In an unprecedented move that was hard to wrap one’s head around at the time, Phish and / or authorities called off the opening night of Northerly Island one song deep in the second set. After a sluggish opening half, the band dropped a spirited “Down With Disease” that ended far too quickly for a “Prince Caspian” that never happened. Page got up from his piano—a move many thought was in reaction to the ripcorded—to inform Trey that the concert had been called off. Lightening in the distance was the reason provided, but the massive storm that was coming never materialized. In fact, across town Pearl Jam took a two-hour set break and played until two in the morning. This is the second bush league fiasco of tour that could have been avoided with any level of forethought.
Everyone knew the storm was coming from early afternoon, but why should be last night be any different from SPAC, Jones Beach, Merriweather or Alpharetta? Phish has played through storms far more severe than the one in Chicago last night all tour long. And let’s be serious—this was no lightening storm. The show should have continued. By the time everyone had found their way home, the rain had stopped and Pearl Jam was taking the stage. Granted they had a later curfew, but these are the situations for which rock stars have millions of dollars. I can name at least ten shows off the top of my head that took place in for worse conditions than last night. Everything that happened on Friday reeked of poor form, and here’s what could have happened.
Phish announces—via social media—that are starting promptly at 7pm due to impending storms. The band takes the stage for real, not with a worthless first set, and plays—without a break—through 9:30pm and sends everyone home dry and happy. Instead, they waste the only time we had with meaningless music, take a setbreak, and come back as if all is progressing as planned. Who makes these decisions?
I don’t feel bad for myself or the kids on tour, they’ll see the rest of the shows. But what about the people who flew to Chicago for three shows? What about the people who could only come to last night’s show? One would assume Phish will come out with their biggest show of tour tomorrow night. They almost have to. How bout playing two improve based sets instead of one? How bout playing three sets tomorrow? Something? Anything? Buller? Bueller?
I: Suzy Greenberg, Wolfman’s Brother, Backwards Down the Number Line, It’s Ice, The Moma Dance , My Soul, Scent of a Mule, 46 Days, Limb By Limb, Julius
II: Down with Disease > Prince Caspian*
*aborted at least 30 minutes before any rain hitTags: 2013, Summer '13