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”

  1. c0wfunk Says:

    That is the realization that set me free…

    If I was running phish it would suck. Phish has run phish for 30 years and its worked pretty dang well. Therefore, let it go and see what they offer.. great to seen it laid out in living theatre. Thanks for the elucidation guys.

  2. jdub Says:

    set 1 twist again… hmm

  3. kayatosh Says:

    my proposed setlist was a little off w/ repeat Llama opener. Moma was a prime candidate to open. unique in that slot this tour and a 1st set staple.

    Great to see Undermind pop up. army of one — solidly in the set I rotation and Halley’s was due.

  4. Cal Says:

    Pham, your email came back as failed–my typo or yours?

    Stoney, bummed I didn’t get to run into ya Friday night, wasn’t allowed to the other WW tent where you were. Hung out at the lawn one and didn’t see any BBers! Imagine Dick’s will be a different story.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    we be streamin

  6. kayatosh Says:

    trey santanaing this twist. nice.

  7. jdub Says:

    yeah Kaya, me and you both.

    I could’ve been at this show with a little extra hustle. Literally, I was a day off. Needed to have a project installed by tomorrow for countertop templating. Just finished today.

    Curious to hear how they rebound.

  8. kayatosh Says:

    i had bouncin in my proposed setlist and substituted in roses. These guys are becoming fairly predictable. at most one new in ’13 tune per set; tonight – undermind.

  9. Boris Says:

    exactly, would it be so hard to at least write some setlists or something. yeesh.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Chicago 2013

    Got a Harpua Where My Jam Should Be

  11. Boris Says:

    nailed it Bingos

  12. kayatosh Says:

    stash was due to. tight rotation

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    yeah, cal. I am about done to retire that one

    try this
    nitsujyelruh the the gmaileo

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    this tweet sums it up..

    LazyLightning55 ‏@LazyLightning55

    PHish doesnt hear or concern themselves with our superlofty expectations, or ‘rewards due’ after rainouts/cancellations. They play music.end

  15. kayatosh Says:

    stream is chop suey.

    $5 official audio streams please ala stoney’s suggestion.

  16. kayatosh Says:



  17. xpun Says:

    ^except when they do bad comedy skits

  18. phoammhead Says:

    pretty cool though … we’ve boarded plane … getting ready to taxi and we’re streaming tonites show … yeah, haven’t gotten enough

  19. xpun Says:

    @Cow-we have the same first show.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    I’ve had dreams similar to the harpua episode from last night. Dreams go something like this: In attendance to see a phish show — the venue is sometimes as small as a HS auditorium or small theater, phish takes the stage, but it is not in anyway recognizable as phish music. In one of these dreams the band members had on giant, paper mache heads like one might see at a mardi gras parade.

    darn i had yarmouth in my proposed setlist for tonight. always go w/ your gut w/ these things. 1st guesses are more often correct than second guesses.

  21. Stoney Case Says:

    Palmer, they clearly hear it. They even react. Not sure what lightning is trying to say there. Do they hear and react how Stoney would like? Maybe so, maye not. But they clearly hear it and react.

  22. kayatosh Says:

    someone gave oceleot a sincere “Niiice” when it started up. . i guess people can’t get enough of this slow tennessee jed shuffle.

  23. joe Says:

    thought Ocelot was really good on the webcast the other night.

  24. MiA Says:

    My attitude has changed about last night now that I am dry and warm.

    I was getting to be a negative nancy out there in the rain and let my own expectations get away from me.

    Cool they gave 2nd city some visibility. Too bad it was such a terrible skit.

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    ” or ‘rewards due’ after rainouts/cancellations. ”

    Except when they start early, add a third set, and extend curfew.

    Again, really not sure where lightning is going with this.

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