7/17/98 - The Gorge, George, WA

After a good but not amazing first night, I had extremely high expectations for this show. I did not leave disappointed. I: Makisupa -> YaMar, Gumbo, Divided, Waste, My Mind's, My Soul II: 2001 -> Mike's -> jam -> Weekapaug -> 0 E: PYITE -> Rocky Top Set I... Makisupa- nice opener, key word=dank, got everyone on their feet and grooving -> YaMar- another very phun song to keep the vibe going, excellent placement IMO, this pairing was the perfect way to get things started and accented the hot summer weather well Gumbo- yes!!! my first Gumbo, pretty good version Divided- even though they played it at the Gorge last year, I knew we were getting this one. there is no better song to describe this venue. ok, not one of the better ones I've heard, but I love Divided and was excited to hear it nonetheless. good placement Waste- well, I will probably get flamed for this, but I like this song, very mellow My Mind's- after a song like Waste I would have expected something more high energy; fairly standard, no flaws, but at this point I felt as if the momentum had sort of been killed My Soul- actually kind of jammed out, one of the better versions I've heard, but not enough to make this set stand out as truly excellent. Set II: 2001- was absolutely phenomenal! you had to have seen in to believe it, extremely long, unbelievable energy, the boys were really on fire here. Chris always does a great job with the lights, on this 2001 he went beyond his usual standard of excellence. I hesitate to call anything perfect, so let's just say that this was far and away the highlight of west-coast run for me -> Mike's- first Mike's of the tour, excellent, really nice jam, this was not the standard psychadelic jam at the end of most Mikes', this was insane! -> Weekapaug- would I be exaggerating if I said this was one of the best versions ever? nah -> Character Zero- rockin', no energy let-up here kids! Encores: PYITE- good but not spectacular, I always love Punch, no noticable flubs or anything like that -> Rocky Top- phun little tune to end a great show, for an encore, you can't really expect too much more after a Punch Overall notes: -this is the most amazing venue, I had a wonderful time, crowd was cool, no rude or obnoxious phans, hardly any of those drama infested teeny-boppers you find at Shoreline, Ventura, or the east coast shows, what a wonderful atmosphere. talk about majestic backdrops! -music was good, set II of 7/17 was exceptional, get this set!!!!
1:30 am, July 16th We opted to stay in Portland for the opportunity to see a good friends band play in some downtown lounge, where the drinks were as strong as my desire to get the f*&ck out of there and commence our journey. The hitch: Being sole commander of our mother ship (27' RV), sobriety was the singular option in guaranteeing a safe arrival at the Gorge. As if a six person pay load isn't sobering enough, not to mention the five-car caravan who followed suit, locked onto the motherships rear floods. Visions of a slinky glow stick doing a nosedive over the canyon walls proved to be a frightening form of entertainment. "Can't you drive faster than 50 mpr?" (Clearly the answer to that one, Mr. Sagarin, is a resounding no.) In paying homage to our bigger is better values system, yours truly garnered a continual flow of accolades, and positive reinforcement. The truth is all "scout ship" captains earned the "hard core, bad ass, mo fo," standing in my book - Cheers to all the drivers. 4:10 am, July 16th Holy sh*t!! Is that the sun rising? Life begins to stir in the rear of our RV. At this point of our journey I give full credit to the almighty sun for escorting our deliriously fatigued posse, unscathed to our final destination. Notes to all friendly convoys . . . when travelling in large, overly tired groups stop every 50 minuets for friendly banter, good conversation, and a couple of cokes. There is no better stimulant!! 10:00 am, July 16th The transient gods were smiling on us, not only did our sorry convoy arrive safely, but we colonized one of the most convenient, private, beautiful spots on the whole lot! For those in the know, we were the RV that had a perfect view of the Basketball counts. A blistering 110-degree heat, dehydration, and sleep depravation do not encourage a good pick up game. I kept thinking of Mark Walberg in Jim Carol's Basketball diaries, (you know the scene where they take the downers ("The blue ones, or the red ones?") right before the big game) standing at the foul line, pushing the ball four feet with that look on his face, "na cowch, I didn't taaake anything." 11:00 am, July 17th Thanks to a kind trader I met via Mr. Gadiel's fall mini tour review page, I had the low down on an "exceptionally beautiful" state park on the Columbia River. Full facilities, three acres of wooded lawn, concessions, and of course a sprawling black beach, served as our oasis from the unrelenting Washington heat. This little piece of heaven revived all our vital signs. To all that are unaware of this majestic spot, it's on the opposite side of the Columbia River from the Gorge . . . thank you Washington State Park and recreational services. 