Mixed Up in the Midway

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

In the Windy City on Tuesday night, Phish put forth a discombobulated effort that featured legitimate individual jams but flowed like a pile of bricks.  In a second set that didn’t really work, it seemed as though Phish had the pieces of a great jigsaw puzzle, but just couldn’t fit them together correctly.  Pulling out a random assortment of songs in no apparent order or connection, Phish played a second set that sounded more like a mix tape than a live show.  Not to take away from some of the higher moments of the night, they just happened individually with no real relationship to their neighbors in the set.  The jumbled effort will likely go down as the “weakest” show of summer’s second leg, but given what’s been going down the last few weeks, everything is relative.

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

That being said, the band opened the second set with the most significant “Number Line” to date; a jam that built off the Gorge’s version, and went far beyond.  The band seems dedicated to using this as a consistent vehicle moving forward, and if the jams are like last night’s- that’s fine with me.  Taking the piece out into its most exploratory and uncharted psychedelic planes yet, Phish got into some slowed down, deeper grooves before this one was cut off a bit too soon.  Moving through the murkiness into more transcendent territory, it seemed that the “2001” that was hanging in Washington might emerge from this jam.  But as the music was passing through a mind-expanding canvas, Trey executed the jam with the ripping chords of “Carini.”  While it was awesome to hear “Carini,” the jolt seemed unnecessary given their organic jamming these days, and they could have gotten there far more creatively.  Nonetheless, as the bombastic song got going, the intensity was something to behold.  While not necessarily longer than normal, the peak of the long-awaited 3.0 debut was monumental- possibly one of those “you had to be there moments”- as i have not yet heard the tapes.

Shoreline (W.Rogell)

Shoreline (W.Rogell)

Just as abruptly as it started, Phish ended their dense, growling excursion with an odd switch into “Gotta Jibboo.”  Yet, once again, once the jam got going, Phish shredded it to pieces.  Boasting exciting dance grooves and soaring work by Trey, this rendition was yet another highlight of this awkward set.  The mid-set “Theme,” “Wilson,” seemed like we were briefly transplanted into some random first set, and after forgoing endless creative places to drop “2001” over the past few shows, Phish chose this bizarre, disconnected point to let it fly.  Yet when it did, the wide-open funk no-doubt brought some late set euphoria.  Blasting into an shredding late-set “Chalk Dust,” everything just seemed out of place- wait, have I mentioned that?

Shoreline (W.Rogell)

Shoreline (W.Rogell)

But as Phish started “Harry Hood” it was like a soft blanket catching us at the end of some strange trip, and as the band set their improvisational course, this one didn’t follow the norm.  Taking the jam on a more ambient, impressionistic path, Phish crafted a unique highlight at the end of an odd night on the South Side of Chicago.  While a Phish show is usually greater than the sum of its parts- this one wasn’t.  In fact, it was exactly a sum of its disjointed parts.  Without very little dramatic and flowing improv that we’ve all of a sudden gotten used to, the entire set felt choppy and poorly presented, albeit well-played.  But hey, all of a sudden, we are spoiled!

As we enter the last four night-run of tour, Phish is sure to turn things up a notch as they pull back into the Northeast corridor.  With four classic sheds hosting the last nights of a special summer, the final weekend is sure to be woven with tales of wonder.  Darien > Hartford > Merriweather > SPAC-  these should be heavy hitters.  I’ll see you there.

Set One Notes: In what was a virtual consensus for weakest set of tour, Phish never really got it going in the first frame.  The only real pieces of note would be the third song “Ocelot,” whose jam crept into familiar territory, and “The Curtain (With)” with another huge, standout version of “(With).”  For those of you counting bust-outs, the band played an early “Paul and Silas” for the first time in nine years (Worcester 11.29.98).  In addition, the band debuted a new Page song called “Windy City,” a slow-moving blues song that seemed like it wasn’t of Phish caliber.  A solid ‘Time Turns Elastic” closed.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Sample In A Jar, Ocelot, Paul and Silas, Windy City*, The Curtain (With), Train Song, Gumbo, Heavy Things, Time Turns Elastic

II: Backwards Down The Number Line > Carini > Gotta Jibboo, Theme From The Bottom, Wilson, 2001 > Chalk Dust Torture, Harry Hood, The Squirming Coil

E: Loving Cup


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551 Responses to “Mixed Up in the Midway”

  1. Jay Says:

    @sumodie – “Thus you educate me”

    Well put Grasshopper. The first lesson in learning is learning you need more learning. 😉

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Why do I
    Sit and cry
    Without a reason
    I don’t know why…

  3. msbjivein Says:

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmY SOUL!!!!

  4. Robear Says:

    ^msb, I haven’t heard any of the show yet. I’m such a ‘torrent’ noob that I’m still trying to get through Gorge, night 1 without any problems.

