Hey, Another Saturday Night!

The Gorge (G. Lucas)

The Gorge '09 (G. Lucas)

In a more straightforward rocker, Phish closed out their mini-west coast run at The Gorge with a show that couldn’t quite hold up to night one’s triumph.  Thinking The Gorge would be exempt from the “Saturday Night Special”- the more anthemic rock and roll show catering to the weekend crowd- Phish nonetheless came with an upbeat rock episode that had many highlights, but left some majesty to be desired in a venue that defines the word.  Noteworthy jams came in both sets, while the band noticeably left the “2001” that had been looming all weekend long hanging for another day.  While not exactly my style of show, it was nonetheless presented quite well by the now-consistently-firing Phish.

Set I (G. Lucas)

Set I (G. Lucas)

The smoking eleven-song first set spanned the spectrum- from the return of “Mango Song” and the debut of a new Mike song, to an interesting “Tweezer,” a smoking “Wolfmans,” and a wide-open “Antelope.”  As the sun dipped below the gorge, Phish got the show started on a energetic note, opening with the 3.0 bust-out of “Mango Song”- a fitting summertime introduction to the evening.  The Gorge seemed like the ideal place to bust out the elusive favorite, and the song was greeted with open arms.  The band soon unveiled what is presumably called “Middle of the Road,” a new Mike song that brought his usual quirky songwriting into the mix with his second contribution to the new-school catalog.  When the band dropped the “Tweezer” lick for the first time since Red Rocks aural crack-out session, we thought we were stepping into a segment of deep northwest Yeti funk.  But instead of dropping into any heavy rhythm grooves, Trey continued building the jam with direct staccato picking, seemingly leading to a crescendo that would splash into some thicker territory.  His pattern of playing didn’t vary much, however, until he merged with the song’s natural build.  An interesting version- no doubt- but after Red Rocks, it just didn’t compare.  But if it wasn’t a musical masterpiece, it certainly was an experiential keeper.  Taking a “Tweezer” to the dome at dusk with a most psychedelic landscape engulfing your field of vision- well, there’s nothing I’d rather do in the world.

8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

Phish brought back their lyrical tale of “Twenty Years Later” for the first time since it’s Jones Beach debut. An autobiographic tale about the experience of life over time, this song will close their new album of a similar theme.  After a bust-out of “It’s Ice” for the first time since Hampton, Phish played possibly the jam of the set in “Wolfman’s Brother.”  Getting into the dirty dance funk that “Tweezer” had sidestepped, this excursion brought a welcomed dose of thickness that was scarce throughout the show.  The other candidate for jam of the set came in the surprise post-“Zero” “Antelope.”  Taking the jam on a laid back, Gorge-esque path, the band infused some unique melodic work into the dark canvas, riding “Antelope” to its second unique jam in a row.  The band has certainly shot some revitalized energy into their old-school favorite that had long grown stagnant.  Punctuating a high-quality first set with a bang, the band left much for the imagination at setbreak.  With seemingly infinite songs to pull from, what they would bring on night two at The Gorge was anyone’s guess.

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

Opening a second-set with “Rock and Roll” for the second time this tour, this one went places the Red Rocks’ version could go only dream of.  Phish transformed the cover into a high-speed chase through the musical universe, taking crazy twists and turns while creating the no-brainer highlight of the show.  In what had to be close to twenty minutes of searing improv, the band moved from straight ahead rock and into several different sections of slower creativity, leaving many jaws firmly resting on the earth below.  When the dust settled on this jam, everyone was bright eyed and bushy tailed as the band drifted into “Makisupa,” which got the full second-set treatment.  Taking their time with the Vermont-style reggae rhythms, the band shaped a nice cool down session that included a Phishy twist at the end.  As the band settled into a basic pattern, Trey and Mike switched guitars for the end of the song and Mike played some great leads while Trey held down the bottom end.  This was but a small detail of the show, but it definitely bears a larger significance to the band’s state of mind and sheer enthusiasm for Phish right now, and with that shared enthusiasm, it was very fun to see.

