Incredibly Ordinary

7.20.13 (WCProductions)

7.20.13 (WCProductions)

When I woke up yesterday, I had a text that Phish had announced an extra set! In a tour filled with unprecedented events, including a postponement, a cancellation, now we had a random three setter! Not since 7/12/96 in Amsterdam had the band played a three set show that was not associated with a holiday and or a festival. July 20, 2013 would live in eternal Phish lore—and what a throwdown it would be! After a lightning-canceled Friday night’s show, the band was sure going to kick down the goods—or so we thought. When the dust settled on this surprise show, however, we had a Saturday Night Special spread over three sets. Favoring songs to jams and sticking with an obnoxiously tight song rotation, the band put on a good, though underwhelming show at Northerly Island.

7/20 Official (R. Kelly)

7/20 Official (R. Kelly)

When the band opened the night with “Prince Caspian” and slid into “Twist,” it felt as though the guys were picking up exactly where they left off and would play last night’s second set, then continue with two more. But that didn’t happen. Trey quickly returned the band to their first set flow as he combined “Ha, Ha, Ha” with “Possum” in a joke that was clearly on us. The band dropped a thick “Cities” that got kids moving, but quickly doused any momentum with “Lawn Boy” and “I Didn’t Know.” Though they were sharp throughout the first set, the band did nothing special or out of the ordinary in a situation that kinda called for it.

Phish delivered the meat of the show in the second set in the sequence of “Golden Age > Waves > Piper > Slave.” Though this 40-minute segment boasted a quality flow, the only real highlight reel music went down in “Piper > Slave.” The band let things hang out for only one of two times during the show in “Piper,” sculpting an unrelenting jam that carried all sorts of groove. As Trey added some late-90’s wah textures to the mix, the guys got into some stop/start action as well, leading an incredibly danceable feel to the uptempo jam. Strong work by Page anchored the piece throughout, and Trey got into some minimalist rhythm comping to his organ work in final section that resembled a “Maze” jam for a bit. Bleeding into “Slave,” the guys capped the four-song sequence with another stellar version. All summer, the band has been capping big-time sets with magnificent “Slaves,” and while this set didn’t match any of monsters dropped during the first two weeks of tour, this “Slave” carried as much majesty of any short of SPAC.

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

When the band emerged for their marquee third set, “Tweezer,” “Ghost,” “Sand,” and “2001” all waited in the wings to form a potential monster, but Trey opted for “Meatstick,” “Birds of a Feather” and “Ocelot.” Nuff’ said. This third set reeked of repeats, and I am not one to ever care about such things. Though the band has been playing phenomenally this summer, their rotation is as tight as ever, and its starting to effect things. The guys turned things around for the ending of the set as they dropped another stellar “Light” and segued into another standout take on their other feel-good set-capper, “Harry Hood.” This “Light” veered from the others of summer, favoring delicate interplay in a very gentle, jazz-laced jam. The guys lit up  “Dave’s Energy Guide” in the beginning of this one before steering off course into a tasteful exchange that stole the third set spotlight outright.

All in all, Phish fell short of even the most minimal expectations given the situation at hand in Chicago on Saturday night. Dropping a mediocre show when the situation called for a banger, the band left Sunday open for a end-of-week extravaganza. Just about everybody expected something special from the guys last night, and they delivered a standard show with two high quality jams and one set to write home about. Though the show certainly had its moments, the performance was anything but nasty, gritty, and overwhelming—the stuff we’ve come to expect from Phish 2013. This one had its moments, but amounted to nothing more. And for the record, I had a fucking blast the entire time, just thought the band didn’t deliver. Massive amounts of fun, very little serious music. Hopefully Sunday night can salvage the weekend in the Midway. We shall see.

I: Prince Caspian > Twist, Ha Ha Ha > Possum, Cities, Lawn Boy, I Didn’t Know, Rift, Destiny Unbound, My Friend, My Friend, Kill Devil Falls, Cavern, David Bowie*

II: Back on the Train, Mike’s Song > Theme From the Bottom -> Weekapaug Groove, Golden Age > Waves > Piper > Slave to the Traffic Light

III: Meatstick, Birds of a Feather, Strange Design, Ocelot, Light > Harry Hood > Good Times Bad Times

E: Shine a Light

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1,245 Responses to “Incredibly Ordinary”

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  1. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    The world revolves on the expectations we put upon it

  2. willowed Says:

    Agree. Show didn’t start till KDF in the 1st. KDF Bowie started the show. Rest of first set was a throwaway.

    2nd set though had tons of flavor.

    Meatstick opener was very a bit off, but I did feel the Ocelot was played very well. Of course everyone knows what you get when they drop a Light.

    I thought the Possum was very hot with a Suzy style jam mixed in.

    Had fun on couch tour. Agree with rotation of songs. Need to change some things a bit. I wanted a 7 Below 3rd set opener. Oh well.

