Sunday 06/26/2016 by sethadam1

WRIGLEY 2 RECAP: LET'S PLAY TWO

Here at Phish.net, we try to tee up recaps from people who were at the show, but sometimes it just doesn't work out and we have to weigh in from the couch. This opens a writer up to the critique that negative opinions expressed are the result of jealousy and sour grapes. In this case, I have no defense to that charge. I’m jealous as all hell that I wasn’t at Wrigley Field this weekend to see the band I love perform in the cathedral that my beloved Cubs call home. Does this mean that any criticism I may be about to level is tainted and biased?

Yes, yes it does.

The first three shows of the tour have felt, to me, like...well, like the early part of a tour usually does. Warming up, stretching things out, not getting too crazy too fast. Saturday’s first set, to my ears, was that process in action. For example, let’s take a couple of standard first set tunes that have been paired seven times, but for the first time, let “Moma Dance” precede “AC/DC Bag.” Let’s mix in some newerFuego material. Let’s sing "Happy Birthday" to the legendary Dickie Scotland, and let’s take a moment to bask in the sunshine of the Friendly Confines on a gorgeous June evening and tell embarrassing stories that you may not have known about Fishman and his dedication to art. Let’s raise our hands to “The Divided Sky” and imagine we’re not on the North Side of Chicago, but in a green field, surrounding a black rhombus, and we’re about to summon something magical. And if Fish flubs the end of “Cavern,” let’s rip through “Good Times Bad Times” and end on that note instead.

Once the sun had set at Addison and Clark, there really was some magic to be seen. I admit to being skeptical at first about Kuroda’s new screens, but what I saw on the webcast was utterly spectacular. I’m not sure if it was, in part, inspired by last summer’s “Drive-In” set, but it definitely evokes the surreal feeling of that performance. And here’s where it really gets exciting, because the prospect of a new album, steeped in the improvisation and collaborative songwriting of 2013-2015, makes me giddy. I can’t get enough of what Phish has been doing over the last few years, and the future seems awfully bright.

photo © Kristine Condon Photography

For now, though, there’s this particular second set, and once again, it has that early tour feeling to me. “Carini” heads right for the joyful 3.0 G-spot, and stays there long enough to generate an excellent, celebratory peak, before the electrifying “Tweezer” riff appears. I’m afraid I don’t have much to say about the “Tweezer” jam, which I’ve listened to twice, but which has not really held my attention during either attempt. The segue to “Fluffhead,” on the other hand, was both well done and grin-inducing, and ended the second longest gap in “Fluff’s” history (the first, of course, coming to end the night that 3.0 was born). The subsequent “Piper” is another jam that just hasn’t resonated with me yet, but which nonetheless delivered a memorable segue; this time a slick slide into “Steam.” It seemed to me as if the band circled around on the ending of “Steam” to set up Page for “Wading in the Velvet Sea,” which was followed by a straightforward “Harry Hood” > “Tweezer Reprise” combo to close the set.

The “I Am the Walrus” encore deserves a special nod, as it is the seventh song this tour to break a 100+ show gap, the eighth to break a 50+ show gap, and could potentially mean we’re in for many more such treats as the summer progresses. Not to mention new songs, of which we’ve only heard one so far, and new covers, like the tremendously moving and beautifully Phishy rendition of “Space Oddity.”

To sum up, then, while I don’t find a whole lot to delve into in terms of improvisation, and I can’t give you the benefit of a first hand account of what I’m sure was an amazing night at Wrigley, I can tell you that I loved so much of what I heard last night, and so much of what I’ve heard so far, that I'm off to figure out a way to swing Dick’s.

