Toyota Park was wonderful. I am often skeptical of post-hiatus and Phish 3.0’s playing, but when the band took the stage Friday night, opening with Down with Disease, they were fresh. In both of 2010’s opening concerts Phish’s playing sounded rejuvenated–their song selection and placement was thoughtful and fun.
Toyota Park’s first set has about as heavy hitting of a setlist one could ask for with one huge song after another and no breathing room. The Disease was to the point and a great choice for an energetic opener. Wolfman’s Brother was suuuuper thick and funky–Page and Trey step back for a bit to let Mike’s liquid bass lines pop over Fish’s rolling. Possum was unexpected after those two–It was straight forward and standard, but a great pick for a daytime rock song.
After Possum Trey congratulated Blackhawks fans in the crowd over their recent Stanley Cup victory and after Mike got his bass effect ready, they snapped into a short but sweet version of Boogie on. Reba was next–the composed section was executed well and the jam started off soft and quiet–nothing too inspiring, though.
Jesus Just Left Chicago was played after Reba–they played this very well, both Page’s half and Trey’s as well. Then, before the sun had completely set, they bust into Divided Sky. I love this song like the rest of the fan base, but this version (and pretty much all 3.0 versions) lacked inspiration severely…the ending kinda just jogs across the finish line rather than sprinting.
David Bowie emerged out of the end of Golgi to close the first set. It was a standard version–nothing to write about.
The second set got started with Light. The jam included some nice textures by Trey and Page, but was a pretty mellow opener–the hi-hat slowly closed, however, and here comes Maze. Page destroys his half of the jam, Trey also sounded good.
Next is, what? GHOST, BUT MIKE IS ACTUALLY STARTING IT THIS TIME LIKE IT SHOULD BE STARTED? That’s right, no more 3.0 style opening with Trey awkwardly scratching out the beginning. This Ghost gets thick and real dancable–Mike pops up and down over the sea of music the rest of the bad is providing him. Trey starts looping a lick at the end and plays over it for a small amount of time, too–a la the MSG Disease last year. This version clocks in at just over 15 minutes and segues nicely into Limb by Limb.
Limb by Limb is texturally splendid and the Limb by Limb vocal outro extended into some vocal improvisation. Two sets into summer tour and you can already tell that Phish is coming to play and have fun this year. No more pressure.
Antelope was odd. I though Trey really was lazy in the jam, noodling when the rest of the band was ready for him to blow out–then out of no real build up, Trey goes into the end-jam trilling part. Fishman keeps drumming past the point of where they normally snap into the reggae segment, as if it may have been a mistake–Trey was laughing and referenced to him a few times in the closing lyrics.
The second set ended with a new song called Show of Life. It’s a pretty song and sounds like an ode to Phish’s fans almost by “thanking [them] all”.
The double header encore was also a treat. Cavern and Julius. Julius came to a pretty exceptional peak thanks to Trey.
This show had an old school feel to it. It is a great base to judge what the rest of summer may hold for us. After hearing Toyota Park, I have no more questions about Phish anymore–they are still the band I want to follow.
Friday, 06/11/2010 Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL
Set 1: Down with Disease, Wolfman’s Brother, Possum, Boogie On Reggae Woman >Reba, Jesus Just Left Chicago, The Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus > David Bowie
Set 2: Light > Maze, Ghost -> Limb By Limb > Prince Caspian > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Run Like an Antelope, Show of Life
Notes: After Possum, Trey congratulated the hometown Chicago Blackhawks’ victory over his beloved Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals that ended two days before this show. Reba was performed without the whistling ending. Limb by Limb included an ending vocal jam. Antelope contained a Dave’s Energy Guide tease by Trey in the intro section. Antelope subsequently contained a Fishman drum solo. “Jon Fishman” was substituted for “Marco Esquandolas” and Antelope’s lyrics were further changed with “Been you to have any stick.” This show featured the Phish debut of Show of Life.