On To Chicago

The Gorge (J.Doran)

The Gorge (J.Doran)

Sitting on plane on the way to Chicago, it’s hard to believe we are heading for the home stretch of summer.  One show in the Midwest and a four-night cannonball run up and down the east coast and that’s all she wrote until Fall (which is only two and half months away!)  Thinking back to where we were in June, it almost seems inconceivable that the band has come so far in such little time.  Though they had twenty years notched in their belt, their quick progress has still been astounding to watch.  The jaded fan thought they would never even get this far, and if one for thing is for damn sure, Phish is just beginning- again.

The Gorge (W.Rogell)

The Gorge (W.Rogell)

Taking June’s tour and kicking it firmly into distant memory, the western swing was nothing short of magic.  Over the course of seven shows, Phish completely reestablished their musical creativity with shows that we would have been happy to hear come year’s end.  Redirected and emboldened with confidence, we haven’t heard Phish jams this tight and unique since the late ‘90s.  Sure, post-hiatus had many amazing jams, but these just feel different.  There is an incredibly purity to Phish’s music right now, a vitality that had been absent during even the best moments in’03 and ’04.  No longer are things predictable- Phish can, and will, take any given song and take it anywhere.  Take The Gorge’s “Sneaking Sally” for example.  As soon as we thought we were getting a massive outdoor groove-fest, Phish took us in on of the most psychedelic rides of the summer, leaving any semblance of groove in the dust as they crafted an ominous, ambient soundscape.

8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

The entire weekend in Washington was simply surreal; to be back at The Gorge and hear Phish play like they did was nothing short of an out-of-body experience.  The combination of the greatest natural backdrop in music and a band who is playing like nothing else matters made for two nights of indelible memories in the ongoing path of Summer ’09.  The band showcased contrasting styles over the two nights in George, WA, as the first night’s enchanting and psychedelic fairy tale was wholly distinct from Saturday night’s rock-centered odyssey, illustrating two aspects of Phish’s uncanny versatility.  Using new songs and old, Phish created a laundry list of highlights from The Gorge: “Ocelot,” “Stash,” “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Light > Taste” “Bathtub Gin > Hood,” “Tweezer,” “Wolfman’s,” “Antelope,” “Rock and Roll,” “YEM,” “Number Line > Piper;” the list goes on and on.

8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

Between Red Rocks, Shoreline and the Gorge, the west has unleashed a fury in Phish that we wondered if and when would return.  They say the west is the best, and in the case of this summer ‘s tour, that maxim has never been truer.  With a week of shows that will go down as the return of the Phish we know and love, the hotly-anticipated run through the wild west will remembered as the time the band’s improvisational magic came back.  And not only are the band’s chops back in shape, they are having the time of their lives, imbued with the Phishiness that put them on the map- spontaneously crafting vocal accompaniment deep in their jams, telling jokes onstage, switching instruments mid-song, using hand signals to call out the setlist, and generally radiating a musical and personal happiness we haven’t seen from these four guys in ages.  And this energy has flowed from the stage right into the community, channeling the genuine joy we all feel for the current state of Phish.

"Slave" 8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

"Slave" 8.7.09 (G.Lucas)

And as we take a u-turn halfway across the country, meeting in Chicago tonight, the possibilities for the last five shows are limitless.  Bringing the spirit of the west into a soccer stadium and then four classic Phish amphitheatres, some of the season’s best moments are certainly about to unfold.  Buckle your seat belt, literally and figuratively, as this last stretch will contain not only crazy music, but crazy driving as well.  As we crisscross the northeast from Darien to Hartford, down to Merriweather and back up to SPAC, the east coast will get a several tastes of the rejuvenated Phish in a case of bizarre tour routing.  Nonetheless, we have five more to go, and there’s no telling what we’ll be talking about come next week; only time will tell, but I’m sure eager to find out!  See you tonight.


8.7.09 The Gorge (Photo: Graham Lucas)

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376 Responses to “On To Chicago”

  1. BrandonKayda Says:


  2. ATL 007 Says:

    True..And it will be super cool when they bust it out after not playing in 25 shows….Mike can really carry Ocelot and I know we all love that

  3. BK Says:

    Very interesting set so far on paper. My friend there’s texts are getting increasingly enthusiastic

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    So are they atleast blowing up Sample/Ocelot/KDF? Other than those 3 this set seems good so far. Curtain especially.

  5. HSV 007 Says:

    Where is my Timber …?

  6. BrandonKayda Says:


  7. dagnabits Says:

    not sure if the set lists on From The Road go up in near real time, but if so the Ocelot and Windy City were pretty long…still hasn’t updated beyond Windy City.

  8. whole tour! Says:

    soundboard sounds real nice
    lovin it!

  9. Cactus Says:

    Talk about a serious bustout. Paul and Silas is as good as it gets right there.

    Who shall deliver poor me.

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Curtain With as well

  11. joe Says:

    regarding repeats:

    how many people do you think are actually on tour for the whole summer? (honest question, no clue about the number). Anyway, it has to be the minority of people at any given show. So even if they play tune x ad naseum, it really only has a negative affect on less than half of the concert goers. and if the song rips every night (assuming they aren’t sick of actually playing it), then repeats are just part of the territory of going on tour…
    could it also be that the band doesn’t want the whole touring scene these days. I’d say not since it makes them money, but maybe they don’t really want to foster a gigantic touring scene.

    just made some campgroung reservations for the weekend for SPAC.(way more of a hassel than I thought it would be) Saw Fenway and that was it so I’ll be very interested in seeing the progression that everyone is writing about. I know I already had a blast at Fenway – bad sound in my seats and all so I’m sure I’ll be in for a good time in Saratoga as well.

  12. dagnabits Says:

    Train Song

  13. BrandonKayda Says:


    Strange set so far. I am intrigued

  14. Comrade Says:

    very strange set – i want to say mellow – but in a good way.

  15. Phish...Yup Says:

    Agreed. Mellow 1st sets are nice though (especially when followed by raging 2nd sets)

  16. dagnabits Says:

    how odd is it that they’re playing at this place right now:


    I’m so curious as to what this scene is like in this place. Is it all GA on the floor, like no chairs?

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    8-11-09 Toyota Park, Chicago:

    Paul and Silas
    Windy City
    Curtain With
    Train Song
    Heavy Things

  18. Cactus Says:

    Strange but true..and good I might add.

    Nothing better than a little ruex and sausage in the Gumbo.

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m calling a Split closer. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but Split closers are hints at MASSIVE second sets

  20. dagnabits Says:

    i’m calling a Julius set closer.

  21. Les Says:

    What about TTE

  22. pebbles Says:

    hA! TTE.

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    Paul and Silas
    Windy City
    Curtain With
    Train Song
    Heavy Things


  24. pebbles Says:

    Beat me to the punch, Les.

  25. voopa Says:

    Pic of Toyota Park during Sample: http://twitpic.com/dkaan

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