|Official Poster by Rich Kelly|
Sunday is the final show of a three-night stint in Chicago.
Here is what you missed....
The Phish, 7/21/13 Northerly Island, Chicago, ILNotes:
Set 1: Dinner and a Movie, AC/DC Bag, Maze, Mound, Funky Bitch, GIN, Wilson, Water in the Sky, Boogie On, Antelope*
Set 2: Energy > Ghost > Lizards > Harpua^ > Antelope
E: Character Zero
* Ruh-roh. Aborted after a few seconds due to incoming weather. Band left stage to wait out the storm.
^ With the cast of Second City.
Check out setlists and recaps from Chicago Night #1 and Chicago Night #2. For every Phish setlist (plus recaps and videos) from this summer tour click here for our Summer Tour 2013 index page.
****Chicago Night #3 Recap: Chicago Monsoon
There are very few bands I'd stand through a torrential downpour to see. Phish is the only modern one. I'd toss the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia Band, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane into that mix. Except Miles and Coltrane rarely played outdoors, so they probably never got rained on. Those hep cats had a cut deal with the supernatural anyway. Makes me wonder if Phish has fallen out of good favor with the weather gods? Or maybe Mother Nature just hates hippies? I always thought Phish was a bizarre occult faction. The only difference between Phans and a cult are the lack of white robes. All you have to do is read PT for a few minutes or pop onto Twitter during tour to see that people get transformed into devoted (blind faith) followers who will drop everything they're doing to seek spiritual guidance from a quartet of 50-something year-old dudes that look more like college professors than rock musicians. You know the Phish magic spell is super strong when tens of thousands of devotees endure a monsoon just to hear their leaders speak. Phish is not a nostalgia act. It's a cult. I'm a card-carrying member since my first show in 1989.
Maybe we're a little crazy. I can speak for myself. I'm fucking nuts. Following Phish through the rain is my idea of a good time. Heck, this is my vacation and I spent it getting pissed on during a violent storm. I thought it was karma smacking us in the face. I was among the many phans who thought it was silly to cancel Friday's show. Yeah, I got caught in that micro-storm after it got cancelled, but it was peanuts compared to the downpour on Sunday. How the organizers could cancel Friday's show (before the rains came) and allow Sunday's event to go on is beyond me? At one point I was standing on a slight incline and a small river was rushing below my feet. The acid and shrooms had kicked in and I could see rainbow-flavored puddles everywhere. Like little explosions of color (similar to fireworks) every time a drop of rain hit the ground. It really felt like someone turned a hose on us during all of Boogie On. "The rain was coming sideways and from below," explained Javier. "I thought, maybe we're doing something wrong here?"
Sure my friends were super schwilly mid-way thru the first set, but during the most intense moment of the storm, I turned around and saw Javier, G-Money and Benjo laughing their asses off. Javier was hysterical. Like a lunatic. Benjo still had on sunglasses and had attempted to smoke thru the storm (at the first onset of rain, he lit a cigarette and I told him to keep that fire going because we wouldn't be able to light the lighter again until after it stopped raining). G-Money had his head down and punching away like Ali the Thrilla in Manilla. That was one of those memory burns. Four of us laughing uncontrollably during Boogie On. We couldn't do anything else. Surrender to the flow.
To the band's credit, they played on. They saw what we were enduring and they knew the only thing they could do was keep playing upbeat songs so we could dance through the madness. I knew everything would be fine so long as the music was going. I was worried about when it stopped because then reality would set in and we'd realize how foolish it was to be standing in the middle of a fucking storm. But I had to fight off thoughts like Roger from Lethal Weapon. "I'm too old for this shit."
Antelope got cut short and the crew scrambled to cover the rest of the gear on the stage. We sort of huddled up and tried to make each other laugh for the next thirty minutes or so until the storm passed. When the weather finally let up, I surveyed the damage. Even though I finally brought rain gear to a show, I was soaked through. Every inch of me. My wallet was mushy and setlist notebook was destroyed like one of those houses in the Ninth Ward post-Katrina. Somehow, my BlackBerry survived even though it was drenched. I considered it a miracle.
Second set was five songs including Harpua. Finally got to hear Energy (I hopped on tour in Chicago, so I was thrilled to hear the newer songs) and I couldn't wait to devour my first Ghost of the summer. At the end of the jam, I heard a few Lizards teases which morphed into a full-blown Lizards. I'm not the biggest fan of Harpua, but I respect its significance and know that other friends fucking adore it, so I was more pumped for them. The gag began when Trey started scanning the crowd for signs and he pulled up two people in stage with a Harpua sign. That's when I screamed, "Wait, I know that guy and he's not from Philly!" Last summer in St. Louis, Mitch introduced me to one of his friends who was an actor at Second City (we had chatted about his SNL audition while balloon mongers slung nitrous around us). I bumped into him again int he lot on Friday. "You're Mitch's friend the writer guy," he said. "You're Mitch's friend the actor guy, right?" He told me Gordo dropped by Second City on Thursday night. So when I saw him onstage... I knew this was going to be some sort of tie-in with Second City. Welcome to Phish hijinks. In the same breath they collaborated with local artisans and took a few shots at us... in the cult of Phish.
With Harpua out of the way, the boys closed the show with Antelope, which they wanted to end the first set with but got cockblocked by the rain gods. Slightly bummed out with a singular encore song, but Zero was rocking and one of those moments when everyone around me was going apeshit during the chorus.
We walked through the park and back to the L still drenched. I was thrilled Phish did not cancel or postpone the Sunday show, but I paid a hefty price to see all three shows. Wet clothes, soaked sneakers, and prune hands is just a small sacrifice to make to see my favorite band. The second set on Saturday still stands out as one of the highlights from the weekend.
Chicago was an interesting situation. I doubt Phish returns to that spot in the future, but then again, if it did not rain at all over the weekend, then the event would have run much smoother. Hey, you cannot control Mother Nature. This entire tour has been hexed with bad weather. At least three shows in San Francisco will not be outdoors. Unless their indoor sprinkler system breaks, I can guarantee at least three dry shows the rest of the tour. Let's hope the outlook Gorge stays sunny.
I'm skipping Toronto, but will see the remainder of the tour. Next stop... the Gorge.