Phish Friday: The Telluride Run Spawns a JVS Pandemic

Crowd @ Phish in Telluride

There is a theory on how Telluride got it’s name…

It’s mining history and endless tunnels serve the phrase well, To Hell You Ride. Yet Hell is the farthest thing from it, especially when the town is hosting Phish for 9,000 fans and countless others perched on balconies, roofs and mountain tops. Keep this between you and me — you didn’t need a ticket to these shows unless you needed to see the band and wooden stage up close (which many of us did, of course). You just needed ears, some walking shoes, and the effort to get there.

Telluride, CO

Once dropped into town on the Gondola, a mesmerizing 15 minute ride down into the box canyon, I fully realized what was happening. All the pre-talk and hype was coming to fruition. Phish was taking over a small town for two days, late nights and parties til’ 2:30am (or 4am if you’re Marco Benevento), pre-gaming at condos/houses/bars (Smugglers/Sheridan/BrownDog), and the like!

Most of my crew was ready to rage Telluride ’til it couldn’t rage no more, and we were hopeful that Big Red, Cactus, Fish and Page were also on board with that idea. After three nights at the Greek with some open jamming (“Cities” + “Simple”), the locale of Telluride was sure to bring out the West/best. But looking through some of the “critical” reviews on my flight home, I worried that fans may have a serious case of JVS, otherwise known as Jaded Veteran Syndrome. To take it one step further, even the folks who had seen less than 20 shows were stating “Oh, too many repeats,” or “oh, I’m getting so sick of the Vocal Jam in YEM”. Does every show need to have a 17 minute jam, a bust-out, and a song you hadn’t heard live before? To the sufferers of JVS among us, and there seem to be many — can’t we just enjoy one of (if not THE) best locales a Phish show has ever had to offer and all the music that comes with it? I sure did, but almost felt victim to the seductive JVS mindset nearly costing me my two-nights of pure bliss.

To Telluride!

Telluride from lake's edge

Standing in town on the rivers edge, against one of the security fences with a small group, I got my first taste of Phish in Telluride. The soundcheck (Funky Bitch, Cities > Jam, Ginseng, 46 Days) started around 3:30pm, and we were already off to the races. It was halfway into the “Cities”” when a feeling washed over me like a calming breeze — nothing could stop me from enjoying these shows. I was at first worried the sets couldn’t live up to the hype, but those worries melted away as Gordon’s bass was already echoing off the mountainside during “46 Days.” I gazed up at those very mountains, waterfalls and endless rolling hills and turned to my tour-buddy… “They could play Jennifer Dances > Secret Smile tonight in the first set and I’d be all ears!” In hindsight, maybe that was going a little too far, but you get my point…

Phish in Telluride

To all the JVS sufferers out there, I hope you can seek help for your affliction. Hopefully a trained medical professional will help you mentally step back and realize what we have: a band that will play anything at anytime (except “Walls of the Cave”… Deer Creek second set bust-out maybe?!), a band who will and can play anywhere (except your friend’s basement), and a band who’s notes are NOT the only thing that bring us on tour.

This is important.

As much as we want to see the next “best-ever” jam, shouldn’t we also enjoy the overall experience and not match it up with the song selection, the placement, or why we would expect anything differently. If you gave me the same sets in Telluride song-for-song in Camden, wouldn’t they be damn good? Well, take those sets and put them where they happened — in the picturesque town of T-Ride and you’ve got yourself an EPIC good time.

But that said, even I can fall victim to the mental weariness that is JVS. During the first set of night two, when the “Roses Are Free” was getting dirty (around the 4 minute mark), I yelled out… and thought Telluride was setting sail on the ship to Type II, but no, unfortunately 30 seconds later “Trey said no.” I cringed. I stopped in my dancing tracks and lowered my head. “Okay, I’m done with this band. Stop cutting my Roses off!” My friends laughed, but I was somewhat serious. Then, as I mentioned earlier, a funny thing happened. I looked up, then South, West and East. Mountain and glacial formations abound. The sun was setting, the clouds were purple and pink and the mountains were casting an array of shadows. I had just heard “The Divided Sky” during an actual divided sky, and just witnessed Roses, one of my favorite covers, in my new favorite venue. Who cares how they played it? Because for exactly five minutes, I was on top of the world (well, 9,000 feet above the bottom of the world anyway).

