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. frottage Says:

    i wish “amy’s farm” was some kind of euphemism on the lot

    for an actual farm
    or else drugs

  2. phoammhead Says:

    stayed up for the entire show on couch tour last nite and now i’m up even though no work today . . . spinning last nite 2nd set

    what did you crackas think?

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    anyone got a download code please and thanks?

    bdragon89 @ hotmail.com

  4. phoammhead Says:

    df, hope you’re okay . . . hang in there.

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    thanks phoam, i need to stop falling for girls with boyfriends lol

  6. Willowed Says:

    So……. Onthe plane right trying to collect my thoughts. Fyi. I don’t recommend tripping while in a plane. It’s a little weird right now, I’m not gonna lie

    Anyhow. Last night from top to bottoms was an absolute shred fest. One lull with that new jam in the 1st. But who gives a shit

    Halfway to the moon. Holy shit
    Gin. Holy crap
    Hood ghost guy forget. Holly shit

    On a side note. The BB got the fuck down on that floor. No joke.

  7. Willowed Says:

    And how the fuck can I forget the storage piper. Holy shit

    No joke I felt like I was abducted by aliens

  8. bob dylan Says:

    had to crash after first set last night. was too beat to stay awake and have 4 concerts this week to prep for with work.

    listened this morning on the train to hood thru ghost and really liked what i heard.

    guy forget! sounchecked it in tahoe and i dug it. robear turns to me “this doesnt count for your stats”

  9. Mr palmer Says:

    Fell asleep at set break. Missed rock and roll and come together. Daughter woke me up for twist. She knows what’s up.

    Piper was the sickness. That theremin was wild.

  10. phoammhead Says:

    i need to stop fallin’ for mary . . . bloody mary. oh well, here we go on my day off . . . it is labor day, afterall. 🙂

    now into this piper theremin . . . i really like this.

  11. marcoesq Says:

    Holy Ghost Forget, batman

  12. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Made it for whole show, proud of myself. Shit was sick. Optimal couch experience. I could get used to that shit.

  13. phoammhead Says:

    that ain’t no lie, aj. i thoroughly enjoyed couch tour. really liked seeing it all go down like i was in the front row.

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    I made it up too and now seein re mornins. Ghost forget highlight for me. Set was relentless just kept coming. Hard to believe we r due for.6 months off or whatever

  15. marcoesq Says:

    Has it been pointed out that the band referenced 12.8.95 AND 12.9.95 last night?

  16. phoammhead Says:

    holy looks like rain up and down the appalachian mountain range, batman!

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    Yeah phoam I heard 10 inches over the next few.. that’s hurricane.irene numbers were u in town for that? We got 2 in a row that year tho.. if we get that much gonna see some floodin tho

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    Ivan not irene

  19. phoammhead Says:

    you mean hurricanes ivan and something else back in 2004 or so?

    yeah, biltmore village flOOding!

  20. marcoesq Says:

    no yem, again, on this 3-nighter

  21. phoammhead Says:

    i guess it really depends on how it passes through, but the radar looks ominous

  22. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Woke up, cracked windows and it is FALL up in here. I love living right on the lake, can smell the water and fresh air. It alike Canada up in this.

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    Yeah ivan n frances. Crazy times. We have a pic of riverside under the railroad bridge with water about 2 ft below the 11’clearance sign

  24. Mr palmer Says:

    UIC had a YEM

  25. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Set 2 put on the senns and it was me and the band. Money well spent.

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