Miner’s Picks: Denver’s Finale

Official Denver Print (LandLand!)

Two weeks after one of their best stands of the year at UIC, Phish traveled to Denver to put a cherry on top of an already amazing summer. But when the three nights in the Rocky Mountains were over, the band had rearranged the highlights of summer, pushing quite a few more jams onto the top shelf. The momentum started on Memorial Day at Bethel Woods in upstate New York had wound its way through two legs of tour and a mid-summer festival, taboot. And on Labor Day weekend, Phish gave us one more unforgettable experience to celebrate everything that had transpired over the season. What resulted in Denver was the strongest top-to-bottom stand of the year and some of the summer’s hottest musical talking points. Phish hadn’t played six consecutive sets this strong in ages, and they provided the perfect exclamation point to a summer or glory. Below are my favorite jams from Denver and one final sequence from the benefit show in Vermont.



“Stash” I

After a slow start to the opening night in Denver, “Stash” provided the spark to the “S” show and Phish never looked back.



“Sneakin’ Sally > Sparks” I

An awesome combination of old-school covers provided the standout sequence of the opening set. A funked out “Sally” turned dirty before winding its way into “Sparks”—the first version since The Cow Palace in Fall ’96



“Sand” II

A perfect example of how “Sand” has evolved into a full-band jam. In this version, Mike leads much of the way as the band builds to a collective peak.


9.4.11 - Denver (Michael Stein)


“Simple > Steam” II

An ambient “Simple” jam bled into the most powerful version of “Steam” to date.



“Seven Below” II

The most impressive jam of the opening night, Phish moved from an sparkling conversation in groove to the depths of psychedelia.



“Scents > Slave to the Traffic Light” II

This uplifting combination punctuated the show. Trey reached for the heavens in the peak of “Scents” and with a sublime note that he held for quite some time in “Slave.” The “Slave” is below.




“Llama” I

The perfect example of Phish’s on-point playing across the board, “Llama” hasn’t sounded like this since last decade.



9.2.11 (G. Lucas / webcast)


“Wolfman’s Brother” I

A rousing, set-closing version that moved away from center before returning to the theme.


“Down with Disease > Tweezer” II

A hot “Disease” built towards “Tweezer” in what seemed to be an epic transition in the making, But the rug was pulled out from underneath and the band started “Tweezer” from the top. And when they did they dropped one of the defining jams of the summer. This version of “Tweezer” featured the most cathartic build in memory before Trey spiraled out of the groove and began an exercise in looping. Dropping a unforgettable melody atop two looped phrases, Trey takes this version to the bank—one of those jams in which Phish achieve musical perfection.



“Light -> Disease Reprise” II

Deep into the second set, out of the peak of “2001,” Phish unexpectedly dropped into “Light.” Shying from the avant garde, bass led excursions that peppered the second leg, this version favored a melodic canvas in and Trey, and then the band, brought back “Disease” in, perhaps, the most artistic moment of the weekend.



“Run Like an Antelope” II

One of few “Antelopes” of summer that brought some real fire to the table, this time including “Disease” teases within the jam.



“Bathtub Gin” I

In this explosive version that bookended summer with Bethel’s standout, Trey put on an absolute guitar clinic. Moving from rhythm lick to rhythm lick, this one is as dirty and as swanky as they come.



9.3.11 (Michael Stein)


“Tube” I

It’s great that “Tube” is a highlight again. This compact, yet fully developed, jam is an example of Phish’s modern musical marksmanship.



“Twist -> Piper > Hood” II

Perhaps my favorite sequence from the entire weekend, the segues are fluid, “Piper” stands out as one of the jams of the weekend, and the “Hood” is the most spectacular version of the summer. Blending modern stacatto soundscapes with an old-school assault on the song’s theme, Phish crafted a hybrid version of “Hood” that oozed victory.



“Roggae” II

And as a come down from the previous triumvirate, the band played “Roggae.” They opened up the slower piece in the wake of the Gorge’s version, channeling the musical feel of the “Hood” jam that came before.



“Ghost -> Guy Forget -> Ghost” II

Amidst a high-speed and dancy jam, Trey hit an fierce lick bringing the band into the second-ever appearance of the soundcheck legend “Guy Forget.” A smoking sequence put a perfect cap to a weekend that produced in ways nobody could have expected.




