Glory at the Gorge

7.22.13 (Jake Silco)

7.22.13 (Jake Silco)

Playing their best show of the summer—including a flawless second set—Phish raised the bar for 2013 on Saturday night at the Gorge. With a patience and a fluidity that has come to define their efforts at the Gorge, the band wove a stunning non-stop tale after dark, thick with virtuoso jamming and on point musicianship. With Phish as on point at they are right now, the variable of their shows is set craftsmanship, and last night they hit the nail on the head, sculpting a defining frame of music with nary a note out of place. It is nights like last that we will tell stories about for years to come. It is nights like last that bring us back again and again. It is nights like last that live forever.

7/27 Official (DKNG)

7/27 Official (DKNG)

The band eased into the early evening with the first ever “Architect” opener, working so much better than we ever did expect, and fitting the mood congruently. Dropping the first “Golgi” of tour in a surprise slot, the band had crafted an unmistakably afternoon vibe in only two songs. Expounding on this vibe with “The Curtain With,” the band treated the audience to an afternoon delight with a wide open, very slow take on the “With” jam, the unquestionable highlight of the show’s opening half.

Phish veered from the beautiful tone they had set with the squealing intro to “Kill Devil Falls,” and though their playing remained sharp, all of a sudden the set got standard. There were, however, two aberrations, and one bodes incredibly well for the Phish universe. After “Roses,” the band played a bluesy Americana-sounding song that many assumed to a JJ Cale cover, as everyone expected the band to honor the late guitarist. But when a friend told me that it was a Gordon/Murawski original called “Say Something,” my ears tuned in on a whole different level. And before long the guys were knee deep in some dirty grooves, foreshadowing yet another new jam vehicle, this time of the Gordeaux vintage. The band’s tribute to Cale unfolded songs later in a blistering run through his classic, “After Midnight,” a cover with all sorts of Phishy implications. But the best was yet to come.

7.26.13 (John Crouch)

7.26.13 (J. Crouch)

With all of the heavy hitters on the table, the band chose to open the second set with “Down With Disease” for the second time in three shows—a seemingly odd move until I remembered that so many epic Phish tales begin with the classic spring board. Bouding to life with a creative narration, in retrospect—on respin—this “Disease” jam carried a rhythmic direction pointed towards “Undermind” from the get go. With no reason to consider this at the show, when listening back one can hear the band work towards “Undermind” for virtually the entire jam, creating one of the slickest segues of tour. Drenched in fresh ideas, and totally different from Toronto’s masterpiece, “Disease” opened the gateway to a mystical land.

If Friday night’s “Crosseyed” was one of the timeless jams we would leave the Gorge 2013 with in tow, last night’s “Undermind” was the other. As expected, when placed in the second set, this song was a lock for utter glory. Following up Dick’s 2012 all-timer (which actually closed the first set), last night’s second setter found the mountaintop and beyond in a one of the most profound jams of the season. Moving from the song’s playful rhythms and into soul-gripping music, the band rode Fishman’s celestial rhythms, elevating to catharsis and then stepping into the void with a spacescape that felt connected to the endless sky above. A dynamic jam that touched on so many musical elements of Phish, “Undermind” provided an improvisational centerpiece to the set, but the action was far from over.

7.22.13 (J.Silco)

7.22.13 (J.Silco)

The relentless flow continued with “Light,” an instant shot of adrenaline to any show—and we were already pretty damn high. Blasting into a tight-laced exploration, the band actually covered more ground than I remembered when I listened back, a certain case of musical density. And as the jam was chugging along, Trey initiated a back door segue into “Sneakin Sally,” a surprise move that blew the already imploded amphithetare to smithereens. But when then band dropped into the funk, things got pornographic. Kicking off a Gorge-sized dance party with a massive wah lick, Trey dug into his rhythmic playing and set things afire. It’s certainly great to be living in a world again where Trey wears t shirts on the regs and favors his wah pedal above just about all others. Yeah—life is good.

The best part about last night’s “Sally,” however, is that the guys didn’t stop at the funk, but transcended it with a driving, atmospheric passage of pure west coast Phish crack. This infectious segment morphed into a portal to “2001,” creating a dance pairing for the ages. Locking into the same groove they favored in Alpharetta’s version—a lick that emerged in last summer’s renditions—the band met their intergalactic surroundings with some music to match.

