Monday 08/15/2011 by lumpblockclod


Perhaps inspired by the nearby ‘L’ train, Phish opened the first of three nights at the relatively intimate UIC Pavilion with a solid version of “Back on the Train.” A standard version of “Rift” followed. Keeping with recent custom, the song-oriented first set continued with a jaunty “Guelah Papyrus” and the more infrequently played “Scent of a Mule.” “Jesus Just Left Chicago” arrived as expected to satisfy the local crowd and as usual Page brought his best Texas hillbilly. Up to this point, the set mostly comes off as workman-like: solid and fun, driving straight down the middle of the fairway.

Wolfman’s Brother” probably provided the first shot of original jamming of the night. The jam began in the now common “Plinko” vein before unexpectedly, if briefly, hitting more placid waters, with Page layering a calming keyboard wash over it. Soon thereafter, it returned to the familiar “Wolfman’s” peak, but a nice one at that where it seemed like the rest of the band played a game of ripcord turnabout with Trey. The crowd now completely locked in, Trey opted to cool things down with “Anything But Me.” (There was a sign at Tahoe with “Play Anything” on one side and “But Me” on the other, to which one unnamed fan responded that the sign was missing a third side with “Anything But” on it. Was that you JadedVet?)

Next up, “Babylon Baby” – a regular in Mike’s touring repertoire and soundchecked by Phish before Tahoe1 – made its Phish debut. The jam segment to this one had a distinctively “Destiny Unbound” vibe. “Reba” was next and while not as majestic as the SBIX version, the band did finally nail the whistling section for the first time in three recent tries (relatively so, anyway). A rollicking on-campus “Alumni Blues” > “Letter to Jimmy Page” > “Alumni Blues” closed the set on a high note – certainly among the best recent versions.

This set started timidly but really picked up steam during “Wolfman’s” and was consistently entertaining for the balance, mixed by ballads, a debut, a compositional classic and a smoking old-school closer. Great stuff. Fifteen minutes.

Sand” led off the action @ 10:04 local time and about ten minutes in, Trey and Page began to lead the band into new territory before Fish abruptly assumed the ripcord role and simply stopped playing. A moment or two of of aimless (and percussionless!) jamming later and Trey led the band into “Light.” The jam out of “Light” begins with Mike liberally employing the meatball effect before Fishman again all but disengages leaving the other three to fend for themselves. Fish briefly returned to the conversation but evidently didn’t like what the others had to say, as he dropped out just as soon as he arrived, leaving Trey to transition into “Dirt.”

The always welcome “Waves” rolled over the “Sand” and “Dirt” and washed away the sins of the first third of the set before absolutely melting into “Undermind.” We can, if you’ll excuse the pun, waive the waiting period and safely induct this segue into the Phish Hall of Fame immediately. As usual, Mike proceeded to get medieval on “Undermind,” before the jam assumed a mellower vibe akin to a “Simple” jam.

Thankfully the full arrows continued and “Steam” appeared for the second consecutive show. Though this version didn’t particularly build off of the previous three, Phish did perform the remarkable feat of turning “Steam” into “Fire” to close the set (with Cactus taking over). And thus ended the one-word song title set. Wait, did the first part of this set start off not so strong? I’m sorry, John, I don’t remember.

A five (!!!!!) song “Camel Walk” > “Guyute” > “The Horse” > “Silent in the Morning”, “Harry Hood” encore ended the first night’s festivities (with a bit of extra mustard for “Camel Walk” and “Hood” or, “dragged through the garden,” if you will). The first five song encore in over twenty years... since Amy’s Farm on 8/3/91, in that case split over two encores (before that 10/30/90 had five songs in a single encore)! Almost a third set! Looking forward to UIC2!

If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.


