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”

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  1. freshtracks420 Says:

    Indeed…Dick’s was a great way to end the summer…glad I was able to make it. Also….’sup Sumodie…met you on the stroll back to camp after the 3rd night…hope your travels back home were safe…was it Jersey you were from again?

  2. phloridaphan Says:

    Sssssssssecond, thank you mr. Miner..

  3. phloridaphan Says:

    When fish kicks back in that piper all machine gun style, bought fell out of my recliner. Family was all staring at me with my fists pumping in the air, with a perma-grin.

  4. JerZ Says:

    Lovin Dicks Picks-good stuff. Thank you Miner

  5. willowed 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!

  6. ThePigSong Says:

    thanks for the ttff dicks ed.

    Tweezer cuts off when the jam starts, fyi

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    “Tweezer cuts off when the jam starts, fyi”

    ^^^ Dicks tease?

  8. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Great sum-up, Miner

    Since “storage” seems to be the new jamming mode, and though I can recognize it mostly when it’s happening, it’d be great to have a piece and discussion here around exactly WHAT that means.

    Eg: spacey, Trey-restraint, with driving percussion, with or without theramin?

    I mean, there were so many different styles in the Storage set, so which are we identifying as the band’s latest jamming incarnation?

  9. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Eg: spacey, Trey-restraint, with driving percussion, with or without theramin?

    ^^ see, I’m obviously not as good as most around here at translating what I hear into words

  10. Guyute711 Says:

    Nice, I have only listened to gin and the end rocks pretty hard.

  11. Cable Hogue Says:

    Dick’s Picks….pure gold, Miner! Nice work. I wholeheartedly endorse the paragraph on Tweezer especially. It just soared. Couldn’t believe the emotional impact of that jam, given that I was listening to it in my kitchen in Vermont.

    Seven Below, Scents and Slave all had a similar impact for me, but that Tweezer was IT indeed.

  12. JMelby Says:

    Awesome write-up, awesome time. Anyone else hang on the grassy knoll lot F pre-show. It was as relaxed as the Greek last summer. Sign me up, I loved Dick’s.

  13. Cable Hogue Says:

    Mein gott that Sally>Sparks is hot!

  14. Cable Hogue Says:

    Notice that nobody is trying to say that Dick’s was limp.

    Speaks to the quality of the weekend that nobody’s been able to go for that joke.

  15. Guyute711 Says:

    Tweezer dominated 11. Another fine version. So much variation between cincy, the ball and dicks.

  16. jdub Says:

    Nice recap Miner, great to see all your travels pay off big this summer.

    Pretty impressive music from Dick’s, and life affirming experiences by all accounts.

  17. stapes Says:

    “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”


    Nicely done once again Miner. Going to be spinning these shows for some time to come I’m sure. Let’s make Dick’s an annual affair!

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    very nice piece today.
    and thanks for the hand picked jammy goodness!

    hasn’t blown up yet, but there’s something brewing in the comments of this post. I really don’t like when stupid videos of assholes fighting in the lots are all people know of our scene.

    take that for what it is though – the comments section on a vapid sports blog. don’t expect much clear thought.

  19. Mike in Austin Says:

    Like the review.

    Anthemic Tweezer for sure. Very much reminded me of the Holmdel Gin and Holy Ghost.

    The ending really tops it all off for me. Phish really has embraced, the slower tempo, highly melodic little interludes to close jams.

  20. stapes Says:

    @ TIII – there’s a whole FB page about that guy who beat that kid up in the vid. bunch a talk over on the cesspool that is PT about it. kinda crazy.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    really stapes? huh. oh well. such is the nature of things.

    I tried to stir things up a tad but it got passed over. you’ll know my comments there by my avatar

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    I think I’ve seen one physical fight at a Phish show. Pretty rare occurrence I would think?

  23. stapes Says:

    Apparently that guy is a common site around Denver area shows. Busting people for selling unlicensed merchandise. Not sure who he was hired by. Somehow people tracked him down, found out where he worked, etc etc. I think charges have been pressed, but not sure.

    Whole thing is really just unfortunate.

    PB was talking about the guy w/ blood running down his face, maybe this was him?

  24. Jtran Says:

    Can anyone get in touch with PSHS and have him email me back?

  25. sumodie Says:

    freshtracks, very cool to meet another BBer unexpectedly in the campground -what a phenom weekend! Nope, live in western mass, Amherst, though originally from midcoast Maine. Hope you made it home safe n sound too

    drop me a line sometime -I’m at:

    AT yahoo

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