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

Tags: , ,

608 Responses to “Gazing Into the Gorge”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    i can’t sit still here.

    tried to take a nap to speed up time. then i realized that’s going to make my night of sleep tonight that much patchier.

    trying to read a book.

    now I’m at: Fuck it. Might as well just watch your computer clock tick away.

  2. joe Says:

    phish dot com is not good at all, but you already know that. I guess they must put the newer up to date stuff on facebook instead? they are breaking me down to make a page.

  3. joe Says:

    specifically, videos and photos.

  4. MrCompletely Says: is such a joke. the band should be embarrassed by that thing but I’m sure they don’t realize it sucks.

    I guarantee you we could hire talent off this board and put together a new and support team vastly superior to the current one in every respect, particularly the “not crashing a lot” and “being able to find stuff” categories that I personally tend to value

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    front page of the site during tour should be blogstyle with content crosssposted to fb

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    xckd might not be what it used to be, but it’s still on point a lot of the time

  7. Litteringandd Says:

    Nice interview Miner. Weird to finally put a voice with your words.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    hey, what do you know, turns out British cops like to murder citizens just like ours do. difference is, British people still remember how to get angry

  9. garretc Says:

    Nice PhamBamzerker, I was planning on hitting up the bus from Burbank to the Hbowl myself, around that same time even! Again, and I guess this is directed towards everybody, but if you see a tall kid in an orange brim giants hat, it’s almost certainly me, so give me a holler…

  10. voopa Says:

    In the cab, Hollywood bound. (!)

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    cops convicted in New Orleans post katrina murders of unarmed citizens this morning BTW just in case anyone think I’m overstating things

    sorry for reality hijack, back to #phish

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    UK Klux Klan

    apparently in Northern Ireland the authorities have to apologize to Protestants when they remove UVF and UDA terrorist flags (protestant terrorist groups) from Catholic churches

  13. garretc Says:

    Just in case anyone wants to know, my completely fact based predictions for tonight’s show include:

    Plinko-funk gumbo
    No quarter
    Mikes song

    Just in case you folks were looking for advice on which songs to bet on. I accept up to and including 80% of winnings earned off my advice.

  14. SillyWilly Says:

    plinko funk gumbo sounds delicious.

  15. yematt Says:

    hey all. amazingly fun times at the gorge! great to meet a few of the bb crew on the 2nd night.

    so my crew of girls who i went to the gorge are pretty big string cheese fans, give me a hard time about my love of phish. they woke up this morning and are itching to to go to tahoe. ha! no need to twist my arm on going, so we’re all for it but the worry is the likely hood of getting tickets and reasonably priced (face). i’ve usually have the montra of, if you go, you’ll get in. but i’m not so sure about tahoe because of its size.

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    nice meeting you @yematt

    glad the girls had fun. no shame in hanging out with Cheese girls, I did my share of that back in the day

  17. SillyWilly Says:


    what’s the worst that could happen?

    you get to chill a couple days in Lake Tahoe with Phish kids?

    do it!!!!

  18. yematt Says:

    yeah great to meet you as well mr. c, glad you were having such an awesome time!

    silly, i know! the worst thing that could happen is the sting of not getting in. but yeah just visiting tahoe would be pretty cool. we’ll see.. we’re in tacoma, wa., so it’s almost a game time decision.

  19. lastwaltzer Says:


    From Democracy Now:

    New Orleans Cops Linked to Post-Katrina Killings Guilty of Civil Rights Violations, Not Murder

    A federal jury has found four New Orleans police officers guilty of civil rights violations over the shooting deaths of two civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a subsequent cover-up. But the jury stopped short of calling the shootings murder. A fifth officer was found guilty of a host of charges related to the cover-up. The charges were linked to the New Orleans police shootings on the Danziger Bridge in 2005 that killed two civilians, 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, and seriously wounded four others.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    fucking A

  21. lastwaltzer Says:



  22. MrCompletely Says:

    I know I know @lw

    insane right?

    but at least 2 cops could get life sentences potentially, or so I read before, I’m sure it will be less, but these are serious convictions still

    should have just been 2nd degree murder though…

  23. yematt Says:

    and of course @mr.c, no shame at all hanging with cheese girls. could be worse i guess, cheese dudes in the front row. they got the taste of the power phish at the gorge, slowly moving over toward the light.

  24. yematt Says:

    if anyone hears of extras popping up, please let me know: yematt at gmail

    i’m definitely pulling for us to just go

  25. DukeOfLizards Says:


    What do you have to lose?

    Also, seems like the sort of venue where you could totally hear the show from outside the venue.

Leave a Reply