, comment by shaunfunk
shaunfunk Review during setbreak. Wow. This internet thing is really taking off.
, comment by DanceTheJig728
DanceTheJig728 thats how we do
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @shaunfunk said:
Review during setbreak. Wow. This internet thing is really taking off.
Don't tell anyone, but we got the tapes this afternoon.
, comment by groundscore
groundscore Listening to a sick encore, reading the review of a show in progress. This is why couch tour is the best tour.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty "Back of the Train"....come on now...edit that shit
, comment by pzerbo
pzerbo @Doctor_Smarty said:
"Back of the Train"....come on now...edit that shit
OK, so sorry mang.
, comment by TheEmu
TheEmu I will be downloading this show first thing in the morning. I was only listening through the so-so stream, but 1) Wolfman's sounded really amazing 2) Sand-> Dirt > Waves was pretty darn good 3) Undermind -> Steam was just totally facemelting insane awesomeness. Then all kinds of icing on that cake with the 5 song encore. Stream kept cutting out during Hood, unfortunately, but I was already blown away before the encore. This is just a knee jerk reaction, but I think this may well be the best show of 2011 by far. I certainly don't think any of the three nights of Bethel, Blossom, or Clarkston can touch it, and it even puts the smack down on Gorge 1, which was my favorite show of the year. Amazing night, you lucky Chicago bastards!
GAMEHENDGEPHONICS what just happened in there?
, comment by robbiephan
robbiephan it should be noted that page trey and fish all experienced multiple technical issues. some, but not all, of the times that a particular member stopped playing and in particular trey was because fixes needed to be made. it is therefore not necessarily intentional lack of playing though some of it was.
, comment by TennesseeJed
TennesseeJed Watching "Sand > Light > Dirt, Waves" (funk > space > funk > glide) come up on the set list I was full of hope for something new and exciting to listen to, and literally praying that I wouldn't read about a flubasaurus attack. Now, reading your review, I'm really, really looking forward to listening to this.

Yes, great review!
, comment by RandomPhan
RandomPhan what about the encore for 6/18/09?
, comment by TennesseeJed
TennesseeJed That should be Funk > Space > Glide > Warp ...
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 really can't wait to check out this show...only got to hear the encore, and a show with a five song encore is definitely worth hearing...
, comment by bspence
bspence @RandomPhan said:
what about the encore for 6/18/09?
I was wondering the same thing. It may have been the "the train wreck portion of the show," but it was a five-song train wreck.
, comment by Gallium
Gallium It was really hot last night, expect it will be hot tonight, probably even hotter tomorrow
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @RandomPhan said:
what about the encore for 6/18/09?
LOL, I guess that does count. Nice catch. My excuse -- which shouldn't be necessary since I was at @ 6/18/09 -- is that I guess I don't really think of HYHU as a song per se.

Worse, there's also @ 5/29/94, which -- depending on how you view "Jam" -- could be called a six song encore. That's what I get for doing back of the envelope calculations in the heat of battle...
, comment by bl002e
bl002e 12/6/96:

Friday, 12/06/1996
The Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, NV

Soundcheck: Peaches en Regalia, The Wedge, I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart

Set 1: Wilson > Peaches en Regalia > Poor Heart > Also Sprach Zarathustra[1] > Llama, You Enjoy Myself[2], Cars Trucks Buses > Down with Disease > Frankenstein

Set 2: Julius, Sparkle > Mike's Song -> Simple -> Jam[3] > Harry Hood > Weekapaug Groove, Sweet Adeline[4], Good Times Bad Times

Encore: Harpua[5] -> Wildwood Weed[6] -> Harpua[7] -> I Want To Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart[8] -> Harpua[7] -> Suspicious Minds[9] -> Harpua, Suzy Greenberg[10]

[1] Super Bad teases.
[2] Donuts vocal jam.
[3] Blister in the Sun quotes.
[4] Without microphones.
[5] Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde; opening segment in 4/4 time signature.
[6] Phish debut; Les Claypool on vocals, Larry LaLonde.
[7] Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde
[8] Phish Debut; Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, The Yodeling Cowgirls on vocals, John McEuen.
[9] Four Elvis impersonators.
[10] Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, Elvis impersonators (one who led a Susie Q jam), Courtney Gains on Trey's percussion rack.
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 they opened last night with 'back on the train' cause it's been just about 13 years since they last played at had nothing to do with the L
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 oh, and happy 15th cliff ballers!!!!!
, comment by InsectEffect
Nice concise review!

And wow, looks like the bar has been set. HIGH.

Bring posters that just say "JAM > " for night three!

Phistory in the making.
, comment by natediggs
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Thank you Phish, for playing a second set without any 'classics' and putting some faith in some of your better newish material.

ASIHTOS -> Halfway To The Moon tonight.
, comment by Rainsinger
Rainsinger Sounds like someone must've have pulled your tripcord...IMO
, comment by ThinMan
ThinMan @nichobert said:
Thank you Phish, for playing a second set without any 'classics' and putting some faith in some of your better newish material.
here. here.
, comment by phisherman
phisherman i hate the fact that i was not at this show.
, comment by safetymeeting
safetymeeting Where's taylorc when I need him?
, comment by nichobert
nichobert After hearing the show, I'm really glad it isn't a paper tiger.