5:30 PM, July 17th My loving trusted confidant Merrie and I collected our provisions for the show and decided to make our way into the amphitheater. Thankfully the group mentality was in full force, Mr. Wiesenstock sacrificed some perspiration to head in about 20 minuets before us in order to secure the all important "zone" spot, for our group of 40 friends (I kid you not, 40). Hats off to Jason for making the move early so the rest of us didn't have too. Prime positioning in the Gorge is a must for anybody who is accustomed to the shove ahead mentality of the East Coast. 7:50 PM, July 17 Our spirits (and expectations) were running quite high (thank you Mr. Owsley ;-) at this point. Greatly anticipating what would no doubt be an earth shattering musical journey through the nether world of Phish. Makisupa Opener - The subtle "shwanks" of Makisupa descended upon us as a wave of delirious smiles over took over our group of Phreakers. This opener served as a formal introduction into that special place only the boys can take us. As the song grew into its final stages a healthy curiosity began to surface. Contrast is one of my favorite qualities of Phish, and I knew they would have to supply us with a fun loving tune. Ya Mar - Ya Mar did not disappoint! This old fav comprising of Calypso and Ska brought me all the closer to "that place." Once again the foundation had been reinvented to resemble something along the lines of a medi evil sling shot, prepped and ready to throw this phreaker far beyond the canyon rim where the sun would soon follow suit. Gumbo - Ever since the 8/8/97, 8/13/97 Gumbo's, my expectations for this song have reached an almost unobtainable level. But achieving and exceeding expectations is how Phish adds to the size of their pension fund. "Just feel those endorphins go!" From the first note of the Jam I knew the "Disco Porno Funk" had been introduced (more on this later.) The shwanked out groove was in full force and so were my hips. This Gumbo jam had a feeling entirely its own . . . different than the other (stating this is redundant, I know. I just can't help myself.) Gumbo's of shows past. It seemed to sink down deep, deep into the world of naughty raunchy funk! Bravo boys, so good to be back on planet 17 again! Divided Sky - How did this song elude my radar? A terribly obvious prediction that had escaped any and all pre-show conversation. My absentmindedness paid off though, for my lack of foreshadowing made the unexpected all the more sweet. Timing is another commodity the boys seem to have the inside scoop on. Divine intervention, maybe, probably not though. A higher consciousness is more likely the culprit for their remarkable timing in greeting the twilight with the revolving groove of divided. A healthy cheer accompanied the sun on its journey west, "wow, they timed the jam perfectly with sun set . . . cool!" Many, many smiles erupted as they took that decisive trip around the track for a fourth time. IMO, the success of any divided sky is determined by how many revolutions the cyclical groove box takes, will it be three or four . . . four!! I'm loving' it too Stevie E! Waste - Perhaps I'm revealing my age here but this song continues to grow on me every time I hear it. The lyrics are clearly applicable to anyone who spends moy time and hard earned $$ to see our heroes. The climatic ending turns me into a ball of smiling jellow. My Mind - Certainly does! This song always reminds me that not only does my mind have a mind of its own, but that my mind is rooted to my body which is firmly planted on earth. Surveying the surrounding environment I smiled. A feel good song, performed in a feel f*&cking great amphitheater. My Soul - I have to be honest here . . . the first couple of times I heard this song I chalked it up as bathroom material, or in the case of the Gorge, "My my my my my my my my my my my ice cream, it's my ice cream." But in fairness, the further the boys delve into this new and improved funk/groove realm, the more value this song gains in my book. After all, it is their soul that is at the bottom of it all. Set break - More group hugs . . . not that this set was monumental or anything. We just had to revel in the thought that it would be at least another year before we could all savor the thought that a 2nd set was peaking around the corner!! A 2nd set at the GORGE none the less. Pre 2nd set thought - I'm not going to claim to be a Phish guru or anything, but as my good friend Steve relayed to me a couple of days prier to the show, "If you predict a home run every time someone comes to bat, you're bound to get a few right." Needless to say I predicted, and was given a grand slam. 2001 - A 4:00 min intro had me teetering between DWD and 2001, "If it's 2001 I'm going to freak!" It was, and I did . . . hard." This song delivered in a major way!! Trey was dropping the teardrop, liquid licks from heaven, which always send waves of ecstasy through me. I hadn't heard a version this deep since 12/12/97, and one this long since the Went. The atomic groove (thanks Mike!) found a happy home, as bursts of endorphins tangled in my brain. I never wear a watch inside of a show, besides standard time doesn't apply on planet 25, (Note to Franklin: Overkill with the numerical planets, I know, I just can't help myself.) but this 2001 kept going, and going, and going. Freak show!! Mikes Song - Prepare for take off, our final destination will be planet 30. I'm not sure when the last time I heard a 2001>Mikes song, perhaps 12/30/93, either way both the band