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. Stupendous Says:

    NOt sure if it was mentioned but somebody had asked about soundcheck on Fri… 20+/- min Dog Log….i was told by this guy that heard it from his campsite…which was like a 700+/- ft from mine….
    Still getting goose bumps from that Sally!

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah, it’s more of a ride thing than anything else. My dad will be away that weekend. Oh well, there’s always next time rignt?

    Thanks Lycan, I’ll check that out.

    For some reason I always think nobody is on at this hour, so I rarely check it.

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    Lycan, you got mail

  4. Ocelot42 Says:

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

    I’d never heard of them. Until now. THANK YOU.

  5. Ocelot42 Says:

    BTW, if you have any more suggestions for unheralded Prog Rock, I think I trust your judgement from one post. Hit me with more: dstew39791 at aol.com

    (Still stuck listening to Focus during most of my Phish downtime. Can’t get enough of that band. Very Phishy, they just came about in the wrong time on the wrong continent.)

  6. themanatee Says:

    sorry but the vocal rounds at the end of the light jam are downright heartwrenching phish. mike’s bassline that accompanies this part is just so perfect…and to land in taste is incredible “tasteful”….spinning into the light.

  7. Hunter Says:

    I agree, Manatee. I liked the Light jam a lot. It never quite peaks, it just keeps morphing into something else, staying continually interesting and fresh.

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Ocelot –

    Try these albums on:


    The Most Serene Republic – Population
    Green Milk From the Planet Orange – City Calls Revolution
    Explosions in the Sky – How Strange, Innocence

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    also Snarky Puppy out of New Orleans. Only seen them live so dont know what album to suggest, but fantastic band.

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    I know I am not Ocelot, but thanks for those suggestions Lycan! I am a prog rock fan.

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    no doubt

    love to keep fresh music on my ears..

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ ocelot

    got some of dat mail…

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    also check out Kayo Dot. Kind of heavier and takes long time for their songs to get going, but nothing short of amazing in the pay off.

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    Damn Lycan, you sure do know your shit! How do you find al of these bands?

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    I’m a music glutton.

    We have a very very incredible scene here in Hattiesburg, MS. Unfortunately no one knows about it, but thats another story. There is a record shop, a bar and a radio station that does a good job from keepin us Burgians informed, unlike most of the rest of our state. Our local music scene is really tight as well. I share a practice space with a metal band, an alternative band, an indie-prog band, and a straight prog band. We (all of the local music not just my practice space) all support each other and are at least friendly acquaintances if not good pals. As a result their is a good network of information about new music.

    Both Kayo Dot and Green Milk came through to the aforementioned bar right before they blew up (which this particular venue has a knack for doing).

    I also like to keep myself exposed to all genres of music, even the stuff that I usually dont like (country, heavy metal, rap). I find that there are hidden gems in all music. Pandora is a nifty tool for discovering new music as well.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Brandon –

    are those downloads working?

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    The music scene sucks around here. Then again I’m not old enough yet where I can really look around as you said and find hidden little gems of music that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

    I try to listen to as many different types of music as I can. I am a music glutton as well; atleast to the people I know. I try to go to as many concerts as I can and see up and coming bands but as I said, the music scene around here consists of nothing but that 3 chord screaming metal-core bullshit. It is really hard to find quality live acts.

    It sounds like you are pretty much set as far as live music goes, I would love to live in a place like that.

    Oh, and I was about to start the downloads now, thanks for asking. Which show did you think was better between the two (6-13-09, 8-08-09)? I will probably download 6-23 first.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    Well they are both good. 6-13 represents maybe a darker side (especially set 2) while 8-08 is just locked in funk grooves. I think between the two of em you will have a good feel for us. I think its pretty much all different songs both nights, a few repeats maybe.

    Referencing my local music scene:

    It is nice to have one, especially one where so many good musicians have a chance to hone their skill to a receptive audience. The problem is that it lies right in the bottom of South Mississippi and too close to New Orleans to be noticed (a problem we also had during Hurricane Katrina). Its easy to get stuck in a rut here in Hattiesburg. However we do get to see some nice intimate shows with bands that in other towns might too packed to enjoy.

    For instance, Groupo Phantasma (a great latin horn band) got a big chunk of it’s southern fan base here. They have been playing Hattiesburg for almost 5 years now. Man Man and Tim Fite played here not too long ago. Dan Deacon too. All groups that have grown to bigger and better things, but I get to say I saw them when.

    So there is ups and downs. But I feel like musically we are drowning here, hence the big push to get it out and exposed in other regions so we can start doing some legitimate touring. We have down to runs in CO and did very well there, but being a 24 hour drive from here it makes it hard to financially support multiple trips a year out there without having anything in between to play.

    Very interested in moving up the East Coast and getting our sound out to a greater populated area where people are more apt to check out what we got goin on.

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    also have a Trio that just got started, dont have any downloads but got some tunes for listen at http://www.myspace.com/thissideuptrio

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m really liking 6-13 so far. But we will continue this conversation in the morning, I’m going to bed.

    I will write a detailed (ehh, fairly detailed) analysis of each show when I am done with them.

    Night’ Lycan

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    anyways moving this back to a PHISH discussion board… Sneaking Sally inspired me to re listen to 12.30.97 what a nice treat of a show.

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Brandon –
    good night thanks for the interest

  23. Ewok Says:

    Had an incredible time at the Gorge. Random stuff:

    Didn’t buy a beer during the entire weekend as I couldn’t stand to pay $9 for crap while I had delicious micros in my cooler at the campsite.

    Sat up top for Friday and the sound was great, better than I recall at The Dead. Sat on the terraces for Saturday and really appreciated the flat surface.

    Left with the herd on Friday night and got caught up in the line-crossing mess. Decided to wait around Saturday and had a much more peaceful time heading back.

    I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it, great weekend of Phish. I would like to drag my wife to the Gorge for Phish nest summer, I think she would finally get IT. She grew up on metal and the jams don’t really do much for her. I think with a little help from my buddies Gus and Mary she’d get into it though.

    Can’t wait for F8! Safe travels to everyone continuing/starting on tour!

  24. rizla mon Says:

    maybe i missed it but im surprised no one’s really discussing the Gorge “ya mar”

    miner’s review didn’t include comment on it but ‘Ya Mar’ in first set of 8-8 was, except for an abrupt ending- absolutely gorgeous!

    went perfectly with the vibe and the sunset goin on behind the stage

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    12-30-97 is definitely a mindfuck of a show.

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