Pigeons Playing Ping Pong flew West to Denver’s Ogden Theatre on Friday night to start up their three-night run in the Rocky Mountains.
Out in the middle of their 23-dated fall tour, the Baltimore-based psychedelic quartet made sure to not skip a beat during their trip back to Colorado since their co-headlining show with Twiddle at Red Rocks Amphitheatre back in May, treating their fans to a long-awaited evening of jams and funky covers.
Joining them for their first night back in Colorado was progressive power trio lespecial. This marked the final night of the Connecticut-grown trio’s run with Pigeons following performances at Kansas City, MO’s Recordbar and Lincoln, NE’s Bourbon Theatre. lespecial took to the stage at 9 p.m. and delivered an hour-long, heavy-rock, 9-song set for the sold-out crowd. Pigeons drummer Alex Petropulos and bassist Ben Carrey joined the bunch onstage to add some extra flair on their “Jackwise” jam. Finally, they finished their set with a version of “Tonberry” tune spiced up with a Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” tease and a cover of TOOL‘s “Stinkfist”.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong hit the stage for the start of their first set at 10:30 p.m. Frontman Greg Ormont quickly started into his usual pre-show banter, freestyling some opening lyrics based on his view from the stage to the 1,600 Flockers before him. The banter quickly slid into thee opening of “Henrietta” to ruffle the crowd’s tail feathers in good spirits. Once loosened up, the guys went into instrumental jam “Havana” as lighting designer Manny Newman showered the venue in an array of colors to match the band’s transcendental energy. A big, fat “Melting Lights” came next, Ormont and Carrey taking to their usual silly onstage dancing shenanigans.
The first set’s halfway point ushered in the night’s first extended jam in “Live It Up”, lead guitarist Jeremy Schon tearing up the stage with powerful chords and drummer Petropulos leading the group in full swing up to the 10-minute mark. Lyrical love tune “Fortress” came next before the band dished up a massive “Time To Ride” sandwich. “Kiwi” contained the bulk of the psychedelic sequence before the band transitioned into a cover of Steve Miller Band‘s “Abracadabra” to conjure up some mystical energy in the venue. Eventually, Schon landed back on the lead melody of “Time To Ride” to put the cherry on top of the thrilling sequence. The band finished their first set with their newer, Spanglish party-starter, “Yo Soy Fiesta”, which heard the crowd get riled up to “hear Gator sing”—or, more accurately, yell—the anthem’s closing lyrics.
Just before midnight Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returned to the stage for their second set. Ormont again started with his usual banter, reflecting on Colorado’s beauty and imploring everyone in attendance to take it all in and make the most of the night. The band then kicked off the set with the always-fun “Penguins”. Schon took a blazing solo before leading the song into “Funkijam”. After exploring the melody of “Funkijam”, Carrey’s deep bass grooves marked another transition into “Upfunk”.
From there, Schon started into the slow, gentle opening notes of “Poseidon”, soothing the collective souls of the audience with the bouncy, upbeat tune. As the jam continued, the band began to reintroduce their cover of Talking Heads’ 1985 “And She Was” debuted on the last night of their Halloween “Stop Making Cake” run at College Street Music Hall. Ormont easily took to the David Byrne persona for this funky take, as the band took the song through a mighty, extended jam before finding their way back to “Poseidon”, mirroring the sequence from the New Haven show.
The last half of the second set saw the band break out their newer “Distant Times” for its second Colorado appearance since its debut back in April. A refreshing “Walk Outside” made its way into the Colorado venue next, energizing the room before the mountain-appropriate instrumental “Avalanche” took us deep in the psychedelic realms.
The roaring, sold-out crowd coaxed the band back onstage for an encore of their newly released singly, “Dawn A New Day”, to life our souls and give us perspective on life. Earlier in the day, the band had announced the launch of their new charitable organization, Dawn A New Day Foundation, which will donate $1 from every ticket sold on their tour to charitable organizations that are near and dear to them. It was only fair to end the first night back in Colorado with one of their most positive tunes to get us through to the next night’s show.
A Flocker’s Friday night is never quite over, and many flockers flew over to Your Mom’s House just a couple blocks away to party into the late-night with Asheville, NC funk-fusion group STIG and Cape Cod, MA psychedelic jam four-piece The New Motif until 3 a.m.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returns to the Ogden Theatre tonight for another sold-out show with Portland, OR livetronic act, Yak Attack, and will end their Denver run with a special, sold-out VIP show at Globe Hall on Sunday evening. For a full list of tour dates, visit the band’s website.
Below, you can view a full night’s worth of photos courtesy of photographer Kendall McCargo.
Setlist: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Ogden Theatre | Denver, CO | 11/15/2019
Set One: Henrietta, Havana, Melting Lights, Live It Up, Fortress, Time To Ride > Kiwi > Abracadabra > Time To Ride, Yo Soy Fiesta
Set Two: Penguins > Funkijam > Upfunk, Poseidon > And She Was > Poseidon, Distant Times, Walk Outside, Avalanche
Encore: Dawn A New Day