Phish Chicago Setlist & The Skinny | Night Three
On Sunday night, Phish concluded a three-night stand at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island in Chicago. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the last 30 years from Phish, it’s to “expect the unexpected” and tonight’s show was jam-packed with many surprising moments such as the first Type II “The Wedge” and a four-man drum jam during the first set. The “Never Miss A Sunday Show” saying proved to be correct on this night.
Though Phish has played 1,295 shows since debuting “Gumbo” in 1990, tonight was just the second time the band has kicked off a gig with the Fishman/Anastasio-penned song. The only other “Gumbo” show opener took place on November 28, 1998 at The Centrum in Worcester, MA. The set continued with a “Runaway Jim” that featured a blazing solo from guitarist Trey Anastasio and the Gamehendge rarity “Tela.” The Page McConnell-sung “Tela” was last played on July 31, 2013 in Lake Tahoe, just after the famed “Tahoe Tweezer.” Next up was a deliciously weird take on “Scent Of A Mule” that featured a four-man drum jam as the members of Phish assembled on drummer Jon Fishman’s drum riser as he started his section of the “Mule Duel” on his Marimba Lumina. The “Bathtub Gin” that followed contained multiple orgasmic peaks driven by Anastasio, who loaded his solo with one rapid-fire, highly-melodic riff after another and was ably assisted by impressive contributions from keyboardist Page McConnell. Page then sang his second song of the set, “Silent In The Morning,” which was once again performed without its old friend “The Horse.” McConnell had one of his best sets of the tour to start the Chicago finally as in addition to his powerful vocal and instrumental work earlier in the set, his fiery “Maze” solo was even more potent than usual. For his part, Trey struggled with some of the lyrics “Maze” but regrouped to deliver a potent solo of his own. The same could be said for the guitarist’s contributions to the versions of “Ocelot” and “Wals Of A Cave” that ended the first set.
While “Gumbo” is a rare show opener, “Down With Disease” -which opened tonight’s closing stanza -has frequently been used by Phish to start second sets. After the band had powered through the rock segment at the beginning of the “Disease” jam, Anastasio landed on a riff that he used to modulate the improv from the key of A to the key of G. Bassist Mike Gordon laid down a strong bottom end, Fish propelled the improv with an ever-evolving beat, Anastasio weaved in and around the groove as McConnell expertly tickeled the ivories on his Wurlitzer 106p electric piano during the lengthy section of the jam in G. For this was a true “Team Phish” version of “Down With Disease” that eventually segued into “Winterqueen.” This tour more than ever we’ve seen Trey content to play rhythm while his band mates handle the heavy lifting. It’s pattern we hope to see continue as Page and Fish are performing as well as they have in years and you can always count on Mike to be on his game. Anastasio eschewed the written intros to a pair of songs later in the set as he started “Theme From The Bottom” himself (Fish and Page usually handle the intro) and the same thing happened with “The Wedge” (Fish usually intros the song) that came out of “Mike’s Song.”
What happened next was by far the biggest and best surprise of the night as Phish blew out “The Wedge” in a way far different from any approach they’ve taken towards the song in the past. We had another “Team Phish” moment in which Trey focused on his rhythmic work after the Vermonters broke through the normal structure of the highly-composed song. Following a few marvelous minutes of improvisation, Fishman played the familiar “Wedge” beat but his band mates would not be denied and instead of ending the first-ever “Type II” “Wedge,” the quartet hooked up on an anthemic progression reminicent of Guns N’ Roses “Paradise City” that took the brilliant jam home. Anthemic chord progressions were the order of the evening as “Ghost” also featured a powerful, classic rock sequence the quartet expertly worked over with great success. “A fucking noise sculpture that was,” writer Rob Mitchum said of the “Ghost” and we couldn’t agree more. The third “Team Phish” jam worth seeking out of the set faded into the “Weekapaug Groove” we all knew was coming. The “Weekapaug” was highlighted by a “Ghost” jam within it and also saw a brief bit of “Stash” thrown in for good measure. A thrilling second set that joins the club of “Best Phish Sets Played In Chicago” came to a close with a well-played and placed “First Tube.” The year’s fifth “Character Zero” encore gave fans and band one more chance to get all of their energy out before Phish goes on a four-day break leading up to Friday night’s show in Charlotte.
- Venue Type / Capacity: Outdoor Amphitheater / 30,000
- Previous Shows at Venue: 07/19/2013, 07/20/2013, 07/21/2013, 07/18/2014 and 07/19/2014 -5 Shows
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 10 / 7:35 p.m. – 9:03 p.m. (88 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 9 / 9:28 p.m. -10:55 p.m. (87 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 19 / 0 / 19
- Biggest Bustout: Tela -39 Shows (LTP -07/31/2013)
- Average Song Vintage: 1996
- Debuts: N/A
- Tour Debuts: Tela
- Total Number Of Different Songs Phish Has Played This Year: 117
- Weather: 78°F and Mostly Cloudy at show time
- Average Song Gap: 6.81
- The Spread: Lawn Boy -1, Rift -3, Hoist -2, Billy Breathes – 2, Story Of The Ghost -1, Farmhouse -1, Round Room -1, Joy -1, Fuego -2, Misc. – 5
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: The Wedge 14:44 / Silent In The Morning 5:12
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos…