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. MrCompletely Says:

    i think last night was the rock show. i felt the natural flow of the show was actually more towards jamming and there were some intentional redirects in the rock direction, leaving a show that was kinda in the middle – which actually worked out ok since a couple jams were given enough time to blossom

    also: LLAMA srsly y’all that was some next level shit. OMFG tempo wow

  2. [Not Tom] Says:

    Oh, and I’ll also have a side order of Corrina.

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Who needs a DL code?

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    @bob d

    it’s the 4chan of the phish world, no?

    creative, hilarious, idiotic, filthy and profane

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    me, pham

  6. [Not Tom] Says:

    ^ word C. In the stands we were saying the same thing re: Llama. That was actually where Trey got very shreddy.

  7. Guyute711 Says:

    Tore it up in greenville marshall. I really like this town.

  8. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    You new Gmail acct, C?

  9. Cable Hogue Says:

    Loved the Limb last night. Twas a ripper.

  10. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Can’t wait to check this one out. So happy to see the band delivering every night of this run. I feel like tonight’s the most important night of the three because we’re going into a break and I think they know they need to leave on a very strong note. No pressure Phish but if you drop a rawk show we’re gonna bitch for months until you return. I’m with butter on ASIHTOS. I’d like a half hour treatment please. Just a half hour because I don’t want to ask for too much. I’m just a simple man with simple needs.

  11. [Not Tom] Says:

    Nice @ Guyute. Greenville representin’!

    You guys go? Either place I mentioned (Barleys, Trapp Door)?

  12. Mike in Austin Says:

    Dance Rock

  13. Mr palmer Says:

    Hoping for the same Bob. I could pull Miami this year too. NY is easier on the wallet though. We are in the minority there though.

  14. [Not Tom] Says:

    For some strange reason, I can feel them knocking s grand slam tonight then encoring with Fluffhead to send us away for the break with s nod to where they’ve come since March ’09.

    They will leave Mike’s, YEM, and all Gamehendge on the shelf.

  15. win butler Says:

    ‘Ghost or Ghost Buster’ tonight?

  16. [Not Tom] Says:

    Re: last night, it was exactly the type of show I was expecting, on the heels of what transpired Friday. Jammed Bliss followed by Trey getting his Rawk On!

    Tonight is more of a blank canvas.

  17. Guyute711 Says:

    We were at carolina ale house and some place with a bunch of pool tables after that.

  18. [Not Tom] Says:

    Oh – and the mix was much improved last night. Way to go Gary!

    And the bass bomb Mike dropped at the beginning of Tweeprise … It wouldn’t have been safe under a roof.

  19. albert walker Says:

    Wolfmans was disgusting. Right up with UIC

    Tweezer is some of the sickest shit ever

    Light though short reached in amazing plane quickly

    Great kdf

    A great great phish show imo. Maybe some flubs here or there but generally huge psychedelic bliss

    One more night kids
    Laterz

  20. [Not Tom] Says:

    The pool tables were either at Barley’s upstairs or the Corner Pocket.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  21. Cable Hogue Says:

    Last couple nights have clearly shaken the webcast curse….though Tahoe 1 delivered too…

  22. kayatosh Says:

    another high quality show lats night, top to bottom. A few jams felt cut short (DWD, golden age, light) but the tweezer was supreme. Trey went deep into the loop lab for that tweez and crafted, out of thin air, some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. His mates know how to complement him so well.

    Just heard the Llama (slept from axilla through the end of the set somehow last night) for the first time. Wow! beautifully bezerk version. FEFY is also a tune reborn in 3.0.

    they jumped right into IT w/ DWD, but I ffelt that one was painfully abbreviated, but it was a $$$ tweezer that did it, so no worries. Light also reached $$$ status.

    what a treat watching the boys in action. Gonna webcast it again tonight (yes, I bought all 3 separately), but need to find a way to stay awake.

  23. Mr palmer Says:

    Yeah, we need Miner to write an article about why the band will never plated a second jam in Mike’s again. 😉

  24. kayatosh Says:

    another high quality show lats night, top to bottom. A few jams felt cut short (DWD, golden age, light) but the tweezer was supreme. Trey went deep into the loop lab for that tweez and crafted, out of thin air, some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. His mates know how to complement him so well.

    Just heard the Llama (slept from axilla through the end of the set somehow last night) for the first time. Wow! beautifully bezerk version. FEFY is also a tune reborn in 3.0.

    they jumped right into IT w/ DWD, but I ffelt that one was painfully abbreviated, but it was a $$$ tweezer that did it, so no worries. Light also reached $$$ status.

    what a treat watching the boys in action. Gonna webcast it again tonight (yes, I bought all 3 separately), but need to find a way to stay awake.
    Mr palmer Says:

  25. Guyute711 Says:

    I think it was barleys. We were upstairs.

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