Phish: UIC Pavilion, 8/16/11

Posted 8/22/2011 by cal

Posted in

With the bar set impossibly high the night before, Phish came out on night two with a trio of tunes that just happened to be exactly the kind of opening I dream about.  I don’t know what it is about “Dinner And A Movie”; it has always just been the most hilariously sinister song in the repertoire, and the little part of me that still cared about the novelty of hearing Phish play short bursts of geek-satisfying awesomeness that I thought I might never hear was suddenly and permanently satisfied when I heard Trey scruff his strings with a taste of that opening chord.  Same kind of excitement, though not as ecstatic, for “Ha Ha Ha”.  And then another tune that’s finally back in the saddle this year, “Chalk Dust Torture”, screechingly intense guitar picking by yer man Trey.  Absurdly, this beginning was my favorite part of the show.

I say “absurdly” because there were far more impressive things that went on afterwards.  This second leg of summer tour had been somewhat maligned for its lack of variety, both in song selection and improvisation, but as this set rolled along, it seemed that the band was bored with the usual stuff, and not interested in playing the usual way.  Even through three of my least favorite songs ever--“Mexican Cousin”, “Walls Of The Cave” and “Ocelot”--Phish was finding ways to keep my interest.  The classic “Runaway Jim”-“Foam” combo packed a punch, and I have to grudgingly admit that even “Ocelot” seemed vibrant and not utterly formulaic.  Chicago even got a second straight out-of-the-ordinary “Limb By Limb”; last year’s version had a sweet little vocal jam ending, and this year’s was all spectacular group interplay/unconscious Trey shred.  A second-ever take on the Rolling Stones’ “Let It Loose” set the crowd a-jabberin’ to usher in setbreak.

Many fans will tell you they go to Phish shows in pursuit of the huge, exploratory jam.  Tuesday night’s “Down With Disease” was the type of experience that makes a run worthwhile for the jam-chasers, 20 minutes of pants-seat invention, as first Page and then Mike led Trey and Fish off the beaten path and into murky and ethereal tangents, and eventually Trey prompted a final climax with some funky, metallic chugging.  The Midwest has been blessed this year with a couple of all-timers from the most fruitful vehicle in the Phish 3.0 canon, and while the UIC “Disease” didn’t eclipse the version from Pine Knob in June, it’s a must-hear all the same.

Beyond this epic, we were forced to find delight in non-jammy places.  The way “Twist” oozed into existence out of the post-“Disease” ether was enticing, and the jam was an enjoyable stroll but not very dynamic.  Later, Trey inexplicably, viciously killed Phish’s most fertile new cover tune, TV On The Radio’s “Golden Age”, almost as quickly as humanly possible with sustained feedback that apparently meant “NEXT”.  “You Enjoy Myself” never really strayed from its template, but it was nevertheless a hot version with the kind of insane, disturbing vocal jam that can only develop indoors.

But then there was “Backwards Down The Number Line”, which has become a real curiosity among Phishheads: despite the fact that it was the definitive starting point of The Reunion, many fans have maligned it for being too poppy, killing set momentum or rarely sparking any grand musical statements.  Tonight’s version was not experimental by any stretch, but it was well placed and ebullient, and as for me personally, I can guarantee that when I'm old, even the shortest, simplest versions of this tune will evoke more joy and pleasant memories than any of the meandering, directionless half-hour jams of the sad, drugged-out era that preceded this one.

The lyrics of Tom Marshall are often constructed to chase each other around in your brain for years before you figure out what the hell they’re about, which, instead of being frustrating, actually sets the stage for epiphanies akin to the craziest instrumental peaks when the light goes on at a show.  Such was my experience during “Theme From The Bottom” tonight; whether I’ve got Tom’s intention right or not, my feelings for the song will never be the same, and my show experience improved immeasurably in the aftermath.

