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)

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445 Responses to “Getting Ready For the Gorge”

  1. joe Says:

    vh1 classic is running mtv 30th b-day highlights and caught the announcement of Jerry’s passing while getting ready for work.

  2. negev79 Says:

    anyone have a quick link to the Bunny downloads from SBIX? Looking for the non-phish playlist, that I can download, not just stream. Thx.

  3. Robear Says:

    Whats that early Dicks Picks from Halloween? Awesome ‘Dark Star’ with eyes jam.

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    this 5/11/72 Dark Star is pretty sweet.

    I’ll check that one out soon Robear

  5. poop goblin Says:

    How about a groove tweezer like cinci that melts into experimental psychedelia and ends with a rippin old school Trey peak

    come on Trey, step it up bitch!

    we’re ready for some shit on this leg 2!

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    DP2, 10/31/71. Not an Eyes jam but I can see why you’d think that. Justifiably famous thematic/melodic jam. Also my alltime favorite St. Stephen solo/jam and a ridiculously shredding lead from Jerry on the NFA.

  7. DryIceFactory Says:



  8. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah @goblin that’s not too much to ask is it?

    just the perfect Tweezer please

  9. DryIceFactory Says:

    We need a nice 20+ tweezer. Not that length matters, I just want to hit multiple planes and see mutiple themes unfold.

  10. Robear Says:

    C, I remember ordering that cd in college. Was spinning it, and during ‘Dark Star’ walked away for a minute. I came running back in going WTF? They didn’t play ‘Eyes’ in 1971. I figured it was the jam that birthed the song later.

  11. joe Says:

    does the 3.0 red rocks tweezer no longer rate in the upper tier of 3.0’s? haven’t really listened back to it but remember it being hyped up at the time.

    …also forgotten is shoreline disease maybe?

  12. poop goblin Says:

    3.0 Phish will have some vamping and meandering cut

    so the 3.0 25 minute jam is actually 16 minutes

    16 is the new 25

    3.0 Phish can get some serious bizness done in 16 minutes

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    5/8/77 NFA is still fucking awesome.

  14. Luther T. Justice Says:


    It’s up on the ‘noid in MP3.

  15. butter Says:

    yea BK, Jer’s solo’s just ride the crest of that energy wave

  16. bearito Says:

    @ joe

    both those jams are highly regarded round here as far as I know

    I also love the Tweez from Alpharetta last year.

    Short but dense as hell!

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    NFA is secretly the song of the year in 77

    so many sick jams. englishtown 9.3.77 my fave but tons of great ones

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    englishtown ’77 NFA might be my alltime “turn it up to 11 and annoy your neighbors” pure rock jam GD track

  19. poop goblin Says:

    red rocks

    top 3 for me

  20. Kaveh Says:

    englishtown 9.3.77


  21. MrCompletely Says:

    same show also has best-ever Halfstep and Peggy-O and a comically over the top Truckin

    not bad. pretty sure they outplayed Marshall Tucker at that gig

  22. poop goblin Says:

    Back in the cassette maxell XLII days the Broom County 77 boards were always a crispy high gen show that got tons of play in the dorms freshman year

    Great memories of that one. Killer ½ step

  23. Kaveh Says:

    Broom County 77

    ^Is that the show with the “reverse” cowboy number?

  24. Kaveh Says:

    Yep…Mexicali -> Me and My Uncle….I remember those tapes and listening to is and thinking it is so weird to have Me and My Uncle be the backside of the cowboy medley.

  25. bearito Says:

    So while listening to this 8.1.98 Mike’s Song, I am yet again reminded of it’s unrewarded potential in the modern era. It has got to break form soon. The band is obviously just toying with us. There is just no fracking reason why the 3.0 Phish shouldn’t get a stab at taking Mike’s deep.

    I say bring IT to UIC but that’s only b/c I won’t be at the Gorge.

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