photo © Kristine Condon Photography

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Comments

, comment by gratefulterp
gratefulterp Good luck swinging dicks
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray Nice green-eyed monster recap
, comment by eyesontweeprize
eyesontweeprize Given the incredible setlist and the crazy excitement I'm seeing elsewhere on the internet, I'm very surprised to read such a short and unenthusiastic recap... I guess I'll have to listen for myself and see where I stand!
, comment by JMart
JMart If there ever were an example of "don't judge a shoe by its setlist," this show is it.
At least the second set. I don't think I would be alone if I said that Carini and Tweezer are THE 3.0 jam standard bearers. To have them next to each other to open the last set of a hot shit Wrigley run....MAN that must have been awesome, right?!?!
I mean, kinda. Carini immediately switches to the bliss and I can't help but think that I've heard that jam before a lot over the precious few years. Tweezer (the one song I look forward to more than any other) starts awesome and there are a few minutes of the jam where I wish I still ate acid. But they really seemed to lose their way after Trey kept screwing around with his delay. Hood (I lied- this is the song I look forward to the most) just...ugh. I try to be mindful and appreciate the now and not look back, but this song has gone to the dogs more often than not. Yes, there are very good 3.0 hoods, but this was not one of them. It's directionless and limp and, really more than anything else epitomizes how the band is sometimes searching for a voice during a jam.
Maybe they're tired of playing the same songs? Maybe just need a few shows to warm up? I'll stay positive and look forward to hearing the new material. And to see them on the road.
, comment by mind_flayer
mind_flayer 6/25/16 was awesome. A classic. Energy was awesome, I felt like the pace of the show was perfect. The band seemed to be really enjoying themselves, having a ton of fun. How lucky are we that Phish is still out there killing it after all these years?
, comment by SolarGarlic505
SolarGarlic505 Part of me wants to give this show a rave review out of excitement and being by far the best out of the first three shows of your, but I have to agree with jsauce and TheEmu. I was not at Wrigley, but watched from my couch. What looks like a great 2nd set on paper just falls a bit flat in execution. That was my feeling last night when I went to bed, and my feeling still after a relisten today. I'll be the first to admit that if I was there in person, my opinion may be a bit different, but not different enough to make this the slayer it is being construed as elsewhere. But watching from couch tour, each time they had a true chance to blast off, alas, it didn't come to fruition, at least not for me.

