the gorge

Review: Phish @ The Gorge

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…

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Phish Gorge Setlist & Skinny: Night Two

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…

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Phish Gorge Setlist & Skinny: Night One

Phish kicked off the second leg of their summer tour tonight at the iconic Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA for the first of two shows. The quartet first performed at The Gorge in 1997 and has played a total of five two-night stands (’97, ’98, ’99, ’03 & ’09) leading up to this year. We’ll have a full review and photo set from Friday night’s show later this weekend, but in the meantime we’ve shared some facts, thoughts and images from the show.

The first set of the tour was heavy on the songs with 12 tunes performed in total and somewhat light on improv with Bathtub Gin, David Bowie and surprisingly Roggae standing out. Roggae was described by YEMblogger/HT staffer Andy Kahn as “the best Roggae ever” featuring a “minimal/blues/funk jam.” Phish stuck to heavy rotation favorites for the most part with Walk Away, a song they’ve already played this year, being the biggest bustout of the set with a 21-song gap since last played. According to Kahn it didn’t take long for the group to warm up having noted “no rust” and “patient jam(s)” in both Bathtub and Bowie. He felt guitarist Trey Anastasio was in fine form, “cocky in the best possible way.”

For the second set, Phish came out of the gates with another song from Joy to open and this time it was Backwards Down The Number Line. A 20-minute take on Velvet Underground’s Rock and Roll displayed some of the lessons the band learned during the Super Ball IX Storage Jam as Page McConnell took to the theremin leading the group to settle on what Kahn described as a “Moma Dance-esque groove.” All in all this most exploratory part of tonight’s show to Kahn was “ambient, dark [and] groovy” and showed that “patient jamming continues.” Eventually the ensemble landed in a jam space that was equal parts spacey, funky with disco overtones out of which Meatstick commenced.

This wasn’t a typical Meatstick as it was extended and showcased bassist Mike Gordon. Page returned to the clav, Mike kicked in his Akai Deep Impact bass synth and soon Phish completed a “great segue” into Boogie On Reggae Woman. The closing stanza had so much potential as Phish toyed and extended Boogie On. Rock and Roll -> Meatstick -> Boogie On Reggae Woman was clearly the biggest take-away sequence from the show and should be the first listen for fans who download/stream recordings of the tour opener. Two ballads followed (Farmhouse and Show of Life) before the group ended the set with two high-energy crowd pleasers (Julius and Character Zero). Phish went with a Stones cover in the encore slot – the sixth Loving Cup of 2011. Leg two of Summer Tour 2011 continues tomorrow night at The Gorge.

READ ON for the setlist, The Skinny and much more…

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DMB Caravan: Final Two Stops Announced

When the Dave Matthews Band announced earlier this year that they would headline four of their own festivals, you would’ve thought the events would be spread out around the country.

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Phish Summer Tour 2011: Leg Two

As promised, Phish has announced more summer tour dates this afternoon starting with a pair of shows at The Gorge in George, WA on August 5 and 6 and ending

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Preview: Memorial Day Weekend Festivals

While the festival season has grown in recent years, most see Memorial Day as the official opening weekend. Traditionally, many of the festivals on this weekend were smaller, local options but this year we add another large festival to the mix giving fans more options for music over the long weekend. Just don’t forget the weather can still be a little cool & unpredictable so make sure you don’t forget that extra sweatshirt & rain gear!

[Photo by Jeremy Gordon]

For those of you out on the West Coast (or willing to travel) Furthur has you covered with their inaugural festival at the Calaveras Fairground in Angels Camp, CA. Furthur, which brings together Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, will play 6 full sets over the weekend each covering an entire Grateful Dead album making this the perfect choice for Deadhead’s young and old. Saturday will see American Beauty, Workingman’s Dead and Anthem of the Sun, while Sunday will cover Blues for Allah, Aoxomoxoa and Terrapin Station. Hot Tuna, Jackie Greene and Larry Campbell as well as other GD friends and family will be joining in over the weekend to round out the line up. Tickets start at $125 with a VIP option available. READ ON for more…

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Phish @ The Gorge: Night Two 08/08/2009

Phish completed a splendid two-night stand at The Gorge last night by treating fans to a high-energy show that featured the debut performance of Middle of the Road from Kottke/Gordon’s

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Mr. Miner’s Tour Stop: The Gorge

With many of our readers planning a trip out to George, WA for Phish’s return to the venue in August, we’ve asked Mr. Miner of Phish Thoughts to revise his Tour Stop column about one of the country’s best outdoor venues.

Few music venues in the world combine the magic of the natural world with fabulous sound and a carefree atmosphere. The Gorge, however, is one of these special places. A Phish stomping ground, the Gorge in George, Washington hosted the band for four two-night stands, each producing some of the most memorable shows from their respective tours. The stunning visual beauty of the blazing sunset over the Columbia River combined with the aural beauty of Phish improvising a perfect soundtrack can be overwhelming– in the best way possible. With camping on site, and relatively little hassle by authorities, The Gorge has been Phish’s west coast Mecca since 1997.

Any time a west coast run was anticipated, The Gorge routinely jumped to the top of the rumor list, and still does, as no other Phish experience can quite compare. Nobody will ever forget their first visit to The Gorge. As you walked over that grassy ridge and finally saw where the stage was located, you had to do a Scooby-Doo “double-take” to believe your eyes. This was where Phish was meant to play! With a 22,000 person capacity and a massive property, when the circus came to George, a mini-west coast festival vibe emerged each time. READ ON for more on The Gorge from Mr. Miner…

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