, attached to 2016-07-15

Review by zarathustraz

zarathustraz The opening bars of Tweezer kicks off the show with a shot of adrenaline, but if you were like me, after a few moments of getting down, the disappointment started setting in. Really? Tweezer? Already? The ominous sense of premature ejaculation comes to fruition as Trey proves horribly unprepared to rock Tweezer proper. After a prolonged, languishing solo, Trey lets Tweezer be and moves on. The boys manage to keep the energy relatively high, though, with their next selections of Sample in a Jar and Old Home Place, but the third-in-a-row uninspired pick of Wolfman’s Brother sinks the energy down to nil. Trey languishes about again, and the set loses momentum.

The rest of the set is a bit of a wash. An enthusiastic Party Time livens things up but is quickly quelled by the one-two punch of The Line and Tide Turns (I secretly like Tide Turns, but after The Line? Come on.) The guys sort of get in the swing of the things after that, though, and Rift and Walls of the Cave are well-executed and enjoyable, and they close out the set.

The second set opens just as the first night of the Gorge Run in 2013 did, with Crosseyed and Painless. Here was our first taste of what we were in store for, as the guys return to the “Still Waiting” refrain five times during the C&P jam. As it happened, I thought it was a bit of a joke, as we went through peak after peak, waiting for them to either peak out or transition to Type II. But, it seems now, the repetition pointed to something even grander.

C&P is the only song of the night to go Type II in the traditional way, but, even so, it’s probably the least deserving song of the second set to go on the jam charts. The jam meanders a bit, not unpleasantly, but not ever really gaining traction either.

What’s the Use? emerges from the travels, and if there were any criticism one could say about the flow of this set, it could be that WTU? came in a little prematurely. I’m not sure if we were quite ready yet. But, after a few moments of swaying around in the mesmerizing beauty of this number, you sort of forget where you came from anyways, so it’s all good.

A super fiery, unrelenting NMINML comes next, with our first teases of C&P included. It stays Type I, but it’s a hell of a Type I. They don’t need to go anywhere. But, eventually, they do choose to go somewhere and Trey pulls off a pretty exceptional segue to Stash. Stash is not an easy song to segue into. I’m impressed, and you should be too! I’m not going to go through each every tease, you can see that above, but I will mention that Trey’s inclusion of the WTU? melody in the Stash jam is particularly choice for its characteristic dissonance and tension.

Ghost is a heavy contender for jam of the night, although sadly doesn’t have a place on the charts yet. It keeps the energy high, has shoehorned teases galore, and gives us what I think is one of the most successful rotation jams of the tour. If you’re like me, you got sick of the boys skipping out on their primary instruments to go mess around on someone else’s. But, this time, it really worked. Trey hit the Marimba Lumina and everyone else got on Fish’s drum kit, and what resulted was propulsive, awesome, and one hell of a dance party—a legitimate Type II jam, not just a bunch of amateur diddling about. Fishman’s singing seals the deal. He channels some serious James Brown. The energy is palpable.

And it doesn’t let up: a rocking transition to Chalkdust Torture and an exciting, original rendition of the classic tune. From the ambient dust of CDT, rises sustained organ notes, signaling a Meatstick delivery underway. The slow funk of Meatstick feels especially slow and disassembled this time around (they do something similar to BOAF night 2). Meatstick provides some mellow catharsis after such a high-octane sequence, but we weren’t just swaying in the slow burn. This Meatstick manages a celebratory lightness with both substance and fun. We get both a breather and a groove. Highly recommended.

To let us know that we hadn’t yet totally funked out nor peaked out, Fishman drops the 2001 beat. It’s on. Nice funk, nice extended C&P and NMINML quotes, about as stretched out a version of 2001 you’re going to get in this era. After that, there’s a victory romp through Cavern, a solid closer to a relentless set.

This is one of the few front to back cohesive sets of the tour, and it’s the epitome of cohesive, a complete organism unto itself. Nothing can be removed. If you’re going to listen to anything from this set, listen to the whole thing. No shuffling allowed (but hopefully you don’t have to be told that).

The encore continues to please. Makisupa Policeman is busted out. Trey and Mike both fail to deliver on their improv sections—Trey balks on his “pot” rhyme and Mike gives a rather unenthusiastic solo—but it’s Makisupa nonetheless, and people are happy. Wilson and GTBT finish things out, capping off the high-energy of the last two hours. A good night at the Gorge.


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