I was able to get out and do some phishing this weekend, no not fishing, but that’s right Phishing. I was able to see the first two nights of Phish’s 3 night stand here in Broomfield, CO. I was also able to attend the Fourmile benefit show prior to the Phish stand. Being able to see Phish in a small venue again, brought back many memories of seeing them before they really exploded on the Hippie Jam band scene after Jerry Garcia’s death. I was a true and hard faithful follower of Phish’s music for many years. I kind of got uninterested in them for awhile in the early 2000’s only going to a handful of shows between now and then. I thought the band was regressing a bit with their popularity and just moved on to different music and bands. Jump forward to the fall of 2010 and deciding after hearing a bunch of summer shows, I thought to myself, can this be true, they are playing fierce, tight and really good, I may have to check them out again. So when the fall tour was announced, I tried to get mail order tickets and was shut out again. I used to always get mail order tickets anytime I tried, but since 3.0 I have been shut out many times and was really losing patience on trying to get tickets. The day tickets went on sale, I had another obligation I need to attend, the Sunnyside Music Festival, so I was not near a phone or computer to even attempt to get tickets. I emailed a few friends to see if they could get tickets for me or at least a ticket to anyone of the nights. I found out a couple days later that my good friend Scott was able to get me a ticket for the opening night. Woohoo. I got a ticket. Then a few days later they announced the benefit show for the fire victims that lost their homes in Four Mile Canyon just west of Boulder, CO. Low and behold, the ticket line up was pretty great. Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mtn String Band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, String Cheese Incident and not Phish, but Trey, Mike, Page and Jon of Phish were all scheduled to play. Must have been something in their contract to state they could not do the benefit as Phish but rather as individuals.
So I am going to start from the benefit night. Jen and I showed up to event center a little after 6 and missed most of the Leftover Salmon set, Page sat in with Leftover and we caught the last few songs which sounded like it was a great set. Next up was Yonder Mtn String Band the four placements of mics and a drum kit in back of them. Hmmm… is Fishman going to sit in with Yonder? Why, yes after a few songs, Jeff Austin said hey we are getting the band back together! We had this drummer for a couple of tours and then he had to leave our band to go back to some college band he was with prior to us. The event center exploded as Jon came out and played the rest of the set with YMSB. Next up, Big Head Todd and the Monsters. I really didn’t care a whole lot for this set, it was too loud for the venue and Todds new line up with the horns and keys is not the old Monsters of old that we all grew to love. He to has regressed as a musician, oh well. Next up Trey and Mike acoustic!!!! Wow, things are getting exciting. Trey and Mike make their way to the stage and get set up and jump right into Back on the Train from Farmhouse into Water in the Sky (a favorite of mine), A Sample in a Jar followed and really got the place grooving! Then they went into Train Song from Billy Breathes album. Then a splendid Waste, Possum, and a surprise My Friend My Friend, thought they would go into an acoustic Guyute or In A Misty Glade or something along those lines. Then they really got the place grooving with WILSON and closed the set with Bathtub Gin, which is my wife’s favorite tune by these guys. Surprising. Then the Cheese came on, we were pretty beat by this time and said lets stay for a song or two and see what happens, if its going to be a big jam or what. What was nice about Cheese’s first song is they played really the only tune I really like by the Mouna Bowa. Then Trey came out and played two songs with them and as he left, we left too. I found out the next morning they did have a big jam, but with all the Colorado Guys. The boys from Phish were done.
Night 1 of Phish, I picked up my Scott who had my ticket for tonight, got to his house about 4:30 and we quickly headed over to the event center and to have a few beers in the lot and hippie watch. Hippie watching is always a fun thing to do, because you just never know what you might see. LOL.