and I had experienced some remarkable changes since these two monstrosities tangoed. OLD SCHOOL, OLD SCHOOL, OLD SCHOOL!! In keeping true to the rare marriage of these songs, the boys slaughtered us with, yup, the OLD SCHOOL mikes groove. You know what I mean, the style where Trey maintains a metronome like groove which the band spirals around and around until you forget what song, what state, and planet you're on. That distinct Mike song change, the pivotal moment which traditionally marked the middle of the jam, but had somehow been abandoned these past couple of years, resurfaced to many a phans delight! As the song began to fade into obscurity, my pouch of predictions ran empty, and certainly couldn't account for what was about to happen. Weekapaug!! - Are you f@#king kidding me! At this point I urged Dan S. to locate my fork . . . I was so done it hurt. The beginning of this jam delivered like they all do, by not going into my alternative mode of description my intention is not to undermine the significance of this portion of Groove, because what followed may have to go down in my head as being one of the singular greatest moments of my life . . . at least until the next time ;-) As the jam began to wind down to what I, and I'm sure the majority of phans thought would be the conclusion of a masterful run of songs . . . BAM, SMACK . . . the phab four threw it into overdrive. What can only be characterized as the DISCO PORNO FUNK, threw everybody, including the band into a shameless, primal phrenzy!! Words have yet to be coined (other than DISCO PORNO FUNK) to describe the shear level of euphoric mayhem that was achieved. My only suggestion is to GET THE TAPES. SPEED ATOMIC FUNK OVERLOAD. The set could have ended right hear and I'm certain there would have been no complaints. Character 0 - An impressive version considering what just look place 10 minuets earlier. Some deep cold water grooves were discovered. I raised my hand, partially to pay homage to one of the best sets of my Phish career, (chalk this one up for the home team) but to add a drop of recognition in a virtual sea of screams and applauds. I wasn't the only one jumping up and down. Encore, Punch You - The "shwanked" out intro was a slight return to the devastating level of Phunk that was discovered (I say discovered because I had never before heard that sound projected from their stacks during a Weekapaug, or any other song for that matter) just a half hour earlier. Tight and beautifully played, a baffled grin exposed my thanks and appreciation. To share such a profound experience with 40 beloved friends and family, in such a remarkable setting, overwhelmed me with an revived appreciation for this special band, and perhaps more importantly, my relationships with friends and loved ones. For those of you who can't appreciate such a deep founded, probably sappy review, it's OK . . . there's still hope. I only wish everybody could experience the level of happiness that was shared on this fine evening, we would all be better for it. Oh ya - I forgot to mention that they encored the encore with Rocky Top . . . good ole rocky top . . . Matthew Rossi
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
Makisupa- Nice way to open the show! Pretty good version,nice page on some wierd synth type stuff with the usual trey and fish but mike was unleashing bombs! Right on Mike! Ya Mar-Pretty good way to keep the summer vibe going! Very nice Trey, he did that little solo he did in nassau 4-5-98, but not quite as long. This was a good Ya Mar. Gumbo-Definately Phunky as hell ala 8-13-97 style for all the gumbo lovers! Longer and Phatter than ever! Bless fishman for writing this tune! Divided-O.K. My first divided and I was absolutley stoked to say the least! Trey didn't bobble this one as was reported, he merely took his time and made his tone fatter for certain parts! THIS BEING MY FIRST I PAYED SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THIS! He was on and any one who didn't think so should wait for their tapes! Divided was nice! Waste-Waste MMGAMOIO- The usual bluegrass fun! My soul- A very fine rollicking trey guitar virtuoso solo! Set1 Verdict: (7 of 10) Set2: 2001-Absolutely the best I believe I've ever heard! So unreal, so exploratory, so well played! Almost 30 Minutes! Not one second was not fully jammed out! Get this tape for this if anything! Mike's->Jam->Weekapaug-Mike's was very wierd, it started out as normal and then it started to sound like some '93,'94 Mike's. Trey kept banging these heavy metal type chords then all of a sudden, the band went quieter then they went into this surreal jam! It went for a while and was very melodic and had nice playing from all the members. Then it segued into a strange jam that I can't remember too well so I will not explicate on it any further. When the jam segued into Weekapaug MIke simply took over and let a nasty solo go a little longer than normal and got the crowd into a frenzy! This Weekapaug raged! Character Zilch-Well played rock n' roll by PHiSH! Encore: PYITE-decent not exactly sparkling, but after a show like that I'll give the boyz some room! Rockytop-Rockytop Set2 Verdict: (8 of 10) This show is so sick and when I think about it both nights of the gorge were spectacular! These are going to be favs as soon as they get circulated! I plan on helping them become circulated.
