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.Miner Says:

    Piper and -7 are the most crazy pieces of the weekend. Tweeze is pure Phish bliss…locked into universal frequencies…and that Hood is just stunning.

  2. butter Says:

    when flamenco guitar style meets plinko what do you have?::: flaplinkco

    have some examples, but am too baked to recall them

  3. sumodie Says:

    webcast finally announced, eh? sweet!!!

    good luck with in person onsales tmrw

    as for me, ill be off terrorizing the peaceful forest denizens of nw maine & unleashing general aboreal mayhem from my ATV

    hey, it’s a family bonding weekend, gotta go with the flow

  4. alf Says:

    arboreal mayhem, wow

    that tweezer is the bomb reprise coming right up

  5. butter Says:

    universal frequencies….nice

  6. butter Says:

    a lot of picking, plucking, plinko and stringed rhythm loops this last run

  7. st8 of mind Says:

    Awesome posts Miner. Thank you!!!

  8. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Holy Tube Warp, Batman!

    That was not 4:38 on the field. No it was not!

  9. ae Says:

    Agree totally about piper. Sick sick stuff.

  10. DryIceFactory Says:

    Miner, you didnt think SBiX Tweez was interesting? You seemed to be into the idea of it (at the very least) for some time after the ball. And I absolutely think PNC Tweezer->No Quarter might be one of the more underrated excursions of summer. Along with Bethel #line.

  11. DryIceFactory Says:

    Bethel #line, full band conversation, flawless and notably unforced build back to the theme, scorching peak. $$$.

  12. alf Says:

    that tweezer was the bomb

  13. alf Says:

    so is ballix piper>tweezer

  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    The Ball Tweezer was also led by none other than Mike Gordon, I feel like this was the first major excursion Mike took the reigns to in 2011. And then in leg II he led many (most might even be the better word here) explorations.

    Oh by the way, Crosseyed->Twist from 1/1 is still tier 1 2011 highlight IMO. Just relistened on my way back from the bar. Great stuff in MSG3. I hope you remember to include that show among your top 10 of 2011 Miner.

  15. Jtran Says:

    Report from some friends just downtown: line is from the Flynn, down the next street at an intersection, then around the intersection after that

  16. DryIceFactory Says:

    While we are talking Darkhorse sets, I’d like to nominate BOTH set 1 and set 2 from MPP1 (6/11/11).

    MPP1 set 1 I made a claim to the girl next to me (mid-Reba jam) “this has all the makings of being the best show of leg I!” she was smart and said “you need to see more shows kid.” In my defense, I was sporting a head full of it.

    Toss in a decent Tweezer, a sick RnR, strongest Piper of leg I, stock 2001 and the best Suzy G of tour (I know there shouldnt be “best Suzy G” claims, but listen to the tape, and it marked the dawn of the “WHAT!?” antics) and a SoL encore. You’ve got a winner.

  17. butter Says:

    fuck that line, im cutting or paying Patriots fans to wait in it 🙂

    making hotel resi for new years!!

  18. DryIceFactory Says:


    Hotel Penn is already sold out for NYE. I checked yesterday after I got shut out of the lotto and realized S-X isnt happening for me.

  19. albert walker Says:

    we’re starting to look now too butter

  20. DryIceFactory Says:

    Where do you guys usually stay?

  21. DryIceFactory Says:

    I’m a big fan of Hotel Penn. Place definitely gives me a weird vibe (in a good way) when I’m dosed.

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    unleashing arboreal mayhem FTW

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    i dont think that theremin solo is getting enough love

    taking a real solo on a theremin is no fucking joke. watching him do it on the vid made it easy to follow, and it was a blast to watch. sculpting a solo in midair. and great full band work behind him. really interesting and creative segment.

    that’s the one piece of vid from the wkend I’d really like to see again. very very cool to watch.

    well that and the pssssssshhhhh steamy thing cause that is not silly AT ALL no sir

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    srsly there was a tweezer?

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    amp: yamaha or denon? same price point. same features. hmf

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