7/16/98 - The Gorge, George, WA

I had to send in a review after reading some that have been posted. Let's not look at the Gorge shows as an entity of there own, rather look at each Phish show as it's own entity. These shows are going to be different then every other show of the tour, as those are too. I'm going to compare the Gorge to last years Gorge shows. Huge improvement by Phish. I think last year they were in the middle of the tour and a little burned out plus the searing heat didn't help. Also I think as people, the band was dwarfed by the awesome beauty of the place and had that element to work against. This year they seemed very fresh, charged and ready. They weren't the same "stunned" musicians who played last year. I use stunned loosely as I can't think of a better word. I listened to last years tapes the other day and could not find any point where the band eclipsed or met the feverish funk jamming they achieved this year. Yes, Phish has slowly evolved into another direction and sound with their music but the intensity was not there last year. The first set of the first show almost seemed like a hit parade as it unfolded but that didn't change how the band played. They were there to play and exhibit their magic as the attraction, not as a "side show" to the environment they seemed to be last year. I know there are folks who will take exception to some of the phrases and language I'm using but I'm just not coming up with anything more diplomatic. I just can't remember seeing the band so relaxed. In a nutshell last year it appeared as work, this year it was pure fun! Listen to the tapes. That's the next topic, get the tapes of these shows. Like all Phish shows there are moments of pure blissfulness, but these shows were pure moments of blissfulness. Not at one point did I think "oh no not that again". Length of sets didn't matter because what was inside was so satisfying and glorious that if each set was an essay, the arguments were concluded perfectly and the reader was satisfied with the thoughts. For those who weren't there, try to make the extra effort it may take to get a copy of the second show, second set. I could have gone home to Canada after hearing that 2001 if that was the only thing they played for two days. I'm hoping they're not burned out on the Gorge yet or vice versa as for the sometimes "limited" time they spend on the west coast it's as good as it gets. Enjoy the rest of the tour, Pete. Peter Tessier AV Production Coordinator London Drugs Ltd. 448-4063 ptessier@londondrugs.com
O.K. where to begin? I'll start by saying it was fricken' hot and the sun was relentless, but after Portland I thought that PHiSH would be just as relentless! I was proven correct after the two shows. But $40 Bones for parking was too extreme! I wanted to stay one day and camp in between but I figured I might as well get my money's worth! Besides that and the heat the scene was delicious. All kinds of Kats and Kittens were smiling and lovin' it all. Set1: Coil- Sweet opener! really short but nice chording and note selection by page and trey! Mikes sound was very Audible in all directions! I LOVE MIKE!!!!! NICU-No slip ups (i.e. 4-2-98) really clean and well played + a great way to get the vibe movin along! Stash- I totally called it after NICU and my phriend and I were psyched! We were given a nice stash of moderate length but it had a very interesting jam segment that left me pretty speachless. I dug this stash but it was definately no (11-13-97) <--super dank for stash lovers! But this was nice nonetheless and was gettin this show movin' to a sweet pace!!! REBA!!!!!!!!!!->Fast Enough For You- This REBA is sick!!!!! Very well played with no vocal or playing flubs! Then a super clean intro into the JAM!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! It started off with very intricate playing by page and then Fish and Mike. Trey joined in later and took the song from it's delicate form to a super clean blended form I'm sure we'll see more of it this song is played again! But after the little blended segment he started his usual kind of reba intro, but it's a nice one and really gets pretty melodic and flowy! It jams out very nicely, then ends with a delay loop that goes as the sun sets, then it segues into Fast Enough For You! This was a nice version of FEFY and had extra special meaning with the sun setting to the left of me! This Reba is pretty and should be heard by any all PHANS! Circus-Really nice location in the set and it was played very well! Great trey solo! Antelope- Pretty nice! A very good antelope with a great intro and excellent jam segment as well as a nice ending. Set1 Verdict: (8.5 of 10) Pretty good first set! Set2: Julius- Pretty good julius, It was very comparable to say 12-5-97 in jamminess! (<-is that a word?) Nicely Jammed out. Moma Dance-Sweet Phunk! This song is super cleaned up and soundin' good! I can hear this song every show I shit you not! I was happy I heard it four of five west coast shows! Piper- Pretty nice as well this has nice page in it. I am more partial to page soloing in this song than trey! So this was a good version in my opinion. Axilla 1- A great way to keep the vibe up and runnin'! The ending was longer than usual but it definately wasn't a 12-28-97 <-- get this show for the jam out of axilla~! Bowie- A great intro. Then it went into the usual bowie segment and went into a sweet jam!~|| This jam was sweet! This kept the vibe so unreal! Tube- Here comes the Phunk! This tube was similiar to the 4-2-97 one but better played too bad trey's mike went out! Any way the jam is phat and was sweet! Slave- Swet way to end a set! I love this as a set closer especially in the second set! This was a sweet slave and made the set solid! Encore: Sample-No big encore but it was nice and was simply sample! Set2 Verdict: (8 of 10) Show: Pretty sick show! Very well played and really good setlist! Once this is heard by the masses it will become an instant fav! I promise this show is worth hearing, every minute is nice and is well played and passionate!
