Sunday, Oct 21, 2018
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Kirk Baird

Phish in fine form in Chicago show


Welcome to the new Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

Today s Culture Shock is going to be short. I m pretty wiped out from a long day at the Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry touring its new Harry Potter exhibit, which I ll be writing about for The Blade in an upcoming travel section. This was followed by a nearly three-hour drive from Chicago to Alpine Valley Theatre in Troy, Wis., to see Phish.

But was it worth it? Yes, without question. As I said in Friday s Culture Shock, Phish is a new band, or, really, it s back to the old band it was pre-millennial, now that Trey is clean. They boys were tight as musicians and loose as performers, meaning the band was on fire, but there was always a sense of fun to the show.

For the first set, Phish threw out some classics, along with a new track. The second set opened with a new song as well I m diggin the new tunes, which aren t as lyrically weighty as the band s previous effort, 2004's "Undermind," but have a nice presence live. Most fans never seem to like when a band pulls out new tunes. As one lead singer joked to me in an interview, a band s new material is a fan s cue to grab a beer or take a bathroom break. But two new songs is hardly demanding too much of an audience.

Trey was all smiles throughout, and his solos scorched when he cut loose. Several veteran Phish fans commented the show reminded them of concerts from the band s heyday in the 90s, including my wife. Not sure you can ask for more than that.

Big announcement tonight on Jon and Kate Plus Eight. Considering Jon spent Father s day with his kids sans Kate, and has been spotted looking at apartments in New York, is the big announcement going to come as a surprise to anyone? I wouldn t be surprised, though, if they announce they are separating, but are trying to work through their marital difficulties instead of seeking a divorce. A separation is more dramatic, frankly, than a divorce, at least in terms of TV drama.

Steve Jobs update. The Wall Street Journal reported that Jobs received a liver transplant. So, if this is true, his illness was more serious than he and Apple let on, but he wasn t close to death as many bloggers reported. As is usually the case in these situations, the truth was in the middle. Expect Jobs back on a part-time basis in the next few weeks.

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to or call 419-724-6734.

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