Tonight, Phish returned to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver
for the first of three shows that brings the band's summer touring activity to a
close. This run continues a now four-year streak of Labor Day weekend performances at
the giant soccer stadium. Another Phish tradition is setlist shenanigans on the first
night of the Dick's run. In 2011 they kicked off the run with a show that only
featured songs that start with the letter "S." In 2012 the first letter of each song
through the first set and most of the second set of the run-opener spelled "FUCK YOUR
FACE" and then Phish played the rare original of the same name to end the closing
stanza. Last year, the band went a more uncoventional route for the first show of the
run, as the first letter of each song played in reverse order spelled "MOST SHOWS
SPELL SOMETHING." Would Phish continue the trend on Friday night? Yes, in an
extremely Phish-y way as part of the first set. Yet it was a jam-heavy and
impressively-sequenced second set that was the bigger story.
Photos by Paul
Back in June Rolling Stone asked readers to name their favorite Phish song for a
Reader's Poll. A fan-led effort to stuff the ballot box led to the uber-rare original
"Lushington," which hadn't been performed since 1987, scoring the top slot. Right
out of the gates, Phish dusted off a song they hadn't played all year - "
Llama." The last live version of the A Picture Of Nectar track took
place on New Year's Eve during a second set played aboard a truck set up in the
middle of Madison Square Garden. The well-executed bust out led into a short-but-
sweet "Undermind." It was at this point that Phish fans at the show and on
social media started predicting the first letter from each song played sequentially
would spell "LUSHINGTON," and the hype only built with a strong "Stash" that
stayed between the lines improvisationally, a take on keyboardist Page McConnell's "
Halfway To The Moon" and the vacuum-friendly "I Didn't Know."
The "LUSHINGTON" wordplay continued with a cover of Hot Rize's "Nellie Cane"
and the year's first "Guyute." "Guyute" had been on the shelf since July 17,
2013 - a span of 56 shows. Next up was the somewhat controversial choice of "
The Line," as the "The" wasn't counted for the "S" show that started the
setlist shenangian trend at Dick's on September 2, 2011 (both "The Sloth" and "The
Squirming Coil" were played that night). A typically languid "Ocelot" then
gave way to another 2014 debut as Phish busted out a cover of Led Zeppelin's "
No Quarter" for the first time since October 26, 2013. At this point Phish had
spelled "LUSHINGTON," but would they actually perform the long-lost original? Ever
the jokesters, the Vermonters then answered that question and completed the trolling
of their fans with "Ha Ha Ha," a Jon Fishman-penned original which was the set's
fourth 2014 debut. However, the quartet did have a treat in store to end the set as
they welcomed trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick and trombonist Natalie Cressman of the
Trey Anastasio Band for a horn-driven "Suzy Greenberg" set-closer after guitarist
Trey Anastasio remarked "You asked, we delivered. Simple as that!"
Phish opened the second set with "46 Days" and as soon as they reached the solo, the
quartet broke through the song's normal boundaries and took the Round Room
track for a bit of an extended journey as they settled in on a funky groove featuring
tight, in-the-pocket work from Fish. Anastasio was content to lay back and focus on
rhythm and when he did step up, Trey started up a straight-to-the-point "Back On The
Train" that eventually wound its way into "Simple." The jam that developed out of
"Simple" was a high octane excursion played at a fast-pace. Each member of the band
connected on a descending progression that they built to a rolling boil. Once they
had worked up a lather, Trey unleashed a torrent of hearty riffs for a peak that
drove the crowd wild. Many jams end once a peak has been reached, but not this
"Simple." McConnell hopped on clavinet for a deep-funk segment that screamed "dance
party" and moved the top-shelf "Simple" past the 20-minute mark. Apparently Phish
wasn't ready to stop jamming as they segued from "Simple" into the open-ended
"Ghost." The Denver "Ghost" was highlighted by a slick transition into an anthemic
major-key progression that the quartet powerfully climaxed. Once the band had
finished having their fun with "The Glory Ghost," they moved on to "Backwards Down
The Number Line." Up next was "Harry Hood," a song that has had an amazing 2014.
Friday night's version was no exception thanks to the unusual, rhythm-heavy way Trey
used textures of sound to build the jam instead of relying on rapid-fire riffs.
"Wading In The Velvet Sea" provided a breather before a potent "Run Like An Antelope"
set closer. Phish said farewell for the evening with a "Character Zero." The run
continues on Saturday night with a webcast available via LivePhish.com.
here to view the
breakdowns of every show Phish
has played in 2013 and 2014 including setlists, recaps and our statistical rundowns.
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 26,000 / Forthcoming /
Outdoor Soccer Stadium
- Previous Shows at Venue: 9 Shows - 09/02/2011, 09/03/2011,
09/04/2011, 08/31/2012, 09/01/2012, 09/02/2012, 08/30/2013, 08/31/2013 and
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 12 / 8:16 p.m. - 9:34
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore:
9 / 10:10 p.m. - 11:44 (94 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 21 / 2 / 19
- Biggest Bustout: Guyute - 56 Shows (LTP - 7/17/2013)
- 2014 Debuts: Llama, Guyute, No Quarter, Ha Ha Ha
- Average Song Vintage: 1998
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 65°F and Mostly Cloudy at show time
- Average Song Gap: 11.1
- The Spread: Lawn Boy - 1, Picture Of Nectar - 2, Billy
Breathes - 1, The Story Of The Ghost - 3, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 1, Undermind -
1, Joy - 2, Fuego - 2, Misc. - 5, Covers - 2
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track:
Simple 21:50 / Ha Ha Ha 2:11
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos...