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Link Wednesday, 08/17/2011
UIC Pavilion, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL

Set 1: Forbin'sColonel Forbin's Ascent > MockingbirdFly Famous Mockingbird, Gumbo > Possum, Weigh > DividedDivided Sky, Alaska, GinBathtub Gin, Maze, Cavern > First Tube

Set 2: C&PCrosseyed and Painless -> No Quarter > TimberTimber (Jerry) > Tweezer > CaspianPrince Caspian[1] > Piper > Ghost -> MakisupaMakisupa Policeman[2] > Sleep > Buffalo Bill, GolgiGolgi Apparatus > Character Zero[3] > AntelopeRun Like an Antelope[4]

Encore: Funky Bitch, Show of Life > TweepriseTweezer Reprise

[1] Unfinished.
[2] Lyrics referenced Trey's favorite music ("Dank Sinatra," "Herby Hancock," "Nat King Bowl", "Harry Chronic, Jr.," and "Van Inhalin'"), as well as Page's House and Mike's House.
[3] Page's House reference.
[4] Fish's House reference.

Teases:
· Crosseyed and Painless tease & quote in Timber (Jerry)
· Tweezer Reprise, Theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Dave's Energy Guide teases in Tweezer
· Crosseyed and Painless tease & quote in Piper
· Crosseyed and Painless tease & quote in Character Zero
· Crosseyed and Painless tease in Run Like an Antelope
· Crosseyed and Painless quote in Funky Bitch
· Crosseyed and Painless quote in Tweezer Reprise

Average Song Gap: 12

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: This show featured the first Forbin's opener since November 3, 1989 (1,249 shows). Timber, Piper and Zero all contained Crosseyed teases and quotes. Tweezer contained Tweezer Reprise and the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (aka Wild Signals) teases from Trey, and a DEG tease from Page. Caspian was unfinished. The Makisupa lyrics referenced Trey's favorite music ("Dank Sinatra," "Herbie Hancock," "Nat King Bowl'," Harry Chronic, Jr.," and "Van Inhalin'"), as well as Page's House and Mike's House. Sleep was played for the first time since August 7, 2009 (105 shows). Character Zero contained a reference to Page's House. Antelope contained Crosseyed teases and a Fish's House reference. Funky Bitch and Tweezer Reprise also contained Crosseyed quotes.

Links:
Photos Official Photos
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download
Video "Makisupa>Sleep>Buffalo Bill" Official Video
Phish.net Blog Recap Phish.net Recap

Song Distribution:
3 Farmhouse
3 A Picture of Nectar
3 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday
2 Billy Breathes
2 Stash
2 Rift
2 Lawn Boy
2 Junta
2 The White Tape
1 Party Time
1 The Story of the Ghost

Songs by Debut Year:

Wombat60045 , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
All I can say is what a show!! I've seen roughly 80 Phish shows including 2 Halloweens and 8/15 and 8/17 completely knocked me out. 8/15 knocked me out, however I was able to get back up. Not so much with 8/17 - done!! Before I forget 8/16 had a stellar 2nd set but no comparison to what went on during the "Cross-Eyed" fest on 8/17.

Since 2009 (or 3.0 Phish), I have seen some extremely special venues i.e., Telluride Town Park & Lake Tahoe at Harvey's, but the 2011 UIC run - holly smokes.... When Colonel Forbin's opened night 3 I knew that we were in for another special repeat of night 1, however, I didn't realize that the band could go further down in phistory!

I have never danced so hard in my life and I was sitting in Section 103, Row D. I give the entire UIC run a 9/10, as 10 is perfection. I give 8/17 a 10/10!! Review the setlist and judge for yourself. I was there and will never fully be able to express my gratitude to this band that keeps coming back stronger and stronger!! FYI - I'm an old Dead Head.
Score: 8
waxbanks , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
waxbanks While this show doesn't go as deep as 8/15 or climb as high as 8/16, it's a strong finish to a consistently enjoyable tour of unpredictable 'jamminess,' which offered unquestionably the most exciting, promising music since Phish's return. Indeed, the UIC run is stronger and more interesting, wall-to-wall, than any three-show series since, what, Berkeley 2010? The third week of October 2010?

2004?

Expectations: unless you're what's apparently known as an 'it's all Hood' fan - damn, I'm learning new terms all the time these days - you probably either thrill to see that footnote-heavy setlist (quotes! teases! jokes! Buffalo Bill! Page's house!) or feel skeptical about a sub-4minute Ghost and a Makisupa/Sleep/BBill trifecta deep in the second set. Justified either way, given the band's recent history. But this music is up to the high standards set by the first two UIC concerts.

