Last night’s first show of the final Phish run of the summer reached “instant classic” status by the end of set one and by the time the shenanigan-filled performance were over the phrase “best show of 3.0″ was being bandied about. Tonight Phish returned to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado for the penultimate show of Summer Tour 2012 and it was all about the amazing version of Light the band dropped in set two.
[Photo via @Phish_FTR]
The unusual setlist antics shown off in night one’s first set continued this evening as Run Like An Antelope opened a Phish show for the first time since January 26, 1990. The quartet delivered an in-the-box, rocking renditon which would also be applicable to the Backwards Down The Number Line and at first to the Tweezer that followed. Though just as Tweezer appeared to be ending, guitarist Trey Anastasio decided to stretch out the ending into a different, more ambient jamspace before Trey started up Fluffhead. Tonight marked the first time Antelope, Tweezer and Fluffhead were all played in the same opening stanza which is insane when you consider that those songs have been performed 400, 317 and 238 times respectively. A string of well-played, heavy rotation staples – Roses Are Free, Funky Bitch, The Moma Dance and When The Circus Comes – finished out a seamless string that made up the bulk of the set. The standards continued to end the top-heavy, high-energy set as Theme From The Bottom, Golgi Apparatus and Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan all saw action.
Set 1: Run Like an Antelope, Backwards Down the Number Line > Tweezer -> Fluffhead > Roses Are Free > Funky Bitch > The Moma Dance > When the Circus Comes, Theme From the Bottom > Golgi Apparatus, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan
 Crosseyed and Painless tease.
Notes: Light included a Crosseyed and Painless tease. Page thanked the audience before Sleeping Monkey. Fishman returned for the encore with a banana, causing Trey to fill time by remarking that Fishman almost passed out from rocking so hard during the second set. Therefore, he was handed a banana backstage to revive him. Trey and Fishman asked the crowd to picture Fishman almost passing out and being offered a banana while listening to the intro to Sleeping Monkey. The soundcheck’s Long Cool Woman contained Telegram Sam (T Rex) quotes.
It’s been a terrific summer for Phish’s cover of TV On The Radio’s Golden Age, so it’s fitting the last version of the season approached the same heights of its Summer ’12 brethren. While drummer Jon Fishman mostly stuck to the song’s normal drumbeat during the jam, his three bandmates pushed and pulled in a few different directions making for another interesting take on the tune. The improv faded and Prince Caspian began. Caspian is another repertoire staple that has had a great summer. Anastasio laid into a dark and eerie solo with one jaw-dropping riff after another proving once again you never know where the improvisational highlights will come from these days.
Not to beat on a dead horse, but when Light came next it seemed that the theme of the set was killer versions of songs that have had good runs in 2012. Light featured blissful staccato jamming with Trey utilizing delay loops to add layers of sound to the mix, Page McConnell plinking away at his clavinet, bassist Mike Gordon funking away wah’d out bass lines and Fishman holding down the beat. The quartet patiently worked that mix for a rapturous few minutes before they initated a direction change into a pretty major-key chord sequence that almost sounded like Lizards. Just as quickly as they went down that beautiful path, they changed direction once again to an anthemic, arena rock jam space and blew this monster past the 20 minute mark. We’d say to be sure to check this top-shelf Light out, but that should be a given anytime Light appears on a setlist these days. Phish was 4 for 4 on outstanding Light’s this tour.
Next, the spotlight turned to Mike Gordon who as usual stole the show during a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Boogie On Reggae Woman. Then it was cool down time as Horse > Silent filled the late second set ballad slot. The poignant “I think the same thing happened to me just last year” received a huge applause on this night. The impeccably placed late set Mike’s led into the fifth-ever take on Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter, a cover that fits Phish like a glove, and the requisite Weekapaug Groove. When the group came out for the encore, Fishman was chomping on a banana. Trey told the crowd that Fish mentioned backstage he was on the verge of passing out after that set from “rockin’.” Big Red gave the drummer a chance to finish his banana as he started Sleeping Monkey. Tweezer Reprise provided the big rock finish. Phish Summer Tour 2012 concludes tomorrow at Dick’s.
Here’s The Skinny from Phish’s first show of the weekend at Dick’s…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 26,000 / 24,000 (Estimate) / Outdoor Soccer Stadium
- Previous Shows at Venue: 09/02/2011, 09/03/2011,09/04/2011 and 8/31/12 – Four Shows
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 11 / 8:22PM – 9:50PM (88 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 12 / 10:23PM – 12:03AM (100 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 23 / 6 / 17
- Biggest Bustout: No Quarter – 17 Shows [LTP - 07/01/2012]
- Average Song Vintage: 1995
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 74 Degrees and Partly Cloudy at Showtime
- Wardrobe: Trey – Black and Green Checkered Button-Down Long-Sleeve Shirt and Jeans / Mike – Grey Polo and Red Pants w. Scarf for Second Set / Page – Navy Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Fish – Dress
- Average Song Gap: 6.04
- The Spread: Junta – 2, Lawn Boy – 1, Picture of Nectar – 2, Rift – 3, Billy Breathes – 2, Story of the Ghost – 1, Joy – 3, Misc. – 3, Covers – 6
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Light 23:56 / The Horse 1:18
- Audio: Live Phish