Phish 8.31.12 (Fuck Your Face)
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Commerce City, CO
Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock
Note: This article contains strong language, not because the author is crass, but because Phish is.
Fans have culled through setlists for close to three decades looking to decode the secret language of The Phish from Vermont. Themes have been discovered, but never has such a direct and blatant message been delivered to a crowd as it was on the first night of the Phish’s second tour closing run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Savvy fans had the premise nailed down by “Carini,” but as with the “S” Show on last year’s opening night many were left with the simple contentment of just seeing a good night of music. Never before has Phish spelled out a song with their setlist then played that song to close the second set. That song, “Fuck Your Face” was all but forgotten until perhaps the most massive bust out in the history of the group at Charlotte in 2010. Since then it has made a few random appearances including the now famed 8-14-10 Alpine Valley show immortalized and released on DVD. Since my noob days with my brother listening to the White Tape we have waxed philosophical about what it would be like to see it live. Well I was lucky enough to see it at Alpine and I was blessed to be the concert that can only be called the “Fuck Your Face” show at Dick’s.
Set One: First Tube, Uncle Pen, Carini> Kill Devil Falls, You Enjoy Myself*, Ocelot**, Undermind
Set Two: Runaway Jim***> Farmhouse> Alaska, Chalk Dust Torture***> Emotional Rescue> Fuck Your Face****
Encore: Grind, Meatstick*****
*”We all love Dick’s” vocal jam theme
**Crosseyed and Painless Tease
****Emotional Rescue Quote
Harkening back to 2000 when “First Tube” was a much more common first set opener, the boys ripped into this high-octane jam to start the night. Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen” which was a regular bluegrass jam in the mid-nineties filled the U spot and got the crowd wondering what they were in store for. As the dark jam of “Carini” blasted out of the PA, those keeping setlists began to get an inkling of what was in store. “Kill Devil Falls” sealed the deal the only question was, what was getting the “Fuck” treatment from Phish. It literally could have been anything. The 20-minute YEM, which was the obvious peak of the first set, included a mind-blowing “We Love Dick’s” segment that clearly stated how each member of the band loved Dick’s. Phish was having fun and so was the audience. They played a crispy “Ocelot” and a chunky “Undermind” to close set one. The setlist was left at “Fuck You.” The boys were not giving anything specific away, as well as letting those paying attention in on the joke at the same time.
Many fans have complained about the lack of jamming in the 3.0 Era. Well Phish played not one but two 6 song second sets over the weekend, the first of which came on night one. They began the set with a colossal 20-minute “Runaway Jim.” Dribbling off the map into some darker tones this “Jim” eased the crowd back into the show nicely. An unusually long “Farmhouse” was to follow that found the crowd singing in unison. The equally stretched out “Alaska” was another nice touch, and it left the fans with a clear understanding of what was happening with the setlist. One of the greatest “Chalk Dust Torture(s)” of the 3.0 blasted off into the first “Emotional Rescue” since 2000. The campy Rolling Stones cover was my highlight of the show given the fact that it was an epic first for yours truly. With the setlist spelling out complete the only thing left to do was to play the title track, “Fuck Your Face.” For the first time in the night I felt that the set closer was a bit short, but honestly it was oh so sweet.
The encore again played on the FYF theme with a “Grind” “Meatstick” duo. This show set the stage for the best Phish run in ten years. Following last year I would definitely say don’t miss a Friday Phish Fry at Dick’s. Their opening show in 2011 was for the hardcore fans as was this year. They played a once in a lifetime type show yet again and as I walked out into the smoggy Commerce City air on Friday I was left with one feeling, gratitude. Phish is playing well, having fun, and energizing crowds with spectacular concerts across the country. For two years Dick’s has had the pleasure of hosting the tour closer, and I couldn’t be happier. With two nights to go many were left with one question, “Does it get any better than this? “ We would soon find out...
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