Lots of mustard on the Divided Sky(!), Gin, and Maze in the first, but the meat's in the second half as always.

Big Crosseyed to go, then a really weird effects-laden ambient bridge into No Quarter. What a well-chosen cover given Phish's current strengths...it serves as a rich dark/aggressive space for them to explore without submerging themselves in ice-cold 20-minute jams a la the late 90's, and the instrumental/rhythmic texture of it is unusual for them, partly under the vocals. Phish do enjoy playing parts...

Quick CrosseyedTimber, but after what seems to be the final chord Trey kicks back into a variation on the song's guitar rhythm, for 30 seconds of connective jamming just begging to be drawn out into a full-length exploration. This segues nicely into an unexpectedly beautiful Tweezer - one of those jams that sweetens its funk chords with a shot of major-key delicacy without tipping fully over into, say, 7/2/97 Stash-style Happy Anthems. Phish do this kind of polychromatic (polytonal) thing ALL THE TIME now, and it's a sure sign of newfound musical maturity and attentiveness. A lot of that comes from Mike's increased prominence, I think; he's able to suggest chords in his bass countermelodies and bounce new kinds of light off Trey's (let's simplify) blues-based playing.

After a lovely outro jam, Trey starts up a brief Caspian, which bounces along at a mezzoforte before a genuine guitar-led segue into the evening's highlight, Piper. They waste no time getting into spacious major-key jamming, but still find a way to quote Crosseyed on their way to a lightning-quick funk break and ambient bridge to Ghost. There's a LOT going on here! The amount of musical information in Phish's jams, for lack of a better phrase, has never been higher in all the time they've been playing together. When folks talk about a renaissance, a new peak for the band, this Piper is what they (we) mean. Less than nine minutes to cover all this musical ground? Ridiculous. Heartening.

Then it's into the abortive Ghost, about which I'm not sure what to say, other than - hey, it's the end of tour and Trey wanted to play a lot of different tunes. It's pretty much his band. I'd rather hear a long Ghost, but haven't they jammed enough this week? Do they owe us ten more minutes of race-to-the-peak nouveau-Ghost guitar rock?

So yadda yadda and then it's Antelope, which is Antelope, and yadda yadda three-song encore and you'll love it as long as you don't listen too closely to the 'Show of Life' lyrics. Kudos to Trey for such naked vocal performances, but that abysmal 'struggle and strife' line makes me want to sacrifice a copywriter to Odin or something.

So to review our review: fine first set, incredible run of tunes from Crosseyed through Piper, and the rest is just fun tour-closer material. And just so we're clear, the 'only good part of set 2' runs nearly an hour. Jesus, what more could you want?

This isn't the letdown of the UIC run, it's the capper. There's so much going on in every tune, so many little moments of humanity and empathy inside each jam, that even without a marquee long-form improvisation this show feels to me like a Must-Hear. The band is absolutely at a peak right now.
Score: 7
AlbanyYEM , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
AlbanyYEM This show was definitely fun to attend, but don't let the setlist fool you, guyutica this was not. The playing was tight throughout the first set, especially divided sky which was absolutely nailed and great to see at UIC (harkening 94 and 98). Maze was its usual frenetic self, and, as I'm convinced that everyone who sees it in person considers that version best-ever, I'll let you judge when you listen yourself. I absolutely cannot stand the song alaska but am a big fan of the jam which was standardly crushed (song reminds me of a cheese version of ten jed). First tube seemed cranked up a notch, maybe a reference to the 99 rosemont show or maybe I'm reaching here.

Just want to preface the review of set II by saying that they had just played one of the top 25 or so shows of all time on night one and one of the best jams of 3.0 on night two. crosseyed starts out clockwork chunky with the mechanical-sounding fast funk. rhythmically dominant, trey phrases leads with precise attention to number of notes played, achieving maximum emotion on runs. the tension release was in effect, but not the machine gun bowie style. from there things wound down into space-fog darkness. not ambient, because this was music that demanded attention. just when things had opened to the possibility of causing emotional damage to the psyches of all in attendance, page lightly teased the intro to no quarter.

this seemed like it might have been half-planned, as the effects are a def challenge to set up properly and it was done smooth as silk. might be heresy to mention but maybe it was one of those "if we get to a dark/space place tonight (or this run) lets go for no quarter." also, could be wrong here but i seem to recall the song has very different tuning necessary than the more-standard tuning of crosseyed. to my ears it was page that went this direction and it definitely cut off an extremely promising jam. so for once we can stop blaming trey for this (though he did abort ghost later...). can't lie here, it was *amazing* to here them do this live.

