September 4: Phish Keeps the Hits Coming at Dick's Page 2

Set Two

Rock and Roll Nice energy to start this second set. Not necessarily a perfect version of this tune either, but better than the "Chalkdust." The end starts to feel like it could ease into a mellow jam, but instead it becomes. . .

Come Together I'm glad they got back on the train in the first set, but it's sad that it had to turn into this train wreck. I guess this is what happens sometimes when you try to string disparate songs together. If they would have just ditched into a demonic jam, everyone would've just laughed it off. Instead they try to ride it out until someone decides to launch into. . .

Twist The beginning sounds like they haven't yet shaken off the mess they just waded out of. Trey redeems himself some with a nice mellow guitar solo, including a "Low Rider" tease. For the most part the rest of the band plays it fairly mellow behind him, with only a few flourishes here and there by Mike and Fishman. Page distinguishes himself some along the way while keeping the upbeat feel rolling. Then, for no good reason, the jam peters out and they segue into. . .

Piper After a slightly raucous start, "Piper" eases into a dense group ostinato of sorts, with vocals from Trey. This can arguably be called Type II, and is a pleasant surprise after the stumbles earlier. But just as you might think it'll launch into turbo mode, instead the band heads to deep space and hangs there for a while, before Fishman decides to give things a bit of a kick from behind. But, with no one willing to back him up, the jam flounders a bit until he gives another push via the snare drum and the beast lumbers forward a tad, before slowing into a vast balloon that ultimately disintegrates.

Harry Hood Just as "Piper" closes, Fishman takes control again, tapping "Hood" into being on his toms. They certainly take their time on the intro with big-sounding bass from Mike and twinkles in the upper register from Trey's guitar. It's a little herky-jerky at first, with minor slips from Page and Trey, but nothing too bad. Fishman's really asserting himself right now and if the "Piper" wasn't evidence enough, Fishman's role is more important than most people realize. There's something about the loose, spacey portion of this song that comes after the "thank you Mr. Hood," that is an essential part of the Phish repertoire. The fluid but rock-steady beat and the way Page and Mike float out on top of it while Trey spins whirling stardust atop the entire thing is something that no other band can seem to duplicate. If someone you know would like an introduction to Phish, this "Hood" is as good a place to start as any.

Roggae Here's the inevitable slow down. given the last three songs they've earned a breather. This song also has some of my favorite lyrics: "If life were easy and not so fast, I wouldn't think about the past." and "I can't forget to turn the earth so both sides get their share of darkness and of light." It's fun to hear them take their time with this tune and mess with some of the starting and stopping and the little phrases in between. For what one might have written off as them taking a break, they really experiment with this Roggae and turn it into something lovely. And the contrast of the delicacy and grunge of the ending of this song never gets old for me.

Ghost An unusually dirty sounding entry into this song makes me think that Trey might not have been able to set his tone properly before they eased into it. It does lend a new kind of rocking sound to it though, which goes well with the slightly faster than normal tempo. If this was 1997, they'd take this into a grungy fiery 20 minute jam, but we're in another century now. Instead Trey digs in hard with Page following close behind echoing him at times. We get a Santana tease and a fun-though-short exploration before busting out. . .

Guy Forget One can only assume that this song is an homage to the tennis player of the same name and aside from soundchecks, it's only ever been played once live, on 10/1/2000. I wouldn't believe Trey when he says, "And now you know who the ghost is, he's Guy Forget," but it is a great example of how the band has fun with its audience. In case you're wondering what they're saying as they jam, as far as I can tell it's, "I have never met a man I could not forget, except for Guy Forget."

Walls of the Cave A gem from the Round Room album and a great way to end a set. For example, at their 1/1/11 show at Madison Square Garden, "Walls of the Cave" brought perfect closure as song 11 out of 11. Back in the realm of this show, they seem to have completely shrugged off their misadventures early in the set to build this "Walls" into a massive peak. You can almost envision the ground rising up beneath them before they ski down a backcountry glade at breakneck speed. It's strange how every time you start thinking that these guys have lost some mojo, they just pick right back up and shred your face off. This "Walls" is a perfect example of that. A spot on, raunchy rock-fest of an ending to what was billed as the last show they'd have for the foreseeable future. Though, as we recently learned, they will be playing a benefit concert in Essex, VT on Sept. 14 for much needed hurricane relief in the state that spawned this band. Of course, before they say goodbye to Colorado, there is the matter of the. . .

Encore

Backwards Down the Number Line Despite the sappy opening line, "Happy happy oh my friend," this has become one of the more consistently fun songs from Joy. Plus, as a song about friends that keep in touch through the years, it's a sweet parting note.

Picky fans might dismiss this show because of the second half of the first set and the unfortunate incident that was "Come Together," but there are some really great moments in here too. It's definitely worth repeated listening.

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