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. lank Says:

    Take a trip BDTNL and remember when Chicago (11/8/98) spawned the “newer” lyrics of Carini — reflecting on “the naked dude” from Madison (11/6/98). Chicago maintains heady Paul & Silas bust-out history as well.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    so does carini still work for the band? I heard that he didn’t come back for the 2009 shows along with paul and brad.

  3. oneshowatatime Says:

    finally listened to that 12.31.93 board you guys referred me to last week–the boys were firing on all cylinders from the first note! definitely holding onto that one…

  4. oneshowatatime Says:

    @guyforget – someone was looking for an RV pass a couple pages back

  5. whole tour! Says:

    ^ 12-31-93…one of those shows you can hear 1,000,000 times and it still rages everytime like new! So many highlights. Perhaps one of the coolest “reba” jams in phishtory. The sharp reverb- laced notes from trey define that jam, and the whole era perhaps.

  6. oneshowatatime Says:

    @beepaphone – thanks for the Carini vid, that was absolutely raging!

  7. beepaphone Says:

    Yeah that vid has decent sound quality for a youtube…it can be seriously cranked

  8. oneshowatatime Says:

    yeah, i was wondering if the audio is from the sbd

  9. beepaphone Says:

    Something like that…it sounds much better than the AUD of the show I have

  10. oneshowatatime Says:

    Listening to that 12-31-93 Reba… this show sounds spectacular through a good pair of headphones. First round was through some shitty computer speakers, but this is really a treat with the right equipment! The jam is rolling and rollicking like crazy–this recording begs to be played in my car LOUD 😉

  11. fat bastard Says:

    one show’s picture is scary

  12. fat bastard Says:

    since were on the topic of chicago, anyone ever hear/see the band “hack n weeze?” they play mostly covers of Phish and GD, the lead guitarist is the guy from Mr. Blotto. Anyway I’m going to see them tonite at the Tonic Room. they play there every thursday.

  13. whole tour! Says:

    who’s getting BASSED in the next couple of days/weeks?
    8 days till hurricane gordo hit’s the beach here!
    He’s been busting out the quality covers!
    Last night he played a coldplay song (LOL) and a leonard cohen tune.
    The night before he played a skynard tune and a radio head song.
    I’m hoping he busts out a complete pink floyd “one of these days” here next week! 🙂

  14. fat bastard Says:

    I’m seeing him/them in Chi at Park West. can’t wait! GET BASSED!

  15. whole tour! Says:

    I bet he plays “swamp music” again at the “Freebird cafe” 😉

  16. oneshowatatime Says:

    sorry, didn’t mean to frighten anyone with my brows–i’m actually wearing a huge grin in that photo 🙂

  17. prince nabby Says:

    @ wholetour. 12.31.93 is, hands down, my favorite Phish show, and that show’s Reba is my all-time most played Phish cut ever. The jam is perfection. I know that they had cameras at that show to capture footage for the DWD video, and if the whole I show ever surfaced, I’d die.

    Getting BASSED in ATL in a week.

    I wonder if someone who has grabbed the Camden DVD from Demonoid would consider seeding it at a less restrivtive site such as the pirate bay for us poor saps who do not have an invite to demonland. Thanks!

    @Miner. Great topic today. I always secretly hoped that they would play the setlist from Coventry in reverse over the course of the Hampton run, beginning with The Curtain (With), undoing and resolving the agony that was their “last” show.

  18. whole tour! Says:


    you got email? i can send you a demonoid invite.
    I used to use the noid all the time, but i got a computer virus back in november and have been out of the torrenting game for quite some time.

    I actually just got the camden dvds in the mail today from a good friend. I’m gonna check them out at half time later.

  19. beepaphone Says:

    One Show – you’re Roger Federer, right!?

  20. fat bastard Says:

    Sir Roger that is.

  21. oneshowatatime Says:

    Boris actually. Boris the Spider.

  22. Leo Weaver Says:

    Whoa…that is the PERFECT Reba…I haven’t heard 12.31.93 in probably 12 years (scratchy XLII baby!) until y’all brought it up today. I never realized it was THAT good. Reba…wow…happy ears, happy ears…


  23. prince nabby Says:

    @ wholetour

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

    Thanks so much! I’ll send you my DVD list when you e-mail me, and maybe I can hook you up with some stuff 🙂

  24. whole tour! Says:

    @prince…no problem man!

    look for an email in the next 10mins!

  25. whole tour! Says:

    You got mail prince…

    off to watch the game!

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