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”

  1. win butler Says:

    Any word from ‘Hug-gate’?

  2. Kaveh Says:

    Fuck—even “Possum” shredded

    ^Love it! @Miner.

  3. angryjoggerz Says:

    @ Mitch

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kGrZ23gcTk4/Tl1F8QsbUKI/AAAAAAAAAAU/6V9_tN3P1Ew/s1600/CT2011.jpg

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    I agree cable, I liked the immediate turn into different territory in the Light. However I think they definitely declined the full Disease reprise rather than missing it. There were a few Trey Says No moments I found a bit inexplicable in this 2nd set, no surprise there, jams deflating to silence when transitions were available. Not just tweezer out of dwd but golden age out of tweezer jam – they were one step away from it – etc

    Got up to clean the kitchen during Monkey. By far the most I’ve ever enjoyed that song. #couchtour #winning

    this post is overly negative so this closing sentence will emphasize how great the highlights were, which was: very

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    they need to go ahead and pair up 2001, light, and golden age directly & get it over with…the phish 3.0 space child trilogy…liftoff time

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    anyone else think we were getting the animals show during possum?

  7. Mr palmer Says:

    Nice couch tour post @ aJ. Nice gift the band gives us family types with the pay per view option. Thanks phish.

    Need to get this show on the headphones at some point later today.

    Have fun tonight boys and girls. Last show until …..?

  8. lastwaltzer Says:

    I enjoyed the second frame a lot. Lots of goodies but damn it trey RELAX, that tweezer transition was gonna be awesome. Also seemed like they were jamming on Golden Age for quite a while, kind of weird they skipped the transition, faded out and came back up into golden age.

    Overall though, really good set. Can’t wait to listen back to this one today. Def. lots of goodness spread through the second set.

    Also really liked the dived, highly charged.

  9. Cable Hogue Says:

    I haven’t listened back at all, but I thought the slight rush to the Tweezer transition out of DWD was not necessarily on Trey…both in that case and the DWD reprise section I thought he presented the opportunity for the other guys to adjust and jump on board and they didn’t quite sync up. Kinda thought it was Fish who was a little behind the 8 ball in those instances. Of course Fish is playing his ass off in general, just a couple of hiccups there….feels churlish to be complaining about anything the day after a show that gave us that Tweezer jam but hey, Couch Tour makes us all a little over-analytical.

  10. Cable Hogue Says:

    Obviously just my impressions from watching last night, I very well could be totally wrong, wouldn’t be the first time….

  11. Robear Says:

    KDF reprise ripped! Reminded me of Greek 3 Suzy Reprise!

  12. lastwaltzer Says:

    I mean don’t get me wrong, botched transitions don’t ruin a song for me.

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    gonna load this onto my ipod and head down to jazz fest, i got a late night dr. john set im hitting today as well. its gonna be a good one

  14. Robear Says:

    Any of u cats have a PT handle? Guy over there saying Miner doesn’t go to many shows, including Dicks. And just reviews from the streams or boards. Not that it matters….

  15. butter Says:

    morn guys

    Miner glad you had an all timer

    taking your advice and trying to get this Tweez in flac, shut out of the stream last night

  16. Mr palmer Says:

    I think my pt handle is Miner4Lyphe

  17. lastwaltzer Says:

    @robear

    fuck da kids. Not worth your or anyone elses time.

  18. Tom Says:

    god damn julius. …

  19. butter Says:

    C, loved the Tahoe GAge>2001

    such a natural space bridge available, hear ya on pairing Light with em

    is this the first set with Tweez, Light and Disease?

  20. butter Says:

    Trey gets to say when to not take another step (you wooks)

  21. butter Says:

    space bridges for the win

  22. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    While sped up at the final moments before becoming Tweezer, that segue into Tweezer erased that inevitable sideways carrot becoming
    (Down with Dis)eezer)! An equation of sorts, one that annihilates the Universe. And as soon as the song proper concluded, pure bliss immediately ensued, emanating from the stage.

  23. butter Says:

    Diseaseeezer

  24. butter Says:

    20 minute Halley’s – yo a friend of Willowed is a friend indeed 🙂

  25. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    It wasn’t until IT that I finally re-listened to the 2/28/03 Tweezer, with that free disc they handed out! I am not sure of I can wait that long on this one; it rivals getting to that place.

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