We’ve reached the end of Phish Summer Tour 2012 which concludes with three shows at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, Colorado. This marks the second year in a row that Phish has closed out their summer tour with a Labor Day Weekend run at the soccer stadium. Phish raised the bar extremely high on Night One of the run delivering an exceptional performance in which they spelled out “Fuck Your Face” with the first letter of the songs used in the setlist.
From the start of tonight’s performance it was clear this wouldn’t be your average show. First Tube made a rare appearance in the opening slot and was followed by the return of Uncle Pen – last played on October 16, 2010. Next, Carini showed up in the opening stanza for the first time since Coventry and what a Carini it was. This stunning version had it all from a glorious major-key segment to an intense arena rock peak and even a minute of two of delicious ambient soundscapes.
When Kill Devil Falls followed a message had appeared as the first letters of the first four songs spelled out “FUCK.” The creative setlisting continued with YEM. And not only did You Enjoy Myself feature a short but sweet Trey solo but also contained a vocal jam on the word Dick’s – “Page Loves Dicks, Trey Loves Dicks, Mike Loves Dicks, Fish Loves Dicks, We All Love Dicks” and so on. Now that we had a setlist spelling “FUCK Y” why not go for the “O” and “U?” Phish complied with Ocelot and Undermind. So after opening last year’s Dick’s shows with the famed “S” show, tonight we got “FUCK YOU.” Undermind was the set’s second fantastic jam vehicle thanks to soaring, majestic leads from Anastasio over a lilting beat provided by drummer Jon Fishman. Check both the Carini and Undermind out as soon as you can from what just might be the best first set of the era.
 “We all love Dick’s” vocal jam theme.
 Crosseyed and Painless tease.
 Emotional Rescue quote.
 Japanese Lyrics.
Notes: The first letters of the songs of this show spelled out “Fuck Your Face” before Fuck Your Face itself was played. Before You Enjoy Myself, Page said, “We’re so happy to be here, we love this place, we really do…We love Dick’s”. Trey and the band then led the crowd in a “We Love Dick’s” chant. During the You Enjoy Myself vocal jam, “We Love Dick’s” theme emerged with such lines as, “Page loves Dick’s, Mike loves Dick’s, Trey loves Dick’s, the band loves Dick’s”. Ocelot included a Crosseyed and Painless tease. Prior to the second set, Trey wished Matty from the Waterwheel table a Happy Birthday. Runaway Jim and Chalk Dust were unfinished. Emotional Rescue was played for the first time since September 30, 2000 (236 shows). Fuck Your Face contained an Emotional Rescue quote.
Ever since Phish returned at Hampton in 2009 they haven’t really used Runaway Jim as an improvisational springboard the way they did for a long portion of their career. That changed tonight when the quartet opened the second set with an insane 19-minute version that veered between hard-hitting funk and more exploratory spaciness. Farmhouse and Alaska complete with an ambient intro that hinted at 2001, brought us to spelling “FUCK YOUR FA.” At this point it was beyond clear they were spelling the name of the Mike Gordon White Tape classic Fuck Your Face, especially once Chalk Dust Torture came next.
When the group was just about to complete a straight-forward take on Chalk Dust, Anastasio began a second solo that quickly left the normal boundaries of the tune. Fish dropped a reggae-fied beat and off they went on another lengthy improvisational journey. Eventually this “second jam” made a turn towards a buttery, major-key segment that once again saw Page utilize his Wurlitzer to impressive effect. If the last few shows were old school throwbacks reminiscent of the early ’90s tonight’s improvisation felt straight out of the group’s late ’90s heyday. As an exclamation point on the “FUCK YOUR FACE” shenanigans, Phish finished off the sequence with their first performance of Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones since the September 30, 2000 show that was immortalized as the band’s first full concert DVD Live in Vegas. Naturally, the bust out segued into the long-awaited Fuck Your Face. When the band returned for the encore, they strode to the a capella mic where McConnell thanked the audience for putting up with their shenanigans and mentioned they have the best fans in the world before starting Grind. In what might be considered an ode to the venue, Phish finished off an incredible night in their history with Meatstick. How do they top what happened this evening? We’ll see what’s in store tomorrow when the band returns to Dick’s.
Here’s The Skinny from Phish’s first show of the weekend at Dick’s…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 26,000 / 20,000 (Estimate) / Outdoor Soccer Stadium
- Previous Shows at Venue: 09/02/2011, 09/03/2011 and 09/04/2011
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 7 / 8:23PM – 9:45 (83 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 8 / 10:17PM – 11:38 (81 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 15 / 2 / 13
- Biggest Bustout: Emotional Rescue – 236 Shows [LTP - 09/30/2000]
- Average Song Vintage: 1998
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 80 Degrees and Partly Cloudy
- Wardrobe: Trey – Green, Black and White Checkered Long-Sleeve Shirt and Jeans / Mike – Black Polo Shirt and Jeans / Page – Navy Blue Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Fish – Dress
- Average Song Gap: 27
- The Spread: Junta – 1, Picture Of Nectar – 1, Farmhouse – 2, Undermind – 2, Joy – 2, Misc. – 5, Covers – 2
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Runaway Jim 20:00 / Grind 1:34
- Audio: Live Phish