That being said, I truly enjoyed the show overall, and it looked like the gang was having a blast up on stage, especially first set, and that to me my phriends, is what truly matters. This show showed me that they are getting a bit hotter, but still warming up on summer tour. But the promise of IT is in the air again in my opinion. It was a good show, no doubt, but not the barn burner everyone is making it out to be on other sites/blogs. Just my two cents, which is worth nothing in the current market :)
, comment by hambone024
hambone024 Y'all are suffering the 2015 summer tour hangover. Maybe S2 wasn't the best set of 2015, but it worked as a set, with a lot of concise yet punchy jamming that felt cohesive. I used to live for their wandering, but appreciate how they now manage to pack in more in 12 minutes than they used to in 20. I was surprised when I realized later that Piper was only 8 minutes. Sure, there are familiar tricks in these jams, but that's typical to Phish, no matter the era. Trey's echo effect could be getting old, like everything else he's played with for sustained periods over the years. But, I liked the way he got more of a rhythm out of it on this, particularly in Tweezer. And that segue into Steam, and the way Trey worked out the lower octaves with more fullness than what seems usual for the song. I'll definitely relisten to this set a bunch. May not end up the best of 2016, but it's a keeper, even if it doesn't have 20 minute monsters.
, comment by pauliegirl
pauliegirl A lot of the crowd was saying Carey in place of hood, during Harry good
, comment by Chipes
Chipes Why would they even post a review by someone who wasn't even there? It's pretty worthless IMO. And all of the negative comments that follow are also by people looking through a 16:9 peep-hole from their couch. Not the best versions I've heard of every song, as some of you seem to expect...but it was raunchy, tight and had a good momentum throughout. If you prefer Trey "noodling" around for 20 minutes in the name of experimentation, throw on a show from '97. If you want to hear a really solid show that may end up as one of the best this tour...listen to Saturday and judge for yourself. I have both shows up on dropbox...PM me if you want the link.
, comment by drrandy
drrandy It is hard to believe that with about 40,000 phans attending that Phish.net could not find a single person there worthy of writing this recap.
I mean the review was decent but this was one of those shows where I think you really had to be there to capture the full experience...
, comment by J_D_G
J_D_G @Chipes said:
Why would they even post a review by someone who wasn't even there? It's pretty worthless IMO. And all of the negative comments that follow are also by people looking through a 16:9 peep-hole from their couch. Not the best versions I've heard of every song, as some of you seem to expect...but it was raunchy, tight and had a good momentum throughout. If you prefer Trey "noodling" around for 20 minutes in the name of experimentation, throw on a show from '97. If you want to hear a really solid show that may end up as one of the best this tour...listen to Saturday and judge for yourself. I have both shows up on dropbox...PM me if you want the link.
Just curious, were you at this particular show?
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish @J_D_G said:
@Chipes said:
Why would they even post a review by someone who wasn't even there? It's pretty worthless IMO. And all of the negative comments that follow are also by people looking through a 16:9 peep-hole from their couch. Not the best versions I've heard of every song, as some of you seem to expect...but it was raunchy, tight and had a good momentum throughout. If you prefer Trey "noodling" around for 20 minutes in the name of experimentation, throw on a show from '97. If you want to hear a really solid show that may end up as one of the best this tour...listen to Saturday and judge for yourself. I have both shows up on dropbox...PM me if you want the link.
Just curious, were you at this particular show?
While, I get what you're going for here, I don't think its a relevant question. Said commenter isn't offering to review the show. When you're reviewing a band whose main forum is their live show, the energy in the room, amphitheater,etc... is such an integral part of the experience. I also feel I have read some lackluster reviews of shows I have been at, where I have thought to myself "Man, if they were there they might have been a little more jazzed about this show." Y'all get too touchy about comments on here once in a while. If you're going to offer up personal comments and criticisms of shows on a public platform, be prepared to take the good and the bad.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish Also, kudos to TheEmu for the opening up the review with the fact that they weren't there and it may impart some bias on their behalf. Can't be any more transparent than that in journalism.
, comment by Yabo1026
Yabo1026 Lotsa fun from the couch - Worth a re-listen or two or three ;-)
, comment by DrFuego
DrFuego I was there- been seeing them since 92 - sat nite was out of sight
, comment by HerbertWest
HerbertWest I was there, and it was magical. Might have been the most energetic and well paced 3.0 show I've seen; a total rock show. The second set was out of sight, and totally lived up to the raucous GTBT first set closer. I Am The Walrus was a complete surprise and a perfect encore to a killer nite. Seems like most of the negative comments are coming from couch tour critics. Sadly the unreal energy of Wrigley must not have transcended the television set. But I'm here to tell you, it was a perfect show.
, comment by hambone024
hambone024 I was on my couch and I loved it. No visuals. Just a dark room and the music.

Maybe every show doesn't have to be the most unique or best ever. As long as they don't all become exactly the same or the band stops trying.
, comment by hambone024
hambone024 Or rather, doesn't stop trying.
, comment by Phishinnati
Phishinnati I appreciate your honesty, in saying you were not there, because that certainly creates a different environment for the listener.

Clearly the Couch Tour is not very fun when you compare it to the Atmosphere of Wrigley.

