Phish: 9.4.11

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Commerce City, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

The last night was upon us and I was ready to finish out the run in style. Sean and Cristi wanted to get out of the campground so they headed over to the hotel. As they were leaving, they saw a ton of rescue vehicles making their way into the area. Later that day we found out it was because a young man from Georgia had passed away early Sunday morning. From what I gathered, his friends were checking in on him but at some point as people do, they went to sleep. He was well known on and was considered a generous and all-around awesome individual. This was by far the most disheartening news of the weekend. It should serve as a reminder to take care of your friends and not to push it too far. Life is fragile and it’s absolutely eye opening how quickly it can be snatched away. Rest in peace phan.

Sean, Cristi, and I headed to Lakewood to grab my brother before coming back poolside for an hour or so. We got to the lot around 4:30 PM and for the first time got to really check out Shakedown. It was packed with people hawking their wears. It was closeout pricing on the Lot. The last thing people want to do is leave the tour closer with t-shirts and posters still left to sell. I find that this is one of the best times to find that deal. I took the opportunity to grab a $10 shirt and a Conscious Alliance Antelope pin created by Kingpin Designs. Josh does some solid work and it was nice to see that his official design had been used to help raise money for the hungry in Colorado.

I was in a good mood on Sunday, asking people to custie me, but surprisingly no one really took me up on that offer. We grabbed our core along with Cathy. Eric’s wife had made the trip down for her first Phish show. She was in for a treat as the boys from Vermont were playing incredibly well all weekend and this night was sure not to disappoint. We got inside with relative ease and made our way to the back of the bus yet again. We assembled a huge crew of friends in the first three rows and got ready for the party to start. Phish opened up with a searing “Maze” which was the first time this song has held the show opening slot since 1995. It was the first hint that the boys would be busting out some sick maneuvers for the third of their three-night run at Dick’s. Here is the rest of the setlist from

SET I: Maze, Back on the Train*> Rift> Bathtub Gin**, The Way IT Goes***, Halfway to the Moon, Gumbo, Halley’s Comet> Tube****> Timber (Jerry)> Roses Are Free> Chalk Dust Torture

SET II: Rock and Roll> Come Together^> Twist^^> Piper^^^> Harry Hood> Roggae> Ghost^^^^> Guy Forget> Ghost^^^^^, Walls of the Cave *^

ENCORE: Backwards Down The Number Line

*Sneaking Sally Tease From Trey
**Low Rider Tease From Trey
***Streets of Cairo Tease From Page; Phish Debut
****Charlie Chan Tease From Trey
^^Low Rider Tease/Jam
^^^Roadrunner Tease; Page on Theremin
^^^^Oye Como Va Teases
^^^^^Guy Forget Quote
*^Rock And Roll Quotes From Page

Mr. Miner’s No Spoilers Downloads

Set One:

Set Two:

“Back on the Train” brought some solid funky goodness before Phish ripped into “Rift”. The boys were playing as clean as they had all weekend with spot on segues and great riffing. The one standout element of the weekend was that no one was really taking over. Sure, solos happened, but it wasn’t like Trey was dominating the mix. They were playing as a group, which is something I have been missing in 3.0. Phish was performing as a band and it was something sweet to behold. “Bathtub Gin” was fantastic with a huge jam tacked on. The new cover from Gillian Welch was a bit of a lull but it is always nice to see a debut. Word on the street was that they played this song three or four times during soundcheck. Usually when they soundcheck a song it doesn’t make it into the night’s setlist, but they were obviously trying to get it right before unveiling it at Dick’s. “Halfway to the Moon” is a newer Page song that we saw performed during the Broomfield run. It’s low on energy but high on sweet Page vocals.

