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[We would like to thank user DrAyers (Michael Ayers) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

Greetings from inside the United Center! This is my second night seeing the boys in Chicago, as Jimmy Carr has announced a show in Chicago months before Phish did, and thus I was already on the hook. I was seated in the 200s for both nights (Saturday night behind the stage, Sunday night Mike side), making friends with the gentleman to my left (a fellow vinyl collector) and the WSP fanatic (Narrator: Poor soul) to my right.

(c) 2023 Hal Hansen (Chicago Bulls Logo by Chris Kuroda)

The band came out promptly at 8:04pm with Fishman rocking a green and gold muumuu, which the guy next to me claimed was because he was trolling Bears fans (Narrator: Packer colors). I said Packer fans don’t have to troll Bear fans, the Bears do that by themselves. They’re trash, have fun sucking. Once everyone settled into their respective spots, Trey started strumming and then jumped into…"Everything Is Hollow"? Not a bad song per se, but the song doesn’t really do anything. It just kind of meandered until it fizzled out, prompting the band to jump into "Timber"! "Timber" usually brings the goods, so I figured the band were taking a mulligan on this holy of evenings and righting the ship. (Narrator: Get it? Because Phish is Church and we’re never supposed to miss a Sunday show.Yeah yeah yeah, fuck you too.).

Nope! "Ocelot" is next. The law of averages states that, stasticially, "Ocelot" is someone’s favorite song, which is almost as mindblowing to me as BDNTL being someone’s favorite. I was beginning to feel like this show was a dud. Looking down at the floor, even those tarper fucks looked bored (Unpopular opinion: I have little to no problem with tarpers (Narrator: Not me, fuck those guys.). I’m too old to be riding the rail. Give me a seat and cup holders for my beer. My only complaint about tarpers is…look, if you all were good dancers, I could see you needing that much space. But y’all are a bunch of Elaine’s down there. Handful of times I couldn’t tell if the person was dancing or having a stroke.)

(c) 2023 Charlie Miller

After that travesty was "Vultures," also known as The Phish Song Ruined By Subpar Ric Flair Impersonations. The song was played surprisingly well for them (which is not something we can normally say for "Vultures"), but man…those woo’s fucking ruin it (Narrator: Seriously, shut the fuck up.).

After that is some song called "Monsters." They’d only played it once before, and I can see why. Don’t waste your time.

Which is honestly how the rest of the first set felt. The band played "Plasma" next, but it felt uninspired. Even the usually reliable "Mercury" was meh. I’m not saying that length matters (Narrator: Please don’t), but this was essentially the studio version. The highlight of "Mercury" for me was watching this girl try to get from one aisle to the other by going through our row. She started at seat 1 with a full cup of beer, and by the time she had gotten to my seat (4), she had downed the entire thing. As she passed, she mumbled some apology about being “too dirty” (Narrator: No idea.). I didn’t see her the rest of the night, but having been in her shoes before multiple times…she either made it to her seat or ended up passed out on the lawn clutching their vinyl copy of A Picture Of Nectar they got from the merch booth (Narrator: r/suspiciouslyspecific). We may never know.

"Stash" is next, which I’m sure every Boomer in the crowd enjoyed, once they turned up their hearing aids. "Leaves" is after that and again, the highlight for me had nothing to do with the actual song. A couple in the aisle were aggressively gesturing and shouting the lyrics, which seemed like overkill. It reminded me of a friend in college who was in a band that played mostly ballads, but they would headbang through every song. Just absurd. Trey must have sensed the same thing I did, because after the shortest hi-hat intro ever for "David Bowie," the band hammered through the composed and jam sections as quickly as possible to get us to set break.

(c) 2023 Scott Marks

The lights came up and I got to chatting with the folks in my aisle. WSP Fanatic wanted to see "Roses Are Free," which the two gentlemen next to me and the couple in the row in front of us all agreed would kick ass. Nobody mentioned that they thought the first set was bad (though my friend [REDACTED] agreed with me and thought it was boring).

10:02pm, the lights went down, the band walked out, WSP Fanatic crossed her fingers and Trey started up…"Drowned." Definitely not "Roses Are Free," but "Drowned" in a fantastic set two opener. Short but sweet, Trey jumped into "A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing," which is something I need to talk about. Both .net and LivePhish list "Tweezer" next, with .net saying that “Tweezer” was a continuation of the Friday "Tweezer" and it contained no singing. That’s fucking bullshit, that’s a tease. It sounded to me like Trey started up "Tweezer," remembered Oh shit, we played this on Friday and then quietly shifted into jam mode before anybody noticed. Regardless of if you agree with me (and if you don’t, you’re wrong but whatever), that 17 minute span rocked. Trey teased "Simple" before properly playing it and then followed it up with "Pebbles and Marbles," which I somehow always confuse with "Walls of the Cave" (Narrator: I know why. He smokes a ton of weed. That brain ain’t operating at 100%.).

After that was, for me, the highlight of the show. I am a huge fan of Little Feat. I think the Halloween set Waiting For Columbus is criminally underrated, as far as Halloween shows go. So seeing any "Spanish Moon," my favorite song on the album, well…I was over the moon (Narrator: Oh for fucks sake). Another song off of my Phish bucket list (just got "Freebird," "Cracklin’ Rosie," "Sexual Healing", "Oh Sweet Nuthin," "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" and "Gin and Juice" left).

(c) 2023 Charlie Miller

Trey, being the omniscient and gracious man that he is, offered up "A Wave of Hope" next, which has been been a particular obsession of mine as of late (Narrator: Because it fucking rocks.). Trey tossed us a freebie with a bonus not-shitty-fourth-quarter tune ("Evolve"). "Loving Cup" to close out the set and bam motherfuckers, how’s your mind? Blown?

Everyone immediately started calling for Tweeprize, because of course they fucking did. We may be blasted out of our minds on various substances, but we know a Tweeprize is happening. Trey had other thoughts, as he started up "Run Like An Antelope" instead. Outside of some fun samples from Page, Antelope was its usual awesome "Antelope" self. Everyone started calling out Tweeprize again. Nope, "Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S." Once we find out what space smells like, Trey slams into Tweeprize, walks out to the front of the stage and fucking gets down. Tweeprize never gets old.

I did a terrible job of describing it, but that was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen. Not shows, that first set is hot garbage and likely the only people impressed with it are Goose fans. That second set was proof that a great set doesn’t need a 30+ minute jam. Not a single song over 20 (still not acknowledging "Tweezer"), and yet it smokes. Sets like that are why I continue to come back. I may never listen to that first set ever again, but you can bet your ass I’ll be rocking that second set, and you should too.

See you fucks at YEMSG.

(c) 2023 Scott Marks

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