We made our way into the show as the doors open and quickly headed to the floor since there was a lot of room on the floor and thought we could get pretty close. We ended up about 8/9 rows back centered in front of Mike. Perfect to feel the bass riffs. We sat talking with other folks who were in town to see the boys jam. The lights were dimmed and the boys came to the stage and ripped into Chalkdust Torture, what a way to kick things off and get people up and shaking. Ocolet quickly followed Chalkdust and kept the groove going. Then Page pulled back into one of my old favorites It’s Ice. I have always liked this tune from the old days. It kind of lost its place in the rotation in the 2000’s glad its back. Bouncin and Funky Bitch were next and really got the place grooving and shaking. Oh yeah, its going to be a good night. Then we were treated to a really rocked out AC/DC Bag, oh are we going to enter the world of Gamehendge tonight. Nope, they went into another old favorite of mine NICU. NICU was followed up by a super funky Moma Dance. I have liked the way this tune has progressed over the years. As I thought the set was over they went into another oldie but goodie Horn, which went into a sick Stash also from Rift. Man they are going old school on us tonight, this is great. The Stash was sick and I thought for sure its time to hit the rest room for a quick break, but no, another blast form the past Golgi Apparatus. End of Set. Holy cow, Im spent that was great. We have another set to look forward, there is no way they could top set one, but could they.
Set 2 Night 1, well they came out firing on all cylinders and broke into Mikes>Simple. This pairing is the perfect 1, 2 punch to get the crowd going. They the noodling at the end of Simple, I thought forsure they were going to break into Punch You In the Eye, but no, I said to Scott I think its Ghost and this little guy in front of me turned around and said oh yeah its Ghost and Ghost it was and funky and groovy as could be. And then Mike came through with an Authority bass crunches that only could be Weekapaug Groove and the place just fell apart and everyone in the place was dancing and having a great time. Then Trey stepped back and picked up the megaphone, oh yeah, more old school stuff coming our way, everyone in the place knew Fee was next. Oh what a great tune to hear anytime anywhere. And the boys didn’t disappoint it was perfect. Next up on the sushi platter was a reggae influenced old school Makisupa Policeman. Good stuff right there and towards the end of Makisupa Trey stepped up and asked everyone if they wanted to hear a new tune. Well of course, bring it on Trey. My problem right there was the new tune, that has a ton of potential. The lyrics reminded of the Lawnboy days, it was nice to hear. They quickly went back into Makisupa to finish it off. Then yet another old school tune made its appearance and had the place going crazy, Slave to the Traffic Light. I thought this was going to be the end of the set, but no, Page quickly dropped into Strange Design, which was awesome, it settled the crowd down to catch their breath, before breaking into a tune, I had told Scott earlier in the day I wanted to hear, Julius. What a great way to end the show. Okay for the encore, I thought forsure they were going to do a Beatles tune, but they brought us Lovin Cup, which is always a great closer to an awesome show. This version wasn’t as good as others I have heard, but sent everyone home with a huge smile on their face. Both Scott and I were happy as heck to see such a great show. I had only expected to see this show.
Day 2, I was sitting at work and got an email from my friend Annie who said she had another friend with an extra who was trying to trade it all day long for a New Years Run ticket but had no luck and wanted to know if I wanted, of course I wanted, but need to check with the wife to make sure we didn’t have any other plans that night, so a quick email to her and her quick response was yes go have fun. So another quick email to Annie saying Yes I want, where do we meet, what time, ect… so I quickly wrapped things up at work headed home to change, I am dragging from the night before, oh how am I going to get the energy to pull off night 2. So I said bye to the kids and Jen and made way to the Cuban Café to get a large double shot of espresso coffee and drank it on my way to the lot. Oh the coffee started to kick in, I made a quick call to Annie to see where to meet. West entrance. I grabbed a couple of beers and made my way to the west entrance, as walked up to the entrance I ran into a few friends who were shocked to see me there for night 2, thought you didn’t have a ticket, I scored one around 3:30 so its game on. Annie quickly showed up and we found her buddy Don in line and I got my ticket and we made our way into the show in one fellow swoop. I quickly made my way down to the floor like the previous night, hoping to get a little closer and yes I did this time more centered between Trey and Mike. Perfect. Started talking to this couple from Lake Tahoe who made the voyage out to see the shows. Had a beer and hung out for awhile and the lights were dimmed and the boys walked to the stage.
