Sunday night was my 22nd time making the walk from Thunderdome along the Sagecliff Saunter to the fabled Gorge Amphitheater to see and hear Phish do what they do. It is a special place, one of the greatest pocket amphitheaters ever, neatly hewn into the fabric of the rock that lines the walls of the canyon that towers over the Wanapum Lake segment of the Columbia River. No matter how many times I crest the rise and see the view behind the stage, I am never without the awe that the sheer majesty of the channeled scablands and the iridescent sky beyond deserve. If you still haven’t had the opportunity to see Phish at the Gorge, please add it to your bucket list, you are unlikely to be disappointed by the experience. This recap on the other hand, no guarantees.
Sixteen years prior to Sunday night’s show, I was sitting on a 36-foot sailboat, spinning in circles while becalmed in the mid-Pacific high, which had abnormally expanded due to Hurricane Katrina pulling all the available wind on the planet into her maw to lay waste to the gulf coast of Louisiana and beyond. At the same time, I learned on our daily satellite phone check in with family, a couple of my dearest friends were celebrating the birth of their second child Zevariah. As we made our way together into the show on Sunday, I pointed out the bizarrely synchronous events unfolding as Hurricane Ida attempted to do the same thing to Louisiana as he turned sixteen. Not to be outdone, Phish responded with a collection of songs to open the first set that were eerily on point. Sure, I’m ignoring "Cool Amber and Mercury", but "Moma Dance" is a sailing song, "Free" is a sailing and birth giving song, and "Lonely Trip" is a sailing song. I see you seeing me you guys. We appreciated the distinct nod.
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