Phish Takes Aim At Red Rocks: Setlist and Recap – Night One: July 31, 2009

As the sun set we were treated to some magical imagery courtesy of Phish LD Chris Kuroda. Kuroda’s lights were set up at a much lower height than anything seen previously, allowing him to light the band from every direction creating a bit of a halo effect around them along with the haze. Mike’s Song in particular showed off some of CK5’s new moves with each passing section.

Speaking of Mike’s, while the jam was well played it was rather short and once again ended without the band veering into the F major “Simple” section that always provided magical moments before the band broke up. After biffing their way through I Am Hydrogen the boys pulled it together for a straightforward – but RIPPING – Weekapaug.

Ghost followed the Mike’s Groove and unlike the previous 3.0 versions of the tune the band didn’t rely on transitioning the jam from minor tones to major tones in order to score points. Instead, Trey went to town soloing over the funk while Mike dropped some thick riffs using his Lovetone Meatball Envelope Filter to add some depth to the bombs. Each member of the band brought something to the mix on one of the more relaxed Ghosts of all-time. Keyboardist Page McConnell eventually asserted himself strongly and led the band into a chord progression reminiscent of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You. The crowd was picking up what the quartet was laying down and the middle of the second set was the most exciting sequence of the concert.

The Ghost ended with Trey and Page dueling on some call-and-response before McConnell inserted the opening piano run that kicks off Wolfman’s Brother. Wolfman’s was another tune that allowed the band to play fast and take chances. Anastasio was loving life at this point and led the other through some nice peaks and valleys during the Wolfman’s jam. Towards the end of this bit of improvisation the quartet stumbled upon an anthemic riff that got everyone in the crowd pumping their fists along with the music. A memorable moment to say the least.

One of the slower and more straight forward sections of the night followed to cool things down with Limb By Limb followed by the bust out of the sweet and tender Billy Breathes and The Squirming Coil. David Bowie gave the foursome one last chance to stretch out and they took advantage of the opportunity. After a quick encore break the band payed tribute to their surroundings once more with a cover of the Rolling Stones’ Loving Cup.

All in all it was a fun show with a number of highlights. There’s plenty of room for the band to up the ante on the three nights left in the run. Phish returns to Red Rocks tonight for night number two. Follow the action live from Morrison @YEMblog.


Set 1: Divided Sky, Ocelot, Wedge, Poor Heart, Moma Dance, Horn, Stash, Horse > Silent in the Morning, Possum

Set 2: Mike’s Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug, Ghost, Wolfman’s Brother, Limb by Limb, Billy Breathes, The Squirming Coil, David Bowie

Encore: Loving Cup

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20 Responses

  1. good to see you last night scotty! i enjoyed the show…pauly and i are discussing it now. the stash and ghost>wolfmans are as advertised. sickness.

  2. Didn’t even know I could have such a good time!!!!
    Phish was phenomenal last night, flubs and all. I might have hand picked that setlist. The boys were goin’ at it and taking chances. hence the flubs. how bored would you be if they played a perfect show? when I’m skiing and I don’t fall all day, I often ask myself, was I really trying? I thought the band did a knock out job and can’t wait to see what comes next.

  3. The lead paragraph needs work. “Famed” is repeated and is “members of Phish” really necessary? Wouldn’t “Phish” work just as well and not be so wordy?

  4. Well being a colorado native and not having the luxury of east coast touring, seeing phish @ the rocks last night was terrific. Its been a long 6 year drought since pepsi center 03, and much much longer for the rocks. The boys played exactly the right songs for the night, and I’m sure they’ll do the same the next 3 nights. I think a lot of the new material has potential for some real good jams. It really is great seeing these guys playing again. Can’t wait til haloween!!!

  5. Scotty – hope you’re having a great time. From the stream this morning and the setlist on paper, I’d say you’re dead on.

    Looks like a really fun show, with a nice Stash, Ghost, and a Billy Breathes psuedo-bustout to start an epic RR09

    watching @yemblog for my up-to-the-minute news!

  6. wish i could be out there with everyone, got the soundboard goin now though and i’m already loving this Friday cause let’s face it I ain’t gotta job and I don’t have shit to do.

  7. Nice work, Scotty B – I too agree that the Stash was a high point and yes, from one guitar player to another, the Ghost did indeed avoid the drifting into a major key thing for no reason, save for yet another tension-release effect. Sounds great from this end- Enjoy…

  8. Great article Scotty B!! Congrats on top of the list in Google when I sought PHISH SETLISTS!

    Favorite line of the article, “After biffing their way through I Am Hydrogen the boys pulled it together for a straightforward – but RIPPING – Weekapaug.” Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

    Now, to lock myself inside and listen to last nights SBD…tasty!

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