My focus changed over the course of the Telluride run. My JVS symptoms no longer lingered. I wasn’t waiting for a Gamehenge Narration, a bust-out (although “The Mighty Quinn” was a five-star meal on the all-night Bust Out Diner blueplate special menu) or even a set full of segues. I was focused on seeing Phish in one of the most magical places our country has to offer and letting them do their thing. Let’s put it this way — Tuesday’s Divided Sky was my 16th, and it was my favorite version ever, not because it was note-for-note perfect or ’cause the pause was extra extended maaaaaaan… but because Telluride had me by the balls. I even enjoyed that “Prince Caspian” on the first night, and that’s saying something. Well maybe it’s the “Mind Left Body” jam it contained that sent me into orbit unexpectedly.

Phish in Telluride

Every local person I met, every business I dined or drank at loved having THIS community invade THEIR community. I, after experiencing Telluride, had already begun my one-person campaign to get PHISH in Telluride next year.

Telluride businesses welcome the Phish

“Hey, you liked having us here? Please make your voice heard at the next town meeting…we want this to be a tradition!” Everyone shook their head in agreement, even the waitress that had a wristband and was talking to me about that heavy dose of evil “Carini!”

Carhendge @ Phish in Telluride

So…you see what I’m saying, right?

Step back, even if you’ve been to 100+ shows, and enjoy what this band has to offer nightly. Maybe we shouldn’t be so critical because they’ve never been about just one thing, and I think the horrible outbreak of JVS in the scene has a lot of us forgetting that. It’s the sum of all the parts — and Phish had one of the best two night stands in their 20+ year history. Ask anyone who was there, except maybe patient zero that started the Jaded Veteran Syndrome outbreak. And maybe Jeff Holdsworth.

Crowd @ Phish in Telluride

Painting done @ Phish in Telluride (artist unknown?)

  • http://karaokeactivitypartner.blogspot.com karaokeactivitypartner

    I totally have JVS!!! Especially when I’m sober!

  • http://karaokeactivitypartner.blogspot.com karaokeactivitypartner

    I totally have JVS!!! Especially when I’m sober!

  • tommy t

    Thats what makes seeing music so special. I say ” BEST SHOWS EVER ” and some one else says ” not even average “. Lets take a 3 day run at red rocks, for example. It doesn’t matter what band you pick, just that they are a touring band ( 150+ shows a yr. ). You go to all 3 shows and everyone has a favorite night. ” I liked sat the best “, no your crazy ” sun was so much better “, all y’all are clueless cuz ” fri was the shizznit “. So, you see what I’m talking about. It’s way I have seen music since I was 13yrs old and why yrs later, drugs later, collage later, w/ a wife 2 kids and a home I still see yons of music. To be totally honest w/ everyone I have never had JVD nor will I ever want to come down w/ this horrible disease. I married a woman because of her love of music and touring ( plus alot of other traits ). We have 2 children but it has not stopped us. My daughter has 8 shows in moms belly and my son has 9. My daughters 1st show ( neville brother 5mon old ), my son 1st show ( rockygrass 6 wks old ). You see, this is a community of friends, family, love and must important, the love of the music. Which, is what brings us all together. Aaron, I agree w/ you. It’s not just the specific song as much as the overall experience ( i.e. Primus playing to 75’000 people at woodstock and open w/ ” Here comes the Bastards ” = EPIC ). T-Ride was the best experience of my touring life, hence, BEST SHOW EVER. The music amazing, the scenery incredible, the crowds awesome, the town and their people kind and welcoming. Enough ramblin, for me, that was as good as a show can get, just incredible. I’m listening to the show as I’ve been typing this response and just a few min ago ( at the end of light up or leave me alone ) Trey says ” Man, it still just as beautiful as it was the 1st time “. I found myself w/ one of my bestfriends saying the same thing over and over again. Holy Cow, this is heaven on earth, simple amazing. That brings me to you Justin ( BTW, I’m a Whitesox fan ). Phish in no way can ever be compared to the horrible excuse of a MLB team the cubs. No phish is not the cubs they are so much more then that. So brotha you should gone the south side and enjoy some winning baseball ( sorry Dawg, couldn’t resist ).

    Peace Out Y’all

    P.S. To all the telluride residents thanks for making this
    ” overall experience ” THE BEST OF ALL TIMES!
    w/out you this experience would not have been
    complete. My hats off to you and hope to see you
    for many,many more T-Ride runs.

