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. negev79 Says:

    I need to reboot so if I disappear for a bit, I’ll be back shortly.

  2. Jtran Says:

    If anyone could send it to me I’d appreciate

    jtranvt23 at gmail

  3. thedayman Says:

    hey negev, any chance you could shoot me the password as well? drowan89 at gmail. much appreciated.

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    enjoy the show and stream kids.

  5. chefbradford Says:

    if there is a password, I would also appreciate someone shooting it to me
    bradford the deep @ gmail

    thanks in advance

  6. Tom Says:

    I think i now pw but would like to be sure. Email is Thanks

  7. Snigglebeach Says:

    I could use a password if anyone has one.

    Need some Couch tour……. Snigglebeach @ yahoo. com

    Thnx in advance

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    plz email me in case I get a chance to stream set 2

    errands now

  9. Andrew Says:

    Would love the password as well – saltwater 39 gmail

    Much appreciated.

  10. fatbunch Says:

    word kidz if you can share that info (if received) at fatbunch at g mail that would be great! listening to gorge R&R in the meantime…

  11. chefbradford Says:

    thank you @jtran and pigsong, I do appreciate it

  12. Jtran Says:

    No stream for me yet

  13. Tom Says:

    short dwd. Anyone having any luck with the streams?

  14. negev79 Says:

    yeah I can’t find anything

  15. eljefe Says:

    Whats the password for?

  16. kayatosh Says:

    palmer: saw your comment a few pgs back re. cratering mrkts. surprisingly still awake here. yes, the drop has been dramatic – bear porn. very surreal. tough to get on board w/ this move. I was left behind. conditioned to think there will be a rebound, but what if doesn’t come for another 80-100 &P points? this thing has nasty momentum right now.

  17. negev79 Says:

    eljefe – for taper420 stream. It’s password protected, but he’s not up yet. email me for password.

    tom, I think I missed sending it to you. email me at my user name at gmail. thanks

  18. Tom Says:


  19. fatbunch Says:

    Thanks!!! 🙂

  20. sanchothehutt Says:

    Hey all, is there a stream going tonight seeing as though it’s a sellout?

    Thanks for any info sanchothehutt @ yahoo . com

  21. eljefe Says:

    J e f f s k o@yahoo is mine Neg

  22. DryIceFactory Says:

    Possum… MY FAVORITE.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    8.5.2011: gin taste>roggae>walkaway rnr>meatstick>boogie on farmhouse
    8.6.2011 moma wolfman’s sand>tweez birds golden age (maybe reba)

  24. Dogmattagram Says:

    Sorry to bother, but if I could get that pw as well it would be greatly appreciated
    Nixwbg At cox dot net

    Hey @Leo!

  25. henrythetoad Says:

    stream link would be GREATLY appreciated. IM FREAKING OUT

Leave a Reply