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. Mike in Austin Says:

    Yeah AW. It’s euphoric. Better than any drugs artificial euphoria.

  2. albert walker Says:

    Life changing was def the most common statement amongst are crew concerning that tweezer

  3. MrCompletely Says:



    “However, the most concentrated and popular form of marijuana is so-called “plastilin” (plasticine), and the way it is harvested and produced has not changed for centuries.

    It begins with a freshly showered person riding naked for hours on a clean, washed horse inside a two-meter-high “forest” of marijuana.

    This produces a substance that is usually dark brown in color, which is then thoroughly scraped off the human and horse’s bodies.”

  4. albert walker Says:

    It’s weird cuz although I’m sure there were several others from the mid 90’s but my memory is toast so there is only one I can remember but it is quite vivid. Can just picture being in that field at the Went as that Gin peaked and peaked. On tape these days it comes off a bit flat for some reason but can still remember that feeling live. That same feeling I had during that tweezer.

  5. EL Duderino Says:

    It’s of my opinion that the majority of night 2 was a heavily rock theme influence. IMO the glaring proof is the 3 “phunk” tunes of that show, ie; WB, Tweezer, and 2001. I didn’t dose that night so I feel I’m not imagining things, but to me it was light speed shreddy Trey or a more classic rock groove than actual “Plinko Phunk” for the better portions of the jam segments… Just what I heard/felt/saw…

  6. angryjoggerz Says:

    DTE Disease

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    i just broke down in tears after Light in that set. I was in utter disbelief that Tweezer had just happened. It had answers. Like…that’s IT folks. I turned to my wife and told her i could retire after that…i’m choked up just thinking of it now…

  8. Robear Says:

    Second worst part about Dick Tweezer is, it ends n

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    fwiw, slave > silent works great

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    it ended. it was over. nothing bad about that 🙂

  11. Mike in Austin Says:

    I love the ending to Tweezer. Gorgeous. Like “And they lived happily ever after.” Page rules.

    Wow. That’s weird typing it that ….

    I love Vimeo on my AppleTV. Just wish it was in 720p.

  12. albert walker Says:

    Still haven’t respun night 2 but the tweezer

    Can’t say I have much memories except that tweezer and Light > DWD were just pure epic phish psychedelia

    Must have blocked out the rawkin moments

    Remember KDF being hot too.

  13. Robear Says:

    Nothing wrong. Just wanted it to go forever. The fingerpicking by Trey was surreal.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    thought the antelope smoked as well and the limb. golden age was cut a bit short on the verge of explosion, but they had just busted that Tweeze

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    the melody he plays over those looped patterns at the end is pure bliss and again, very un-Trey’y (Tweeze)

  16. Mike in Austin Says:

    I want Phish to go forever.

  17. snowbank Says:

    you guys are frackin’ killin’ me.
    Glad everyone i so blissed out but so much salt… 😉

  18. tela'smuff Says:

    i like the Tweez in much the same way as the Gorge RnR. It has 2 or 3 movements that elicit a new and more powerful emotion than the next, always better. The last minute, which sounds very much like a I Just Want To See His Face jam, is a beautiful way to cap it off. If that’s the tease/jam he’s playing, it makes sense since Tweez was so life-affirming.

    need to give Light more listens, because other than the move into Disease, which is amazing, the rest of the jam, while very good, didn’t slay me as much as others.

  19. albert walker Says:

    Me and the lady had a huge emotional moment in Light too miner.

    We both at the same time were feeling a time machine connection to our childhoods coming up all buzzed out at GD shows. Not sure why but as soon as the jam ended we both looked at each other and said, “felt like the dead” really beautiful uplifting jam.

    Short and sweet

  20. Robear Says:

    Night one, slightly more psychedelic

    Night two, slightly more Rockin

    Night three slightly more uplifting

    All three shows blended all three styles / emotions at different times.

    /#Settled the discussion.

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    and to me night 3 was the pure psychedelia show.
    night one had a more psychedelia feel then night 2 IMO

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    there is no I Just wanna see his face. you guys are grasping, that shit is pure 100% unadulterated Phish

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    the shows didnt have distinct styles to me.

  24. P.S.H.S Says:

    BB hooked me up with vt tix. 🙂
    Thanks jtran, and thank you mr miner. This place makes me happy

  25. bearito Says:

    Nice write-up Miner

    Best 3 day run by far

    During the Dick’s Gin you hear Trey almost dip into the Low Rider theme…just picking up on that after X amount of listens

    Is it weird that I keep going back to this Ocelot jam? Sheesh!

    Longest track at Dick’s: Divided Sky

    Second longest: Bathtub Gin

    As Miner would say:

    Musical. Density.

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