Summer’s Swan Song

8.30.13 (Graham Lucas)

8.30.13 (Graham Lucas)

Phish finalized their summer season on Sunday night in the Rockies with a well-played show, though the second set lacked coherency and flow. The highs of “Carini” and “Prince Caspian > Piper” were quite high, but the main event didn’t fully elevate as a whole. Although the band was on top of their game musically, the weekend’s final set didn’t have the punch we’ve come to expect from performances at Dick’s Sporting Goods pavilion. With some out of place singles breaking up the fluidity, the second set had a patchwork makeup. But coming at the end of a revolutionary summer tour, this show felt just fine.

9/1 Official (K.Taylor)

9/1 Official (K.Taylor)

The first set translated quite well as the band showcased their on point musicianship by tackling several of their most technical songs. Tearing through “Rift,” and then “It’s Ice,” “Guelah Papyrus” and a smoking “Divided Sky” in succession, the band was challenging itself and they passing with flying colors. Closing the first half with a classicly-shaped “David Bowie,” the band finalized their virtuoso display. The rarities, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” and “Meat,” the former of which opened the show for the first time since it’s Brooklyn debut in 2004, rounded out a solid opening frame, and when setbreak came, Phish seemed primed to tear apart their final set at Dick’s. But when the dust settled, the second set contained more of an up and down flow than we are used to in the Rockies of Colorado.

Most everyone I spoke to expected the band to open their final set with “Down with Disease” or “Energy,” but they threw a curveball in the form of “Carini.” And as soon as it started, everyone knew “Carini” was going huge. Spending only a brief time in darkness, the band moved into an uplifting, atmospheric jam that shied from an outright groove for quite some time. The jam carried a feeling of ascension—a communal floating into the heavens above after a summer tour that far surpassed everyone’s expectations. Trey tickled spiritual melodies and Fish backed the piece with delicate, complex rhythms as the cerebral music enveloped the audience. The band reached a cathartic plateau and remained their for a while, allowing their fans to revel in the blissed out music. Then—finally—deep into the excursion, the guys hit a change and Fish moved into a mid-tempo groove that spoke to the soul. This was one of those moments that resonated through your entire being—an arrival of the collective consciousness. The energies of the band and audience united in truly spiritual event, leaving souls purged and jaws on the floor. The coolest part of “Carini”—the outright highlight of Sunday night—was how different it was from Saturday’s “Chalk Dust” and Friday’s “Sand.” Show me another band on earth that can play three such diverse pieces of virtuoso improvisation and I’ll show you a liar.

8.30.13 (G.Lucas)

8.30.13 (G.Lucas)

As “Carini” floated in the stratosphere, steeped in reverie, Trey decided it was time for “Birds of a Feather.” Ouch. And there happened the first strike against the flow of this set. Trey seemed to be only stopping off in a rocking interlude when he started up “Golden Age,” one of this summer’s signature jams. But this time, the band decided not to jam it at all, carrying out the composed vibe of the song before dissolving into “Prince Caspian”—another bumpy migration. But the band absolutely slayed “Caspian” as Trey developed a three-chord theme that transformed into the focus of the whole-group improv. A tasteful exploration of the song evoked memories of 2012’s Denver “Caspian” before the band segued nicely into “Piper.”

The combination of “Caspian” and “Piper” became the second highlight of the show, as the band constructed an uptemo canvas that Fishman painted with lightening-quick breakbeats. This full-throttle version hinted, momentarily, at “Guy Forget” as the band sprinted towards the finish line of their last open jam of the summer. And as Trey would have it, this “Piper” wouldn’t be complete without a final set of “Woos.” As the audience responded to his stops and starts, he seemed quite happy with the late summer development, but will he bring the “Woos” to fall? We shall see.

8.30 (G.Lucas)

8.30 (G.Lucas)

An awkward combination of “Boogie On” and” Saw It Again” preceded a quick run through a “Mike’s Groove,” that filled the closing spot of the set—a five-song sequence that flowed like a pile of bricks. Summer’s closing “Groove” did, however, feature a comical nod to Colorado’s recent marijuana tolerance with the debut of Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.” After a stadium-wide smoke session, Trey dropped a final version of “Character Zero” and the summer came to a close. This year, however, the feeling wasn’t so bittersweet with fall tour sitting but six weeks away! For the first time, Dick’s will not be the last we see of Phish until the holidays at MSG. Nope, this year we’re on the road again.

