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. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Piper is so fucking sick.

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Collective BB Cringe in sympathy for Kaya’s story.

    No need to retell our own individual gro-in pains.

    Pun intended.

  3. ThePigSong Says:

    we rocked behind the stage NYE due to BB rec’s. I’m sure I got down with most of ya.

    I love MSG and all, but I seriously want Miami. I need Miami. New York is just not in the cards for the holidays.

  4. voopa Says:

    dropping into it now

  5. garretc Says:

    I was pissed Trey told us who the ghost is, but it’s cool now, cause I don’t remember who he said it was…

  6. DryIceFactory Says:

    RnR->Mango was so good. Expect for the fact Mango got botched worse than Coventry Glide.

  7. P.S.H.S. Says:

    it’s official, vt is a go. boss gave me the afternoon off, little lady is ok with me flying solo, might need a fresh adrenaline gland to chew on for the ride home. anyone got a guy for that sort of thing?

  8. voopa Says:

    I’m sure PB does

  9. DryIceFactory 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.”

    Uhhhh…. what?

  10. DryIceFactory Says:


  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    can’t have asshole on a Friday…….douche.

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice Voopa.

    Page Side, Do you have an ethnic or gender preference?

  13. plord Says:

    @kaya, you got it, knuckles straight to the stem. If you angle it like the opposite of an uppercut, you can clip the nads on the way down. Taught my teenager this move for self defense against creepers. Never thrown it myself.

  14. garretc Says:

    As in, at this point in my Phish seeing, uhm career, for lack of a better term, I feel like there’s no song I’d rather see live than Tweezer, which probably wouldn’t have been my answer if you’d asked me that before I’d already seen three of them.

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Way to start it so late fuckers!

  16. garretc Says:

    Well shit PB, you could have started it yourself earlier, but you didn’t. Ya fuck.

  17. garretc Says:

    What this world needs is another jammed out Timber

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’m not sure i could ever say what Phish song is my favorite. Definitely has changed over the years.

    Hood, Tweezer, Antelope, Yem.

  19. plord Says:

    Gro-in pains…I was a platform and springboard diver in school. 10 meter platform, slipped out of a 2.5 pike way early, couldn’t find up from down. Pancake, square, frontside. Only water, but, ~30 MPH impact from a 10m. Thank god for buoyancy or I would have drowned in the fetal position. Still needed help getting out of the water and didn’t train again for a week.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Hood into Roggae is a sweet, unexpected transition.

    Is El Dude still one of the lone remaining hold outs to remain steadfast in his hatred for Roggae.

    Duder- did the Dicks version change perspective at all?

  21. voopa Says:

    Right with ya Palms

  22. voopa Says:

    re: Hood, Tweezer, Antelope, Yem

  23. voopa Says:

    mrs. v just called…heading straight from work to her sister’s place…bachelor night!

  24. albert walker Says:

    nope palmer. doesnt dig gorge or dicks

    this Light really is amazing. that psychedelic jam that melts into DWD is so fucking slick. crazy how much I love this Light when I saw how short it was.

    KDF gets the reprise jam

    loving this night 2 set II

  25. albert walker Says:

    I was always tweezer, mike’s, reba, bowie back in the day

    but now fuck mike’s

    I’m tweezer, waves, reba, ghost probably these days

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