Phish Turn in a Classic Moonlight Performance at the Gorge
Last night, Phish turned in a classic performance at George, WA’s idyllic Gorge Amphitheatre. The show was the band’s first at the Pacific Northwest venue in two years and 11th overall since 1997. Trey Anastasio wore a Russell Wilson—the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks —T-shirt during the show and charged the crowd to chant loud enough that they could hear the audience in Seattle during “Wilson.” He also mentioned that he tried to get the football team to come to last night’s show.
The show featured a number of tour debuts, bust-outs and special nods. After opening up with “AC/DC Bag,” the group segued into this summer’s first cover of “Timber (Jerry).” The evening’s first major jam vehicle, a 10-minute take on “Wolfman’s Brother,” came next.
The shenanigans started a few songs later. First, the band played an instrumental version of “Happy Birthday to You” for longtime lighting director Chris Kuroda. (It marked the first time Phish had performed “Happy Birthday” since they played the song for drummer Jon Fishman’s father on March 8, 2009 during their Hampton, VA comeback shows.) After the song, Phish also teased The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” which many took as a nod to Mick Jagger, who was also celebrating his birthday.
Next, Phish rolled out a series of summer tour debuts. First. they busted out the Undermind ballad “Secret Smile” for the first time since Nov. 1, 2009. (The song’s dusk lyrics and arrangement seemed to fit the early evening, riverside mood.) Then, the group dusted off the Gamehendge gem “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters” for the first time this summer. The tune segued into this year’s first take on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “The Ballad of Curtis Loew.” An 11-plus minute version of “Split Open and Melt” closed the set.
Phish’s second set kicked-off with an extended, 18-minute cover of “Crosseyed and Painless” that segued into eight-plus minute versions of “Twist,” “Steam” and “Waves.” The band continued to tease “Crosseyed and Painless” throughout the sequence. A well-placed version of the always-welcome “The Mango Song” was another second set highlight. During a set-closing “Character Zero,” Anastasio also asked Kuroda to turn off the lights for a “Moon Jam,” during which members of the band barked at the moon.
An 12-minute “Harry Hood” that bled into this summer’s first cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” closed the night. “Fire,” one of the only covers Phish has played almost every year they have toured since 1984, also contained a Fishman solo. Phish will return to The Gorge this evening.
Here’s a look at last night’s setlist via Phish.net
Friday, July 26, Gorge Amphitheatre, George, WA
Set I: AC/DC Bag > Timber (Jerry), Wolfman’s Brother, Funky Bitch, Happy Birthday to You1, Wilson2 > Possum, Tube, Secret Smile, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Split Open and Melt
E: Harry Hood > Fire7
 For Chris Kuroda. Contained a Call to the Post tease from Mike.
 Trey, wearing a Russell Wilson t-shirt, talked about how he wanted to hear the Wilson chant this season in Seattle.
 Tequila tease.
 Crosseyed tease.
 Bug teases from Trey. Crosseyed teases and quotes.
 Trey asked CK to turn off the lights for a “Moon Jam” that featured band members howling at the moon…
 Alternate lyrics “Move over rover and let Jon Fishman take over!”
Notes: This show was webcast via LivePhish.com. Happy Birthday was played for Chris Kuroda (last played March 8, 2009 Hampton, 186 shows) and contained a Call to the Post tease from Mike. There was a full-band Satisfaction tease before Wilson. Before the “blat-boom!” in Wilson, Trey, wearing a Russell Wilson T-shirt, talked about how he wanted to hear the Wilson chant this season in Seattle. Secret Smile was performed for the first time since Nov. 1, 2009 (Festival 8, 156 shows). Twist contained a Tequila tease. Steam contained a Crosseyed tease. Bowie contained Bug teases from Trey. Bowie also contained Crosseyed teases and quotes. During Character Zero Trey asked CK to turn off the lights for a “Moon Jam” that featured band members howling at the moon! Fire featured alternate lyrics from Trey “Move over rover and let Jon Fishman take over!”