Phish tour ’09

I was pretty stocked when Phish reformed this year. I was fired up enough to follow their initial gigs on twitter. I knew all I had to do was bide my time, and I would get to see them. And see them I did.

The week started insane, as Stiners put on the biggest event of her event planning career – a party for 1500 kids who were participating in the Macabee games (read: the jewlympics). It was an insane party, full of segways, surfboards, more video games then you could imagine, and a giant dance floor. It was logistically massive, and was pulled off with gusto. Big ups to Stina.

I hate going to large amphitheatres at this stage of my concert going life. There are very few bands that motivate to go to them, but Phish is certainly one of them. Going to Shoreline to see Phish on the lawn with a bunch of friends is how I used to know it was summer. It felt so damn good to do it again.

The Shoreline lot scene was alive and kicking, though the food options weren’t plentiful. Everywhere we went, we ran into smiling friends.  Since Phish is the Grateful Dead of my generation, all sorts of friends came  out of the woodwork to gather and boogie / run like antelopes.


Right when the house music stopped, a giant military plane buzzed the crowd as Phish took the stage. Stina freaked out, what with her plane phobia. Then during Divided Sky, one minute into the silent section, a different plane buzzed the theater. It happened again at the end of the song. It was beyond  surreal. If you were on the lawn and tripping, I think you would totally lose your shit. There were a couple other moments, not quite as timed, when different military planes flew over Shoreline. It was odd.
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Phish was pretty on. There was some not so exciting, and rather long new songs, and one kick ass new one.  They played a lot of early material, and seemed pretty fired up doing it. We had a blast.

The best part was that it was just the beginning.

On Thursday, Stiners, Rachel and I headed up to Seattle. We were going to accomplish one of my life long goals – to see a Phish show at the Gorge. I thought it might never happen. But it did. Twice.

On the way up, we swung by Tom and Yuko’s place for a very tasty breakfast. Tom decided he was going to bike to the Gorge on Saturday and get a ticket to his first Phish show in the lot. This is a 140 mile bike ride. Tom is crazy, but we knew that already.

The trip up was faster than we imagined. Almost everyone camps at the Gorge. Not us. We booked a Motel/Brothel at the nearest town from the Gorge – a good 30 min drive. The only reviews we found online trashed the place. Stina had many reservations, but we arrived to find out it was only a mild dump, with no mold or ants to speak of. Since it exceeded our expectations, we were rather pleased with our little shitty room. Off the Gorge we went.

I have a hard time believing there is a more beautiful amphitheatre in this country then the Gorge. It’s breath taking.


It’s in the middle of nowhere. Rachel and I went in search of the Shakedown. It turns out to be in the heart of the camping section, a good mile plus hike from the parking lot (which was mostly empty, since everyone camps). I scored one of the best lot posters of my life, and food for the ride home. The shakedown went on for a good half mile. Not as impressive as Bonaroo, but it easily earns top billing.

The show on Friday = epic. All three shows had smatterings of new material and material I wasn’t fond of, but overall they were so good. I was beyond joyous seeing Phish at the Gorge.

Saturday, we went to a beach area on the river that Stina found by scrolling through google earth. We ate more crappy food (the food options in this part of WA are not the finest, as we repeatedly discovered), and eventually made our way back to the show to get dinner at Shakedown. Much finer dining to be found there.

I’ll give the Saturday show the gold medal though. Not necessarily from the song selection, but because Tom freaking biked to the show and joined us. It made the show really special to me. I danced my ass off, when I wasn’t lying down looking at the stars. I kept seeing satellites floating past, but later discovered I was watching a meteor shower. Bonus.


The whole concept of schlepping up to WA and then driving out to the Gorge (and driving to and from our Motel) made me tired just thinking about it. In reality, the whole trip was cake. We hit no traffic at any point. There was no cars in the parking lot at the amphitheater. We even got on earlier flight out via standby. It was so worth it, and I’m still glowing from the experience. You’d think I’d be burned out on Phish, but no, I’ve been blasting it non stop.

Lot shwagg acquired: two killer Kerrigan posters, an epic 3-d summer tour poster, and a new giant green hoodie. Plus an awesome pint glass that Kelly White was amazing enough to send me from an earlier show. She just called to saw that she’s coming to SF this weekend, so I’m beyond pumped. I’m taking her and local celebrity Bobby the Butcher to the Fillmore for some funk on Saturday.

Life is beautiful.



2 comments

pvision » 12 Aug 2009 » Reply

Dude. The gorge is amazing. I must go… one day…

BOBBY THE BUTCHER! Nidu.

MikeyLife » 13 Aug 2009 » Reply

Yes yes. I agree with the earlier statement. I’ve been to the Gorge a few times, mostly for festivals, and its amazing. Pac NW Rules!

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