Phish: 9.3.11

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Commerce City, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

I woke up to a steamy stank of a hotel room. At some point in the night, our air conditioner stopped working and the already-wretched foulness of our room was amplified. I called the front desk around 7:30 AM and begged for some relief; that relief came in the form of Lou, our handyman who simply walked in and plugged that ancient beast back in. So after that rude awakening, Eric and I headed out to Johnny Roberts for some fresh air and some disc golf before the rage fest that would be night two. By the time we got back, Amy and Trisha were still rocking it poolside. We decided to join but ended up meeting them in the hallway as they were sunburnt and ready for some shelter. Oh well. We went down anyway with my Bear in tow.

The array of wooks, out-of-towners and vets in attendance was enough to give you an idea of just what kind of hotel this was. We hung out for a bit and took a dip while sipping on a Gub’Na. After a while, Amy came back down and freed Bear from her leashed confines and proceeded to mingle with the kids. I’m not a puppy puller but it was fun to see my dog partying in her own way by the pool. We got it together and hit a cab to get to the show. We got on Lot about 4:00 PM and headed in the same way as before, only this time instead of making it to Shakedown. we found Jonas’ Black Tie Limo Bus. In fact, I never made it Shakedown. I was having too much fun mingling with Ro, T-Dog, E-Dog, Nellybop, Jonas, Woody, Dusty, Pauly, Change, FishMarketStew, Azzman, James, Mary and meeting Ncircles as well as re-meeting kindfolk. I didn’t bother to venture on. The bus was decked out with a private bathroom (no dukes) and a sweet back lounge area. It was the perfect pre-party complete with a barbecuing bus driver. It was the epitome of Lot class and I was happy to be a part of it.

Finally it was getting close to show time and we grabbed our friends and headed inside. Eric, Trisha, Amy, and I found Dan, Caitha, Matt, Jen, Cory, Brittany, and her new friend Jason and we made our way to the Field Gate. It was so packed we lost almost everyone by the time we actually got inside. That’s an issue when you know so many people at the show; it can almost be a distraction from the experience. At one point, Amy and I decided we would just ride it out for Saturday and let go. We walked down to the field just as the boys ripped into “Possum”. Here is the setlist from

SET I: Possum, The Moma Dance> The Wedge, Ocelot> The Divided Sky, Funky Bitch, Axilla> Llama*, Fast Enough For You, Wolfman’s Brother

SET II: Down with Disease**> Tweezer***> Golden Age> Limb By Limb, Kill Devil Falls> Also Sprach Zarathustra> Light****> Julius> Cavern> Run Like an Antelope

ENCORE: Sleeping Monkey> Tweezer Reprise

*Streets of Cairo Tease
***Green Eyed Lady Tease from Page, Golden age Tease from Fish
****Down with Disease Tease

Mr. Miner’s No Spoilers Downloads

Set One:

Set Two:

As “Possum” played on, we hit the floor. Saturday was the only day we actually had Field tickets so it was time to get down. We hit Page-Side a little off to the left and found some room. The energy on the floor that night raised the bar for the whole weekend. Sure there was some chatter, but there was also a powerful focus. The kids were locked in, had their tickets punched and were taking the ride. “The Moma Dance” was sloppy but funky and set the stage for the massive “Wedge” that followed. This and “Divided Sky” feel like the real Phish anthems of Colorado. We wouldn’t have to wait long for the latter. The “Axilla” into “Llama” was my favorite part of the first set and was just a great pairing of these two power jams. “Fast Enough” was pretty, but “Wolfman’s” brought the funk properly to close out the set. It definitely felt like a night for the crowd. With a bunch of heavy hitters already in the books, the second set would prove my theory correct...

Amy and I said our goodbyes to Corey and company before heading back up top to see if we could actually find anyone in the sea of people. The place was definitely more packed on night two as word of the “S” show brought people out in droves. They were looking for something special and second set would be just what they came for. We found Eric and rather than fight our way back up front, we found plenty of dancing room in the back just ahead of where we were in the stands on night one. It was perfect and the sound was better in the back anyway.

The massive bass bombs of Gordo shook the rafters of Dick’s as he nailed the opening notes of “Down with Disease”. This would be a theme for the rest of the evening. The second of their one-two punch came in the form of a dirty “Tweezer”. The more I hear this song, the more I love it. It just distills all that is Phish into one greasy jam. Amy commented on the temperature drop as it always seems to feel ten degrees colder with Mike’s icy bass is blasting though the PA on this tune. The TV on the Radio cover was executed with precision but “Limb By Limb” killed the energy a bit. “Kill Devil Falls” was absolutely massive. The backend was just blown out and was possibly the best one I’ve heard live. This again shows the evolution of Phish. They are taking the new songs and working them perfectly into their classic setlists. I’ve had the pleasure of watching “Kill Devil Falls” over the last couple years and it’s most definitely coming into its own. The segue into “2001” was just ridiculous and it felt like it came at the exact right moment. “Light” continues to be an amazing jam vehicle for Phish and this version was no exception. “Julius” shook the dust off and it very well could have ended with “Cavern”, but the boys tacked on a disgusting “Antelope” to close it down. With so many performances of huge songs, it was almost too much to handle. We were dancing our respective asses off by the end of set two.

“We’d like to play a song now that begins with the letter S” – Trey

The delicate “Sleeping Monkey” came on slow but soon exploded into a cacophony of sound provided by Fishman on the kit. Mike took the opportunity to pluck one more earth-shattering bass drop for a quick show-closing “Tweezer Reprise”. It was an amazing night of music with solid playing from all four members of Phish. It was meant to be the crowd pleaser of the run and it most definitely left me very happy. This is the kind of Phish I have come to know and love. Once again, they proved that they have the ability to kill it in the 3.0 era. One night left at Dick’s... one more night to rage.

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