September 1st, 2018 was the middle day of Phish’s tour-closing three-nighter in Denver (okay, the venue is actually in Commerce City but c’mon…it’s Denver). M’lady and I woke up in the Renaissance hotel – which had been utterly taken over by Phish fans, much to the delight of the hotel staff – and eased into the day.
The hotel had arranged a pool party for the afternoon where we caught up with the 15+ friends who were also staying at our hotel. It was ridiculous how many people there were in town that we knew! That’s par for the course when you go to see Phish with m’lady, but this time things had been amped up considerably.
Though I’ve been seeing Phish longer than she has – having attended my first show in 1994, about a year before her first show – she certainly ran with it a lot harder than I did. Back in the day she was buying tickets for entire tours, and with a much smaller fanbase back then she ended up meeting a lot of people as rabid as she was.
And lo, when the internet was born her and her Phish friends jumped all over it, sharing a primitive ’90’s-era phan-based message board that quickly solidified her crew. And whattya know, the summer of 2018 was the twentieth anniversary of said message board and they had all been itching for a reunion party.
And so her peeps had come to Denver from all over for this Phish run, even as far away as Europe. Someone had made the whole crew really nifty matching soccer jerseys with their online names stencilled on the back and they all made sure to have floor tickets for this Saturday night show. Spousal rights did not extend to the apparel so I wasn’t officially part of the team but I did join them up near the soundboard for about half of the show, on and off. The rest of the time I was hanging out with some of m’lady’s other olde-school Phish friends near the back of the floor where things were much roomier. I tell you, as I bounced back and forth I’ve never had an easier time finding m’lady and her crew: you could spot the sea of green-and-white soccer jerseys from everywhere.
Frankly, they should wear those jerseys every time. I mean, now that they all have them. It could be a thing, like the Uno card thing (which – it turns out – is equally innocent and not at all cultish).
Anyway, it was a fun show (slash weekend) with a great crew (or two). Afterwards many of us ended up taking over the lobby of our hotel with a portable stereo and an endless supply of drinks, a party that shut itself down shockingly early.
But then, we did still have another night ahead of us. And one thing about twenty-year reunions: they aren’t full of nineteen year-olds.