26 in 26 #11 07/19/2013 FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL (Tim Rusteika, @weekapaug986) #phish
Selection: “Down With Disease>Prince Caspian”
From Tim Rusteika:
Tour had been kicked off for a few weeks at this point and there had been plenty of highlights (see previous writeups). I was overjoyed when the day finally came to make my first trip out to Chicago for my first three night run of the tour. Got picked up from the airport early on the morning of the show by two great friends/tour guides, mdawg and LawnMemo. After a quick trip around town for beer and food, checking in to the hotel and preparing ourselves for the evening, it was time to head to the venue. Brought my camelbak and trusty sword with me (for protection of course) and no rain jacket because the forecast called for clear skies. NO NEED TO WORRY!
The venue was very cool, situated out on a peninsula with the skyline of Chicago in the background, it was beautiful and made me even more excited for the weekends festivities.
Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2013. All rights reserved.
The first set was great! A killer 1-2 punch with “Suzy Greenberg” and “Wolfmans Brother” to really set the energy off right in the venue, a good version of “Backwards Down the Numberline” (yea I said it, it was GOOD!), “Scent of a Mule” featuring Fishman on his new toy, the Marimba Lumina, a rockin “Limb by Limb” complete with a near DEG tease, and a slow raging “Julius” to finish off the set.
I don’t recall exactly when, but somewhere during the first set everyone began to notice there was a storm a brewin’ off in the distance. And it did not look good.
When setbreak hit everything was great, aside from the HUGE thundercloud we could see steadily moving in our direction. “If you don’t look at it, it isn’t really there,” I kept saying to myself. But no matter how much i tried to convince myself that it would pass by without a single drop and everything would be fine, I was poorly mistaken. This was going to be a big one, comparable to the first set at Jones Beach a week prior.
The crowd was optimistic that the storm would miss us and we would see a great set. Even if it rained a little, we’ve lived through it before, there is no way this could dampen our spirits. I was here to have a good time and a little water never hurt anyone. As a group, my friends and I have high spirits and as long as the band’s playing we will be enjoying ourselves.
The second set started with one of my personal favorite set 2 openers, “Down with Disease”. “Down with Disease” starts off the same as usual, with some sweet sexy Gordo bass vibrations. The composed section is well played and kicks in to the jam around 3:48. Already I’m becoming more optimistic the set will be great regardless of what happens with the oncoming apocalypse. I continue to do the only thing I could at that point, dance like nobody is watching.
Around 4:28 the band settles out and Trey plays a few nice crescendo licks and leads the jam into type 1 territory. The jam from then on until 8:28 is standard “Down with Disease” raging jam with some nice widdlys from Trey, grooving from Mike, ivory tickling from Page, and “give that man a banana” rocking the drums by Fishman. Around 8:28 Mike takes the reigns and starts pushing the jam. The pace slows down and the whole place is just grooving.
Around 10:36, Mike starts pushing the band towards bliss territory, get me out of this darkness. And at 11:07 Trey decides this would be a good time to start “Prince Caspian.” I’m not a hater, I love “Prince Caspian” but this one started differently. I’m not sure exactly when, but near the end of the “Down with Disease” the lights started to come on around the venue, which despite being during a pretty smooth segue into “Prince Caspian,” made it hard for anyone in the venue to focus (except for Trey, who continued to focus on “Prince Caspian”). At this point Page gets up out of his seat and begins walking towards Trey, the rest of the band slowly fading out their instruments. Trey sings a few lines from “Prince Caspian” and then Page whispers something in his ear. A little chuckle from Trey is followed by Page getting on the mic and telling the crowd there is a major storm on the way and they’re evacuating the venue.
And everyone has to leave.
And as Page says, that was a pretty good beginning to the set! They tell us that if it blows over they’ll come back out, as everyone around us is shuffling around, some leaving, some staying put. Spirits were down all over.
I hung around in my spot for a little bit, but once we saw them starting to pack up the instruments and take down the stage, we knew this was no laughing matter and they would not be coming back out to play for us again that night. I don’t know about other people, but even though I respect the safety of the band/crew/fans and I knew this was the right thing to do, I was not happy about it. There were huge strikes of lightning followed very closely by incredibly loud thunder crashes and talks all around us of tornado warnings. TORNADO WARNINGS! This is definitely a first for me.
To my chagrin, we left the venue. My good local friend, mdawg, knew just what to do. Close by was Soldier Field, a large football stadium with an indoor parking garage big enough and sturdy enough to protect us in case of a tornado. After a quick jaunt through the park we made our way in to the garage just as the rain was picking up. Little did we realize that this was Satans Garage, Dantes Inferno, Beelzebubs Lair, this place was a friggin oven!
It had to have been 120 degree in this garage but our other alternative was braving our way through the storm to our hotel 15-20 minutes away, also did i mention the TORNADOS? While we were contemplating our next move, a very close friend of mine from college showed up out of nowhere. He proceeded to lead me to his car where me and my 8 friends sat, had some water and beer and tried to endure the heat while outlasting the storm outside. I am incredibly grateful to have such great friends, Andrew basically saved our lives that night.
After some time in Hell’s Kitchen we got word that the storm was slowing down for a little and we would have time to make it back to the hotel. After a quick run through the park while still getting soaked, we arrived at the hotel, dripping wet, all of our friends in tow, where we proceeded to drink, eat and be merry.
As Trey says “You decide what it contains, How long it goes but this remains, The only rule is it begins, Happy happy oh my friend.” The day started off amazing but fell flat when the first night of an amazing weekend was cut short. Back in the hotel we dried ourselves off, watched to see how much pizza LawnMemo could eat, heard accusations that many kids were dying from the cinnamon challenge (look it up yourself if you want to know if its true), and had an all around good time. My friends and I ended up having an awesome night regardless of the adventure we had been through. Time to get some rest and hope the next two days go as planned.
“My favorite “Ghost” is 11-28-97, and the most underrated “Ghost” I have seen was 06-04-09. I have been a huge fan of The Daily Ghost/LawnMemo site for quite some time, and am thrilled to be writing for it!”
Tim (Paug) is a cool guy and fun to hang out with out at Phish. That is all.