Reconstructing Chicago

Toyota Park (D.Vann)

Toyota Park 8.11.09 (D.Vann)

Chicago was an interesting night, and I feel some of my initial comments were taken out of context- so let’s revisit Phish’s stop in the Windy City.  Aside from the “Curtain With,” the first set was straight up uneventful- that much is hard to dispute, but the second set presented a whole different conundrum.  The concept of flow is so important to a successful set of music.  You don’t want to feel like you’ve just been thrown through the musical washing machine, catching chunks music randomly and out of context as they hit you.  But that’s kind of what Chicago’s second set felt like.

8.11 (C.Smith)

8.11 (C.Smith)

The intriguing factor of this second set, is that most all of the music is great!  What made the show unsuccessful overall was not the lack of virtuoso jamming, but the choppy presentation of the music that could have been artistically outdone by my middle school lunch ladies and their Sloppy Joes.  There were several standout jams in the set, but when one randomly ended to start the next, that elusive flow went right down the drain.  The “Number Line” was one of the two strongest of the summer; the “Hood” was more unique than most, and Chicago’s second set featured the only “2001” of the tour that didn’t involve a guest.  All the elements were there for a great show, but they just didn’t gel.

8.11 (D.Vann)

8.11 (D.Vann)

After the show, I noted this, and thought of a way the set could have been arranged more cohesively, and just for the fun of it, I recreated the set- as best as possible- in the order I think it was “meant” to be. (This exercise is much better accomplished with an iPod playlist.) And if it went down like this, I guarantee people would be talking about the Chicago show a whole lot more.  This is not to presume that I know how Phish sets should go more than the band does- but just this once, indulge me.  Sure, hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but remember, this is all for fun.

Toyota Park (C.Smith)

Toyota Park (C.Smith)

As the “Number Line” got ambient- it seemed the “2001” that had loomed large over The Gorge all weekend was about to drop, merging the futuristic theme the a song that very much represented the band’s future course.  But despite all the times the band sidestepped artistic segues into “2001” over the previous shows, the space-funk be Heismaned again, only to stumble awkwardly out of “Wilson” later in the set.  Instead the band jarringly dropped into “Carini”- a move that squeaked by on shock value- and the fact that Phish cranked the intensity level way past eleven on on this one, so we’ll leave the initial segment alone. (But that “Number Line > 2001” was begging to come out!)

8.11 (C.Smith)

8.11 (C.Smith)

As the band began to build out of  “Carini’s” grungy residue, Trey started chomping away at “Jibboo,” successfully blowing the second segue in a row.  But this time, let’s reconsider.  Since the band missed their first chance to merge with “2001,” let’s use “Carini’s” outro as the intro to the dance epic- it works perfectly.   “Carini > 2001”- now that’s some gritty, urban Phish!  Carrying out the peak of “2001,” Trey would then drop the opening rhythm chords to “Jibboo” continuing the dance-floor portion of the show.  Finishing a full-throttle groove session in “2001 > Jibboo,” concluding a boisterous opening of the set, everyone would need to catch their breath.  Cue “Theme”- a perfect chill-out song after the improvisational fireworks, while still carrying momentum of its own.  As soon as the respite is over, Trey would eagerly hit the opening notes to a late-set “Wilson.” But as the band sustained the final note, instead of crashing into a random “Chalkdust,” they would drop into the drum roll of “Harry Hood,”  forming an old-school one-two punch.  And this “Hood” is no slouch.  With impressionistic painting by Trey and a diversion into minor chords before the peak of the jam, this version was among the best of leg two.  Just when you think the set is over, the ever-present “Coil” would still unfold to gracefully to close the set.

Call me crazy, but that would have flowed much more fluidly than the mix-tape the band dropped in Toyota Park.  And a rocking double encore to close things off- “Chalkdust,” “Loving Cup”- what a beautiful buzz!  Don’t take this too seriously, and if you thought Chicago was the best show of tour, more power to you.  But if you’d like to listen to Chicago’s second set the way it could have gone down, sit back, hit play and relax.



Winged music noteJam of the Day:

Split Open and Melt” 8.10.97 I


This is one of the most unique and ethereal “Splits” ever played- and one that flies completely under the radar.  A true gem from the cornfields of Deer Creek in ’97!



3.1.97 SBD Markthalle, Hamburg, GR < Torrent

3.1.97 SBD Markthalle, Hamburg, GR < Megaupload


Slip, Stitch, and Pass

A pre-FM SBD source of the now-classic show immortalized on Slip, Stitch, and Pass.

I: Cities, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Down With Disease, Weigh, Beauty Of My Dreams, Wolfman’s Brother > Jesus Just Left Chicago, Reba, Hello My Baby, Possum

II: Carini, Dinner and a Movie, Mike’s Song > Lawn Boy > Weekapaug Groove, The Mango Song, Billy Breathes, Theme From The Bottom

E: Taste, Sweet Adeline

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208 Responses to “Reconstructing Chicago”

  1. Billy Breathes Says:

    Miner….you hit the nail on the head with this one. Cool to think about and envision, especially if one attended the show.

    One of the more interesting write-ups I’ve read indeed.

    The 2nd set was an EXCELLENT attempt to recoup what was lost in the 1st set, but you are correct, they still just couldn’t get it right.

    The whole show was just a bit goofy. Wonder what was going on? What really happened?

    However, the Hood IMO just doesn’t hold any water. For me, it’s a version that is long, drawn out, spacy and psychelic yes, some cool moments, but absolutely NO PEAK of any sort.

