Phish Close Chicago Run with Surprising "Wedge" Jam
As the old adage goes, “never miss a Sunday show.” Last night, Phish added to that legend with their finale at Chicago’s Northerly Island with a special show full of surprises at every turn.
Opening with “Gumbo” for just the second time ever in the song’s lifetime, Phish was off and running as they followed the funky tune with a solid “Runaway Jim.” The next surprise on the night came in the form of “Tela,” making its tour debut and the first since 7/31/13 in Stateline, NV. After “The Line,” Fishman broke out his Marimba Lumina for a special “Scent of a Mule” jam that would end with all four members on Fish’s drum kit for an impromptu drum section. The “Bathtub Gin” that followed would continue the “Mule” theme as Trey would tease portions of the song in the “Gin” jam.
While not the biggest surprise of the evening, but yet again “Silent in the Morning” appeared without its normal predecessor—“The Horse.” The song has been noticeably absent from sets since New Year’s 2012. For comparison, “Silent” has been performed ten times since the last “Horse.” A rocking “Maze,” groovy “Ocelot” and “Walls of the Cave” closed the impressive first set.
The final set of the weekend kicked off with a pairing that displayed Phish’s control over the setlist as the heavy “Down with Disease” led into a lighter “Winterqueen.” As they’ve done for most of the tour, the band’s ability to contrast new with old and heavy with light has been a highlight throughout. “Theme From the Bottom” followed before “Mike’s Song” kicked off a thrilling closing run.
As “Mike’s” led into “The Wedge,” no one could have predicted what was coming. In the end, “The Wedge” would be stretched out to 14-minutes, making it the longest version ever played by the band by nearly five minutes. The “Ghost” that followed featured more anthemic jamming from the band as all four members guided the tune to a soaring peak before seamlessly transitioning into “Weekapaug Groove.” While not the jam vehicle it used to be, “Weekapaug” almost got there as Phish worked in a “Ghost” jam from the unfinished tune that preceded. “First Tube” closed the set while “Character Zero” provided the punctuation to the weekend.
Next up for Phish is a brief four-day break before they hit the stage in Charlotte on Friday night.
Here’s a look at the setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section:
FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL
Set I: Gumbo > Runaway Jim, Tela, The Line, Scent of a Mule* > Bathtub Gin > Silent in the Morning > Maze > Ocelot, Walls of the Cave
Set II: Down with Disease^ > Winterqueen > Theme From the Bottom > Mike’s Song > The Wedge, Ghost -> Weekapaug Groove, First Tube
Enc: Character Zero
Notes: *Fish on Marimba Lumina and all four band members on Fish’s drum set.