This weekend was the weekend that Phish was in Telluride. I've been hearing about Phish for years and always just associated them as a "dirty hippie band" and never really gave them a fair shot. My opinion had always been, who cares? It's just a bunch of people getting stoned all day. Their music is nothing special. When I started dating my fiance, I found out she was a huge Phish fan. Not a big deal, everyone has things they like that I don't. The one thing that this did though was introduce me to Phish. While I was still guarded about them as a band, I gave their music a shot. I got a hold of a copy of their latest CD Joy and put that on my Zune. Low and behold, there were a couple of awesome songs on it. Of course, her response to me was "to really appreciate them, you need to see them in concert" Fair enough. I've said that about Dave Matthews Band to everyone that would give them shit. Finally, I got my chance to see Phish live with my fiance in Telluride. This is the experience from start to finish.
We left out of Denver on Sunday morning at 9 AM to drive to Telluride. On the way there, we had a flat tire and CDOT was there within minutes of the blowout. Incredible. I could already feel the positive vibes for the next couple days. Once we got to Telluride, we pulled up to the campsite which was a middle/high school ground. We needed to leave right after night 2 so we could be sure to get back here for a show tonight. They parked us in a place that wasn't being saved for people camping. We got the hook up immediately. That was positive thing number 2 of the weekend. While getting set up, people came to offer to help carry things that I was struggling with. This was awesome, even though it wasn't necessary to do, these people went out of their way to be kind. The crazy thing, this wasn't a one off. The entire Phish community is like a family that actually cares about each others well being. While I'm sure that there may be the one off person who sucks, every person that I had the pleasure of speaking to was friendly, excited to be there, and just a good person overall. I have never felt that kind of community anywhere.
The city of Telluride also opened their tiny town to us lovingly. The school where we were camped at offered us hot showers every day as well as brunch. The locals were incredibly happy to see us and treated everyone with the same respect they were treated with. The entire town was filled with 11k awesome people.(population and Phish fans combined) The entire experience of camping with Phish fans and being in Telluride was an awesome combination but it doesn't mean that the music is going to be any good. I still kept a bit of my defenses up just to be sure I could get an honest opinion of how I felt and not how someone else wanted me to feel about this band. This is what I took away from the two nights of their music.
Phish is one tight band musically. You can tell they have been playing for years and years and love what they are doing. They aren't a flashy band that needs to do a lot of crowd banter, they are just there to melt your faces off while they play. Lyrically, there are some songs that are just so goofy you don't understand why people would be excited to hear them live...until they start jamming out during the songs. I do have to say that anytime their bass player was focused more, I loved the show even more. Mike beat that bass down like Ike beat Tina. He owned it. Listening to him play honestly made me feel like a kid again when I heard something so incredible I wanted to tell the world. Hearing the live CDs does nothing to convey this mans talent. I can honestly say that he is probably one of the best bass players to ever grace a stage. Their drummer was decent, but nowhere near the top 5 drummers of all time. Trey was awesome on guitar, you can tell that he is having fun every second he is on stage. He is constantly smiling and you can tell he is appreciative just to have people see him play. Their piano player was also good, but usually when they were focusing on his playing I lost a bit of interest. He didn't bring it like Trey and Mike did. He was talented, but for me he wasn't the high point of the show.
Overall though, the two nights they played were rocking. The entire crowd was dancing and having a great time. Each set they did was just a little better than the set before. They can turn a quick 4 minute song into a 15 minute mindblowing experience without really trying too hard. They did great covers of the Beatles, Dylan, Ween, and a couple other songs as well. After this weekend I have gone from someone who was giving them a shot because my fiance loved them and I wanted to experience why she loved a band so much to being a won over fan. Thank you Phish and the beautiful town of Telluride for such a great evening.
Forgive all the grammatical errors in this, I'm still a bit out of it from lack of a lot of sleep and massive sunburn. It was worth every second.