The air was warm and the view spectacular. It could not have been otherwise sitting at the top of the gorgeous Red Rocks Amphitheater waiting for Phillip Phillips to take the stage last Saturday, June 14. And when he did take the stage just after 7:00 pm, Phillip launched into a set that was a like a fast speed train bound to grab anybody on its path and take them somewhere close to music heaven. But if the surroundings were extraordinary, Phillip’s brilliant set was just what fans have come to expect from his addictive live shows.
Joined by his excellent six-piece band, Phillip played a jam-packed set list that was as grandiose as the beautiful Red Rocks setting, giving new and old fans an even mix of songs from both his albums, The World From The Side Of The Moon and newly released Behind The Light.
Phillip and the band set the tone from the very beginning, opening with “Get Up Get Down” and going into a massive extended jam session that surprised those still getting to their seats. Throughout the set, this pattern continued, playing the hits that everybody loves and knows, like “Gone Gone Gone” and “Raging Fire,” but also debuting many songs from the new album. Almost always, songs got an extended treatment, highlighting each instrument at moments and then coming together again in an exhilarating display of musicianship.
But a band cannot live of jams alone, and the beauty of Phillip’s live shows is that the songs that serve as the base of these incredible jams are incredibly crafted, moving and powerful to begin with, so you are moved by the melodies, you sing along to the lyrics and then marvel and let yourself be surprised by the incredible music coming from the stage; it’s both intellectually and emotionally stimulating.
Highlights of the night were “Man On The Moon,” which had a wild cello intro by Dave Eggar, the powerful “Lead On” of the new album, and “Fly,” played live for the first time and featuring Phillip on electric guitar and solos from almost the whole band. And even the now famous, super slow “Home” intro (a mash-up of covers of “Let’s Get It On” and “I Got A Woman”) was as fiery as the sun setting behind the stage that night. By the time he launched into “Home,” Phillip had the whole crowd on its feet, singing along to the lyrics, taking in the beauty of the place and the music. It was an incredible moment. There is no doubt that the magic of Red Rocks took over Phillip, the band, and all of us too.
Get Up Get Down
Man On The Moon
Gone Gone Gone
Where We Came From
Digging In The Dirt (Peter Gabriel cover)