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:

    Anyone who wants to get the GD Europe 72 set in FLAC, email me.

    vooopa at gmail (3 o’s)

  2. DryIceFactory Says:

    For me its gotta be (in no order) Ghost, Twist, Tweezer, 2001, Crosseyed and Painless, Hood, YEM, Antelope, Bowie and Reba.

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Loves a good Gin!

  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Dick’s Limb gets there!

  5. DryIceFactory Says:

    And Garret I understand I just thought it was a prerequisite to consider Tweezer one of your top songs in order to post here. Just playin kid.

  6. voopa Says:

    Just skipped Limb for the 2nd KDF jam…will return.

  7. DryIceFactory Says:

    Add Bathtub and Halleys to that list of mine.

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Its impossible to have just a few favorites. All the above. Simple has always been a favorite, second tier.

    Voopa- for realz?

  9. albert walker Says:

    already emailed

  10. DryIceFactory Says:

    Someday in this era we are going to get a 2nd set opener of Halley’s and see it go Bethel on steroids. Watch.

  11. albert walker Says:

    it’s cuz it’s the greatest phish song ever writting dryice

    if tweezer isn’t your fav song you’re just wrong

    that songs been crushing it era to era to era for a long ass time

  12. DryIceFactory Says:

    Tier 2/1st set gems of the era: Timber, On Your Way Down, 46 Days, Undermind and Wolfman’s

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:


  14. voopa Says:

    Wow, nearly 100 degrees today, but the North wind brought cloud cover in somehow…had some thunder earlier, now it’s raining! Very rare for this time of year here. Smells fantastic!

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    same here voopa weird weather-wise.

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Never heard Guy Forget before Dicks. I even have the Vegas ’00 dvd that its on, and still, i don’t think i’ve ever heard it.

  17. DryIceFactory Says:

    I love a hot Tweez. The Tweezers of 2011 ranked (for me)


    The rest are interchangable IMO. UIC barely makes that list. And for awhile I would have said SBIX Tweez over Cinci because I liked the idea/direction they went in at the ball. It was an awesome try, and it actually worked for me. But Cinci just crushes it musically. The musical conversation held down during the last 1/3rd of that jam is just mindblowing.

  18. plord Says:

    Can’t pick a fave. Top 10 probably Scents, Waves, ASIHTOS, Ghost, Tweez, Sally, Hood, Stash, Twist, Light for me, probably in about that order.

  19. albert walker Says:

    I’m a sucka for that growlin tone live too

    loving that dicks wolfman’s on a full head cuz trey’s using that raw tone but on playback was good not great.

    I really thought that SBIX Tweez was gonna be epic after the first few themes just kinda peaked early with the dirty start stop section

    loved it live. great set.

  20. albert walker Says:

    cinci is def the goods. I like subtle patient phish and in the groove context that tweez is the gold standard

    page starts it off with the tasty rhodes

    then trey comes in with the light plinko

    then trey starts with the uni vibe hits

    mellow understated peak after that. live you could really feel each distinctive shit as it went to the next phase. great jam.

  21. albert walker Says:

    Dick’s antelope is pretty raging too.

    this set II is a great example of a 94 or 96 style show. short but real high energy ragers in DWD, KDF and Antelope

    but also you got the sick centerpiece psychedelic jams in the tweezer and Light > DWD

    everything just played so well. great set.

  22. DryIceFactory Says:

    That SB Tweez had the direction nailed. They just couldnt get it to go where they wanted it to for some reason. I felt a blowout looming but they never managed to organize the ideas in proper. In any event, I’ll take a Tweezer like that any day of the week. Just make sure Cinci, Dicks, Miami09, Red Rocks09 and MSG10 type journeys make the cut once in awhile. 🙂

    Essex Junction Cities. More on this in 5 days.

    Anyone with an Essex Junction extra drop me a line at equatemylifewithsand at gmail and I’ll put $90 in your paypal tomorrow morning. Time to hit the bars. Later homies.

  23. DryIceFactory Says:

    Dicks2 set 2 is the goods. Light->DwD is a great example of why Phish is fucking awesome right now. I love that Fishman never takes the bait for a full drop back into Disease. Holds down the same beat throughout the rhythm. Plus any set with a Diseezer is a win in my book.

  24. DryIceFactory Says:

    And yes AW, that Antelope was better than your standard Stockalope. Hot Lope for sure. Great way to cap a great show.

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Later folks.

    Dicks FTW.

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