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. HSV 007 Says:

    I’m feeling Jiboo & SITM for the 2nd set….They are
    saving 2001 for SPAC

  2. larry bird flu Says:

    i know i havent been around much these past few days but im wondering is anyone here from the boston area doing the northeast run?

  3. Les Says:

    I knew this was the call. Weird spot…..I had the feeling.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    good point joe

    “windy city” ?

  5. Les Says:

    Are you at the show Pebbles?

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    middle of the set looks great for sure

  7. Les Says:

    @HSV 007-I think Jibbo is a great call.

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    Brandon, Mr. C, Pebbles –

    What are we looking at here? A deceiving setlist? Not sure what to think…

  9. larry bird flu Says:

    pretty interesting, 6 previous curtain withs, and 2 in a week and a half
    at this point i think they are just showing off!

  10. whole tour! Says:

    @dave, wow! really?
    happiness comes from within.
    it’s what you make of it.
    sorry your so jaded.
    this summer got me phiending again.

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    It’s definitely a mixed bag. I bet II will destroy all expectations.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    definitely interested…

  13. Les Says:

    2nd Set Opener: 2001

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    “all bets are off tour” continues – Curtain With now a rotation tune? And, no way to know how this set played in the room (up til TTE) until we hear from peeps who are there. Could all be the killy kill. I have no idea what Windy City is for one thing. Awesome? Not? As for the opening sequence, if they can blow up Character Zero into a highlight of my weekend, anything is possible…

    …except for a rowdy Chitown crowd getting real into TTE

  15. larry bird flu Says:

    i thought i read somewhere that windy city is from the old doris day musical calamity jane

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    It is probably a pretty hot show playing wise. I’d bet if there were streams working we would be gleaming. A hot funky Ocelot/Gumbo. Machine-gun Trey on KDF/Sample. CURTAIN WITH. Heavy Things…really not all that bad. I bet people will shit on it because of the TTE closer though. It was a pretty realistic choice.

  17. Les Says:

    A Twist,2001,Jibboo 2nd set would be insane!

  18. BK Says:

    My friend at the show seemed really excited for Curtain and Gumbo, but was/is really disappointed to hear TTE. He caught the Alpine one too, so I’m curious to hear if he’s heard progress

  19. whole tour! Says:

    @dave, sucks to be you, brah!

  20. Les Says:

    TTE can be a really hit/miss song.

  21. BrandonKayda Says:

    How about

    Backwards (they have been opening w/ Backwards a lot lately)
    Weekapaug (w/ Crosseyed Jam)


  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    @larry that’s the only thing google came up with, a Doris Day tune

    seems like there HAS to be an ole blues number called that, doesn’t there? Shit, you could just sing it to the tune of “Kansas City”

  23. Prince Nabby Says:

    Very last moment, I know, but I have one spare Hartford Lawn and one spare SPAC lawn for face plus overnight shipping. Anyone who wants them should mail me before tomorrow morning when I hit the PO. addy is:

    JacksoL [at] mailbox [dot] sc [dot] edu

  24. Cactus Says:

    How bout we save that set for Hartford?

  25. larry bird flu Says:

    haha thats true. acctually just youtubed the video from calamity jane. i could see it as a page or fish sung tune! though i have a feeling this isnt the same one phish played

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