I: A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Kill Devil Falls, Back on the Train, Rift, Meat, It’s Ice, Guelah Papyrus, Divided Sky, Funky Bitch, Cavern, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, David Bowie

II: Carini > Birds of a Feather, Golden Age > Prince Caspian > Piper, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Saw It Again, Mike’s Song > Legalize It* > Weekapaug Groove, Show of Life, Suzy Greenberg

E: Character Zero


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371 Responses to “Summer’s Swan Song”

  1. Leo Weaver Says:

    @ren…I think (and I’m no English major) it’d be good ol’ boy, but I’m not keeping score. Thanks for the kind words. And yes, we could’ve definitely caused some damage in our younger days. I’ll def see ya down the road.

  2. Leo Weaver Says:

    Heard you were around snow, but never saw ya. And yes, you most certainly helped in a time of need! That walk from Gorge to Wildhorse would’ve been a bitch. A beacon of light…

  3. revise your despise Says:

    @snow I def remember meeting you and we’re all good. Cheers!

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    Dicks 2014: Sand develops into a twenty five minute Also Sprach jam to rival 9/29/99 but they never play the actual theme.

    Sand>Down with Disease

  5. snow Says:

    @Ren – was rainbow pony getting in trouble again with youngins again?
    @Leo- I wasn’t around the venue much. The crew I went with was all about tarplandia. once in, it’s hard to get out.
    @Revise – cool in the gang.

  6. ren Says:

    I like the way you think @lu. I’ll take some 2001 wherever they want to put it these days…been super dense/potent

  7. revise your despise Says:

    Still waiting…..for my old school 2001 set 2 opener

  8. ren Says:

    Rainbow pony stayed out of trouble and raged along with the rest of us. Someone else might want to be the keeper of the Bhang tho next time 😉

    Hittin’ up any Fall @snow?

  9. Corey Says:

    Anyone want to trade Hampton opener ticket for Halloween? Anyone?
    Pulling GA opening nights, but that is all.

  10. ren Says:

    @revise- especially if they give it that Woosta Jim treatment. That is one marathon I actually have a chance to finish 1st!

  11. snow Says:

    @Ren – that’s not as much fun as when he gets in trouble.

    right now, I’m on for Hampton. just have to pull the trigger on plane tix. travelling to norfolk is not cheap.

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    Seems like most people are skipping Hampton… and they will pay for this.

  13. sumodie Says:

    I see a home stereo blasting dick’s CDT in my near future

    AJ, i dont play fantasy football but why not ask a different BBer every week for help with your team. Might make it more exciting for all involved. And it is a competition after all

    Besides, you high fived the Biebster at Dick’s; you can do anything!

  14. Stoney Case Says:

    What Sumo said! x2!

    time for some ChalkDishWash Torture!

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    That’s all part of the fake out.
    Sand set 2 opener, but you get your old school long form storage 2001 dance party. except they dont give you the satisfaction of getting to the melody.
    now Dicks is all about the fuck you spell this shit bitches.

    Density of quality improv=hype=Band manipulation of audience.
    Grand conductors and masters of manipulation. Those four boys really know how to fuck with their audience. Grateful.

  16. dorn76 Says:

    perform my daily functions through a tube

  17. phlorida phan Says:

    I have singles for dcu and hartford if anybody’s interested. sdieulio at sifterparts dot com. To much to hit hampton then dcu the next weekend. Unless I win the lotto, in which case All bb’ers plus 1 will have all fall paid for.

  18. sumodie Says:

    Hampton looks a go for me too. Band will crush it hard in the muthaship!

    Still have xtras too if anyone’s in need

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    currently home stereo blasting Dicks Dust.

  20. ren Says:

    Bad Molly hype really exploding over here in New England…be careful out there and know what you are putting in your body folks. Some poor girls last words were “I took six hits of molly”…besides AW…who does that???…who lets a friend do that???

    Educate before you imbibe! And look out for oneanother

  21. Stoney Case Says:

    For anyone still wondering the difference, or what I’m always talking about,

    at exactly 7:43 of the Dicks CDT, Trey steps on the Digitech Whammy almost full force, then continues to use big long bends until about the 8:50 or so.

    at about 9:21 mike starts to use the squishy laser effect to absolute perfection in the jam. Trey not using any pedals here

    at about 9:47 Trey switches to the Wah peddle

    Mike approves with a foot bell solo starting around 10:20

    11:24 we get more crunchy wah action.

    back to the dishes……

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Didnt a bunch of people get sick on the mollies at Dicks too?

  23. dorn76 Says:


  24. little umbrellas Says:


  25. snow Says:

    I think a man crush is forming…

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