I mean.....Good Times/Bad Times, Fluffhead, I Am The Walrus. <--- I feel like that sentence should sum up how good the show was haha. But hey, this is America, you're entitled to your opinion. I didn't think Saturday could be topped, and then Sunday Night Noblesville happened hah
, comment by TheEmu
TheEmu @Jestinphish said:
@J_D_G said:
@Chipes said:
Why would they even post a review by someone who wasn't even there? It's pretty worthless IMO. And all of the negative comments that follow are also by people looking through a 16:9 peep-hole from their couch. Not the best versions I've heard of every song, as some of you seem to expect...but it was raunchy, tight and had a good momentum throughout. If you prefer Trey "noodling" around for 20 minutes in the name of experimentation, throw on a show from '97. If you want to hear a really solid show that may end up as one of the best this tour...listen to Saturday and judge for yourself. I have both shows up on dropbox...PM me if you want the link.
Just curious, were you at this particular show?
While, I get what you're going for here, I don't think its a relevant question. Said commenter isn't offering to review the show. When you're reviewing a band whose main forum is their live show, the energy in the room, amphitheater,etc... is such an integral part of the experience. I also feel I have read some lackluster reviews of shows I have been at, where I have thought to myself "Man, if they were there they might have been a little more jazzed about this show." Y'all get too touchy about comments on here once in a while. If you're going to offer up personal comments and criticisms of shows on a public platform, be prepared to take the good and the bad.
I think it's really more that we see the same comment, again and again, to the point where it was the very first thing I attempted to address in my review. It's why I try not to recap shows I'm not at anymore.

And that's also why anyone who does like writing show recaps should talk to folks on the site team. It's an all volunteer site, and we can always use volunteers, especially ones who are willing to put themselves out there and review a show.
, comment by JesusFreak
JesusFreak Nobody has mentioned the fact that the Cubbies are like 4000% more likely to win the World Series this year now. Think about it. The year Phish starts the Wilson chant in Washington, the Seahawks win the Super Bowl. The following year while the band is playing in San Fran, the Giants win the World Series. Last year, the band played a show in KC, and the Royals win the World Series.
Now they play Wrigley...and the Cubs are in the first place....
I think we all need to see how this plays out. Everything these boys touch turns to gold.
, comment by GAphishin
GAphishin As always, the boys make me eat my words. I apologize if ever I try to make statements about how I think they are off their game.
I have the fortune of having years of tour experience listening to the first few shows, believing I know better, then 46 Days comes and establishes that I have no right to make comments other than, "THANK YOU!" Thank you for always proving me wrong as I sit on my laurels and hmmm and haw about how I think it should be done.
I am a Gorge awaiter. I am now a southern man wondering why they skipped us this year. I am a later-in-the-tour goer. I sit and ponder my navel early in a tour and expect more than early tour can grant me. I, too, hangover from last year's tour and await the hair of the dog to uncloud my small, but soulful spirit. I wade in slowly and hesitate as the water reaches my balls and suck in deep. . .then 46 Days happens!
Did you hear the Trey comment prior to heavy things? His uncertainty of whether he had the right note and if the beat was fast enough? I assumed, Fishman's look was saying, "Dude, I got this. Trust me." That is where I thought Trey's smart-ass comeback after "I Didn't Know" came from. Cavern was another prank pulled by Fishman on the whole band. . .or was there more my ears did not see?
There were parts of this show that made me still doubt if I am willing to jump right into the waters early in the summer, but this second set help me find my courage. Fuck it! Get in! Get wet! GO PHISHIN!
Carini. Tweezer. Fluff! And a Piper too?! C'Mon! Did you hear the joy in the crescendo of Fluffhead?
The hardest part of this show was the Hood into Reprise. Reprise was so short that I was not out of my shock of wondering if they were trying to make Harry Hood radio-length-worthy.
I guess I was still so myphed that I hardly indulged in Walrus.
Hard to end on those many notes.
I will close by stating that the second set woke me up. I am on tour from a long way away (Slovenia). I am ever so grateful, but ready for the gentlemen to spend some more time in the tour bus doing whatever they do to indulge in each others' presence and share in the groove!
Maybe its time to play a venue that they know well. Settle in. Camel Walk!
, comment by TexasBrett
TexasBrett it's November and I just saw them 2x last week and I *still* am not over the Wrigley shows. that's what it was like being there.
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