Tonight (aka Chris Kuroda’s birthday), Phish begins the West Coast portion of their 30th Anniversary Summer Tour at The Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington. After an energetic but musically uneventful opener in Maine, Phish headed to SPAC and delivered a real shot to the community with unique jams on “Split Open & Melt”, “Light”, “Steam”, the debut of the new Mike Gordon track, “Yarmouth Road” (co-written by Scott Murawski) and more importantly a cover of The Apple in Stereo track “Energy” which has already positioned itself as the newest jam vehicle with three official versions and several soundchecks that forecasts the band seems to really enjoy playing and expanding it each time out.

At Merriweather, Phish added a new element to “Scent of a Mule” as the song featured Jon Fishman on a Marimba Lumina. Fishman also used his new toy during the jam in “Energy” in Alpharetta, GA which should hopefully signify a theremin Vs. lumina standoff between himself and Page.

Fishman plays the Marimba Lumina during "Mule" 7/14/13.
Fishman plays the Marimba Lumina during “Mule” 7/14/13.

Besides breathing new life into their catalog with “Energy”, Phish has worked the “perfect segue” back into their arsenal. In 2009 this was a glaring omission, almost laughable. But the band has certainly been working on them as “Ghost” -> Lizards”, “Energy -> “Fluffhead”, “Tweezer” -> “Cities” (!) and many others have been highlights at shows. They’ve also re-awakened some classics including “Harry Hood”, “Stash”, and “Piper” to name a few. Their take on “Crosseyed & Painless” (including another magnificent segue into “Harry Hood) at PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey is the go-to jam of the tour so far, just ahead of Toronto’s “Down with Disease” masterpiece.


Besides smooth segues, and stellar densely packed jams, the weather, specifically rain, has been another pervading theme in 2013. For starters, Phish’s gig in Toronto was made up earlier this week after being postponed on July 9th and two out of the three shows in Chicago last weekend were affected by the weather. Phish even tried to make up for Friday’s Northerly cancellation with a three-setter on Saturday and the “Harpua” gag on Sunday. (Aside: The Northerly Island experiment should probably be re-examined by Live Nation in the off-season and I wouldn’t expect Phish to play there again anytime soon. A lot of folks on Twitter were jokingly calling for Phish to play only West Coast venues next summer, and with good reason — rain doesn’t tend to be a problem out here like it was on the early July East Coast dates.

Which brings us to our focus today — this evening will be Phish’s 13th show at the Gorge, a place most call their favorite outdoor venue without hesitation. A few months ago on LMB we highlighted some of the Gorge’s Greatest Moments so check it out in preparation for the weekend. There is a theory that the band plays differently at the Gorge’s Columbia River and that theory was backed up most recently in 2009 and 2011. With most agreeing the band is already firing on all cylinders as they head West, there should be no hesitation in saying the wide-open jams will likely be accompanying them. The band’s surroundings have always played a part in their music and even the most pessimistic fans who’ve bitched about the smaller song rotation will be looking to the Gorge shows for a sign of things to come. Hopefully we get to see the second “Steam” this summer but honestly all I ever ask for at a Phish show is the band keeps their intent to improvise and surprise.

Based on the first 12 shows of summer we are in a prime spot for some real fireworks. If they don’t happen at the Gorge, Tahoe is next on the list with the three indoor shows at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and then the Hollywood Bowl finale. There is so many songs left on the table, it’s really anybody’s guess on what they’ll bust out. Here’s a list that should help your fantasy predictions.

Some Notable Songs Not Played (Yet):

  • Albuquerque
  • Alumni Blues -> Letter to Jimmy Page -> Alumni Blues
  • Ballad of Curtis Lowe
  • Billy Breathes
  • Buffalo Bill
  • Buried Alive
  • Bold As Love
  • Brother
  • Camel Walk
  • The Curtain (With)
  • Col. Forbin’s Ascent -> Fly Famous Mockingbird
  • Dog Log
  • Esther
  • Fee
  • Fire
  • Foam
  • F*** Your Face
  • Glide
  • Gotta Jibboo
  • Golgi Apparatus
  • Guelah Papyrus
  • The Horse
  • Icculus
  • Life on Mars
  • Lifeboy
  • Light Up Or Leave Me Alone
  • McGrupp & The Watchful Hosemasters
  • Meat
  • Mellow Mood
  • Mock Song
  • My Minds Got A Mind of It’s Own
  • No Quarter
  • Nothing
  • Oh Kee Pa Ceremony
  • Old Home Place
  • Peaches En Regalia
  • Possum (just seeing if you’re paying attention)
  • Ride Captain Ride
  • Roggae
  • Round Room
  • Sanity
  • Saw It Again
  • Scents & Subtle Sounds
  • Seven Below
  • Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley
  • Soul Shakedown Party
  • Spread It Round
  • Tela
  • Vultures
  • Walfredo
  • Walk Away
  • Weigh
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • What’s the Use?

See you at The Gorge! I’ll be the guy smiling ear to ear during the “Roggae” sunset slot and if they open with “Soul Shakedown Party”…all bets are off! Safe travels to those attending and happy viewing to those on Couch Tour!