The Great Northwest

7.26.13 The Gorge (John Crouch)

7.26.13 The Gorge (John Crouch)

There’s just no better place to see Phish than The Gorge. And judging by their music every time they step foot on the majestic stage, it’s one of the band’s favorite places to commune as well. Friday night provided another page in the amphitheatre’s storybook of legend, as Phish dropped a massive show, strewn with creativity from start to finish. Hitting the west coast like a well-oiled machine, the band dusted off several rarities, while crafting a fresh setlist for the largely fresh audience. The night, however, was centered on a monumental “Crosseyed and Painless” that threw its hat in the ring for jam of summer, while anchoring a fluid, hour-long second set sequence of dreamlike playing. Phish could do virtually no wrong in a smashing west coast debut.

7/26 Official (DKNG)

7/26 Official (DKNG)

You knew shit was on when “AC DC Bag” popped with creativity right off the bat, and when the guys followed it up with a dense “Timber” jam and wide-open “Wolfman’s Brother,” the ship had set sail for glory. The only routine stretch of the show followed in “Funky Bitch” “Wilson,” and “Possum,” but the rest of the opening half was pure gold. The trifecta of “Tube,” “Secret Smile” and “McGrupp” made for the most unique, and dare I say, sublime stretch of the set. Hearing “Secret Smile” for the first time since Indio’s acoustic set during sunset at the Gorge was one of the more special moments of tour. The haunting ballad fit congruently with the psychedelic environs, sparking a magical early-show moment.

Seeping out of “McGrupp,” the band brought “Curtis Loew” off the shelf at a poignant juncture before dropping into a skull-crushing “Split Open and Melt” to close things out. The guys have been nailing “Split” all summer long—something to write home about in itself—but last night’s had extra mustard, and fused with the open air sound of the Gorge, it made for quite the spectacular exclamation point on the best first set of summer tour. In fact, after the “Crosseyed,” this “Split” is the second-in-command jam of the show.

7.26.13 (J.Crouch)

7.26.13 (J.Crouch)

Whenever Phish comes to the Gorge, they leave with at least a couple jams that stand up to anything they’ve ever played and could have taken place nowhere else. Friday night’s “Crosseyed and Painless” was one of these jams. Spanning incredible amount of ground and getting very dark and experimental, this jam leapt off stage with a different energy than any recent piece. Often, in peak experiences, I remember nothing of detail until I respin the show and it all comes flooding back—note for note–like Niagara Falls, so I will reserve the play by play for another day, but damn this shit got real. And something weird happened at the end. Most people heard “Roggae” and some heard “Ocelot,” but it was pretty evident that the band was on the cusp of a slow, well-thought out transition. But just as it seemed like the segue would transpire, Trey bailed out of it for “Twist.” Peculiar to say the least.

Maintaing the wide-open, liquid feel to their improv, the following 40 minutes of “Twist > Steam > Waves > Twenty Years Later” carried an unparalleled flow with gentle segues and powerful playing. Each piece moved unfinished into the next, all boasting plenty of action. “Steam” featured the first non-whale drenched jam of its life, and the song sprang to life in a way many thought it would two years ago upon its debut. I remember waiting to hear the band drop “Steam” at the Gorge 2011, thinking it was a perfect match of setting and music, and lo and behold, two years later, that very premonition came to fruition. This entire sequence carried Gorge energy through and through, and will garner many respins in the near future.

"Wilson" 7.26 (J.Crouch)

“Wilson” 7.26 (J.Crouch)

“Mango” and “Bug” bridged the set to another ferocious “David Bowie.” With all of the phenomenal “Bowies” we have heard this tour, the band has resurrected one of the greatest jams in their catalog, a jam that had been left for dead as another casualty of the modern era. But, this summer, the band has made sure that “modern era” won’t forever be a moniker for watered down Phish.

The final piece of a wild evening took place in “Character Zero”, when Trey asked Kuroda to shut the lights so they could jam to the moon. Immediately, all four band members began howling as they rocked out the end of “Zero”—Trey’s current closer of choice for big time shows. Capping the night with a divine “Harry Hood,” that provided the yin to “Bowie’s” yang, Phish put their John Hancock on another special night in the northwest. And then they shredded “Fire” to bits as if taking a victory lap before releasing the hounds into the gorgeous summer night—another night that could have only happened at the Gorge.