  • tommy t

    Thats what makes seeing music so special. I say ” BEST SHOWS EVER ” and some one else says ” not even average “. Lets take a 3 day run at red rocks, for example. It doesn’t matter what band you pick, just that they are a touring band ( 150+ shows a yr. ). You go to all 3 shows and everyone has a favorite night. ” I liked sat the best “, no your crazy ” sun was so much better “, all y’all are clueless cuz ” fri was the shizznit “. So, you see what I’m talking about. It’s way I have seen music since I was 13yrs old and why yrs later, drugs later, collage later, w/ a wife 2 kids and a home I still see yons of music. To be totally honest w/ everyone I have never had JVD nor will I ever want to come down w/ this horrible disease. I married a woman because of her love of music and touring ( plus alot of other traits ). We have 2 children but it has not stopped us. My daughter has 8 shows in moms belly and my son has 9. My daughters 1st show ( neville brother 5mon old ), my son 1st show ( rockygrass 6 wks old ). You see, this is a community of friends, family, love and must important, the love of the music. Which, is what brings us all together. Aaron, I agree w/ you. It’s not just the specific song as much as the overall experience ( i.e. Primus playing to 75’000 people at woodstock and open w/ ” Here comes the Bastards ” = EPIC ). T-Ride was the best experience of my touring life, hence, BEST SHOW EVER. The music amazing, the scenery incredible, the crowds awesome, the town and their people kind and welcoming. Enough ramblin, for me, that was as good as a show can get, just incredible. I’m listening to the show as I’ve been typing this response and just a few min ago ( at the end of light up or leave me alone ) Trey says ” Man, it still just as beautiful as it was the 1st time “. I found myself w/ one of my bestfriends saying the same thing over and over again. Holy Cow, this is heaven on earth, simple amazing. That brings me to you Justin ( BTW, I’m a Whitesox fan ). Phish in no way can ever be compared to the horrible excuse of a MLB team the cubs. No phish is not the cubs they are so much more then that. So brotha you should gone the south side and enjoy some winning baseball ( sorry Dawg, couldn’t resist ).

    Peace Out Y’all

    P.S. To all the telluride residents thanks for making this
    ” overall experience ” THE BEST OF ALL TIMES!
    w/out you this experience would not have been
    complete. My hats off to you and hope to see you
    for many,many more T-Ride runs.

  • tommy t

    Trey’s comment mentioned above are at the 5:58 mark of the 6:44 version of Light up or leave me alone. Just in case anyone is interested. This moment was one of the best times for me during the T-Ride run. My wife was at home w/ the kids and I was on this trip w/ a great friend from college ( he flew in from indy and we drove 6hrs from denver ). So, when Summer of 89 started I closed my eyes and danced and held my wife and children. Inside my mind, of course. They would have loved this show, as much as I did, I’m sure of it. This morning while camel walk was playin me, my 32 mon daughter and 14mon son, cut the rug ( after breakfast ) in the living room. They would have loved this show, for sure.

  • tommy t

    Trey’s comment mentioned above are at the 5:58 mark of the 6:44 version of Light up or leave me alone. Just in case anyone is interested. This moment was one of the best times for me during the T-Ride run. My wife was at home w/ the kids and I was on this trip w/ a great friend from college ( he flew in from indy and we drove 6hrs from denver ). So, when Summer of 89 started I closed my eyes and danced and held my wife and children. Inside my mind, of course. They would have loved this show, as much as I did, I’m sure of it. This morning while camel walk was playin me, my 32 mon daughter and 14mon son, cut the rug ( after breakfast ) in the living room. They would have loved this show, for sure.

  • tommy t.

    My bad, I meant, JVS mot JVD

  • tommy t.

    My bad, I meant, JVS mot JVD

  • tommy t

    Justin, join the south side ( not “gone” ) the south side. My bad, again

  • tommy t

    Justin, join the south side ( not “gone” ) the south side. My bad, again

  • sumodie

    Most beautiful Phish shows I’ve ever seen

    I know, I was surprised by the JVS outbreak too. I’m a pH vet and I had the most amazing time -in fact, this has been the smoothest, strongest 3.0 tour yet

    Thank you, Telluride!
    Thank, you, Phish!

  • sumodie

    Most beautiful Phish shows I’ve ever seen

    I know, I was surprised by the JVS outbreak too. I’m a pH vet and I had the most amazing time -in fact, this has been the smoothest, strongest 3.0 tour yet

    Thank you, Telluride!
    Thank, you, Phish!

  • kangsmom

    Most deff Scramble Campbell. Watched him paint it