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!”

  1. albert walker Says:

    I have to hear this Light
    I felt this was the weakest of the new songs
    seemed like discarded TAB to me
    kind of cheezy lyrics, nice to hear they pushed the jam a bit

  2. Leo Weaver Says:

    Afternoon fellas…WOW what a trip! Got back into C’lotte about 6:30 this a.m., have had a good nap, and now need to get my head to slow down a bit…been going 90-to-nothing processing everything.

    First, sorry I missed you guys at the WW table; that had been priority one for me going in. Me and Aintnotele got in later than we’d hoped the first night (that’s a pretty long walk). Walked down the left side to the floor to snag a spot, never saw the table. By the time I’d gone for beer and bathroom, it was about time for the show to start. Second night thing starting getting weird a little early for me. We’ll have to try again next time.

    I’ve read Miner’s posts, but none of the other comments. For me, night one was tops…night two was GREAT as well, but Friday just flowed better (and that Sneakin’ Sally…holy moly). Saturday night maybe had more BIG highlights (YEM w/sick sick vocal jam, RnR jam w/sick sick lights – props Kuroda as usual, smokin’ wolfman’s, etc); not that SAturday night wasn’t packed with ’em as well. I’ve done 7 shows with one to go in ’09 and these 2 are tops. And I can’t wait to see where they are musically in another few months…there were times this weekend where they didn’t really cut jams short (wrapped them up nicely), but they could’ve taken them much farther. Everything they jammed at all had serious wheels to keep going. If leg 1 was a warmup, I think leg 2 is just about getting back into a good groove with everything. They may quickly grow into something that’s truly gonna blow all our minds.

    The experience of the entire weekend was absolutely incredible. An almost surreal landscape (for this southeasterner anyway), great new friends, best outdoor venue in the world, festival atmoshpere, and great playing from our favorite four…and did I mention that Sneaking Sally??? To those that’ve never seen Phish at the Gorge…go…start saving your $$ now. It’s a must!

    Oh, and Mike just absolutely killed it the entire weekend…even showed off his blues chops while Trey watched and took notes.

  3. halcyon Says:

    Hartford rerelease on LN started about an hour ago in case anyone is interested

  4. butter Says:

    Alaska at the Gorge, sounded like a cross between tennessee jed, ramble on rose, and rainy day women

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    @albert it’s not a peaky jam and it’s not long either but VERY creative I think…the Taste out of it was an energetic sledgehammer, got everyone focused for the Fluff.

    the Sally jam was longer but also did not have a big shreddy peak which I found interesting – just 3 distinct sections of floating, beautiful improv

    The lyrics to light are definitely in that earnest, borderline cheesy mode but when he was singing it you could tell he means every word literally, so I actually really enjoyed it at the time

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @butter there was a rainy day woman tease in the RR alaska!

  7. Leo Weaver Says:

    @fool…I heard the rainy day women, was very distinct for a couple of measures.

  8. SOAM Says:

    I need a hartford-have extra dariens

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Leo apparently NO ONE made the meetup – CLASSIC – lol

    just too fucking intense. My excuse was parenting duty.

  10. albert walker Says:

    can’t wait to hear the Sally, everyone I know that was there was blown away

    after listening post red rocks I think that Tweezer is some of the tastiest shit they’ve played in years and it is a pretty short jam

    I like when a shorter jam can hold such power
    also how about that curtain with
    first time in 2009 and they nailed it, better than the last version I saw in 2000

    people are hating on Alaska but I think it’s fun in a 1st set, sounded great at red rocks

  11. Brian Says:

    maybe Blonde on Blonde for Halloween 😉

    speaking of Dylan, how about a Mighty Quinn at SPAC!

  12. Jason Waite Says:

    I my gorge’ness – i can still feel that bathtub gin> best jam ever (imo)

    Ohhh… & i loved how they brought the classic “Life is just a bundle of joy” into the fresh 3.0 Joy… really phun to see how they blend the old>new

    had an amazing time, see you Halloween!

  13. halcyon Says:

    Re: “The lyrics to light are definitely in that earnest, borderline cheesy mode but when he was singing it you could tell he means every word literally, so I actually really enjoyed it at the time.”

    I too think some of the lyrics are light, airy, and borderline cheesy, but listening to the context of it, and the personal nature of the lyrics this time (addiction recovery, sobriety, life reflections). It makes it more poingnant, autobiographical, and meaningful.

    Re: Ocelot – I am a cat person so it reminds me of our cat when I listen to the song.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah halcyon, that better expresses what I meant. It’s not just empty words.

    Alaska – I agree albert, but even though I like it, mid second set was a strange spot. They raged the jam, and by the time they were done people were into it, but it did chop up the flow quite a bit.

    Anything they lost they got back from the Wedge though. That has been something I have wanted to see a great version of for many years and seeing the “great divide” in the *middle* of a second set at the Gorge of all settings just really worked for me.

  15. butter Says:

    yea Mr C. that was a special liquidy Wedge!!!

  16. alumnidog Says:

    quick question for the board. i just got my tics for tomorrows show (i got them in a trade). they are regular ticketmaster tickets (not the “phish art” tickets.

    Are these legit? I went to Hampton and Alpine, but my tickets for those shows were the Phish Art tickets (at least that is how I am describing them).

    Has anyone been using old school ticketmaster tickets (with the orange and yellow printing).

    Thanks for any info.

  17. Jason Waite Says:

    and let’s not forget about the “CAVERN” – what a treat that closer was!

  18. Jason Waite Says:

    tickets are good …. and surely there will be free tickets for those without….

    gorge both nights had piles of free tickets @ the gate 🙂

  19. halcyon Says:

    Hell Yeah Jason! That was awesome!

  20. butter Says:

    @alumnidog – too legit to quit, the art is from Phish direct, Ticket bastards have been workin GRRRRRRRREEEEEAAAAATT

  21. Jason Waite Says:

    o ya!

    AGAIN… i must say the Gin Jam was the best ever, a whole new portal opened up….

  22. alumnidog Says:

    thanks guys – just didnt want any surprises – although you are right, I am sure there will be plenty o extras on the ground

  23. msbjivein Says:

    Alumni, I had ticketmaster Hamptons,Red Rocks and Chicago. Chicago was the only one I had to trade for. There from a phellow phishthoughter so I’m not sweatin it. I actually got printed off Tickermaster tix for Merriweather. i’m not sweatin any. You should be golden.

  24. butter Says:

    @Leo Weaver – I’m with u that Mike absolutely killed it all weekend. Esp day 2. I think the natural reverb of the venue was something special that he was able to utilize and really toy with.

  25. msbjivein Says:

    Mike owned red Rocks also!! He’s fucking loud again!!!! We’re getting BASSED!

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