Over the weekend: Phish at Red Rocks, 8/01/09

Reviews: Night I | Night II | Night III | Night IV
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Phish's return to the stage after five years on the lamb has them reenergized, focused and most importantly, sober. The effects of these changes have greatly enhanced the Phish experience. Phish 3.0 was on glorious display this past Saturday night at Red Rocks. The quartet from Vermont built upon their momentum from Friday night's stellar second set and turned in one strong performance. The setlist was full of surprises and many crowd favorites.  It seems not only are the fans reaping the benefits of Phish 3.0 but also the members of the band. Their enjoyment was apparent as they smiled along with the crowd all evening long.

The band opened the show with authority with the heavy "ACDC Bag," and it was on from there. Bust out after bust out ensued as the crowd murmured with delight. The heavy theme continued as "The Curtain With" followed, and as the sun went down over the mountains behind the crowd, this song brought things to another level. Lead guitarist Trey Anastasio charged away and hit his notes with conviction, sounding crisp and definitely on point. The quirky sing along "Mound" was a nice, rare, treat, having not played it since 2002, while hearing "Tube," one of Phish's most revered songs, live was an exhilarating experience. And to hear it played as well as Saturday night is almost indescribeable. "Punch You in the Eye" and "Tube" were played back to back towards the end of the set, and the intensity remained throughout the ending of the first set, which concluded with "Run Like An Antelope."

As if to say, "We can top that," Phish kept the engine going full steam after a quick set break. Velvet Underground's "Rock N Roll" got things going, and after a couple well played staples like "Down with Disease" and "Free" kept the weight on, "Esther" made an appearance for the first time since 2000 and only the fourth time ever - an astonishing pleasure that electrified the crowd. Thankfully, Phish followed it up with the slow ballad "Dirt," giving the crowd a chance to catch their breath. "Harry Hood" closed out the set, and what a closer it was! The reggae infused rock song is quintessential Phish and a perfect way to end a show.

Saturday nights set will be revered for years to come in the lore of Phish.

Phish - 08.01.09
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Morrison, CO

Set I
"AC/DC Bag"
"The Curtain With"
"Gotta Jibboo"
"Punch You in the Eye"
"Run Like An Antelope"

Set II
"Rock and Roll"
"Down with Disease"
"Harry Hood"

"Sleeping Monkey"
"First Tube"
"Suzy Greenberg"
"Tweezer Reprise"

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