Phish has a long history with the Rocky Mountain state. In fact, when the group scheduled its upcoming Dick’s Sporting Goods Park dates for this coming Labor Day weekend, they said so themselves on their website: “Colorado was the site of Phish’s first extended tour outside of the Northeast, and the band has enjoyed a special connection with the community ever since.”
Here are five moments, in no particular rank, that will go down in Colorado’s “Phish history.”
1. Phish swims (drives) to Colorado
As previously mentioned, Colorado was the first place Phish came to play outside of its stomping grounds of the Northeast in 1988. They have many friends here and consider it something of a second home; hear the results of this jaunt through Telluride and Aspen on the 2006 live release “Colorado ’88.”
2).The Red Rocks “riots”
The Vermont jam band had been playing Red Rocks for the previous three summers when it came time for them to book a four-night August stand in 1996. Too many people showed up without tickets and all hell broke loose: Hippies piled in over the rocks, a Phan threw a beer bottle at a police officer and, the next thing anybody knew, Phish was unofficially banned from the venue. Check out this video of the report from back in the day:
3. November 17, 1997 at McNichols Arena.
An epic two-night stand at McNichols — Phish fans have long preferred indoor shows — featured this dark ‘n’ stormy show. “Tweezer,” “Reba,” “Ghost,” “Down with Disease,” a so-called “Denver Jam” and “You Enjoy Myself” were funky and heavy, catching the group at the top of its game. (So much so that the show was released as “Live Phish 11,” in the band’s now discontinued live release series.)
4. October 31, 1990 at Armstrong Hall, Colorado College.
Phish’s Halloween shows have become something of legend and this was the first to take place outside of Vermont. Long a hot tape trade when that was still going down, this show was released in 1999 on eMusic, making it Phish’s first official online release. It is also believed to be the first commercial download release of a full concert by any band. And with good reason: “Possum” sparkles, “You Enjoy Myself” features a “Munsters Theme” tease and you can’t beat a super-weird rendition of “Fee.”
5. Phish gets back on the rocks
2009 saw the return of Phish to Red Rocks for its first time since 1996 and the band didn’t disappoint (that is, if you could get tickets). The second night got a “Fluffhead,” the third an “Esther” and the fourth a sit-in from Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann.
Stay tuned to Reverb this weekend for coverage of Phish’s Labor Day run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.