Phish The Gorge Setlist And The Skinny | Night One
This evening, Phish kicked off a two-night stand at the scenic Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA. The shows mark the band’s return to The Gorge after two summers off. Phish first played the venue on August 2, 1997 and tonight was their 13th performance at The Gorge. The band wished a Happy Birthday to a very special member of their crew, offered tour debuts of five songs and urged fans to greet a local sports hero with a chant from one of their songs during the outrageous first set. After a closing stanza filled to the brim with enthralling improv, the Gorge Opener arguably jumped to the front of the “best show of tour” debate.
A tight and hard-driving “AC/DC Bag” was the Vermonters’ first offering of the night. Guitarist Trey Anastasio lit right into a short-and-sweet “Timber (Jerry),” a tour debut, just as “Bag” came to a conclusion. The quartet then slowly built “Wolfman’s Brother” to a rolling boil. You could tell the band was refreshed after a mid-tour three-night break as they worked their way through “Funky Bitch” with smiles all around. Phish took an opportunity to wish lighting director Chris Kuroda a happy birthday with an instrumental performance of “Happy Birthday To You.” The traditional song was last performed on March 8, 2009 -a span of 186 shows. Earlier this year at a TAB show, Anastasio lobbied for Seahawk fans to chant “Wilson” in honor of quarterback Russell Wilson at future Seahawk home games. Trey changed into a Seahawks t-shirt bearing Wilson’s name and number (as well as the words “duh-duh, duh-duh”) before launching into “Wilson.” During the break in “Wilson,” Anastasio took a moment to urge the crowd to chant “Wilson” at Seahawk gams and informed them that members of the team were invited to the show but had to pass as they just started training camp.
From there, “Possum” joined the “6 Club” as one of only three songs to be performed six times so far this tour and “Tube” showed signs of life with a fun Page-led jam. Another huge bust out came in the form of ballad “Secret Smile,” which was dusted off after 156 shows, as the last version took place during the acoustic set at Festival 8 in 2009. The eventful set continued with the tour’s first “McGrupp.” While the band struggled with some of the composed sections, Page McConnell’s solo was, excuse my pun, gorgeous. The keyboardist remained in the spotlight for the tour’s first cover of “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Split Open And Melt” has really thrived in 2013 and tonight’s set-closing take was no exception. Anastasio built tension you could cut with a butter knife in the jam as his band mates pushed the intensity and tempo higher and higher. The “Melt” jam wasn’t quite as exploratory as the tour’s first two versions, but it certainly had its moments.
Phish came out of the gates for Set Two with a cover of “Crosseyed And Painless” by Talking Heads. After a few minutes of straight-forward, guitar-powered improv, the band broke through the song’s normal boundaries and landed upon a driving, hectic jam space. Once the music hit a lull, Anastasio played a beautiful chord sequence that pushed the jam forward towards a delightful ambient segment. Eventually drummer Jon Fishman kicked into a steady beat and Trey used the opportunity to start up the third “Twist” in four shows. Instead of the usual “Oye Como Va” teasing, the guitarist worked a bit of “Tequila” into the fray. Page got in on the act with a dash of “Oye Como Va” teasing and a quote of Classics IV’s “Spooky.” More dissonance gave way to the year’s second “Steam.” The teasing fun continued into Trey’s “Steam” second solo as he immediately tore into the main theme of “Crosseyed and Painless” before the jam dissolved into “Waves.” “Twenty Years Later” emerged out of “Waves” spaciness, the set’s first true segue, and provided a breather after 45 minutes of intense, heartily-explored jam vehicles. “The Mango Song” picked the energy back up and featured outstanding interplay between Anastasio and McConnell. After the shred-heavy “Bug” it was time for the birthday boy’s favorite song to light -“David Bowie,” complete with “Bug” teases from Trey. To bring the set around full circle, Anastasio teased “Crosseyed And Painless” both vocally and instrumentally. “Bowie” is another tune that has shined this year and once again Phish delivered an above-average version containing plenty of guitar theatrics. A spot-on cover of “Rocky Top” and arena-rocker anthem “Character Zero” finished off the set. Just before beginning his “Zero” solo, Trey asked Kuroda to turn off the lights so they could play to the moon. At that point the members of the band began hollowing at the moon throughout the rest of the song. The marathon show came to a close with an impressive “Harry Hood” and “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix) encore.
Phish returns to The Gorge tomorrow and those at home can follow along via a Live Phish Pay-Per-View broadcast.
Here’s The Skinny from Phish’s first of two shows at The Gorge…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 20,000 / 16,000 (estimate) / Outdoor Amphitheatre
- Previous Shows at Venue: 12 Shows – 08/02/1997, 08/03/1997, 07/16/1998, 07/17/1998, 09/10/1999, 09/11/1999, 07/12/2003, 07/13/2003, 08/07/2009, 08/08/2009, 08/05/2011, 08/06/2011
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 12 / 8:12 p.m. -9:36 p.m. (84 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 12 / 10:07 p.m. -11:57 p.m. (110 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 24 / 7 / 17
- Biggest Bustout: Happy Birthday To You -186 Shows (LTP – 3/08/09)
- Tour Debuts: Happy Birthday To You, Timber (Jerry), Secret Smile, McGrupp, The Ballad Of Curtis Loew, Fire
- Average Song Vintage: 1992
- Debuts: Forthcoming
- Weather: 88°F and Sunny
- Average Song Gap: 23.42
- The Spread: Junta -1, Lawn Boy -1, Picture Of Nectar -1, Hoist -1, Billy Breathes -1, Farmhouse -2, Round Room -1, Undermind -1, Joy -1, Misc. – 7, Covers – 7
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Crosseyed And Painless 18:01 / Rocky Top 2:28
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos…