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. Robear Says:

    ^thanks summer98, the link popped up with a map and directions. So you’re thinking that’s better than 90 to the 77 ? I know, the rush hour timing stinks.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @98 well I guess that was my fault 😮

    they actually might need to rethink that whole thing if they want to keep raking in some of these dollars

    the premier/VIP parking exit road crosses the exit line from the venue to the campground. First night we left immediately after the show and were the 2nd car in line to get out. The traffic guys stopped the pedestrians after a couple minutes and it was all good…

    …except that apparently they let ALL the cars in line out and kept the foot traffic – that whole huge line – from moving at all, for 20-30 minutes…

    …and were surprised when the huge mass of people trashed the area they were trapped in, and were kinda pissed…

    …so the next night we waited awhile to exit while the main mass of walkers passed by. The guy “in charge” (quite a pleasantly inept seeming fellow) said the band had heard about Friday and instructed them to let the walkers through…

    …which was fine with me, I mean, you can’t keep that many people bottled up.

    But – if they had had 12 people working that gate instead of 3, they could have taken turns back and forth with no trouble. So basically the venue understaffed it for the new setup with VIP parking. If they want to keep that revenue stream they’ll need to rethink the exit situation.


    Rock and Roll jam, whoo…gonna have to dig through this one a few times too…not as flowing and organic as the Sally and Gin jams, but pretty schweet

  3. AintNoTele Says:


    llama teases for sure! and at the end of YEM too right after the vocal jam. I’m glas somebody else thought that too.

    Anyone else still stuck in seattle, my 9am flight was cancelled and now i get to leave at 8pm…but i did get a super heady 20 dollar voucher, well worth my 11 hour layover

  4. halcyon Says:

    Mr C….we parked in Gate B, and it was all good there getting in and getting out, especially night 2 where I had to b-line it for SeaTac to make our early am flight so I could make work in time. For such large lots (A B & C) it looked like they had things dialed in.

    Robear…are you heading to Hartford and SPAC as well? If you are, will you be working Waterwheel? If so, I will try and stop by and say hey.

  5. Robear Says:

    ^now you can check an extra bag, AintNoTele, lol. The ‘Wolfman’s’ from 1st night at Red Rocks may have been overlooked in light of other big jams, and following the ‘Ghost’, but it’s hot!

  6. Robear Says:

    ^halycon, yep, that’s the plan. Those look like looong drives. I’ll be at one of the booth’s each night. Looking forward to meeting! I knew they were gonna’ torch the Gorge! Seemed like the natural progression + the scenery/vibe. Finally ran into a friend that was there, and the look on his face confirmed it : )

  7. Summer98 Says:

    Your call Robear. At the time you’re talking about you may miss the traffic that gets bottled up from .5 mi before the 77 off ramp on 90. It has taken me well over an hour to get from that on ramp to the parking entrance.

  8. EJ Says:

    @Robear I love the WB from RRN1. I can see how it was overshadowed with everything else going down, but it’s seriously hot.

    By the way, can anyone tell me how often Trey has used the Ross since Hampton?

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    The whole sbd Leo and Mike show with “Middle of the Road” on it is uploading to my mediafire share (linked in my name) now, should be done by 8 pacific time or so.

    Setlist and info here

    that page says SBD, it came to me labelled as an on-the-fly live matrix mix, I haven’t given it the headphones test so whatever. It sounds great and is a fun show.

    @halcyon – I think they just didn’t have the premier parking thing dialed in because it’s relatively new and had never been exposed to the heat of a Phish crowd. It was no big deal as long as no one got hurt bottled up in line, but they need to handle it better in the future. A lot of the people who paid $28 for “premier” parking were pissed to wait, but we were fine with it given the situation.

    But re: event production that’s the kind of snafu that’s only excusable once and only because they got lucky and nothing bad happened, they need to get it straight.

  10. halcyon Says:

    Robear….I am packing my bags and getting ready for a loooong day of flying tomorrow..Undecided about Darien and MPP…..I will look for you on Friday and Sunday…..hopefully a PT meetup will be successful this time around…..:-)

    Good Night Everybody….will check in in a few days

  11. Stupendous Says:

    WoW!!! What a Weekend!
    I almost got stuck with the herd exiting the first night until i convinced my crew to turn around and wait for “our” premier shuttle ride…

    I agree they need more staff for a bit more order with these issues
    it was very messy to get on the shuttle bus to premier after the second night.
    It was a big conglomerate of folks waiting and then depending on where the shuttle actually stopped the mass would have to run that way then get muscled up to go through the funnel that was the shuttle doors…

    Other than that, and the venue food/beverage situation (very expensive crap)
    It was all good! Great Times…. it definitely felt like seeing the greatest band
    in the world at the best venue in the world! and the shows weren’t half bad either… ; )

  12. Stupendous Says:

    Couldn’t find the waterwheel foundation table on page side so i spaced the meeting

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    who’s still out there tonight? whats everyone listening to? anyone taking a phish break. As someone said earlier, “Time to Cleanse the palate” maybe?
    I’m listening to The Cancer Conspiracy.

  14. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I’m sitting in my hotel room in Chicago listening to the first set to Gorge 1. Stash is pretty rocking, tasteful use of the whale tone by Trey. Getting really psyched for tomorrow. Ran into a head who reads but doesn’t post here at the bar in the hotel, gonna meet up with him pre-show tomorrow. Had several people offer me tix, so I think that it should be no problem finding two tomorrow for my last minute friends.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Lycan, sort of a break, I’m listening to that Leo and Mike show I just put up, I have not spun it in maybe 5 years.

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @completely, listening to that show you posted. very cool stuff. thanks for posting. also just listened to the burroughs thing which is awesome. no one speaks like burroughs did

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    feel free to disregard the following:

    posted a tracked out recording of Chance Fisher (my band) show from Saturday night, if any of you fine writers would like to correspond via email (as not to clog up this fine board with shameless promotion) and give me your thoughts.

    free new music, can’t argue with that..

    ok moving on..

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    If you like good solid prog-rock, Cancer Conspiracy is where its at.

  19. Frankie Says:

    If anyone is curious about the Darien lot scene, the last time I was there was for Allman Bros./Tom Petty, and it was a hell of a good old time. Just don’t do anything overtly stupid and you’ll be just fine.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    Lycan, email me at bkayda@gmail.com. I would be interested in hearing your band.

  21. Summer98 Says:

    No worries with the line. You paid more you should be able to get out. Hopefully they’ll get it worked out for next year.

  22. BMW119 Says:

    Check out my review of the great Gorge experience, I’m no Miner, but it’s a start: precioustimeny.com/blog/?p=3422

  23. Robear Says:

    Hey Bk! Why no Hartford? Is it just a ride thing?

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Brandon

    you got mail

  25. lot rat Says:

    the second set saturday was fuckin phenominal. havent heard trey play thru music like that in along time…defintely a different beast out west…more good things to come

    that rock n roll had the place boogieing down for 25 minutes…

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