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Published: 2009/07/31

Phish Bust Out Rarities at Red Rocks

Phish busted out a number of rare original songs during the third night of its residency at Morrison, COs Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The show opened with a short, tight AC/DC Bag, but really kicked into gear with the first version of Trey Anastasios multi-part epic The Curtain With since Phishs Coventry festival in 2004. In sharp contrast to that sloppy version of the fan favorite, Saturdays offering was sharp, focused and perfectly executed. The group continued to open up its back catalogue with the first version of Mike Gordons Mound since Phishs reunion performance on December 31, 2002. The group then stretched out on a spacey, delay loop fueled Gotta Jibboo and an increasingly rare, if not note-perfect Guyute, before shifting the sets focus to rock music with Punch You In the Eye. The members of the band were in a particularly playful mood throughout their first set, joking onstage and calling songs with a series of gestures and hand signals. At one point, Anastasio told the crowd that the band was going to use hand signals for the rest of the night and made an exaggerated tube gesture that excited the audience. Phish then busted into Tube, a jammed out version of Alaska and a patient version of the jam-vehicle Run Like an Antelope (one of the best versions since the groups reunion this past March). As a nod to his recent sobriety, Anastasio charged the word spliff to slush near the end of the song.

For the second night in a row, Phishs second set opened with reference to the bands Halloween costume: The Velvet Undergrounds Rock and Roll. The song stretched into a deep, funky jam, before coming to a close with a playful, bass-led breakdown that segued into an extended Down with Disease and, eventually, Free. The group then surprised many by offering the first version of the Junta song Esther since September 30, 2000. Oddly, enough the bands only other performances of the song since 1996 were on Jerry Garcias birthday and the anniversary of the guitarists death in 1998 (last nights performance also marked Garcias birthday).After running through the evenings only true, ballad, the rustic, Farmhouse number Dirt, Phish closed the night with a funky, improv-heavy version of Harry Hood that teased both Free and Dirt. The song also has a long history with Red Rocks: in 1996 a group of fans, led by longtime scribe Benjy Eisen, originated the controversial Hood Chant by handing out a series of plantlets in the parking lot before the shows.

Phish brought the night to a close with the dirty lullaby Sleeping Monkey and an experimental First Tube that ended in a wash of delay loops and guitar feedback.
More than any night of the groups spring and summer tours, the evenings performance felt like an event and many fans responded to the nights intense energy by lingering in their seats for a full half hour after the groups encore. The Vermont Quartet will bring its Red Rocks run to a close Sunday night.

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