Oysterhead Returns: Denver Recap, Setlist, Audio & Videos
Oysterhead is back. The lauded supergroup played their first show in nearly 15 years at 1stBank Center outside of Denver on Friday night. The setlist for the trio’s two sets was constructed from the songs on their 2001 debut album, The Grand Pecking Order, while the encore featured the debut of The Police and Phish covers.
Drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police came out and pumped the crowd up as the beginning strains of the opening track to The Grand Pecking Order pulsated through the venue. Oysterhead kicked things off with a “Little Faces” that saw Primus bassist Les Claypool dropping a monolith of bass that energized the crowd. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio brought the song to a climax with some tapping ahead of a big end from Claypool.
Copeland then dropped some heavy toms as the background went purple and white lights set up a grid. Trey’s classic echoing whale noises filled the room and the white lights began to cast through the crowd. Les’ bass bounded over it all and it became “Mr. Oysterhead” complete with Claypool’s old man scratching vocals. The band established a motif during the song: build-ups into breakdowns, punctuated by Copeland, with Trey and Les playing off each other — oftentimes face to face — and then building things back up.
Claypool then took the time to address the crowd and talk about the band’s rehearsals before walking the bass into “Polka Dot Rose,” which saw Trey adding a little twang before a heavy chorus. Claypool took a breather while Anastasio played a quick “Radon Baloon.” Les addressed the crowd again and spoke of the band’s songwriting prowess before announcing their “best” song, “The Grand Pecking Order.” Claypool then fired up “Rubberneck Lions” to close out the first frame.
The band ratcheted things up for the second set with a jam that saw Trey bringing out his antlered Matterhorn guitar, heavy on whammy and bringing on a dark, spacey sequence that led into “Shadow Of A Man,” which saw Claypool and Anastasio facing off again. The band then headed into a rowdy “Army’s On Ecstasy.” Anastasio, back on the Languedoc, added some howling guitar and a highly melodic solo. Trey pulled off the “linseed oil” line before dropping a descending solo and coming back to the melody over Claypool’s driving bass lines.
After a jam, Copeland came out from behind the kit to sing “Wield The Spade” with Trey replacing him on drums. Anastasio then shouldered an acoustic guitar with Claypool joining him at the center of the stage. Trey and Les noted their birthdays were only a day apart before playing “Birthday Boys.” Les told Trey how to play the song Slayer style, each time ending with harmonics from Anastasio. A rowdy “Oz Is Ever Floating” followed ahead of “Pseudo Suicide,” pulling the roof off with whistling bomb drops from Trey, to close out the second set.
For the encore, Oysterhead retook the stage to unveil The Police’s “Voices In My Head,” handled beautifully by the band. A lively debut of “46 Days” that included an “LA Woman” tease and callbacks to “Pseudo Suicide” and “Oz Is Ever Floating” came next. The trio closed things out with “Owner Of The World” which also saw a “Smoke On The Water” tease. Trey sent everyone home on a rousing solo, ready for night two.
Listen to the show and check out video below: