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. floyd Says:

    listening to last night’s show and I have to say that Mike is just on f*ing fire. I’ve long been a member of the People For A Louder Mike movement and his presence in the mix right now is incredible.

  2. Gregg Says:

    Hey guys – I just got back online and I’m overwhelmed at the positive vibes from this community.

    My youngest son is well. So well that he should be out of the hospital tomorrow. And for an 18 month old, I think he’s keeping an amazing attitude through the ordeal.

    I got to take his big brother home tonight and we caught the webcast from Tube onward – but like the Tahoe shows he crashed for most of the second set – at least it was on his own sofa tonight 🙂

    Really, I just wanted to say thanks to this community and to let anyone who might have given some thought to my younger boy know that he is well and should be home tomorrow. Thanks for all the positive wishes.

  3. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    Who needs a 20 minute Halley’s when Tube follows! The boys got to the point in 7 minutes with that Ghost, no doubt! Flights awaiting me at 6am…why is this weekend already over!

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    great news there @gregg

  5. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    Mike’s bass bombs, that filter that gets that bombastic effect, I could listen to that over and over and over and over…repeat ad infinitum, ad nauseaum.

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    incredible that show actually kept elevating after that hood. a lot.

  7. chefbradford Says:

    @Gregg, I’m happy for you, and I’m positive everyone else here is as well! The newborn nephew of a good friend of mine has been in and out of the hospital for almost a month, and I know it’s a heavy burden to bear.

  8. chefbradford Says:

    MrC, you’re dead on. Elevated. What a powerful trio of shows!

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    love you kids

  10. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    had a fucked up night, and no more phish till new year’s prob gah

  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    fuck boyfriends is all i’m gonna say.

    viva la phish.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    bummer @f0ol

    so it goes

  13. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I don’t even need to listen to The Way It Goes cover to know they crushed it. Gillian Welch is my muse and Harrow&Harvest is a GREAT record. What a run. I’m on my honeymoon in Kauai and can’t wait to get home tomorrow to start listening. Did I just type that? Yes.

    *ting**ting**ting*

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    so wait now which song had the theremin storage breakdown? that was some baller theremin playing (lol…virtuoso theremin…but srsly that was good) and the camera work and direction for that part were spot on. page was all badass *fwaaaaaWEEPWEEP* kung fu sorcery gestures and shit. priceless moment, & a fully developed abstract jam, not a gimmick at all. loved that

  15. chefbradford Says:

    MrC, Piper, I believe

  16. plord Says:

    Yah, was in Piper

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    ha right and that was like the fourth great thing that happened that set, or something? and then it got even better again at least twice more? ha!

  18. Ghostphace Killah Says:

    AYO WHATUP CRACKAS!!! DAYUM SON!!!!

    aight I aint mean to shout or nothin but im still lifted off that damn set forreal yall. that was some jah love up in there, soul flying out the top yo damn head and flyin round the damn room in a cloud of rainbows and blowjobs music forreal yall, like angels and demons fightin and fuckin and seriously like muthafuckin heavenly choirs and shit goin on. no lie b. that shit went deep tonight.

    but i was pretty twisted and shit too aight? I was down on the floor for that second set son and let me tell yall crackas that shit got straight crazy durin that mothafucka there b. I was sharin some a them orange crystals with this badass midget chick, i shit you not yall she was all wooked as fuck forreal, and this bitch even had a little midget size nitrous tank up in the show and shit y’all!!! I cant lie, we got freaky when that low rider shit started, right in the middle of all them spun ass hippies b…most a them was so high they were looking down on whitney houston from above yall so i dont think they even knew that little wook was ridin me buckwild tenth row rageside…i been wit some midgets before yall and they always some crazy fuckers too even without that gas goin so i aint even surprised really yall. whats fucked up tho is i aint even remember most of that shit cause a that gas. aint that a bitch.

    anyway that was a great muthafuckin show right my crackas? holla at yall next time, whenever the fuck that is, lazy ass rock stars playin one tour a year at the top a their mothafuckin game my ass. forreal b, yall got to play some more damn shows.

    aight peace

  19. tela'smuff Says:

    anyone still up?

  20. Willowed Says:

    Lots of tweekers here at the airport. What a night last night was

    Halfway to the moon was fire

  21. Matso Says:

    willowed – you lucky man. Looks like you hit an awesome run (probably the 3 show run that I regret missing the most).

  22. Matso Says:

    Btw, can we can now declare the “Webcast Effect” debate totally dead?

  23. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    #sitehasgonetoshit

    Where are the leg 2 highlights?!?

    Airport should be interesting. Hope willowed takes the tweakers on his flight.

    BB FTW!!

  24. Mr palmer Says:

    Who won the wook dance off @ Pb?

  25. frottage Says:

    checking out that red hot amy’s farm shit right now

    or wait no
    i mean listening to a celine dion album; goatfucking; dreaming

    no to that also, sorry

    obvsly in need of hot last night on mp3 ACTION and courting madness
    in the meantime

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