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. butter Says:

    some trippy ass shit during Fee > 1/2 way…. very cerebral melty moment….WOW

    what a 1st set!!! and whole show

  2. butter Says:

    climbed up to the top of bleachers Page side to take in CK5 and all the freaks during 1/2 way…..pretty overwhelming

  3. angryjoggerz Says:

    I love that she had no money but did have a giant crystal


  4. MrCompletely Says:

    @stoney, learn to make yourself a nice cappuccino

    not too much milk, but enough to cushion the caffeine

  5. punkmug Says:

    I can not forgive Troy for wooing that Piper. It’s going to take me some time to get over that one.

    Otherwise, an epic weekend all around.

  6. lumpyhead Says:

    oh shit I forgot about that butter!! those were some sick moments!!!

  7. phishm Says:

    Great story Heady. That was very cool of you. You probably made her year. Good stuff.

  8. punkmug Says:

    @butter. Fee>HttM was one of my personal highlights of the weekend. Really took my mind for a ride. So perfect.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    anny run is said to be 4 shows over one weekend. albany/boston/providence I’ve heard. Not sure which are accurate…i haven’t heard its off yet. maybe i’m out of the loop

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    oh. just asked someone in the know. I think anny run is off.


  11. SOAM Says:

    maybe they will do a mini run for nye….2 shows Albany, 2 shows Boston and 4 in nyc?

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Yes, do tell about Anniversary run…

  13. Kevin Says:

    I think fishmans wife is pregnant and is due that week. That’s what Ive heard at least.

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    should have refreshed.. lol.. fucking Fishman… ( exactly the problem!)

  15. SOAM Says:

    for now…how about some Halloween speculation? the band? Neil Young? Zeppelin? The Wall? Genesis?

  16. SOAM Says:

    hasn’t he inpregnated enough tour trolls?

  17. Stoney Case Says:

    anniversary run = TAB at Terminal 5

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    C! No doubt. I need a week at Case de Butter to learn the finer points.

    AJ, we will help you, no problem. Give me and or Palmer your login info. We’ll start spanking your co-workers and you get all the credit!

  19. voopa Says:

    He should be used to having his seed spread ’round.

  20. voopa Says:

    Or, used to spreading it ’round. I dunno. Back to work.

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    bring out the horns and play Gentleman for Halloween

    use the song structures for jamming

    roots rock was cool when Trey was still slow. hes back. lets get weird.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    I’m good guys, no interest in winning or anything – as long as the co workers dont get bent out of shape that I am not doing anything, it should be fine. I mean, won’t that make them win? Isnt that their goal?

  23. Stoney Case Says:

    Miner, I echo that sentiment! Band just on fire and crushing. Had a bit of trouble hooking up set 2 on Sunday but whatev’s! Funny thing, I probably danced hardest that set out of the whole weekend. Why? I had to! Caught a second win by skipping the daytime dabs. First good move. Then, had to invent new dance moves on the fly, as most of my go to’s had been used up on the first two shows.

    Caspian, Piper, that slow Mike’s and Legalize IT more than filled my plate.

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    joggerz, you’ll look bad by doing nothing. worse than not playing. here’s why:

    you’ll have injured guys and guys on ‘bye’ weeks in your line-up. bad form.

    Palmer, Cowherd just picked IND over OAK as his eliminator game.

  25. Leo Weaver Says:

    Real quick drive-by here since I saw him post a page or so ago…

    Just a big thanks to Captain Revise for his part in the weekend! Was great to have ya holding things down and radiating that great energy and permagrin on Friday night. We’ll have to do it again a little farther down the road.

    And great to meet and hang with Ren and Mrs. Ren…you guys really added to the crew, happy to have y’all around. I’ll let ya know when we make it up to NYC again.

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