Phish | 7.31 | Red Rocks Day 2

Words by: Brian Bavosa | Images by: Dave Vann

Phish :: 07.31.09 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: Morrison, CO

Phish :: 07.31 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Opening with "Runaway Jim" and a blazing "Chalkdust Torture," two of the band's favorite starters, signs pointed to night two at Red Rocks being another treat for all. Judging by the ticket-less masses outside and the growing anticipation every hour, the final, few shows here are going to be insane. Friday seemed to push things off towards that path. "Bathtub Gin" conjured up the elements of weather, as a bit later, the crowd would certainly shout, "Because we're all in this together, and we love to take a bath." The jam in this tune was strong and focused, led by Trey.

"Time Turns Elastic" found a new slot in the middle of set one, and seemed a good opportunity for many to grab a beer or hit the head. While it's a beautiful composition, it just doesn't do it for many, myself included. "Lawnboy" saw Page crooning and offering, "Thank you. Thank you very much," followed by "Water In The Sky," another foreshadowing tune with a Page piano intro that allowed him to really take charge. "Water" was loose and featured some dizzying dueling by Trey and Page at the song's conclusion. The second new tune of the night, "Stealing Time From a Faulty Plan" is a darker one, with a razor sharp tone, strong direction and the haunting line, "I have a blank space where my mind should be." Along with the set-closing "Split Open and Melt," where the sky decided to open up something fierce, the band channeled that energy and played a dark, mean, winding jam that led us into what felt like a longer than normal set break where many fans were diving for cover in the downstairs museum area or under concession tents.

Phish :: 07.31 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre
After seemingly an hour or so, the band reemerged, with the rain gone, and like Deer Creek a month back (read the review here), opened the post-rain break with a smoking rendition of The Who's "Drowned." Led by the fierce chops of McConnell, who, again, owned set two, the band found their way quickly to a meaty jam, which saw the four cylinders collectively lock in and Trey leading them into "Crosseyed and Painless." A mighty surge of energy descended upon the masses when this one hit, and the set was only minutes old. Long a fan favorite, "Crosseyed" saw some wailing licks by Trey and an all out blitzkrieg by the band.

"Joy" followed for its second ever run-through and features some lyrics that some would call beautiful while others might term 'sappy,' I'll call it a nice filler tune. However, the song of the night was "Tweezer," where the band finally let loose for the first TRUE time all weekend. This version was the '03 equivalent of David Ortiz on steroids and slugged its way to the Triple Crown. Fierce, fierce playing by all led to a jam that devolved into a breakdown of sorts. Easily, the song of the run thus far.

McConnell & Anastasio - Phish :: 07.31 :: Red Rocks
"Backwards Down the Number Line," the third and final new tune of the night, simply feels the most "Phishy." The lyrics are appropriate for version 3.0 and the jam simply soars. As if the statement of set two wasn't already made, "Fluffhead" nailed that point home. Obviously practicing this song has reinvigorated the band and they have enjoyed playing it, and all those who pined for it for almost nine years have sure gotten their fill of "powerful pills" since Phish's almighty return. "Fluffhead" segued into a short, quick reading of "Piper" before slipping into a piano solo akin to the end of "Squirming Coil," where McConnell tickled the keys before starting up the set closing cover of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life." A masterpiece of a song, Phish does this one justice and it was the cherry on the sundae of set two.

An encore of "Suzie Greenburg" again saw Page crush the ivories, while Fishman joked that he wished he was a neurologist before the exclamation point of "Tweezer Reprise" closed things out proper. Two shows into the tour, the band seems to be focused and ready to go, with the "Tweezer" leading the way for early tour MVP.

Phish :: 07.31.09 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: Morrison, CO
Set I: Runaway Jim, Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Time Turns Elastic, Lawn Boy, Water In The Sky, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Split Open and Melt
Set II: Drowned > Crosseyed and Painless > Joy, Tweezer > Backwards Down The Numberline > Fluffhead > Piper > A Day in the Life
E: Suzy Greenberg > Tweezer Reprise

Phish :: 07.31 :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre

For more pics of Phish at Red Rocks night 2 go here. And for coverage of Night 1, go here.

Phish perform again tonight at Red Rocks. Check back for live Tweets, setlists, pics and full reviews. Complete Phish tour dates available here.

Just like Leg I of Phish's Summer Tour, JamBase will be at every stop with more coverage than you'll find anywhere! Keep up to speed with all things Phish at jambase.com/phish.

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[Published on: 8/1/09]

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