A Portal to Paradise

"Rock and Roll" - 8.5.11 - The Gorge (Graham Lucas)

As the lights spun to the side of the stage just before the band launched into “Rock and Roll’s” jam, I looked out over the Gorge on a fresh head and thought to myself, “Is this really gonna’ happen?” I wasn’t sure what I meant. It was one of those transient thoughts that flash through your mind as quickly as they leave during an electric night at Phish. The sound was perfect, the weather divine, and on the first night of tour, it felt like the band was on the brink of something huge. Twenty minutes—or a lifetime—later as Phish seamlessly slid into “Meatstick,” bringing me out of an subconscious state, my soul had been wrenched by spiritual aliens, worked over by a funk seductress, and dragged deep into the dark side by a demonic, psychedelic muse. Phish had harnessed IT—that unspeakable power of the universe—in the course of one musical adventure for the ages. And when the dust settled on “Rock and Roll,” let alone “-> Meatstick -> Boogie On,” I had just lived a dream.

8.5.11 (G.Lucas)

This is the type of cosmic escapade that alters lives, moves metaphysical mountains—changes things. Walking up the terraces of the Gorge after the show, I—we—had been forever altered by such a profound evening with the Phish. Wide-eyed and beaming, still trailing stardust behind, I pondered the musical insanity that had just transpired. Phish had been playing unbelievably at Super Ball, but this was a different sort of scene. This was one of those nights where the guys’ playing was so natural and of the stars, it infused a sense of majesty into every unfolding moment. And moments seemed to be around every corner during this sequence. Fusing styles past and present, Phish molded a psychedelic symphony out of “Rock and Roll” that stands up to anything they’ve ever done. Period. (Not to mention one of the most fluid segues in history.)

8.5.11 (G.Lucas)

With improvisation so innovative and engaging, time stood still—or flew out the window. This was an experience that afterwards one looked back on in awe and respect rather that just as a piece of music. Everything flowed with such patience and prowess, and the band committed to taking us to places none of us had seen before—a collective musical discovery amidst the natural world. Building through distinct stages of improv without losing cohesion, Phish hit a sacred stride on this night. Something special happened; something that doesn’t occur at every show. The band created a piece of music that spoke to the very ethos of Phish, a jam that opened up an invisible doorway to a fantasy for which we criss-cross the nation.

Everything over the past two-plus years had built up to this. All the stepping stones of ’09 and ’10—all the sublime highlights and borked jams, missed transitions and musical triumphs—had brought us here; to the Gorge on August 5th, a night when everything changed again. Phish hadn’t dropped something like this before. Not in this context. Not with this palate of sound. Not ever. Throw the era qualifications right into the Columbia River Gorge. And when Mike dropped that bass line deep into the night, bringing the beat back from the netherworld, the Earth shook with delight as skulls shattered across the hillside. IT was real. And IT was good.

In fact, IT was alright.


Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll -> Meatstick -> Boogie On” 8.5 II

A musical revelation on the first night of tour.



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277 Responses to “A Portal to Paradise”

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  1. Holger Says:

    IT blew me away! This was indeed one of the best moments I experienced during a Phish show and I couldn’t believe what they were doing. Flying to the Gorge from Berlin, Germany was well worth every cent 😉 We should meet next time, Mr. Miner…

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Why sleep when I could have theramin-drenched dark Phish psychedelia?

  3. Kurt from Indy Says:


  4. Kurt from Indy Says:

    i wish i could explain, as well as you, miner, as much as i loved this show, the drive from seattle to columbia river gorge, the everything, this weekend was soooooo magical!!!! this night the slf and i went into shakedown in search of h3tty bacon chix ranches, took too long and misses the ahuttle for wild horse!

    hours latters we made the most beautiful star drenched midnight walk every! maybe too long for us, but something ill never forget, most georgeous ( no pun) night ever!

  5. Kurt from Indy Says:

    so yes, when our fav boys step up to (now OUR*) favorite place on earth (ill see you soon enough red rocks!) ill never forget this magical wknd at the gorge ever, plus i cant wait to rage CO with my newly acquainted friends from the gorge

  6. Kurt from Indy Says:

    from the terrance!

  7. Kurt from Indy Says:

    terrace, sorry this is how i make up for it:


  8. butter Says:

    Thanks for the congrats guys

    Miner describing IT, and his personal Gorge experience, top tier stuff

    Kurt, sorry to hear about your pooch

    i will be streaming CO, bouncing and holding my new son, born last night, this coming weekend!!!

  9. Kurt from Indy Says:

    i think well come thru, but top o the morning again to you sir, that must be great congrats to you and the better half, be easy butter

  10. bob dylan Says:

    Way to go butter! Glad the mrs is doing great!

    Kurt, so sorry about your dog dude.

  11. bob dylan Says:

    Nice piece miner. Nice piece Phish.

    IT was in fact alright. Train music for today. Watch out passengers, mad dance moves comin atcha.

  12. willowed Says:

    This just got me very excted for this weekend!

  13. EL Duderino Says:

    Pictures of what the Europe ’72 Box-Set looks like:


  14. Guyute711 Says:

    Congrats butter

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Congrats on the birth of your son , Butter.

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    Congratulations Butter on the new baby boy!
    Glad momma and baby are happy and healthy

  17. bhizzle Says:

    Congrats, Butter!!!!

    Lve the Europe ’72 box. Carry on?

  18. Guyute711 Says:

    How is the roc treating you Bhizzle?

  19. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Congratulations butter! I would think your son should be tour ready by next summer. Gotta start ’em young.

    Still fighting my blood clot but I’m out of the hospital. Worse thing is I have to inject meds into my abdomen twice a day. I’ve come to realize I was never meant to be an IV drug user. Needles suck.

    Can’t wait to stream this weekend. I have a feeling the boys won’t end this summer on a low note.

  20. Luther T. Justice Says:

    ^Unless that low note is a bowl rumbling low note from one Mike Gordon.

  21. Phuzzy Says:

    Congrats butter! I know we haven’t met or talked alot, but, I am excited for you.. Bringing life to life is what it’s all about! Hope you and your family enjoy this time together! Is he salted or unsalted?

  22. Luther T. Justice Says:


  23. AintNoTele Says:

    The best part is towards the end where Fish hits a drum break and Mike comes in with this sabotage-like baseline. Rock on brethren

    Pure $$$$.

  24. bhizzle Says:

    The ROC is the ROC, but not bad. I just picked up an appuratus from the new local head shop so…plan I firing that sucka up tonight and then mow the grass. Whats the word in the Mighty South?

    First time hearing this RnR. Killa!!!! For a minute there it got all “Echoes”y..just hit the transition into Meatstick.

    To stream or not to stream? That is the question. If I do it will light a fire under my ass to get the man cave into something more resembling a mancave…move the 55” down, hook up the surround sound, hang my basket hamock chair, torch the new device! Hmmmm….

  25. Guyute711 Says:

    The south is just hitting the best part of the year. Nice comfortable sleeping weather. Wish I wasn’t up at 5:30.

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