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Link Saturday, 09/03/2011
Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO

Soundcheck: Brown Eyed Girl, Sweet Virginia, Low Rider, Jam (with "On Broadway" and "Close To You" with lyric alteration shout outs to production staff.) [Unconfirmed and Possibly Incomplete]

Set 1: Possum, MomaThe Moma Dance > WedgeThe Wedge, Ocelot > DividedDivided Sky, Funky Bitch, Axilla > Llama, FEFYFast Enough for You, Wolfman'sWolfman's Brother

Set 2: DwDDown with Disease[1] -> Tweezer > Golden Age > LxLLimb By Limb, KDFKill Devil Falls > 2001Also Sprach Zarathustra > Light > Julius > Cavern > AntelopeRun Like an Antelope

Encore: Sleeping Monkey > TweepriseTweezer Reprise

[1] Unfinished.

Teases:
· Streets of Cairo tease in Llama
· Green-Eyed Lady and Golden Age teases in Tweezer
· Dirt and Down with Disease teases in Light
· Down with Disease tease in Run Like an Antelope
· Down with Disease tease in Tweezer Reprise
· Theme from The Brady Bunch tease

Noteworthy Jams: Wolfman's Brother, Tweezer (highly recommended), Kill Devil Falls, Light

Average Song Gap: 5.41

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: This show was webcast via LivePhish. Llama included a Streets of Cairo tease. Mike teased the Brady Bunch theme before Disease, which was unfinished. Tweezer included multiple teases of Green-Eyed Lady by Page in the composed intro section, and a tease of Golden Age by Fish in the jam segment. Light, Antelope, and Tweezer Reprise contained Disease teases from Trey. Light also contained Dirt teases from Mike. Trey said, "We'd like to play a song that begins with the letter 'S'" prior to Sleeping Monkey.

Links:
Photos Official Photos
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download
Video "Tweezer" Official Video
Phish.net Blog Recap Phish.net Recap

Song Distribution:
4 A Picture of Nectar
3 Joy
3 Hoist
2 The Story of the Ghost
2 Stash
2 Rift
2 The White Tape
1 Lawn Boy
1 Junta
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

waxbanks , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
waxbanks The second set through Light is a devastating run of songs - I'm a big fan of Light, and this is a well-integrated version, smoothly rolling from the usual incantatory wails through a tense minor-key section to a gorgeous outro jam (reminiscent of the classic 8/7/09 Gorge version)...which turns unexpectedly into a patient, majestic DWD Reprise!! The return of the DWD riff has capped several great jams over the years (2/16/03 Piper and 2/17/97 set II spring right to mind), but this one is special: a gentle downtempo guitar line from Trey brings the whole band into wondrous unison to seal the setlong deal.

At that point it makes perfect sense to start the homeward-bound Julius/Cavern/Antelope sequence. Can't complain.

Disease itself is a pretty standard 2011 version, actually - it's the Trey/Mike segue into Tweezer that sets things off. Fish calls for Golden Age during this chiming major-key Tweezer, and Trey obliges as the jam fades out; a short version of that tune ends with a brief bit of funk riffing that previews the night's 2001. Great stuff.

But then LxL continues unexpectedly to serve as a showcase jam tune, and the band keeps blasting out the KDF jam *after* its closing vocals, and after a standard 2001 we have the aforementioned triumphant 'Down with Light' jam, jam, jam, damn.

