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.


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Caspian -> Sand -> Tweezer” 8.6.11

The thick of the second set.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


In Other News…

Surrender to The Flow: Phish Yoga in Denver


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.

Tags: ,

261 Responses to “Awesome Without Exploration”

  1. joe Says:

    live bait tweezer is a monster for sure. think any of the band (esp. Trey) ever listen to an old epic jam like this? probably not their mentality at all, should be looking forward and not back, but damn if it might not spark a little memory to use going forward.

  2. Mike in Austin Says:

    Nice AW. The all black is sharp. Museum Glass is very expensive. You got a great deal if that’s what you got.

    Wish I would have known Palmer. I was in line with the wife at Da Mock Show, and saw Silly Willy in line behind me. Could have grabbed another one for ya.

  3. [an unrelated] Wilson Says:

    Agreed. Great looking frame job there.
    Got a stack of show posters (many thanks to the Fillmore) that need some treatment.

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Thanks MIa.. It was my bad. Wanted to get over Da Mock Show but, you know how it goes. Snooze you lose.

    Going back to beginning of summer to spin some highlights. The Bethel Crosseyed stands out. I know they have been playing this a lot lately, but i think this is the best version to date. Charleston was also good a while back.

  5. albert walker Says:

    Boogie >
    Waves >
    Caspian >

    Was getting bumped in my car all week.

    One of the hottest chunks since the return

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I would think a return trip to Bethel would be in order.

    Custy Crib part deux

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    more hopes that you guys get crushed with their best in CO. i had a little personal redemption at UIC as I had some struggles w work that bled over into my full leg 1 attention. granted i had a fine time leg 1 but that nice 3 pack, where i got to settle in and just have alot of music, is my favorite. if i had a sick looking venue like that, mountains nearby and “denverdam” i wouldn’t be able to work either. enjoy.

    i’ll prob webcast a little right here at my imac. had a good time with peeps couch tourin for tahoe, even tho i Corey’d that Light. hehe.

  8. halcyon Says:

    tickethorse rerelease of field seats underway – for friday and sunday

  9. gavinsdad Says:

    sausages on the grill = low and slow.

    hey @el dude…another “wilson” was on here giving props to that alpine fluff you love. as you know, i’m still a neanderthal and listen to mp3s. any idea if that show has an sbd leak or should i just suck it up and get it via the spreadsheet?

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Thats a sick poster AW. anyone get the Ditka print? I want one a dem right dere.

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Damn, the Bethel Gin is super hot.

    skipped to Gorge Roggae next.

    Watching Giants and Jets beat the piss out of each other.

  12. joe Says:

    anyone have thoughts on a small-time, nfl related pool of some sort? donations to miner, of course. ala march madness? I’d be partial to an eliminator type deal, where you just pick one team each week (can’t use the same one twice), last person left standing wins a video – maybe even a book?…

    thoughts? I’d be willing to be the organizer too. Certainly would take the discussions off-board so as not to bore everyone.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’d do something Joe. Just not fantasy. ALready in 2. Knock out pool?

  14. joe Says:

    yeah, I was thinking something very low-time and thought commitment. knock out seems to fit that bill the best.

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    @ gdad

    Don’t think there’s a sbd source for that 7/24/99 AV Fluff.

    but there is 1 seeder for “the” source here:

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    look on youtube for the ’99 fluffhead “jam”…
    if you’re lookin’ to sample it!

  17. gavinsdad Says:

    thx dude

  18. P.S.H.S. Says:

    i’m pretty sure i pulled that alpine 99 show from one of miner’s posts last year, i think it’s in his archive

  19. bob dylan Says:

    still trying to make CO happen…

  20. win butler Says:

    i’m trying to make it too bob. i wanna do a late-night set for the kids camping. i heard people at phish shows stay up all night. would be a great time to get a set in, don’t ya think? maybe you could guest if we both make it.

  21. bob dylan Says:

    id rather stay home than play with your band. no offense.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Blossom Sally…. oh my..

  23. angryjoggerz Says:

    yo, AW, where did you get that framed for only $200? Drop the knowledge!

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Camden Curtain With…. a forgotten gem ( by me at least)

  25. bob dylan Says:

    aw, thats a cheap ass frame job. looks sick. exactly what i had in mind. well done.

Leave a Reply