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

*debut

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1,206 Responses to “Glory at the Gorge”

  1. angryjoggerz Says:

    Wow, Mikes>Slave with a Weekapaug encore? Nice.

  2. GhostPhunk Says:

    @voopa – I think my post exemplifies not taking others opinions. This discussion is one best served face to face over a beer imo. however, i can’t help but make the 90’s GD comparisons. I love EVERY moment in the room, and i get to as many as I can. That said, it doesn’t change the fact that for me something is still missing(read: deep jams/ 4 song sets) and that’s ok like stuart smalley taught me bro. just keepin’ it real. shit is still a reality though. see you on fall tour df!

  3. phishm Says:

    Where u gonna be tela’s? How long you here? Time to plan the event of the year. AC will melt parts of minds that most didn’t think were there.

  4. tela'smuff Says:

    downtown and around @phishm. unfortunately I’m busy with meetings through Saturday. then a quick visit with family and i’m out. AC still has some light….

  5. sumodie Says:

    Gotta beware one’s own opinions too, not just others. If anything, they can be more destructive of one’s experience & enjoyment than whatever someone else says

    Don’t mar my euphoria, ego!

  6. Boris Says:

    Exactly. @ghostphunk

    Great vibes and great energy and connection at the shows, but musically they are nowhere near where they used to be and they are never going back either.

  7. GhostPhunk Says:

    I’m not sure how else to say it, I’m coming from a very loving space here, so if anything walk away with that. “celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing”… I’m super happy phish still exists. vibes all, g’night.

  8. GhostPhunk Says:

    @voopa, just reread your post… I dig it man. Probably something I need to come to terms with, or for that matter, finally am now. Thanks for your input maing. solid.

  9. phishm Says:

    If you feel the need to fire up some amazing shit while in town look me up. Busines is business. Mind numbing space is a necessity.

  10. Boris Says:

    I threw on 12.29.98 Set II last night. THAT is how I like my Phish. It isn’t the only way I like them, but that magic and adventurousness is there.

  11. sumodie Says:

    So Fall Tour costs $5 more a ticket ($65)

    And Halloween is the same price as the other shows (what about AC’10?)

    Thur Aug 8th: Hampton @ 10am, Reading PA @ 11am, AC @ Noon

    Fri Aug 9th: Glens Falls @ 10am, Worcester @ 11am

    Sat Aug 10th: Rochester @ 10am, Hartford @ 11am

  12. sumodie Says:

    Yo Tahoe, how was the show?

    G’nite…..

  13. sumodie Says:

    that was fast:

    http://www.livephish.com/live-music/0,764,199/Phish-mp3-flac-download-7-30-2013-Harveys-Lake-Tahoe-Outdoor-Arena-Stateline-NV.html

  14. MiA Says:

    Trey was relentless in the second set. No Hendrix acrobatics, but solid, groove, picking tension and release.

    Really liked the second set.

  15. voopa Says:

    Right on.

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    Wolfmans, Jiboo and Birds just fantastic. Everything played pretty well. Second set Pretty much nonstop with an awesome run through Ghost Carini and Piper. Sick Paug.

  17. Stoney Case Says:

    Don’t sleep on the Funky Bitch either.

    Trey, wow the music that cVeteran flufftards with enough time off to debate best this, best that. Beginning of tour was not solid at all. Nothing from SPAC belongs ame out of Ghost, Carini and Piper. You cats were really riding a wave there. It’s pretty amazing to be part of.

    Nice work on the jibboo and birds too. Sheesh. That birds got a bit inside out.

    #iPadThoughts

  18. ophishal Says:

    I was at Chicago and the Gorge… among many, many others…

    question: why are they leaving disease unfinished so frequently now?

  19. tela'smuff Says:

    Everyone was screaming when they saw the dump! Carini had a dumpy head!!

    (credit to PT)

    @Stoney – systematically tearing down east coast run, jam by jam. #slide whistle’d.

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    great night chillin with MiA and Mrs, and Tghost, jtran, and hazel mango.

    Hazel Mango put 12.8 miles on her pedometer today…then went to Greensky Bluegrass.

    Shes a machine.

  21. Berkeley Head Says:

    That 2nd set was the sickness. I have to say that not for a second was I longing for any other era than the now as it was happening. …. Now the show’s over I’m a big fan of Fall 97-98 just like GD 77, but man… I can’t ever remember having more fun at shows than gorge2 II and tonight’s.

    I guess it’s all just about time and space and your place….

  22. MiA Says:

    Hats off to Silly and Tzara’s and other for hitting three raging second sets in a row.

    Hard time believing the timings of the songs.

  23. Berkeley Head Says:

    You mean like carrini seemed like 20 minutes?!? Dude… So fun

  24. Berkeley Head Says:

    Just saw the meters…. Seemed like they were disappointed with crowd energy. Everyone had clearly blown their wad during phish 2nd set

  25. Berkeley Head Says:

    Tomorrow r&r lakeside. Thanks for an insanely fun night ya’ll

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