I just wanted to put a quick word in for the people who are bashing the length of the second set at the second night of the Gorge. For those of you who were there, you know how amazing everything was...when i say amazing i am refering to the scenery, the atmosphere, the light show, and especially, the incredible music the Phish jammed straight through till the lights came up. Granted the setlist looks a little light, but if you were at the Gorge and experienced the second set, then you know wha i am talking about, this for sure the best set that i have ever seen, and everyone should be grateful to the guys for coming up with an incredible musical experience in the greatest venue in the country. Frank P.S. As for you people from the East coast who swear that Phish shows out in the west simpy do not compare to those ont he east coast, get the tape of this show, you will be blown out of the water!!!
I am quite amazed that anyone can whine about either of the Gorge shows. Some of you people need to be a little more grateful. You just cant beat the Gorge as place to see the boys, and the shows where hands down some of the best I've seen since first seeing Phish in '88. They definately dig the place and rose to the occasion. There is such a kind and mellow vibe about the place, and the view is unbeatable. The second night second set was just perfect- I have never seen Trey so into it, strutting around like a man possesed. The 2001 could not have been a better choice- amazing lights!!! Who cares how long they set was, it makes no difference- they boys did not stop playing from the minute they started 2001 till the last of the Rocky Top- one solid kicking jam!! Get the tape and stop whining. I'm sure the vast majority of people there had the time of thier lives. Tom Portland, OR
Hey folks, I was actually *at* the Gorge, and wanted to respond to some of those non-attendees who were complaining about the short sets. Listen, set II of the second night was simply amazing. I've been seeing Phish since '94, on both coasts, and this was one of the most memorable sets I've seen. Short, strictly in minutes, yes; short, in terms of how much they packed into an hour, no way. The thing that those of you who weren't there don't understand is the energy level of 2001, Mike's Groove, and Character Zero--it was so incredibly high, that it would've been simply impossible to do any more with this set. The boys were *tired* by the time they got through with this one, people. I have never, in over four solid years, seen Trey go so f*cking crazy on stage. I *have* seen high-energy shows (12/31/95 still ranks at the top), but this one was definitely up there. To have had a Bouncin' or Billy Breathes follow Character Zero would've just sucked. It was in the boys' best judgment to let go of this one while they were still ahead. The crowd was going *insane* the entire set--why not just stop while we're all (band and crowd) on the highest high possible? It makes perfect sense. Plus, the light show was hands-down the best I have ever seen, and boy, did that add a whole extra dimension to the music. Not to mention the Gorge itself--a beautiful venue and the perfect place to experience Phish. Moral of the story, don't knock a show because of its length. I know from experience how satisfying a short show can be (take my first one for example, 4/13/94--excellent, and by no means extraordinarily lengthty), and how unfulfilling a long one can be (12/31/97 takes the cake in this department--the worst Phish show I've seen, and certainly *not* a short one). So you see, folks, you mustn't judge a book by its cover. Didn't we all learn that years ago? As for the rest of the Gorge: set I of the second night was fun but standard. Trey *struggled* through D. Sky. Trust me, I was as excited as anyone to hear this tune and very glad that I did (the last one for me was at the Ball), but boy, did Trey have a *hard* time with it. In fact, I've personally never seen Trey struggle more. He was just off, at least throughout the composed sections. Overall, the set was nothing to write home about. Day one had many highlights, but overall was a bit too mellow for my tastes. However, the highlights are definitely noteworthy. I read another post praising the meticulous way the boys are playing each and every note these days, and this is a very accurate way to explain why certain songs the first night were just so damn good. Stash was tight, though not stand-out. Reba and Antelope, however, were terriffic. Mellow, so I can't use the word "hot," but very "on." Best way to describe them: very jazzy, very intricate, very musical. But for those fans who like to go f*cking nuts at shows, these weren't the answers to their prayers. Personally, I think these tunes will be more impressive on