Phish rolled into hot and sticky Northerly Island on Chicago’s lakefront last night for an interesting and disappointing opener to the three-concert weekend. Weather leading up until showtime was sunny and in the 90′s and everyone fully expected a cold front to hit the hot air for some showtime storms–and everyone was okay with that (I was in my swim suit).
With lightning in the distance, not a drop of rain had fallen yet once Page got up and whispered into Trey’s ear leading to the end of the show in the beginning of Prince Caspian. Communication to the crowd that the show was over was NOT obvious from the start. Trey said they would be right behind stage waiting for it to blow over and then something about “coming back out” (I can’t remember exactly what he said now). An announcer said that we had to evacuate the venue, but this isn’t very telling considering they told everyone in lawn at Deer Creek in 09 to evacuate during the storm and Phish still came back out to play. Also, people were all talking about how Pearl Jam’s show at Wrigley Field wasn’t being cancelled and with Phish already canceling a show this tour, no one imagine they’d want to do that again. After about five minutes and about a quarter of the fans actually leaving the venue because most of us figured we’d get wet no matter what at this point, why not get wet while moving closer to stage, the announcer came back on saying we needed to evacuate and reminding us that “tonight’s show is cancelled”.
The heavy part of the storm passed north of the stage. Rain and wind were strong but for only about 10 minutes before returning to normal rain and eventually no rain. I understand the stage is very exposed to the elements (unlike Deer Creek), but so was Pearl Jam’s stage. There was hardly any shelter closer than a 20 minute walk so people were going to get wet no matter where they went. It really seemed unnecessary, but I’ll trust their logic. It means that tonight will probably be an awesome show–will they open up with the rest of Prince Caspian or maybe Harpua??
The first set lasts night was a song-structured affair with high energy. The Suzy, Wolfman’s combo is about as entertaining an opener as you can ask for. Suzy Greenberg only opened a show one other time (last year) since 12/14/1995 and the Wolfman’s featured Mike’s crispy slapping before Trey knocked it out of the park. The Number Line was literally the most bland version of it ever so I’m glad it got out of the way early before an It’s Ice that doesn’t come close to its last version. The Moma Dance > My Soul was a successful pairing before another Scent of a Mule featuring Fishman on his new Marimba toy.
The 46 Days, Limb by Limb, Julius set closer provided for some intense peaks before setbreak. The Down with Disease was sort and nothing particularly impressive.
Let’s hope tonight makes up for last night! Weather looks nice and clear all day long!