That was my first Col. Forbins and my first Mockingbird. I felt like that was the band telling the crowd "WE'RE. NOT. MESSING. AROUND. TONIGHT." They were not.
Quick rant - Just the number of songs they played in this show is overwhelming. Their vertical, tight bluesy jamming continued, which I absolutely love. Some songs were cut off too quickly (see: Ghost), but it was in the spirit of creating a tight, high energy night. So I'm all in favor of it.
Back to set 1 - Gumbo is always nice to see, I've only had a few in my 20 shows, and I'll never turn one down. I think this rendition was just fine.
During Possum, it was impossible to tell whether the band was feeding off the crowd or vice versa. It was both. The phans kept asking for more energy, and the band kept delivering.
Weigh - REALLY??????? SERIOUSLY??????? My first Weigh . . . so cool to sit back and hear them play this. A nice little treat.
The Divided Sky - In the spirit of this Chicago Trifecta, this Divided Sky was nothing short of tremendous. So beautiful. So clean. The download doesn't do justice to the applause break mid-song. It was 2+ minutes of ear-deafening screams and cheers thanking the band for such a great Chicago run. It would have continued had they not jumped back into the song. The looks on the band's faces said it all. They were devouring the moment. So was I.
Then they played Alaska. I applaud them for doing a terrific version of it, but I don't think I can get next to this song just yet. I'm struggling to visualize the type of set where this song would fit. Maybe I just need some time, maybe the band does, I'm not sure. Right now it's like a set speed bump. This was a very unexpected choice after Sky, which very well may have been the single best performance in the three nights.
Gin - splendid.
Maze - (i want you to know I'm saying this next word out loud with a Guinness commercial british accent) - BRILLIANT!!!!
Cavern - high energy, high fun. Great version.
First Tube - more of the high energy to close the first set, but Trey seemed to be a half-beat apart from the rest of the band. We were lower bowl for this show, just three rows above GA. I couldn't help but notice that it was a dash off. But the energy in the room was so great I think everyone there was cool giving them a pass.
Xeyed - stupendous. Their strategy to tease Crosseyed throughout all of set II worked flawlessly. It added a lot to songs that were performed well, and it saved songs that I didn't enjoy as much. Just loved the execution of this.
No Quarter - a great performance, but on this night, I sure didn't expect this to be the song from Zeppelin's catalog they'd reach for. The mood of the night made me want a Ramble On or Kashmir, maybe a Dazed & Confused. Not complaining . . . it was just unexpected in my opinion.
A pretty solid Timber, but not really my cup of tea. Huge grain of salt with any criticism I place with this show - everything, whether I loved it or said "meh" . . . was all well-executed and performed at a top-notch level.
The Tweezer was like taking a rabid dingo and locking in a closet with another rabid dingo. Just explosive.
From here, the phab phour went on a Class A thrashing of the next 12 songs. The size and scope of the setlists from this show astound me. I'm one of the ones glad to say goodbye to the days of 12 song shows (2.0 was not my favorite time). A 30 song playlist? Are you kidding me?
Here's what set this show apart for me . . . in nights 1 & 2, I would take moments to sit down in that oppressive sweat box of an arena. I wanted to savor the music, watch and listen to them play. In night 3, they never gave me a chance to sit. I danced the entire show. I don't often do that.
The Antelope set closer was just what the doctor ordered. And the Funky Bitch encore may have contained some C4 explosives.
Overall - they've come so far from their return in 2009. Simply put, this band is in a different universe compared to 03-04. And where they are today reminds me of all the taper cassettes and CDs I listened to from shows in the 90s.
This band is hungry again. This band is fighting for our respect and attention. Albeit a selfish thought, but it's almost like they're apologizing for the rough times throughout the hiatus and breakup. They're absolutely killing it right now. I've never seen the band play as well as they did during this UIC run.
And I should offer my apology, too. I apologize on behalf of any phan who lost patience with the band throughout the hiatus and breakup drama. While I was always rooting for you guys, I lost faith you'd return to the place that made you so great. That was a mistake. I'll never doubt you guys again. Please keep it up.
Thank you for a first-class set of shows. If this is where the bar is set now . . . look out.