(G.Lucas)Epic (G.Lucas)

The bluesy interlude of “Alaska” led to a high-spirited “Wedge” that was tended to with meticulous care.  At this point in the show, we knew the band was going big, and they decided to showcase a massive Gorge “YEM.”  Laying way back on this jam, the band played some fantastic lounge-like grooves in what was the second sharp and standout version in a row.  Bringing down the house with their quintessential opus, Phish had the crowd in the palm of their hand, manipulating energy like craftsmen.  If they were dropping the much-anticipated Gorge “2001” it was going to be now, but Phish started up “Number Line” instead, seeming to choose the less improvisational path.  Yet little did we know that the band was about to blow-up the song like never before.  Breaking its noodly pattern, the band got psychedelic on this piece for the first time ever, creating some hairy textures out of the usually vanilla jam.  As the band got further and further away from the song, we began wondering where this trip was taking us and that question was answered with a well-executed transition into “Piper” and the full-on, shred-session that followed.  Capping the show with a new combination of songs and two engaging jams, Phish ended their final set at The Gorge in dynamic fashion before stepping to the mic with the comedic a cappella conclusion of “Grind.”


The Gorge '09 (G.Lucas)

A high-energy encore of “Good Times, Bad Times,” “Reprise” seemed to fit the vibe of the show quite well, topping off Saturday’s sundae with a bombastic cherry to complement the rocking affair.  If there is any better place to see a Phish than The Gorge, let me know.  Combining intense surroundings with intense explorations all weekend long, the band left their stamp on the Pacific Northwest mecca this year, reminding us what Phish at The Gorge is all about.  After a life-affirming west coast jaunt, we now have two days off before hitting The Windy City.  If you’re driving it, god bless and be safe, otherwise, enjoy your flights and we’ll meet down on a soccer field for a 30,000 person throwdown on Tuesday night.  Enjoy the much needed rest.

I. The Mango Song, Chalk Dust Torture, Middle of the Road*, Tweezer > Driver, Twenty Years Later, Yamar, It’s Ice, Wolfman’s Brother, Character Zero, Run Like An Antelope

II. Rock and Roll > Makisupa Policeman, Alaska, The Wedge, You Enjoy Myself, Backwards Down the Number Line > Piper, Grind

E: Good Times, Bad Times


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429 Responses to “Hey, Another Saturday Night!”

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  1. albert walker Says:

    Is that the pretenders cover or a new Mike song
    in all looks like a great weekend up in the Northwest

  2. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    First of all, Miner, once again thanks for doing your deal. The no spoilers, the positivity of this board, the post-show rundowns… in the words of my hometown, it’s totally wicked awesome.

    I had a few buddies there last night who moved Earth to get there after watching the setlists from this August, and while they were blown away by the venue itself (first time Gorgers), they felt the show lacked a little of the punch they’d heard on the tapes from Summer ’09 Part Deux.

    Listen, if I did my best work every day I punched the clock, I’d have standing to complain. And even an “off” night of Phish is a better way to spend an evening than most. (And I haven’t listened to lst night yet, so I don’t personally know if it was “off” or not, perhaps just compared to the fire we’ve heard so far.)

    Just curious if anyone else agrees with this observation. It seems to me that there’s less band-crowd interaction at the straight-ahead rocker shows than the intense, psychedelic shows. Which is interesting, if you think about it. The band seems to have the most fun, and act the silliest, between songs, when the songs themselves are inspiring eyes to roll back and drool to accumulate on shirts.

  3. Baxter Says:

    Thanks for the updates from the frontier, Mr. Miner. It sounds like so much phun, I hope to make the trip next summer. Really looking forward to their return back east.

    AlbertWalker> Miner said it was a new mike song, just the same name as the Pretenders tune.

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    woah…a 23minute ROCK AND ROLL…that sounds incredible.

  5. albert walker Says:

    Being vinyl collector and a big fan of their early work I see that song title and just immediately thought pretenders cover
    looks like a fun set- def has the saturday night vibe to it

  6. albert walker Says:

    I’ve been loving RR Rock n Roll interested to hear one Miner says destroys it

  7. suMMer Tour 2009 Says:

    “Middle of the Road” is a mike’s song off the “Clone” album he did with Kottkee. Not new by any stretch, new to the Phish catalog though. Are the No Spoilers up for you guys for last night’s show? if not could someone send me a link where i can get last nights show! Thanks!

  8. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    Just finished listening to “Middle of the Road.” In some ways, the new Mike stuff (quirky, syncopated rhythms, compositional style) reminds me of early Trey more than most Trey tunes written since 1999 (exception being TTE). I know there are others who agree that Green Sparrow sounds more like a Phish album than any of the TAB albums. I wish these Mike songs made more frequent appearances. I really dig them, and I’d like to see some more non-Trey tunes get the stretched-out, type II treatment.

