On Cloud 9 In Colorado

Denver (Charles Bridwell)

Leaving Colorado, I had been blown away by three days—six sets—of spectacular music; Phish hadn’t put such a run together thus far this summer. While other three-nighters all had one lesser night or at least lulls throughout, Denver had none. Coming to the Rocky Mountains to close a monumental summer, Phish left with three timeless shows under their their belt and a list of highlights that just doesn’t end.

Using their three-night stand as a definitive statement as to where they stand right now, the band sent a message of excellence and exuberance to their fans—things could not be finer in the world of Phish. With authoritative playing all weekend long, the guys sculpted jams of all shapes and sizes, illustrating their diversity of styles in 2011. And as a result, top-shelf highlights poured from the stage from Friday’s first set through Sunday’s last.

Denver (C.Bridwell)

Perhaps the most original and forward-looking excursion of the weekend came in Friday night’s “Seven Below.” Growing into the peak of the “S” set, the band launched into an experiment in quick-paced groove, a path that eventually led them into the storage shed psychedelia that has quickly developed into Phish’s most innovative style of play. Earlier in the set, the band showed off their ambient soundscapes in a gorgeous rendition of “Simple,” and before that, a smashing, bass-led “Sand” capped off a summer of scintillating dance grooves from the song. In a run that featured all-star first sets, taboot, Friday night saw the three-song combination of “Stash,” “Sneakin’ Sally > Sparks” light up the opening set of the run. In “Sally,” Phish took another ride through unconventional groove and into the storage shed, before landing perfectly in a demonstrative cover of “Sparks” for the first time in 15 years.

Amidst their improvisational combo platter of in Denver, Phish dropped their most blissful and uplifting jam in memory— “Tweezer.” While Fishman maintained infectious beats throughout, Trey, Mike and Page combined in awe-inducing mélange of sound that groove that carried massive emotion and spirituality. After all the traveling and shows this summer, “Tweezer” summed up the heightened emotional state of the band and their community with music harnessed from the divine. Bathing in IT for the duration of this stunning version, this transformed into one of those life-affirming moments in which any and every decision that I had ever made that brought me to the place I stood in Colorado was absolutely fated—this “Tweezer” was the reason. A sky-scraping jam that touched the very soul of IT all, “Tweezer” felt like a poignant ode to life’s eternal spirit. This was most definitely the reason.

Denver (Charles Bridwell)

Later in the set, the band jumped off “2001” into a unsuspecting “Light,” a move that would culminate in one of the moments of the weekend. Amidst a passionate jam that Mike owned with rolling, melodic basslines—a divergence from the song’s futuristic soundscapes of summer—Phish migrated into a intricate and percussive section. Trey laced the “Disease” melody—piece by piece—perfectly into this context and the band joined him in an instrumental reprise of the set-opener without ever leaving the rhythmic template of “Light”—a true moment of catharsis in a weekend laced with majesty.

Denver (C.Bridwell)

On Sunday, the centerpiece of the non-stop final set—possibly, the most complete set of all—a low-ride in “Twist” seamlessly segued into a voyage through a red, red wormhole in “Piper” and then Phish led a celestial ascent with a “Hood” for the ages.  Employing quickened yet danceable grooves in “Piper,” the band locked into one of the weekends indelible excursions, one in which Page infused the Theremin like never before. This high-speed musical drama ended with another pass through the storage shed of sonic psychedelia in what became the most creative music of the final night. And Phish hasn’t played a “Hood” like the version that followed in ages. Combining the staccato stylings of more modern renditions with the precision and passion that defined “Hoods” of the mid-‘90s, this rendition was a staggering spiritual triumph. And while we are at, throw a first set “Bathtub Gin” into the mix that was one of the most exhilarating dance sessions of the weekend.

Needless to say, Phish had it all working over Denver’s three-day extravaganza. Stamping summer complete with—easily—their most accomplished, top-to-bottom stand of the season, the band likened musical superheroes as they had their way with each and every piece they played. Creative, responsive, and innovative, Phish finished tour on a mile-high note in Denver, leaving their community in a state of bliss. And who would have thought this is where we’d be when September rolled around?

Enjoy “Dick’s Picks” in this installment of Ten Tunes For Friday!


Denver (Charles Bridwell)


TTFF: “Dick’s Picks”

Bathtub Gin” 9.4 I



Seven Below” 9.2 II



Sneakin’ Sally > Sparks” 9.2 I



Tweezer” 9.3 II



Simple -> Steam” 9.2 II



Ghost -> Guy Forget -> Ghost” 9.4 II



Light -> Down with Disease” 9.3 II



Twist -> Piper > Hood” 9.4 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ph2011-09-04t15.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ph2011-09-04t16.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ph2011-09-04t17.mp3] Tags: ,

680 Responses to “On Cloud 9 In Colorado”

  1. albert walker Says:

    My girls sister loves getting all rolled and you can tell

  2. Mike in Austin Says:

    Hmm. Interesting C.

    2C-T-2 is a rara avis for sure. Held tightly by some. 7 is a bit more MDMAish.

    As AW says, if something gets popular, it gets stomped and it’s no longer what people say it is.

    Some chemicals are very dis-associative. Not my thing.

    Sometimes you can be on a head full of crazy with 30,000 people. Sometimes not so much. I’ve seen people freak out on L at shows and leave.

    “Ripping on one drug and doing another is a little hypocritical IMO.”

