Phish Delivers 4-Song Set At The Gorge On This Date In 1998
On July 17, 1998, Phish wrapped up a two-night run at the picturesque Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washingon. Today not only marks the 22nd anniversary of that concert but also would have been the beginning of the Vermont quartet’s 2020 run at the famed venue. JamBase takes a look at the show, which included a four-song second set, for this edition of Full Show Friday.
Phish got the show underway with pair of islandy numbers in “Makisupa Policeman” and “Ya Mar.” The latter contained a call back to the former from guitarist Trey Anastasio as well as a nod to Yes with a “Close To The Edge” tease in a groovy, noodly section by Trey that delightfully evaporated away in the dry, Eastern Washington air. A slowed-down “Gumbo” — which contained a “Manteca” tease during a funked-out closing section — followed ahead of “Divided Sky,” whose expansive aesthetic always goes well with the wide-open sunset vistas of The Gorge. “Waste” then led into the bluegrass cover “My Mind’s Got A Mind Of Its Own” ahead of the first set closer, “My Soul.”
After a feel-good, laid back first set, things got interesting in the second frame, which kicked off with some spooky noise-making ahead of the longest “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (aka “2001”) ever, as per Phish.net. The historic version dropped into its usual beat with Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell carrying on the somewhat scary noodling that heralded the beginning of the monster. Page then hit the song’s Rhodes riff and it seemed as if the band would get into the iconic melody…but they just keep jamming. According to Phish.net, the first jam alone is longer than some entire versions of the song.
The space funk of “2001” gave way to the angsty rock of “Mike’s Song,” although Trey kept things funky by washing the intro with “wahed” out guitar. Bassist Mike Gordon then led the band through the tune’s normal cycle and into the heavy closing sequence. Bristling with growling guitar and boiling organ, which the band expertly builds up in dynamic tiers (with some stoping on a dime), the jam then finds its way into an extended blissed-out section. Drummer Jon Fishman then dropped into the beat for “Weekapaug Groove” and things shifted back into high gear funk with some nice slap bass from Mike (as always) and some tasty clav sections from Page. Trey then took over and added some more tasty stuff of his own including an actual “Taste” tease before taking the tight, well-crafted jam back into the “Weekapuag” rift, which just seemed to get faster and faster and funkier and funkier. Left unfinished, “Weekapaug” headed into a raucous “Character Zero” to cap off the fully segued, four-song second set. Phish would then deliver an encore of “Punch You In The Eye” into “Rocky Top” to bring the historic evening to a close.
Watch the full show below via The Pharchive with thanks to the taper:
Setlist via Phish.net
Set One: Makisupa Policeman > Ya Mar, Gumbo, Divided Sky, Waste > My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, My Soul
Set Two: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Mike’s Song > Weekapaug Groove > Character Zero
Encore: Punch You in the Eye > Rocky Top
Trey teased Close to the Edge and Makisupa Policeman in Ya Mar. Gumbo included a Manteca tease. This unfinished Weekapaug included syncopated jamming and a tease of the theme that signals the closing of the jam segment of Taste by Trey.