Oysterhead, the long-dormant supergroup comprised of Trey Anastasio (Phish), Les Claypool (Primus), and Stewart Copeland (The Police), took the stage for the first time in nearly 14 years on Friday night for their first of two shows at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, CO.
The trio first came together on May 4th, 2000, for a late-night performance in New Orleans during Jazz Fest at the Saenger Theatre, and due to overwhelming demand, reformed in 2001 to record and release The Grand Pecking Order. After the North American tour that followed, and a reunion at Bonnaroo in 2006, Oysterhead was out of action for over ten years.
The highly-anticipated Valentine’s Day 2020 return at the 1STBANK Center was everything fans had expected, as Trey, Les, and Stew dove headfirst into the thrillingly deranged brand of collaborative musical mayhem that made them a fan-favorite act from their very first show. The trio played every song from their 2001 album in Broomfield, starting with “Little Faces” and the fan-favorite, “Mr. Oysterhead”, featuring amusingly terrified, ad-libbed ramblings from Les and a musical nod to Primus‘s “Tommy the Cat”. “I have no fucking clue what to do after that. … Now I’m full-blown erect. We’re friends, I can share these things with you,” Claypool joked before a solo by Anastasio led them into “Polka Dot Rose”.
Oysterhead – “Mr. Oysterhead” – 2/14/20
A run through “Radon Balloon” led to “The Grand Pecking Order”, which Claypool called “the greatest song [they’ve] ever been associated with”. The short and percussive tune brought them to the final song of set one, “Rubberneck Lions”, which was highlighted by lead vocals from Claypool and harmonies on the chorus. Anastasio pumped his fists before the set break, yelling, “there’s more!” as the band walked offstage from their long-awaited first set back in triumphant fashion.
Oysterhead – “Rubberneck Lions” – 2/14/20
[Video: Joe Blake]
A set two-opening improv jam segued to “Shadow of a Man”. Oysterhead then moved into ambient space before aggressive drumming from Copeland brought them to “Army’s On Ecstasy”. Up next was “Wield the Spade”, which saw Anastasio on drums and Copeland on lead vocals. Copeland returned to the kit for an upbeat jam that saw Anastasio continue on percussion before he eventually made his way back to the guitar.
Some friendly banter preceded an acoustic take on “Birthday Boys” ahead of the penultimate, “Oz is Ever Floating”. The trio then closed out the second set with a dark and heavy “Pseudo Suicide”.
Oysterhead – “Pseudo Suicide” – 2/14/20
[Video: Sloan Sloan]
The trio had some surprises in store for the 1STBANK Center crowd following a quick encore break. They opened with by digging into the respective catalogs of the band’s members with debut renditions of The Police‘s “Voices Inside My Head” and Phish‘s “46 Days”. Oysterhead then capped their reunion show with the final song off their only studio album, “Owner of the World”, featuring a brief tease of “Smoke On The Water”.
Oysterhead – “46 Days” – 2/14/20
[Video: Sloan Sloan]
As the crowd filed out of the venue, The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” blared over the PA speakers, an eerie yet amusing reminder that Oysterhead is back to once again haunt our nightmares—in the best possible way.
You can listen to a full audio recording of Oysterhead’s first show since 2006 below:
Oysterhead – 2/14/20 – Full Audio
[Audio: Chris King via JamBuzz]
Oysterhead is back at the 1STBANK Center again tonight, Saturday, February 15th. The band also has several festival appearances scheduled this summer, including Peach Music Festival and Bonnaroo. Click here for more information.
Below, check out a gallery of images from the show courtesy of photographer Andrew Rios.
Setlist: Oysterhead | 1STBANK Center | Broomfield, CO | 2/14/20
Set 1: Little Faces, Mr. Oysterhead, Polka Dot Rose, Radon Balloon > The Grand Pecking Order, Rubberneck Lions
Set 2: Jam > Shadow of a Man > Army’s On Ecstacy, Wield the Spade , Birthday Boys, Oz is Ever Floating, Pseudo Suicide
Encore: Voices Inside My Head  > 46 Days, Owner of the World
 Trey on drums.
 Oysterhead debut.