Awesome Without Exploration

8.5.11 - Graham Lucas

It’s often been said that I don’t give credit to shows that don’t include outside-the-box jamming. While my affinity certainly lies in the unknown, the second night of the Gorge is a show that disproves any such theories. Without diverging from song structure (less a first set “Wolfman’s” that transformed into “Maze”) Phish put together a standout performance, one that I loved to the core, without any “type II” jamming. Using confident and powerful playing, larger-than-life dance grooves, and creative interplay all night long, Phish threw down a show that has gone under-appreciated in the rightful shadow of the previous night’s breakthrough performance.

While Phish didn’t craft any alternate realities on this evening, they sculpted a groove-focused show with airtight interplay, a creative setlist and relentless flow. And though they weren’t traveling the outer realms of the Milky Way, the guys crafted a set of spectacular dance grooves that contained nary a lull throughout.

8.6.11 (G.Lucas)

Anchored by two dark explorations of rhythm, the second set is one of the most listenable of the summer with sweet-sounding grooves flowing night long. A filthy “Tweezer” that has flown way under the radar due to monster “Sand” that follows, contains all sorts of funked up action and uncompressed swagger before releasing into a patient, guitar-led build and cerebral denouement. With only a “Caspian” separating them—a “Caspian” that saw Trey dig and let loose—Phish cranked out two of their swankiest groove vehicles. Segueing into “Caspian” from “Tweezer” and out of the song, unfinished, into “Sand,” the band cranked out one crunchy groove after another amidst the Gorge aka “Heaven In the Form of a Concert Venue.”

On September 11th of 1999, Phish debuted “Sand” out of a silky “Wolfman’s” jam at the Gorge. The song crossed over from Trey’s power trio and became a platform for guitar annihilation on the big stage. But when the band dropped into the same song twelve years later on the same stage, they were playing with a whole different beast. Having undergone a metamorphosis last fall from a one-man show into a whole band jam, “Sand” had seen several standout versions during June’s opening leg. And when the song came out for its West Coast homecoming, it exploded.

Gorge (Masthay)

A laid-back, James Brown groove that Trey alternately broke up with a pitch-bent whale calls had the Gorge pulsating as Phish set sail into this scorcher. Within these large, open-air textures, Mike’s and Fishman provided a ultra-danceable pocket while Trey and Page tickled the top with the type of funk accompaniment that draws howls on listen back. Progressing into a more aggressive sequence, Trey took command of the jam and as the band built to a ferocious peak, he laid down the “Tweezer” lick and everyone hopped on, slowing the pace back into the big dog, outright. Though the band had a chance to drop a second “Tweezer” jam on a silver platter, they deferred for a quasi-classic slowdown ending and a change of pace with “Birds.”

Few things sound more old-school than a “Reba” “Antelope” combination, a pairing that seems unprecedented in this day and age. But that is exactly how this set wound up. Without moving from structure, and launching off an abbreviated “Golden Age,” Phish threw down two more stirring renditions. Complete with a “recap” of the set within the “Antelope” intro (and jam), the band capped the evening with a big-time one-two punch. And we haven’t even mentioned the first set, a frame that contained doses of standout jamming in “Limb” and “Wolfman’s -> Maze.”

After an opening night of tour that touched the very core of the band’s raison d’etre, this second night of ballistic Phish anthems felt like a refreshing bath in an endless pool of groove. Focusing not on cosmic exploration, but dance floor action and lockstep improv, the guys threw down a monster show on the second night of the Gorge. And it had nothing to do with exploratory jamming.

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Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Caspian -> Sand -> Tweezer” 8.6.11

The thick of the second set.

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In Other News…

Surrender to The Flow: Phish Yoga in Denver

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Portland Phish fan and yoga instructor, Chris Calarco, has put together a yoga concept class that blends Phish jams with the flow of his instruction. He taught these at Super Ball and at Lake Tahoe, and will be teaching a couple more in Denver this weekend. Here are the details from Chris:

“On 9/3 and 9/4 in downtown Denver join me for Surrender to the Flow: Phish Yoga. Warm, stretch, and strengthen your body to fully celebrate what could be the final Phish shows of the year. Phish and yoga are two paths calling to those of us seeking more; alternate yet similar pathways to divine spirit. Make a physically devotional offering to classic and 3.0 jams thematically connected to yoga philosophy. Click Chris’s website or the class’ Facebook page for all the info.

Classes are at Root Yoga Center from 2:00pm – 3:15pm

$20 pre-registered for one class, $30 pre-registered for two classes. $25 at the door.

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261 Responses to “Awesome Without Exploration”

  1. [Not Tom] Says:

    Alright … couldn’t risk losing a seat on the specific flight I needed to Denver, so I’ve booked it. Strange that even now, I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing by going. Oh well, phuck it. They better shred.

    Tela’s – I’ll be in touch directly and through David.