“Carini -> Down with Disease -> Slave” – 9.14, Essex Junction, VT

The standout chunk of the benefit show in Vermont was anchored by the stellar combo of “Carini -> Disease.” “Carini” built into something far more significant than we’d seen since last fall, and “Slave” brought a light to the darkening “Disease jam.



The Philler: Denver and Vermont Wrap (interview starts at 50:07)

The Philler – Episode Six – The Phlood by The Sloping Companion on Mixcloud

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1,750 Responses to “Miner’s Picks: Denver’s Finale”

  1. poop goblin Says:

    Def better.

  2. snowbank Says:

    probably the highlight for me last night:

  3. butter Says:

    Oh I see Chaiftez Arena in St Louis is the 5th indoor venue of leg 2.

    Starlight is a mini outdoor amph. Like the size of Ntelos in Portsmouth

  4. snowbank Says:

    the irony of me posting videos made by people that I wanted slap last night is not unnoticed.

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    Sup, all settled in in DC, got bumped to the presidential suite because I booked over 900 rooms in hotel, woot! Nice to have the extra room with my family in tow. Also fun to read about which presidents have stayed here.

    Tomorrow is when the crazy shit begins. Wish me luck.

  6. snowbank Says:

    good luck @AJ.

    I’m out. time to go home.

  7. snowbank Says:

    good luck @AJ.

    I’m out. time to go home.

  8. garretc Says:

    Google image’d LB Arena, looks like a sweet little place to catch a Phish show. The stands don’t seem to go very high up the sides, lots of wall for CK5 to work his magic on…

  9. butter Says:

    Perfect it does look Garretc, with dolphins and sea otters all muraled up on the outside

  10. WolfmansFather Says:

    Is no fall tour confirmed?

  11. garretc Says:


    Yessir. From the Leg 2 announcement email:

    “No additional Phish dates will be announced for Summer or Fall of 2012.”

  12. garretc Says:

    Actually, I lied about the stands, I didn’t look particularly closely the first time, I was in class. Stands go fairly high up on the sides. But still. Not a big looking place by any means!

    And yes, Butter’s right, the outside has lots of lovely marine animals, for post-show enhanced viewing!

  13. Robear Says:


    ::posts h3tty link again for stonerfucks::

  14. Robear Says:

    Who wants to drive me around for Leg 2, once we hit MO?

  15. Robear Says:

    Just found out my bro is working Coachella. Down there 3 weeks. Lucky dude. What a line up. Radiohead, Seun Kuti twice.

  16. William H. Bonney Says:

    I got a heart full of soul

  17. William H. Bonney Says:

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/bizarre/content/woman-hid-drugs-vagina-police-say Larry David tolds us about this…..the large vagina…

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    William H- are you and your bubbler planning on hitting anything leg 1 shows?

  19. jdub Says:

    what’s up BB? Hope everyone is doing well.

    Interesting summer tour ahead of us. Wish I could hit more than i can but what are you gonna do.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Hey Jdub! Hope all is well.

    Knicks/Bulls about to tip off.

    Nice to see some new real estate get some shows in leg 2. I would love to go to the Okla City Zoo show. Will be a blast.

  21. garretc Says:

    Damn, it’s been a while since I’ve listened to this album, but “Gimme Fiction” by Spoon is a sick little album. “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” is pretty great too, while we’re on the subject of Spoon, haven’t given that one a spin in a while either though…

  22. tela'smuff Says:

    posting from Telluride. no teacupping going down this time around, but it’s still the best little mountain town i’ve ever been to.

    so happy that they put the zoo show in front of Dick’s. that’ll be a fun run. i’ll start planning the disc golf/brewery tour for pre-show festivities in Colorado. fly into OK and i’ll drive a back to Colorado.

  23. butter Says:

    Just bought plane tix to Wooster, pretty economical actually

    Bring on fresh Phish!!!

  24. Selector J Says:

    ^ Dang, gc. Haven’t listened to Spoon in a long while. Never even bought the Ga Ga… album. Not that I didn’t like it but just wasn’t a priority purchase at the time. Gimme Fiction is definitely pretty rad, though.

    Of note, Spoon’s main dude, Britt Daniel is a former KVRX DJ, not that he cares enough about the station, which served as a formative cornerstone in his musical development by permitting him unlimited access to a library of music in the pre-Naptronz days, to give a five-spot come pledge drive (dick) but yea, notable.

  25. thedayman Says:

    fuck. bitches. mm hmm.

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