Moments In A Box: The Gorge

The Gorge (J.Doran)

The Gorge (J.Doran)

Phish’s two-night stand at The Gorge has garnished lavish praise for its other-worldly improv- and rightfully so.  Representing the peak of Phish’s summer, each evening carried its own vibe and its own colossal jams.  In discussion of the two nights in Washington, there has been an obvious focus on the most mind-numbing improv, but less attention has been paid to some of the pieces that fit in between.  Here are three musical moments that took place over the two nights that have crystallized in my memory, but haven’t been widely noted.


Slave to the Traffic Light” 8.7 E

8.7 "Slave" (G.Lucas)

8.7 "Slave" (G.Lucas)

There is something so magical about a “Slave” encore, regardless of its context.  But paint the Columbia River Gorge in the background, and place it at the end of a deeply enchanting show, and you’ve got the recipe for a peak Phish experience.  Following a sublime final sequence of “Bathtub Gin > Harry Hood,” this encore felt congruent to the wide-open and delicate musical vibe of the show.  Seldom are “Hood” and “Slave” ever combined, but on this night, there was no other way to end the night.  Pure. Soulful. Majesty.



Tweezer” 8.8 I

The Gorge 8.8.09 (W.Rogell)

The Gorge 8.8 (W.Rogell)

While this “Tweezer” wasn’t a straight throwdown like several others this summer, its intricate playing coupled with its sunset placement made this an indelible memory of the weekend.  Favoring a less-dancy rhythmic path, Trey and Fish were locked in a picking & drum pattern that carried the jam, while Mike and Page filled in the spaces therein.  Trey and Fish continued to layer their phrases, creating a quasi-staccato feel to the jam.  Trey finally breaks the cohesion with some slower licks that push Fish into a groove, and at this point, the band began meticulously building the piece with unique phrasings that carried a more tradional “Tweezer” sound.  With dusk upon The Gorge, nothing could have been better.



Makisupa Policeman” 8.8 II

"Makisupa" 8.8 (E.Battuello)

"Makisupa" 8.8 (E.Battuello)

Following one of the most outrageous jams of the summer in “Rock and Roll,” the band segued into the
“cow-reggae” favorite, “Makisupa.”  An ideal bass-led passage of relaxation, things got Phishy towards the end of the song.  During the section of improv, Trey and Mike looked at each other and had an idea.  Slowly switching instruments, Mike took the lead on the ‘Doc.  Anyone who has seen Mike play guitar knows he’s got mad skills, and when he took over, his creative  lines have the music a more authentic island vibe.  Trey looked tiny behind the bass as he held down the bottom end with his trademark goofy smile.  Following one of the best jams of the year, it was time for a little fun- and this time, the music didn’t pay the price.



The Wedge” 8.8 II

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

Slipped into the second set rather randomly, this version of “The Wedge” seemed more lively and energetic than other versions.  While the band didn’t necessarily do anything crazy, they just really ripped a juicy rendition of the summertime favorite- smack dab in the middle of the second set.  And it worked great.  The Gorge can even effect composed pieces, and here is some evidence.


Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Bathtub Gin” 11.9.95 II


Here’s a preview of today’s download- some vintage ’95 improv.



11.9.1995 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA < Torrent

11.9.1995 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA < Megaupload

The Fox - Atlanta, GA

The Fox - Atlanta, GA

This was the first show after Halloween and a week-long break amidst Fall ’95’s 54-show marathon.  Beginning a legendary three-night run at The Fabulous Fox in Atlanta, this show kicked off the second half of fall which would culminate in December in one of the most revered months in Phish history.

I: Tweezer Reprise, The Divided Sky, Prince Caspian, Punch You in the Eye, Simple, Reba, Tela, Sample in a Jar

II: Theme From the Bottom, Julius, Lizards, Bathtub Gin > TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, Life on Mars?, Hello My Baby, The Squirming Coil

E: Loving Cup

Source: AKG C1000 (hypercardiod) > DAT @ 16/48 (Taper – J.T. Lucchesi)



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259 Responses to “Moments In A Box: The Gorge”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    now I actually want to know: how much would you pay for that? A Phish fan club that gets you:

    1) first access to all prime tickets
    2) first and sometimes only access to private events
    3) early entrance to shows and occasional meet & greets
    4) fanclub only releases

    yearly number – how much? It doesn’t actually *get* you the tickets, just access.

  2. bhizzle Says:

    Has anyone else seen the 8 rumor re: them playing in hot air balloons over there on PT?

    Also, the Clifford Ball dvds have some “easter eggs” or certain buttons to press on the remote during certain times on the dvd to show the band commenting on themselves. Anyone know of a list of those “easter eggs”?

    And maybe, just maybe they have one on the joy dvd featuring that Camden Tweezer?!?!?!?!?!

  3. voopa Says:

    I have a NYE Prince show w/Miles…good stuff.

  4. Chuck D Says:


  5. Jay Says:

    @MrC – “he’s weird as hell and his albums aren’t my thing at all, but I’d travel far and pay much to see him in a small venue again. Genius is really the only word for it.”


  6. bhizzle Says:

    Mr. C……somewhere between $1000 to $500 <- Phan Club

  7. bhizzle Says:

    @ Chuck D…that’s some serious calculating…a dollar a day?

