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

By Scott Bernstein Aug 31, 2014 10:45 pm PDT

On Sunday night Phish returned to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver to conclude their fourth annual Labor Day Weekend three-night stand at the soccer stadium. Friday saw the quartet open 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. Sunday’s finale had a few surprises thrown into the first set and ended with another masterful closing stanza.

In recent years Phish has made sport of utilizing songs as openers that aren’t frequently used to kick off shows. For the Dick’s ’14 finale, the quartet took it one step further by using “The Curtain With” in the show-opening position for the first time since way back on June 19, 1988; a performance that took place at the tiny Nectar’s in their hometown of Burlington. “The Curtain With” was highlighted by guitarist Trey Anastasio’s beautiful solo and Mike Gordon’s synth’d out bass bombs. “Wombat” featured a languid jam section and though Trey struggled with the composed sections of “Kill Devil Falls,” as he did with the composed sections in many first set songs, he pulled it together for the end solo. The show moved forward with setlist staples “Bouncing Around The Room,” “Poor Heart” and “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing” dripping with psychedelia, before the spotlight turned to keyboardist Page McConnell for his lounge-y delivery of “Lawn Boy.” Phish took a somewhat unusual approach towards the “Wolfman’s Brother” that came next as they locked in on a few different strong progressions, which saw Anastasio alternate between ferocious riffage and staccato-heavy rhythms making for one of the best first set versions of the tune in recent memory. From there, a double dose of Fuego material – “Waiting All Night” and “Winterqueen” -led into the evening’s first cover, “Funky Bitch.” A quick and dirty romp through “Tube” then gave way to an impassioned and loose “Possum” set closer.

While a “Curtain With” opener was a huge surprise, there was not much suspense leading up to the “Chalk Dust Torture” that began the second set on Sunday night. “Chalk Dust” appeared at Dick’s for the fourth consecutive year and third year in a row on the date August 31. Both the 2012 and 2013 “Chalk Dust”s Phish laid down at the venue were exploratory monsters and the band took the song deep once again in 2014. This year’s adventurous version covered plenty of ground as the quartet kept the improvisation moving and didn’t focus on one jam space for a lengthy period until settling in on a euphoric final ascending chord pattern from which a fiery “Twist” emerged. “The Wedge” followed and then came the “Tweezer” many were waiting for. This “Tweezer” wasn’t about risk-taking as much as it was about the Vermonters patiently building the pace and intensity of the improv until it reached a crowd-pleasing peak. Once the climax had been achieved, the band connected on a transition into “Sand.”

Phish had just built the “Tweezer” to a blazing crescendo and didn’t slow their roll as “Sand” was played at a particularly quick pace. Trey added to the fun by leading a quick “Tweezer” tease/jam that devolved into a spacey, staccato freakout. Out of the deep space came another jam vehicle performed in a similar fashion, “Piper,” as they hit the ground running at an extremely fast pace in the jam and then broke from any structure whatsoever for a deliciously weird moment before “Joy” emerged out of the madness while a spacey loop still rang out. If the evening’s patiently built “Tweezer” wasn’t about risk taking, the “Mike’s Song” most certainly was. Anastasio put his echoplex guitar effect to good use and eschewed the typical build for layers of trippy rhythms in an interesting and inventive way as drummer Jon Fishman expertly toyed with the tempo and added cowbell fills to the audacious mix. Check this one out folks, you won’t regret it. The funk-laden, fast-paced set concluded with a fun cover of “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” that included a vocal jam and the requisite “Weekapaug Groove.” Phish ended the run and the summer with a “Loving Cup”/”Tweezer Reprise” encore. The band returns to the road this fall.



Click here to view the full breakdowns of every show Phish has played in 2013 and 2014 including setlists, recaps and our statistical rundowns.

  • Venue Capacity / Type: 26,000 / Outdoor Soccer Stadium
  • Previous Shows at Venue: 11 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, 08/29/2014 and 08/30/2014
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 13 / 8:16 p.m. -9:44 p.m. (88 Minutes)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 10:18 p.m. -12:00 (102 Minutes)
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 24 / 3 / 21
  • Biggest Bustout: Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley -19 Shows (LTP -07/09/2014)
  • 2014 Debuts: N/A
  • Average Song Vintage: 1995
  • Debuts: N/A
  • Weather: 70°F and Mostly Clear at show time
  • Average Song Gap: 5.92
  • The Spread: Lawn Boy -2, Picture Of Nectar -4, Rift -1, Hoist -1, Farmhouse -3, Undermind -1, Joy -2, Fuego -3, Misc. -5, Covers -3
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Sand & Chalk Dust 14:26 / Poor Heart 2:32
  • Audio: Live Phish

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