That's about 70 minutes of grade-A+ Phish to anchor another 2011-level show, which is to say everything here is very very good or better. And don't miss the huge Wolfman's in the first, nor Ocelot, nor FEFY. This show is similar to 8/16, the second night of last month's UIC run: every jam is full of energy, empathy, detail, inspiration. Maybe I'll look back on my 2011-gushing someday with mild embarrassment, but right now I wouldn't bet on it: the music is just better than it has any right to be, given the late hour...
Score: 17
LG221 , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
i think the people who have said that this show had no highs has either listened to far too little phish, had ear plugs in during the show or just doesnt know what to listen for to even understand when phish is throwing the fuck down!!! That second set duo of Disease ---> Tweezer was out of this world! That was phish at their best ever possibly! please disregard the other two comments, get this show, turn it the fuck up and lay back and enjoy, PHISH is on top of their game as good as they have ever been if not better, this is prime time phish music get it while its hot!!! 221 to the most high!
Score: 11
JordyBug , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
JordyBug Saturday.....Saturday was solid, nothing jaw gaping but solid. This show was just a slow roller. Songs just kind of came and went. No super highs, no super lows just pretty consistent playing. Mike however is taking on his leadership role well nailing songs like DWD, Golden Age and Funky B were all highlights for me. Friends, Mike is the new Trey. The question is will Trey be able to stay interested in what Mike is saying musically. I did notice the lack of continuity in some of the jams Saturday and sometimes a bit disjointed. You couldn't help but wonder if the band was just trying to bring us down easy from the Friday mayhem. 2001 through Antelope is worth a listen too. Happy to be here in cool CO.
Score: 2
ferody , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
Sleeping Monkey encore... was wondering if Aron Ralston was at the show?
Score: 2
Chris , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
I think the setlist should read Disease -> Tweezer -> Disease. Excellent weekend!
Score: 2
waxbanks , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
waxbanks ## Second try.

I've been listening to this show a lot lately and thinking about how Phish have changed during the '3.0' era. For a while now I've thought that this era's major turning point, the start of the Golden Age, was summer 2011 -- specifically Super Ball IX.

A lot of that is down to Fishman, I think.

I'd bet $5 that Fish did some pre-tour woodshedding. His playing in early summer had a welcome strut to it, with a new wall-of-drums style that boosted jams like the Bethel Gin and the overlooked R'n'R and Pebbles jams at Great Woods, but first fully revealed itself in the mythic Bethel tech rehearsal Waves from 5/26 (which Shapiro shared on the From the Archives show at Super Ball). Fish's apparent lack of conditioning was surely a factor in the band's slow post-Coventry start, along with Trey's hesitancy when faced with wide-open improvisatory opportunities. They've always been the most tightly bonded pair in the band, and they lifted each other up in the summer 2011 shows, not by pushing for More Notes and Longer Jams, but by taking equal part in the ongoing musical tiki-taka which characterizes improvisation at its best.

Paradoxically, as Fishman attained peak velocity, the band was more than ever able to relax and sink into jams. They've talked about this phenomenon, too (in the Phish Book, maybe?): jams going so fast that they run together into a kind of sonic sludge, seeming to flow slowly by. Phish's early jams don't give me that feeling; when they played fast in 1994, 'fast' (not 'smooth' or 'groovy') was generally the point of the exercise. December 1997 jams can have that quality, though -- dig on a high-speed Piper or Weekapaug -- and it carried over into the sedimentary buildup of December 1999 and the tumbling quality of summer 2004's extended workouts (cf a strong Seven Below jam). Summer 2011's jams often had that awesome railway momentum too, with Fishman's drums providing a kind of bubbling foam for the others to float on.

But the point with Phish's ensemble jams is almost never to showcase one player. Even when Trey's 'conducting' from within the ensemble, the overall group dynamic is the point. Remember: birds in a flock move like a single organism, *without a single leader*. Not many bands have learned to improvise that way convincingly, but Phish have.

Super Ball IX was, I think, a private breakthrough for the band. That isn't just about jam length, either. They'd played a 22-minute Disease at their comeback shows in Hampton (3/8/09 II is a pretty good set!), had made a 45-minute Seven Below > Ghost suite in Albany that November, and by August 2010 were capable of feats of patience like the Greek Light, still one of Phish's most beautiful improvisations of this era. Their fluency and fluidity steadily improved through 2009 and 2010, too. And they started looking toward the machinic-rhythmic assemblages which became centerpieces in 2011. (For a foretaste of what was to come in 2011, try the Hood and Tweezer from the 2010 NYE run, not to mention the 'Holy Ghost,' ancestral relative of this very Tweezer.)