  8. Robear Says:

    Mr. C, and all: my daughter just picked up the Sax for 4th grade bands. Any suggestions to introduce her to the jazz sax? Engaging, but not too crazy? She would like ensembles with lyrics, too.

  9. voopa Says:

    But like the long-hoped for collaboration between Miles and Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s, Miles and Prince never got to work together in a studio on an album. It’s not even certain whether they ever performed together in a studio.

    from here:

  10. Jay Says:

    I would pay $500 if the first 10 rows of every show were set aside for Phanclub Phans and first dibs on the rest via mailorder (Bring back the tour booklet of tickets! Remember that from ’80s Dead?) and a Phan magazine and 1 Phanclub only show per year.

  11. Jay Says:

    I might up that to $1000 if there were some kind of guarantees

  12. Bapslap Says:

    Random question…

    Anyone know where I can find the studio version of Driver?

    This was released as a bonus track on the import of Farmhouse (like Strange Design on Billy Breathes). iTunes doesn’t have it….

  13. msbjivein Says:

    Mr C.,
    The Miles/ Prince jams definately happened. They were studio sessions at Prince’s studio in the early 90’s. Don’t know the exact year obviously 90 or 91. My buddy told me this back in 2000. So who nows if they’ll ever get released. All we can do is hope and pray they do.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Robear, that’s the stuff I’m bad at, older jazz, not as crazy, the vocals, I dig it but don’t really have the skills

    Coltrane’s “Ballads” album is really beautiful and mellow but no vox

    oh! wait! Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

    There aren’t vocals on it, but the Monk Carnegie Hall album with Trane that came out a few years ago deserves its fame. It’s cerebral and accessible, not overwhelming.

    Sonny Rollins has some amazing albums with vocalists, with sax parts that aren’t too acrobatic. Rollins is my second favorite sax player after Trane. I’ll see if I can find a recommendation when I’m home.

    Something I need to do myself is spend time in the catalogs of Ellington, Gillespie and Armstrong – my jazz knowledge lacks foundation.

  15. Leo Weaver Says:

    @robear…”If I had been there, you’d have spotted me as the tall, skinny cat, dancing like a freak!”

    I was spotted as the short round cat, dancing like a freak…wearing a Tilly! lol

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    my favorite sax album right now is Aretha Franklin Live at the Fillmore West, featuring King Curtis on sax

    the heat!!!!

  17. voopa Says:

    @ Bapsalp

    I forgot about that…it just might be worth unwrapping my import copy for that…

  18. msbjivein Says:

    VOOPA, “It’s not even CERTAIN they performed together”
    Interesting…..That’s news to me. If they did I wanna hear that shit for sure.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    “farmhouse import tracks” link from the phantasy rare tracks thread

    should be in there I guess?

  20. Jer Says:

    With Red Light managing Phish, the chances of a fan club gaining access to prime seating are about 0%. Phish went the corporate route this time around to make things run smoother…there are advantages and disadvantages to that. One of those disadvantages is being in bed with TicketBastard/LameNation and their scalper underlings.

    Not only that, you pay X$/ year for choice seating, you get your choice seats only to have some entitled, self-righteous w00k pack get stubbed down and push you out of your seat anyway. Face it, Prince fan and Phish fan aren’t very similar…you can get away with things like that if you are Prince. There is a ton of love and good energy at Phish shows, but there are also a grand sense of entitlement coming from those “headier than thou”. That said, I haven’t been to any shows during 3.0, so things may be different now.

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    Mr. C (or whoever posted it)…BIG thanks for the Prince WMGGW link…there was no weeping to it, nothing but pure fuckin’ FIRE! Wow…

  22. SOAM Says:

    Miles Davis went to Jimi Hendrix’s apartment and knocked on the door-Jimi’s assistant answered the door and told Miles to come on in-Miles responded “I want Jimi fuckin Hendrix to answer Jimi fucking Hendrixs’ door and ask me in” and proceeded to close the door-not entering but standing in the hall. Jimi’s assistant told Jimi and he said “I know-that just how Miles is” Jimi proceeded to open the door and invite Miles in-he was carrying his horn and they went into Jimi’s bedroom-the assistant was unsure if they were doing dope or what but then heard the most beautiful music he had ever heard-Jimi was playing acoustic guitar. Later Jimi tried to convince the promoters at Woodstock that he wanted to do 2 acoustic numbers to open the show and they nixed the idea-though Jimi was very adamant-he had been paid and had to play it their way.-FYI (From his autobiography-House of Mirrors, I think that is the name-great book

  23. Robear Says:

    ^lmao, Leo. Yeah, great video, I hadn’t seen it before. The best part is the other players looking at Prince, with this “that ain’t your grandpa’s little red corvette” look.

  24. Jay Says:

    “I want Jimi fuckin Hendrix to answer Jimi fucking Hendrixs’ door and ask me in”


  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @soam, great story!

    @jer – not saying it WILL happen – no way – that kind of thing takes massive overhead which phish doesn’t want and understandably so

    was just curious what value people would place on it

    @leo, robear – yeah, we saw that when it originally ran on TV and I’ll never forget it, the looks on the faces esp.

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