I: AC/DC Bag > Timber Ho, Wolfman’s Brother, Funky Bitch, Happy Birthday to You*, Wilson > Possum, Tube, Secret Smile, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Split Open and Melt

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Twist > Steam > Waves -> Twenty Years Later > The Mango Song, Bug > David Bowie, Rocky Top > Character Zero

E: Harry Hood > Fire

*For Kuroda

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599 Responses to “The Great Northwest”

  1. phishm Says:

    Wouldn’t it be cool if one time one of them went online and said that a fan blew his mind during the show?

  2. hoedown Says:

    ^Show of Life I meant. Duh….

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    $$$’s worth

    Unless you’re in Toronto

  4. SillyWilly Says:


  5. phishm Says:

    JK of course. mind blown. Great show. Felt the connection. Wondering if anyone else did. Would love to hear thoughts about it.

  6. james Says:

    Blase show. They RAN through the second set minus a somewhat peculiar and interesting DWD>Undermind. Cool stuff there. Then it was done. Classy move w/ Architect opener (nod to JJ Cale – “Raise our glasses to the architect”)

  7. GhostPhunk Says:

    2-0 on the weekend imo

  8. MiA Says:

    Looks like a great bunch of sets. They really make it worth people’s while to travel out there.

    Phish is so friggin’ awesome of a band.

    Nothing like it in the world.

  9. IrieWalton Says:

    Terrace was locked in tonight with everyone on the same boomy chocolate plane. Fireworks popping off back in camp. West coast tour is underway and it’s hard to fathom where they go from here. Sick.

  10. IrieWalton Says:

    See you all I’m San Francisco!

  11. dusty Says:

    Its the gorge after all…don’t ya know. I think they have done kill the lights and look at the stars/moon each run. Fireworks at the camp bring back the late night sage fire there in ’97 for me. Wishing I caught this stream with gdad at the shore but wishing more that I was still living in the sierra hills waiting for this band’s return.

  12. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Off to CA but NOT for Phish. Leaving one day before SF. Fail.

    Now, available tix may sway me. Talk me into it!

  13. joe Says:

    where’s the rip for my morning coffee and slacking off? internethasgonetoshit

  14. MiA Says:

    Listening on LivePhish Joe myself.

    That “with” surely filled up the Gorge with music. So great.


  15. Foul_Domain Says:

    Lots of good stuff in that 2nd set. Disease, Undermind, Sally all covered a lot of unique ground. This band is firing on all cylinders.

    Architect and After Midnight bookending the 1st set was a nice salute to JJ Cale. Curtain, After Midnight were the only real high points in the 1st for me. I thought Maze was a little bland as Mazes go. 2nd set brought the heat though.

    Two beauties at the Gorge!

  16. nich Says:

    thats fine, everyone- myself included, sweated MPP2’s 1st set based on roughly 2 minutes of Stash and 25 seconds of It’s Ice.. Doesn’t take much to make a 1st set awesome!

    i’ve never done this before.. but- any links or DL codes? i see ppl asking, i’m always afurd that it’s just amongst friends

  17. Frankie Says:

    I like this new Mike tune… Not too complicated for Trey to mess up and has a great 70’s funk vibe… That note in the chorus that he sings makes me laugh and they could easily tackle a great funk jam at the end of that…

    Hope it finds a spot in the small rotation and doesn’t get “middle of the road”d…

  18. Frankie Says:

    Also in other first set thoughts, really like that extra sauce Trey added to the end of the After Midnight jam… His rythm playing reminded me of the dicks Gin ’11… Wish they used that idea to really lift off…

    But great nod to JJ Cale and perfect closer to get the crowd pumped for 2nd set!

  19. jtran Says:

    Any webcast YouTube links yet? Wanna watch set 2

  20. Uncle Eb Says:

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Honestly, set 1 was pretty boring via webcast.. albeit, we missed After Midnight…

    set 2 on the other hand….was a revelation..

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    .. Curtain With was by far the highlight of set I for me..

  23. sambone Says:

    loved the jam at the end of crosseyed.. magic.

  24. Brother Fee Says:

    Take note: this night, the band played right up to the cusp of midnight for the longest 2-set show of the year (thus far).

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