“The Dick’s Simple”. I thought I was offering a uniquely enlightened thought to my friend next to me as the song’s groove kept getting deeper and thicker. I went on to say how all the fantastic versions of songs this magical venue churns out become simply known as “Dick’s Light”, “Dick’s Sand”, “Dick’s Undermind”, and right onto what we were witnessing, the Dick’s Simple. When I turned to Twitter to update the world with my thoughtful nugget, I noticed like 50 other people had tweeted “Dick’s Simple”. I just put my phone away.
True, the Dick’s Simple from last night was a groovy dance party, but there were plenty of other fun parts of the show too. Making it no secret that Dick’s is their favorite place to play in the current era–known not only by the outstanding and special shows they’ve played here but also by flat out saying how much they love playing at the venue in recent interviews–the band responded to a growing online movement to play the 80′s song “Lushington”. The ancient Phish song, last seen in 1987, would be considered one of the biggest bust-out songs they could ever play. Lushington was only played eight known times, all but one taking place in ’87. Knowing the band has a knack for spelling things with their setlists at Dick’s, everyone immediately started talking once the first two songs started with L…U. Many jokingly made Lushington comments before moving onto perhaps more realistic guesses–but as the songs rolled in, Stash, Halfway to the Moon, I didn’t know, Nellie Kane, and so on, people were anticipating Lushington to come at the end of the spelling. If played, it probably would have been the first time seeing the song to 99.9% of the crowd, if not 100%. But Phish, playing a deliberate joke on the crowd, instead Played Ha Ha Ha after spelling the coveted song moments before. After musically mocking the crowd, Trey, perhaps referring to the recent Rolling Stone poll of fans saying Lushington was the best Phish song, commented on how they deliver when asked.
The first set was actually pretty musically tame. Unlike the jams added to the songs for spelling FUCK YOUR FACE in 2012, these songs were played pretty straight forward. The Halfway to the Moon featured probably the most lively ending in its short history though, Page and Trey trilling around each other into the finish. Guyute was came as sort of a bust out which was cool–being played after a record 56 shows!
The Line was a total cop-out for a “T” song. By that logic, The Connection or The Divided Sky would be a “T” song. Page’s vocals were emotional and eerie during the No Quarter cover, the first of the year.
The place just about fell apart when Jen & Natalie from TAB were introduced and Suzy started. EVERYONE loves Suzy with horns. Unfortuantely, this version is about as bland and short as they come. It’s shocking they’d have those two on stage–at Dick’s nonetheless–and do absolutely nothing. Hope was being reserved for a reprise after the end of Suzy, last happening in 2009 at F8 with horns (unless I’m forgetting something). Instead of popping back into the jam, they took a bow and walked off stage. What a wasted opportunity!
An extended 46 Days opened the second set. The jam became dirty, and if I can remember correctly, dabbled into type-II territory. However this would not be THE jam of the night, being cut short by an awkward and abrasive push into BOTT form Trey. Simple started to a lot of people wondering if we were just going to witness some good, ol-fashioned TreyDD rock. But then the song pushed farther, and farther. The groove grew organically, without any clear leader, locking and unlocking to different grooves like a series of different latches locking and unlocking making sure that at any given time there was something keeping everything in place. It didn’t have the same amount of ridiculous sections as the Dick’s Light did, but this jam was different. It was an experiment in free-form groove. Trey played with a few different themes but overall this is just a 21-minute groovatron that throbbed to its own beat under the Colorado sky. Page took some notable dirty leads but he was probably the MVP of the whole night–smile plastered on his face, he played some of the most exciting music we saw last night. The only thing I can say about this jam that isn’t good is how Trey decided to force Ghost. Obviously everyone loves Ghost. Obviously everyone loves a segue. But there is a right way and a wrong way. Ghost, as written, should start with the bass and drums coming into the beat–just like they have segued into the song for years before 3.0. The song loses its luster when Trey scratches the beginning and expected everyone to switch over to him. That being said, it’s probably fair to call last night’s Ghost: The Dick’s Ghost.
Last night’s Ghost was the other half of Light’s psychedelic funk groove. Ghost, a song that’s becoming more and more rock-centered after years of being a funk staple, had everyone reaching for the stars last night in unison with Trey’s darting and truly inspired licks.
After getting Number Line’d, the band put together their first non-ground-breaking Hood. Still good, the Hood felt really right on this particular night before a Wading that prefaced a very standard Antelope. To phans’ disappointment, they didn’t encore with Lushington. If I were a betting man, I’d guess they’ll play Lushington before they get off stage Sunday night though.
Let’s see what Dick’s has in store for us tonight–I’m expecting the Dick’s Fuego to rear its head any time now…