Phish Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Denver 2017 Night One – Setlist & The Skinny
On the first day of September, Phish held the first of three shows at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. The now traditional Labor Day Weekend run in the Rockies that began in 2011 follows an anything but traditional run of 13 “Bakers Dozen” shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Opening night Friday under the clear Colorado sky came loaded with what this veteran band perhaps does best: jam.
Guitarist Trey Anastasio elected “Blaze On” to open the first set Friday evening, quickly calling out Page McConnell for a “blaze on Leo!” piano solo. The second-ever “Blaze On” opener unfolded into an exploratory jam as bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman got in on the focused group interplay. Gordon took a turn leading his band mates through the Fuego cut “555” and, sticking with newer material, the Big Boat song “Breath And Burning” followed with Anastasio soloing over McConnell’s swirling organ runs.
Digging a bit deeper into their catalog “Theme From The Bottom” infused, primarily through Trey’s rapid fire progressions, well-received intensity into the set. Another Billy Breathes track, “Free,” built upon the momentum as the quartet settled into a groove led by Mike’s synthy bass effects and embellished by Trey adding layers via his Korg Kaoss Pad. Fans of “Tube” jams were then treated to a sublime improvisation that found Page showing off his array of synthesizers before Trey jolted into a lively blues rock charge to bring about the song’s conclusion. The band then offered a passionately delivered “Roggae,” which eventually hit on climatic peaks. Returning to their newer repertoire, the third Big Boat song of the set “More” upliftingly closed out the first half.
“No Men In No Man’s Land” opened the second set at Dick’s and came loaded with a burst of rapid fire riffing from Trey. Eventually the foursome collectively slowed things down, entering an ethereal ambient sequence devoid of much structure but loaded with atmosphere that was allowed to progress through several intricate passages. Out of the drone came a guitar-driven run at a melodic charge toward a return to wrap up “NMINML.” More melodic twists and turns grew out of the ensuing “Carini” as once again an improvisation heavy on atmosphere emerged from an initially hard rocking start. And once again the amorphic jam ultimately propelled into a lengthy, ripping series of blissful peaks as the band blew past the 45 minute mark of the set.
A slinky segue into “Ghost” dropped a dose of funkiness as the song made its annual appearance at Dick’s. The underlying funk was the basis of the understated jam the foursome weaved out of “Ghost,” advancing through the subdued introductory portion before locking in and yet again piling up tension filled climaxes for the third consecutive standout improv of the set. Another pass on the “No Men In No Man’s Land” chorus was integrated into the end of the jam that dissolved into the opening notes of “Harry Hood.” The “Hood” quietly built to a typically gorgeous summit, with at this point it looking like this would be a four song set. Instead a rowdy rendition of “Cavern” was tacked on as the second set closer. The encore began with “The Horse” and its regularly paired sentimental counterpart “Silent In The Morning” and ended with (not the smoothest transition into) the rambunctious rocker “Character Zero.”
Phish plays at Dick’s again tomorrow night. A webcast is available via Livephish.com.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park [See upcoming shows]
18 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, 08/30/2014, 08/31/2014, 09/04/2015, 09/05/2015, 09/06/2015, 09/02/2016, 09/03/2016, 09/04/2016
8 songs / 8:06 pm to 9:23 pm (77 minutes)
8 songs / 9:59 pm to 11:35 pm (96 minutes)
16 songs / 16 originals / 0 covers
7.94 [Gap chart]
555 - 13 Show Gap (LTP 7/21/2017)
A Picture of Nectar - 1, Rift - 2, Billy Breathes - 3, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Farmhouse - 1, Fuego - 1, Big Boat - 4, Misc. - 3
77° F and Clear at Showtime
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