Twenty Years Later: Phish Makes Red Rocks Debut

The way young athletes often dream of playing in the Super Bowl or World Series is the way young musicians dream of playing iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. A gorgeous natural amphitheater that was opened in 1906, Red Rocks has hosted a who's who of musical legends over the years including U2, The Grateful Dead, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Red Rocks had long been in Phish's sights as Trey Anastasio quoted Bono's famous "This is Red Rocks, this is the edge" statement during a live version of "Icculus" in the band's early years that was released as part of Elektra's Junta re-issue in 1992.

[Ticket Stub thanks to Steve Whitcomb]

Phish took a big chance in the summer of 1993 by booking themselves at huge sheds and amphitheaters when their audience hadn't quite reached the size to fill up those large venues. However the quartet and their crew saw the influx of fans about to come and wanted to familiarize themselves with huge rooms. As part of Phish's Summer '93 Tour, they made their Red Rocks debut 20 years ago today on August 20, 1993.

The Vermonters' Red Rocks debut was a historic moment in the band's history and their performance lived up to the expectations. Almost as if by magic, a lingering thunderstorm passed just before the band took the stage, giving extra meaning to the "Divided Sky" opener. From there it was on to "Harpua," which was almost as rare back then as it is now. Guitarist Trey Anastasio weaved a tale about the "Red Rocks Iguana," a creature that was turned to stone by "Harpua" character Poster Nutbag, or in this case "Posterus Nutbagus." Anastasio wouldn't soon let fans forget about his story as he mentioned it throughout the night.

Other unforgettable moments included the summer's only "The Wedge" (a jazzy version which needs to return), the second "Slave To The Traffic Light" in over 250 shows and drummer Jon Fishman bringing up his mom Mimi for double vacuum solo action on a cover of Prince's "Purple Rain." A pristine soundboard recording circulated soon after the show and was among many fans' first live tapes.

Take a listen to Phish's Red Rocks debut:

You can also stream by song at Phishtracks.

Did you attend this show or was it one of the first tapes in your collection? Leave your thoughts below in our Facebook comments section.
[Published on: 8/20/13]

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