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. Luther T. Justice Says:

    With PT for the most part on this. However, I have a feeling they’ll go to far if they haven’t already.

    He kind of looks like the comic guy on the Simpsons with a little more hair IMO.

  2. JeffieM Says:

    Drive by, since we’re all making Dick jokes this week.


  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    fwiw, tweezer works in full for me

  4. alf Says:

    what up kids

    thanks for the write-up miner, and the tunes. boh!

    tix getting delivered today, can’t believe there’s really a phish show next week.

  5. SillyWilly Says:

    this whole world would be covered in spilled mustard if there were more sillywillys

    hide your rugs and wear only yellow

  6. Jtran Says:

    Never been in a fight. I think I’d probably lose.

  7. ThePigSong Says:

    thanks for the cliff note version c0w – I wasn’t about to peruse 2000 posts.

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    had a fight once in 1st grade. Another in 8th grade. “Lost” both but was able to spin them both to my advantage 😉

    One thing I was really good at as a little dude w/ some big sisters was pissing off some big guy and then getting a football player after them when they retaliated. Guess I haven’t changed all that much, in the end, I just talk my way out of it now instead of getting the football player.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    you seem scrappy, jtran.
    but just dance them out and then when they are tired BAM!

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    yeah it was messy in there. Easy to roll right through cuz there’s usually about 1 comment per page that is actual content 🙂

  11. alf Says:

    fuck condiments!

    and keep jersey beautiful.

    have a good one kidz.

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    i too have never been in a fight. the football team at my hs had a thing for me but i would just sort of say “go ahead, punch away, but just know i am not fighting back so it is kinda all on you”. Freaked em out enough to just call me a fag and split.

    Thanks, Ghandi.

  13. ThePigSong Says:

    just tried the tweezer again, works now for me too.

    it was crapping out at 5:3something this morning.

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    fuck condiments!

    ^ lol

  15. ThePigSong Says:

    the reason for joggerz aversion to football emerges 😉

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    I remember seeing a T-shirt a few years ago

    “Practice safe snacking. Use a condiment.”

    i chuckled.

  17. EL Duderino Says:

    Miner’s right on with this one.
    Dick’s is the best run since the return!
    The “S” show probably has the best “flow” since I can remember, one for the ages!

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    Green Bay looks unstoppable. 🙁
    Sorry willowed, ya’ don’t have a chance this year 😉

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    let’s be clear, i don’t exclusively dislike football – find sports dull in general. I also have come to realize that they are important and useful to other people so they are positive, just not my thing, and have a hard time faking it.

    That having been said, Team Mike is gonna kill it this year.

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    someone just told me that there are like 15-16 football games a year. how can that possibly be? seems like it goes on forever.

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    hah! cuz they only play one a week.. they’re arguing right now about trying to get 2 more.. Baseball’s 162 in a season but they don’t beat the hell out of each other every night.

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    well, AJ

    that would be one regular season for one pro team. The pros also have pre-season games and some teams make the play-offs.

    College teams play 11-14 a year. And the bowl games stretch out the college season.

    sort of like when my girlfriend asks: Does Phish ever stop touring?

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    I know I’m a nerd but I got into Tennis again this summer; been really digging the US Open this time around. Last night during the rain delay in the Tennis I put on the football game. Was asleep within 3 minutes.

    Was a big sportsfan in general as a kid and always enjoyed football. Got away from all sports as I got into music. Last couple years been back into baseball and now tennis but football has just never grabbed me again. I appreciate the strategy and the athleticism but the energy gets me under my skin. I am always wondering why the announcers are yelling at me. The tenor of the crowd noise gets to me a bit too.

  24. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Airfare purchased.

    Still looking for accommadations or a recommendation where I can crash without worry. or too much$$

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    “The lawyer: “Shit, man, we don’t care.”

    they really don’t. unless you’re trying to rip em off by making a real profit. but fiddly stuff like that, man, they have better things to do. I know the guy in charge of GD licensing very well.

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