21 in 21 of 2018: #20 09/01/2018 Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO (Andrew Temmel, @atemmelt)
The choice of my jam was not made based on the popularity of the song, or the length of it. It was chosen because of how this particular song made me feel at that moment in time. I chose this particular jam because it reminded me why I love this band so much despite their flaws (and mine). There was no place in the world i’d rather be than at that venue at that particular time.
Summer of 2018 was an idle time for me in regards to Phish shows. In the past, Phish tour would consume a good chunk of my summer nights. I moved back to Ohio in 2017, got a real job, and focused on other hobbies and ventures. In 2108 the only stretch of Phish shows on my calendar was the infamous Curveball Festival at Watkins Glen. My girlfriend and I were driving on the highway about an hour away from the venue when she read me the fateful Facebook post declaring the festival cancelled. Crushing disappointment does not fully capture our feelings when we read the announcement.
Over the next week I cogitated at home and work, thinking of a way to redeem the situation while maintaining a sense of responsibility. Eventually I threw responsibility out the window, got on Twitter, caught a re-release announcement, and scored four tickets to night two of Dick’s.
I moved to Denver in 2010. With the first Dick’s being in 2011 and returning every subsequent year, it became my hometown Phish venue. I didn’t miss a single Dick’s show until 2017, so I was very excited to be getting back even for just the last two nights.
This story should shed some light on why I chose the show opener, “Sand”. Most fans know “Sand” as a second set staple. At the time of the show I thought it was the first time it opened a show. After a quick scan of Phish.net it appears “Sand” kicked off a show at Randall’s Island in 2014. After dealing with the Curveball debacle, and making a last minute trip to my most visited Phish venue, it really made that first song special!
It felt like the universe was balancing itself, and I felt more connected to the band than usual.
Hearing the first notes from Mike’s bass really sent me into the place that I was looking for. Instantly, it put me smackdown into an energy packed Phish show. Trey enters the melody throwing in his guitar chords, letting Mike’s beat play out before stepping in softly with the opening lyrics at almost a whisper. The lyrical section goes on for about three and half minutes of the ten minute plus jam. Once Trey is done singing, the band instantly goes into an ambient early section. Mike keeping the beat allows Trey to express different notes, eventually transitioning from the ambient trance into a more energized riff. Page follows suit laying out more notes from the piano.
The melody continues at the same pace for a bit with Trey holding down the action. Eventually he slows down the pace allowing the crowd to catch up. The slow down sets up Trey to come in with some classic shredding. He then takes it up a pitch, leading to the crowd cheering out with approval. Trey continues with a buildup of notes and eventually he just goes off shredding. This caught me off guard for a show opening “Sand”.
His guitar gives off an enjoyable tone and hits that peak pitch signaling the crowd to go nuts! I remember it had me into my Trey faced, air guitared dance move. The end breakdown conceded into the common, Mike driven “Sand” beat. Although it was cut with some sharp Trey riffs (which put the thought of a Type II jam into my head) they were quickly distinguished as the beat faded out.
That show opener was the exact reason I made that trip! It’s why I have made every trip in the past, and will make every trip in the future. The energy in that jam was explosive! It put me into that place where it felt like it was just me and the band for a moment, and instantly reminded me what it’s all about. We should all know that Phish shows are not just defined by the setlists and technical sophistication, but how the show makes you feel, and how sometimes they make you feel whole again.
My name is Andy, I am 33 year old dude from Cincinnati, OH. My first Phish show was 2/21/03 and feel very fortunate to catch a cluster of 2.0 shows including Coventry (yikes). I am at the 110 show mark. I run a construction company and still try to hit as many shows as possible.