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.

7/19 Official (R. Kelly)

7/19 Official (R. Kelly)

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 hit

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707 Responses to “Really?”

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  1. [Not Tom] Says:

    Sucks for all who were on attendance. I wonder if the reason they did it was because of Northerly Island’s location out in the lake? Just a thought from someone who wasn’t there.

    Agree that the band must play a monster show tonight

  2. kenny powers Says:

    How utterly weird. When I checked my phone before bed I saw

    II: Down with Disease > Prince Caspian

    And that seemed to be around the time the set would have been at that point. And now to wake up and find that that’s how it ended? I mean, I understand weather safety and all, but as Miner said they could have surely waited it out.

    Any other thoughts from people who were there?

    Guess I should really plan on ordering tonight’s webcast, lol. And glad I didn’t order last night’s 😉

  3. Foul_Domain Says:

    “After the Phish show at Northerly Island was cancelled due to severe weather, Mike and Fish sat in providing musical accompaniment to the nightly comedy improve”

    ^ From

  4. Jerm Says:

    I think since them being scheduled for two more nights heavily influenced the outcome. I also think the fact that it is a temporary stage on the water played a role as well.

  5. Rahm Emanuel Says:

  6. kenny powers Says:

    gotta say that shit was pretty funny how Trey ends it “Prince…..CASPIANNNNN!!!”

  7. halcyon Says:

    Could it be that they couldn’t extend the curfew at northerly island?

    Pearl Jam had their curfew extended at Wrigley which was for 11:30 p.m.

    I remember in 2003 Widespread Panic played Telluride and a huge storm came on cancelling the show 3 songs in. What a mess it was. They made up for it the next day and played a 6 hour show. Of course I only went down for one night, the night the show was cancelled, and could not stay for the second night. I love that town. It was a fun party regardless.

  8. Greg Says:

    Sorry Miner, but I think you are way off base with this rant. All those sheds you mention have concourses and places for the audience to get cover real fast and it is easier to get them back in the venue. It would have been an even bigger shit show to get them all back in last night even if there wasn’t a hard stop 11pm curfew.
    Also, I looked at the forecast aroung 6pm for Chicago last night and there was no rain in there at that time, so maybe you should push blame on the meteorologists or God or something.

  9. btb Says:

    Bummer. Boarding a plane now to Chicago.

    3 sets on Sunday? Today?

  10. kenny powers Says:

    listen Fish at 12:20



  11. kenny powers Says:

    Face Melting Caspian

  12. kenny powers Says:

    They should def open with a Pearl Jam number tonight.

  13. guitarpicker420! Says:

    It’s hard to say whether or not it was the right call. However, I must disagree with Miner that the first set was all weak sauce. The Mule was super interesting with Fish playing his new Marimba (is that what that thing is?). I also thought the 46 Days jam was really solid and the Wolfman’s was no slouch either. Nothing was as intense as say the SOAM from SPAC, but it wasn’t a throw away set either.

  14. Stoney Case Says:

    I think show had been cancelled before Caspian started.

    First set was played well, yet was musically unmoving to the Nth degree. It was almost okay in the context. First of six sets for the weekend. Wolfmans the highlight. Trey could have thrown us another bone or two. It’s impossible to predict, however, that was not music I would travel for on its own.

    Disease had much potential. I am quite sure it would have continued had the show not been cancelled. Caspian was a quick outro.

    So far MPP the only shows worth traveling for this summer IMO. IMO. IMO. And that’s only if I had any desire to go there.

    Life’s too short for these throw away sets. No doubt the next two nights go big. Yet it doesn’t change the fact that peeps braved crazy heat, nightmare parking, for that last night.

