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Monday, September 12

Phish at Dick's on Sunday Made a Wonderful Meal that left us all a little Crosseyed and Easily Painless. Review & Setlist

The crowd was boiling over, hoping for some kind of epic gag. What they got was a good ole' incredible Phish show and they're "still waiting" for the gag. If they haven't gotten it,yet.

On the first and third nights, fans really work themselves up to see what, if anything, the band is going to do to make the night "special".  This year they went the crazy route of putting on a flat-out, barn-burner of a show. If you expected an acrostic set or a set sponsored by a letter, you may have been disappointed. If anything about the show that happened at Dick's on Sunday made you think you were missing out, it might be time to get your brain tuned up. The boys came out of the gate flying with one of my personal favorites,"Moma Dance" which was a little short for my taste but then came the beautiful taste of chalkdust on my tongue, as they put this Dick's standard in the two-spot. Dick's has been known for great renditions of "Chalkdust Torture" and while this might not have been great. It was certainly better than what has been touring around the country this year. 2016 has been an off-year for the band for some weird reason. We all know they are capable of great highs and lows, definitely more of the former than latter,  but there seemed to be no reason for the reluctance to jam, explore, and generally stretch out songs that were built for that very reason. I've mentioned song placement quite a bit this year and it seemed like what they started at LOCKN' carried over into some great sets at Dick's. 

So, everyone around me jumped for joy as the opening licks of "Mike's Song" rang out across the pitch. This was quickly followed by,"What are they going to put in the middle of the sandwich?" As it turns out the band dove into "Wingsuit" which was befitting the slower pace of the Mike's Groove we were hearing. After a wonderful, soaring solo from Trey, the likely candidate for Dick's MVP started thumping out the notes to his groove and we settled in for a nice mid-set "Weekapaug Groove" Up next was a rollicking "Party Time" which was certainly fitting in the state with more cannabis dispensaries than Starbucks, seemingly.  After a tight version, we still haven't gotten any deep jams but "Bathtub Gin" changed that immediately. It was a tight, exploratory version that started getting the stadium ready for liftoff. They drove this monster Gin right into "Split Open and Melt" which can be a dicey proposition this year. The boys nailed it though. Every movement, every time-change, the final jam and no extraneous effects from Trey, made this version soar. At this point, I had achieved liftoff, as had many of the fans around me.  Maybe the band has seen the t-shirts but they let "Tube" go off for around eight minutes or so. Then they closed the set down with a rollicking, "Character Zero" which in my opinion, was great placement because it wasn't going to be the song that ended the run.
"Bathtub Gin"  Sunday the 4th at Dick's

The second set was the monster set of monster sets. The opening rhythm of "Crosseyed & Painless" screamed across the park as the crowd went nuts for this Talking Heads cover. Phish has tried this gag before. Working "C&P" teases throughout the show to varying degrees of effectiveness but this time they nailed it. The second set just had six songs in it but oh, what a six songs they were. The fans that started coming around circa 00' might look back on the second sets of that era and feel some nostalgia. I look back at those sets and unless I really like the five to seven songs, I can hear some Trey wankery.  When I started seeing Phish, the second sets contained just as many songs as the first and they jammed just as long and hard as the fewer,longer sets of the early naughts.  This show was one of the best versions of that setup I've heard in a long time. The next song up was the twenty second version ever played of "Steam" which I've managed to hear four times and my show/business partner Kevin's first. He went apeshit. I love this song and I think it has started to mature and the imagery of the lyrics are so evocative on top of one of the funkiest new grooves the band has come up with. Yes, I consider 2011 new.Kevin clowned on me because the first time I heard this song was the second time they ever played it at Golden Gate Park and I didn't like it and thought the steam effect was cheesy. I still think the steam effect is cheesy but I didn't notice much this time. Maybe they have the CO2 mixture down. 

The magic took root as the band rocked and rolled through the "Steam" replete with Crosseyed teases, into the most amazing "Piper" I've ever seen. I've heard some great versions of this tune. This one also had "still waiting" teases in it.  Many people have differing opinions on Trey's love of dropping his axe and running to the marimba lumina. This time the tune was played and stretched out and it seemed "Piper" was a memory and where Trey stood there was just an outline, like in the old cartoons. Trey almost ran to the Marimba and was soon joined by Page and then Mike slowly followed and started maybe the first "Drums" I've seen since Pelham, Alabama. They spent plenty of time on percussion and drumming. There have been eleven other occasions they had a session that has been labelled "drums".  Only two times in this century and I thought this was the third. and I disagree about it. After the show, had that portion of the show labelled as "drums" but I guess Icculus came down and whispered that," no, that wasn't really a drums segment" but it sure sounded like one to me. I saw the one at Oak Mountain in Pelham and I believe that this should be listed as the same. Sorry about the detour there but the drums were amazing and of course, there were "C&P" quotes, as well. 

As the musicians slowly returned to their instruments the band locked right back into the jam individually to bring the "Light" to shine on the crowd after a short "Crosseyed and Painless" reprise. This song has been consistently reliable all summer and this was no exception. Also, containing its' share of "C&P" teases it led down the road and over the hill into Gamehendge. "The Lizards" is one of those songs that really benefits from what it is around it. It is an amazing song by itself but if it is being played after an amazing drum segment and a lovely, prog-ish,"Light" it's all the better. The crowd lost their minds and it only made the song better. Whether you consider that song a break to sit down or not, it most certainly has one of Trey's most beautiful solos in their catalog. That's why I say it matters what surrounds it. If it's a slower song or in the first set, have a seat or chill but if it's at the end of the set, you can't help but be up and dancing.  The same applies to the last song of the set. "First Tube" is mainly just a scale exercise with a crazy danceable bassline and drum beat. However, following "The Lizards" and the rest of this set it had the whole park dancing and losing their collective minds.

 i love shows that have "Tube" and "First Tube" in them. I'm just a sucker for them. It also had the "still waiting" theme popping up throughout it. Afterwards, the band left and when they came back Trey tried to count us into thanking the crew but it wasn't necessary. The band broke into only the second "Walls of the Cave" encore ever played. It was an amazing show all the way around. All I can say that hasn't been said is thank goodness I love "C&P" because if I heard a song that I hated being teased and reprised throughout the set, it would drive me crazy. Luckily, I love the song and I can't wait for Fall tour.

Written by: Greg Heffelfinger

Video of the entire second set from Sunday night.
Are you "Still Waiting"?

Dick's Sporting Goods

Commerce City,CO

This show was webcast via LivePhish. Trey teased San-Ho-Zay during Weekapaug and teased Crosseyed during Steam, Piper, Light, First Tube and Walls of the Cave. Piper featured a Fishman-driven improvisation with Trey on Marimba Lumina and Mike and Page on percussion. Piper, Light, First Tube, and Walls of the Cave also included Crosseyed quotes.

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