, attached to 2013-07-26

Review by shargroov

shargroov This was my 9th Gorge show (with the next night being my 10th). I've seen every Gorge run but 97 and 2003, and this one, my friends, goes down in Gorge history. I'm still a little partial to 7/17/98 which featured in my opinion the mother of all 2001s, which all other 2001s only aspire to be, but fall well short, and the unforgettable Trey and Page funk duel at the end of Weekapaug. But this one was definitely goes down in Gorge history.

I had a feeling they'd come out with a lot of energy after escaping the all the storms and cancellations and postponments of the east and coming into the hot dry desert sun. And they did not dissapoint.They got the ball rolling well with AC/DC Bag. I won't do this for every song, but a quick little story about this Bag- leading up to the show, my friends and I were doing a group email exchange psyching each other up for the shows, and I gave everyone a link to the stats of the Gorge as a venue, using zzyx. And I pointed out that the on the list of 'most common songs never played' AC/DC Bag was the most surprising. I mean, I could swear I had heard it there before, but apparently not. Prior to this year, no Gorge Bags. So fast forward to the show, my friends and I do this friendly pool where everyone puts in a dollar and guesses the opener. But no repeats are allowed. Everyone has to have a different opener. Well, I got in late, so I was the third person who attempted to call Bag, but it was already taken. My friend who won was nice enough to give me my dollar back for being the one who provided the inside scoop on the stats, because well, it was MY idea. So we all had a good laugh and we did an extra enthused stat geek dance to this one. Yeah all right! First Gorge Bag! It was a very special stat geek moment.

Timber was a great second song, and the expected "Song of the Gorge" Wolfman's Brother (now played at 6 of 7 Gorge runs for those stat geeks following at home) really got the crowd moving. Then that Funky Bitch- was it just me, or did this just have a little extra oomph to it? You could just feel the band was energized and ready to take everything to the next level, even a song that's pretty standard such as Funky Bitch.

Wilson was fun and it was fun to see Trey show off his Russel Wilson jersey. I wish him luck getting enough Seahawk fans to do the Wilson chant. It seems a little akin to when Trey tried to break the Guiness Book Record with the Meatstick Dance at Oswego, a little far fetched and something Trey is more excited about than anyone else, but, who knows, maybe I'll just be surprised when I'm watching a Seahawk game on TV and hear the Wilson chant.

I've rambled too much as it is, so let for the rest of the first set highlights, see the short yet incredibly sweet (and funky as all hell) Tube, the well played and well placed McGrupp, the highly unexpected yet welcome Curtis Lowe (Page and blues are like peas and carrots to me), and the wandering but not lost version of Split Open and Melt, a great closer.

Now to the second set, I had been stillll waiting to see my first Crosseyed since Big Cypress. Over the years, I keep missing it by a show or two. They came right out of the gate firing on all cylinders. At one point, when they were still in the structured part of the song, a friend turns to me and says "They're killin' it!" and all I can do is nod and say "uh huh" because I don't want to take my attention away from the band. And that was before they took off on the jam on a ride into outerspace. Segued beautifully into the (for me) always welcomed Twist. Twist really got out into outer space, before coming back down to Earth for another personal first, Steam. I've heard it, seen it in webcasts, seen youtubes of it, but first live one for me, and it did not dissapoint. Another beautiful seague into an unexpected Waves.

The last time I saw Waves was at Great Woods on 8/11/04, during their "farewell tour", when the band and the crowd alike were a total mess. What a difference nine years makes. I couldn't help feeling connected to that Waves, and that tour, and how I never thought at that time I'd ever see a Gorge show again. This Waves was beautifully played, and segued into a perfectly placed Twenty Years Later.

It seems people either love it or hate it, and I'm in the "love it" camp with Twenty Years Later. Everything about it, the vocals, the harmonies, the lyrics, the potential for a ripping guitar solo and climatic ending, and this version was the best I've heard. And again, the placement was just perfect. Just perfect.

The Mango Song might not have been as well placed, but it was great energizer, not that we needed any more energy. Next was "Bug". Glad that other people seem to be finally catching on to this song. There was a time when it seemed I was the only one who loved this song, and "Bug" was a popular one to hate. That seems to have faded over the years.

It seemed that most of us assumed "Bowie" was the set closer. And I would have been perfectly content if it had been. But just when I expected them to bow and walk off the stage, they tear into Rocky Top, which I've only ever seen prior to this at the Gorge in the afforementioned 7/17/98 show. Conicidence? I think not.

Now the Character Zero- not a song I normally get excited about, but this one contained a new all time favorite Phish memory. After Trey asked CK to turn out the lights so they could see the moon, the band then proceeded to howl at the moon, all while building up the Character jam. While they did this, the best glowstick war of the weekend broke out, and some of the crowd howled with the band, and some just cheered and hooted and shouted. The energy in this moment just went WOOOOSH! Just a special moment. Amazing.

After playing two extra songs in the second set, what do they do but come out and play a two song 16 minute encore. It was as if they did not want to stop playing. Good. The feeling was mutual. None of us wanted them to stop playing either. The Hood was short (by Hood standards) but sweet, and the appropriate Fire (forest fires forced some of us to re-route on the way up), rocked the house and brought an amazing night to an amazing finish.

When it was all said and done, myself, along with all my crew, were smiling ear to ear. Well done gentleman, well done. See you at the Gorge in 2014?
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