And that’s a wrap, folks! My review of the final night of Phish at Dick’s is now live, and I never thought my first big published piece would be reviewing Dick’s for the freaking amazingly awesome Westword! What a blast. Section 119 you rule:
Last night’s review is now up at the Westword. We sold that place out, well done, everyone!
I was honored to be asked to review this weekend’s Phish shows at Dick’s by the fantastic Denver paper the Westword. The review went live, read it here: Westword review of Phish at Dick’s
After the monsoons of Chicago, I had a few people ask me to write up a “What to Wear to a Rainy Phish Show” article for the upcoming three night Phish run on Labor Day Weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Please note that while I like to dress like some Punky Brewster/army brat reject, the rules apply to even the most basic of colors and pieces. When dressing for Phish, you prepare for war, blood, bile and all, especially Phish shows in late summer in Colorado. It rains here in the early evenings all the time, enough that most locals have complete rain outfits to wear to Red Rocks. Rain doesn’t stop the show, and it shouldn’t stop you. Bring a raincoat. A cheap poncho will do in a pinch, but the wind often makes them fly around. I have a great North Face rain coat that kept me dancing during “Boogie On” in Chicago this year. Things would have been rough without it. I also have a sequined lined jacket that works great in light rain, sequins = water rolling off a duck’s back.
You can get the North Face jacket in almost any color here: best lightweight raincoat
The jacket I got from The Gap years ago in NYC, it was some limited edition holiday jacket. It can be turned inside out for when you want to be incognito, and if you ever see something like it, grab it. I’ve hunted eBay for a back-up to no avail ever since.
Besides rain, it can get chilly at night here, so bring a hoodie or light denim jacket. I usually buy hoodies from the merch table once I’m at the show if I like the design. I also have many ugly hoodies that I had to buy, so check out the merch beforehand, you might want to save fifty bucks and bring your own. I never need my jacket during the show, but it can be straight cold afterwards, so plan ahead and don’t be that complaining shivering person at the end of the night, people like to hang out for awhile.
I often bring an army jacket instead of a raincoat if the temp is supposed to really drop, but you are usually fine with something more lightweight. Ziploc bags are a must, bring extras for everyone’s cellphones. In fact, bring a tarp! I don’t want to bring up CO tarping issues, but it makes a great roof for a group on the floor during a downpour.
Skirts and dresses used to be my go-to bottoms, but in an effort to carry smaller purses, I have embraced pockets and tend to wear primarily denim cutoffs, gotta love that fifth pocket. I bought the ones in the top pic from Venice Beach after the Hollywood Bowl show, they are pretty ridiculous, plain ones work just as well. I don’t like having pants on in the rain, so I’d do my best to have bare legs at potentially wet shows. You know when you use the bathroom and pull your wet bathing suit bottoms up and they don’t fit right? Forget getting sopping wet skinny jeans back on, it’s like that x1,000.
As for shoes, I have an in-depth blog linked below, but in a nutshell, I’m a closed toed shoe person. Many like flip-flops, then tossing them and going barefoot in the rain. I prefer either a thin canvas shoe that won’t get sucked off your foot, like slip on Vans, or my trusty Nike Air Max just because they have some decent stats and are so comfy (they get heavy when water logged, though). My other favorite option is boots, either durable leather ones that can have mud scrubbed off them, or rain boots. Rain boots get cumbersome though, throw some little flats in your bag for when it doesn’t rain at all so you aren’t stuck in them all night.
Also, don’t forget a hat with a brim. Whether it’s a straw hat or baseball cap, you need something to stop rain from splattering in your face. An extra trash bag to put your whole bag in is a great idea if it’s pouring, as well.
Lastly, Phish shows are T-Shirt Fashion Week. Wear your favorite, mine is this Bob Dylan/Misfits tank I found in San Diego:
I almost forgot! My latest must-have rain gear! The dear friend who forced Phish on me until I liked em guessed correctly that I wasn’t able to keep a setlist journal during Chicago due to the rain. He pops up in Tahoe and gives me a new notebook with paper made of waterproof stone. The most thoughtful gift, and I got to give Tweezer not one, but two stars in it (as well as a too hasty Piper call):
See past blog on shoes to wear to shows (as you can see, my VIP’s still reign supreme): Shoes for Shows
And past blog on Showpurses to finish the job: Showpurses
It rained every night of the Phish three night run in Chicago, and I found out I love Phish in the rain. Walking to the venue the first night was exciting, the park and museums along the water are a great way to enter a show. No Shakedown, but I rarely go anyway so it wasn’t an issue, and was running into most of my favorite people from Denver everywhere I look (way to represent, Colorado, between the guys in The Clinic shirts and the CO flag hats, I sometimes forgot I wasn’t at home). First thing I noticed when entering the gates was that this was going to be a free for all, the people that worked there didn’t do a pat down, barely looked in my bag, and barely even acknowledged me, really. Woohoo! Time for fun.
