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. Mr.Miner Says:

    may have a box seat if someone needs it.

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    Twist -> Piper > Hood is as good as anything. That Hood is PURE divinity.

  3. Robear Says:

    Going here today:


    Check out some kayaks, do a free lesson.

  4. lumpyhead Says:

    Twist -> Piper -> Hood IS as good as anything.

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    “there is no I Just wanna see his face.”


  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

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

    the reference is muddled. not-tom and I were referring to the jam in piper from 10.30 which people referenced as the IJWTSHF jam, not the actual performance from the Exile set. There’s a lot of similarities in Trey’s playing. Direct reference? No, but I’m not reaching here either.

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    miner – not saying it’s a flat out tease, but it for sure sounds like the tease they did of it in Halloween in ’09. it’s not the worst stretch to call that one out.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    a second order reference possibly but def no direct quote

  9. Robear Says:

    Bearito, I posted ‘half low rider tease in Gin’ yesterday. Totally agree.

    Shows had slight themes. Easy to miss while seeing rainbows for three nights straight.

    The fingernpicking was a timeless exercise in guitar virtuosity to end Tweezer.

  10. albert walker Says:

    It’s weird I didn’t leave this run with any show to show opinions

    Loved all 3 nights. Loved moments of all. Epic jams each night.

    Good stuff.

  11. tela'smuff Says:

    ok, but it’s not a stretch. thanks for clarification.

    yeah, the last 2 mins of Light get back into that Tweez bliss. pretty awesome. the move into Disease gives me chills!! epic.

    @Dude – gonna hit Asher for happy hour today. wanna join me? 😉

  12. albert walker Says:

    I thought rainbows was the theme all 3 nights?

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    rainbows and sweet tarts.

  14. Robear Says:

    Main theme, A dub. Rainbows, for sure.

  15. lumpyhead Says:

    nah, unicorns.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    trey was channeling universal energy, not other songs 😉

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    definitely rainbow themed run!

  18. willowed Says:

    Some of the most emotional moments I’ve had in my entrie Phish going career happened this weekend.

    Tweezer Light


    Overflowing with emotion.

    Even that Twist made me weak in the knees.

    I recall coming back to the room after night 2 and stating that Tweezer was a celebration of life type jam.
    It filled me up with so much positive feeling. I was drinking from the cup of “IT”

  19. willowed Says:

    fucking sweet tarts

    ………..and giving

  20. Robear Says:

    trey was channeling universal energy, not other songs

    ^exactly. As old as music itself.

  21. Robear Says:

    Buddy dropped off 3 flavors of light dep. Good river day on horizon.

  22. bearito Says:

    As a die-hard Saints fan I’m certainly a bit deflated today but:

    Green Bay did not look “unstoppable”

    Had the Saints made some better play making decisions when it counted, and put some pressure on Rogers, they could have easily won that game. The Colston fumble was extremely costly in retrospect.

    Both offenses looked hot and both defenses looked shitty

    At least Brees is my fantasy QB. 42 points last night.

  23. tela'smuff Says:

    that’s fine Miner! agreed channelling was taking place. Spiritual Cosmic I Just Wanna See His Face Energy Channeling wrapped up in a big rainbow. 🙂

    August was the best time i’ve ever had on Phish tour, and got 5-6 jams that instantly moved into my top shelf all-time list. enough energy to push me through the rest of the year.

  24. EL Duderino Says:

    Would love to Tela’s!
    We never made it.
    Drove right passed Oskar Blues as well
    :kicks can:

    Pick me up a t-shirt please, Large.
    K, Thnx 🙂

  25. willowed Says:

    I mentioned this before (a few days back) but it didn’t get any traction.

    That little jam at the end of Tweezer (almost like a totally new song) didn’t we hear something similar during the MSG Simple?

    I recall that same little misdirection happening then too.

    Then again, I haven’t spun the MSG Simple in some time.

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