The encore wasn’t quite as long tonight as Monday, but one of its three tunes was “Slave To The Traffic Light”; you know how it’s going to end, and you even know basically how it’s going to get there, but when the band is dialed in and bursting with emotion and the crowd is giving it all back like we all were at UIC, you still get that elated burst at the climax, just like the old days.  In those moments, the air we breathe is an intangible, subconscious substance that has something to do with familiarity and the degree of unpredictability within it, and by night’s end we were all gratefully drenched in it once again.

Share:

Add your comment

 
 

 

Archive

Tagcloud

Phish Alpine Valley Dead Trey Chicago Soldier Field U2 United Center MKE Psych Fest Feck Tame Impala Mini Mansions WMSE Ttotals L.A. Witch Calliope Holydrug Couple Holy Wave Bread Mothers Cactus Club Kendrick Death Grips Apollo Vermouth adoptahighway Tay Butler Haz Solo Open Mike Eagle Midwives Klassik Twin Shadow Kiings Porterfield bliss & alice Webster X milo Pizzle Colin Plant Christine Hoberg Piper Davis Torrice Albarakat Siren Disappears DRKWAV Medeski Skerik Zorn Grohowski Bjork Mount Eerie iamamiwhoami Old Earth Black Monolith Forsyth Shabazz Palaces Great Old Ones FKA Twigs Perfume Genius Mondkopf Godflesh Timber Timbre Sun Kil Moon Ariel Pink Medicine Cult Of Youth Emptiness St. Vincent Ishraqiyun SC3 Delphines RTJ FlyLo Death Blues D'Angelo Anathema Eyvind Kang Marissa Nadler Primordial Andy Stott Sun Glitters Swans Thou TitD TV Girl Voices Scrimshaw SD Laika gauss Kinth Strange Matter Lotus Ash Piles Sat. Nite Duets M-Nat Mortgage Freeman Dogs In Ecstasy Canopies Panda Bear Elbow Antemasque DJ Quik Suga Free Happyness CWM Blut Aus Nord TVotR Nick Cave Moss Folk Loop Blind Shake Running Vocokesh Space Raft Tapebenders Ryan Adams Riverside Pabst Turner Hall RWPH Juniper Tar MKE Day Volcano Choir King Crimson Mind Over Mirrors JKB Laswell Lombardo Wilco Metheny Mogwai Breadfest Marcy Twin Brother Caley Conway Zebras LTT Bremen Cafe DEJJ Vic Fripp DMB Summerfest Lincoln Hall Xiu Xiu Milwaukee Theatre Catacombz Scarring Party CML Disguised As Birds Bladerunner Reggie's psych Beast In The Field Plastic Crimewave Syndicate SOYSV Elusive Parallelograms The Blind Shake Garibaldi Pitchfork Lolla Bonnaroo Summer Camp AIHA Papadosio Beck Altos Rebecca Rego Cowboy Winter Linneman's Umphrey's Riviera Chris Forsyth Solar Motel Wereworm Ruined Costume Circle-A Victory And Associates rutabega Revenge Society Skategoat Bungle Patton Spruance Dunn Forest Swords The Field Marc Ribot Ceramic Dog Altar Of Plagues Gorguts Besnard Lakes Fuck Buttons Run The Jewels El-P Killer Mike Ulver Danny Brown Daft Punk BSBD MoTA MBV Hiatus Vhol Boards Of Canada Cloak Ox Chance The Rapper Dirty Beaches John Grant Grumbling Fur Dustin Wong Jesu Joey Bada$$ Jonwayne Junip Locrian Palms Pelican Russian Circles Sigur Ros Thundercat Washed Out White Denim Black Sabbath Pearl Jam Carcass Nirvana McCartney Bowie Northless Fatty Acids SND Soul Low KPRC Fable Heartthrob Myles Coyne Blessed Feathers JFlash Hello Death Kid Millions Dana Coppa SPEAK Easy L&R Animal Collective Thom Yorke Radiohead AfP Leonard Cohen Field Report Umphreys Sparks RIP Metallica Lou Reed mkefilm pop