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. DryIceFactory Says:

    @Mr. C

    Both are top of the line. I’m going Denon because I’ve heard they are more user-friendly for the less informed. In other words, go Yamaha if you know your isht.

  2. DryIceFactory Says:

    BTW Miner I just picked up on the “Cloud 9″/Month of September reference in the article title. Well played sir.

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    yea both sound great for the price

    hard to go wrong i guess

  4. albert walker Says:

    ACE hotel

    it’s close and they didn’t fuck with us for puffin. that’s where we stayed last year.

  5. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    The theremin is just about the weirdest yet coolest instrument/electronic wave length thingy going. I remember not fully being able to fathom it back in the mid 90’s, or now for that matter. There will probably be an app for it soon or something.

    How does one get webcast rips? Are they all out there somewhere? I’d love to have the Dick’s run on hand to revisit the experience down the road.

    Son alseep, wife asleep, headphones on and a stiff crown and seven officially poured. Time to dive into this Tweezer vid, should bring back some solid mojo.

  6. albert walker Says:

    I have this Denon. I love it. easy to use. sounds great. I don’t know shit about stereo equipment


  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Would like to see the theremin work by the chairman, up close.

    I was very concerned during the show that the aliens were arriving shortly and i wanted Page’s house to look just right.

    And by just right, I mean a blissed out middle-aged dude flailing around and getting the funk down.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    thing is, 95% of theremin playing is basically handwaving WOO WHOO WEEEEOOO randomness. page has learned to control it and actually make (weird) music with it. i’ve heard it before but not a whole lot. very sick and really fits the storage style

  9. albert walker Says:

    shit is crazy. seems very hard to keep in any kind of key. the piper was such a great use of it. Love how bustin out the thermin in the storage is really starting to come out in jams. hopefully just the beginning

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    They have a theremin at the MIM here in Phoenix in the hands on room. Pretty neat.

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    theremin segment was shot really well by the camera guy with great dramatic lighting taboot. very ill with sorcerous gestures like he’s summoning the music.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    thats what im sayin man. super hard to actually make a theremin musical. impressive shit

  13. albert walker Says:

    use of thermin in good vibration just one more thing that makes Brian Wilson such a bad ass

    one of the most recognizable hooks of all time and it’s on a thermin

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:


    see video down on the page

    They also have the last 10 winning guitars from the world air guitar championships. Sadly, they are cased up behind plexi-glass and one of the little richter scale box thingys.

  15. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Had not spun Tweezer since the live outing because my job sucks my soul away at times. Wow! Going for the re spin. So nice. I’m still convinced I hear some sort of What’s the Use? in there but that was my original thought from the show so it’s probably a force, just forged in my mind at this point. Time to mix another drink.

    Should I just drive to Dick’s right now? It’s not but 15 minutes away and I’d probably be catching Slave in some sort of time warp…..

  16. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    Dick’s Gin is the fucking truth. You can print that.

  17. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    That is was. Page almost went all “Clifford Ball” on that intro….

  18. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Also loved two post sunset sets. Such a nice run indeed folks.

  19. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Looks like I own this segment of the BB. Not so random anymore now huh? Actually pretty random……..Go Lions!?! Now that’s random.

    Next up…Llama to amp up before bed. May have to wake up the wife after that pure fuckin fire.

  20. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    TABOOT! Double listen. Jesus….

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    lovin the randomness here 😉

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    Great stuff in MSG3. I hope you remember to include that show among your top 10 of 2011 Miner.

    ^ no chance.

  23. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Snuck into KDF->2001->Light. Not sleeping yet. Yup! Feel like I’m there again.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    13 shows off top of head that are way better than 1/1 (in no order)

    super ball 3

    and that’s without giving it a shred of thought. Probably more in there.

  25. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Let’s be honest, they should have fully reprised DWD after Light. But if that’s my only complaint on the weekend (and it is a very slight complaint), then life is grand in the world of the Phissssh.

    Until next time….

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