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. bouncin fan Says:

    Please miner write about the samples and sparkles too!!

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    oh bouncin…

    hell you give waay more love and review of set one than miner..

    I love you Miner..

    just sayin

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    ” The band then decided to take Poor Heart for a ride. Mike throwing down a bass -led jihad while Trey fucked up the soaring guitar solo. ”

    ^ better? 😉

  4. bouncin fan Says:

    The masses will love you if you embrace type I miner!

    How bout a review of that F Sharp page played in ocelot

    More of the little things

    Jams jams jams
    Enough already with the jams

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    i can imagine it would get tough after a while to review a bunch of songs that dont vary at all..

    but some of the set ones this tour, while not divergent of the set one formula, harnessed energy very early on. Would love to hear more about the build into set 2 myself..

    But there are no reviews of set 2s more colorful and more intuned with what i look for in Phish than Miners. So I am a loyal fLEGIONAIRRE

  6. joe Says:

    It’s actually been awhile since Sparkle was played. maybe they’re reworking it…

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    well i thought it was a well thought out piece of constructive criticism that Miner is free to apply or not.

    he did preface it with nothing but compliments..

  8. bouncin fan Says:

    I found the entrance into the lifted fresh headed miner pre gorge RNR to be quite entertaining

    The miner critics crack me up

    Let the kid do his thing or don’t read it
    Can’t influence the writer
    It is what it is

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    “set one was tightly-played throughout with few flubs and little playing that veered outside the box. Harnessing the energy of the crowd durting the first set, the band’s creativity came out to play in the second”

    ^ feel free to tack this onto any of my reviews to more deeply understand the first set. It should work for about 9 out of 10. 😉

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    No harm done. I thought he had good points…

    still not gonna write about the big “Possum” “Moma” opener.

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    no backlash from me at all….for realz…

  12. bouncin fan Says:

    I dug his post
    Seems way into what miner is doing
    Wonder when miner is forced to get his first restraining order on some raleigh phishie turned stalker

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    word Miner

    I just think if someone does take the time to compose an intelligent criticism we should embrace it.

    He clearly states that he knows you can and will write how you want, but was merely offering up suggestion.

    So often people come by here and dump foolish and ignorant flames at Miner, and so I found it refreshing when there was some thought put behind a critical post.

  14. joe Says:

    now that I think about it, shows are now kind of like my golf game. I take about 5 holes to warm up, shoot lights out till about the 14th, and am a bit too high and/or bored and kind of go through the motions on the next 4 and then try extra hard to birdie the last.

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’m not going to go back and check, but i’m sure Bethel 1 and 2 both had reviews with more than a passing reference to set I. If it’s warranted, it gets mentioned.

    Not a bad drive by though. Better than that Pauly Ballz or whatever his name is.

  16. bouncin fan Says:

    He kept using we

    He speaks for phishies everywhere
    The common phishie

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    i thought that “we” meant the outsiders…

    but really no need to belabor this point any further 😉

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    today trio of songs really far surpasses any segment Phish has delivered since they have been back…

    but the UIC I set 2 takes the cake for full complete set.

  19. Gavinsdad Says:

    He said goo

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    “the common phishie”

    I love it!

  21. angryjoggerz Says:


    Anyone want to spin some tunes on the ( . )( . )

  22. bob dylan Says:

    YMMV but id prefer first sets if they only had Rebas, Antelopes, Bathtubs, Wolfman’s Brothers and Little Feat covers.

  23. Mike in Austin Says:

    AJ, can I just play this BSS stuff? I’m there.

  24. bob dylan Says:

    id have stopped reading this blog long ago if it were 3 paragraphs of how sweet divided sky was, just sayin.


    aaaanyway, the basement of our building flooded from the hurricane and now that we don’t have Jackson all the mice that lived down there next to the mexican restaurant have decided to come kick it in my apt. exterminator came today and flipped the place upside down. putting my place back is a bitch.

  25. Mike in Austin Says:

    Add Saw it Again to that list Bob (at least for me).

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