Thursday 06/27/2013 by lumpblockclod

REVISITING DICK'S

Ode to Dick's

When Phish’s summer 2013 tour dates were announced, many fans expressed dismay at the lack of a 30th anniversary festival. Ever since they reinvented the modern rock festival with the Clifford Ball in 1996, Phish's festival shows have been among the most anticipated and cherished concert experiences of many fans. Before the 2004 breakup, these shows almost always occurred at the end of the summer in out of the way locales. Plattsburgh. Limestone. Big Cypress. Coventry. The festivals almost always took place in the "corners" of this fair country.

That trend was one of many to change in 3.0. Festivals became less of a regular occurrence, and when they did take place they were much closer to civilization. Festival 8 in Indio took place barely two hours from Los Angeles. Super Ball IX in Watkin's Glen was only a shade over four hours from NYC. As for Bader Field... was that even a festival? No one still seems quite sure.

But the strangest development of all is that Phish's 2013 Festival has been hiding in plain sight, as it has for the past two years: at a soccer stadium in suburban Denver. Sure, Festival 8 and Super Ball IX had many of the same trappings as past festivals: three set shows . . . art installations . . . The Bunny. But scratch below the surface a little and you'll find a different kind of festival (containing many of the essential elements of a traditional festival) taking place at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.

Most festivals until the breakup took place in mid-August. As the last shows of the summer, these shows placed the proverbial cherry on the tour that led up to them. This was also usually the last weekend before a substantial percentage of the fanbase returned to school. The fanbase has aged in the last fifteen years and, for most of us, Labor Day has become the end of summer (psychologically, if not on the calendar). For the third consecutive summer, Phish will play a trio of Labor Day shows at Dick's. Dick's also has camping (a common element of every Phish festival), as well as a number of hotels in close proximity (another nod to an aging fanbase).

Most of all, though, a Phish's festivals have afforded the band the opportunity both to take musical risks and showcase their prankster persona. And that's where the Dick's shows to date have really shined, serving as musical exclamation points for the past two summer tours, just as the Ball, Went, 'Wheel and IT did in years past. And, when we get down to it, it's all about the music.

The very first Dick's show on 9/2/11 found immediate fame as the 'S' Show, where every song they played began with the letter S, allowing for bustouts ("Sparks," "Sanity," and "Sabotage") and substantial jamming ("Sand" > "Simple" > "Steam") alike. The next night is probably the the tamest of the Dick's sextet, but still makes room for what some call the best "Tweezer" of 3.0 (they're wrong, BTW – it's 12/28/12 – but it's still a great version). The final night of Dick's '11 gave us an exceptional "Gin," and what might be the best start-to-finish set of 2011. Seriously, this set has everything: a Beatles bustout, a Moroccan tennis player, a Faux-runner tease... (Wait, what's a Faux-runner tease? It's that thing, where Phish plays something vaguely resembling "Roadrunner," we argue about it for a year and write a blog post about finally removing the tease). Oh, it also has probably the best "Harry Hood" of 3.0.

As good as the 2011 run is, it's telling that they are probably the fourth, fifth and sixth shows most fans think of when they talk about Dick's. The 2012 Dick's run is seen almost universally as the high water mark, not just of 2012, but of all of 3.0. The shows have been so dissected over the past nine months that it hardly seems worth discussing them here, but lets do it anyway.

On 8/31/12 the band reprised the gag from the first night of Dick's '11, but with the twist of spelling out a message with their setlist (in this case, F.U.C.K. Y.O.U.R. F.A.C.E.). An added benefit of such a succinct message was that it practically made multiple extended jams a necessity. "Carini," "Undermind," "Runaway Jim" and "Chalk Dust" all received extended treatments. Picking a favorite is like picking your favorite child. The following night featured a rare "Antelope" opener and a sick "Golden Age" > "Caspian" > "Light" sequence. Picking a favorite there is far easier; the "Light" is otherworldly and has been hailed by some (ahem) as the best jam of the 3.0 era. In fact, the Dick's run is so strong that,if they keep it up, we may have to start using the term "3.1." The last show of the run on 9/2/12 included the "Sand" we were waiting the entire summer for (the -> "Ghost" isn't terrible either).

Six shows, all containing legitimate highlights... Dick's Sporting Goods Park must be one magical venue, combining the majestic surroundings of Red Rocks with the intimacy of Nectar's. Not so much. What we have here is an unremarkable Major League Soccer stadium – yes, stadium – that is one of the largest venues Phish has played. Dick's is snugly nestled in the suburban sprawl of Commerce City, Colorado. Before the construction of Dick's Sporting Goods Park in 2007, Commerce City was known primarily for greyhound racing and an oil refinery. Take away the Rocky Mountains visible in the distance (but not visible from inside the stadium) and the the town couldn't be more nondescript. But like Limestone and Big Cypress before it, it brings out the best in Phish.

