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Phish Dusts Off Neil Young Cover, Fits “Talk” Inside “Harry Hood” At Chicago Opener [Photos/Videos]

Phish Dusts Off Neil Young Cover, Fits “Talk” Inside “Harry Hood” At Chicago Opener [Photos/Videos]
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After completing a midweek run in Dayton with an encore based around “Egg In A Hole” and its “got to get back to Chicago” refrain, Phish hit the stage at Chicago’s United Center on Friday to begin a tour-closing, three-night run.

The date of the performance—a double-spooky Friday the 13th in October—quickly became a focal point as Trey AnastasioJon FishmanMike Gordon, and Page McConnell took the stage amid ambient blue lights and plumes of production smoke to the sounds of the Friday the 13th theme music and dove into one of the most sinister songs in their catalog, “Carini”, for its second straight appearance in a show-opening slot. While it started in shadowy gloom, this “Carini” quickly pushed toward the light with a swelling, major key jam and some early guitar fireworks from Anastasio.

After a straightforward “Rift”, “Halley’s Comet” flirted with the riff from Jimi Hendrix‘s “Izabella” (an omen for what was to come) en route to a smooth segue into “Ghost”. Much like the set-opening “Carini”, this date-appropriate, supernatural song selection moved from the darkness into the light as it progressed through wisps of scattered melody and rhythmic variation to a white-hot climax just shy of the 18-minute mark. We’ll be revisiting this one, for sure.

Phish – “Ghost” [Pro-Shot] – 10/13/23

Up next came the first of several surprises on the night, a cover of 1975 Neil Young track “Albuquerque”, the second Young cover of the tour following last Sunday’s “Cinnamon Girl” in Nashville. While the song was a staple in Phish’s live repertoire in late 1998 and stuck around for scattered appearances through the end of 2000, the song appeared just once per year in 2009, 2010, and 2011 before disappearing from the rotation entirely. The rendition from Friday night in Chicago marked the band’s first return to “Albuquerque” since 6/11/11 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, a gap of 457 shows, though the excavated cover would not even wind up being the biggest bust-out of the evening.

Darkness engulfed the United Center once again as an unhinged “Saw It Again” and a maddening “Foam” kept the first set flowing. Continuing to alternate between chilling and cheerful, the band stopped by “Blaze On”, catered to the host of ghosts living on the street with some savory “Meat”, and returned to the dad-rock “love” vibes of “Drift While You’re Sleeping” to cap a wild first frame with a note of sentimentality.

Set two got started with a pulsing “Sand” that toiled through gurgling soundscapes and swells of dissonant low-end effects while remaining largely within the bounds of its composed structure throughout its 17-minute runtime. The first “Waves” since February’s Riviera Maya excursion washed in from there before the decisive sounds of “Tweezer” sent the United Center into hysterics. Clocking in at just under 16 minutes in length, this foray into the freezer may not have covered as much ground as recent standout renditions but still managed to pack in a truckload of creative tones and disorienting effects before bursting at the seams for a hair-raising, melodic finish.

A quick pivot sent the band barreling into Talking Heads‘ “Crosseyed and Painless” next. Defying the song’s “still waiting” refrain, the band wasted no time hitting the gas here, packing layers of frenetic guitar riffs, anthemic piano, and breakneck beats (hot damn, Fish!) into the relatively brief rendition before gracefully guiding it into the second “Light” in a week’s time, this one featuring a prominent tease of John Coltrane‘s “A Love Supreme” from Mike and Trey.

“Mountains In The Mist” served as the proverbial second set breather next before a cathartic “Golgi Apparatus” set up a highly unique end to set two. When the band kicked into veteran exclamation point “Harry Hood”, fans likely assumed that this song would close the frame. Those fans were right, but this “Hood” was anything but a straight shot to the finish line. After the classic composition’s intro section and “Thank you, Mr. Miner” lyrics, the band eased into the song’s airy, slow-build closing section. Rather than following the “Hood” jam thread from there, however, Trey locked into the notably similar progression for long-shelved Billy Breathes ditty “Talk” and took a detour through the song’s lyrics before drifting back to the “Hood” build-up and climactic release. This organic chat with “Talk” amid the familiar confines of “Harry Hood” marked the song’s first appearance in a Phish set since November 2009, a gap of 535 shows.

With time for one more when the band hopped back onstage for the encore, Trey leaned into the snippets of “Izabella” he had hinted at during the first set’s “Halley’s Comet” with a free-wheeling rendition of the Hendrix scorcher. A longtime rarity, Friday’s “Izabella” in Chicago marked Phish’s third take on the song this year, making 2023 the first year with three or more Phish “Izabella” appearances since 1997.

Below, check out the full setlist and a selection of fan-shot videos (via YouTube user shinepigeon) and photos (via photographer Brett Bergen) from the Friday night Phish show in Chicago, IL. Trey, Mike, Page, and Fish return to the United Center stage on Saturday their second of three nights in the Windy City. For a full list of upcoming Phish tour dates, head here.

Fans at home can follow along with live video webcasts and audio replays of the 2023 Phish fall tour via the band’s streaming service LivePhish. Audio will be added to the LivePhish app promptly after each show, with audio available to stream exclusively using LivePhish+. LivePhish+ subscribers can save on the tour webcast pass, or any single night show. For information on how to order your Phish 2023 fall tour webcasts, head here.

Set One: Carini, Rift, Halley’s Comet -> Ghost, Albuquerque > Saw It Again, Foam, Blaze On > Meat, Drift While You’re Sleeping

Set Two: Sand, Waves > Tweezer > Crosseyed and Painless -> Light > Mountains in the Mist, Golgi Apparatus, Harry Hood -> Talk -> Harry Hood

Encore: Izabella

The band walked out to audio from Friday the 13th (this was also the postshow music). Albuquerque was performed for the first time since June 11, 2011 (458 shows). Trey and Mike teased A Love Supreme in Light. Talk was last played in November 01, 2009 (536 shows).







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