The show takes off immediately with Chalk Dust Torture. Trey drops some creative licks and drives the intensity as far as is needed in the opening spot. The crowd is stoked. The 1st Ha Ha Ha of tour, and 8th overall, keeps the energy pumping. The Fog That Surrounds, the 5th in 7 shows, is standard but crowd pleasing.
Trey says ‘Thank You!” and starts to play The Horse. Silent In The Morning follows as expected. Cars Trucks Buses, the most played song of tour so far (6 in 7 shows), is up next and bounces along nicely as the Chairman of Boards takes the spotlight. Strange Design completes a Page trifecta of sorts.
Divided Sky is most welcome as we are finally getting some beef. Trey’s pause is not long, just about a minute. Normally Fishman hits the cymbal two times soon after Trey plays the note. For the first time, and possibly the only time, Fishman initiates his own lengthy pause for roughly 30 secs. Fortunately we had 6th row seats and could see the band enjoying the humor in that moment. Trey takes this D-Sky jam a little deeper than in LA.
The band comes to the front of the stage to play Acoustic Army to the crowd’s delight. Trey thanks everyone and acknowledges Fishman on lead guitar ( not The 1st Julius of tour delivers its usual incendiary jam. Suzy Greenberg provides the one-two punch to close the set. Trey teases Julius in his first little jam segment. Trey immediately jumps on the drum kit and Page explores most, if not all, of his keyboards. At the end of Suzy, Trey reminds the audience about making a chess move after the break, and of course throws in how they are going to crush us in chess.
Also Sprach Zarathustra kick starts the second set in normal fashion. Runaway Jim has been enjoying some more time in the second set, although it wouldn’t happen again this tour until late December. The Jim jam is solid and Trey implores some sustain throughout that allows the band’s overall groove to be front and center.
The 1st Colonel Forbin’s Ascent of tour is quite a nice surprise. It would be the first of two this fall tour; the other would be in Hershey. The narration begins with Trey saying “this is less of the standard roller coaster ride that you might know about and more of a conceptual kind of thing. And what I want to talk about here is the concept of the matrix.” He goes on to state that “every matrix requires three things: a source of possibility, a source of energy, and a safe ground on which to stand where you can realize that possibility using that energy.” It’s one of my favorite Gamehendge stories and I highly recommend checking it out. Fly Famous Mockingbird is always a treat; I wish the band would untether it from Forbin and play it more. Everyone participates so beautifully in this song; Trey’s jam is spirited and Gordo works a nice little bass solo before the song winds down.
Scent Of A Mule comes rolling in and Gordo gets into the spotlight; his vocals are excellent. The Trey-Page duel is interesting as usual; Page wins! Fishman drops Cavern before the Mule ends. No cavern is complete without a little lyric stumble
David Bowie emerges out of the Cavern ending. Immediately Fish and Mike lock into a Cavern-esque groove before settling back into the hi-hat intro. The jam has a quick pace right out of the gate and meanders along until they break it down to single notes. Things pick back up and Page is very active. Trey is lurking in the background just waiting to go off. Things get a little intense prior to the ending.
Lifeboy, the 1st of tour (15 song gap), is such a tender song and always works well when played after a crushing jam. Amazing Grace closes the set and that song combo acts as the anti-one-two punch.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps, another 1st of the tour, rocks out and concludes a terrific night in Portland. We had just over a 300 mile drive to the next show in Vancouver, BC, which would be my first and only show to date north of the border.
Worthy of a listen: Divided Sky, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, David Bowie