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. phoammhead Says:

    bethel, midwest, southern end, superballix, gorge, bowls, lakes, uic, dicks and everything in between . . .

  2. phoammhead Says:

    what do you call hippie speedball without the coffee? . . . burnout! 🙂

  3. butter Says:

    Why did I spend all that time, $, and energy catching the West run? -Robear

    Tahoe Light

  4. Robear Says:

    Trey awas looking down at the song list when Page signaled for the Theremin. This time, Page waved his arm and Trey caught on before starting another song, ala ‘Mikes’ at Hollywood.

    See how close a great jam can be to a spectacular jam?

    Amazed at how quick they launched into the storagesphere when Page switched.

  5. Willowed Says:

    Spinning this halfway to the moon right now.

    It is as good as I remember.

  6. butter Says:

    did that Piper dissolve Miner into the cosmos?

  7. Robear Says:

    Almost butter, almost.

    More like, to hang with you and the crew on night 2. The saving grace of that 3 pack. HB, Tahoe’s.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    yeah, i heard about that, robear . . . so close to being epic! but, that’s what dick’s are for.

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    gorge RnR

  10. Willowed Says:

    That place was floored after that piper. Mouths openwondering what the fuck happened.

    Ck5 was doing work. Alien abduction type shit.

  11. butter Says:

    That was really fun, all smiles all night

    It’s ruff Robear, this next month under the redwood curtain is the real type 2 😉

  12. Willowed Says:

    Man…..this ending jam in halfway to the moon is gold

    Trey doing work.

  13. Robear Says:

    Gorge was awesome, scene, music, everything.

    HB and Tahoe had awesome locales, and amazing people. Music unable to elevate for sustained periods. Not trying to argue or be a downer. That three pack feels like the JV after spinning UIC ad nauseum and streaming Dicks.

    3. Night. Stands.

  14. Robear Says:

    No doubt butter, will be driving at least one snipper crazy with all the new Phish. Grateful Mark = not a Phish head!

  15. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    robear, i’d feel exactly the way you do. 3 night stands indeed.

  16. phoammhead Says:

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

    Halfway to the moon was fire” – willowed pg 41

    hey willowed, you get someone to help you with your laptop you left at tweekville? 😉

  17. Robear Says:

    Thanks dF. Seriously, no problems here. Just sharing my perspective. I know lots of lurkers come here for a variety of takes.

    I wouldn’t trade my time in Tahoe. I’m wishing I could have added some days to my month! Or split into two separate people for awhile!

    I think anyone with a discerning ear could spin the Hood from Tahoe, UIC and Dicks for a sample of what I mean.

  18. Willowed Says:

    On a side note. I met many new fans this weekend. Lots of youngins, 18 – 20 or so. Super stoked to be there. Super nice and respectful. I have a good feeling about some of these new kidz on tour. Phish….not for mid thirties fanners anymore.

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    robear just let me make your tour schedule next year


  20. phoammhead Says:

    jk, willowed!!!

    i also have noticed some kids coming along that love the music and vibe!

  21. Willowed Says:

    Not yet Phoam. I’m not stressed about it. It will work out.

    I have to call them back at 2 30 to make sure they have it.

  22. phoammhead Says:

    ^cool, bro . . . yeah, you’ll get it back

  23. sumodie Says:

    phenomenal weekend phish & friends!

    almost perfect but for the fan who died in the campground

    now the long trek home. satisfied.

  24. Willowed Says:

    And the mound to meastick ratio at dicks was wonderful

    The ladies loved dicks……wait, that sounds bad

  25. phoammhead Says:

    whoa . . . say it ain’t so, sumo

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