But the 'secret' Bethel Waves shows that in six months they'd gone from comfortable, more or less familiar Phish to a new sound and sense: more harmonically ambivalent and casually fluid than at any point since Hampton, with leadership responsibilities passing freely around the circle and Fish's drums pushing the band further and further out. Whatever they'd gotten up to in the months since MSG, the payoff was immediate: check out the set-one Bethel KDF, which *immediately* jumps into a brief friendly metrical-mathematical exercise before floating on a rhythmic-ambient cloud for a few moments before opening up for Trey to lead the jam to climax. That night's 'other Bethel Waves' drifted beyond its closing vocals into a gorgeous conversation between Mike and Trey; Fish and Mike pushed the next night's Gin into a killer Golden Manteca Boogie jam, and of course the June 3rd Disease is a magnificent descendant of the 'Holy Ghost,' anchoring an all-timer DWD > Fluff > Bowie sequence.

All well and good, but Ball Square is the fulcrum. Before that hourlong burst of Tower Jam-esque audiovisual insanity, they had at their disposal every tool necessary to take their music to a new level -- and the Ball Square Jam, which honestly I don't listen to anymore, took the damn brakes off. It's like Oh Kee Pah 3.0: unseen and anonymous, almost overheard in their private messing-about, the band could try on new sounds, surrender to decidedly 'un-Phishy' vibes. This is the moment the 'Storage' style of jam becomes, as they say, A Thing. The next night's show was the best of the festival, complete with extended ASIHTOS, powerful Reba, effortless multipart Light, and IT-esque Waves > WTU. But *afterward*...

The new sound steeped for a month, and the 8/5/11 Gorge show happened. Listen to that Roggae -- Dopamine Clouds over Phish Cottage! And of course the R'n'R > Meatstick, with Fish holding the gas pedal down and the band getting deeply weird. Again, *strong* echoes of the Tower Jam as Mike chants 'It's alllllriiiiight...' over the rhythm machine, until Page engages Nightmare Mode and we dip-then-build to the nastiest beat drop the band's maybe ever managed onstage, the crowd losing every single atom of their minds and who can blame them.

Then Tweez > Caspian > Tweez > Birds the next night, a demented lab experiment during the Tahoe Light, the perfect 'Elements Set' at UIC (one of the best sets they've ever played, and *then* a five-song encore culminating in an unbearably intense Hood), with Fish pushing himself to new heights night after night and the whole band not just keeping up but answering with magic of their own... Late summer 2011 is an all-killer-no-filler stretch of shows with the band at a seemingly effortless peak. That they've continued to play at that high level is an actual (tiny) miracle.

...

So now the 9/3/11 Dick's show, and if you don't know it already then you're better off just listening at this point, because all I'm gonna tell you is how great it is:

The Wolfman's Brother is filth. The second set, our reason for being, is perfectly formed, with a sneaky DWD > Tweez segue teeing up one of the year's signature jams. I treated this Tweezer rather too lightly in my first review of this show, and it's not exactly 'close reading' Phish like the 7/6/13 Split or the 8/4/13 Light, but it's more than just a pretty major-chord jam with a slowed-down Golden Age drumbeat: they lock into one another, take their time constructing a jam made of pure sunlight, and then descend with extraordinary gentleness and patience through a five-minute decrescendo which is, I think, a strong piece of evidence for any 'best improvising band ever' claim you wish to make on Phish's behalf. Any decent improvising band can get high, but tracing the complex curve of this Tweezer takes skill, and effecting a gorgeous transition like this without losing any of the crescendo's dramatic intensity takes something more than skill.

Golden Age doesn't lift off, but since we've just come down off the roof of the sky, that's no strike against it.

Yet LxL is a perfect specimen, with Trey and Fish pushing each other through a dramatic jam that references Taste and acts as a catalogue of improvisatory techniques on its way to a screeeeaming!! climax. Do I prefer the Went version? Yes -- but then what kind of person looks at a lover's hands and says 'Nice, but my ex had a more elegant ring finger'? C'mon now.

KDF, a/k/a 'not quite Chalkdust,' never bothers getting quiet, and the band hits the final vocals with tons of energy to spare and then keeps going to a massive finish. At this point, do we cool down? No, we *get* down. 2001 is just a brief dance interlude nowadays, but it's the closest we get to normal operating energy levels in this intensely elevated set. Trey's almost too wound up and happy to sing Light, and they fly through the song to the broad vista of its outro jam...at which point, after a brief tense passage, they collectively step back a little and *glide*.

