After nine years in a row playing the same venue over the same weekend, we’ve all established our traditions and routines. All of that got upended this year due to a plague infestation. Prairie dogs that live there were potentially covered with infested fleas. With the traditional Shakedown lot closed, parking at a premium, and knowing that we couldn’t undersell the issue since The Black Death killed 60% of the population in Europe in the 15th century, we had to adjust. Europe saw the end of feudalism. We might have to take a shuttle from a remote lot to see our concerts.
By the end of the first night, it was clear that the logistical issues would not be a big deal. Phish had the shuttles running on a quick turnaround; I got back to my room earlier on Saturday than I normally would have with post-show lot traffic, only with no parking fee and with a free Nalgene handed to me for my inconvenience. This system was arguably better than the normal parking in the lot. The Shakedown lot quickly got replaced with a new Flea Market location. Vendors took advantage of this to make funny shirts and stickers and koozies referencing prairie dogs, fleas, and civilization-ending infestations. The plague warning signs were a popular selfie spot. During the first night, Phish made flea jokes and used a Pure Prairie League song ("Aimee") as walkout music. Another lyric was changed on Saturday. When Commerce City gave us plague, we made plagueonade. Yum!
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