Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Phish @ Toyota Park (Bridgeview, IL) 8/11/09

Posted by shore On August - 14 - 2009

phishtoyotapark @AndyShore Phish coming back to touring could have gone one of two ways. One, they could have come back like the boxer warned not to fight past his prime. The one where everyone sees how terrible he is now when he gets dropped unceremoniously in the first round. The other way, the way that they did go, is to come back and remind the world why you were once on top. Phish showed why they are one of the touring heavyweight champions of the world Tuesday night at Toyota Park. At least standing in G.A. for my first full concert since injuring my ankle made me feel like I’d just gone 12 rounds.

The first set saw the heavyweight champs pull a few new punches they’ve been working on lately. “Kill Devil Falls,” “Ocelot” and “Time Turns Elastic” were all jabs to set up the bigger hits like “Sample in a Jar,” “The Curtain With” and “Gumbo.” There was even one move nobody had even seen before in “Windy City.” How very appropriate to debut that song, playing in the Chicago city limits.

The casual Phish fan may have been left feeling unsatisfied after the first set. The lack of major fan favorites left them less than enthusiastic. They were missing how great the new songs sounded and how great Phish pulled them off. Everyone was just being set up for the flurry of knock out punches to come in the second set.

Set two opened with one last new song in “Backwards Down the Number Line” to set the crowd up for the heavy hitters. The new song, which I first heard debuted by Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon last summer at Rothbury, served as a solid transition from the newer tunes of the first set to the all out classics in the second set. Or, this is when the prized fighter found his rhythm and remembered why he was once the heavyweight champion of the world.

“Carini” landed like the first major blow that drops the opponent to the mat, powerful and unexpected. “Gotta Jibbo” was like the fighter letting up on their opponent just long enough to get off the mat to toy with them. There was no looking back from that point. Blow after blow landed, making sure every last person in Toyota Park knew who the true heavyweight champion of the world was.

“Wilson” set the crowd abuzz from the opening notes that cue the call and response. “2001” was funkier than ever and has us dancing. “Harry Hood” was my first time seeing the song in seven Phish shows, and was tastefully jammed out to the tune of 13 and a half minutes.

I wasn’t expecting another song after that, but “Squirming Coil” closed out the second set with an extended piano solo from Page McConnell. Then came the knockout blow. The hit, while borrowed from an older generation of prize fighter, that couldn’t be followed.

The encore of the Rolling Stone’s “Loving Cup” was the last I could endure. I couldn’t stand anymore, and my voice was officially gone after singing all the words as loud as possible. There was no doubt in anybody’s mind that Phish is once again the heavyweight champions of the world.

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