The DWD reprise in the Light jam isn't quite quiet, it's not clever, it's not 'climactic' or cathartic. The texture of the jam recalls both the Greek Light from the previous summer and the golden Tweezer from earlier in the night. Having pushed and ran as hard as they could, the band members seem simultaneously to experience a kind of awestruck high, as if the Disease riff were being *revealed* rather than performed.

This is silly, isn't it? This way of talking about professional musicians performing songs they've played hundreds of times.

Look, there's plenty more show after this, but that Light > DWD reprise is (for me) everything I love about post-Coventry Phish in 3ish minutes. Everyone in the band is in top form -- Mike and Page had been playing for keeps since Hampton, and Fish and Trey had built up to roughly pre-hiatus proficiency with the insight of middle-aged masters -- and instead of a final blowout, they have the wit and maturity and empathy, the grace, to play this short celebratory passage. The whole year seems, in retrospect, to've been building to these shows, this emotion: we'd wondered for some time whether they'd ever get back to that place which they alone had seemed to find, and now here we were, and *all bets were off*.

Recommended.
Score: 2
CreatureoftheNight , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
CreatureoftheNight After spending Possum and Moma getting on the floor, my Wedge shirt finally paid off as we made our way page side. The floor was a lot more packed than the night before, but we still found room to boogie up close. It was Saturday night and everything came up glitter for us. Kari got her ripping Llama, the Rhombus guy got his Divided Sky, and all of us got a second set that upped the ante on the S show. Many people talked about how fortunate we were to be witnessing greatness night after night.

Disease had its usual fire, but I love the rhythmic playing in its wake. The Tweezer gets my vote for the best jam of the weekend. Swaying with huge grins, eyes closed. The band and the crowd was oozing with positive energy for the entire 14 minutes. Masterful.

Golden Age was perfectly placed for me. I jumped up and down with the first notes, even though I've seen a ton of versions this summer. I can't get enough of this song. Trey's soaring solo at the end keeps getting better and better. I only wish the jam in the last minute kept going. Limb By Limb is a song I'd like to hear more, especially after UIC. This version's emotion seemed like a preview of the Hood coming up on Sunday. Whew, they finally their first breath of the set. It lasts about 5 seconds.

KDF? Sure, why not? The band could play almost any song and belt out a home run. Fish and Mike wouldn't let this one die. KDF Reprise caused a lot of glances and we got an even bigger peak than the one earlier in the song. Fishman was noticeably more animated all weekend and this was a great example of his determination. 2001 filled the funk requirement for the night, but the opening of Light got everyone buzzing again. Another killer jam?! Trey decided to leave the usual jam for a more patient approach. By the 5 minute mark, the band's synergy was again apparent. Drippy goodness straight into DwD. Over an hour later, we were back where we started.

The rest of the show, especially the Antelope, was the reason I couldn't move very well Sunday morning. The band kept raging until the house lights came back on. Thanks to Phish and all the people than helped make it one more glorious Saturday night.
Score: 1
chefbrett , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
chefbrett I'm amazed that almost none of these reviews mention that they played the best Tweezer of the year, and possibly of the past many years. Must-listen Tweezer, for sure.
Score: 1
Blackeydsloth , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
Blackeydsloth Ok I am more into this show for a listen more often than the 1st night. Nothing spectacular but played well. I recommend checking out the Ocelot and Wolfman's from this show. I thought they were 1st set highlights not to forget to mention the Divided and Fast Enough For You which are great as well.
Set 2 my highlights are Down With Disease>Tweezer>golden age(although not my favorite golden age) A pretty normal Limb By Limb
Kill Devil Falls rocked out i liked this version alot. And finally LIGHT!!!
I think this might be my favorite from this show. Check it out perfect DWD TEASE!!!
The rest is pretty average. I do again recommend this show.

3 stars.
Score: 0
CreatureoftheNight , attached to 2011-09-03 Permalink
CreatureoftheNight People keep raving about the 12-28-2012 Tweezer. My $ is still on this version for the best of 3.0.
Score: 0

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