A Step Ahead

7.6.13 (R. MacNeill)

7.6.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

Showing zero signs of a three-week layoff, Phish stepped onto one of the favorite stages in the land and delivered an awesome show from start to finish to open Denver’s end-of-summer trifecta. Knowing that many fans would be doing their best Encyclopedia Brown in trying to decode the setlist, the band used a bit of tongue in cheek humor in spelling out “Most shows spell something” backwards over the course of the show. Phish’s feat of the night, however, was crafting a flawlessly contoured performance with the given letters, including a fresh setlist and plenty of improvisational meat to go around. For a band that makes a living on doing the unexpected, chalk up night of Dick’s 2013 as another notch on their belt.

8.30.13 Official (K.Taylor)

8.30.13 Official (K.Taylor)

One could tell strange things were afoot immediately as the band opened the show with “Ghost” for the first time since The Fillmore in August 15, 1998. Last year’s “Fuck Your Face” show forced the band to jam, birthing four extended, timeless pieces of music, and three approaching the twenty minute mark. This year’s wordplay—on the contrary—made sure everything fit just so, therefore “Ghost” remained within orbit while providing a fiery start to the affair. The initial segment of the show felt a tad forced, as the band placed “Icculus” after a second-song “NICU” and following it up with “Heavy Things” and “Theme from the Bottom.” But the musical highlight of the set was just around the corner.

Let me start this paragraph by saying that I’ve grown to hate “Ocelot.” The standard blues rock build has done nothing out of the ordinary in memory, and has become but a stale place filler in the first set. That said, last night I found myself completely lost in the wide-open jam, having to remind myself more than a couple times what song we were in. This one got slinky and psychedelic in an instant and remained in a wholly creative space for the duration. And this was the point in which the show truly took off.

Rolling the improvisational zest right into “Stash,” the band absolutely slayed their classic vehicle in the no brainer highlight of the opening frame. Adopting a similar wide open feel as the preceding “Ocelot,” this jam navigated some twist and turns before arriving in some of the more hooked up, melodic playing we’ve heard from “Stash” since Merriweather’s outing. A graceful end of the set was highlighted by the debut of “Easy to Slip,” a Little Feat cover previously played by the Mike Gordon Band. The setlist prank remained in limbo, though many fans had long since caught onto the fact that they were spelling something backwards. I’m pretty sure that theories—and perhaps confirmation—of the setlist joke had made their way through the crowd, but how it would play out would be anyone’s guess.

A potent combination of “Punch > Sand” injected the main event with a primal tone, and as soon as the band dove into “Sand’s” jam, things got staight buck wild. From its first lick, this jam had “All-Star” written all over it, and by the end of some of the most exhilarating groove-based interplay of the year, it was a first ballot hall of famer. Veering out of structure into a scintillating passage of soul candy, the guys scripted a keeper that sits among the upper echelon of the year’s offerings—awe-inspiring music by a band that can do no wrong.

Phish brought back Mike’s “Say Something” and placed in squarely in the middle of the second set last night—and just like that the new vehicle started to deliver. Taking the gritty blues rocker off course, the band built into an atmospheric segment that eventually dissolved into “Walls of the Cave.” “Oh Kee Pah Ceremony” provided a mid-set surprise, but not the level of surprise as when the band rolled out of the ragtime staple into “Harry Hood.” Having only segued into “Suzy” and “AC/DC Bag” with any sort of regularity out of “Oh Kee Pah, the band added another song to an exclusive list last night with the first ever “Oh Kee Pah > Hood.” And the surprises just kept coming.

The final quarter of the set was carefully crafted and flowed like water from “Hood” through the end of the set, but midway through the “Hood” jam, the jam got very quiet, and out of nowhere the band slid into “Silent in the Morning.” Once again “Silent” appeared sans “Horse,” making it a clean sweep of the summer for “Horseless” versions. The opening notes of “Twist” continued the impeccable flow of this segment, and the jam quickly grew more interesting than the many hackneyed renditions that have dotted summer tour. And in a pairing that evoked the ending of classic sets such as 11.14.97 and 7.4.2000, the band put the cherry on top of the second set in the form of “Slave to the Traffic Light.” A wonderfully emotive version capped this beautiful portion of the set, and marked it complete.

The guys finished off their setlist tom foolery with a double encore of “Oh! Sweet Nothing” and “Meatstick”—and just like that another first night of Dick’s was in the books. Laying off all their major jam vehicles, the band has set up two filthy, action-packed shows for the next two nights, and something tells me one of them will be the show of the year. In only hours, perhaps that tale will be told.

