Getting Ready For the Gorge

The Gorge - 8.7.09 (Graham Lucas)

Question: What will happen when a blossoming, new-era Phish collides with the vast scenery and rich history of the Gorge?


Wide-Open Improvisation—During June and Super Ball, Phish’s improvisational prowess truly defined their music for the first time this era. This summer has carried the feeling of an arrival; a culmination of the last two years. With the band finally able to visit enchanting music planes regularly, what better place to kick off leg two than the Gorge? A venue that is virtually synonymous with patient, open jamming, the Gorge has brought out the best in Phish throughout their career and will provide an engaging backdrop for the beginning of the summer’s final twelve shows. Ever since the band’s inaugural visit to George, Washington, in 1997, they have played exclusively top-notch shows amidst the amphitheatre’s stunning surroundings. And with Phish coming off a fire-filled festival that was littered with innovative jams, one can only expect Phish to continue pushing new musical frontiers.

The Gorge - 8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

“Storage” Jamming—And part in parcel with Super Ball—and many jams of June—was Phish’s abstract sound-sculpting that Phish culminated in a storage shed late one Saturday night. The last two all-improv, late-night festival sets—Lemonwheel’s Ring of Fire jam and IT’s Tower Jam—were showcases for the Phish’s current and/or upcoming improvisational style, honing on a specific element of an era. If The Storage Jam was any indication, the Gorge shows may feature more abstract exploration of the astral plane. The open-air sound of the Gorge has always pushed Phish in a more patient direction, and when throwing this new style into the mix, things could plunge to serious depths.

Gorge 8.7.09 (Graham Lucas)

A Full Head of “Steam” — When Phish’s wonderful weekend at Watkins Glen came to a close without a festival-sized version of their new song, “Steam,” more than a few fans were a bit surprised. Their only debut of the summer, Phish played the piece only twice over June, and “Steam” seemed due for a breakthrough on the open-air system of Super Ball. But after sticking to a fairly old-school vibe in the Northeast, I surmise the “Steam” we’ve been waiting for will go down at the Gorge. Though I’m not one for “calling” songs, the setting and sound of the slow, groove-based jam seem to match perfectly. And as Phish continues to forge a new path this summer, one has to figure their new song will come along. Will other songs come along as well? Were “Scents and Subtle Sounds” and “A Song the Heard the Ocean Sing” just festival bustouts? It would be inspiring to hear either piece next weekend. What else might the band have in store?

Regardless of what we hear at the Gorge, one can be sure the music within the two shows will be some of the most talked about of the summer. It always is. Only one month removed from their most impressive tour-plus-festival of this go-round, I don’t think its far-fetched think that some of the year’s most exploratory and outstanding improv may stem the two-night stand. And after a year off, the return to the hallowed grounds feels that much more exciting. T-minus 4 days…

8.7.09 (Graham Lucas


Jams of the Day:

Piper” 6.11.2011 II

The improvisational highlight of Merriweather’s opening night. The jams from June just keep on flowing.



Sneakin’ Sally” 8.7.09 I

And one from the Gorge.



8.7.09 (Graham Lucas)

Tags: , ,

445 Responses to “Getting Ready For the Gorge”

« Previous12345678...1718Next »
  1. Guyute711 Says:

    Being up to comment first is getting old. Nice article miner, hope you are right that we get that steam.

  2. Guyute711 Says:

    By the way, the photos are incredible.

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    go to sleep

  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:


  5. willowed Says:

    That slow drippy bass in Steam will sound like heaven out of those Gorge speaker stacks.

    It’s a perfect fit.

  6. st8 of mind Says:

    That sally is so sick. 8/7 is still on the top of the 3.0 list. Have a good day.

  7. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Steam clean the Gorge!

  8. alf Says:

    happy birthday, jerry

  9. stitchstash Says:

    July went by way too fast!

  10. stitchstash Says:

    Where’s my avatar?

  11. alf Says:

    woke up this morning with one eye half swollen shut. interesting… at least i only got 2 days left in babylon!

  12. stitchstash Says:

    Did you get punched in the eye while you were sleeping last night Alf?

    BTW congratulations on your marriage!

  13. Luther T. Justice Says:

    happy birthday, jerry

    ^I second that emotion

    You might need to rock the pirate eye patch @alf. Its a good look for ter.

  14. alf Says:

    thanks stitch!

    causes unknown… at least it’s not pink eye

  15. AintNoTele Says:

    YEM opener kiddies, I would like to make this known right now.

    ::epic drive-by complete::

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    Morning, kids

    Hard to believe were 4 days to tour

    Really really excited for the month of august

  17. DryIceFactory Says:

    So jealous of all you kids heading to the Gorge… Live it up people!

  18. alf Says:

    chicago kids –

    spending the weekend before UIC in the city with the lady. anything we must do? best places for a drink? we’re staying downtown but will travel for good food & drink

  19. kayatosh Says:

    good morning, peeps.

    heard some great tunes while doing yard work including 4.3.98 roses, 3.30.93 esther, 2.25.2011 TAB sand, 5.5.78 stella blue, and 12.5.79 he’s gone. also check out club d’elf 4.8.2011 w/ medeski.

    special shout outs to semi-precious gems: 6.7.2011 bowie and 6.12.2011 gin.

    the trading day awaits. short the pop or wait til after some follow through?

  20. DukeOfLizards Says:


    Your ailment is clearly an omen of big things to come in a couple of weeks.

    Your eye sees, bitches!

  21. tela'smuff Says:

    like i needed additional means of getting pumped up. well done miner!

  22. Fly Says:

    Good morning, friends.

    To state the obvious, Phish will open the Gorge with PYITE.

  23. HarryHood Says:

    Mornin fellers 😉

  24. Kaveh Says:

    Good morning BBers!

    Happy Birthday Jerry…firing some tunes up today for you.

    Also, leaving tomorrow for the West Coast. Anyone at the Gorge (we are in terrace camping), Tahoe and UIC…I’ll be the guy wearing Packer gear. So grab me, come over and share a beer and laughs, and say hello.

    Can’t wait to meet as many as you possible. I’ll also be checking in at the WW booth from time to time.

    Is this going to be rad!

  25. voopa Says:

    alf- Check p. 37 of the previous post for AJ’s UIC recs.

« Previous12345678...1718Next »

Leave a Reply