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Permalink Posted by waxbanks on , attached to 2011-08-05
waxbanksThis was a jaw-dropping show in the literal sense: after Super Ball IX fans were wondering whether the lads would keep digging into the weird-noise vibe of their 'Storage Shed Jam,' and that question was answered roughly two hours into the August tour, in the skull-rattling affirmative.

The R'n'R is the jam of the summer, far as I'm concerned. I was at Great Woods in June to witness THAT stunning version in person, so it's got a special place in my heart - but while the Great Woods version has that scintillating, spare major-key jam (about 11 minutes in) and roaring climax, Phish have *never* played music quite like the closing sixty seconds of this Gorge performance. It really does sound exactly like something off 'Endtroducing...' but it's purely improvised in the moment...as is the silky smooth, boundlessly patient segue into Meatstick. The second half of this R'n'R is simply incandescent improvisation, with Page's Cape Canaveral theremin and Mike's eerie chanting connecting the performance to the Tower Jam from IT, but with a stronger and more complexly integrated rhythmic foundation.

Beyond the marquee Set II jam sequence there's also a canonical version of Roggae to be had here, which simmers down into an ambient fog where (say) the equally powerful 12/27/10 Worcester version climbs to a roiling dissonant peak. Pay attention to Mike while listening to both versions - he touches on some of the same effects-laden material but in totally different emotional contexts, and the difference is instructive. And as at that Worcester show, we've got a stirring Farmhouse that combines the explicit triplet feel of Roggae and its own lilting swing.

I've actually held onto more of the 8/6 show for regular listening, but this is the first and highest peak of August '11. Its abyssal mirror comes ten days later at UIC: the underground Waves and dark Light and gathering Steam of 8/15.
Score: 8

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