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. Corey Says:

    Dark Star? 2.4.69 Music Box, Omaha NE

    “I don’t know Nebraska” …actually I do. drove all the way across last summer. Friend is a nice little town.

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    lol I skip mexicali 100% of the time so I never noticed that

  3. negev79 Says:

    I found it @Luther. Thanks!

  4. Corey Says:

    and…12.7.68 Bellarmine College, KY

  5. DukeOfLizards Says:


    Mike said something in an interview not too long ago that he doesn’t really like playing Mike’s Song, because he wrote it some 25 years ago and can’t relate to it any more, to the point that he had to be talked into playing it at all in 3.0 by the rest of the band.

    But yeah, if they’re gonna play it, might as well throw another jam in there.

  6. Corey Says:

    Reading through Hunter’s Box of Rain.

    So when’s Tom Marshall gonna come out with his own book of words? Hunter waited about 30 years. Tom?

  7. bearito Says:

    I have heard that Duke.

    They still play the heck out of it in 3.0, and all I’m saying is, it’s time to
    awaken that beast!

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    I wouldn’t mind if they dropped Mike’s Song, since Mike doesn’t really like it anyhow and it hasn’t done anything interesting all 3.0. There is still Simple which they can play on its own

  9. Corey Says:

    Nahh, I’m with Mike. Time to shelve it like You Enjoy Myself was this summer.
    Makes it great when it comes back out to play. Canandaigua was pretty intense though. A Walrus came out…

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Mike doesn’t like playing it anymore, is what I meant to say.

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    maybe he’d like playing it more if they’d jam it some

    just a thought

    if it’s not working, try putting the best part back in

  12. thedayman Says:

    hey all, hope everyone’s having a great day. just got done with day one back in school, and it feels great, so im pretty stoked (other than the tons of work that will soon ensue).

    also, if anyone’s got any extra anywhere in the building for any night uic, lemme know. trying to introduce a good buddy to phish. drowan89 at gmail.

    thanks in advance, and have a great rest of your monday bb.

  13. bearito Says:

    33 Mike’s in 3.0

    How many second jams again?

  14. bearito Says:

    Mike needs more Birthday shows!!!

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    a week from now i will be chillin on my deck in Tahoe. Bring it.

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    a week from now I will be wondering why I’m back in this office and not in Tahoe

  17. Summer98 Says:

    Yup @C. Let’s not think about that yet. At least there are actually PNW shows this summer. That’s something.

  18. albert walker Says:

    Besides signs, summer of 89, and iphones

    The sad state of mikes song is the most frustrating aspect of 3.0

    Used to mean such great things to hear those opening notes. Now totally worthless

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    I have yet to have a strung out dready lot chick offer me “3 holes for my extra” in 3.0 which is kind of a bringdown too

    was a regular feature of the 2.0 experience

  20. JMelby Says:

    Really, so Mikes is a piss song now? Really?

    Ya all crack me up daily!

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    its not a break song for me, it’s just a fun energy song though…

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    glad we can provide you with some amusement, though

  23. bearito Says:

    I will never piss during Mikes!

    lol @ C

    “3 holes for your Mike’s second jam!”

  24. Mulitbeast Says:

    3 holes? One would think 2 would have been plenty….

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    at the gorge in 03 I was offered sex for my extra while walking with my wife, for a show with below-face-value extras easily available everywhere

    kind of a low point for the scene

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