Dreaming In Denver

9.3.11 Michael Stein

On the middle night of Denver’s summer finale, Phish threw down a show that rivaled any of the season. Without having listened back just yet, because sometimes—well—it’s just better that way, I can, unquestionably, vouch for the two-set powerhouse. In an absolute showcase of why I travel this country far and wide chasing down a dream, the band crafted a second set that underlined the intangible excellence of now in the universe of Phish.

Fusing central jam vehicles “Down with Disease” and “Tweezer” into a half-hour of the most sublime music of the summer, the band finally went deep on “Tweezer” and came up with timeless jam that immediately vaulted itself into my favorite pieces of music I’ve ever experienced. I don’t need to hear it again—I don’t need any listen-back guarantee—it’s that good. Fusing bliss and groove in an improvisational odyssey, the likes of which I thought only lived in the far recesses of my imagination, Phish dropped a jam that will remain in all of our listening rotations for the rest of time.

9.3.11 (M.Stein)

And how they got there was a great part of the adventure. Taking a set-opening “Disease” into an exploratory realm and then patiently building towards a ridiculous segue into “Tweezer,” the band seemed in the brink of an all-time transition. Having deliberately spent time weaving the song’s together, at the last second the band (or a single member) inexplicably rushed the final entry into “Tweezer,” botching the pure transition. But at the same time, having just jammed a stellar “Disease” into “Tweezer,” rushed by a five seconds or not, shit was on like donkey kong! And instead of my writing about this “Tweezer” right now, do yourself a favor and just go listen. It’s rare that I get back to my hotel without the immediate desire replay what I just lived, but somehow, once I got back home last-night, this soul-cleansing journey wasn’t something I was ready to hear so quickly. In all seriousness, however, if you weren’t there, you should do it now. Check it out…Phish at their absolute finest.

9.2.11 (M.Stein)

When the opening half-hour of the second set consisted of nothing but “Disease -> Tweezer,” the band could have played “Julius” six times and walked off stage and I’d have been a pig in shit. But, thankfully, they only played it once towards the end of the set when things had already been scribed in the record books by a set of music that never let up for a moment. After a half-hour of exploratory jamming, one would expect such an epic “Tweezer” to bleed into “Prince Caspian,” and certainly not “Golden Age!” But that’s the kind of night it was. Tacking on the first jammed-out version since Super Ball, Phish tied a third open jam onto an unfolding masterpiece. Punctuating the opening run with a spectacular and hard-peaking “Limb by Limb,” for the second night in row, anything the band touched was turning to gold. Thus, when they started up “Kill Devil Falls”—a song I’d never want to hear in the middle of a second set—it didn’t make me flinch. On a night like last, the songs were completely secondary to the in-the-moment jamming that took hold of the band from the onset of the show. And as the band careened through the blistering rock jam, just when song usually winds down, the band hopped right back into the high-speed textures from which they had just descended. And when this bonus segment came to a close, the band seeped into the ambient openings of “2001.”

9.3.11 (Michael Stein)

It felt like a “YEM” might sprout from the peak of “2001,” but when “Light” came out of the song’s peak, the dreamscape just became more vivid. A passionate exploration of “Light”—another highlight of a set made of them—built to a delicate passage where Trey hinted at the “Down With Disease” lick. And as the rest of the band jumped into a percussive hybrid of the two songs—a legitimate “Disease Reprise”—one of the show’s most awe-inducing moments materialized out of the unlikeliest of places. At this stage of the set, the band, the crowd, and the entire universe had experienced a massive triumph, and when the band did finally segue into “Julius” amidst one of their sickest sets of the year, it seemed sardonically appropriate. “Cavern,” the seeming set-closer, set the table for an “Antelope” that punctuated this show complete. And to bring the set full circle, amidst the chaotic jam, Trey wove in calculated “Disease” licks, another sign of a band that is clearly communicating as well if not better than ever.

The classic encore of “Sleeping Monkey,” “Tweezer Reprise” provided a classy signature on a show of immediate lore. I’ll be back after the tour to rehash this whole affair in a far more musically-focused fashion. But for now, the emotions are all that will come through the keys. With one night left of a summer of legend, the band is at the top of their game, and it’s all just a blessing to be a part of.

9.2.11 (M.Stein)

First Set Thoughts: The opening frame of last night show—though only containing one true jam vehicle in “Wolfman’s Brother,” retained full engagement from the get go. Each and every song in the set got the full treatment, as each piece represented a supercharged version of its normal self. If one song stood out to me in the first set, it was “Llama.” For the past couple years, the song seemed like its old-school energy could never be matched, and that a bust-out would always be fun for the memories. But in the type of performance that underlines the band’s unbridled confidence of the moment, they exploded with a fury brought the audience back to the song’s most gloriest of days. A super smooth “Moma,” an unusually huge “Ocelot” and a slamming “Funky Bitch” also stood out in a frame that featured on-point playing throughout. And to close the set came another creative excursion of “Wolfman’s,” a version that grew into uncharted waters before returning to the song’s conclusion in a massive set closer. Fuck—even “Possum” shredded. It was just one of those nights.