I: Ghost, NICU, Icculus, Heavy Things, Theme From the Bottom > Esther, The Moma Dance> Ocelot, Stash, Lawn Boy, Limb By Limb, Easy To Slip*

II: Punch You In the Eye > Sand, Say Something > Walls of the Cave, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Harry Hood -> Silent in the Morning > Twist > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Meatstick


Tags: , ,

1,390 Responses to “A Step Ahead”

  1. roberto luongo Says:

    bobby D. Joel fuckin fronts work to my bro still when he goes on tour.

    let’s not say they are on the same level as Phish.

    bro still workin small margin game for extra cash.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ok then, dude. you have fun with all of that.
    the moment I start caring how many texts you get about something I’ll let you know

    I don’t know how to help you with all of the rest of it, so if it fills your cup to keep throwing shit at me go for it, I guess.

    see you on cheese tour, brah

  3. stupendous Says:

    Yup C! Thanks! you seemed like a teacher figure i could get on board with when i 1st joined this board back in 08???? i think…

    Great times!

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    funny we been at it so long we see real change in people’s lives

    now more kids coming and shit


  5. RoosterPizza Says:

    Dick’s CDT holds up on replay. My goodness

  6. bob dylan Says:

    didn’t realize we were talking regulate covers.


    ^i caught UM covering that back in 08 in philly. late night show.

  7. bob dylan Says:

    got bottom of page’d.

    looking for any high res gorge pics for a wallpaper.

  8. stupendous Says:

    HA! i love it. im not as devoted to the bb these days but the shows usually bring me back!!!!!

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    me too @stupe….come and go, but back for shows

    with the short break this time around I might not even fade all the way out this time


    coming back to work today was not what I wanted to be doing, but, not only was there a ginormous full rainbow over downtown on my way over the bridge, but I was also jamming the HollyHood right then at the peak of the bonus jam…

    good moment. strong performance, lot of emotion and intent there.

  10. stupendous Says:

    that hood was phenomenal….
    night 3 of dicks i was still waiting for a hood conclusion… got jippd

  11. kayatosh Says:

    spun dick ’12 funky bitch which is a great version. now spinning dick’13 bitch. discernibly way better drumming in ’13 that enlivens the band and the version. plus slicker leads from trey.

  12. stupendous Says:


    i think im sinking in the couch with this wonderful webcast rip! 😉

  13. stupendous Says:

    page also raped that bitch up!

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    although since I got no money to play with it means I don’t have to have to figure out the NFC North. shit is confusing as hell

  15. roberto luongo Says:


    nerves a bit shot and only 6 hours total sleep in 3 days.

    everything I said I feel 100% but not said exactly in a classy manner.

    is what it is.

    go Irish!

  16. kayatosh Says:

    after that brief ’12 detour went back to ’13. spinning the micro 4 min. dick’s meat w/ pause jam — $$$. Loved meat at BGCA too. that one’s up next. My fav. set of the BGCA run — night 1 set 1. of course no night 3 set 2 for me.

  17. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    There’s the a-dub everybody knows and loves.

    We thought you were going soft with parenthood impending and such. Thought a little program speak would help you back. Turns out UM love does the trick as well.

    How’d your handle this past weekend?

  18. stupendous Says:

    oh fee

  19. jdub Says:

    Keep it classy BB. It’s only rock n roll.

    Can we start talking about how much fall tour will slay? Cause it will.

    Nice to see you around these parts @Stup. I’ll get out to CO and visit sooner or later. Maybe next year.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    bill graham meat > dick’s meat by a lot. gotta downgrade the dick’s after hearing the graham meat. dick’s meat $$ to bgca meat’s $$$.

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Sick sick CDT with some quotes of old jams and some new school shit, one the best jams of the era > borked light intro in wrong key > really short jam > borked 46 days intro > no jam steam > 3.0 free > joy > 3.0 2001 > sick sick new school tweezer > numberline

    Where’s the flow at yo??

  22. roberto luongo Says:

    not even kidding it’s like non puffers

    I straight up hate fuckin UM fans

    it’s like a piece of their logical brain is missing or something. it’s like being a pedophile or a nazi to me.

    you cannot be worth my fuckin time if those notes don’t hurt your fuckin ears

    I’m broken but ya even the thought of someone diggin UM drives me nuts

    I seriously hold it against bobby d and he’s a friend. still think he has terrible taste in music cuz he can set through that garbage. will never respect anyone’s music opinion that thinks that shit is hot.

  23. stupendous Says:

    DF i think you had to be there for that one.
    I cant explain it to myself yet either. but it was cosmic.

  24. stupendous Says:

    j dizzie! yes you need to come to dicks brah!

  25. roberto luongo Says:


    flow is for noobs and phish.net

    it’s a fuckin rock concert not picasso

    go look at every set I saw 94-95. 80% of em are clunky as fuck and all of those 80% blow the fuck out of any show with flow from 3.0.

    flow is for people that like to write blogs and books about phish.

    my memory is filled with jams not fuckin flow.

    in fact most my jam memories are massive jam fizzle fizzle fizzle shows

    trey could have dropped his guitar and left after that Dust.

Leave a Reply