this bled into timber which had a full-blown crosseyed jam rather than a tease of the "still waiting" melody. i couldn't help but think bomb factory/guyutica at this point as they were taking my favorite TH songs and one of my favorite phish jams for what seemed to be an extended set treatment. anyway, it wrapped back into timber very smoothly. one of the great aspects of this show was the effortlessness that went into the tease/quotes and segues as it transitioned again smoothly into tweezer.

at this point i was thinking full-blown tweezer jam and possible hints towards crosseyed rhythmically at least, but this was a straight-up as they come. just an asskicking tweezer, the kind that make for great treats in a set one. inexplicably, caspian surfaced after what seemed far less than 10 minutes. now i didn't groan or roll my eyes after promising that i would just take in the show without expectations, but if i said i wasn't disappointed i'd be lying to you all here. caspian happened and went unresolved in favor of piper which i was more than happy with.

the jam of the night went down here, a maintained break-neck rhythm without much soloing. i love trey's chording work in jams, and this was a syncopation clinic. jazzy feel on the off-beat stressed without tension-release melodic interplay which was nice to see. reminded me a bit of some of the sands from this year before the guitar-shred climaxes. the juxtaposition of the speed of the jam with the more laid-back dynamics is something that great pipers are made of, a way to springboard towards the hose moments. instead of ambient break-down, the pace forces musical ideas without thought. good jam, def highlight of the night.

seemed a bit shortened, but when ghost segued in, i was not about to complain. it was a bit strange though, to constantly have the feeling of "why did they stop that jam?! oh wait, i love this next one, big jam vehicle." it about summed up the night when trey chorded into makisupa, which amazingly only had a single hiccup in the transition. 4 min ghost, no joke. i think the story of the ghost album version is longer.

the rest of the show was fun but musically uninspired. lots of the 2 note descending hook of the still waiting/along with the vocals or not. honestly though, i could lose disc 3 forever and not feel the need to replace it. if this show had happened in 09 or 10 it would be viewed as one of the highlights, but it's pretty run-of-the-mill for 11. nowhere near as uninspired as outside lands, but in the same ballpark jamwise. the crosseyed thing was amazing to see, but not something to go out of your way to pick up. outside of timber, it was not jammed on or explored in any way. ugh, i hate to say it, but the word gimmicky crossed my mind even when i was there in the moment.
Score: 5
jonesgator , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
This is an immaculately played show! The quality of the technical proficiency Phish has displayed since coming back is really unprecedented. I'm always happy to see a Crosseyed in the mix, and to have it used as a central theme for a solid second set makes this a must hear show. To those of you who were there, I'm definitely jealous!
Score: 0
InsectEffect , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
InsectEffect NICU Pavilion became a smoke-filled starship as soon as the lights went down. The atypical Gamehendge opener seemed like an odd choice, but worked wonderfully. Gumbo carried the energy and saw some nice flourishes from Page. Possum came next, and though arguably overplayed in recent years, this marsupial really delivered. I absolutely love Weigh—a charming song that isn’t seen nearly enough. And ahh, Divided Sky! The extended pause lasted two full minutes, and despite the crowd buzz did begin to feel slightly gratuitous, but overall this beautiful song soared.

Alaska served as the first and only real “breather” of the set, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Trey’s slow burning blues soloing, so fitting for Chicago, gave the song some real distinction. Page’s jangling keys early in the set suggested a shot of Bathtub Gin, and sure enough, that fine tune followed in a solid if fairly uninventive version. Page ruled the Maze, and Cavern > First Tube worked its magic to cap this engaging, high energy 1st set.

Crosseyed and Painless, the first cover of the night, served as a great 2nd Set opener. Phish have really made this brilliant song their own in 3.0 (07-31-2009 is a favorite version). Emerging from a brief drift of space and sound effects, No Quarter was played at full power, then segued almost immediately into Timber, featuring the first of many delightful C+P quotes/teases. Tweezer followed and quickly evolved into a sparkling, energetic jam, as did Piper. The well-placed Caspian that bridges the two is short and sweet. Next up, shortest Ghost ever? Possibly, but the funk fit nicely in the flow before giving way to the hilarity of Makisupa. Dear Phish: Love you guys.

