Back in Denver, weary by ready for a night on the town. An old friend from my years of bar work in Brooklyn has reestablished herself in the fine city of Denver, perfect timing between life projects to catch a night of drinks with. They came with an inspirational goal at hand of rebuilding an inherited Winnebago back in Idaho, to take back to travel the country in together. Four or five bars later we had loads of laughs and catching up, with some monstrous memories tossed into the mix, like the time a torrential storm trapped us for hours in the rain in sparkly bloomers and blouses, on governor’s island during an MIA and Die Antword show while hallucinating. Seeing a fatal accident on the Williamsburg bridge on the eventual cab back to Brooklyn and the awkwardly having cocktails and giggle fits in our soaked clothing at the bar upon our return. That however is a different city, with a whole slew of different stories. We stopped off at Hi-Dive to enjoy a game of STUMP before the night came to fruition.
We parted from our guests after the next bar and hit the hay. Friday was our day to tie up loose ends and pack our gear for three days of camping at Dick’s Sporting Good Arena to see Phish. This was not only exciting because I love the band, but I got to see my sister in a different city, who works on their production staff as their Creative Director, designer, etc, the list would be too long. After a small venture downtown to grab some delicious food at Mercantile Provisions, a dispensary run and a coffee break at Crema, I was pulled into a photo shoot with our friend Mike, which brought a smile to my face.
We loaded our gear and headed to the campsite to set up. If you’ve never been to a Phish show, even if you hate the band, do yourself a favor and go to one just to experience it. The phans are so mind-blowing with their love and knowledge of all things Phish. They are kind and share, feeding and clothing each other, setting up small villages and selling handmade items to make that extra buck. One note and they are wailing out and jotting down the song title into tiny notebooks, the next notch on the setlist belt. The venue is in Commerce City. An old industrial wasteland, but a beautiful view of downtown Denver, with the mountains as a backdrop.
Fridays show was amazing, minus a minor set back of being bum rushed through Gate C while jammed into a sardine can crowd of 1,000; mind you the show had a turn out of 28,000 people. In case you can’t properly envision that, it is about the population of the city of Burlington Vermont. The band came out energized and strong, playing for hours as we wandered and danced. Walking was my jam that weekend, I totaled 31 miles by Sunday night, just wandering around the venues and campsite, mind you, they are not THAT big. Here are some shots from Friday night:
The night was full of photos and wandering, meeting new friends and seeing old. The temperature was dropping by the close of second set and we headed back to the campsite to bundle up and make some camp stove grilled cheese, as is the tradition. Lights out in the campsite, the crowd roared and I sat in my tent watching a light show in my mind and listening to the camp play until dawn. Up with the hot sun on Saturday I walked around with my camera. I took some photos of the camp and some of the RVs that made me smile as I went on a much needed coffee run. Once that iced down brew hit my throat I was ready to venture back into the city and stock up on necessities (beer and cheese), shower and venture back. For me personally three days anywhere must involve some breaks from the crowd and an actual shower.
The next night, just as fun as the first. More dancing, wandering, conversing. As this was the 6th consecutive year that Phish has sold out Dick’s Sporting Goods Arena for Labor day, it was coined Phish Dicks Six, which can be quite a mouthful. Pun intended. One humorous dick related items, of many, was the cake backstage…
The show went well, just as much energy as night one if not more. Here are some more shots from Saturday Night.
ENCORE: The Squirming Coil
That Squirming Coil broke my heart and ended with a lovely gentle bass solo, Mike closing out the set completely alone.
Same deal at lights out Saturday night, temperature dropped a lot so I stayed bundled up from head to toe. Crowd was a bit more physical, everyone was making the laps with boomboxes and gaggles of glowsticks. There were two areas in the camp where people were building infinite ended dicks out of glowsticks.
The final day was a blast. We celebrated with a pizza from Sexy Pizza and brought it with us back to the campsite. Getting back a bit early, I wanted to get in some time in the sun and see the Bison Arsenal with my sister. We saw one bison all together, it was so far away it looked like a rock, but I did see 1,000 prairie dogs and an amazing view of down town Denver.
Third night was a blow out, so much energy, spent the first half with my sister Julia before she left for the airport and wandered to dance with my girl Erica for the rest of the set. I pulled my hood up and danced like I wasn’t in a crowd of 28,000, it was glorious, it is my happy place. During the last song, I walked sidestage and watched from there. The crowd was a sea, I was nothing and everything was right.
ENCORE: Walls of the Cave
Nothing I see can be taken from me.
After the last camp out night we were back to the city to pack and get ready to head home after a day “off” with no plans. We made it out alive, so we played it low key and got some ice cream, I got a banana split for the first time in years, maybe ever.
The trip had come to a close and we had a few hours to kill before our flight, we said our goodbyes to our lovely host and went to City ‘O City for some grub. Amazing if you’ve never been there and I highly recommend it.
We took one spin back to Crema and took some photos along the way.
Denver stays in my heart all year round and I cannot wait to return to her majesty, but as for now, Buffalo is my home and I have to be patient. It was a wonderful trip, but man did my bed and my animals make my heart happy when I returned. Until the next adventure.