Phish Denver Dick’s Setlist And The Skinny | Night One

By Scott Bernstein Aug 30, 2013 7:00 pm PDT


[Photo via @Phish_FTR]

Tonight, Phish returned to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park near Denver, CO for the first of three shows that brings the band’s summer touring activity to a close. This run continues a three-year streak of Labor Day weekend performances at the giant soccer stadium that included three shows in 2011 and three shows in 2012. Each run opener featured creative setlists and that trend continued this year.

Phish came out of the gates strong with the first “Ghost” opener since way back on October 15, 1998 at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA. Guitarist Trey Anastasio unleashed a flurry of rapid-fire licks to propel his high-octane “Ghost” solo to a fiery peak. “NICU” came next and was followed by the first “Icculus” since June 17, 2011. To start his “Icculus” dialogue, Trey referred to last year’s run by stating “we love Dick’s!” and went on to urge fans to read the Helping Friendly Book. As “Heavy Things” and “Theme From The Bottom” were delivered it started to seem as if the band was back to their setlist-spelling shenanigans that started on the first night of the 2011 Dick’s run with a show containing songs that began with the letter “s,” and at the Dick’s opener in 2012 with their “FUCK YOUR FACE” performance. However, this time around it appeared as if they were spelling something backwards since the first five songs of the evening spelled “GNIHT” or “THING” in reverse.

The evening’s second 2013 debut came in the form of Junta rarity “Esther,” last performed on June 18, 2011. “Moma Dance,” “Ocelot” and “Stash” brought us to “SOMETHING” spelled in reverse by the first letter of each song performed. All there were particularly well played, with “Stash” highlighted by drummer Jon Fishman’s propulsive, ever-changing beats. “Lawn Boy” gave keyboardist Page McConnell a turn in the spotlight, while “Limb By Limb” featured a sublime jam that contained a fantastic call-and-response segment between Trey and Page. A major surprise came with the set’s first cover, a debut version of the Little Feat classic “Easy To Slip” off 1972’s Sailin’ Shoes sung by Mike Gordon. Gordon’s five-piece solo band has performed the song, which closed out tonight’s first set, five times between 2010 and 2011. At the end of Set One, the first letter of each song performed spelled out “ELL SOMETHING” backwards.

[Easy To Slip]

The second “Punch You In The Eye” of 2013 opened tonight’s second set and gave way to “Sand” giving us “SPELL SOMETHING.” Once the quartet broke through “Sand’s” usual boundaries, Anastasio reprised a trend that happened in many of this summer’s jams by moving the improvisation from a dark minor key to a pretty major key. McConnell prodded his bandmate into another call-and-response segment that built towards a frenzied peak. Next up was the Mike Gordon/Scott Murawski-penned “Say Something,” which was debuted back at The Gorge last month. Phish took this version out beyond where they took the debut before the jam dissolved into “Walls Of The Cave.” The ferocious “Walls” was followed by an “Oh Kee Pa Ceremony” that gave Trey fits throughout. “Oh Kee Pa” segued into “Harry Hood” for the first time in Phish history. All four members made impressive contributions to a gorgeous “Hood” jam when all of the sudden Anastasio landed on the intro riff for “Silent In The Morning.” Page, Mike and Jon soon followed along giving us “SHOWS SPELL SOMETHING.” Another dirty “Twist” came next, along with the beautifully intense “Slave To The Traffic Light” that wound up bringing the second set to its conclusion. For the encore, McConnell led the Vermonters through their first cover of Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'” since an August 15, 2010 show at Alpine Valley (120 shows). The message was finally clear with “Meatstick” -“MOST SHOWS SPELL SOMETHING.” Now it’s time to pour through past setlists to see what messages we missed…or not. Phish returns to Dick’s tomorrow night.



Click here to view the full breakdowns of every show Phish has played in 2013 including setlists, recaps and our statistical rundowns.

  • Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 26,000 / Forthcoming / Outdoor Soccer Stadium
  • Previous Shows at Venue: 6 Shows -09/02/2011, 09/03/2011, 09/04/2011, 8/31/2012, 9/01/2012 and 9/02/2012
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 12 / 8:21 p.m. -9:57 p.m. (96 Minutes)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 10:32 -12:03 a.m. (91 Minutes)
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 23 / 2 / 21
  • Biggest Bustout: Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ -120 Shows (LTP -8/15/2010)
  • Tour Debuts: Icculus, Esther, Easy To Slip, Oh! Sweet Nuthin’
  • Average Song Vintage: 1996
  • Debuts: Easy To Slip -Little Feat
  • Weather: 75° and Mostly Cloudy at ticket time
  • Average Song Gap: 17.48
  • The Spread: Junta -1, Lawn Boy -2, Picture Of Nectar -1, Rift -1, Billy Breathes -1, The Story Of The Ghost -3, Farmhouse -3, Round Room -1, Joy -1, Misc. – 7, Cover -2
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Sand 15:18 / Oh Kee Pa Ceremony 1:47
  • Audio: Live Phish

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