Words and Photos: Jason Gershuny
Phish kicked off the second leg of their 2011 summer tour at the picturesque Gorge Amphitheatre, which served as the backdrop to two terrific shows, each with their own share of highlights. This was Phish’s 6th trip to the Gorge in the last 14 years, and I for one have to say that there are few other places that I would rather see this band.
For those who have never been, imagine camping in a sprawling high desert landscape with a visible horizon for miles around. Thousands of travelers from all over the country create their own colorful worlds with whatever materials they happened to bring with them. Friends congregate to create sprawling tapestry villages to get out of the heat. During the day, the sun is merciless and shade is at a premium. But the incredible payoff lies in the beauty of the amphitheater itself.
As you finally find your way out of your makeshift shade structure to head to see the music, you get your ticket scanned and you are faced with a relatively steep hillside that blocks your view. In cresting the pinnacle of that hill, the world opens up before your eyes to an expansive view that covers miles and miles of the wandering deep blue Columbia River carving elegantly through the rock of the Gorge. All this is before your eyes with the stage in the foreground of your view.
READ ON for more of Jason’s thoughts and photos from The Gorge…
On Friday night at The Gorge, Phish delivered an impressive tour opening show that featured an otherworldly Rock and Roll jam, a Roggae that contends for the “best version ever” and a pair of interesting segues. Tonight, the group finished the two-night stand on the banks of the Columbia River.
[Photo via CampRevival]
Possum has taken a lot of heat for its role as the most-played song since Hampton and it looks like the Jeff Holdsworth-penned won’t be giving up its title after showing up as the opener tonight. A parade of staples came next, namely Moma Dance, Sample In A Jar, Limb By Limb and Poor Heart. Allen Toussaint’s On Your Way Down was quite a rarity from 1990 until the breakup as Phish only covered the tune normally associated with Little Feat four times over those years. However, since making its return in Albany back in 2009, the group has lit into the keys-heavy tune five times including tonight.
Wolfman’s Brother gave the quartet their first chance to stretch their improvisational legs and they took advantage of the chance displaying impressive interplay. Just as the jam peaked, guitarist Trey Anastasio threw in a few teases of Led Zeppelin’s Heartbreaker which his bandmates were quite willing to play along with. Anastasio was feeling his oats as Wolfman’s segued into Maze with his solo standing out as a highlight of the set. Phish blew out Wilson back at Super Ball IX, would they do it again for the first version since? No. It was a straight forward take that led into a tight Fluffhead to close.
READ ON for the setlist, tweets, The Skinny and much more…