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. litteringandd Says:

    Hey Gents, one thing that still gives me a chuckle that here we are in 2011 and the mainstrean media still mails in/doesn’t care about this band. Here is a blurb that msn.com (mildly respectable new site) ran as a “this week in entertainment” post about the upcoming benefit concert-

    “Down in the Flood 2: Phish to Reunite to Benefit Vermont: Vermont’s most famous band will reunite for a benefit show. A Benefit for Vermont Flood Recovery will raise money to counter the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene. On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that the largely inactive (though not extinct) Phish announced that their first home-state show since 2004 would be held on Sept. 14 at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. “It’s been heartbreaking to see all the loss and destruction that came from the storm,” wrote Phish keyboardist Page McConnell in a statement posted to phish.com. “Vermont is very much a part of who we are as a band. We’re really looking forward to playing this show and we hope the money raised will make a difference in the recovery and rebuilding effort.” For ticket information, go to Phish’s website.”


  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    cincy is the only really interesting tweezer of the year before denver’s magnum opus.

  3. voopa Says:

    Jesus littering, how much more uninformed can you get?

  4. voopa Says:

    I’m ready ‘n waiting at TT if anyone wants to join…

  5. voopa Says:

    Is Tweezer Reprise the best idea in the history of music?

  6. voopa Says:

    *by “you” I meant “they” in case it wasn’t apparent…

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Getting to see Tweezer Reprise open Spac 1 last Summer was something i always wanted to see….badly. More so than any other ” bustout”. Talk about an shot of adrenaline to open a show with.

    Never thought i’d get lucky enough to catch it, because it was so rare. Definitely one of those off the radar highlights for me since the band has returned.

  8. voopa Says:

    It’s like Trey took a page from the people he studied about, and used their ideas to make that the BEST REPRISE EVER. Couldn’t have worked better.

  9. planetneutral Says:

    “I love Dick’s!
    Just think of all the choice cuts that aren’t listed above.
    The Roggae, Wolfmans, Walls, Ocelot, Llama, KDF
    Hell, we could do another 10 tunes for Friday with 10 different and unique jams from this weekend.
    So many choice cuts from this weekend.
    Dicks went deep!”


  10. voopa Says:

    ION, this Dick’s RNR jam is slaying.

  11. joe Says:

    Still claiming mr oysterhead licks for about 20 seconds around 11 marl minute or so in dicks tweezer

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    $60 for webcast, t shirt, flacs of the benefit and the $$ goes to charity.

    I am totally in!

    Now I am totally out. Peace.

  13. joe Says:

    Barely spanglish. Peace

  14. halcyon Says:

    Just spun Dick’s 2 & 3 and now ready for bed……

  15. joe Says:

    For those who like athletic competition, us open tennis tomorrow(this weekend) is going to be epic, for real. Best watching with sound down and tunes way up like all sporting events for maximum effect. (Genre up to you)

  16. albert walker Says:

    wow Piper is the bizness huh?

    thermin master page. shit is crazy.

  17. albert walker Says:

    I’m doing the same Hal

    on Hood right now night 3

    really such a great set.

  18. yematt Says:

    just spun the gorge RnR again. could NOT imagine if i had indulged in any fungus while experiencing this live. jaysus. wouldve lost it. anyways, as you were.

  19. voopa Says:

    Just preordred the webcast + tshirt, I suggest you all do the same.

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    But I’ll be there.

  21. voopa Says:


  22. alf Says:

    webcast eh? very nice

  23. alf Says:

    anybody wanna summarize the last 20 pages while i get all good & ready to spin this tweezer? awesome, thanks.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    i think night 3 set 3 works best as a “set” and yes, Piper is the BUSINESS…and the Hood is the AMAZING. i usually never use caps. this is the dark horse set i think…twistpiperhood and ghostforget

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    @alf…in a nutshell. that Tweezer is the bomb. That’s a fair summary.

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