Set 1 night 2. Can they top last night or will it be a letdown. What are they going to play, they came out and quickly settled into Runaway Jim. This is a great tune to hear anytime and Mike just like last night was all over the place. Foam would follow Jim, another oldie but goodie, I was not disappointed but rather giddy. I like how this is turning out for night two. Then they broke into Back on the Train which is an awesome tune from Farmhouse and has really developed over the years into a great tune. Then Wolfmans Brother, one of the funkiest versions I have ever heard and was soo happy to hear it. Had me shaking and grooving. Then they broke into Reba, which Scott wanted to hear the night before so I sent him a quick text that they were playing it and I got a DAMN, response back. It rocked old school style, expect no whistle ending. Then more old school fun Halley’s Comet which was as good as the old days that went into a very sick and twisted Tweezer. Oh yeah. Tweezer was followed up by a new Mike tune What things seem, off his new album Moss, that Trey quite didn’t have down, but there is plenty of room for improvement and possibly exploration jamming to fit in with it. The Squirming Coil was up next which is always a treat as well, and I thought this was going to end the set, but no, staying with old school fashion, they broke into Run Like an Antelope with Trey having fun with the audience. Trey- Marco, audience Polo, this went a few times before they ended Antelope and set break.
As soon as the set was over I took off for the bathroom and some fresh air. Made my way back to the floor and find my new friends from Tahoe. They were holding the spot we had for the first set so all was good. Lights dimmed and we were ready for set 2 nite 2. What are they going to play.
They broke into a tune called Golden Age which was played once on the fall tour of the previous year. And not to disappoint they rocked and rocked it hard. What an awesome tune for the boys to cover and have fun doing it. Piper which is my favorite tune of Farmhouse was next and played very well. It was awesome to hear and had me excited and having fun. Then out of nowhere came Camel Walk. Man, they are busting into these old school tunes and having sooo much fun playing them, the place was going nuts. Then Alaska off their new album Party Time made appearance and what great tune this has turned out to be. Just plain old fun. Then Gotta Jibboo was next and funky and groovy. I have only heard this tune live a few times and like it more and more every time I hear it, so it was super nice to hear. Wading in the Velvet Sea was next up and mellow and psychedelic it was. What a great tune from the Ghost album. And then another Farmhouse tune made its appearance Twist, this was going to be the set closer the way they were playing and jamming this tune out. But no, wait, is it, no it can’t be oh hell yeah, it is Fluffhead, this is my all time favorite Phish Tune and anytime I hear it, I consider it to be a big treat to me. Wow what a way to end a set, I had the biggest smile on face, sweat dripping down my face, and I was completely spent from shaking and grooving all night long. But it wasn’t over yet, Backwards Down the Number Line from Joy was to close the set out and I absolutely love this tune, its catchy and groovy. I was bustin a move and having so much fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better two night stand of tunes to be played. Okay now for the encore we all knew Tweezer Reprise was coming, but what was it to be paired with. I had no clue what to expect and thank god I didn’t because they broke out Sleeping Monkey. Which is another old school fav of mine and the closer was the Reprise. Man, I was in heaven after that set. What a great way to end my two night run with Phish. There was no way I was going to pull 4 nights in row, 3 were plenty enough for me and I don’t think they could top the two nights. And after listening to the 3rd night, I think I was right and chose the first two and catch up some much needed sleep on their 3rd night. But Phish proved once again they follow current events and played to Freed Chilean Miners. Trey gave a shout out to them as they were being freed and changed up their second set to reflect what was going on. Light>Theme from the Bottom>Free> and Joy! Wow, if that is retrospective of whats going I don’t know what is. It reminded of a show many many years ago when OJ Simpson was on the Run. They came out in the second set and no one in the audience had a clue what was going on, but they kept signing, Run OJ, Run. Funny stuff right there. Hopefully they have a very successful fall and New Year’s Run that we get to see them again next spring here in Colorado. Thank you Phish for such a great time!!!!