tape, when you can really *listen* to the complexities of these jams and not just motion through them, itching for an energy outlet. This was *serious* music--dare I say, maybe a little too much so for some Phish fans to handle??? Then there was the second set. IMO, quite weak until Bowie. Too mellow, too standard. But Bowie was *hot*. A superb version. Freaky, spacey, way-out intro, and very clean, in fact, nearly seamless, transitions throughout the tune. Excellent jam. High-energy, great noodling, terrific drum work by Fish. And Mike is just unstoppable these days (see 'Paug from night two--boy, did he make this one the great one that it was). Then a very nice Tube and a beautiful Slave--extremely melodic jam. This three-song run was a knockout--a lot of fun and terrific music-making by the boys. Of course, the encore could've been stronger, but I was so happy with the way the set ended, that I wasn't complaining. Anyhow, if you only get one tape of this run, make it night two set two. Next best would be night one set I, followed by night one set II. That's my opinion, anyhow. Thanks for reading. See ya in Ventura. -Sue sudigsit@ucla.edu
just finished up the 4 show run from the gorge to ventura last nite (and i'm already debating whether to skip out of work today and hit phoenix...). anyways, while the 2nd nite of the gorge was not the strongest of shows musically, the lights during 2001 were absolutely the best ever! chris had it going off during the 2nd set opener. incredible work with the lights chris. thank you! don't know if it was the extreme heat at the gorge or what, but the shows were definitely of a mellow tone... i thought if it was going to go off anywhere on the left coast it would've been at the gorge... after spending 6 years of being a phish east coaster, these were my first west coast summer shows and i was a tad disappointed. but then again, it is not fair to compare to the summers of '94, '93 or last year's craziness. i'll shut up though, because these guys still create an emotional energy that will always blow my mind.........
Let me just start by saying that the Gorge is the most incredible place I have ever seen a show. For those of you who haven't been there, the sceneary is unbelievable. I. Makisupa > Ya mar, Gumbo, Divided Sky, Waste, MMGAMOIO, My soul Makisupa was a great opener. It was a standard version but really got me moving in the 100 degree heat. Makisupa flowed nicely into Ya Mar, again standard but well played. Gumbo was excellent with the now normal extended funk jam at the end. This song has come an extremely long way in the last couple of years. Divided sky! ahhhh. My 1st since the Clifford Ball. I don't know if i could possibly describe this experience. They began playing it when the sun was a little ways above the mountains. Right in the middle, during the pause, the sun was half-way blocked by the mountain, and 1/2 way shining. A true divided sky. a couple of minutes after they resumed playing the sun disappeared and we were treated with some glorious shade and a temperature drop of about 15 degrees. As for the version itself, i don't know if I've heard a better one. It was perfect, with some unbelievable Trey soloing towards the end. I have almost become bitter that they have pretty much dropped this song from the rotation, but seeing it under these circumstances made the 2 year wait more than worth while. Waste. Say what you want about the slow billy breathes songs, but this was perfect placement. Good time to relax and drink some water. MMGAMOIO was nice, great lyrics. The My Soul closer was rocking, with excellent jamming by Trey. II. 2001 > Mike's > W. Groove > C. Zero E. Punch, Rocky Top All I can say about the 2001 is get it. 24 minutes long with an incredible light show. Clearly the best version they have ever played. At the end, Trey strummed the guitar and raised his arm in the air a couple of times, and then Mike's began. 2001 > Mikes. Nothing is better than this combo. The Mike's was awesome. It came to a climax and then slowed down and was followed by some serious Hydrogen teases. At one point, i thought they even began playing it. But instead it went right into W. Groove. A great version with some incredibly intense soloing by Trey at the end. C. Zero was extremely intense, and for the 1st time in awhile I really enjoyed it. The encore was a little strange. Punch was standard, but not too exciting and weird as an encore. This show was truly excellent. It was the 1st show I've seen in awhile that was completely dominated by Trey. Their new philosophy over the last year and a half has been to jam as a group, with nobody really taking over a show. This night was different, as Trey once again took it to another level. -Justin
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