Arriving: We arrived at the Gorge sometime early in the morning on the 16th, having driven straight up from Portland. $40 for camping... OUCH!! Anyways, I was sleeping when we arrived and I woke up at about 10. When I got up the lot was slowly filling, and the sun was slowly rising. It was hot when I got up, and that trend was to continue until the moment I left. In fact.. there were many moments where the heat was simply unbearable. I spent 90% of the daytime resting in the shade behind my friend's bus. Someone told me it got up to 104 degrees. I believe it, damn was it hot. Everyone was friendly and kind on the lot however, and about every 2 hours I worked up the strength to go for a 20 minute walk. There was limited vending going on, as the security guards were being MAJOR ASSHOLES. Last year everything was cool, but this year they were totally cracking down on vendors and pot smokers. Grrr..they were really a bunch of jerks for the first couple days. Anyways, the daytimes were hot and lazy, we decided to go line up for the show at about 5:30. It's about a kilometer from the lots to the stage, a long, hot, crowded traipse. Oh well, it wasn't so bad. About 45 minutes later were sitting on the cool soft grass at the back in the middle, we just chilled out and waited for the show. The Gorge is definitely the most amazing venue I've been to... please check out other people's pictures. What a special place. We ended up sitting next to the kindest guy, he must have passed us 10 bowls during the show, and he also gave us all a handful of shrooms. Thanks, whoever you were!! I was still a bit fatigued waiting for the show as the sun was beating on me pretty hard. Nevertheless, I managed to stay alive til they came out! The crowd exploded as the guys came out. Looking sharp as always, everyone freaked as Page played that familiar Coil first chord. The Coil was pretty cool from what I remember... a great way to start off the weekend. Coil has some pretty cool lyrics. NICU is always fun... and had everyone on their feet. Nice little jam at the end... all in all a pretty kickass tune. Everyone loves a little NICU. After NICU ended I found myself watching a security guard harass a sister. He took her pipe and her bag of buds. What a lamer. After my attention roamed away from that scene, I realize Phish was was playing Stash. Appropriate or what? I remember Stash having some interesting but not head-spinning jamming Woohoo my first live Reba! And I was not disappointed. The composed sections were perfect and the jam was excellent. I love Phish. I remember that the jam was really hinting and future intenseness. A good sunset tune. FEFY.. I have loved this song for 2 years, and I honestly never thought I'd see it live. I was so happy to hear this, I was just blissed out. Simply wonderful.. a beautiful version. Circus.. pretty standard as far as I remember. I'm not much for sentimental songs about girls. My favorite song about a girl was played earlier in the set, it was Reba ;) My first live Antelope in 7 shows! YAY! I remember last summer I was begging for this, and they made me wait a year! Oh well.. this Antelope KICKED ASS. I remember my head was about to bust by the end.. a totally kickass Antelope. GET IT! Setbreak was nice... we sat smoking all of brother next-doors buds. By this time I was extremely fucked up, hence the spotty memory of the set. General rule of life: Any Phish set starting with Julius is going to kick as. A great, high energy Julius with nifty jamming. Mike was all over the place. Moma... Moma is always hot. I love the bass sound. mmmmmmoma Piper rules too. This is simply a great song.. probably my favorite new Phish tune. I love the lyrics and the singing is so high and spiritual sounding. Great version Ok.. how about this... I've seen 8 Phish shows since 11/23/96. I've seen Axilla 1 twice, and never seen Axilla 2. Wierd. I remember the lights were crazy from here to the end of the show. Nice work Chris. The trippy part at the end of this Axilla was awesome. hahahahahaha This Bowie RIPPED SHIT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome space at the start and simply a killer Bowie. You gotta hear it.. wooo! Tube was cool too as always. Slave had me in tears again. Beautifully done. Sample was Sample. Nice and intense. Everyone was stoked for tomorrow. Overall a good show with mean security. Kevin A. Lynch kevinlynch@pinc.com

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