After checkout, I waited in the lobby for my tickets (see the JRAD post
to catch up!) USPS guaranteed delivery by noon and sure enough, 11:40 was the magic moment. I called my neighbor to thank him.
I caught a ride with a vendor who dropped me at the camping area and I waited for 40 minutes as they searched each person’s bags. This was another time to be grateful for bringing minimal gear. My vendor friend Stu had already staked out a spot at the intersection of the two main thoroughfares in the campground. After setting up the tent, I explored.
This was my first time seeing Phish at the famous Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. This was their seventh time. My explorations revealed free showers, food truck vendors, a general store, plus all the food that people were selling at their tents made for a colorful and inclusive space. Some camps looked luxurious thanks to all that gear they brought. The RV area was even more decadent. F
ull couches, massive speaker systems, Vespas, huge kitchens, lighting rigs, and more.
After a leisurely read, I napped to build the requisite energy that shakedown would take. Outside the camping area in the daily parking lot were six or more rows of vendors. The aisles were full of balloons and beer plus the occasional offer of substances still illicit in Colorado. Many of the same vendors I’ve been seeing for years were present and some local ones I hadn’t seen. Somehow, between the stalls, a band managed to set up and they were playing dead tunes for everyone.
The sun got lost and it was finally time to see there inside of Dicks. Used primarily as a soccer stadium, Dick’s has a relatively small capacity but felt open and expansive. One level of angled seating around the massive floor space also housed food vendors, bars, and bathrooms. There are two ticket types, GA floor or GA stands. Friday and Sunday I’ll be on the floor although the view from the stands and the concourse is amazing.
It didn’t take long to find friends. We headed towards the front, stage left for most of these first set. I finished it on the concourse above the stands directly across from the stage. The floor had lots of room to dance and provided a great view for Jane whose FOMO (PHOMO) was acting up. We had a quick facetime which dropped her jaw. Lovely to see her again; she owes me a hug.
The second set on the floor was packed with phells. Nothing better than getting to see someone I know at every turn of my head. Those I didn’t know were a mix of familiar tour folk and a new batch of natives who don’t get to as many east coast shows. It is easy to forget how many shows are accessible from the NYC area. Philly, upstate NY, NJ, CT, MA, etc.
SET 1: Blaze On, 555, Breath and Burning, Theme From the Bottom > Free, Tube > Roggae > More
SET 2: No Men In No Man’s Land > Carini > Ghost > Harry Hood > Cavern
ENCORE: The Horse > Silent in the Morning > Character Zero
All I can say about this show was that the second set seemed to go on forever.
SET 1: Simple > Martian Monster > Reba, Sand, Crazy Sometimes > Limb By Limb > Wolfman’s Brother, Walls of the Cave
SET 2: Everything’s Right > Fuego > Steam > Chalk Dust Torture > Mike’s Song > Winterqueen > What’s the Use? > Weekapaug Groove, Slave to the Traffic Light
ENCORE: The Lizards, Run Like an Antelope
Walter Becker from Steely Dan died. That was the news I woke to. I told the people with the loudest music near my tent to put it on. Turns out they were huge fans and I ruined their day. They complied immediately and offered me some pot. My hope was for Phish to play some Steely Dan. Other than the sad news, I woke to a hazy sky. Later in the day, we learned the fires in Wyoming and California were clogging the sky. The sky wouldn’t clear till after I left Colorado. The haze filtered some of the heat but we knew we were in for another scorcher. I thought the day before was 88 and I felt weak for complaining. Turns out it was 95. The shade quest began.
Some friends set up their t-shirt shop at our campsite while waiting for the parking lot to open. We found a pop-up tent and adjusted it every few hours to find shade. At least there is no humidity out here. The dust and poor air quality kept my Lockn
cough alive. It only got worse once the parking lot opened. The dust arose and clogged my nose, as the song goes. Being stationary on the lot is great. Once a lap or two is done and some food is acquired, you can see everyone by standing still. I took a job selling stickers for a friend. Two hours of that earned some cash and allowed for lots of great conversations.
Jane wanted to hear Waste. I asked so I’d know when to get excited for her. The moment came during the encore. That was better than Steely Dan. On par with that was the next tune, First Tube. One of my favorites. I’m so glad Trey approves of our desires. Steely Dan finally came on the PA as we walked out of the show. The end of a tour. I had seen most of it and with no fall planned and new years still a mystery (probably MSG) there was a sense of completion and of loss. One more Phish tour. I’ve been doing this a while and am always looking forward but I was present to the fact that there is now so much to look back on. People were saying goodbye, hugging, and taking selfies, and I was reelin in the years.
SET 1: Buffalo Bill, The Moma Dance, Birds of a Feather, Sugar Shack, Most Events Aren’t Planned, Back on the Train, Leaves, The Wedge, 46 Days, Bathtub Gin
SET 2: Down with Disease > Light > Rise/Come Together > Piper > Meatstick, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Possum > Suzy Greenberg
ENCORE: Waste > First Tube