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. MrCompletely Says:

    they played tweezer?

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    all signs point to msg as a lock..

    ‘once i shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die’

    finally saw the johnny cash movie this past weekend. Well done I thought 🙂

  3. butter Says:

    joined ya MIner in a morning Tweezfest

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    that Reno guy died really boring

    i was expecting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCOzKufIIzs&t=29s but he just kinda laid there

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    that’s what I call acting

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    tweeze brings tears of glory every time…just an incredibly fluid emotional masterpiece

  7. garretc Says:

    When I was spinning Tweezer for the first time the other night I was wondering “Why did they bother with Tweezer if they’re still playing essentially a Disease jam?” and then, of course Trey later literally tajes us back into a Disease jam! Haha, classic…

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Phamily

    I remember you telling the “Spiderman” story @ the lot…

    That guy died? Youtube video?

  9. Mr.Miner Says:


  10. MrCompletely Says:

    no one died

    or wait one guy died but not from the fight

  11. EL Duderino Says:

    Agree garretc… Having the disease jam sprinkled throught that 1st half of the second set grounded that Tweezer IMO to a more rock theme as some of the others, even 2001 was anchored somewhat there

  12. Mike in Austin Says:

    The tweeze is my favorite moment of Dicks.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    year’s worth of cool astronomy pix

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    Tweeze a rock theme? I must need some coffee today…

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Really, one of the combatants died?!

    Head trauma is some scary shit.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    straight bliss groove from moment one til last

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    the slave is redic as well

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    no no no no no

    no one died in the fight

    unfortunately a fan OD’d and died in one of the campgrounds

    2 separate things. both bad, but not related

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    slave is awesome and completely overlooked for the most part

    scents and slave both peaked massively I thought

  20. albert walker Says:

    The worst part about Dick’s tweez is how rare those jams are. That feeling you get live when truly original music comes from that band that you never even heard tastes of. Just in awe of what is coming from the speakers. More than just a hot version of your fav jam but a piece of music you feel like you’ve been missing your entire life as it is thrown at you.

    I’m the first kid to say music is math not magic. But damn if that tweezer didn’t feel like it was created by some otherworldly energy.

    Seen a couple hundred shows chasing those handful of jams that reach that level. Life changing shit.

    Good tweezer, huh?

    Greek Light, Bethel Waves, Miami Tweezer, and the Holy Ghost are the only other 3.0 jams that moved me like that and the Dicks tweezer is my fav of the 5.

  21. Mike in Austin Says:

    Yeah, Phish doesn’t need this drama (and likely ensuing lawsuits)

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    this is tweezer with a rock edge

  23. Jtran Says:

    Nice rumor news, thanks guys

  24. albert walker Says:

    That moment where Trey holds the ringing sustain note and Mike just starts dropping huge Slave bombs was $$$$

  25. Chuck sweD Says:

    well played t3

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