    ^Mr. C, any suggestions for a different ‘bit-torrent’ program that I can use on Mac OS 10.4.11 I currently use ‘Transmission’. Reading a little into your comments yesterday; are my partial song problems related more to the original torrent being damaged, and not a problem with the conversion?

    I’d love to get a re-listen to all the shows. Thanks to Mr. Miner, whose links work flawlessly for me, I do have RR1.

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    first ever phish show tomorrow! and couldn’t be any more excited after last night’s show/setlist.

  6. Snowbank Says:

    “The problem is that it is horrible in a live setting. It sounds great, but it’s incredibly hard to dance to and people are left standing there with arms crossed looking at each other in a very confused state of mind. Do I sway back and forth? Do I shuffle my feet? Do I run up and down the isles with arms flailing? ”

    I hate it when that happens. It is so hard to be cool after you start running down aisles with your arms flailing and then stop in confusion.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Robear, Transmission is what I use on my mac (we have mac at home and I also have a windows PC laptop for work)

    have you tried re-extracting the FLAC files using xact? you should do that first. If that works, you’re fine.

    If it errors, there’s something wrong with the FLACs. At that point I would delete them, remove the torrent from Transmission, then re-open it with Transmission and re-download the whole thing again.

    I doubt there is anything wrong with Transmission itself if it’s running. Since you are a self-selected noob I’ll ask: do you know that you need to see “100% complete” or whatever in Transmission before extracting the FLACs? I guess it could be that they’re simply not finished.

    but definitely run the FLACs thru xact first and see what that does.

  8. msbjivein Says:

    Who has listened to last night ??? It sounds like not many have actually heard the show yet. Might not have been a Grand Slam but IT’s totally worth a listen. They made some steps forward last night not many but they are still moving in the right direction.
    Some highlights

    Paul & Silas,With jam (SICK),Heavey Things(Not a big fan but a good version), BDTNL,CARINI,Jibboo,2001! (one of the better ’09 2001’s IMO)

  9. Chalkdustin Says:

    @dancingfool Have an amazing time tomorrow!

  10. KWL Says:

    OK folks, about to start the road trip. Have a great time & I’ll see you out there! If anyone wants to meet up before MPP I’ll be downtown Baltimore early checkin out Bertha’s & Wharf Rat before the lot, hit me up at keith_lindner [at] yahoo [dot] com or I’ll see ya there!

  11. msbjivein Says:

    Are people labeling the Chicago show as unlistenable or not worth the Download??

    I just wanna talk shop and I’m not getting any bites…………….


  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @msb, i’ve heard the first 3 songs of set 2 and they are all def worth listening to

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    thanks chaldust

  14. msbjivein Says:

    Which ones?? CARINI!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Brian Says:

    my internet’s down at home so I couldn’t download chicago this morning. gonna swing by the library after work to load it up.

    I’m pretty interested to check it out, neat setlist and contrasting opinions here

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    carini was awesome. definitely a keeper, though it could’ve been much longer. hope they keep it in rotation

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    d/l-ing it at home, will check out # Line > Carini > Jiboo tonight for sure and the rest tomorrow at work

    I’m in a phish groove right now, not very interested in other music ’til after tour (at which point I get to the giant stack of psytrance and dub cds I got dropped on me @ the Gorge)

  18. msbjivein Says:

    The dub organizer………………………

  19. Brian Says:

    haha yeah I’ve been driving my girlfriend crazy

    “can we listen to something other than Phish please?”

    “nope, not til tour’s over!”

  20. msbjivein Says:

    I like the DARKNESS in that Carini. I personally haven’t seen Trey get that Dark yet in ’09.

  21. Snowbank Says:

    “but it is funny-the thougt that they talk in between sets or before shows ;
    “This crowd sucks-let’s fuck em over or this venue blows let’s play shitty”
    I’m pretty sure that don’t happen”

    I think it is a Vibe thing. They are people and they want to be liked. My guess is that when the crowd sucks they get thrown off and start making bad decisions. When I get negative feedback, I tend to start trying to please instead of going with the phlow. Which is a round about way of saying, I agree that they don’t play bad shows on purpose. And my guess is that many in the crowd likely thought they saw the best show ever played.
    I have heard interesting enough comments that I am still going to give a listen, but I expect to agree with Mr Miner’s conclusions. And… he probably was in a bad mood! Going from the Gorge to a Chicago stadium is harsh on all accounts… security, scenery, crowd. Context is everything and it would require something special to cushion that fall. But I give him credit for acknowledging it.

  22. msbjivein Says:

    What’s Fish chanting/moaning in CARINI????

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @msj, that’s exactly what i liked about the carini, or any carini for that matter

  24. Little Buddy Says:


    Try as best you can to get into the pavilion tomorrow. The sound on the lawn at Darien blows and you won’t get the full effect up there.

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    darien lake set 2: stealing time> asihtos> ghost. now that would be dark, and very possible. i htink we’re all waiting for stealing time to blow up in a second set

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