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. voopa Says:

    Speaking of Sriracha

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    WOW! Never thought to apply spray bottle.

  3. plord Says:

    In the “unacceptable” category: at GW this year, looking around, there’s a brah rockin’ the shirtless/shorts/backpack look, *pissing in a cup in the pav and dumping it down the row in front of him*.

    I have never wanted to cockpunch somebody so hard in my life but he was out of reach. Ok, Cheney just on principal but you know what I mean.

    Def a contributing factor to my not enjoying that show very much. This was set 1 too, so I was already skeeved out when the RnR->Mango dropped.

  4. garretc Says:


    Jeez, what’d Lon Cheney ever do to you?!?

  5. voopa Says:

    Albany2 ’99 some fuck behind my wife needs to pee, and doesn’t want to leave…starts asking his buds if it’s OK if he pees right there, fortunately they talk him down.

    Same asshole was at the club we went to after the show, at the table next to us. Fortunately, restrooms were more accessible at that point.

  6. lumpyhead Says:

    Mike in Austin Says:
    September 9th, 2011 at 3:14 pm
    Watched a girl slip and fall into her own vomit at an East Coast show. Somehow it was poetic to me at the time.

    ^ hahaha.

  7. voopa Says:

    Spray attachment has many potential culinary applications…Worcestershire, lime juice, tequila…

    We have an aerosol-type sprayer for vegetable oil…works great.

  8. albert walker Says:

    first real spin of The Tweezer. need to play it loud enough that the Mike bombs are shaking the prints on the wall

    shit really is amazing timeless phish.

    such a great use of space. so subtle. no clutter. fish is just a beast.

    I love fuckin tweezers.

  9. garretc Says:

    First puff plus first relisten to Dick’s Tweezer?

    I can dig it

  10. kayatosh Says:

    “cockpunch” – plord

    ^^^ never heard that one before. a punch to the cock? or a punch like a rooster in a cock fight?

  11. kayatosh Says:

    aw: once the green-eyed lady teases hit, IT’s on.

  12. albert walker Says:

    luckily never took a cock punch

  13. albert walker Says:

    the beginning is sick they fuckin pass the jam

    page takes the first few bars. then mike drops some groove. then trey comes in with the rhythm hits.

    and like I said it’s all fish all the time on that bitch. so good.

  14. halcyon Says:


    That is genius. I need to do that to my bottle of siracha. Right now, have been enjoying El Yucatec, Mayan habanero sauce. Sauce is fire, but oh so good.

  15. garretc Says:

    This is the summer I realized that Tweezer is in fact my favorite Phish song. Took being able to hear it live to appreciate that I think.

    So that of course makes me hyped I’m a Tweezer magnet thus far! Was the song I most wanted to hear this summer, partly because it was the song I most wanted all my first time at shows friends to hear too, the one I thought would win ’em over. Got two pretty good ones, making me 5/15 lifetime for shows with Tweezers…

  16. kayatosh Says:

    we played a lot of baseball with real bats and tennis balls back in the day (ages 10-12). Was pitching and my buddy ripped a hard line drive right into my young cock. such a sickening feeling. i remember it well.

  17. kayatosh Says:

    aw: any japanese business types at your crib for the proper tweezer spin?

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Finally getting to Dicks 3, set II. Skipped to the Twist. I was in and out of focus during the webcast at this stage.

    Dicks is peak Phish. I refuse to attached an era to this statement.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    So, who is coming to NY for the holidaze??? 🙂

  20. albert walker Says:

    yeah we spun it. they dug it. said they hadn’t heard phish that hot since the japan 2000 tour.

    they may hit MSG for new years

  21. albert walker Says:

    no place else to be man

    newly renovated MSG bitches

  22. garretc Says:

    Oh, me! I am!

    I’ll see you cats in the 400’s behind the stage…

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Behind the stage at MSG is a sweet spot. Yup GC…yup

  24. garretc Says:

    Dang, 7 below is great. Love the part right around 8′, they just kinda burst into orbit right there…

  25. albert walker Says:

    nothing like the sound of a tweezer dropping into the jam

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