Tonight, HT faves Phish returned to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado near Denver for the finale of what has been a transcendent 32-show Summer Tour.
Phish took the stage at 8:13pm, after brief downpours earlier, for the final performance of this already much heralded run and Summer 2012 as a whole. Cars Trucks and Buses started the show for the second time in as many appearances on the year. The instrumental from Billy Breathes was a perfect setup for a ferocious 1-2 punch in a fiery AC-DC Bag and yet another powerful song in the three slot: Down With Disease. Just as the previous two nights yielded massive early returns in Carini and Tweezer, Sunday’s Disease did not disappoint with scorching work from guitarist Trey Anastasio and ferocious drumming by Jon Fishman that really took the jam briefly into some far off territory before yielding to Bathtub Gin. Interestingly, it was only the second time that Bathtub followed Down With Disease with the last time coming at 1997’s Great Went Festival. Happily, the pairing worked brilliantly with Bathtub featuring disco-styled jamming filled with interesting beats and a little bit of “untz”.
Fans yearning for more bluegrass got their wish in a straightforward take of Nellie Kane which was quickly followed by Sample in a Jar. Back on the Train followed and featured some dynamic interplay between bassist Mike Gordon and Fishman who seemed dialed into each other early. An energetic and quickly paced Rift followed.
The next two songs of the set included the often played and anthemic Free and the now-becoming often played Ride Captain Ride. A song that many fans had on their shortlist of “songs to hear” has now been played for the third time this summer. The smile on Anastasio’s face was a huge as many fans at Dick’s and home watching this final webcast of the summer. A straightforward Maze yielded to Halley’s Comet which was relatively short but enjoyable. A spirited and energetic 46 Days seemed to be setting up as the set closer for a set filled with energy but short on improvisation. Yet the band had one more up their sleeve in the much-played Possum which continued the energy and closed one of the longer first sets of the summer.
Encore: Character Zero
Notes: This show was officially webcast via LivePhish. After Harry Hood, Trey noted that it was the last set of tour, thanked eveyone for an “absolutely joyous summer,” then pantomimed crying and said “I don’t want to go home.” Page, Mike and Fishman then thanked the crowd as well. Finally, Trey added that “We’d also like to say, ‘fuck your face’.” The soundcheck Jam contained a Three Little Birds quote by Mike and a Don’t Worry Be Happy quote by Trey.
A second set Sand typically portends an amazing set in the land of Phish. And while it seems that this happens with relatively frequent occurrence, indeed the last set opening Sand was the highly regarded “S show” from this same venue in 2011. This 2012 version did not disappoint either with several shifting directions and the band giving Anastasio room to lead the charge through various tempo changes, some ambient space and a complete break down until slowly returning to the familiar Sand theme. Perfectly displaying the brilliance of the communication, interplay among band members, patience and mastery of their craft, this Sand is a prime example of the heights 2012 has reached. The roughly 24-minute monster clocks in as one of the longest Sands ever performed barring 1999′s Big Cypress version where every version was extraordinarily long. Likewise, the segue into Ghost was also something of beauty. It was impossible to discern where exactly Ghost started and a prime example of the -> song transition that so many fans seek out. While not the longest Ghost, it was a glorious version that softly broke down into a quiet and peaceful space before exploding into Piper. One of the better Piper’s in recent memory, the band took it completely out of the box and into “Type II” territory. This triumvirate of Sand -> Ghost -> Piper should stand as one of best set opening 1-2-3 combos of the year.
The year’s first Twenty Years Later from 2009′s Joy followed. Fans who had patiently waited for songs from the Gamehendge saga were rewarded with a crisply performed Lizards for the second Gamehendge song of the evening. Keyboardist Page McConnell’s notes were particularly bright on this 300th performance of this classic song that dates back to 1988. This Lizards milestone only adds to the extraordinary milestones that the band has hit this summer including Chalkdust Torture’s 400th.
Harry Hood, another of the band’s treasures and earliest numbers followed. A beginning that had interesting syncopation and a ”start-and-stop”, the band followed with an absolutely gorgeous, patient, melodic, and inspiring version of this song. No doubt, “It’s All Hood” in the Phish world as 2012 Summer Tour winds down.
Trey genuinely thanked the crowd for a joyous and wonderful summer and said he didn’t want to go home. Mike followed with a “You guys rock!” to the crowd. Fish pitched his $.02 in with a simple “thank you as well” before Trey reminded everyone “To Fuck Your Face”. A well deserved bow preceded the show closing and tour closing encore of Character Zero.
We will see you in December with the Skinny for the New Year’s Run! Thanks so much for following along with Hidden Track.
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 26,000 / 23,000 (estimate) / Outdoor Soccer Stadium
- Previous Shows at Venue: 09/02/2011, 09/03/2011, 09/04/2011, 8/31/12 and 9/01/12 – Five Shows
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 14 / 8:13PM – 9:50 PM (97 minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 7 / 10:16PM – 11:44PM (88 minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 21 / 2 / 19
- Biggest Bustout: Twenty Years Later (68)
- Average Song Vintage: 1993
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: Downpours prior to show, 75° F, mostly cloudy and moderate breeze at showtime
- Wardrobe: Mike – Huge yellow scarf, black short sleeve and black pants (Scarf removed midway through first set) / Trey – Blue & Red plaid shirt, blue jeans/ Page – Navy Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans/ Fish – Dress
- Average Song Gap: 8.71
- The Spread: Hoist – 2, White Tape – 1, Lawn Boy – 1, Round Room – 1, Joy – 1, Rift – 2, Billy Breathes – 2, Story of the Ghost – 1, Miscellaneous – 5, Farmhouse- 3, Covers – 2
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Sand 24:29 / Nellie Cane 2:46
- Audio: Live Phish