Gazing Into the Gorge

8.6.11 - The Gorge (Joe Iudice)

Over the weekend, Phish kicked off the back end of summer with a ferocious one-two punch. Pairing a psychedelic monstrosity on night one with a set of super-sized candy grooves on night two, the band delivered on every level, littering the Gorge with jams of all shapes and sizes. In each show, Phish set the improvisational tone with first set selections and then magnified that focus in the second set with some of their most impressive on-stage conversations of the summer. Adopting the classic exploratory-then-celebratory contour of so many legendary two-night stands, Phish fans couldn’t ask for anything more from their favorite band in the Pacific Northwest.

8.6.11 (J.Iudice)

In the tour opener, “Roggae” not only sparked the first set in earnest, the loose and free-form improvisation laid the groundwork for the monumental music that would take place in the following frame. On the second night, the band laid down a foundation of groove with “Moma Dance,” “On Your Way Down,” and “Wolfman’s,” and then laid down a dance clinic come set two. Stylistically diverse and musically focused, each night at the Gorge formed one half of a phenomenal whole.

And how about the music within? With only two shows down, the band is already stacking leg two highlights like chips at a poker table. Instead of plucking single jams as the standouts of the show, we can simply point to both second sets as the highlights of the Gorge (not to mention some first set gems). Playing all their cards just right, Phish dropped a spectrum of highlights that, collectively, spoke to all factions of their fan base. Inspired—as always—by the beauty and seclusion of the Columbia River Gorge, the band’s playing was defined by patient interplay and a willingness to take jams wherever they naturally flowed. As a result, each show and, specifically, each second set flowed from beginning to end.

8.5.11 - (G. Lucas)

The first show likened a nuclear explosion with “Rock and Roll’s” era-defining excursion. The jams’ massive wake carried the guys right through another half-hour of top-notch jamming in “Meatstick” and “Boogie On.” The rest of the show felt like the natural fallout from such a paradigm-shifting explosion. Seamlessly integrating Storage-style psychedelia into “Rock and Roll,” Phish gave us an intimate and jaw-dropping glimpse into the their next evolutionary step. The second night resembled a heat-seeking missile, as the band honed in on a specific style and tore a thematic—and ballistic—show to smithereens. The groove fiesta came to a mid-set peak in a silky-turned-apocalyptic “Sand” that was a culminating version (to date) of the many standouts renditions of summer. In short, Phish succeeded in taking their weekend crowd, first, through an alternate reality and then through an all-night dance party—executing their weekend plan to perfection.

And the buzz of Phish 2011 continues to grow. IT started at Bethel. IT increased during June’s Midwestern swing. IT got a boosted during the last three shows of Leg One—Charlotte, Raleigh, and Portsmouth. IT ballooned considerably at Super Ball. And, once again, at the Gorge, Phish’s summer momentum continued snowballing. A weekend whose music was centered around an ground-breaking, improvisational beast of the likes we haven’t seen—well, ever— in “Rock and Roll,” showcased a band whose diligent focus and continual improvement evokes memories of a young, goofy-looking quartet from Burlington that toured in the ‘90s. But it’s 2011 now, and matured like a fine wine, Phish is moving forward in ways many had never imagined would happen again, and nothing could possibly be sweeter.


In other Phish Thoughts-related news…

The Philler: I mentioned last week that I was being interviewed for a cloudcast—The Philler—run by Robert Champion. After talking with Robert and his partner, Sammy Saltzman, at length, we decided that I would join them for a yet-to-be-named, weekly segment of Phish analysis during their broadcasts. Look for more news on this in the future, but you can now listen to our initial conversation embedded in the audio player below, and spiced up by Robert and the guys at The Sloping Companion with audio tracks from June and enhancements ranging from the musical to the comic to the bizarre. Check it out…


The Philler – Episode Four – Mr. Miner by The Sloping Companion on Mixcloud

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608 Responses to “Gazing Into the Gorge”

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  1. albert walker Says:

    First bitches

    LA bound. Good stuff miner. Nice late night piece getting kicked down.

    See you kids on tour

  2. plord Says:

    [repost from late night thread]

    You all want to hear a classic BB moment? I wish I had video of the Terrace crew when both Sample and Waste started up. Instant, though mild, deflation. We all recovered but it was way funny.

    I was being a little self-conscious, thinking “Damn, I don’t really want to hear this right now, but I shouldn’t bring the neg vibes” then I look over and people are like, sitting and turning to talk and otherwise waiting for 5 minutes to get back to the good stuff.

    Cracked. Me. Up.

  3. Mike in Austin Says:

    Haven’t listened to the sloping companion yet, but congrats. Such a great idea.

    Nervous energy for me right now. Can’t sleep,

  4. willowed Says:

    Listening to the interview right now. I like how they slipped the Great Woods Rhymes in before the interview.

    I know there is not much to that jam, but I dug the shit out of it live. Then again, you guys know me, I like the head bobber stuff.

    Safe travels to all you guys today!

    Enjoy LA!

  5. Plord Says:

    You folks party extra hard for me the rest of this leg, you hear? Yes, that’s an order.