  15. guitarpicker420! Says:

    We made it back to the hotel mostly dry. The folks at Northerly Isle offered no guidance as to where we should go. If I hadn’t been there just a few weeks ago with the family, I wouldn’t have thought to head for the Soldier Field north garage. Man it was hot in there, and there were security goons chasing people deeper and deeper in to the garage rather than let people just congregate. I ignored most of them, but when dude with a gun tells you to move, it is generally my philosophy to move. After the first half let up, I made my way to the L stop at Roosevelt which is a solid mile or more away from the Museum campus. About a block away the skies opened up again. We took shelter under the entrance to a building and stayed mostly dry until it started to let up again.

    Miner is completely right that there was not adequate planning for this kind of eventuality. However, being from Indy and knowing that Northerly Isle is a temporary stage like the one that collapsed at the State Fair…I think it’s better to err on the side of caution.

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    The set was nearly slide free. Maybe a couple bars in Limb by Limb.

    Wolfs and Limb the highlights for me.

    Since Greek 3 I have lost interest in 46 Days as ‘another rocker’.

    Didn’t even get a jam in Its Ice, after that awesome MPP version.

  17. Foul_Domain Says:

    I was having fun during the 1st set. Suzy, Wolfmans was a nice start, Ice is always a welcome song for me, and there were some good points in 46 Days and Limb.

    ‘Meaningless music’ seems a bit harsh, but I get that its probably partly the disappointment talking. Or not. But I definitely agree that a 7:00 start would have been wise.

  18. Foul_Domain Says:

    “Northerly Isle is a temporary stage like the one that collapsed at the State Fair…I think it’s better to err on the side of caution.”

    ^ Hard to disagree with the decision after watching that video. Some scary shit right there.

  19. Stoney Case Says:

    Suzy a fun opener with some spirited play. My Soul mid set a nice surprise with some clean bluesy leads for the nod to Chicago.

    Ready for the LuminaMarimba to appear in a Gorge RnR type jam.

    Julius to close = ultimate in anti-climactic ends to a jam-free rockin set.

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    Phish needed to predict, plan and adjust. Play through set break. That was completely weak. Miner makes a great point there.

    2 times in two weeks Phish has left fans out to dry by being indecisive and slow to react. Toronto they tried, but the failure was compounded by not announcing until basically doors.

    I talked to a bunch of people that:

    Were only in for Friday
    That came from Canada/Toronto hoping for their first show of summer.

  21. Matso Says:

    Well put Miner. As one of those who travelled pretty far for this 3 pack (across the Atlantic) and haven’t seen a show in 3 years/unlikely to another one after this run for a good long while, last night was a deeply disappointing, even more so when the heavy rain lasted 10 minutes.

    It was just as glimpses of a musical/spiritual break through were finally showing up in that DWD (which was one of, if not the, reason for travelling this far) that Page started wandering around and the houselights came up. It was the lights that signalled something was seriously wrong. Trey seemed completely oblivious until Page basically tapped him on the shoulder.

    I’m trying to be zen about it (as I get older, it becomes easier to accept life isn’t perfect) but just hope they play a lot tonight and tomorrow to make up for that missing set and do something special. And leave that Fuckerpants unfinished.

    “Look! The storm’s gone…”

  22. ColonelJoy Says:

    Having Been There, Miner Is Overreacting. The Storms WeRe Quite Severe. I Understood And Was Happy To Leave….Knowing Today Will Be Uber Special. Canceling Show Was The Right Call. BTW…..Whole Venue Sounds Amazing….Few Weaks For An A+ Venue, But Sound, Way In Back Was SupErb

  23. ColonelJoy Says:

    No Bitching In My Crew…Realizing We’ll Get Historically Jammed show.

  24. Medicinebull Says:

    As someone who works in event management/production, I can tell you that the decision to evacuate was not made by the band and was most likely made by the venue management. There are MAJOR liabilities at stake and this company was obviously not taking any chances.

    I have personally had to make the call to evacuate the stands at an event being held in a football stadium due to lightning and it was not an easy decision. Then again had someone gotten struck by lightning and died or the stage collapsed I would have easily lost my job and lived with tremendous guilt for not acting sooner my whole life.

  25. voopa Says:

    I doubt the band considers their first sets worthless.

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