First night, they come back from setbreak, open with “Down With Disease”, and as Trey starts up “Prince Caspian” next, the crowd notices Page get up and walk over to Trey. Guys around me thought Page was mad at Trey for cutting that DWD jam, nope, the venue is making us evacuate because of a storm coming. While disappointed, it wasn’t the end of the world, I had just flown in before the show, at least got to hear Phish for the first time in almost a year, and we still had two more days. Pearl Jam down at Wrigley Field was delayed as well, but they ended up coming back on and some tour pros were able to catch both concerts. Impressive.
Saturday afternoon my phone starts going off like crazy, a friend who knows people was texting us to get to the show early, we are getting three sets to make up for the lost one from the night before. All of a sudden the lawn tickets people couldn’t give away the night before are rare and going for $100. Glassy eyed guys walking Michigan Avenue light up when I tell them the news, Phish officially announces on Twitter and Facebook, and suddenly we have a mega show.
They started the night by finishing “Prince Caspian”, then proceeded to play what I only assume was the planned set 2 of the night before. Coming out full cylinder, Trey just destroys each song with energy and force, to the point that after “Ocelot” people were cheering their fool heads off like I’ve never heard for what normally is a bathroom break song for many. As “My Friend, My Friend” starts up, a thick cloud of low lying fog engulfs the Chicago skyline, and people on the Pageside stands were dancing at the city, conducting the storm. Rain starts up again, but they don’t kick us out this time, as tremendous peaks after seering guitar solos come from the stage, never taking a breather. The Weekapaug gets so down and dirty, “Waves” is perfect song for setting, and “Piper” has takeoff. After three sets of madness, I had never felt so alive and exhausted at the same time. Paid a jitney guy $40 to bike us the 1/4 mile to the hotel and it was the best forty bucks ever spent.
Night three started with the concession stands taking the caps from drinks like they usually do, but this time they then covered it with tinfoil. I have never seen a venue do this and if someone knows why I would love to hear it:
Earlier in the day, some guy told me they were going to play Gamehendge tonight, that it was planned and he knows someone. Some guy always says this, but we did discuss the possibility of them dropping Harpua because of the storms and how they still had almost all GH songs left on the table still. (I thought of this guy instantly later that night and wondered who he knew). Once again, a storm rolls in during the show, but this time I was completely prepared, and they weren’t kicking us out. When they went into “Boogie On Reggae Woman”, something flipped a switch in everyone. The crowd was dancing like their life depended on it, punching fists into the sky as huge raindrops slammed into us sideways, Chris Kuroda’s lights lighting up the whole spectacle like an aerial shot from World War Z. Just awesome.
Finally they had to have a rain delay, I hid behind the stands for awhile, then went dead center where wonderful new friends from tour last year were. Go time, just like the night before they are playing with tons of energy, straightforward ripping rock and roll. I’ve noticed throughout the night that they’ve played “AC/DC Bag” and “Wilson”, and when they start “Lizards” (which was such a crowd sing-a-long, but not in the cheesy way, it felt like we were all unified after dealing with the weather together, like a bunch of lizards), I knew that guy did in fact hear something. Suddenly “ooom pah pah, ooom pah pah” comes out of their mouths and the crowd just flips. The storm’s gone. Harpua.
Trey points to a guy with a sign that says “Poster Nutbag- the RIGHT way!!”, discussing how apparently they’ve been playing it the wrong way. They pull the guy up on stage and the guy to my left starts saying “Holy shit! Chris! I work with that guy!” and I’m thinking “how cool! Your friend is lucky!” then “No!! He’s not from Philly! He’s an actor at Second City!” And that’s how I knew it was a bit before the actors barely opened their mouths, funny coincidence. The crowd was a little confused, they knew something was going on when they started rapping up there, and I fell in love with this band even harder. Many people hated on this but I think a bunch of the best improv players in the country are a great guest artist for Phish to have on stage, the members of Phish are total cornballs, why NOT have some improv during the narration. Anyone who was irritated immediately was back to flipping out once Mike Gordon started telling the story anyway. “Mike speaks!”
All in all, an unpredictable, energetic, exhausting weekend that ended up being even more fun than I expected due to the weather. Phish give me a sense of freedom that nothing else can, and I’m ready for more next week in California. Added bonus, the Chicago Tribune got a pic of my friend dancing on the top of the stands and I’m just below him in my Jaws tank top (which caused a zillion guys to call me Sharknado when I walked around):
Oh, and Page gets the VIP award for doing this sweet keys 360: Page’s sick 360 move
Tom Marshall posted a song left off Traveler called “Hotbox” today, and I’ve listened to it 17 times now. They need to hotbox Dick’s, it’s only fitting. Heck, just play it live anywhere!