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Phish fan who went viral for boasting about bong hits at Sphere is banned from performing at all MSG venues “indefinitely”

What happened in Vegas will keep a certain Phish fan out of the Las Vegas Sphere for a very long time. A social media user who wanted to show the world his bong use was banned from the venue and all other Madison Square Garden Entertainment premises after posting boastful footage of himself taking hits and blowing smoke over the crowd at Phish's April premiere.

“First bong hit at Sphere,” the user wrote, posting a video of himself standing in the aisle of the venue before Phish takes the stage, taking a very deep hit, and then blowing a thick cloud of smoke over the crowd seated behind him. Some, though not all, of the audience can be seen laughing or applauding as they are hit by the secondhand smoke from a chimney.

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Sphere officials were not happy with the announcement that anything seems to be possible at the fancy new venue. This week, the user – whose real name is still not public – posted a letter he received from MSG's legal counsel saying he would be kicked out if he tried to return to Sphere or any of the buildings the company owns in New York and Chicago.

Since MSG is open about using facial recognition technology to scan its guests – an electronic notice is posted at the entrances to the Sphere concert hall to alert concertgoers to this – a ban is not just lip service.

When asked for comment, MSG representatives referred to the language in the letter sent to the user by MSG attorney Christopher Schimpf. “Sphere Entertainment Co. does not tolerate actions that threaten the safety of our guests and employees,” the letter said. “Due to your conduct, you are banned from entering Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theater, Chicago Theater, the Sphere and all other MSG venues indefinitely… If you enter these venues or the outdoor gathering areas,” the letter continued, “law enforcement will be contacted to ensure your exclusion and you will be subject to appropriate penalties.”

As you might expect from someone with so much THC in his system, the user's reaction to this legal threat seemed…calm yet proud. “The Sphere sent me a plaque to commemorate what is now officially the first bong hit ever taken at the Sphere,” he wrote in the caption to the lawyer's letter.

Since the last shows at the Sphere were Phish and now Dead & Company (following U2's opening concert last fall), fans of those groups naturally took to message boards to share what is and isn't allowed at the Sphere in terms of substances. The general consensus was that the venue isn't a police state, but that anyone lighting up a cigarette can be approached and asked to put the stuff out. diversity I saw this in action during the opening weekend of the Dead & Company series, when ushers approached one or two obvious stoners and explained that while marijuana is legal in the state of Nevada, openly smoking it in a concert hall is not.

In other words, under a less blatant approach, jam band fans could probably still get high with a little help from their friends, but the pride of bong smuggling—and in this case, impressive lung capacity and exhalation ability—trumps prohibition.

While legal issues and etiquette are paramount in ensuring concertgoers don't feel like they have unfettered permission to light up a joint, it's easy to imagine there are other factors at play inside the Sphere, as a 15,000-square-foot indoor screen brings a whole new layer of dust.

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