The Story Behind Phish Magnaball Birthday Shout Out

By Scott Bernstein Sep 1, 2015 11:45 am PDT

Shortly after Phish took the stage for a lengthy afternoon set at Watkins Glen International race track to begin the second day of their Magnaball festival last Saturday afternoon, guitarist Trey Anastasio stepped to the mic and said “Happy 40th Birthday Eric.” The story behind the birthday shout out has come to light in a video documenting what went down.

The Saturday of Magnaball marked Eric Limarenko’s birthday and his 100th show. In an attempt to get Phish to perform the rare ballad “If I Could” Eric’s friends came up with a plan to make hundreds of paper airplanes which read “Birthday Request: If I Could” on one side with “Happy 100th show, Eric” and “Happy 40th B-Day, Eric” on the other side.

Eric and his friends spent all morning folding the paper airplanes and handing them out to people. The plan was to toss the paper airplanes at the stage when Phish came out. Both Trey and bassist Mike Gordon picked up flyers that landed at their feet leading Anastasio to shout out Eric’s birthday. Watch a video showing the euphoric reaction of Eric and his friends after the shout out:

[Hat Tip – @LonJandis]

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