  3. Ghostface Says:

    Couldn’t disagree more. Show had incredible moments from start to finish with some of the tightest playing i’ve heard throughout. Just because they don’t break from structure doesn’t mean it can’t be great. Entire second set was a flawless chunk of great phish. Even the weekapaug was insanely funky. Three sets of killer phish. Insanely fun.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    mpp1 didnt break structure and was great. last night not so much. Not much meat to 3 sets. kinda lame imo. Not comparable to the east coast shows in any way shape or form. weekapaug was def legit, however if that’s three sets of killer Phish…well…we all know that it wasn’t…

  5. Mac Says:

    I agree with ghostface. That show was fantastic. Take it for what it is.

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    i absolutely did take it for what it is—a mediocre Phish show with two jams in over 4 hours.

  7. Hugger Says:

    I agree with the set 3 comments. They had way too much still hanging out there, to play that sort of set. Set 2, however, was quality from top to bottom! Man, at least ‘mention’ the Weekapaug!

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    Yeah, I just think that they are playing out Mike’s Groove again pretty quickly without taking things to the next level…Train Mikes Theme to start the second set? more like the first…

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    Anyway—heading to bed. You all enjoy the chatter. I’m sure I’ll be getting flamed/killed/crushed for this review, but hey—I call em like I see em. Much love.

  10. Delicious Says:

    Wow. This show was really good. I’m not sure if watching on Couch Tour made a difference here or what. It sounded great to me. The song choices were thoughtful. The playing was tight but free. The band seemed locked in to the crowd, the lights and each other. They gave us funny, improvisational, funky, dank, dark and danceable music throughout three sets. They really had a great tone vocally and instrumentally. They were clearly working hard and getting positive results. Over 100 shows for me going back to 92 and I loved this one. It was special because of the era, the Ocelot, three sets and the venue. I respect Mr Miners thoughts about Phish but I disagree with him in this case. Listen to it again or you may miss it again. This show had it.

  11. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Attempted a webcast after dinner party last night at my house. Nobody dug it and I had to turn it off as week started;(
    I jokingly asked everybody to please leave. Set 3 in bed on headphones. Glad it crushed last night!

  12. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Miner- appreciate the review. Rest up for the Sunday night barn burner!

  13. guitarpicker420! Says:

    I think some mention must be made of the extremely tight version of Rift. That is a hard song to nail and they did it justice. I would have liked to see more done with Twist in the first set. Bowie was quite good, though not up to par with some of the earlier versions this tour. I think, however, it is a bit of hyperbole to call it a mediocre Phish show. They had a tremendous amount of energy that the crowd was really getting off on, at least around me. Ocelot had a lot of special sauce on it, and it was probably one of the top versions of that song ever played. That said, if what you are chasing is Type II jams, then last night probably wasn’t your favorite. However, for pure energy and extremely tight playing, I thought last night was great.

  14. Oldskool Says:

    Miner, I mostly agree. However, I thought the Bowie had a bit more meat than you are giving it credit for and the transition jam (albeit quick) from Theme to Weekapaug was legit! I also thought the ambient outro from Golden Age to Waves was very patient and well done. This are small things and at the macro level I agree with you, but I think these smaller highlights are worth noting

  15. NickPop Says:

    While some of the jams were cut a bit short, overall I thought it was a great show. Remember, while it was a 3 set show, it was still a Saturday, and Saturdays usually turn out to be a bit more of a dance party. I thought the Mikes > Theme > Weekapaug was a lot of fun. All in all, not a history maker of a show, but I doubt anyone had a bad time!

  16. GordonStSg Says:

    Show reviews are subjective, you and everyone else have a right to their opinions but give the band credit for getting everything right regarding Friday’s cancellation:

    – Partial Refunds for those who only caught Night 1
    – Three set show for those doing the run
    – Webcasters get a credit for ANY upcoming future Webcast
    – Discounted LivePhish download

  17. Marcoesq Says:

    When tonight gets the Tweezer>Carini>ghost>YEM treatment, all will be forgotten. But 3 sets and no kickdowns is kinda head scratching

  18. Cschaff Says:

    I guess we were at different shows.

  19. willowed Says:

    In my post above, I meant Suzy style jam in the Paug not Possum.

  20. Mac Says:

    Did anyone else on couch tour notice how up front Page was in the mix? It radically changes the dynamics of how one hears the show.

  21. Kbill Says:

    At least there are plenty of huge songs left for tonight.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Whatever you’re going through miner, best of luck.

    Best 2 sets I’ve seen in ages. Soul crushed.

  23. Oldskool Says:

    Wtf. That is really strange. Someone please delete my post

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    i expected a great phish show. nothing more, nothing less.

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    Whatever you’re going through miner, best of luck.
    Best 2 sets I’ve seen in ages. Soul crushed.

    ^ did you see anything from SPAC -> Alpharetta?

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