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. kayatosh Says:

    howdy, folks. checking in from local library comp. haven’t had power since sat. at 10 PM and power co. says not able to hook me back up til thurs. no fridge, no tv, no comp (might be time to get one of those new fangled handheld devies), no vporizer. shipped kids and wife off to mom’s and have been livin a new way — no tradin (went to a friend’s house yesterday to close an ill-fated short trade held over weekend), buying ice at wawa to keep the ghee frozen, burnin stead of vapin, and going to local watering hole to watch the phils, and listening to music through a speaker no bigger than a matchbox. Tahoe Light is the goods.

    totally out of the loop. webcast of dick’s?

    PEACE and appreciate your electricity if ya got it.

  2. kayatosh Says:

    oh and big congrats to butter on the baby boy. way to go!

  3. voopa Says:

    kaya- webcast yes!
    Hope you do have your power back by then!

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    “rows of chairs with GA seating will lead to massive “tarping.” ”

    Tarps are among prohibited items, so feel free to relieve yourself upon any that are snuck in.

    @butter : god bless your family.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    Thanks for bringing me up to speed, voops.

  6. kayatosh Says:

    may have to cue up that gorge RnR on my micro-system w/ my evening juwaun.

  7. kayatosh Says:

    an earnest young man wants to use the library comp. time to hop back on my bike. check yall later.

    PEACE and LOVE

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    shot in the dark..anyone have experience bulk shipping from China? Shot in the dark, but people seem to know about everything else on here 🙂

  9. st8 of mind Says:

    I’m alright, ’cause I got a degree!

  10. angryjoggerz Says:

    China you say?

    What is your question? Feel free to hit me up on gmail.

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    Miner…………..the book wasn’t made in USA?!?!?!? I’m not buying………….

    jk 😉

  12. joe Says:

    Miner, once upon a time in my previous life, I was a licensed custom’s broker who dealt with imports from china on a daily basis, but am not sure that’s exactly what you need.

    Josephmcfadyen at g mail. If I can help

  13. joe Says:

    Will be away from communication till 1 your time

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    BB FTW!

    This place is a cosmic encyclopedia.

  15. plord Says:

    Butter, congrats on the baby boy! Awesome times for sure.

  16. stapes Says:

    come on work-week! hurry up!!!

    warm out here in CO today. looks like good weather for the weekend.

    woo hoo!

  17. lumpyhead Says:

    so a light jacket will suffice?

  18. stapes Says:

    ^^yea i would think so. maybe a rain jacket. not really any rain in the forecast but you never know out here. it will cool off at night a little bit. should be a great weekend.

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    For real PB! AJ and joe FTW!

  20. bhizzle Says:

    what up P!?!?! You ok after Irene?

  21. Kaveh Says:

    Didn’t know about it, but wanted to share.


  22. makisupa Says:

    congratulations butter family!

    i will be taking my oldest to his first show in 2 years. I hope it will be the Gorge or a festival.

    He was in utero @ Coventry, we were the last RV to make it inside (whew)

    momma maki wasn’t walking

    the coventry soundcheck was my go-to jam for years, such beauty in those ill jams. this summer has added many more!
    i still haven’t heard Blossom, got to change that tonight.

  23. plord Says:

    Bhizzle, if that was to me, we’re fine. A little water in the basement, some limbs down, only 6 or 7 hours without power. The rest of VT got it way, way worse.

  24. bhizzle Says:

    Yeah Paul, it was to you and glad to hear you didn’t get the worst of it. Jtran was on saying he was fine, but wasn’t sure about you and I know VT got it BAD.

  25. butter Says:

    mamma maki, very nice

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