GBOTT absolutely smoked, Rift was crisp and Guelah featured some choice mustard in the intro as well as what seemed to be a slightly harder-edged rendition of the Asse Festival (Perhaps it was just confidence? None of the tenative feel that this section usually suffers from). Scent / JJLC looked like a possible lull but both versions were concise and powerful.
That 5 song segment makes a case for the way Phish has been treating their shows recently. Despite some seriously questionable setlist calls which dampen the enthusiasm, they've really been tearing up the songs lately. It's great to hear them sounding so inspired during a five song segment built of songs that aren't usually the first ones that people think of when they think of Phish ripping a new cornhole in the first set.
Wolfman's Brother featured some of that nice hybrid-plinko-funk where they don't all start plinking at once, but rather rotate in and out of it while they move the jam along and out of the staccato segment and into a lanky funk groove with Trey playing some sharp melodic riffs. As the jam proceeds, they toy with the Wolfman's theme quite nicely and Gordon just -powers- through the ending. Jam only lasted 6-7 minutes but featured 3 distinct looks. Solid Wolfman's Broh!

You could smell the cooldown coming a mile away. Personally love it when they utilize the lesser known latter-day ballads instead of the more obvious choices. Nice breather, but when Babylon Baby starts it feels like it would have fit masterfully right after Wolfman's. I might have to switch them up on my playlist from now on. Quick country fried rock jam that kind of felt like a cross between Sand and Back On The Train. Maybe just Destiny? I'd take it at my next show.

Reba seemed pretty clean and the jam had potential but seemed like it could have gone another few rounds before ending.
Alumni-> Page-> Alumni really smoked and made a case for being more than a rarity, it feels so much more at home in 2011 than it did in 1999.

I don't share the reviewer's ambivalence for the beginning of the second set. I thought it was great hearing FIshman drop out and the band continue playing for a few minutes after the end of a seriously active Sand jam. That extra few minutes made the Light feel much more natural than if they'd just slammed into it. And considering their recent batting average with segues involving drums, I'm all for a few minutes of pretty / trippy / spooky sizzle and fizzle while they get ready to drop the next tune in a good spot. While not as adventurous or long as the Tahoe or Superball Lights, I think its safe to say that the song has undergone a rennaisance as for the 3rd time in a row, they let Light breathe a little and the weird spiraling atonal funk jam that emerges is pure awesome.
Great placement on Dirt and the crowd seemed extremely appreciative. It's amazing what a sensible placement can do for the way a crowd receives something.

And then Waves? Wow. Looks like someone decided not to throw the setlist away tonight. Great way to move from the mellow Dirt back into something improvisatory and glorious. Waves has probably climbed quite high up a lot of people's "must hear" lists after the Bethel soundcheck was unleashed on the world and this version is just going to foster more desire for a dip in the Waves. They seem to tear through the composed section with glee and eagerly enter the jam segment. Gordon's bassline in the initial funk jam is a disgusting, disgusting thing and Trey just soars over it. Great acid drenched psychedelic rock. I love how when the jam shifts into each chord change, Fishman starts Undermining the beat a little bit more. I wonder how many people were thinking Bethel Soundcheck as soon as that first peak dropped into more wide-open sounding spaces? Instead we get a masterful segue into the more underrated soundcheck star of 2011, the future star Undermind. What's it going to take to make this song a 2nd set staple? I can picture it segueing into or out of such a huge range of songs. If this song took on a 'Light' type of role, I'd be happier than a wook in mahldawg. The jam out of Undermind is an amazing thing. Such a unique feel for a Phish jam. The theramin jam that follows is a perfect lead-in to Steam. What did we do for Phish for them to bless us with this set that revels in the potential of these songs? Steam packs a punch and fits perfectly into the slot. The solo gets better every time, even if this one doesn't feature the 2nd jam segment that MPP (at least?) hinted at.

Not to short-stack the greatest encore ever, but I absolutely -love- that the seperated that 'random' assortment of songs from that insanely cohesive second set. Guyute could have fit pretty perfectly, but I love it in the encore.

I can only hope that the 2nd set is a glimmer of the future. If Phish starts actively putting the improv in the hands of some new songs, the future is going to be extremely bright.