    A Hood without a Peak is like a Clif Bar with no Cold Green Tea. 😉

  2. whole tour! Says:

    mike’s fantastic bass tones and nuances are completely absent in the leg1 boards.

  3. HarryHood Says:

    Does Teamhood have a website? Just tried searching it and didn’t have any luck. I’m interested in seeing more video from summer tour but my knowledge of live downloads at this point has been limited to audio only.

  4. Mitch Says:

    Wanted to top this in case anyone missed page 1.

    I wanted to let you all know that the cheesy gorge mango postcards finally came in. To anyone who would like to get one in the mail send me your address and I’ll send them out as soon as I can.
    tickets at facemelt dot net
    please include your address, real name and pthoughts name

  5. beepaphone Says:

    Just finished listening to Miner’s re-arranged Chicago set…Would have been nice. Such a great topic idea. The only thing I would change is throw that 2001 after the spacey section of BDTNL. BDNTNL>2001>Carini>Jibboo, Etc.

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    @ El Dude I would love to be able to share said 8/1/09 DVD with a friend and former neighbor. It was his first. por favor! justino (at) azheads (dot) com
    mil gracias.
    End Grovel

    Great Post! Enjoying the sounds again, even reshuffled.

  7. EL Duderino Says:

    AUD recordings are funny in that some mics to some people sound great and to others they dislike the particular mic. My favorite are the Schoeps MK4V caps. The ones used on the video are the Schoeps MK6’s which I never knew they made. These MK6’s have the tube bodies which make a difference in what kind of sound you get compared to the shot gun bodies like the CMC6’s that are more widely used (shotguns=long skinny bodies). All these things plus location make a difference. Getting a great aud recording is much harder than people realize IMO. Not only is the right equipment extremely expensive but all the other factors matter just as much. It’s a very difficult thing.

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    The RR DVD is here @ The Traders Den. The actual link to download is located at the bottom of the last page. You have to be a member to download this torrent like most bit torrent sites.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    “i love joy but the acoustic dumbed down version on the album cant hold a candle to any live version ive heard.”

    ^^ exactly

  10. albert walker Says:

    I have been listened to the 85 show with the first Harry Hood a few times recently
    Kind of interesting to see where this song began and where it is now
    Trey plays the “you can feel good, good about hood” vocal line on guitar for the first 3-4 minutes of the solo. Almost like he does not know where to take it.

    Over the next 15 years it would develop into the major modal jam with the nice build we would all know and love.
    The problem is all of them are very similar. The licks and scales he would use were always very similar.

    I think to varying degrees of success they were trying to find some new ground with it, which I support fully.
    Towards the end Hoods were losing the power and I think they were trying to find it again, but going in a new and unique direction.

    Like you said they are taking it to a spacier, psychedelic space and seeing what happens from there.
    Not your traditional hoods, but I feel we will got a legendary version of the new school variety very soon.

    I agree none of them to date have hit full stride for me but I found several to be very interesting with potential but barely missing in the end.

  11. PBS Says:

    @ Mr. C – I nearly fainted when we walked through the gates…it was like being transported to a Utopian land of some kind. Truly amazing. And, I got to meet Mr. Kesey that weekend ta boot.

    PDX represent!

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    nice assessment albert.

    I can’t wait for that big Hood to drop.

    I am thinking NYE, Indio will still be a stepping stone for Hood I think.

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    where can I get a hold of that Camden DVD?

  14. Robear Says:

    Nice AW, great write up on ‘Hoods. It seems like the song of ’09 in a way. Starting with the unique version at JB in June, it seems like they’ve gone back and forth between , newer spacier, ‘now what do we do’ versions, to old style, modal build up versions, and points in between.

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    The Camden DVD is up @ Demonoid

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    thanks ^

    do you have to have a membership?
    never used Demonoid

  17. oneshowatatime Says:

    So I’ve been trying to figure out what an FMSBD is and how it’s different from a regular SBD (soundboard) recording. Now Miner is calling the download of the day a “Pre-FM SBD”–can someone help shed some light on these different acronyms for me?

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    Demonoid is a funny site. It’s an invite only site and I think it’s based in Europe or something like that ‘cuz there is a lot of copy-write material used there.

    Invite only: meaning someone has to send you an invitation code to sign up as a new member. I do not have any more invitation codes so I can’t help you there, but there are a few members here who may have an extra code for you.

  19. whole tour! Says:

    pre-fm means a soundboard recorded for fm that hasn’t been broadcast yet. the prefm is sent to radio stations.

  20. whole tour! Says:

    anything recorded from over the airwaves is post fm.

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    Pre-FM means it’s the signal before it is broadcasted, meaning it wasn’t recorded off the radio someone had taper rolling to record the signal before broadcasting. I hope that helps

  22. oneshowatatime Says:

    gotcha, so an FMSBD is a soundboard that was played on the radio and recorded from that radio source?

  23. butter Says:

    Gorge Hood was pretty large.

  24. EL Duderino Says:


  25. Kenny Powers Says:

    pardon the cluelessness, but where are people getting these Team Hood torrents? when i google Team Hood it brings me to this fucked up Saw-esque S&M myspace page. Either that’s the wrong site or these are some seriously eclectic lads.

    i feel kind of weird getting vids of Phish shows since they don’t allow it…but am curious too. although i’m slightly fearful that if i watch too many shows on my TV it will take something away from the actual experience of being at a show, since for so long there was really no way to watch a high-qual show at home…so you had to just imagine it. these super-HD mammoth videos might not leave much to the imagination, no? maybe i should just surrender to the flow.

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