So say it loud and say it proud... WE LOVE DICK'S!!!

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Comments

, comment by DoubleM
DoubleM 2012 dicks is still hands down the best 3 shows ive ever seen and only comparable (for me at least) to the IT fest. Everyone gives it up for Light but I think Sand is overlooked as the best jam of 2012 and probably my favorite of 3.0 other than Albany Seven Below
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose I relistened to the Sand-> Ghost last night and it's really, really strong. Doesn't get enough love.

I also think I can finally say with conviction, after months of listening, that the Undermind is my favourite jam from 8/31.
, comment by steamstash
steamstash WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!
LET'S GO DICKS!!!!!
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @andrewrose said:
I relistened to the Sand-> Ghost last night and it's really, really strong. Doesn't get enough love.
I guess it depends on how you define "not getting enough love" but I can't imagine the vast majority of people wouldn't consider it a top 10, if not top 5, jam of 3.0. And at that point you're really splitting hairs anyway.
, comment by RoundTheRoom
RoundTheRoom Nice write-up. If you are also passionate about Dick's, we would probably be friends.
, comment by artiefitchie
artiefitchie Add a ferris wheel out in the lot and you've got your annual Phish festival.
, comment by ol_dirty
ol_dirty $75 for parking/camping???
, comment by RoundTheRoom
RoundTheRoom @lumpblockclod said:
@andrewrose said:
I relistened to the Sand-> Ghost last night and it's really, really strong. Doesn't get enough love.
I guess it depends on how you define "not getting enough love" but I can't imagine the vast majority of people wouldn't consider it a top 10, if not top 5, jam of 3.0. And at that point you're really splitting hairs anyway.
The Sand-> Ghost gets love but not as much as Chalkdust, Light, Undermind. It deserves big praise, love that huge Sand and love the segue.
, comment by headyburritos
headyburritos Great write up! I always loved the Runaway Jim and the Undermind jams and felt like they never got enough love. It's hard to believe but I am even more excited to be heading back to Dick's now!
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Having never been to Dick's I imagined it situated in this gloriously scenic clearing nestled against the Rocky Mountains. The venue would be architecturally provocative yet thoroughly acoustically sound. The weather would be from 70-75 degrees at all times and there would double rainbows in the sky at all times.

I guess that's what the music can do to you. Very surprising for me to learn that it's a generically ugly stadium.
, comment by landladylover
landladylover Excellent write-up! Dick's has a special place in my heart from being there in 2011, and last year on couch tour I watched with baited breath...thought for sure they couldn't top what I experienced the year before...and then BOOM! 2012 was just phenomenal. The venue is so spacious, and the music is fantastic...every single night. I am hoping upon all hope to return to Dick's! The sand-> ghost still makes me giddy from last year, and I still adore that "S" show...lots of replay from these weekends all year long from me.
, comment by akjed
akjed Yes. The camping is on grass and they keep the field secure, and the folks that clean the port-a-potties are on their A game.

@ol_dirty said:
$75 for parking/camping???
, comment by PsychoKiller
PsychoKiller Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
, comment by MrJones
MrJones @PsychoKiller said:
Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
Says the guy who has not been there.
, comment by locutus420
locutus420 Trey loves Dick's! Trey loves Dick's!

