Jam titans Phish returned to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver on Saturday
night for their second of three annual Labor Day Weekend shows at the soccer stadium.
On Friday, the quartet opened the run with a show featuring setlist wordplay, hearty jams and four 2014
live debuts. Night Two at Dick's was all about the instant classic second set that
was well-sequenced, had a handful of monster jams and saw the return of a beloved
instrumental as well as a fun and quirky encore.
The Vermonters kicked off the show with just the fourth "Free" opener in the 19+
years since they debuted the song. Drummer Jon Fishman was having issues with his
voice that surfaced during a "The Moma Dance" that was otherwise notable for the
delicate clavinet flourishes keyboardist Page McConnell added. Ever since Phish
returned at Hampton in 2009, "Halley's Comet" has moved on from its days as a jam
vehicle to its old role as a straight-forward rocker with a few rare exceptions. When
guitarist Trey Anastasio landed on the chord that usually ends "Halley's" these days,
he instead continued onwards with his solo. While the Dick's "Halley's" wasn't of the
exploratory variety, the guitarist did wail away for an ever-so-slightly extended
solo. Hey, we'll take what we can get in terms of extending "Halley's" these days. A
run of heavy-rotation staples - "Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan," "555," "Rift"
and "Sample In A Jar" - followed. It was then back to Fuego for a "Devotion To
A Dream" that had a little extra, tension-and-release umph to it. The rather
uneventful first set continued on with a "Yarmouth Road" > "Sparkle" and "Wingsuit"
combo. A standard "David Bowie" and one of more botched versions of "Cavern" in the
history of botched "Cavern"s (Anastasio had a particularly tough time with the
lyrics) brought the opening stanza to a close.
Phish opened the second frame with a "Down With Disease" containing two distinct jam
segments. Anastasio mixed creative rhythm work with powerful leads during a rock-
heavy first section. The quartet transitioned into a major key for the ethereal
second section. Trey hinted at the long-lost instrumental "What's The Use?" towards
the end of the exploratory "Disease" and soon started the song in earnest, which
marked its return to the stage after a span of 77 shows (last played August 25,
2012). The majestic "Down With Disease" -> "What's The Use?" pairing was followed by
the one-two punch of blazing psychedelia that was "Carini" -> "Light." While not the
longest "Carini" on record, Phish explored plenty of ground in the adventurous jam.
Anastasio weaved rapid-fire melodic riffs in the build to a huge climax before the
band made the turn for "Light." We've seen the guitarist show off his rhythm skills
many times this summer, but both "Carini" and "Light" saw Trey continually reel off
inventive and meaty strings of notes utilizing many different tones. He was the clear
leader of each jam as he agressively asserted his musical ideas into the
conversation. Page, Mike and Fish were happy to follow along and each added
impressive contributions of their own in support roles. Fans involved themselves in
the action towards the end of the abstract "Light" by yelling "Woo" during pauses in
the jam. The relentless second set continued with a celebratory "Fuego" that segued
into a typically beautiful rendition of "Slave To The Traffic Light." Next up was
"Meatstick," which segued into the year's first cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Bold As
Love" to end the set.
Phish had one more trick up their sleeves for the encore. Starting in 2013 the
quartet began to play "Silent In The Morning" without its familiar "The Horse"
introduction. Each of the last 10 "Silent"s were "Horse"-less, but that string came
to an end when "The Horse" started the encore. The band took a break for a moment
after "The Horse" and Trey, who hadn't used his guitar in the song, took the
opportunity to welcome "The Horse" back and thank the crowd before starting up the
obligatory "Silent In The Morning." Anastasio came back to the mic following "Silent"
to tell the story of an old original named "In A Hole." Trey explained that Phish
wrote and learned "In A Hole," which they played eight times in late 1989, just for
the joke of singing the line "I'm an A-Hole." He likened that situation to their chat
backstage that it would be funny to encore with "Horse" and not "Silent." Fish
offered to perform the tune and Page did toy with it, while Trey sang a few lyrics,
but the band decided against it. Just the sixth "Fluffhead" encore in Phish history,
though the last
one took place earlier this month in Alpharetta, put an exclamation
point on the evening. Phish brings this year's Dick's Run to a close tomorrow night.
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 / 26,000 /
Outdoor Soccer Stadium
- Previous Shows at Venue: 10 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, 09/01/2013
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 13 / 8:15 p.m. - 9:40
p.m. (85 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore:
11 / 10:11 p.m. - 11:53 (102 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 24 / 1 / 23
- Biggest Bustout: What's The Use? - 77 Shows (LTP -
- 2014 Debuts: What's The Use?, Bold As Love, The Horse
- Average Song Vintage: 1997
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 76°F and Cloudy/Light Drizzle at show time
- Average Song Gap: 11.21
- The Spread: Junta - 2, Picture Of Nectar - 1, Rift - 4,
Hoist - 2, Billy Breathes - 1, Story Of The Ghost - 1, Joy - 2, Fuego - 4, Misc. - 6,
Covers - 1
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track:
Down With Disease 15:54 / The Horse 1:20
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos...