Following an overwhelmingly jam-filled opening night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Phish delivered yet another show at the beloved Colorado venue that will go down in the record books. Akin to the progression and ultimate culmination of the Baker’s Dozen run at Madison Square Garden, Phish ups the ante every time they step up to the plate at Dick’s. After all, we all know that Phish LOVES Dick’s, and Saturday night was no exception of that.
Despite no spelling setlist tricks or Federal Donuts being handed out, Phish got the night started off in the most appropriate Dick’s fashion, delivering a “Simple” that the band quickly settled into for a high-charged fourteen minute ride. Trey Anastasio‘s scorching solo peaked up to the grandest of skyscrapers, before landing the plane and passing the torch onto Page McConnell. The familiar chilling, thrilling line, “You have been selected as the first astronaut to explore planet Mars” rang out, as the band took the 25,000 person venue on a soaring cosmic journey, before “Martian Monster” and the Vermonters safely landed the ship back at planet Dick’s.
The biggest surprise of the night followed, as “Reba” popped out of the woodwork, making its first Colorado appearance since 10/11/2010 at the 1st Bank Center, and its first Dick’s appearance to date! With Anastasio grinning from ear to ear, the band dove into blissful-silky territory, as Chris Kuroda’s light rig orbited around the four mastermind musicians that have been on a mission since 2017’s tour opener at Chicago’s Northerly Island.
A bouncy yet delicate “Sand” followed, with Mike Gordon hammering away, leaving room for Anastasio and McConnell to lock in for a brief period, before rolling back into the fan-favorite lick that Anastasio delivered with extreme confidence and determination that we’ve seen all summer. Next up was “Crazy Sometimes” off Gordon’s highly anticipated album OGOGO, getting ready for its September 15th release date. Marking its third time played by Phish, Gordon made sure to give the newcomer the special treatment, before trickling into “Limb By Limb”.
“Limb By Limb” got some delicate and elegant guitar work from Anastasio, as the master navigated through a simple yet sweet rendition, backed by Jon Fishman holding down one of the most complex beats in the Phish repertoire.
After a brief pause and some discussion between Trey and Page, the quartet put their money where their mouth is, with a “Wolfman’s Brother” that quickly dove headfirst into Type II improvisational territory. Trey put the team on his back, blazing through a fiery hot jam, highlighted by immaculate keyboard work by The Chairman of the Boards, and atomic Gordon bombs dropped one after another. The band could have easily ended first set with the scorching “Wolfman’s,” but instead decided to pull one last trick out of their sleeves for the first set, ending with a standard length, yet ballsy, “Walls of the Cave.”
With the bar set high, Phish came back out for set two with the new Anastasio/Tom Marshall favorite “Everything’s Right.” As the lyrics, “everything’s right so just hold tight” rang out loud, Anastasio and company picked up the momentum, tenaciously charging through a song that has already found its perfect place in the regularly played Phish catalogue. Trey proved to continue his space-funk adventure on the Kaoss pad, finally relenting into the opening power chords of “Fuego.”
Like the “Everything’s Right” that preceded “Fuego”, the Big Boat rocker took off into deep Type II territory, leaving no time for messing around, as it elegantly segued into a jaw-dropping “Steam>Chalkdust Torture.” This one-two punch provided the meat of the second set, despite the rather short length of both jams, particularly the “Chalkdust.” Time regularly translates to nothing on Planet Phish though, and the raucous “Chalkdust” soared like birds of prey, getting the “hose” treatment that every phan begs for.
A “Mike’s>Groove” for the ages came out to play, with a delicately placed “Winterqueen” and dark and heavy “What’s the Use?” in between. The song selection in the “Groove” was absolutely spot-on, and the band’s hyper-focus and excitement was glowing, as Trey ripped through a “Winterqueen” on full-blast that is in discussion for best ever played.
With a perfect set in the books, the band could have taken a bow following a euphoric “Weekapaug,” but similar to the first set, they four machines beautifully landed into a “Slave to the Traffic Light” to cap off an improv-heavy Saturday night Dick’s show that will be analyzed and listened to on repeat by fans for years to come.
After a sensational “Slave” the band capped off a memorable night with an even more-so memorable encore. “Lizards” made its second appearance of the summer following the Baker’s Dozen, and fans were delighted by the impressive encore selection, with a massive cherry on top. Phish showed no signs of slowing down as all of the children of the Land of the Big Baboon boogied down, before Trey through an audible with a bubbly yet dark jam, eventually peaking into untouched territory for a Dick’s encore. As if the night couldn’t have ended right there, the opening notes of “Run Like an Antelope” began and we were in for one last charge on this most incredible of evening’s.
Phish’s 2015 “THANK YOU” eight song encore went down in Phishtory, but last night’s grand finale may very well give it a run for its money.
And remember the golden rule; NEVER MISS A SUNDAY SHOW!
Set 1: Simple > Martian Monster, Reba, Sand, Crazy Sometimes, Limb By Limb > Wolfman’s Brother, Walls of the Cave
Set 2: Everything’s Right > Fuego -> Steam > Chalk Dust Torture > Mike’s Song > Winterqueen > What’s the Use? > Weekapaug Groove > Slave to the Traffic Light
Encore: The Lizards, Run Like an Antelope