, comment by thirdeye99
thirdeye99 @PsychoKiller said:
Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
you're not bright
, comment by Binghamton95
Binghamton95 @PsychoKiller said:
Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
Says the guy who was not there... Hating on something because of jealousy and sadness from missing out will get you nowhere. If you cant see/hear how awesome these runs have been you should go see michael franti and spearhead
, comment by PsychoKiller
PsychoKiller Coming from a fan who is from CO and is biased- I watched the webcast and have an opinion that it is over rated. You can't hate the fact that you believe its awesome and I think its just ok. @MrJones said:
@PsychoKiller said:
Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
Says the guy who has not been there.
, comment by PsychoKiller
PsychoKiller Watched the Webcast and have the CD's- Im sorry I was think its as great as you do- Id rather listen to Super Ball or Bader Field or and MSG run- You can't hate that my opinion doesn't coincides with yours. Still think it is over rated as you prob think BGCC is over rated- "Don't ask him what it was, tell him what it is"
@Binghamton95 said:
@PsychoKiller said:
Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
Says the guy who was not there... Hating on something because of jealousy and sadness from missing out will get you nowhere. If you cant see/hear how awesome these runs have been you should go see michael franti and spearhead
, comment by Binghamton95
Binghamton95 @PsychoKiller said:
Watched the Webcast and have the CD's- Im sorry I was think its as great as you do- Id rather listen to Super Ball or Bader Field or and MSG run- You can't hate that my opinion doesn't coincides with yours. Still think it is over rated as you prob think BGCC is over rated- "Don't ask him what it was, tell him what it is"
@Binghamton95 said:
@PsychoKiller said:
Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
Says the guy who was not there... Hating on something because of jealousy and sadness from missing out will get you nowhere. If you cant see/hear how awesome these runs have been you should go see michael franti and spearhead
I understand you are fairly new to Phish and you love the shows you attend. Yes, Super Ball was great, and I have attended most of the phish fests. And yes everyone is entitled to their opinion. But to come out and say "Dicks is overrated" and "some celebration will not happen there" just screams how new you new you are to this. To make a statement like that you need to come with details. What exactly is overrated about it? The monster Carini, Sand or the Light (which in my opinion is one of the best jams in recent years) or is it the fact that the band did 2 monumental gags that will standout in Phish history? Phish loves Colorado and I am not biased as I have lived on the east coast and CO. Dicks will RAGE this year as will many of the other runs. The consistency and fluidity of the 6 shows at dicks have been awesome and last year was been some of the best Phish I have seen in years. (And many long time fans I know feel the same) But as I said everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Everyone knows Dicks is not a festival. Stating that SPAC and BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks is a statement made only because you are not attending Dicks and to make yourself feel better about the runs you are attending. Phish has been killing it and will crush it this summer and will have many great nights/runs that I will not attend, and if they are barn burners you can be sure I can acknowledge greatness when not in attendance.

, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Whoa, finally some vitriol in the venue posts! Just felt the urge to clarify something about subjectivism and assertional logic.

When you say "my opinion doesn't coincide with yours" then you're stating something that is simply a matter of fact. I could have the opinion that baby jesus on a purple raptor will show up and resolve this debate, and while it is entirely true that that is my opinion, it seems unlikely to happen.

Everyone's entitlement to HAVE an opinion is of course completely equal, but does that mean the CONTENT of that opinion is as sound as the content of another?

When you say something flat out like "Dick's is overrated" you are stating more than a simple fact that that is your opinion--inherently, you want other people to agree with you, else why would you say it in the first place?

So when you communicate with other people based on your subjective experience you are stating an objective judgement, by definition, an assertion. That is entirely open to evaluations based in reality and is not a complete subjective free for all. The very words you are using are an objective agreement that they signify certain meanings that we all agree on. This is the basis of communication.

Also implicit in this is that your opinion, when stated as if it were objective in assertions, have some soundness in its premise, some internal logic making it valid, and a conclusion that follows from an argued position based on some sort of fact.

The response to art may be entirely subjective--how it makes you feel, etc.--but to imply that we cannot have any value judgments about its worth means that we shouldn't even be talking about it then. What's the point?

If you don't like phish jams, then you might not like Dick's. There, I said it. To me, if you're not there for the jamming I have to wonder what you ARE there for. So justify your claims instead of resorting to that weak, "that's like, your opinion, man" bullshit.
, comment by landladylover
landladylover @landladylover said:
@PsychoKiller it is a pity you've yet to catch a run at Dick's. Trey loves Dick's. Mike loves Dick's. Page loves Dick's. Fish loves Dick's. We all love Dick's. Didn't you get the memo? LOL
, comment by jeremyscottv
jeremyscottv @PsychoKiller said:
Dicks is overated- I believe that any 3-Day run is special in its own way. SPAC or BGCC will be just as epic as Dicks. Dicks is not a festival- there will be some sort of 30th celebration and it will not be dicks.
First off, awesome name. But secondly, why hate on Dick's? I agree that BG is just as epic as Dick's in it's own way but that's just it, it's own way. If SPAC was just as great, then we would be talking about it like we do Dick's and BG. Of course Dick's won't be the 30th celebration. Dick's is it's own celebration. As is any Phish show. Did you go to Dick's and not have a good experience? Legit question, just want to see if you were actually there.
, comment by TheLizards91
TheLizards91 Trey loves dicks, Page loves dicks, Mike loves dicks, Fish loves dicks, we all love dicks!
, comment by thankyouphish
thankyouphish Awesome post, Dicks 2012 was my first Dicks experience and yes, I loved it too :)

The Sand is so amazing, I just listened to it again, wow wow wow. And the -> Ghost -> Piper is SICK, they do not usually take that long with their segues these days.

PHISH LOVES DICKS! THANK YOU PHISH! SEE YOU SOON!
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