“Look, man I've got certain information alright? Certain things have come to light, and uh, ya know, has it ever occurred to you, that uh, instead of uh, you know running around, uh uh, blaming me, given the nature of all this new shit, you know it, it it, this could be a uh, a lot more uh, uh, uh, uh, complex, I mean it's not just, it might not be, just such a simple, uh--you know?”
I had been asking for Phish to play in Bend for five years. Finally it has happened… to great effect. During the weeks that preceded the two Phish shows at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, several things were prevalent in the news. The region was embroiled in a sweltering and seemingly interminable heat wave. Due to a well-written but inarguably stale (to a geologist) piece in The New Yorker, the impending destruction of the Pacific Northwest by a massive megathrust earthquake and the accompanying tsunami it will spawn finally became a point of concern for everybody. Recreational cannabis is now legal. The New Horizons probe was beaming back our first high resolution views of the ice mountains and hydrocarbon lakes on Pluto. El Chapo is once again on the loose and threatening current Republican Presidential candidate front-runner El Donald with assassination. A robot passed a self-awareness test shortly after another had killed a man. Trey was playing guitar with the Grateful Dead. In other words… new shit was coming to light… and things were getting deliciously weird.
Photos by @tweeprise
Expect the unexpected is my early take on this summer tour. Only one show down and already three new songs had been played. Night two had to settle into a more familiar place, right? A patient, thoughtfully communicative “Stash” to open the show suggested that might be the case. The Phish debut of the Mike Gordon/Scott Murawski penned “How Many People Are You?” which followed destroyed that notion immediately. Imagine “Alabama Getaway” being played by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. What a tight fucking groooooooove. Hair follicles still tingling. I am hearing the Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House all over this one. Fishman is a beast. The question of the previous night was back... “What is going ON? Is this another new song?”
A pretty pleasing “Winterqueen” provided a cerebral massage that allowed me to ponder what else may be coming this evening. Trey and Page extol the virtues of The Teaches of Peaches and we get right back into fucking the pain away for real. A burning question for a decade or so has been, what the hell happened to the second jam in “Mike’s Song” anyway? The Phish debut of Page McConnell’s “Heavy Rotation” finally provided the answer. At this point, this show was starting to feel a lot like the 2/26/03 Worcester Centrum gig that featured a side project debut from every band member. Unexpectedly awesome.
Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2015
Whatever Trey did to prepare for the Fare Thee Well gigs is really on display in “Back on the Train”... so many notes, great tone, a walk down the “Streets of Cairo” thrown in for good measure. Loving every moment of this. Did I mention Fishman is just crushing the beats? The Phish debut of Trey’s “Scabbard” artfully weaves threads of “Reba” with strains of “Fluffhead” and “Harry Hood” jams before decaying into a gorgeous outro that actually caused tears of joy to well up from somewhere deep within.
The manic haze of the “Maze” which followed caused that brief moment of sensitivity to run screaming, hair ablaze with a few strong “How Many People Are You?” teases along the way. Hot stuff. Exceedingly tight. But wait… there’s more. The fourth new Phish song, “Mercury” is a lyrical exploration of Mercury the planet, the messenger god, the element, and the pigment adorning the tomb of a Mayan queen beneath a limestone block pyramid at Palenque. A Marimba Lumina bridge transports us into an unbreakable safety net with a “Tweezer” cum “Help On the Way” outro jam and you have another winner. Awesome “Possum.”
Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2015
The second set was a thematic construct based off the Cascadia Subduction Zone fears that had permeated the regional consciousness earlier in the month. A soaring “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” coupled with an invigorating splash through shimmering “Waves” was feeding me images of earthquakes and tsunami and the future cataclysm awaiting the Pacific Northwest. Rather than dwell on the potential horror of such an occurrence, I was carried aloft by the music and realized I was standing in a place that would be completely safe from that future moment of doom. The “Waves” outro jam veers into ambient space with some deep texture and augurs the next flight via “Wingsuit.” Another passionate rendition. Perfect placement. Killer skies. Get after it Trey! Third quarter very mellow and cerebral. Deep thoughts achieved.
Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2015
The back to back combo of “Farmhouse” and “Simple” made my wife very happy. But who can blame her? A soulful and sweet embrace followed by some deep dark dirty grime. I stomped a hole in the ground during “First Tube” which despite a few clams was searing in its intensity. A “Bathtub Gin” encore? When was the last time that happened? Over nineteen years ago (7/12/96 Melkweg, 643 shows ago). The day I told my boss in Reading, Pennsylvania that I had decided to move to Oregon and set in motion the long incredible chain of events that had lead to the exact moment I was experiencing in real life. This was a true family affair. Thanks to all of you who participated both here and at home. Team Acaster shall remain perpetually mind blown by everything. Happy to be heading south. See you at Shoreline.
Phish Summer 2015 – Setlists & Recaps
07/21/15 Setlist – Recap – Bend 1
07/22/15 Setlist – Recap – Bend 2
07/24/15 Setlist – Recap, Recap2 – Shoreline
07/25/15 Setlist – Recap – LA Forum
07/28/15 Setlist – Recap – Austin
07/29/15 Setlist – Recap – Grand Prarie
07/31/15 Setlist – Recap – Atlanta 1
08/01/15 Setlist – Recap – Atlanta 2
08/02/15 Setlist – Recap – Tuscaloosa
08/04/15 Setlist – Recap – Nashville
08/05/15 Setlist – Recap – Kansas City
08/07/15 Setlist – Recap – Blossom
08/08/15 Setlist – Recap – Alpine 1
08/09/15 Setlist – Recap – Apline 2
08/11/15 Setlist – Recap – Mann 1
08/12/15 Setlist – Recap – Mann 2
08/14/15 Setlist – Recap – Raleigh
08/15/15 Setlist – Recap – Merriweather 1
08/16/15 Setlist – Recap – Merriweather 2
08/21/15 Setlist – Recap – Magnaball 1
08/22/15 Setlist – Recap – Magnaball 2
08/23/15 Setlist – Recap – Magnaball 3
09/04/15 Setlist – Recap – Dick's 1
09/05/15 Setlist – Recap – Dick's 2
09/06/15 Setlist – Recap – Dick's 3
Official Bend Poster • 18x24 Limited Edition of 700 • By Jackson Tupper
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