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