Monday, October 11, 2010

Ten Ten Ten

By Pauly
Denver, CO

I love Colorado -- where else can I get home delivery of a pizza and a bottle of Adderall, and if it's not here in an hour, then it's free?

After a little legwork while holed up at Joker's compound on a rainy, lackadaisical, and blah Sunday, I finally tracked down a local indie rocker chick who hooked me up with a bit of her pharmie stash, so now I'm good to go for the entire tour through Halloween. The best part? She delivered so I could stay at home and sweat a bet on the San Diego/Oakland game.

The pre-party kicked off at 3pm and our crew slowly assembled and awaited for our transportation to arrive at 5pm. Jonas arranged a party bus for 20+ of us, but we got upgraded to a limo, so we all took a baller sled to the show.

The pre-party entailed a ton of booze, a cat and dog roaming around, and lots of catching up with friends I haven't seen yet since my return to Colorado, or missed on Saturday while hanging out in the lot before the Fourmile Benefit concert. One hardcore Cheesehead admitted, "I learned three important things from the Benefit show: 1) I'm a Cheesegeek, 2) Phish is waaaaay better than String Cheese Incident, and 3) Molly is better than me -- I thought I had that bitch under control, but she kicked my ass."

The Joker lives on the fringe of the ghetto, so a couple of local neighborhood kids followed the stretch (stretch stretch stretch) Escalade down the street probably thinking Flava Flav was gonna jump out the back and scream, "Yeah, boooooooooooooooooooooooy!" Instead, a motley crew, some dressed in track suits, stumbled out of the Joker's crib and piled into the back. Within seconds, the Joker took charge of DJ duties and cranked up some Yacht Rock. The party simply moved from his house to the back of the big ass limo. Katie brought along dozen bottles of champagne, which were cracked open immediately. We were on our way to style.

We arrived at the venue and cruised Shakedown. On Saturday, it was a mellow scene: "Lots of dogs and no one with fucking molly," is how one Cheesey girl described it. Sunday's Shakedown was much more densely populated with merchants and buyers. Didn't spend too much time there, founded who/what we needed to find, and headed into the show to scope out seats.

Before I arrived in Colorado, everyone kept telling me, "there's not a bad seat in the house (Broomfield)," and they were right. Our crew took up two different rows in Sec 104ish and we had plenty of space to get down. Ran into Louie (who I know from poker) and he hung out in our row. Some of the Coventry crew would break away and boogie down to the floor and when that got a little too intense, they retreated to our base camp.

Standard Chalkdust opener. I had a minor emergency by the start of the second verse when I fumbled a pass of my one-hitter. It bounced off my girlfriend's foot and then disappeared. Too dark to go looking. I shrugged it off as one of those bad beats you take every once in a while at a Phish show, besides, I knew someone else had a piece that we could use.

Ocelot is a song that they've been experimenting with how to exactly play it -- and I'm in favor of the slower, darker, grittier versions, which replicate the sunken faded throes of a demoralizing oxy addcition. The dark theme continued with a couple of sinister moments during Ice. I always giggle at the Benny Hill theme tease.

Bouncin' was exactly as you expected -- a Pauly takes a piss song. The first note ended, I kissed my girlfriend on the forehead, and bolted out of the row, down the stairs, into the hallway, around a sharp corner and into the men's room. I occupied last empty urinal as the guy next time me blurted out, "This bathroom is about to fill up real quick."

I returned in plenty of time because Bouncin wasn't over yet, even though that version seemed a little short. Funky Bitch was up next, which I jotted down in my notes as a song that Phish played to punish anyone who bailed for the pissers during Bouncin. High quality Funky Bitch was easily among the highlights of the first set, particularly Page, who stepped it up during one of the jams.

"Mid-set AC/DC Bag," muttered Wildo to me as he scribbled down the song into his setlist book. The usual set opener (if not second song of the show) got pushed down the batting order. Parts of NICU were a bit sloppy, mainly because it was noticeable, but the boys made up for that subpar version with a sizzling Moma Dance. I considered that Moma apex of the first set and one of the best moments of the show (for me). I knew that Broomfield was a small venue and that Phish would smoke the shit out of the joint, which they precisely did during a Moma Dance that was so fucking funky, it juicing on roids. Welcome to ROID FUNK 2010.

Horn was the band letting their foot off the gas and took down the intensity a few notches. The band huddled for what seemed like several minutes to discuss the final two songs. I dove into Stash with low expectations after they hit a highwater mark with Moma. It was gonna be hard to top the Roid Funk, and as per usual, Stash had it's up and downs. The dark sections were grimy and they took us into uncharted territory. It didn't quite mesh with me, but I was glad they took a chance and mixed things up. The crowd was on their feet and chanting along with Golgi and Phish ended the first set on an enthusiastic note, unlike that abortion of a first set in Deer Creek after the Telluride shows when they ended the set with a trainwreck version of TTE as half the crowd booed and/or went to the bathroom.

