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. Lycanthropist Says:

    Mr. C –

    whoa Timber > Sand > Ghost > Waves > Oceans.

    That is my Phish wet dream. Throw a 2001 > SOAM to close and I’m done.

  2. shpongleyez Says:

    @ Mr. C. Very well said about Friday vs. Saturday. Couldn’t agree more. Glad my wife and buddies preferred Saturday: something for everyone.

    But Friday was better 😉

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    Loving this Gorge Piper outro….

  4. whole tour! Says:

    i actually still like the fenway ‘destiny’ a little more. the gorge version seemed kinda rusty.(in fact it was the one and only miscue i picked up on) while the gorge ‘destiny’ was a little more jammed out straight rock style, fenway had more of a psychedelic edge effect from trey in the shorter jam. i actually did a side by side listen, i just still liked fenway version slightly better. but that could be my ole robot ears. the gorge soundboard sounds lightyears better than fenway, but i still dig the boston bustout destiny a tad more.

  5. albert walker Says:

    loved hearing about your weekend too Completely
    cuz we are older bros with similar eclectic music tastes and knowledge loved to hear your family enjoying your weekend

    funny how things have changed in our own lives along with Phish’s pushing us into a new era where the sky is the limit
    myself like Trey ditching the hard stuff (sober since 2004) has given me a new respect for the music and the people on tour

    we may not blow it up like we used to but we can instill our persepective gained from years of tour experience on welcoming new comers

    next year me and my girl will do the gorge, no doubt and we’ll kick it tasting some of the northwest’s finest

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    whole tour –

    what did you think of that YEM from the Gorge. I thought it was more interesting than most, and the bass and drums section was seamless.
    Not to mention being followed up by a short but energetic Piper, with a great fade out at the end. Excellent punctuation by Fishman at the end.

    Curious on your thoughts.

    Curious on everybody’s thoughts for a direct comparison b/t Red Rocks run and Gorge runs.

    I think I prefer RR as a whole, but man that first night of the Gorge is still giving me chills.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    @butter great story

    @Robear – financially it could be within the real of do-ability to hook up an RV thing. However, as much as I enjoyed this weekend – which is to say, infinitely, it was the most fun I’ve ever had – being on hypervigilant Dad Patrol the whole time was completely exhausting. I don’t think I could do it for a whole festival (twice as many sets) an maintain the pace and mood needed to make it happen.

    There was not a single time all weekend – not more than 5 seconds – where I could close my eyes and sink into the music. Now I am a pretty perceptive person and have a multitasking brain so I still experienced it all very clearly and enjoyed it. But: not more than 5 seconds. I was glad to do it, “glad” doesn’t even cover it, but I can’t have that be my role for 8 more sets in a row.

    What it really comes down to is that we don’t have a crew that’s in the same place we are. Friends with kids are not Phish festival people; our Phish festival friends don’t have kids or wouldn’t take them. Being in a tribe with other kids and such might make it plausible…maybe…

    And unfortunately our families can’t take him for that time, ironically they are all East Coasters so a Cali fest makes that idea unworkable.

  8. halcyon Says:

    The Gorge was my lady’s first shows, and she had a blast. At times she felt she had descended from a different planet, enjoyed the music (even thought she wasn’t familiar with their songs), and was loving all the people watching. She gets why people are so passionate about the band and their music. I don’t know if I will be able to drag her all over the place to see some shows, but she is down with me going places to see them, and will be down for anytime they will play at The Gorge.

    At the close of the second set she ran up the hill to get some water….During GTBT she walked down the hill trying to find me….she was about 30 feet away from me looking around when some kind folks pointed her in my direction….they said aren’t you with the guy who hasn’t stopped moving the entire show….I thought that was pretty amusing….

  9. gavinsdad Says:

    *kaff* sensi star *kaff* sour d *kaff* still cant get the stink outta the backpack and it’s been empty since post show fri.

    nw indeed.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    @halcyon nice

    @lycan – I can’t do an objective comparison. To me the Sally, Gin and RnR jams are the most interesting things played thus far because I experienced them. I’m sure RR wins on total points due to twice as many sets…

    but as the wise sumodie said earlier – does it matter at all? these shows are all such massively epic wins for everyone involved…

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    @ mr. c – my crew from cape cod (originally north jersey) do the kids thing at all times all places…we have many fams still doing it up every year….probably 10 strollers top of the hill at many a show….we all did our thing in the 80s and 90s then the oughts hit and we started farming out the kids. i pick and choose with my 3 kids as per your comments (“cant take yer eyes off em”) but our guys also rack out around 8:30. if you ever see a pile under a big ass blanket covered with glowsticks (warning! kids underneath) that’d be us.

    never hurts to twist an arm…tho i can’t make 8 either. i choose my battles and cross my fingers for some NE fall dates.

