Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Phish 8/11/09 Toyota Park Bridgeview, IL

This is my first attempt at a music blog or any blog for that matter, but I am really excited about it!!!! Music is something that really interests me and I wanted to start writing down my thoughts and sharing them with people. I was thinking about what my first post should be and of course Phish was my first choice!

When Phish announced their second leg of their summer tour, I was surprised to see that they were playing Toyota Park considering they had already hit up Deer Creek and Alpine Valley. I was excited nonetheless.

I arrived at Toyota Park and immediately got a nice spot on the field. As I took a seat waiting for the band to come on I ran into an old high school friend who I had not seen since 1997. It was a very nice surprise and it helped pass the time before the show began.

Predicting set openers for Phish is exciting because every fan has their own thoughts for why a certain song should open a show. Tonight, "Kill Devil Falls" opened the show and did a nice job of getting the crowd going. After an unimpressive run through "Sample in a Jar" the band launched into "Ocelot". The jam out of "Ocelot" was pretty standard and the band stretched it out a bit. The first bust out of the show came in the form of "Paul & Silas". The song hadn't been played since 1998 and was a real treat to hear.

Since Phish returned in March, Page has really stepped it up and has really played well at shows. Tonight the band debuted "Windy City", which is a new Page tune. This song definitely has potential and Trey's jam at the end was really cool. The first gem of the night came when the band played "The Curtain With". P
hish has only played it eight times in their twenty plus years as a band. I have been fortunate to have heard it twice. This version did not disappoint and Trey's guitar work on this song was absolutely stunning.

Phish used "Train Song" to bring the crowd back down from the soaring heights that the previous jam brought. "Gumbo" was up next and it was to bad the band did not keep the jam going because they had a real solid groove going. I am not really a fan of the song "Heavy Things", but I will admit the jam at the end of this song was great. For some reason the band was having trouble with the song in the beginning so it sounded a bit sloppy, but Trey picked up the mess with some nice soloing at the end.

"Time Turns Elastic" closed the first set and I will say that this version really didn't do it for me. I am a big fan of this song and the placement of this song is very important. The song is very awkward when it is placed in the middle of a set. Due to it's length it can really kill any flow a set has. I am a firm believer that this song should be used exclusively as a set closer.

"Backwards Down The Number Line" began the second set and it really set the tone for rest of the show. Quickly becoming a favorite of many, Phish absolutely ripped this song apart. By completely abandoning the song structure the band delivered the best jam of the night. A rocking "Carini" picked up the energy again and with Trey and Mike on top of their games. With the second set off to a blazing start Trey started up the opening riff to "Gotta Jibboo". Trey was enjoying himself on this and really delivered some solid playing. This upbeat jam was in stark contrast to the hard jam in "Carini" Perhaps the biggest dud of the night was "Theme From The Bottom". The band never seemed to get in step with this song and the ending was less than stellar.

"Wilson" began and it was really awesome to hear 30,000 people chant Wilson! After ripping this up Fishman, cued up "2001" and the band delivered a solid version. I would say this song has lost its luster a bit. It seems like Mike's bass isn't as funky as he should be! No flubs on the riff from Trey. I didn't like the placement of "Chalkdust Torture", but the band was on and it sounded good. "Harry Hood" was next and was played well compared to some earlier versions this summer. "The Squirming Coil" closed what was a much better set than the first. Page delivered a beautiful piano solo, which drew a nice applause as it usually does. I had called a "Loving Cup" for tonight and Phish ripped through this Rolling Stone tune for the encore.

This was Phish show number twenty two for me and it was not one of the better shows I have seen. The band had some really nice jams peppered through each set, but there didn't seem to be much flow as a whole. I am very excited that Phish is back and I look forward to my next adventure with them!

Like I said, this blog is a work in progress and so is my writing. I haven't done much writing so bear with me. I have some ideas for my blog and I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts.

Phish > 8-11-09 Toyota Park Bridgeview, IL
Set I: Kill Devil Falls, Sample in a Jar, Ocelot, Paul & Silas*, Windy City^, The Curtain With, Train Song, Gumbo, Heavy Things, Time Turns Elastic
Set II: Backwards Down The Number Line> Carini, Gotta Jibboo, Theme From The Bottom, Wilson, Also Sprach Zarathustra> Chalkdust Torture, Harry Hood, The Squirming Coil
Loving Cup

Notes: *Last Time Played 11/29/98 (206 Shows), ^First Time Played (New Page song)

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