    What’s the weather like in the evenings there when it gets down into the upper 60s? Because of the arid nature of the air, does it actually feel colder?

  2. [Not Tom] Says:

    Looking for confirmation from additional sources …. Field tickets will also let you into the Stands, correct?

  3. jonacho Says:

    not tom –
    60’s in Colorado is really nice – you could wear shorts and tee shirt, you could be in pants and a hoody.
    After 85 in the day, 60’s at night will be really nice – a little chilly in the morning, but it will feel good.
    Its not humid – 60 is 60.

  4. bearito Says:

    Don’t tell my SLF, but I bought a new LED LCD HDTV 2 weeks ago, solely for the possibility that the run would be webcast.

    shit, we had a blast streaming new years on my 13′ macbook

    pamp!

  5. Kurt from Indy Says:

    So how is it that people are still watching the tahoe webcasts? what am i missing, can i still watch them?

  6. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ bearito – make sure you get the right cables to connect to your new TV. New MacBookPros only require a single adapter for the mini-display port that carries both audio and video. Older MBPs and MacBooks probably require one for the video and a separate audio cable running from the headphone jack.

    Also play with the whole 2 screen setup in advance – it took me a while to do it right.

  7. st8 of mind Says:

    @(NOT TOM) – have you ever looked back after a Phish show and said, damn, I shouldn’t have gone. It’s only life. Enjoy.

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    don’t let expectations get in the way of a good time marsh. plenty of fun to be had while you’re here. although i think you’ll get storage jammed pretty hard. CO will bring the heat.

    look forward to seeing you again.

    i figured the field would be easy to get into, but this new twist has me worried. how does PTBM screw me with Stands???

  9. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ st8 of mind – actually, yes. I can be a headcase sometimes, and right now my head is not entirely stable.

    But, as the week progresses and my wife gets used to the fact that I’m going, hopefully I’ll be in a better place.

  10. [Not Tom] Says:

    The father/son duo have stands tickets. I want to get Field to have access but also want to have access to the stands. Don’t want to be shut out from hanging with them and you by stupid choice.

    So, still looking for some add’l confirmation that field tix also let you wander the stands.

  11. Jtran Says:

    Question about field tickets: If I have 3 PTBM fields (1 for each night), but not a 3 day pass, can I show up on Friday with all 3 tickets and get a bracelet for all the shows and go ticket less for S/Su?

  12. st8 of mind Says:

    @ (Not Tom)- You were at Coventry too?

  13. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ st8 – no. This will be shows 40, 41, and 42 for me. I bat about .900 as far as enjoying shows and not enjoying them.

    I’ve only been to 3 shows this year, only 1 of which I actually enjoyed (#1). Show #2 got Hurricane’d (Atlanta #2) and I failed the next night in Charlotte.

    Looking for #redemption in Commece.

  14. EL Duderino Says:

    europe ’72 Box-Sets have been delivered to some folks already yesterday and today!

    Keep an eye out folks’.

    @ NTM

    Yes Field allows you access to stands also!

  15. bearito Says:

    @ not tom

    Running mini dvi to dvi, dvi to hdmi with the audio out the headphone jack to stereo

    seems to be working great when i watch the vimeo vids

    what do you mean by 2 screen setup?

  16. Guyute711 Says:

    Go all mikey on co marshall.

  17. stapes Says:

    telas – i got stands too. might have to try and get stubbed down or use some ninja skills once the lights go down

  18. tela'smuff Says:

    yeah. i haven’t had to work to change up my seating in a while. should be fun. like old times. stub down with wristbands is a little different, but workable.

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    Tela’s contact the local box office and see if you can trade up, sometimes they let that.

  20. joe Says:

    webcast, you say? who’s got my hetty party in the boston area? one of these days inviting myself to an internet stranger’s place to freak out to simulcasted music is going to pay off.

    I guess this means that the business model for webcasts for them is proving to be successful. Are we still worried about how it effects their playing?

  21. angryjoggerz Says:

    PS. UIC had wrist bands and you could just walk down – thousand yard stare. Just be there already, they cant mess with that.

  22. joe Says:

    either that or I’m going to have to invest in getting an internet connection at home and an hdtv (and I guess some sort of blue ray player to run from the laptop to the tv and stereo? will pay for itself by the end of 2013 if they keep on playing and selling webcasts I figure)

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Jtran

    to answer your question = NO

    Remember fellas’ Dick’s is doing wristbands for access to the “Field”

    One you hop the fence you have to stay otherwise you’ll have to do it again.
    i think it’ll be easier then we may be thinking. Look for the young girl checking wristbands and bolt or some other area to “hop”

  24. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ Duder – I was just looking for add’l confirmation.

    Is it just general knowledge that you can go into the stands, like it is with lawns at amphitheaters (a question I’d never ask). Soccer stadia confound me.

  25. joe Says:

    just act like you know where you are going and you’ll get there is my motto.

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