Over the weekend: Phish at Red Rocks, 07/31/09
Phish's second night in Morrison was a rain soaked affair that offered a stark contrast in music, from the leisurely and drab first set to the energized and voiciferus second set. Despite a strong start with crowd favorites like "Runaway Jim" and "Bathtub Gin," the dawdling feel to the set kept the mood rather subdued. One of the more sluggish moments came early on with the lengthy bathroom tune "TImeTurns Elastic." Even the raucous and set closing "Melt" was bland and lacked emotion. Perhaps the excitement and euphoria from the previous night show left them drained.
Regardless of the reasons, Phish thankfully bounced back with fervor and fortitude after returning from an extended set break (due to heavy rain). The fittingly titled track "Drowned" opened the second set, and the energy level changed drastically from the opening lines of Page McConnell's piano. The extended version of the Who classic, which is always well received, kicked off a redeeming set of music that included "Crosseyed and Painless," a Talking Heads cover and fan favorite since it was first covered in 1996.
"Tweezer," an another fav that's been one of the most played songs of the first leg of the tour, was also a welcome addition. Phish bassist Mike Gordon is as consistent as taxes, and the licks he doled out during "Tweezer" were goose bump worthy. Covers are making a large impact on this tour and "A Day in the Life" is no exception. Anytime McConnell gets a chance to showcase his voice the results are rewarding.
Phish is not infallable and just like any other band, off nights or sets are inevitable. But that's as you expect from an outfit whose strength lies in its improvisation and spontaneity. After all, going out every night and playing the same songs with a script is not the group's forte. Set like the second one, however, is what makes Phish's fanbase is so rabid, dedicated and enthusiastic. Sets like this are the reason to see Phish.
Phish - 07/31/09
Red Rocks Ampitheatre
Chalk Dust Torture
Time Turns Elastic
Water In The Sky
Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan
Split Open and Melt
Crosseyed and Painless
Backwards Down The Numberline
A Day in the Life