Phish Kick Off Dick’s Run with "Lushington" Gag, Special Guests, Big "Simple"
Phish continued their traditional Dick’s spelling gag as the band kicked off their fourth annual run at the Denver stadium last night. The first letters of the show’s first ten songs spelled out “Lushington,” a long lost tune that hasn’t been played since 1987 (most likely in reference to a recent Rolling Stone online survey, which named the rarity Phish’s best song after fans flooded the poll as a joke).
Fans were also surprised by the number of tour debuts that were delivered during the “Lushington” set, which kicked off with the first “Llama” of 2014. The tune was followed by a quick “Undermind,” a Type I “Stash,” the Fuego track “Halfay to the Moon” and “I Didn’t Know.” Phish then went into Hot Rize’s “Nellie Kane” before treating fans to 2014’s first “Guyute” before finishing up the spelling gag with “The Line,” “Ocelot” and the year’s first take on Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.”
With “Lushington” now spelled out, countless fans undoubtedly had their finger’s crossed for a bust out of the long discarded song (though parts of the tune were later reworked into the “Fluff’s Travels” segment in “Fluffhead”). However, Phish had something else entirely in store, as the band kept the joke going with the tour debut of “Ha Ha Ha” before guitarist Trey Anastasio told the crowd, “You asked, we delivered! Simple as that.” The set then wrapped up with another genuine surprise, as Trey Anastasio’s band trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick and trombonist Natalie Cressman took the stage for a horn-heavy “Suzy Greenberg.” The guest appearance marked Cressman’s first-ever sit in with Phish and the first time that Hartswick had performed with the band since 2004.
While the first set featured a good a bit of humor and some interesting song selection, it was the second set that saw the bulk of the night’s improvisation. Things got started with a rocking “46 Days” that was followed by a standard “Back on the Train.” The tune then gave way to the night’s biggest highlight, a massive, funk-laced Type II “Simple” that rolled past the 20-minute mark before transitioning into a jammed out “Ghost.” “Backwards Down The Number Line” then preceded a patient “Harry Hood” that segued into a low-key “Wading In The Velvet Sea,” with “Run Like an Antelope” finally putting the exclamation point at the end of the set. Phish then returned to close out the night with encore staple “Character Zero.”
Phish will return to Dick’s Sport Goods Park tonight for the second show of their three-night run.
Here’s a look at last night’s set as it appears in our Box Scores page:
Friday, August 29, 2014, Phish, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
Set I: Llama, Undermind, Stash, Halfway to the Moon, I Didn’t Know, Nellie Kane, Guyute, The Line, Ocelot > No Quarter, Ha Ha Ha*, Suzy Greenberg^
Set II: 46 Days > Back on the Train > Simple^^ > Ghost > Backwards Down the Number Line > Harry Hood > Wading in the Velvet Sea > Run Like an Antelope
Enc: Character Zero
(*) The initial letter of the first ten songs spelled Lushington, which had won a 2014 online poll to determine the best Phish song by Rolling Stone magazine. However, the eleventh song was Ha Ha Ha, after which Trey announced “You asked, we delivered. Simple as that.”
(^) with Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet and Natalie Cressman on trombone
(^^) Simple contained a Magilla tease from Page and a San-Ho-Zay tease from Trey