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. Gregg Says:

    Hey all – long time bb mostly- lurked here.

    I’m hoping someone has an extra code for Denver 2 and 3. I was at night one but I had to fly back home because my son was hospitalized. Fortunately he seems to be doing better and we should get him home in the next couple days if things continue to look good.

    Anyway I gave away my Denver 2 and 3 tix but I’ve been avoiding reading about night 2 and was hoping to do a no spoiler listen if anyone has a spare code- greggcarrier at gmail

    Thanks – y’all are great. See the band now – this really is the Golden Age. Cheers

    Gregg

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    Vibes Gregg, best of luck.

  3. stapes Says:

    getting ready to hit the road soon.

    see some of you bb’ers in lot A shortly.

    think we’re in for something big tonight.

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    damn gregg.

    that sucks, I’m glad your boy is ok. I literally just used the code @pham sent me or I would gladly have deferred it to you.

    but someone will hook you up or this isn’t the BB. post your email (masked for spammers) and someone will help you.

    kickdown time

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    if there’s not a code posted here in the next 15 minutes I’ll just send you the files I pulled.

  6. Robear Says:

    Code sent, Gregg. Courtesy of AW. Prayers sent for you and your son.

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    that’s what I’m talking about.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    oh haha he did post email. derp.

  9. Mr palmer Says:

    All the best Gregg, to you and your son.

  10. win butler Says:

    Fusing central jam vehicles “Down with Disease” and “Tweezer” into a half-hour of the most sublime music of the summer

    ^ it’s a lot closer to 26 & 1/2 minutes.

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    The age of miracles. This is why I BB. And the fact that butters wife is named Virginia and his pat o butter busted out to Shine a Light and then Phish played Sweet Virginia and Shine a Light. and that Garret can post that the next show will be brought to you by the letter S, 2 days before it actually is. Tour closer DickHeads! Bring the fury!

  12. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    gregg….email me and i’ll get you tonight’s code tomorrow for sure. taking the wife and she won’t need the dl. hope everything goes ok for ya…

    randomposternutbag at gmail

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    that golden age was shorter then the others played Leg II so far. about 1 min of jamming. but it was a damn good minute.

    my wife has been beggin’ for a Ghost, and me a Dog Log.

    Ghost>Dog Log. bank it. 😉

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    Europe?

    http://74.6.238.254/search/srpcache?ei=UTF-8&p=http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2011/09/interview_jon_fishman_phish.php&fr=yfp-t-394&u=http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2011/09/interview_jon_fishman_phish.php&d=345011137799&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=68c50f48,2ff8fbb2&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=kv8YFq74S99JKkTNBSzqTQ–

  15. win butler Says:

    Somewhere there’s a ‘Horse’ missing her ‘Silent in the morning’

    Get ready for the first ‘Ghorse’ tonight.

  16. WolfmansFather Says:

    Purplehumpback, is the times square theatre showing tonights show as well? If so, can i have the info?

  17. marcoesq Says:

    fuckin denver phish, go git em boys

  18. Willowed Says:

    So many shreddy peaks on this kill devil falls. What a great jam

  19. thedayman Says:

    listening to this tweez for the first time… reminiscent of 8/1/98.. an all time fave of mine. i haven’t heard a phish jam like this really at all this summer. trey laid waaay back, letting page kill it on the baby grand with mike leading with bass bombs.

    so great……………..

  20. voopa Says:

    D’oh!

    Last night we posted an interview with Jon Fishman of Phish that was submitted to us by a freelancer yesterday and represented to us an original piece of writing. Shortly after the item appeared on our blog, we learned that the interview had originally run in print in Relix Magazine in 1996, at which point we pulled the story. Apologies to our readers.

    http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2011/09/jon_fishmanphish_interview.php

  21. thedayman Says:

    well, that was incredible. wow.

  22. brother Says:

    @dayman….you just stole my thought. just listened for first time as well and that was my initial thought is that it sounds very reminiscent of that tweezer. Although i didn’t think it really approaches the majesty of that version, at least on first listen on whatev crappy aud i just listened to, it is a very very nice tweez. can’t wait to listen again but will have to wait for sbd.

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    If thats true, did the freelancer tack on a question about what he was doing between 2004 and 2009?

  24. Mr palmer Says:

    Funny Voopa. I read a bit of that interview and found it odd Fish was speaking of Mimi in the present tense. Mystery solved.

    Phish is killing it. Stupid babies messing up Fall Tour.

  25. thedayman Says:

    i agree @ brother. can’t wait to listen to the sbd, as i listened to a crappy aud as well. can’t wait to stream tonight, couldnt last night. really hope for some more jams like that, pretty please. that was great.

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