1stBank Center, Broomfield, CO
 Lyrics changed to reference the Bubonic plague.
Noteworthy Jams: Carini
Average Song Gap: 9.75
Notes: Carini's lyrics were changed to reference a suspected outbreak of Bubonic plague in the Broomfield area. The first of the trapped miners in Chile emerged during the setbreak, and the second during Theme -> Free > Joy. After Meatstick's conclusion, the audience continued the song and dance for several choruses.
Songs by Debut Year:
Hell, we even got a bold Hood > Light segue at the hipster festival show. That's good news - even if we like our Lights a good deal darker...
This is the best of the three Broomfield shows overall, but you might not guess it from the setlist. I didn't. A short Carini as the showpiece jam? A 12-minute Bowie, a song that hasn't surpassed itself in (arguably) a decade? Quick-stop versions of Light, Theme, Free, Bug? The not-particularly-well-liked Summer of '89 in a prime late-night slot? Perfunctory versions of Stealing Time and Timber, plus a standalone 46 Days in the first set - where the jam has nothing to connect to, no source of dark magic to draw on?
Well, yes. A resounding YES to all those, plus a fine jam in TTE(!) and a Theme > Free segue that almost (ALMOST) redeems Trey's inexplicable decision to use those rock-sonar downstrokes as the standard segue-into-Free material, instead of the song's glorious riff.
Carini morphs into an aggressive-ambient jam that's almost...anthemic, and which grows organically out of the tune, something Phish have gotten even better at over the years. Then we've got the first pre-Bowie jam in years - a passage that used to be one of Phish's spacey open-ended jam frameworks; it's only a minute but it's a very good minute. Light is short and punchy, with some detailed unison rhythm work in the closing minute and a weirdly-awkward-but-still-fine segue into Theme. This has been a standout year for Theme from the Bottom! Free flows (ahem) freely out of Trey's post-lyrics rhythms, and after the usual Cactus bass solo, we have another heartfelt Joy, and unusually well sung.
There's no way a Joy, Halfway > Bug, Summer, Split run should work as well as this one does - especially not in the meat of Set II! For one thing, you've really gotta earn a song as beerily melodramatic as Bug with some deepwater jamming, and Joy/Halfway doesn't quite cut it. And (for reasons reasonable and un-) no one seems to care for Summer of '89, a repetitive song followed by an uneasily-fitting, monochromatic jam. If ever a setlist has seemed programmed to scare away hateful little online fanboys, well...
But the run of songs makes a kind of sense here, and not just in terms of the Chilean-miners-related lyrical theme (from the bottom/in a minute I'll be free/we want you to be happy/halfway to the moon/we danced all night). The second half of this second set is all about intensity: the anthemic outpouring of Joy and Bug, the focus and hushed upwelling of Halfway and Summer, the eventual cloudbreak and psychedelic storm that is Split Open and Melt (which is a rare, spectacular version, by the way). I'd never put together a setlist like this; neither would Trey, I suspect! But it happened this way on the day, and it did so for a reason. We have the chance to listen closely at our leisure for the silver thread running through and between these songs, the light that shows nonsense to be simply an undiscovered species, new sense.
O well, you gotta take the bad with the good.
Carini is now, hands down, my favorite set opener. not too mention is segued into Bowie. WOW. Light Theme Free were all good. Joy is what it is. Glad to catch that newer Page song played for only the 2nd time. But, Joy, Moon, Bug, Summer of 89 all in a row slowed things down a bit after that carini bowie opener. Melt was fantastic.
I wanted a Meatstick real bad during this 3 night run and NEVER EVER saw it coming as an encore that night. I was f-ing pumped! I meatstick danced my ass off despite that fact that no one around me (except my buddy) was gettin down. I believe Mike (and Trey?) was/were showing the audience how to do it on stage at one point. (can anyone confirm this?)
However, I've gone back to this show and think it deserves a good listening to by all...it is unique in it's construction as all Phish shows are but there is something special going on at this show...
Here are my thoughts
For me, this show had some real downs & ups, down for STFTFP & TTE(But both were tight and placed at the start of Set 1, sent a message that something different was happening on stage)
I was up for Meat, DS & Timber...nice little run with good energy...
There were other Starts & Stops too...the starts continued from the upness of Timber...and On Your Way Down was an unexpected start to a nice run including Heavy Things & Sugar Shack...
...things stopped for me on 46 Days, I just don't dig this song that much but it was a solid way to end the set.
Had some Highs, Peaks and troughs...Carini>Bowie started things off nicely...solid jamming but nothing too self-indulgent.
Light>Theme>Free>Joy had a purpose I was unaware of at the time(miners and stuff) but took me into musical trough territory. However, listening again I hear solid, heartfelt playing and well sung lyrics and nicely executed jams...
Halfway to the Moon>Bug & Summer of '89 worked well for me at the show and even better on the replay....I love Halfway to the Moon, Page sang nicely & the band played well - squishing Bug in between it and Summer of '89 was an interesting move...I like the thoughtful lyrics in Bug and Summer of '89...maybe that was the reason they were together...
A tight SOAM second set finisher for everyone who felt a little confused by the set.
E: Meatstick - peaked out the show for me...a great way to end my Birthday run and the crowd was left singing as the band left stage...loved it on the night and love it even more on the replay...
Perhaps we, the audience, were thrown by the lack of any serious jams in the second set...TTE and DS ran the longest in Set I...maybe it was the unusual song selections...
Whatever it was...don't judge this show by the set-list, give it a listen, it's an introspective, soulful show....After re-listening I changed my rating from 3 to 4...