I just can't fathom why anyone could still think that a Tweezer/Bowie/YEM/Gin/ Ghost/Piper/Twist/etc could still have more potential as a jam-launchpad than a random assortment of other songs. Whereas those song have seemed to find a comfortable and whip-tight effective groove, who even knows where Undermind or Steam could go? Or Halfway To The Moon or The Wedge or Round Room or Vultures? I'm all ears for Phish 3.1 where they turn the catalouge inside out with sadistic glee and turn into some mutant hybrid of August 93 & June 97, playing their hearts out and blowing our freaking minds.
, comment by Scott
Scott @nichobert said:
I'm all ears for Phish 3.1 where they turn the catalouge inside out with sadistic glee and turn into some mutant hybrid of August 93 & June 97, playing their hearts out and blowing our freaking minds.
Wow that's a high standard. A mutant hybrid of Aug. 93 and June 97. I'll take it, but I am willing to settle.
, comment by rickshaw
rickshaw The author has removed all of the text from their comment
, comment by fuckUwilson
fuckUwilson how dare you call the end of Sand "aimless." j/k but it felt colossal for real and the segue> Light was smooth as butter. If they did it any faster we would be saying Trey cut off the jam, but he didn't. Funny story about the "Play Anything/But Me" sign haha :) I liked the beginning of the 1st set...I took the metra and the "L" so it was appropriate. Rift opened in 98 and once you get past the beginning the song really rips...well the whole thing does...i've taken a particular liking to "rift" lately. Guelah...i love this tune one of the first ones i used to groove to on my PHISH comp---"Phish Bitch". Reba is my fav. Alumni oh man the energy was through the roof. The whole second set phlowed ya know...5 song encore including the "animal set" :) Camel Walk...Guyute..The Horse..Silent...and then HOOD wow i couldn't have left happier.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I'm willing to settle too, obviously.

Just saying "The best of all worlds" - where Phish really squeezes every ounce out of the composed parts & occasionally jams out of something you'd never expect. With most of the old 'heavy hitter' exploratory jam-vehicles molded into Type I volcanic eruptions, the scene is set for a whole new cast of classic jam songs to emerge and start blazing their own trails - IMO a much better solution than "Turning YEM/Bowie/Gin/Tweezer 'back into' the YEM/Bowie/Gin/Tweezers we have loved" - Those paths have been well mapped already and oh so many songs salivate for their moment to prove their worth under the bright lights in the big leagues. They've seen Fee's brief call up on 7/8/99, Roses back in the minors after a strong stint leading up to the Willenium* (* TM Will Smith), Coil's detonation on 5/8/93 amongst a score of others.

Phish's "surprise" jams freakin rule. I live for 40 Minute Bouncin now.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM let's face it, the turning away from the standard jam vehicles started in 97. in 1.0 they continued to deliver outstanding jams out of the standard vehicles, but towards the end, more often then not, the real meat of the explorations came from song that weren't tweezer/yem/mike's. 2.0 was really its own beast and turned the "standards" on their heads whereby anything could take off, and in 03 usually succeeded.

mike said in an interview before hampton that the wasn't sure about the future of yem, that they'd get sick of playing the same songs over and over. as much as it pains me to say it, i'd have to agree with him that phish should do whatever it takes to make things fresh and exciting for them and us. still waiting for that 30 min yem/ghost or a respectable mikes, but the fact that it's just not happening is no longer something to bitch about when they give performances like this one. as really the only analogue of a jamming and prolific band, the dead have to be mentioned as they metamorphisized from the various eras. think in 77 there were "jaded" vets pissed because there were no more dark stars? some of the jams that were epic turned more conventional (NFA comes to mind) and new ones took off.

the further we get from 09, the more the "evolutional" stage will mutate into a new pattern with its own distinctive structures. i hate to say it, but i think this show was so phenomenal *because* it didn't have a tweezer/yem/mike's in it. the more i go over my favorite set 2's from 3.0, the more i'm shocked to see that these songs almost never show up. they get the band into shred mode, tight, and energetic but without much going on to require repeated listenings. disease/rocknroll/light/waves seem to be the new heavy-hitters to watch out for, and as long as they give these songs the kind of patience exhibited in 11 we are in for more show like this one. phish is on its own cutting-edge because they are the ones creating, we all just have to catch up.
, comment by Tweezer97
Tweezer97 @nichobert

You are right on the money nichobert! I love all the classics and will always want to hear them but I want to go where no Phish fan has gone before. Just from the UIC stretch I can't stop listening to Sand, Steam, and No Quarter. They are epic jams reminiscent of Floyd and sometimes Zappa with a feeling only Phish can bring. These are the songs that keep me coming back for more.
, comment by Tweezer97
Tweezer97 @AlbanyYEM

Ditto! Bring it with whatever vehicle it takes to get us to where we all want to be.
, comment by Phabolous
Phabolous This show was the best of all 3. Its Goes
UIC N1 Top 10 3.0
UIC N2 Great Setlist Ha Ha Ha
UIC N3. I felt 3 has its own improvisational grouping that it stands out by itself
, comment by Kodiakfloyd
Kodiakfloyd #sand for this show!!
You must be logged in to post a comment. is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.

Credits | Terms Of Use | Legal | DMCA

© 1990-2023  The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. | Hosted by Linode