Mellow setbreak and we debated what was coming next. I had no clue, especially at the beginning of a tour, which meant that mostly every part of this show was a tiny surprise. Mike's Song kicked off the second set, and they boys pulled off a scorcher. The Joker loved the jam out so much that he was jumping up and down like a pogo stick. The boys didn't want to kill any momentum with H2, so the obvious seg was into Simple, which delved off into a slow, plodding, maniacal Ghost. Jonas was excited because Ghost is a Type II jamming vehicle. Maintaining the theme of the night, the dark and dirty tones continued, and the Ghost jam was so long and intense that we smoked two tightly packed bowls. I heard too many teases in Ghost to count, but could have sworn at one point they were flirting with Seven Below (which would have been a highly interesting compliment to the epic Seven Below > Ghost in Albany that melted most of my cerebellum and restored my faith in Phish). At one point, Fishman went to the high hat and we were ready to pull out a quarter and flip: Maze or Bowie. Alas, it was just a silly tease and they slid into a Weakapaug to complete the Mike's Groove hoagie. Mike wasn't fucking around. The jam out was on the verge of getting stretched too thin, when the pulled out at the perfect moment. I looked around at everyone around me and everyone was hugging one another, which meant that...
A) The molly had kicked in.
B) That was a sick Weekapaug.
C) Phish creates a frenetic force field of sexual energy that you're compelled to rub up against the person next to you -- no questions asked.
D) A and C, but not B
E) All of the above
Trey picked up the megaphone and it meant one of two things -- he was going to go on an Alex Jones Big Brother-type of rant, or play Fee. We got the non-political verbal jousting with Fee, but they got a bit lost at the end of the Fee jam, and luckily found them a way out with a few reagge riffs. The crowd swelled with excitement and anticipation as I quickly ran down the list of potential reaggish tunes including a cover of Soul Shakedown Party. We were treated with Makisupa Policeman, and a cheeky Trey amused the crowd with a couple of improvisational lyrical goodnes, not to mention Page tearing it up on his Clavinet. It seemed like they ended Makisupa, but Trey told everyone that they had written a new song that was also about a policeman titled My Problem. With most new songs, you sort of find your groove and bop your head and body along until you get comfortable. I still need to hear it a few more times to pass snarky judgement on it, but like any new song, it needs time to mature. At least it's better than any of those bloody awful new tunes in the 2.0 era like Secret Smile and Discern.

My Problem segged back into less than a minute of Makisupa, before slowing things down a bit. The Joker returned with a basket of chicken fingers and fries, kinda random, but it was interesting enough that I jotted that down in my notes. At the end of Makisupa, Wildo thought that Free was coming and I sensed a Theme, but instead, they threw us a slider with Slave. It's always a great night when Phish plays your favorite song.

After an intense summit in Slave, it was time for Page to croon all the Phishy chicks in the audience with Strange Design, and they became incredibly moist and so drenched that the floors were slippery for the rest of the show. The Chairman of the Boards knows how to make women quiver and create a Niagara Falls like effect in their crotch, something that drives the rest of the band insanely jealous. Everyone thinks that Trey gets the most tail on tour, but after a lengthy debate with my buddy Daddy, we decided that Trey might get more quantity groupies, but it's Page that gets the quality Phishy chicks, because they can't resist his charismatic, tender, and sensitive side.

Phish picked appropriate set closers on Sunday, including Julius to end the second set. They nailed that orgiastic high note, took a bow, and walked off the stage. I wondered if they would bust out Good Times Bad Times, because 1) We felt a cover coming, and 2) I have this weird thing with Phish -- whenever I'm en route to a show and a bootleg is being played, the majority of the time, at least one of the songs I heard on the way to the show is going to be played at the actual show. We didn't listen to any Phish in the limo (and just parts of the ACL show during the pre-party), but one of the songs that the Joker played was Zeppelin's GTBT, so the vibe was out there. However, they boys weren't on the same page as us, because they went with a different cover -- the Stones Loving Cup. At this point, I've grown quite fond of other selections from Exile on Main Street, especially Shine a Light, and would have preferred that, but it was not as rocking and energetic as Loving Cup, which ended up a solid choice to end the show. By the way, I'm dying to hear Torn and Frayed again -- I skipped Cincy last fall and that was the only time they played it aside form Festival 8 and Halloween.

One song encore was sufficient.

We headed outside, our limo arrived late, we piled back in, Jonas took command of DJ duties and spun some of his late night grooves (some of the songs were from his numerous Background Beats mixes), while everyone drank whatever liquor was leftover including a bottle or two of champagne. The limo whisked us back to Denver for the post-party at the Joker's crib, where I handed Wildo a pill, who was looking for some landing gear, but I wasn't 100% sure of the chemical makeup of said blue pill and gave him a disclaimer, "It's either a generic Viagara or a Xanax."

The post party didn't rage on as long as you'd expect, because a lot of the local crew had to get up and go to work in the morning, and for the rest of us, this was just the first night of a three-show bender.

One down, two more to go in Colorado, almost a dozen more to go on this tour that ends in Atlantic City on Halloween.

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