    I’m more than likely off tour until the housing addition is complete and mostly paid off. Which could be a while. I can’t complain about the run I got in the last 12 months AT ALL: Greek 2 and 3, Manchester, Worcester2, Blossom, Darien, and these two Gorge shows all blew my mind, and there were even things to like in CMAC, Amherst(s), and this year’s GW show also.

    I know some of you guys are on show 50 just in 3.0 but for me, that’s crazy heavy touring. It’s been great and only gotten better the more of you I meet.

  6. Foul_Domain Says:

    Listening to the interview right now.

    I love the comment about needing a shower after logging off of PT. Classic!

  7. Plord Says:

    BB tshirt idea. We need some kind of drawing, could even be stick figures for all I care, with the following elements clearly labeled with circles and arrows (but no paragraph on the back)

    1. A bunch of fLegionnaires;
    2. Standing on a Pampin’ rood deck
    3. Puffing on Neem’s Bane
    4. Listening to some speakers that are labeled Couch Terr
    5. Two of the stick figures should be talking, one saying “Woo, manatee funk” and the other replying “totally Stanly”.

    Too much?

  8. ThePigSong Says:

    no more posting until everybody surrenders to the flow.

  9. gunslinging parrot Says:

    Just gave a listen to the Roggae>Walk Away….Just gave me a kick start to my monday….have fun tonight in @ The Bowl everyone!!

  10. willowed Says:

    I have to agree Miner. I love every show. There is always something you can find to love. It coud be

    The crew you’re rolling with
    A certain jam
    The vibe

    There’s always somethign to love. No need to focus on the negative, that’s not what this thing is all about. It’s about losing yourself for a few hours out of your crazy day and tapping into something special!

  11. SillyWilly Says:


    I haven’t had the chance to meet you. When my car got stolen I couldn’t make it to Blossom.

    But, you bring a great personality to our community. Thanks for your insights and your perspective.

    We know this has been a tough couple of weeks for you and it might continue to be tough. Our thoughts are with you.

    Good luck with the house addition. It sounds like it’s going to be awesome when it’s finished.

    Have a great day, man.

  12. willowed Says:


    Great, great interview so far (I’m only half way thru). I am really happy you shared this. Everyday I get to read the words and thoughts you share and I am truly grateful. This interview lets me feel like I am sitting back having a conversation with you about the love you have for the experience.

    Really great!

    Thank you!

  13. willowed Says:

    Just finsihed the interview.

    Great stuff.

    Thanks for posting!

  14. Robear Says:

    About to virginize to lax. Looks like I’m still on the bus. Got a house sitter.

    Bollywood ‘Tube’ kids.

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Holy Shit!
    IT is happening tonight!
    Look out!

    As posted by me at 2 AM earlier.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Good morning BB

    Just had a house appraiser come in. Hope that went well.

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    BTW, If on a Winter Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino is an awesome book. Mine seems to be defective though. It’s a bummer, right as I was getting into it…

  18. Snigglebeach Says:

    just making my first listen from thw gorge. holy rock and roll. I looked at the setlist sat morn, and was not too impressed. but obv. very strong showing.

    this new sound is awesome. I think the no spoilers are better than soundboards. trey mentioned some new sounds system, but it does not really show up on my downloads from lst leg..

    keep up the good work Miner..

  19. lastwaltzer Says:

    loving this sand. very orginal love the focus on the funky rythm licks as opposed to shredding. once trey does move into the solo its so pateint, love the reptitive lines and the sustaining of notes. the transistion from caspian is sweet, trey an fish are playing with an extra pop in their step, first thirty seconds sound like they are about to play somw swing.

  20. Cable Hogue Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed the Calvino I’ve read, though I’m no expert. Cosmicomics and Mr. Palomar are the ones I’ve read. Fits right in next to the Philip K Dick and Vonnegut on the shelf.

    Ever gotten into any Jorge Luis Borges or Julio Cortazar? Those writers also fit into that area, whatever it is…metaphysical ponderings, what have you. I’d recommend seeking out short story collections from both of those guys.

  21. kenny powers Says:


    i also really dig Rhymes and thought it was super fun live, one of my highlights from that show. The guitar lick is infectious.

  22. SillyWilly Says:


    soooo, you can make Tahoe too, right!?

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    Borges is a genius.

    Pierre Menard is post-modernism.

  24. voopa Says:

    Yay Robear!

    90 minutes ’til I leave the house for the next 3 shows.

    Breathe deeply. Relax.

  25. Robert Champion Says:

    Hey everyone. This is Robert from The Sloping Companion. It was a real pleasure to interview Mr. Miner and I look forward to including him as a fixture in our program. We are currently taking ideas for a title to the segment and would love to hear some ideas. What should we call our weekly installment with Mr.Miner?

    Also, if you go to the link @ and click on “follow” then you will be included in the mix and will receive updates when we post up new cloudcasts. Clicking on follow also gets you into special contests and prize drawings that only followers are let in on…

    Thanks everyone for listening and take care of each other…

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