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. Frankie Says:

    Love t-shirt wearing wah playing Trey! Goes well with clavinet playing Page…

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    New Sticker:

    My jams are better than your jams, eh?

  3. jtran Says:

    Any YouTube web rips yet?

  4. Bo Says:

    Great review mr miner, thanks. We are so lucky to be following these boys. A little word on the European and Japanese fans; I am one of the few that has been able to come over to see the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world. Bring on Friday night…

  5. SillyWilly Says:

    good morning from Yakima

    stopped at Tzaras parents house for the night

    last night was special. The flow had that Bill Graham Night 3 feeling only extended.

    just putting my face back on

  6. bob dylan Says:

    an oldie but goodie given the circumstances

    http://phishthoughts.com/2009/03/20/undecided-undefined/

  7. Albert walker Says:

    hey trey

    if you could take a minute from your coffee. big 3.0 supporters. caught over a hundred but my pregnant wife is gettin hard to get to tour.

    SF could be our last run for a bit . not giving up on dicks but it could be tough,

    so if you could slay all 3 nights of your first indoor run with the new analog board and lighting rig I will be forever in you and dr bob’s debt

    thanks
    #toojammy

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    Currently spinning:

    Sand Circles “Motor City”

  9. jtran Says:

    ya will! see you guys in tahoe.

    tzaras, if you have any wine avail, would love to try/buy

  10. Fly Says:

    MSG ’09 Disease. Know it!

  11. bouncin fan Says:

    and one more thing Trey

    it works well indoors and now that you’ve got some nice flow going how bout that

    TMWSIY > Avenu > TMWSIY at BGCA

    we haven’t caught it since Alpine 09. and I like that one. thanks.

    Now shaking the walls with Scientist-Heavyweight Dub Champion

    platinum OG tubes with sour D full melt. and a bit of OGief to make sure the job is done.

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Love how people were giving me shit for not praising the first set last night and then butter drops a line on twitter from the gorge calling it an underwhelming first set.

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    Df, ‘people’ is plural. Not that many of us even pay attention. Slow down.

    ‘Curtain With > KDF’ only take away highlights. After Midnight pretty underwhelming.

    Feel better?

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    True, phishm isn’t a person

  15. Foul_Domain Says:

    1st set had zero flow. Really all over the place, and Maze had no balls.

    2nd set had ALL the goods

  16. phishm Says:

    I can see how one would perceive me as way more then a person. Though flattering, I’m still just a mere mortal like everyone else. Thanks for the compliment however.

  17. PigSong Says:

    I slept through the With, but on replay its fantastic. Say Something also notable in the first. That’s it.

  18. bouncin fan Says:

    I want a jam by jam top 20 jam list to hit my phone with on the trip. I’ve only heard Bangor and SPAC 1. was at Chicago but didn’t spin any so those are game also.

    plus if you put a Bangor jam on the top ten list I probably wouldn’t read the rest of the list anyway.

    the 2013 summer head explodes on plane to SF jam mix. anyone that’s been spinnin this tour a bunch should be easy to do I imagine.

    Hoods Bowie and Slaves could be tough. seems like a bunch of vintage tight versions.

    thanks.

  19. bouncin fan Says:

    but really I just like watching art complete and since I haven’t heard any of it can’t get worked up. hah.

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Will you spin Canadian jams?

  21. JanxSpirit Says:

    Architect is only a good opener if you’re standing at the Gorge checking out the scenery IMO…and waiting for the next song.

    Just relistening to set 2…I loved that so much. And I don’t think After Midnight can be over fluffed. Blistering. I loved the vast majority of that show.

    Tahoe Ghost. Tahoe Tweezer. Don’t sleep on Tahoe. This time is gonna be different.

    I have extras for both nights greggcarrier gmail

  22. bouncin fan Says:

    only if they’re the bootlegged imported canadian flacs

    if a hot show goes on in Canada did it really even happen? that’s the ?

  23. bob dylan Says:

    palmer and i went on a pilgrimage for food toward the end of the first set. we were underwhelmed.

  24. bouncin fan Says:

    nice first Architect jab. done with much more class that I could pull off.

    I will just say no comment on Architect. safe to say everyone may have heard my thoughts on the new TAB material.

  25. bob dylan Says:

    jtran can make you a pretty good list i bet

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