Last Night: Phish at Red Rocks, 07/30/09

Reviews: Night I | Night II | Night III | Night IV
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Thursday, July 30, 2009
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Phish's first show in their return to Red Rock was, by all accounts, a success. The four-night run sold out instantaneously, and spare tickets were a rare site in the parking lot before the show. The few that were available were being sold for $300 to $400. Phish is a counter-culture phenomenon and since its return from exile in March, the act's shows have been snowballing into musical bliss. The outfit's fans travel from far and near to experience its live shows, and Thursday night's show was well worth the distances traveled. The energy in the crowd could be felt in every corner of the venue. Last time the band was in town, things did not go as smooth. Riots in Morrison led the city to ban the jamband kings from playing at Red Rocks for ten-years. Phish waited thirteen years to come back, and judging from the expressions on the audiences faces, it was well worth the wait.

From new songs like "Ocelot" to old staples like "David Bowie" and "Moma Dance," the crowd sang and danced along to every note. Starting out the first set was a stellar version of "Divided Sky," a longtime Phish favorite. It was a fitting way to start the night and weekend considering the unseasonably inclement weather that covered the Mile High City in the afternoon. By the time Vermont's most famous residents took to the stage, the sky was clear and the mood was set for three and a half hours of music. And what a journey it was, lead by lead guitarist Trey Anastasio, Phish laid down the heat on night one. During songs like "Stash," Trey feed off the energy of the crowd and spiraled into a long flowing jam that highlighted the first set as the music paralled the brilliant light show.

The second set began much like the first, starting out with another crowd favorite, "Mike's Song," named after Mike Gordon, Phish's eclectic bass player. Opening the set with this fan favorite always gets the crowd into a frenzy and this version was no exception. The rare "Ghost" followed about mid set, and the long space infused song proved to be the highlight of the show. The funk-laden tune proved to be an excellent transition to the rest of the second set, eventually closing out the night with the Rolling Stone's "Loving Cup." A sing along, piano-driven cover the band consistently plays to close out its sets, the song was a fitting way to end a triumphant return to the storied venue.

Critics Notebook

Personal Bias: A longtime Phish fan, this was my 47th Phish show overall.
Random Detail: Phish started at 8:02pm and ended at 11:35, taking a 35-minute set break.

Phish - 07/30/09
Red Rocks Ampitheatre
Morrison, CO

Set I
The Divided Sky
The Wedge
Poor Heart
The Moma Dance
The Horse
Silent in the Morning

Set II

Mike's Song
I Am Hydrogen
Weekapaug Groove
Wolfman's Brother
Limb By Limb
Billy Breathes
The Squirming Coil
David Bowie

Loving Cup

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