September 3rd, 2017 was the final night of my first trip to Colorado’s annual Phish run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (which I had by this time started calling “Dick’s”, much to my own chagrin). It’s rare that I skip out on the option to camp onsite and even rarer that I’m happy about it, but having a suite at the Embassy Suites turned out to be pretty sweet, what with such a large and high-quality crew of friends old and new also inhabiting the semi-luxurious quarters, plus I never really had the option of camping anyway, unless I was willing to do it without m’lady.
Which, of course, I wasn’t.
With my partner well on her way to mending from a nasty bout of bronchitis we managed a fun day in and around the hotel before heading down to the stadium nice and early.
Our target was a rise in the lawn between the soccer field and the parking lot, a spot where hundreds of people meet up and while away the time sitting on blankets and sharing beers, and an area we called the grassy knoll. On this last day I was happy to not only meet up with several of our American friends, but more specifically we managed to round up a crew of at least eight or ten Ottawa friends to share out preshow festivities with.
I always love running into my ever-growing far-flung crew of friends at Phish shows, but it’s always especially great when I run into my hometown homeys. What a treat to find yourself in such wonderful and regular company even after flying to the other side of the continent. And that’s just one of the things that makes Phish tour so damn great.
Another thing is all the great music, and the band sure delivered on this night to close out the run. I remember a particularly awesome Birds of a Feather in the first set, which closed with 46 Days>Bathtub Gin. Of course Bathtub Gin is always a fan-favourite but you know, I really, really like that 46 Days song every time I hear it. It’s funny that I never think of the song as one of my favourites, but I guess it is.
The second set was one big continuous pile of music. Phish jammed the opening Down With Disease into Light and then they jammed that into the next song and into the next and into the next and so on until they finally stopped by ending the set with the straight-up rocker Suzy Greenberg.
So set two comprised a full eighty-three minutes of nonstop music traversing through eight songs. And they do that sort of thing all the time.
(Another fantastic thing about Phish is their light guy Chris Kuroda. Dude is the best in the business and the one song where he generally shines the brightest is during Phish’s cover of Also Sprach Zarathustra, which most people know as the Theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Anyway, they played it in the second set and just like always the lights were outta sight. Don’t get me wrong, the lights were astoundingly good for the whole run – Chris never has an off night as far as I can tell – but yeah, he was especially good during 2001.)
And then it was back to the hotel for a final round of afterparties that went just as long as we felt like, because m’lady and I were clever enough to book an extra night at the hotel so we wouldn’t have to bug out on the day after the last show. Okay, we weren’t actually being “clever”, it was more due to the fact that there weren’t any airmiles flights available on the Monday, but m’lady and I felt like geniuses anyway.
And so it was that I discovered what m’lady had been insisting for years: there’s nothing like Dick’s.
Man, I can’t wait for the venue to get another naming sponsor.