Phish Close Chicago Run with Another Rain Delay, "Harpua" and Members of Second City
Phish’s official poster by Rich Kelly
Earlier this evening, Phish closed one of the most weather-plagued runs in their almost 30 year history with a colorful and exploratory performance at Chicago, IL’s FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. For the second time during their three-show run at the Windy City venue, the Vermont Quartet was forced to stop their show mid-song due to weather-related issues. However, unlike Friday’s show which was cancelled during Phish’s second set, the band returned for an instantly classic second set.
The evening felt special from the start. Phish opened their show with this year’s first take on “Dinner and a Movie,” which doubled as a nod to fans streaming the performance via LivePhish.com. The first set also included interesting segues from “AC/DC Bag” into “Maze” as well as “Funky Bitch” and “Bathtub Gin.” As the rain picked up during the set, the band responded with an appropriate “Water in the Sky.” They soldiered on with a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie on Reggae Woman” that slipped into “Run Like an Antelope,” but the group was forced to stop during “Antelope” as the storm picked up. Unlike Friday’s stunted performance, this time fans were allowed to stay inside the venue during the weather delay and many took shelter under the pavilion’s bleachers.
After a lengthy delay, Phish returned to the stage and kicked off their second set with a 15-plus minute cover of The Apples in Stereo’s “Energy” that led into a funky, nine-minute “Ghost” and a dense jam that descended into the Gamehendge gem “The Lizards” (another tour debut).
The show changed pace from there. Phish busted into their first version of the coveted story-song “Harpua” since June 19, 2011. After the song’s composed opening section, Trey Anastasio invited members of the Chicago improv comedy troupe Second City onstage to perform the “Harpua” story. (He also noted a sign in the audience asking the band to play the song correctly.) The trippy segment involved a rap about Al Gore, jokes about how Phish has been telling the “Harpua” story wrong for years and a rare narration by Mike Gordon (The Phish bassist also provided a memorable Chicago-area “Harpua” narration at Rosemont, IL’s Rosemont Horizon on October 31, 1995). During the bit, Anastasio took the opportunity to banter about how Page McConnell has served as the band’s primary MC this summer. After wrapping-up the 22-minute sketch, Phish restarted and performed “Run Like an Antelope” in its entirety. A lone “Character Zero” closed the night.
Gordon, Jon Fishman and Justin Bieber guitarist Dan Kanter also performed with the Second City cast during a late night, all improv show on Friday night. Phish will return to Toronto for the first time in 13 years tomorrow.
Here’s a look at tonight’s setlist via Phish.net
Sunday, July 21, 2013, FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL
Set I: Dinner and a Movie, AC/DC Bag > Maze, Mound, Funky Bitch > Bathtub Gin, Wilson, Water in the Sky, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Run Like an Antelope1
Set II: Energy > Ghost -> The Lizards, Harpua2, Run Like an Antelope
E: Character Zero,
 With the cast of Second City
Notes: Antelope was aborted and the band had to leave the stage due to a heavy rain storm. Harpua contained an appearance by the cast of Second City and a narration by Mike.