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. Mr palmer Says:

    Love that mix@ Mia. Thanks miner

    Have I told you people I work with crazy people? Thought so.

  2. Al Says:

    Ok, here we go Miner.

    Al’s LiveMix:

    Here’s a mix/edit of some great Livephish. All instrumental. 35 minutes.
    All Type 1 – great for paries, dancable, accessible. Have fun.


  3. BingosBrother Says:


  4. Al Says:

    paries > parties…gosh

  5. Aquaman Says:


    What BSScene album? I just love those guys. They put on a great live show.


  6. Mike in Austin Says:

    @Aqua Telas played Texico Bitches on the TT today. Grabbed it on Spotify (Forgiveness Rock Record) and also the self titled album. Also grabbed Motet “Music for Life” and “Play”

    Austin Tweezer ’98 right now. This really is … great stuff. I absolutely loved Pages playing in ’98 on the piano. Almost Sensual. Trey was jealous I’m sure.

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    you BSS is a pretty cool band.. i need to get more myself.

  8. Aquaman Says:

    Calling all NY Heads……

    Show of hands for who would go see TV On the Radio / BSScene at Williamsburgh Waterfront next Thursday.

    Me = 1


  9. Mike in Austin Says:

    Should have bought WNR. Nice call Mr P.

  10. Mike in Austin Says:

    Sounds like a good time Aqua.

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Yeah Mia. there will be more. I’m not son bullish anymore, in general terms. Market has made a nice move. Things still suck. Time for pull back.

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    No can do Aqua. Wife’s birthday. Not sure my magical persuasion techniques are that good.

  13. Mike in Austin Says:


    As spelled out Tuesday by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson, the venture opens the oil-rich regions of the Black Sea and Russian Arctic to Exxon Mobil. At the same time, it opens the oil- and gas-shale fields of the United States to 75% state-owned Rosneft.

    What the Frack? The Communist Russians are over here getting oil and gas from us?

  14. ThePigSong Says:

    Hi Al, I’ve been giving your mix a spin the last 21 minutes and diggin’ it. Definitely a great introduction to Phish, and a great way to just relax with a glass of wine.

    At first I thought it was a summer highlight, which I quickly realized was not the case. Also, would you consider all of this type I? A little borderline in spots. Then again maybe I’m too liberal with my Type II classification.


  15. halcyon Says:

    Broken Social Scene

    You Forgot it in People
    Feel Good Lost

    are all albums worth checkint out. Even Bernard Fanning, and Kevin Drew’s are worth a listen.

    I would be catching them if they weren’t playing on a Tuesday night in Denver! Getting old to do those long drives for shows during the work week. Were I living an hour or less away, that would be something different.

  16. bob dylan Says:

    heard about that aqua but i’ll be at bk bowl for umphreys

  17. halcyon Says:

    Spiritual Ceramics


  18. joe Says:

    this rock and roll jam could have ridden out even longer at the end but that’s not really a complaint more of an indication of how much I enjoy it. Specifically, the groove at the very end right before the segue.

  19. GuyYOUteeSHIRT Says:

    “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.”

    I know exactly what you meant. You were about to goo your pants because you were excited about the impending jam that was about to unfold – at what you seem to consider your favorite venue in the mainland US.

    Miner, I love your writting, and almost all of the time I agree with you on your reviews. Your knowledge of the band far surpasses mine ten-fold. You put words to what you are feeling so perfectly. Your breakdown of the music DOMINATES every other blogger and writer. That’s a fact.

    But honestly, you either need to not write show reviews or you need to start focusing on the little things a little more or the flaming from outsiders is going to continue. I know you obviously don’t care, but yesterday, you tried to write a piece that put the haters to rest. Today? You raked yourself over the coals with the comment from above. You sound like a kook. We all get excited for jams, but we dont like have a revelation inside our heads that make us think the show is guaranteed to get better if new territory is explored. Does your show really not start until an improvisational adventure begins? Your show reviews as of late (especially leg II) reflect that. You make it sound like you really only appreciate the band when they are playing a 2nd set. Or more specifically, playing a type II jam.

    Enjoy the little things. Maybe you already do. But write about them more if thats the case. Its not like we dont enjoy your writting, so take some time and add 500 words that talk about the rude licks coming off Trey’s guitar during a funked out Moma. Or get excited about a 7 minute #line with a screaming guitar-led peak (Outside Lands was a great example). 1st sets arent all Rebas, Antelopes, Bathtubs, Wolfman’s Brothers and Little Feat covers. Talk about the little things more. I you appreciate them that is…

  20. joe Says:

    minutes 4-7 of Boogie On suits my tastes so nice I just listened twice. Have this on a loop all day in some headphones and you’d walk around like the coolest mother effer on the planet. spreading sunshine all over the place.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    wow great post guy

    i dont think there is anything i disagree with in that post.

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    but for what its worth @guy and @miner

    it does seem that this article is specifically referencing the Rock and Roll jam rather than being a full on Gorge review.

    And that Rock and Roll is timeless and brand new in the world of Phish IMO..

    So I see where Miner is coming from.

  23. sumodie Says:

    golly, that LB6 (RR96) Mike’s Song jam is kinda ok. Maybe a little too jammy scary. But I guess I’d be up for a 2nd Mike’s jam at Dick’s. Please

    Too much goodness on that LB6. Shapiro is really hittin’ the mark

    Thank you!

  24. sumodie Says:

    Hey, maybe I’ll pack a whole day early before my Thurs 9am flight to Denver. That’d be a first for me

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    and it does seem a little silly to suggest that miner stop reviewing shows.

    but i do agree with a lot of that post.

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