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. fatbunch Says:

    Mornin’ folks! Been w/visitng parents and family this weekend so just catching the first stream tonight – backyard party with friends / big speakers / big screen & projector – YES!

    Could not believe my ears while taking in the night 1 nospoiler aud in headphones in bed last night. Did I really hear all that in the second set? So much energy and intention just ripping it up. Can’t wait for the re-spin. Hearing set 1 w/morning cup now. So much more to hear.

    Phish and the phishies WIN! Thank you JEMP! Thank you phish! Thank you universe!

  2. Makisupa Says:

    Mr c

    Nice call. Thats exactly what we were thinking on the floor last night! Wasn’t too far off, as the wolfmans was big enough to lose yourself in, and the Llama was Lludricrous. Some great headbanging moments here in Denver. Sparks night one and the llama, which was my opener call last night as the beautiful sunset was lighting up that front range.

    Miner, love the analysis. From the heart. Golden Age smoked. I didn’t get teary-eyed like during shine a light night one, but the feelings evoked were similar.

  3. Robear Says:

    Lololol @ Halleys. I remember getting that disc driving into IT. Still have it somewhere.

  4. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    @ butter

    Willowed, my girlfriend and I trekked a ways for these last two shows…I knew it would be all worth it, and after last night, I could go home happy…but I still get to go tonight…such excitement…levels rising.

  5. fatbunch Says:

    @Halley’s – love those “it’s already been worth it” moments 😉 Alpine night 1 in ’09 about half way through the first set my buddy turned to his buddy and said the exactly that.

  6. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    I am going to soak in some Colorado with my girlfriend, make this short trip action packed! See everyone tonight…maybe I can find Willowed tonight. Peace

  7. butter Says:

    will tonite be the feel good show

    or do they have some storage to purge before the break???????

  8. butter Says:

    after Tahoe Light, the run was gravy for this fluffer

  9. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    @ fatbunch

    When I find myself cynical, and not in “it’s already been worth it” these days…I stop and say I am in motherfucking colorado with my favorite band, and my girlfriend (who was willing to fly to Colorado for two days of my favorite band) and I can enjoy anything the guys muster up, anything!

  10. Al Says:

    Hoping for such a setlist tonight:

    Set 1:
    Chalkdust (07:34)
    Guelah Papyrus (05:32)
    Runaway Jim (09:54)
    Cities> (05:22)
    Jam (8:19)
    Halley’s Comet> (08:02)
    Bathtub Gin (14:39)
    Wilson (5:45)
    David Bowie (12:46)

    Set 2:
    Mike’s Song (19:51)
    I am Hydrogen (2:45)
    Weekapaug (11:36)
    Billy Breathes (5:26)
    Maze (11:35)
    Icculus (5:11)
    HYHUH (4:21)
    You enjoy Myself (19:44)

    Encore
    The Curtain with

  11. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ butter – notwithistading others’ opinions, I sort of feel like last night was the feel-good show. Everyone is different, but last night was TNT Rock And Roll show to my ears. That we didn’t get Character Zero only shows that I’m not in charge 😉

    I’ll enjoyed the shoe tremendously, and enjoyed hanging with some BBers, but this show wasn’t, to me, what it obviously was to some others. But I’m not complaining.

    Trey got very shreddy during Axilla.

    Lookin forward to tonight. Think it’ll be dark and dank.

  12. fatbunch Says:

    Word @Halley’s that’s the perspective! 😉

    Off to the hotel for send off breakfast with the rental units. Later folks!

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Bowie opener tonight.

  14. butter Says:

    word Not Tom – thanks for your take

    yea hopefully tonites the Carini > Ashitos > Ghost farewell…

    could totaly see a taste of storage with some more feel good RnR, Makisupa, Cup

    this nerd would love that Harpua to help clear up whats next…..

    could be another huge Waves looming

  15. butter Says:

    maybe a Portsmouth on steroids

    is that Crosseyed looming?

  16. butter Says:

    where the hell has “Drowned” been?….

  17. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Huggiebear, Dude at WW took my picture beard, short curly hair, walkie talkie’d.

    i told him to send it to you.

    Great picture.

  18. bob dylan Says:

    ghost > ghost jam > waves

  19. bob dylan Says:

    picture beard?

  20. bob dylan Says:

    oh wait, i get it. took my picture. He had a beard…

  21. [Not Tom] Says:

    Hoping for It’s Ice, Maze, Weigh, Halley’s, Mound, Foam, Demand, Undermind, Twist, what’s the Use, and The Curtain With.

  22. Mr palmer Says:

    Harpua narrative announcing New Years at Boardwalk Hall.

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    you go get em on PT robear

    I’m sure if you explain things rationally they will understand and reconsider their position. nothing like PT for a frank and open exchange of well considered opinions

  24. bob dylan Says:

    Harpua narrative announcing New Years at Boardwalk Hall. MSG

    fixed that for you.

  25. bob dylan Says:

    went to PT for the first time in months yesterday. literally laughed out loud at the titles of the threads alone. that place is great when you go solely for a laugh.

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