During “Gumbo”, I ran up in an attempt to get a floor wristband as I did on night one. They guy at the gate was having nothing to do with it, so in a moment of wook genius, I asked what gate the supervisor was working at. He said Gate B, I quickly ran down and found a stout black woman. I told her my wristband had been ripped off and that all my people were down on the floor. She wanted little to do with me either and directed one of her staff to give me my desired wristband. It wasn’t quite as easy as the ‘Hey Brah’ing’ from night one but it worked, and by the time “Halley’s Comet” began, I was back in my seats at the front of section 117. “Halley’s” is such a sick song and one of my favorites; they killed it before blasting off into “Tube”. This particular “Tube” was one for the books as it was simply superb with “Charlie Chan” teases. It seemed to release a huge wave of energy that reinvigorated the crowd. Without missing a note, they gingerly went into “Timber”. Like I stated previously, the segues were crisp which showed how far they’ve come in this era. A lot of the early shows I caught felt stop-starty with long breaks between songs, but at this point, those moments are a distant memory and Phish has worked hard to keep the jam going throughout their sets. The Ween cover of “Roses are Free” reared its beautiful head before a ripping “Chalkdust Torture” to close out the 5th set of the weekend.

I grabbed my brother and hit the floor as the people were milling about. On our way in, I ran into Steve who had made the trip all the way from the UK. It was great to see those guys but I pushed on to the center. I was about 40 rows back in front of the soundboard when the set began. I would have liked to get some closer shots but I did what I could. They opened the final set of the Dick’s run with a huge “Rock and Roll”. I love this song; it’s classic Velvet Underground and Phish’s treatment is always well received. Going cover to cover they seemingly off the cuff decided to bust into the Beatle’s classic “Come Together”. They haven’t done that since 1995, continuing to amaze their audience. This version was sloppy but what do expect when they bust out a cover they haven’t played in 537 shows...

They quickly went into “Twist” which built nicely into “Piper”. Once again, they were just charging dead ahead. Going from song to song with no breaks is the hallmark of solid Phish. They’ve shown during this tour that they are confident enough to let their shows flow organically. It’s truly awesome to experience live music this way. During “Piper”, we made our way back to our crew in the stands. “Harry Hood” was one of the best I’ve seen as it jammed on before they slowed it down with “Roggae”. “Ghost” featured some “Oye Como Va” teases which may have been a nod to the rumors that Santana would be joining them on this run. I love speculating, even if I’m wrong. Santana was playing two nights at Red Rocks during Labor Day weekend, and considering the fact that Phish opened for him for a whole tour in 1992, it was definitely a possibility. They went into what sounded like a gibberish vocal jam from the back but it was actually “Guy Forget”. The story goes that these are the worst lyrics ever penned by Tom Marshall. It was part of a poem that he never intended to share. Trey saw them, and of course, he fell in love. Fishman hated them, but Trey would constantly be writing them into songs during the early days as a joke. The lyrics are:

Basking in the silence
Soaking up the violence
Will the good lord save?
Or will I dance on grave?


So for the second official time in Phishtory, “Guy Forget” was performed to a slightly confused crowd. It shows that they are getting back to that playfulness that was so important to their beginnings as musicians. They went back into “Ghost” and let us all know that the “Ghost” really is “Guy Forget”. They finished the second set with a massive “Walls of the Cave”. I had only caught it live one other time and that was at Deer Creek in ‘03. It has always had enormous jam potential and Phish brought that potential home on Sunday night. It was a huge version that just seemed to stretch on with the crowd working itself into a frenzy. They encored with a quick but fun “Backwards Down The Number Line”. Some in attendance complained that the one song encore fell flat, but after everything they had given us over the weekend, this was a minor gripe. We headed back into the Lot full of spirit and slightly reluctant to go back to real world. Three days of Phish can make you feel like nothing else matters, but at some point, it’s always time to get back to reality. We hung out on Shakedown a little longer than normal as it just seemed like no one was ready to go home. We then hit the hotel and called it night. As we went to bed, visions of Phish danced in our head, and we were thankful that the boys didn’t forget Colorado this summer. Thanks for an amazing run Phish.

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