Wednesday 08/17/2011 by pzerbo

UIC2 RECAP

Please note: this recap was written by @PYITE.

Some people hold specific venues in high regard because of past performances. I think it's fair to say that UIC Pavilion is one of those venues. A quaint and decidedly log-jammed sweat lodge is just the kind of place that good Phish shows happen. After two nights here, it should be safe to assume that the public's hopes and dreams for this run are being met.

In an absolutely entertaining evening, Phish put together a show that was light on run-of-the-mill repeats, heavy on a mix of songs you haven't heard in a while, and jams you won't soon forget.

The first set is a textbook "fun" set. The "Dinner and a Movie," "Ha Ha Ha" opener was unique with the latter fulfilling the request of sign makers from the previous evening. The subsequent "Chalk Dust Torture" signaled a decided uptick in energy and featured a tremendous tension build from Trey that seemed to be drawn to fever pitch, with a chaotic peak that had the crowd buzzing before it's eventual release. A personal favorite of mine, "Mexican Cousin" put a smile on my face, along with those sharing the affinity for "not cool" songs and people who generally like getting Anitra Ed on tequila.

"Walls of the Cave" is one of Phish's finest compositions from start to finish and while this version didn't touch the heights seen recently in Lake Tahoe, it's hard to not enjoy. Trey was energized and song catapulted the set into "Runaway Jim," spring boarding immediately into a jam where Trey and Page played off one another building layers of staccato textures and loops. The segue into "Foam" is a classic and will always draw back memories of the early nineties.

Following a vacuum solo'd "I Didn't Know," perhaps inspired by a pair of shirts featuring "a picture of Otis Redding," the band ran through "Ocelot," "Ginseng Sullivan" and "The Wedge" before arriving at "Limb By Limb." A standout version where the band moved effortlessly through styles ranging from calypso rhythms to straight rock. It was a jam that was in a sense, a perfect segue into and out of itself where all four members helped drive the variety and then find their way effortlessly back into the exact place they were at it's beginning. Really special. While the set would have been perfectly capped by the jam, Trey quickly decided to play one more song. The end set wildcard is really becoming the norm, and tonight it featured the reemergence of an amazing song from Exile On Main Street, "Let It Loose." A song that is a perfect match for Page's strengths as a singer and was a brilliant end to the set.

The second set was much more focused on the jams and overall flow. A stanza that was locked in on an arc that ebbed and flowed between tempos and emotions it was a very fine effort, propelled by the 20+ minute jam in the opening "Down with Disease." Following the opening solo, the stage went black and a dark jam began to emerge following the giant guitar riffs. Over the course of the ensuing segment all four band members played an active role in ensuring that the song didn't stay in one place for too long. Almost taking turns in the lead, they moved through layered patterns that shifted from rock to spacey and then back again. Fish pushed the final portion with driving rhythms that fueled the song into a ocean swell that pushed and pulled to the final vibrating, ambient segue into "Twist." With driving tension throughout the jam built into it's final chorus of "wooo's" and found emotional release in the happiness of "Backwards Down The Number Line."

The crowd was more than enthused to dance their cares away only to have the party continue with "Golden Age." In what has to be considered one of the best things to happen since 2009, this song and it's infectious groove has developed into a unique vehicle that balances dance and musical exploration. "A Day In The Life" provided the first real breather of the set, but was short lived as "You Enjoy Myself" would close things out with a brief jam that pushed slightly with big riffs from Trey and pulled Mike off the traditional drum and bass groove and closed the set in the way only “YEM” can. The encore certainly held a candle to the previous night, with a triple play of "Heavy Things," the always amazing "Slave" and a raucous version of "Rocky Top."

While it would have been completely satisfactory to leave Chicago on those notes, thankfully, there's still one last night here.

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Comments

, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown Will have to listen again but seems to me this one was all about the Disease. I think we'll all be listening to that one a lot.
, comment by jcorelis
jcorelis I really love the vibe at UIC, but the sound quality in the 200 level was beyond awful. Go higher than row E and it was just muffled crap. Thankfully we're back in 100 level seats for night 3!
, comment by dRStone
dRStone Agreed. Can't wait for tonight
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect
Recaps have been great for building anticipation.

See you at NICU Pavilion for night 3. Bring it!

, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod Someone really took the trouble to make a sign for "Ha Ha Ha"?
, comment by IamHIGHdrogen
IamHIGHdrogen No mention of what sounds like an epic and excellently-placed Theme? and nothing wrong with headbanging to a little Ha Ha Ha...
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd "...getting Anitra Ed on tequila?"
Do elaborate, please...
, comment by robbiephan
robbiephan a generously favorable review from phil zerbo? the world must be coming to an end.
, comment by PhishMarketStew
PhishMarketStew That YEM was the strait fire. So energetic and locked in.
, comment by chonger
chonger robbiephan, pzerbo did not write this review...........read again
, comment by goatsticks
goatsticks @johnnyd said:
"...getting Anitra Ed on tequila?"
Do elaborate, please...
i was trying to decode this as well, it's obvious what it means, just not sure how or why it means what it does... decoder rings needed.
, comment by robbiephan
robbiephan @chonger said:
robbiephan, pzerbo did not write this review...........read again
good call just posted by. received messages from friends regarding it and didnt catch myself.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks jesus...first time i've heard 'mexican cousin' and 'walls of the cave' spoken of in such swooning tones!
, comment by TennesseeJed
TennesseeJed @waxbanks said:
jesus...first time i've heard 'mexican cousin' and 'walls of the cave' spoken of in such swooning tones!
I'm not all that sure it was a swoon. Sounded more like someone telling a bride she looks lovely on her wedding day.
, comment by pzerbo
pzerbo @robbiephan said:
@chonger said:
robbiephan, pzerbo did not write this review...........read again
good call just posted by. received messages from friends regarding it and didnt catch myself.
The ad hominem attack suggesting somehow I'm a hater is typical of many comments here, but at odds with the pesky so-called "facts":

http://blog.phish.net/1312658648/leg2-kickoff-gorge1-recap
http://blog.phish.net/1307588288/great-woods-rec
http://blog.phish.net/1308418312/rocky-in-dixie-charlotte-recap
http://blog.phish.net/1308586113/portsmouth-recap
, comment by Guyforget215
Guyforget215 These shows are exactly how it should be..I hope that this is the theme for the last four shows...I enjoyed the last 2 nights greatly..and both nights had unique jams..I am very suprised it's like they realize we only got 4 shows left let's play songs we haven't and let's let loose..the whole west run has been great patient focused jamming more then in the east coast run..I don't wanna say it too early but if this is the theme of the last four shows..then I feel as if they finally found their way...sure their r great shows in 3.0...but if they put together a perfectly solid west coast run(which I have no doubt they will rip these last four shows).. Then it safe to say they are fully back on the train!!..atleast in my mind...too bad they will be no fall tour to pick up where this left off ;) ...
, comment by Guyforget215
Guyforget215 Really the whole summer was pretty solid...they just have to explore their catalog all better!
, comment by nichobert
nichobert "No mention of what sounds like an epic and excellently-placed Theme? and nothing wrong with headbanging to a little Ha Ha Ha..."

This is some serious nit-picking, but I felt like the Theme really suffered from it's placement. Yes, on paper Huge DWD> Twist, Theme looks kinda A++ material, but thats the Japanese/Island Tour/2.0 style Twists speaking in your ear telling you to ignore the style of Twist they've been dealing with lately.

DWD's psychedelic assault is a great way to start the set, and Twist is the perfect song to stay off-kilter while simultaneously brightening things up. But once Twist's short & sweet jam ends and Theme starts, it gives the set a disjointed "What If..?" type of feel. The Theme would have flowed masterfully from that Disease jam, and Twist's quirky vibe would have felt even better after that heavy 1-2 punch to start the second set. I wonder if Phish realized that and it contributed to them playing what was possibly the shortest Theme ever?

I promise I'm not trying to be picky, but if this set read
II: DWD -> Theme, Twist, Number Line, Golden Age -> ADITL, YEM
It would feel a lot more cohesive than it did. And I think they probably would have rode that vibe into a much stronger rendition of Theme if it had come hot on the heels of the DWD jam.
Either way, still one of the most reasonable looking second sets of the year. Can't compete with UIC 1's 2nd set setlist, but what can? That setlist was an absolute masterpiece- from a thematic standpoint to be sure, but more importantly they played a stunningly cohesive and intriguingly exploratory set involving a bunch of songs which really deserve to have a strong presence in the rotation.
I just love that Phish put their eggs in the Waves-> Undermind-> Steam basket instead of tossing off a handfull of classics without regard to placement.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Oops dunno why I thought Theme came before Number Line. I guess that diminishes my idea since Twist/Number Line is a pretty solid happy combo. Still think DWD -> Theme would have been the Champion Of THe World.
, comment by TheEmu
TheEmu @pzerbo said:
@robbiephan said:
@chonger said:
robbiephan, pzerbo did not write this review...........read again
good call just posted by. received messages from friends regarding it and didnt catch myself.
The ad hominem attack suggesting somehow I'm a hater is typical of many comments here, but at odds with the pesky so-called "facts":
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
, comment by phearless
phearless This show was a pretty good one with the obvious highlights in the Encore (mainly Rocky Top for me!) my first YEM! And the incredible DWD-> Twist that was off the chain. WOTC and Let It Loose were first set highlights. Pretty good show. Not bad, not omfg that was mindblowing shit. Well, except the DWD ;)
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