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. alf Says:

    any chance of mediafiring that lw?

  2. alf Says:

    just the regular… and my favorite ipa

  3. lastwaltzer Says:


    there is but it won’t happen till the weekend. i’ll be sure to hit you with a link.

  4. bhizzle Says:

    and semi-local…that was my new years resolution, to be more green by drinking ny state beverages a majority of the time. my only weakness is the 90 min.

  5. alf Says:

    thanks lw

    bhizzle, i count supporting micro breweries in general as green enough. not ready to give up some of those west coast ipas 😉

  6. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ Berzerker – here’s how it’s been explained to me by the box office and then confirmed by Ticket Horse’d …

    – 3 day passes are actually 3 individual tickets, regardless whether you have 3 physical tickets or whether you are doing the Flash Seat thing

    – Field goers will have to have a wristband to get on the field.

    – there is the option for 3 day ticket holders to get a 3-day wristband if they so desire, but they can also get single-day wristbands instead

    – Field goers will have access to the stands, but stands fans will be relegated to the stands only.

  7. bearito Says:

    Question in regards to the webcast:

    I don’t have a hard wired connection to a modem as I share internet with my neighbors and they have the modem.

    Those that have streamed wirelessly, will the stream be choppy as a result of a strictly wireless signal? I’m not sure of the speed b/c I didn’t order the service. It’s through AT&T and I think its dsl.

  8. [Not Tom] Says:

    ^ obviously, if you get a 3-day wristband, then you’re stuck with that.

  9. alf Says:

    though the 2 kegs on tap in the house now are brewed in buffalo and lakewood ny, so i’m doing alright

  10. [Not Tom] Says:

    Bearito …. test your speed here


    Also, w regards to the dual screen thing, I was referring to when you connect your Mac to the TV, you have choices as to how the display works (both on, one on, mirrored, etc.) It confused me even though I was able to figure it out.

  11. lumpyhead Says:

    SO, then, [NOT TOM], you think it will be easy to sneak on the field?

  12. lastwaltzer Says:


    I would try watching the hd videos on the test site. Mine came through a little blocky but now chopping. Granted I don’t have wireless, but I do have a really really shitty computer i watched it on.

  13. Guyute711 Says:

    Brewed in buffalo eh? Sounds terrible.

  14. bearito Says:

    Have only had the Two Hearted in the bottle. I can only imagine how tasty it is on draft.


  15. bearito Says:

    Thanks, the vids looked good on the test screen but did start buffering at some point. The mirrored view seems to be the winner.

  16. bhizzle Says:

    “Brewed in buffalo eh? Sounds terrible”…..now that I think about it….

    I AM jealous of the two keg thing regardless of where they are brewed.

  17. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ lumpyhead – I have no idea. regardless of the mob mentality, I’ve never been in favor of stubbing extra people into a reserved space.

    Nevertheless, that field looks pretty big, and i guess it depends on how fast you can run and blend into the crowd. Then don’t go take any pi$$ breaks. 🙂

  18. Chuck sweD Says:

    any indication whether the field will be GA seating or GA pit (free range)?

  19. lumpyhead Says:

    yeah, there’s no doubt I could outrun those mahfks, it’s just that I wouldn’t want to be that guy running from people…just doesn’t sound like fun.

    hopefully my wristband will be loose enough to take off.

  20. lumpyhead Says:

    Tickethorse says each individual person who is camping needs a camping pass…

    so 2 people camping together = $140?

  21. [Not Tom] Says:

    @ chuck – “field” sure sounds like Colorado, “front range,” wide open spaces.

  22. lumpyhead Says:

    Chuck – on the Field tickets it does have Seat assignments…but I don’t see how they could do that if we’re standing on a soccer field.

  23. [Not Tom] Says:

    I’ve had lawn tickets with seat numbers before – it’s how they count totals I believe.

  24. Chuck sweD Says:

    i’m hoping that the seat numbers were just standard ticketing practice and that there will actually be a “free range” pit, rather than rows of chairs. rows of chairs with GA seating will lead to massive “tarping.” people will be like i got these 8 seats, 6 rows deep.

  25. [Not Tom] Says:

    I plan on using this technique to claim as much space as possible


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