I: Possum, The Moma Dance, The Wedge, Ocelot, The Divided Sky, Funky Bitch, Axilla > Llama, Fast Enough for You, Wolfman’s Brother

II: Down with Disease -> Tweezer > Golden Age > Limb By Limb, Kill Devil Falls > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Light* -> Julius > Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

*w/ “Disease Reprise” jam

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1,147 Responses to “Dreaming In Denver”

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  1. angryjoggerz Says:

    First!

  2. angryjoggerz Says:

    That Diseaseprise was fucking cool.

  3. chefbradford Says:

    This is one of my favorite of your show reviews, Miner. Classic. Had me laughing and smiling

  4. bob dylan Says:

    i remember maxell’s. i’m not a custy n00b ya know.

  5. Willowed Says:

    Last night really happened. That KDF was so good. What a night.

  6. Joy Says:

    Indeed it was. So well put Mr Miner. What a blast to be there.

  7. bob dylan Says:

    “Fuck—even “Possum” shredded.”

    ^geez. think that’s the nail in the coffin.

  8. Mike in Austin Says:

    Couldn’t help it. Had to livephish app this diseaseprise out here on the golf course.

    I feel like Rodney Dangerfield.

    Let’s Dance!

  9. st8 of mind Says:

    I figured this night would blow up after the ssss session. I know when I hear Miner’s passionate voice that the band killed it, and I’m glad they did. Now I have to listen. Thanks.

  10. Willowed Says:

    Just spun last nights Tweezer.
    Trza souring leads
    Page Crushing the baby grande
    Fishman holding down mad beats
    And gordo just being gordo.

    And that little jam that closed Tweezer was majestic. I feel we’ve heard that before. Sounds like a totally new song. Similar to that little jam we all thought was another song in the MSG Simple.

  11. st8 of mind Says:

    Set 2 is up on yawningdrone.com already.

  12. Robear Says:

    Great review! I have a slightly different take from the couch, but whatevs! Sounds like another shut out for the PH from Vt.

  13. Willowed Says:

    Wait till you guys hear the loop work Trza does in that Tweezer. Not really called a loop I guess but he he loops these two little licks he hits during that jam and silently let’s those rip for the a bit while gently playing over the top of them

    Pure beauty

  14. jtran Says:

    That’s the tweezer we’ve been chasing. Great show

    Up to the mountains for the mornin!

  15. Robear Says:

    Willows, couch tour with HD video and stereo sound= ‘We heard it’

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    Uh oh, Robear giving it the critical not at the show treatment, lol. I liked what I heard from the couch, was fun to listen on the laptop and read and check in with the bb on the ipad, few beers consumed, a pizza, etc.

    Kinda diggin couch tour. The kissing my kid goodnight and sleeping in my own bed thing works for me. Plus, I only had to pee in my sink once.

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    Probably should aim higher than listening on my laptop speakers, ha.

  18. win butler Says:

    Knew Miner would love a show with ‘Tweezer’ and ‘Light’. Trolls told me so.

    This review is triple fluff!

  19. bob dylan Says:

    triple fluff sounds trippy 😯

  20. Robear Says:

    ‘MOMA’ seemed to have some extra sauce on the front end.

    ‘Tweezer’ was a dream come true. The rare kind where you don’t wake up right before the good parts.

    ‘Light’ was heading for some blissful unchartered waters and got ‘Julius’d.

    Trey got my tweet and my daughter got her ‘Sleeping Monkey’

    Not sure I’d call that a jammed out ‘Golden Age’ ala SBIX, but it was awesome nonetheless!

  21. angryjoggerz Says:

    They seem to have a lot of fun playing Golden Age. Hipsters.

  22. Robear Says:

    Don’t you falter.

    Fantasies are filters.

    band not afraid to pour out advice these days.

  23. Cable Hogue Says:

    I dug the Light a lot. Skipped the usual atonal soloing at the start of the jam to get right into the delicate melodic territory, reminiscent of the Portsmouth Light from leg 1. Felt like they couldn’t quite find the way into the full-blown DWD reprise that was hanging out there.

    Tweezer was the real deal, soaring and delicate at the same time.

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    the highlight moments of this show were great for sure. really great. a bit more patience would have made it a complete-set masterpiece.

    llama was ridiculous. easily the first set highlight and def the first standout version of 3.0. we all know how important tempo is and that fucker had it with streets of cairo quote taboot taboot. scorching, hair-raising version with absolutely hilarious & on point placement of Fast Enough For You right afterwards…message received Trey

  25. Mike in Austin Says:

    Lovely. Perfect golfing music.

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