7.22.13 (J.Silco)

7.22.13 (J.Silco)

At this juncture, it was anyone’s guess as to what song would be next, and Trey collected from all bettors when he choose “Walls of the Cave.” The post hiatus song served as an introspective comedown from the monumental hour of music that had just unfolded, and just when you thought the band might play out some songs, they improvised out of the end of the “Walls” jam and segued into “Fluffhead!” Yup, it was that kind of night.

Once again placing their iconic composition in a perfect slot, it felt like they might let the feel-good anthem take us home. But surprisingly, they followed it up with a vigorous, open-air take on “Run Like an Antelope.” Boom. Punctuating, dare I say, a perfect set of Phish, this “Antelope” popped with both energy and creativity. On nights such as last, when the band bows in their post-show adulation, one can’t help but bow right back.

Whenever they are announced, it is all but assumed that Phish’s performances at the Gorge will be among the most special of summer. This year, however, these shows represent a new high water mark for the Vermont quartet as they begin their descent down the west coast for summer’s home stretch. Raising their game considerably from the Midwest, Phish has laid it on the line in the summer of their 30th year, and this final week should be something really special.

I: Architect, Golgi Apparatus, The Curtain With, Kill Devil Falls, The Moma Dance, Maze, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Roses Are Free, Say Something*, Ocelot, After Midnight

II: Down with Disease -> Undermind > Light -> Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Walls of the Cave > Fluffhead, Run Like an Antelope

E: Show of Life, Good Times Bad Times


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1,206 Responses to “Glory at the Gorge”

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  1. Frankie Says:

    Disease->Undermind->Light->Sally->2001 is the stuffof dreams right there… We thought they would never stop the whole set…

    I was calling a Ghost after the 2001 with a Ghostbusters “who you gonna call” jam just before…

    But then it was just too greedy…

    Love this band! So happy they are playing at this level and I get to follow this tour this closely…

    Have a great sunday ya’ll! Enjoy the new music!

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    That’s a dream 2nd set right there. Paid.

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    Me and you gotta touch docks together now frankie. Thats the rules.

  4. Frankie Says:

    And thank you Mr. Miner! Glad The Gorge delivered the goods…

  5. jdub Says:

    Raise your glass to the Gorge!

  6. Jeff Says:

    Split the first night started off very similar to 97 Gorge. Was having flashbacks. Someone else on here mentioned it the other day as well…

  7. Frankie Says:

    Ahaha! We dream the same dreams… How cute…

  8. Albert walker Says:

    glad to see phish played a good concert last night again

    see you kids soon

    keep it up trey if you’re reading this. we like jams.

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    Type 2 second set?

    Well played.

    Couchtour FTW!


  10. Frankie Says:

    You will love this sequence AW! Real segues between songs and great takes on all of them…

    Can’t go wrong with the 2nd set second song Undermind!

  11. Stoney Case Says:

    Undermind and Sally got BGCA style swanky.

    We love the wah, Trey.


  12. bob dylan Says:

    well how bout that? gorge gave us the goods.

    wow that 2nd set just kept coming and coming.

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    Undermind > Light > Sally > 2001 = the new high watermark for swanky stretches of Philth


  14. BingosBrother Says:

    But did df like it?

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    Theres gotta be a Joy, #line, or julius missing there. Gorge must give trey Hamnesia.

  16. bob dylan Says:

    damn reading this article stings. i mean i watched last night and it was hella good. but couch tour was lacking the wind in my face lookin off the cliff aspect of the gorge.

    HOT PHISH! download in progress GET IT WHILE ITS HOT!

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Toronto Disease > any jam played at the gorge this year.

  18. btb Says:


  19. bob dylan Says:

    still amazed how miner continues to come up with fresh takes on the same shit. i feel like a numbskull when i try to describe it. that was sick! funky town!

    kudos miner.

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    Couchtour was fantastic out here, Bob. Should have had a fan going.

    Wind in my face’d.

    Slept in own bed, could hear every instrument, and every word. Glimpses of Antelope Greg on the screen. Alternating tubes between O’gief and dabs.

    #CouchTour #Winning

  21. Stoney Case Says:

    I can’t believe they could top SPAC 1.


  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Df with the harsh truth.

    I borrowed Dustys fan.

  23. Stoney Case Says:


    You had to be there.

  24. In Flagrant Delicto Says:

    I learned on Friday night that making it through the whole second set after a long week requires careful IPA moderation here on the East Coast. Last night! I was successful and rewarded with the Gorge goodness. Can’t wait to see CK5’s new rig indoors next weekend.

  25. PigSong Says:


    I wasn’t feeling this music much last night during the webcast, but I was wiped after staying up for friday and a decent amount drunk. mostly sober and well rested is how I like my ph

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