Sleep was a nice breather. Buffalo Bill started the second half of the set with an interesting injection of weirdness (it’s a strange little song) but the failed segue-out just seemed clumsy and briefly “broke the spell.” What followed was a stack of classic high-energy set closers that didn’t really stray from the box but were livened up with several crowd-pleasing C+P teases. The same can be said for the encore: a well selected sequence of solid songs to top off a fantastic night in Chicago.

This show was an absolute blast from start to finish, and makes for good repeat listening. There’s been a lot of speculation about why Phish has seemed to favor fast-paced multi-song sequences over sustained improvisation in recent years, and I think the first part of this 2nd Set reveals how well that can work sometimes, creating a sort of fast-forwarding warp drive. The C+P “theme” was thrilling live, but holds up a little less compellingly “on tape.” Still, overall this is pretty easily a Top 10 show of the year, I think. Still waiting…
Score: 0
lostajibboo , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
I didn't realize how lucky I was to get into all three UIC shows. The number of poor kids holding that dreaded finger up in the air. D, J and I were really lucky to see all three.

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.

Set 2

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.
Score: 0
barnaclebob , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
What an amazing show to see live. While the first night was a wonderful progression of type 2 jamming, this night was all energy. Tickets were hard to come by and lots of fake ones roaming around the lot. Had a buddy buy a fake GA that wouldn't scan. Made the most of this situation by taking said ticket and using it to scam my way on to the floor(gotta make lemons outta lemonade right!) and wound up about three people back from Page side! To anybody that says the Crosseyed-fest was gimmicky, I'm pretty sure there were about 6,000 in attendance that disagree. I will take this anytime over the 10-12 song sets of 2010 with minimal jamming.
Score: 0
Kodiakfloyd , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
Great reviews by everyone ehh. Most energized night of the 3. This night closed a great week! And I mean great. It kinda reminded me of a hockey game, 3 nights and 3 periods. What better place to play than in Chicago! The first period we came out strong. 2nd period was back and forth. 3rd period the home crowd and team dominated the play and gave us a show to remember. The places where Legends are made. #sand
Score: 0
Kodiakfloyd , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
Great reviews by everyone ehh. Most energized night of the 3. This night closed a great week! And I mean great. It kinda reminded me of a hockey game, 3 nights and 3 periods. What better place to play than in Chicago! The first period we came out strong. 2nd period was back and forth. 3rd period the home crowd and team dominated the play and gave us a show to remember. The places where Legends are made. #sand
Score: 0
mwznrs9 , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
Well said lostajibboo... loved CE&P and props for mentioning the 2 minute break in divided sky, I too noticed this and I always say, when the band is clearly enjoying themselves it makes me enjoy it that much more! I could tell Trey was up there during that pause just taking it all in, the cheers, excitement and energy from the crowd was a pretty amazing thing to experience! SO glad to say I was apart of it!
Score: 0
AlumniBlues420 , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
This was the first time the band rocked harder then I could handle. They were so intense!!! The first night was a much better overall show, but spots of the third night were just pure rocking!!! Much respect for the boys, I been to 30shows and this one was by far the most dancing I've ever done to the point where the wheels almost came undone on my bus!!!

UIC + Superball 9 were some unreal phish shows!!!
Score: 0
dRStone , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
dRStone What an amazing way to end an amazing run. Great jamming on nights 1 and 2, and some good-old-fashioned rock-and-roll dance-your-ass-off party to cap it off. I know some were dissapointed with the extra-short Ghost, didn't really draw anything out too long, but damn, we got plenty already. This was a blast.
Score: 0
Mr_Incompletely , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
Mr_Incompletely Great opener obviously with Forbin. Met this taper from Pittsburgh who had been chasing it for years.I saw him at set break and he was so pumped high fiving me like we had just witnessed the penguins hoisting the Stanley cup. Definitely added to the energy if my experience. My only gripe is the ghost.
Score: 0
The_Multi_Beast , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
The_Multi_Beast Anyone remember the a-hole driving through shakedown street in the main lot immediately after the show?
Score: -1
bigc236 , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
bigc236 Seems like a monster! Just looking on paper, could be the best show of the three. Starting to listen to it right now, forbin's > mockingbird is tight, with no narration, nice.

Can't wait to finish.
Score: -2
CHATTYNUGZ , attached to 2011-08-17 Permalink
show was amazing!! those bands trey mentioned too are real, at least my friends band Dank Sinatra, yall should check em out, athens bread and got a unique sound, if u like phish i doubt it will be hard for you to get down to em.
Score: -3

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