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”

  1. voopa Says:

    Sure, aj.

    The LED hula hoop chick I filmed during Tweeprise at OSL found my video of her today!

  2. bob dylan Says:

    and my friend who i was supposed to see days ago has been stuck out of town cause of the aforementioned hurricane affecting flights so now I’m dry. why don’t i live in cali again?

  3. halcyon Says:

    Phish should release something from the archives as part a fundraiser for citizens in Vermont/Upstate NY that have been hit hardest.

    Cypress SBD/DVD?

    Shows from 1999?



  4. voopa Says:


  5. bob dylan Says:

    cypress is gonna be a big box set down the road. easy money in the bank.

  6. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Just back from NC, and I find this vivid write-up by Miner after days away from the board. Bravo, man

    Hope everyone fared OK through Irene. Being down there I had a lot of people to be concerned about in NY and the NE area, but I was surprised to realize how many of them are regulars from this place. We’ve got a great community around here…

  7. Dr Pronoia Says:

    I’m sure this has been posted and commented upon, right?


    thoughts Illinoians?

  8. Mike in Austin Says:

    Hope it went Dr. P. Thinking about your travels today.

    Turntable is spinning …

  9. Mike in Austin Says:

    I think the trustafarian kids at Northwestern are just happy to find decent pot at any price. These are the same kids paying $20 for a gin and tonic at a club. 😉

  10. bob dylan Says:

    makes sense since its in the landlocked and northern.

  11. joe Says:

    I think I’m in love with the girl with the hula hoop in the “hula hoop superstar” video linked on the side of voopa’s video.

  12. bob dylan Says:

    i bet people aren’t putting nyc delivery prices in there or don’t know how much are in those little plastic tubes or bags. we got one in a pinch before the hurricane. fuckin ripoff but there was a hurricane coming, i guess the service tips the scale so whatever.

  13. joe Says:

    just star. might be the same woman, but voopa’s video is too dark to see. ok, internet creepy stalker doesn’t really feel good to me. moving on.

  14. bob dylan Says:

    damn joe, i’d love to be in that hoop with her…

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Just got a text from Neemor. Poor bastard has been without power for 3 days now. Kaya as well , i hear?

    Vibes to you fellas. That sucks and blows. Mother nature is a bitch.

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    All those Chicago custies paying up…..

  17. Mike in Austin Says:

    Amazing how much we take having constant power for granted. Going to Asia in the mid 2000’s and they often had blackouts and power outages. Actually most of the utilities did pretty well all things considered.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Bob, we used to get those all the time . The little plastic rectangles. Total rip off, but the herb was real legit for the most part. Wish i was 25 again. brain dead and made of $$….. so long ago.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Anyone have a Kindle? Looking to buy one for the wife. Are they all the same? Looking at one that is 3g for $139. Thanks

  20. P.S.H.S. Says:

    mr. p i got one for the little lady, it’s sweet. 3g is only necessary if you don’t have wifi at home

  21. sumodie Says:

    GuyYOUteeSHIRT’s Miner rant on p8 misses the point:

    I don’t want a review of every little phishy detail. Since Miner is using his own free time to write a review after every show, I’d rather he skip the description of Trey’s hang nail and Mike’s haute couture and just give me the MEAT of what went down last night

    Obviously Miner is on to something as his blog appears to be of great interest to many a phish fan

    (bet Miner never thought he’d be psychoanalyzed so much just for writing about his favorite band)

    If Miner’s such a kook, then I ♥ kooky phish thoughts

  22. P.S.H.S. Says:

    kindle makes books obsolete, kinda weird to think that reading willbe done electronically from now on

  23. halcyon Says:

    As someone who works for a utility, it really is amazing how granted we take reliable electricity.

    People are so quick to call to complain when the lights are out. The customers that are particularly rude, or are just a**holes, we usually ask them how long power has been on prior to them losing power. That usually makes them either angrier, or take a step back from being so pissy.

    Other times people would call to complain and saying “where I come from, we never have outages as much as you people have.” Well go back to where you came from. We typically have 99 – 99.9% reliability. We are in the mountains, where outages are susceptible due to wildlife, wildfire, avalanches, lightning, tree failure, vehicles, construction activity, shifting soils, rocky terrain, rock slides.

    Go back to where you came from, and get off my lawn 🙂

  24. bob dylan Says:

    sumo said eloquently what i said snarkily. well played sumo.

    pshs, miner’s book is a create you’re own tour adventure. do that on a kindle. (as i go thru my room getting rid of stuff i don’t need yet still keep my fav books and cds, guess i’m old fashioned)

  25. bob dylan Says:

    halcyon, we could trade stories i’m sure. people are demanding and have been taught by such poor service for so long that they need to yell to get their way. esp if they are ignorant.

    i try and talk down just enough to get the point across that i’m helping them for free and that usually works. if not, well, you’d be surprised how quickly you can “forget” or “not know” how to fix something.

    our job is to bend over backwards and we get taken advantage of. makes me especially bitter when dealing with people making minimum wage not giving a damn and treating me like shit after a long day of work.

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