prog Linnemans Day Joy Eric & Magill Pizza! Steven Wilson Yes Dick's rock Earl Greyhound Eight Bells The Men My Gold Mask Shouting Matches Spectrals Team Spirit Temple Their/They're/There Tripwires Turf War. Angel Olsen Woods Mikal Cronin Wire Savages Kller Mike Yo La Tengo metal Across Tundras Cult Of Luna TFOES Fen Intronaut Nero Di Marte October Tide Portal Opeth electronic ambient Beacon Dying Machines Jonas Reinhardt Pharaohs Umberto Xander Harris All Tiny Creatures Body Language Emma Louise Isaac Delusion Majical Cloudz Mood Ring Mozart's Sister Royal Canoe Tullycraft Yeasayer Femmes Sigmund Avett Brothers Schubas Township Constellation moe. Cornmeal Caravan Of Thieves STS9 MMW Thievery Diplo UV Hippo Jon Mueller Outside Quarters Follakzoid Psychic Ills Sacred Bones Orpheum Mike Dillon Decibully IfIHadAHifi Championship canyonsofstatic Promise Ring R.I.P. Claypool Dead Kenny Gs Fiona Apple Ciocarlia Jack White Neurosis Atlas Sound Atlas Moth Mission Of Burma Brokeback Katatonia Zatokrev Sigh Gojira Paradise Lost Shining Daylight Dies Switchblade Wodensthrone Les Discrets The Gathering ITTCT Fear Falls Burning 2012 Godspeed Baroness Converge Liars Kendrick Lamar Ani of Montreal Frank Ocean Lonerism Grizzly Bear Dirty Projectors indie Police Teeth Fanfare Ciocarlia Nervous Curtains Bottom Lounge Worrier TPDR Mad Planet Lotus Plaza indie rock Suckers Lower Dens post punk Hollows Sugar Stems Royal Baths Bear In Heaven Smoking Popes Imagine Dragons El Valiente Avett Bros Death Cab BMO MCA Beastie Boys Burning Sons Lisa Ridgely Black Eagle Child Joe Crockett Hotel Foster Call Me Lightning Trapper Schoepp Levon Helm Moon Curse Paul Cebar John Sieger Hugh Masterson sviib Sat Nite Duets Semitwang Coachella Rothbury Forecastle Hangout Sasquatch Wakarusa Chili Peppers SCI moe Primus Janes Pretty Lights Bon Iver Bassnectar MMJ Girl Talk Andrew Bird Sleigh Bells IMP Cloud Nothings Grimes PJ Harvey Kumas Hot Tuna Stonefly Deerhunter Drake Loyal Divide J.Viewz Cymbals Eat Guitars Today Is The Day The Roots Hank 3 Junius Kanye Jay-Z Fucked Up CunninLinguists Grails Destroyer Rosebuds Young Widows Esoteric Crappy Dracula Danglers Hue Alpha Transit Riverwest Anthrax Testament the rave Brief Candles Dick Dale Empty Bottle pink floyd the wall Fib Seq Arcade Fire Rush RSD Wild Flag av club dreampop gothic King's Horses Terrior Bute yuck dirtbombs garage techno arkady ikarus down Summercamp Buckethead barrymore muzzleofbees Lollapalooza PiL Pavement Malkmus Yorke APTBS Future Rock Borg Ward 2010 lists Big Boi Janelle Monae The Books Beefheart National Acorn Nicki Minaj M.I.A. Agalloch Broadrick Enslaved Eminem Sufjan GNL Howl Street KGF Jaill Dusty Medical Dirtnap 88.9 Drugs Dragons Conrad Plymouth Fibonacci experimental Ribot Charleston Congress mgmt dr. dog quasi bone thugs strange boys the knife shows Roger Waters jambase Systemic Torment CoCoB Willy Porter widespread panic umphrey's mcgee ott bluetech big gigantic lotus sub swara zappa plays zappa john butler trio 88Nine Aragon Majestic you-phoria interviews features STP Miramar albums 2009 Madison Festivals films Deer Creek reunions Hampton Atomic RushMor 2008 Chicago Theater BBC kibitzer high noon Zeppelin tdmii Schlock 2007 2006 Double Door

Syndication

Recent comments