outside the gates once emblazoned with the words 'Our Intent Is All for Your Delight' during Phish's 2003 'IT' festival. After the third knock, a bearded man appeared and said, 'Hey - Leigh called from the Rendezvous and said a private eye was looking for me.' 'Actually, I'm a reporter,' I said. 'Huh' he replied. 'OK, come in.'

I entered a Phish fan's paradise. There were posters for shows dating back to the 80s, live Phish CDs all meticulously catalogued ('Through trades, I've collected almost 1,000 shows') and a television playing the 'IT' DVD, shot nearly nine years ago, literally yards from where we were standing.

'The Loring shows were peak experiences for me,' Costigan said. 'There is something about this place I can't explain it. Maybe it's the same thing that has drawn UFOs here over the last 40 years. I've seen them.'

'UFOs?' I asked.

'One night, three of them hovered 30 feet over the old air traffic control tower where Phish played that surprise 2:30 a.m. set after the first night of 'IT,' he said. There's a sealed building just over there (he pointed toward the gate)some nuclear thing. I see them hovering over it at least once every three weeks.

'I knew they were going to break up, and I knew they were going to get back together,' he continued. 'I read the clues. If you study the songs and the shows, it's all there. When they come back to Limestone, I will be first.'

I asked Costigan what the clues were that suggest Phish's return to Limestone. He stared at me for a long time without blinking and then walked to his computer, printed a document and returned, speaking animatedly as he began to explain his formula.

'It's all based on their song 'The Wedge,'' he said. 'That song contains the lyric, 'I'm building you a pyramid with limestone blocks so large.' Limestone. The song is significant because pyramids are known to contain chambers of secrets and clues. They don't play The Wedge' very often, but they played it here at the Lemonwheel' festival where it opened set two on 8-15-98. The first live performance of 'The Wedge' took place in Portland on 2-3-93. Add those numbers and you get 98 a direct reference to the year they would play it at Lemonwheel.

'The Wedge was also played at the most recent Phish show, 12-31-11 in NYC, a key tease that was overlooked by everybody but me. There, it appeared in set three as the 24th song of the night. Twenty-four divided by three is eight. August.

'During the 'IT' festival, they played a total of 49 songs over two nights. 49 divided by 2 is 24.5. Take that number and multiply it by four - for each member of the band - and you get 98 another reference to Lemonwheel Wedge.' The Wedge' has been played a total of 55 times since its debut. Subtract 55 from 98 and you're left with 43. Eight, 11, 12 and 12 equals 43. August 11 and 12, 2012. See? It all fits. You believe me, right?'

I told him, 'I believe that you believe - that's all that matters.'

I thanked Brian for his time, shook his hand and walked to the car, mulling over everything he told me, thinking, 'What if? No, that's crazy.'

Then, just before leaving the East Gate Road, with the words 'that's crazy' still hanging in the air, I saw three lights in the sky orange, red and white. They weren't blinking and they seemed to be getting closer.

Mike Dow is part of 'The Mike and Mike Show' airing each morning on Kiss 94.5. Check him out at www.Facebook.com/MikeandMike and www.MikeDow.net.

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