, attached to 2013-07-21

Review by relax_

relax_ By Sunday morning, I had my new daily routine down: wake up, shower, dress, dry out shoes on the hotel deck, coffee. We went uptown again for lunch to meet some friends and hang out in the beautiful, SUNNY weather. I couldn’t believe it was our last day in the city. It felt like our first -- we were brand new every day, excited, fully locked and engaged in the flow.

From the onset, it was clear Phish had no plans of slowing down on their last day, either. Dinner and a Movie (played by request) and AC/DC Bag began the show; both were punchy and full of silly energy. Listening back, you can hear their smiles shining through the music. Maze was next, adding a little edge and drama to the atmosphere. Mound seemed to have some timing issues, but it was nothing a little Funky Bitch couldn’t fix – a naturally looser, less structured way to get back in the groove by throwing down some funk! Bathtub Gin had a bit of a lyrical false start as Trey waited for caged Page to let off a little steam (360 Page!). It ambled on at a laidback pace, building every couple of minutes or so before peaking smartly.

Right about this time, the weather turned on us. We were sitting in the non-VIP grandstands watching Chicago’s sparkling skyline fade under heavy cloud cover when it started to rain heavily. Wilson began and we pointed and screamed the opening lyrics at the sky, cursing yet another “son-of-a-bitch” weather moment. The rain intensified with the music - fat cold droplets dashed near-horizontal in the wind, as a great rendition of Water in the Sky began. It was so devilishly beautiful -- the timing was akin to standing in a 120 degree desert listening to a ‘Here Comes the Sun’, haha. We left our seats, and ran behind the grandstands to hide hoping the storm would pass quickly. Boogie On started, and I ran to the dance floor midway through for a little taste to keep me going. The hot licks from Mike were infectious (Mike, starting at 3:05ish, was particularly energetic on his bass/fight bell). Trey made a “munchkin” joke, the band concluded Boogie, started Antelope, and then informed the crowd that they needed to stop the show for a bit. Again, we huddled behind the grandstands, shielded from the wind, wet, chilled, but optimistic and chatty.

Once the weather calmed, we headed back to our seats for the second set. The Energy opener was so sugary and poppy! Around 6:45, they broke away from the song structure and just after 8:30, Page jumps on the baby grand to pound out some much needed blissful waves with Mike, draping layers of serenity over our rain drenched bodies. Trey climbs on board just before the 9 minute mark solidifying the cheery, bright exploration. Afterward, the band settled down into a very mellow Ghost. The Seven Below teases around 7:10 elicited a small response from the crowd, but I guess we felt it wasn’t quite the direction we were headed. The band jammed over the bassline inciting light, bouncy tones until Trey slipped gently into Lizards at ~9:00. Just a few notes in, heavily muddle by a lingering Ghost, cheers of recognition rang out from the crowd. Yes! This is where we wanted to go, this is where we were! The dramatic overtones of the evening continued with Lizards, uplifting in the end, as usual.

After nearly two minutes of conversation on stage, OOM-PA-PA!! HARPUA!! My fiancé and I turned and screamed with glee into each other’s faces, then he bear-hugged me, lifting me off the ground, haha. I told him we had to run to the floor, so we did, dancing, singing and throwing up random high fives to folks along the way. Grinning like kids with ice cream, we settled in for story time focusing quietly with our neighbors. I love antics -- what’s a variety show without a little comedy? It was apparent early on that the Second City cast had a hand in this sideshow, and although I’ve always loved the idea of the band’s music synced to live action, their story was hilariously awful. Yes, Trey, you definitely tell it the right way! “I don’t think they’ve ever SEEN this band before.” Their story was “odd”…”awk” even! Mike took the reins -- “TOTALLY CANINE!” -- and snowballs of laughter rolled from stage to crowd and back in a familial way as the story continued. At the end of the song, Trey let us in on their little joke (thanking the Second City cast) before trotting into an Antelope set closer. As if to bring us back to reality (wait, it’s just a concert?), a Character Zero encore closed out the show arena-rock style. I cannot imagine standing in the rain all weekend and being that happy with anyone else. Thank you, Phish! Thank you, fans!
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