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. EL Duderino Says:

    Those sweet-tarts Willowed were the diggity!

    I’ll take sumo’s “treats” any day! Dude knows his shit!

  2. bearito Says:

    Really hope ‘Timber’ gets one more ride this season

    Straight heat!

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i think i like uic ghost more than denver

  4. lumpyhead Says:

    I couldn’t believe the difference in the band I saw at Alpharetta and the band I saw at Super Ball…

    …Then I really couldn’t believe the differences in the band I saw at Super Ball and the band I saw at Dick’s.

  5. willowed Says:

    The funny thing is, Sumo and I were chatting before night 2 and he’s like; “These aren’t as good as the stuff we took at MSG.”

    Yaaaaaaaa right.

    Love ya Sumo!

    Then again, the MSG shit did give birth to the funky chicken and all it’s glory.

  6. bearito Says:

    Wait, MSG for NYE is the latest?

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    yeah, my mind got snuck up on with those.

    willowed – sent you a FB message.

  8. kayatosh Says:

    dick’s sneakin so fat it needs to go on a crash diet.

  9. willowed Says:

    Checking now Tela

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    i thought it was more both offenses looked hot and the Ds were a bit overmatched but not shitty, at least not GBs, I just think the saints O is quite good. They look like a good team to me.

    Definitely decision making issues. Going for it on 4th down instead of taking FG to cut to 5 was the strategic pivot point. I’m all in favor of aggressive calls but that was absolutely an error. 4th Q strategy would have played out differently

    GB looks great, Saints very good, but no week 1 game can establish dominance in a meaningful way

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    So, I bought a few of the shows I was at in HD-FLAC

    any of the tracks I try and play with Cog from 8/15 and it’s just 8/15 cause Cog to shut down and it won’t play them

    has anyone had this happen with Cog?

    or is it my 8/15 file?

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    Gonna have to start a BBabysitting Club w/ all of the mind babies born on this tour. Adventures In BBabysitting – classic flick.

  13. willowed Says:

    Just read it tela. I know the feeling my man. Talking and L don’t mix sometimes.
    It was great meeting you. I got to see your wife flip out when she got her Ghost. It weas pure bliss. and a great one taboot taboot.

    Thanks for the hospitality!

  14. EL Duderino Says:

    love how Olen Kreutz is the starting center for the Saints and the Bears O-Line will be the shittiest again this year.

    God the c. Bears are a cheap franchise! I wish all McCaskey’s would just cease to exist

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Damn, furthur in Madison seems like it would be fun. I should do the Rosemont show, as I work across the street.

  16. bearito Says:

    It was a terrible call not to take the FG @ C

    I’m ok with a loss like last night’s

    Hopefully the early taste of defeat will be a positive for the rest of the season

    Really sucks Phish isn’t touring this fall

    Even when my home team is losing

    The Phish are always winning

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    good advice for a certain subset of the phanbase

  18. snowbank Says:

    That Tweeze is pure bliss. I took a break to fully listen.

    Glad we have this second leg to keep us busy for awhile.

  19. kayatosh Says:

    currently rockin the Got FOB audience tape from 9.2.2011 — a great way to hear the fulsomeness of Mike Gordon.

  20. lumpyhead Says:

    how steadfast are the NYE MSG rumors?

  21. kayatosh Says:

    This one:


  22. kayatosh Says:

    commencing super dick’s tweezer spin. wow this thing is $$$ from jump street.

  23. tela'smuff Says:

    cool. no sweat willowed! yeah, she wanted that Ghost bad, and i was bummed to not be there with her when it went down. tried finding you all, but it was too much. i told her that the wait was worth it for taht Ghost, she got a good one.

  24. bearito Says:

    Dick’s Tweezer:

    The amalgamation of each member’s pristine and evolved tone is just perfect

    Also noticed this immensely in the Seven Below

  25. voopa Says:

    MiA- The versions of the videos at livephish are of slightly better resolution than on vimeo.

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