  9. chris Says:

    that tweezer was sick miner its a big highlight over wolfmans thats for sure

  10. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    suMMerTour, email me privately jrosenquest at hotmail. Better to leave the dirty stuff at the dirty board. BTW, the new SBDs sound a hell of a lot better.

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    Phantasy Board has a megaupload link up. SOundboards

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I was waiting for the new Mike tune to manifest. Can’t wait to hear it.

  13. Ocelot42 Says:

    So, is the Middle of the Road played last night the one off of Clone for sure? As soon as I saw that on the updated setlist I typed it into iTunes and the only things that came up were The Pretenders and Clone. It did inspire me to listen to Green Sparrow before going to sleep, though. Damn, but that’s a fine album.

  14. pebbles Says:

    @ocelot: Yes, it is the version from the Kottke/Gordon collaboration, but fleshed way out and more dynamic.

    I love playing the Gordon/Kottke stuff for people who haven’t heard it– I can usually gauge if someone has good/similar to my tastes in music by their reaction to those albums (especially 66 steps).

  15. Les Says:

    Last night sounds like a solid show. I listened to the 1st set and was very pleased. A few bumps in the road during Mango, but for the most part a well played show.

  16. butter Says:

    the antelope was fire. Trey started it out “sweet talking us” with plenty of slow foreplay, before the drop. Mike sounded amazing and seemed to be using the reverb of the venue to establish a hardcore backbone to the middle section of this antelope. The Trey frenzy at the end was unbelievable and straight nailed.

    I thought this was a huge Mike night, with a lot of the jaming focused from his liquid clear thumping.

  17. butter Says:

    The, Its Ice was kick ass, and for my friends that hadn’t seen shows of 3.0, this tune let them know their band was back.

  18. pebbles Says:

    Not much more to add after one run through the whole show.

    It is really gratifying to hear the progression from Hampton all the way through. I hope they ride this wave through the east coast. On a “down” night they threw down a show that dwarfs most 2.0 shows and everything in 3.0 up until RR1.

    on that note, any guesses on announcements re fall tour? I’m excited to see where else they can bring their new, improved game.

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    My download is at 99% right now. I can’t wait to put 8/8/09 on my iPod and go for a walk with it on.

    I listened to 8/7 I this morning, HOT set.

  20. empire01 Says:

    yo what was the code word in makisupa?? was it another probation type thing.
    I get a kick out of that since im in the same boat…peeing in jah cup

  21. Al Says:

    What’s the matter with that “Phantasytour-megaUpload-SBD” thing???? Anyone heard of the Phish honor code of not copying official SBD-releases. Is this a 3.0 thing, or what??

    Great show, by the way. And yes, the LIVEPHISH releases have a new mix which is breathtaking now. They managed to get the live sound across. Now it’s like standing in row 12, center stage…

  22. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    “Woke up in the morning… did like Bobby Brown. I ate my breakfast… then I la-a-a-a-ay back down.”

  23. pebbles Says:

    @Al: I feel the same way about the megaupload. I understand people hate to pay for what they used to get for free (very occasionally, and only weeks or months later, let’s not forget), but I think we need to respect that the SBD sales are now part of Phish’s business model and we have to respect that.

    Especially when there are usually AUD recordings to be had within a day of every show.

    And please, folks, spare me the lecture about how “uncool” and “corporate” the band has become. As long as they keep playing the way they are, they can all buy Bentleys and hire marketing reps for all I care.

  24. Al Says:

    ^…and not to forget the Mockingbird Foundation profits from LP sales.

  25. Robear Says:

    re: Flacer Sometimes when I convert the ‘flac’ torrents on ‘Flacer’, I only get part of the song decoded. It shows the correct timing for the song, but the song does not play all the way through. Using Mac OS 10.4.11, and trying to convert the ‘flac’ files to ‘AIFF’ files. Anyone else have that problem. Usually I can do it a second time and it works, is it just a glitch?

    re: pirating Livephish SBD’s. In theory, when we ‘torrent’ or ‘megaupload’ someone’s ‘Matrix’ of a show, aren’t we essentially downloading the Livephish SBD for free, with someone’s home made audience source mixed in? Just wondering.

    And I agree, feedback was listened to, Phish hired a new person to mix between show and release, and the new releases sound awesome.

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