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”

  1. Summer98 Says:

    BB Crew,

    So sorry I missed everyone. I did stop by the WW and dropped a donation with B. Dylan but it was during a first set piss break on night two. I walked by the booth during set break on night one but was too out there to even make conversation so I just kept going. Leo W. sent me a text with your location on the terrace for night two but I also had a couple newbies with me on night two and didn’t want to take up too much terrace space as we were late getting in. Thanks to Leo though for sending me the text. Next time for sure. Sounds like y’all had a blast! I know I did. Best shows I’ve seen in a while although I do agree with C in that after Boogie on night one I was waiting for a legitimate “we just kicked ass closer”, i.e., Hood/Slave, etc. Night two sent me pretty far out and honestly I had to look at the setlist after the show to even remember what was played.

    It was great to meet at least Leo W. on the drive up (we dropped him at Wildhorse) and I hope to meet more of you folks at future shows!

  2. eljefe Says:

    Is the whole BB in that pic? I’m in the upper left corner….Double thumbs up to the whitehorse. Multi- Did you get to play the huge Jenga?

    What a great weekend!! Our crew had 7 1st timers! I know 2 GOT IT after the 1st night!! It was awesome looking over and seeing them just slack jawed and then shit eating grinnin’…


  3. eljefe Says:

    Met Mitch at WW also…Hey Bro.

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    Mitch was a busy man. Got to kick it and puff a little and get down for a song or two but mostly he was passing through Robear style. Mango man was fresh on the preroll tip though, props for that

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    Mrs. C and I are about 2-3 blankets to the left off the edge of that pic

  6. TheSloth Says:

    if anyone has a spare downloads code to share please hit me up at tdimatt at gmail. thanks.

  7. Mulitbeast Says:

    hey eljefe….I did not hit up the giant jenga, but I have to admit the peeps running the show there were ver cool. One guy went into great detail on where my lady and I should chill for the day by the columbia river. We kicked it on a secluded beach, dranks some brews, puffed and swam. I was very gratefull the whitehorse staff sent us in the right direction.

  8. bob dylan Says:

    Gotta be fresh on the preroll tip if AW isn’t there.

    Btw your shit was so damn tasty. I’d like details on that strain.
    Also you are right, I bet you got cut off cause of the flipping off. The pic is directly right of where you were standing.

    Wish I had more time on the terrace but I def made it worthwhile.

  9. fat bastard Says:

    the stock market looks worse then i do after a 3 day bender…nasty

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    the prerolls this weekend were about half leftover Robane OG from awhile back, half 2 or 3 other more recent strains, incl. some throwback AK, some Pinot Noir which makes better prerolls than it does bingers, and some diesel

    basically the OG classes it up and makes it taste nice. pinot has a nice grape tinge by itself but I thought it got lost in the flavor

  11. bob dylan Says:

    Btw great to finally put a face with the name @C. Wished I had more time for kicking but it seemed like a successful anniversary trip.

    Cool to meet the rest of you. Forgive me if I give you the blank stare at the booth. I meet so many people that I only talk to for a minute that I can’t keep track a lot of the time. That on top of the fact I’m a burnout and suck with names anyway.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    I accumulate shake out of the binger jar and just mix it together over hte course of a few months, then when I have between a half and a zip built up I sit down and churn out a ton of prerolls so I have them on hand for whatever. So mine are almost always “fruit salad” but having that 50% OG basis is such a solid move I might make that policy from here out.

    I was actually worried those might get stale, they’d been sitting for a bit. But seemed ok

  13. negev79 Says:

    Taper420 is looking for taper tickets for tonight, can exchange for regular seats. FYI.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    “Forgive me if I give you the blank stare at the booth. I meet so many people that I only talk to for a minute that I can’t keep track a lot of the time. That on top of the fact I’m a burnout and suck with names anyway.”

    ^^^ this. It takes me a few times. It’s not you, all you beautiful people; it’s me.

    Yeah Mitch like I said, I loved meeting people and some other time I’ll get to be more social in general. I was all-in on the anniversary thing and people seemed to respect that which was just….awesome. A few folks gave us nice anniversary wishes too which was great.

    Also, shoutout to @plord for superb work securing the best terrace spots we’ve ever had the pleasure of rocking….killer work my friend…great to see you as always

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    great rocking it with you @negev. M and I both liked having you as neighbors. We should kick it sometime, I think, you seem like our kind of peeps.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Ride just bailed on me anyone getting in 4:30 to burbank wnat to hotwire a car with me and cruise to the venue.

    Other manners of transportation accepted….

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    my wife was highly relieved to confirm the non wook status of all you people BTW

  18. bob dylan Says:

    Well whatever it was tasted smooth and fruity. I took about 8 prerolls of robane in both nights and they lasted until last night post bar. Didnt have to give any away to the locals like last trip to the gorge.

    I was TKO’d after night one. Not having my tolerance was awesome this weekend.

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    nice man at least this time we were around people I could pass off to. Those prerolls are meant for my wife and I to hit em like 3 times each and then pass the rest for the room but we’ve had this weird run of shows where our neighbors don’t puff tough…WTF is that about

  20. bob dylan Says:

    C, I wanted to introduce myself and chat up your wife for a bit but was never there during down time. Then during set 2 I didn’t know if you guys were spun so I figured better safe than goin up and freaking her out.

  21. marcoesq Says:

    hey all

    wow, definitely some highlights to be had looks like.

    RnR is some frggin epic shit, jesus

    sounds like you guys are tearing it up out there, Hollywood tonight! enjoy

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    glad everyone had fun at the Gorge and made it home safely.

    Hollywood on the docket tonight!

    what they gonna bring

  23. marcoesq Says:

    Going to see a Phish cover band battle a DMB cover band Wed night in Portland

    almost the same..

  24. Robear Says:

    Indian food recs in LA anyone?

    Also, anyone staying near Long Beach tonight after the show?

  25. bob dylan Says:

    I had the same problem. I normally walk away from the booth set myself straight and pass off. Last night I offered to two and they turned it down. Then I said to my buddy “shit, can’t even give bud away out west” then the kid I asked said “wait… I thought that was a cigg” (I think cause I use a crutch) then he picked it up and resparked it.

    The other problem I have is that with robane people are done after a toke and I’m left puffing a fatty solo.

    Nice to have 20 deep bb crew to pass around with for sure. That was the largest crew we’ve ever had at a show. Best view taboot. Well played terrace folks.

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