    Saw a guy k-holed at Big Cypress for the sunrise set. I’ve told that story. But i’m sure he tells everyone he WENT to the show, but he wasn’t really AT the show. He was somewhere else. Not enjoying Phish.

    I kinda think Ketamine sucks now. But I wouldnt’ throw Phenyethylamines under the bus. Infact, they can be used in medical settings, especially therapy.

    If something can put me in a space I can’t communicate from. Not my drug. Each their own though.

  3. albert walker Says:

    She starts petting strangers

    Old lady moms looking like WTF why is this bitch petting my arm Luke I’m a cat

  4. Mike in Austin Says:

    Outta here. Later

  5. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    C, I carry an thorazine/reserpine cocktail in a delivery device akin to an epi-pen for those folks cannot hanlde it or flip out badly.

  6. Mike in Austin Says:

    Maybe the girl at the Hollywood Bowl was just “petting strangers”?

    Really outta here

  7. albert walker Says:

    Agreed MIA

    Had a blast on all drugs at least once

    After getting clean in 03 I eventually fell inlove with L again

    The other stuff all reminds of the shit that strung me out
    I’m pretty limited these days

  8. albert walker Says:

    Me too. I miss tour.


  9. MrCompletely Says:

    I’m quite certain the 2cb i was doing was the real dealio. I just found it a bit sterile, though I only ever took it in show settings. it was…well, not common, but certainly available regularly in the Bay Area and around Eugene for awhile. I think it was the first night of Shoreline ’99 when I did some with the phish from vermont. A good night, and enjoyable, with overwhelming visuals off CK5 from our down-front seats, but I didn’t feel as connected as I was expecting, in some sense…

    definitely a positive experience and worthwhile to anyone interested in head travels

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    but the contrast was with ludicrously bomb vials I was dipping for the rest of that minitour and the summer in general

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Time to take some Denver 3 to the dome. You kids and your drugs. 🙂

    I took some shrooms at Albany ’09, first time in a long time and absolutely had a blast. Maybe that is the happy medium between Molly and L?

  12. willowed Says:

    So I went to the bar and threw down some drinks. Got home to an empty house because the wife has the kids at soccer practice.

    The wife gets home durring the hood jam and I was on the couch in a trance. She taps me on the head and asks me if I’m ok.

    Yup. that hood is the goods.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    many people find it so, Palmer

    other find it to be a bit more…random or something. like, open to external psychic influences of some sort…i dunno, i hear both sides of it

    basically, whatever works for you

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    “yo jake the snake LOL

    see 11/7/98 for the UIC ghost


    Um, did you see me rockin my “jake the snake” shirt at UIC3 or is this just an awesome synchronicity?

  15. Dr Pronoia Says:

    hadnt done anything in that area for 10 years before UIC2, and while the boomers were a ton of fun, truly that feeling I forgot, and it was very comforting to not discover that I’ve been living some kind of bullshit life for the past decade (I feel delics are amazing self-hypocracy detectors), it was also really nice to realize that I had just as transcendent a time on the nights before and after, and that I don’t need to walk back through that door again and again. I learned what I needed to during my years with it.

    that said, I’ve always been curious about DMT and would love to try it if I knew it was good and I was with good people

    and just so I can sound cool with the kids I see – deemsters is DMT, or is it synthetic salvia??

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Bingo’s- Your avatar. That Jake the Snake shirt was awesome.

  17. Dr Pronoia Says:

    for the record, I think all shrinks should have some personal experience with these substances. You can’t identify with psychosis/crazy unless you’ve been there, and if you can’t handle that headspace, I don’t think the job’s for you

    I see tremendous therapeutic potential with delics, and hope the recent trend towards more research results in more acceptance….

  18. bob dylan Says:

    C, make an L shirt with a bike on it. or bicycle day on it. that way it’ll fit in with the hipsters too. golden age fan carryovers.

  19. halcyon Says:

    Tweezer from 9/3 has been on constant respin today.

    People were going digital just beside me for Set 2 night 3.

    I would like to go on a voyage with mr. divonorum again. I am a bit leary about going electric, or fungal again after my last experiences (which were many years ago). However, the 20 minute rocket ship ride divonorum is sounds about right.

  20. voopa Says:

    PC Construction Company announced today its plans to underwrite the costs of the Phish benefit concert next Wednesday, September 14, at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center in Essex Junction, Vermont. The concert will benefit flood recovery efforts in Vermont after Tropical Storm Irene left portions of the state completely devastated.

    This approximately $100,000 underwriting of the production costs of the event will greatly assist in the goal of directing 100 percent of ticket sales to The WaterWheel Foundation and The Vermont Community Foundation to aid in the relief effort in Vermont.


    Very cool!

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    ah, thanks palmer. forgot I changed it. still trippy that he brought up the 98 uic ghost cuz that was a full year after bingo checked out.

    @bd : my boy has a sick pin thats hoffman riding a bike.

    I’ve been told that when you’re ready for the deemsterz, they’ll find you.

  22. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    “So I went to the bar and threw down some drinks. Got home to an empty house because the wife has the kids at soccer practice.
    The wife gets home durring the hood jam and I was on the couch in a trance. She taps me on the head and asks me if I’m ok.
    Yup. that hood is the goods.”

    Was waiting for this post from Wiilowed! Good Job, Hombre!

  23. halcyon Says:

    Attention Sriracha lovers….


  24. DryIceFactory Says:

    Um… Sneakin Sally? Storage Shed? What the fuck are you hearing Miner?

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    ^ nice

    Love the Srirach!

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