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    next time we DO take him I will have a much better and more secure crash space set up for him which will help a lot – one of those little pop up tent things, outlined in glow.

    What it really comes down to is that last time I dosed I got a very clear message from Above: “Enjoy yourself, but do not EVER do this around your kid.” And the idea of going to 8 and not dosing once….?!? I wear the selfless others-first dad hat well, but that would break my heart, honestly. I wouldn’t have fun.

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Mr C

    true enough, i guess that’s where I am trying to vicariously enjoy these Phish shows because I was unable to attend. There is definitely something to be said for the moment. And whatever Phish is playing in the present should and usually is the best Phish there is. Whether it is Sample or a 30 min Brother, when you are there with them, there is no comparison. Other shows, previous jams, future experiments all disappear and become irrelevant. So I imagine if you were at one run or the other or even both, that kind of discussion may be mute or inconsequential.

    Be that as it may…

    Was just curious from a strictly, stuck-at-work, playing-daddy (which it sounds like you did very well @ the show), can’t-afford-it, in-the-completely-wrong-part-of-the-country, having-to-just-listen-to-recordings perspective..


  14. Danny B Says:

    Very nice to read your account of the shows Mr. C, sounds like the vibe at the Gorge was perfect.

    And…….thank you so much for JGB stuffs, very much appreciated, the Cats on The Bandstand mix is superb. I will be rocking it the whole way up to Darien lakes on thursday (7+ hours driving).

    The shows from Red Rocks and The Gorge sound great, it is amazing to hear this tour unfold and read the reviews right after each show is played, the only problem is I keep getting so damn excited for the east coast shows coming up that I can’t do any work.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    no I hear you lycan, and I play the ratings game too, with shows I’m not at. Nothing wrong with it. I’m just saying I lack perspective for it in this case.

    In the end, I come to – do I want to listen to the whole show a year from now, or do I have parts of it on mix CDs? Gorge 1 will be in whole-show rotation for ever. Gorge 2 will get mixed down at some point, I can feel it.

  16. butter Says:

    @Halcyon – that’s huge that your girl “GOT IT”

    My bro’s fiance just saw 6 of the 7 shows (her first…well now whe has 6 under her belt and can’t wait for Indio if that tells you anything.) It’s awesome for him as he is marrying her in October. Its awesome for my wife and I cuz we have another couple to do shows with that we go on vacation and enjoy traveling together anyway.

    I really feel this leg has been about turning people on and enlightening the vets as well. Bro’s fiance said after Red Rocks that she couldn’t believe how nice everyone was and didn’t expect that.

    We’ve popped alot of cherries in the last 10 days. My little Bro after experiencing RR will now sail with me in Jan as my Jam Cruise roomate.

    As Mr.Miner has mentioned 2009 is a really good time to be a Phish fan.

  17. wvbrdr Says:

    @ lycan, I was thinking the same thing as I was there. I would have been just as happy if they busted out Bouncin>Sparkle because they are playing so friggin good. Doesn’t matter what shows you were at or plan on going to, you are there in the moment with the band taking you to incredible places. God that was fun.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeah i think that maybe a gorge highlights tape would beat a red rocks highlight tape, but as a whole red rocks was a grander expression due to having eight sets of canvas to paint on.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Danny – glad you like it – that stuff has aged very well I think. I was lucky to see a lot of that era live and that mix really does it for me.

  20. butter Says:

    Mr. C – thanks for the call on the terraces too. We were able to set up a home base on the Page side terraces for our crew and it was beyond perfect. When some of us needed to go to down to the rave , spinner , funk , robot groove pit (Page side floor) we could just hop down there and not be far at all from our crew.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    i know this may be irrelevant or late or what not, but as i am fairly new to this board and getting to know you guys, would like to know locations and professions of my new found peers.

    Hattiesburg, MS

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    @butter – terraces rule

    They should start every summer tour with 4 at RR. What a fucking genius move to kickstart the energy.

  23. pebbles Says:

    @Mr.C: I give the edge to Gorge I over RR2, only because RR2 featured a TTE, FLuffhead and Day in the Life all in the same show– too much composed psychedelia for my tastes– I felt like something more organic was afoot at Gorge.

    Still, and exactly like you said, everyone wins when you have shows like this to debate the merits of.

  24. SOAM Says:

    How was Pebbles and Marbles?

  25. Twiggy Says:

    @Colonel Joy

    Haven’t heard from you in a while. I know some bad shit just went down close to where you are, so I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say Hope all is well and we can’t wait to see you at Indio. Your probably hard at work right now, but can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this past weekend! Sounds like it was an absolute blast! Thanks once again for all you do so that we are lucky enough to have these types of weekends!

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