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. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Some great GD recs today. I’ve been dropping them all in a Word doc for when I get back home and can DL.

    I have this image of C limbering up in some kind of funky dead spinner way for Jerry week, where he can really let the encyclopedia hang out…

  2. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Just got back from a dinner where after hearing a 3rd phish song, i went and talked to the bartender, who’s been seeing shows for 20 some years. had a great convo….like finding undercover heads in east hampton

  3. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Ok, too distracted by this Dead talk to read. Think I’ll spin some DP 36, as mentioned earlier. Then I think it’s been long enough since DP 12, maybe the best one (after DP4, 2/13/70, of course).

  4. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Hey, what’s up Dr P? Been soaking up the Chicago recs for some UIC action.

  5. William H. Bonney Says:

    Cranking some early JGB nov. 75′ pure jerry release of some kind..
    Evening BB

  6. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Hey, Ghost!

    Yeah I’m so pumped for UIC. I’m from Rockford, about an hour or so away, so I’ve got family and friends coming down during the days, because with the baby I haven’t been home since last summer.

    I’ll be staying with my friend and occasional poster Wilson8or, and hopefully hanging out a bunch with AJ as well. And then as many BB meetups as I can make.

    I’m so on team enthusiasm/appreciation for this run. I had resigned myself to not being able to make it for months, so the whole thing seems like a gift at this point…

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    Info on the free Chicago Symphony Orchestra rehearsals on weekdays in Millennium Park, looks cool. Apocalyptic orchestra stylee.

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    Wait, wrong one, this one is even more awesomeness – about Chairman Mao. Woot.

  9. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    While I got a couple Chicago peeps, picked up this beer called Sofie from Goose Island brewing. Any good? Looks like a Belgian style.

  10. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Chicago peeps:

    It’s looking increasingly likely that I may have to roll solo for at least Monday/Monday night, as my copilot may be hitting some logistical snags with the trip.

    Any good recs for a cheap place to stay?

  11. uncle ebenezer Says:

    @tzara’s, i moved to chicago about a month ago maybe we’ll run into each other at uic?

    and @duke, we may have an extra room at our crib, let’s see what shakes out in the next couple weeks

  12. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    An ebeneezer sighting! Sweet how’s it going? Knew you were back j. The Midwest. I will be at UIC, have no room set up yet, so would share with someone too @duke if you’re interested.

  13. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Back in the Midwest that is. iPhone does funny things when you can’t type good.

  14. uncle ebenezer Says:

    midwest is okay, but everyone knows the west side is the best side

  15. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @eb, It was a pretty rough go getting summer started this year, but finally started about 10 days ago. We’re rolling in classic NW summer weather now. doing some cooking in Chicago?

  16. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Wook nomads unite!

    But seriously, as Richard Nixon famously said, I am NOT a wook.

    My exact situation is probably going to materialize at some point over the next week, I’ll keep you guys posted for sure.

    I’m at itbofthement AT gmail DOT com, in the meantime.

  17. uncle ebenezer Says:

    I’m at a bakery here called Sweet Mandy B’s, definitely worth a visit when everyone is in town…also talking to Magnolia Bakery (of NYC and Sex In The City fame) about possibly helping them open their shop here in the next couple months…we’ll see how that goes toward the end of the week. Hope the grapes are doing well this season

  18. lastwaltzer Says:

    everyone blame AJ 😉

  19. Guyute711 Says:

    Well, the roommates have backed me into a corner with their poor hygiene and general drunken buffoonery. I may be moving to Jacksonville FL by the end of the week. Free rent for the month if I go and a hard push to get a new job in a new locale.

  20. Dr Pronoia Says:

    uncle eb – please kindly request that magnolia put signs up informing the teeming hordes of tourists that it is NOT OK to touch and pick up cupcakes, and then put them back for the next person to purchase. So gross. The place is down the block from me and I shake my head wearily every time I pass by with the stroller. That whole neighborhood is now cupcake shops and Marc Jacobs stores…

  21. bob dylan Says:

    decided to take the train back to nyc again and theres a layover in chicago long enough to catch the cubs vs cards game in chicago on the 19th.

    woohoo, hope i can pull this off

  22. Guyute711 Says:

    Is the cupcake district near the hammock district?

  23. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    @Dr Pro, you in the W Village? Just checked out Magnolia last time we were in town. We like to stay at Washington Square Inn across from Babbo. Also discovered Employees Only. Great cocktails. My favorite part of town, though I’ve only been a couple of times.

  24. alf Says:

    duke, tzaras,

    keep me updated on your plans, i’m currently crashing with friends but its not ideal, so depending on what you guys are doing i may be interested in joining if it works out…

  25. alf Says:

    long fuckin day. come on over GD and i’ll get you set up proper.

    take me home fat man, take me home…

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