We’re excited to announce an upcoming series that The Mockingbird Foundation offers in collaboration with an academic journal.
This summer, the Public Philosophy Journal published a special issue on “Phish and Philosophy”—the first academic journal ever to be dedicated to the band—and Mockingbird’s participation in scholarly research was a first-of-its-kind partnership! Find buckets full of thoughts and read the articles via the PPJ’s online publishing platform at this link, and please click the "Read More" link below for more information.
[We would like to thank Reed Meschefske, @DaleCooper, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
As mentioned by Dr Stephanie Jenkins during the Thursday review, Dicks is bordeline ritual for people. The same hotel, the same lot, the same seats. Each year adds a new ring of emotions and stories, like a tree growing upward and outward.
With 2022 being announced as a four show run, these patterns were uprooted somewhat. Travel plans, vacation days, long-made hotel reservations all had minor to major adjustements made. With these changes, the weekend looked different. There was more time by the pool, or having brunch, or hiking in the mountains. This extra day allowed people to look at their traditions in a new and expanded way.
[We would like to thank Dr. Stephanie Jenkins, Ph.D., for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Thursday marked the beginning of this year’s Dick’s run. I think that this exact thing happened to me just last year. For a decade.
Last night was Phish’s thirty-first Labor Day weekend show at the Commerce City venue in what is arguably the band’s longest running, most reliable tradition. Every year, since 2011, we can count on three—now four—concerts at the same place, at the same time, with our favorite band. In 2011, at the “S” show, I made a promise to myself to never miss a Dick’s show and, so far, I’ve kept that commitment.
The digital version of Surrender to the Flow Issue No. 75 is available now at www.gum.co/sttf75 for free or by donation. This issue includes information about this year's Labor Day Weekend Run at Dick's---where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about the area. The issue also contains reviews of the first half of Summer Tour 2022; articles about WaterWheel's 25th Anniversary, fans helping others, an interview with Jovi, and things to do during the day in Colorado; and regular STTF features (among other things) like recipes, My First Show, Phish Changed My Life, Everybody Loves Statistics, Read the Book book reviews, Celebrations, fan fiction, and a puzzle.
Hey nerds! When tour dates dropped this Spring, a chime of disappointment rang through my chest with the realization that my favorite band wouldn’t be coming within 1,200 miles of my home in California. A collective shrug inevitably felt by most of my west coast brethren. Yeah, yeah, we did get eighteen amazing shows between the summer and fall of ’21 (an embarrassment of riches really), but as a card-carrying member of hardcore phans, it’s in our very nature to be disappointed at least part of the time.
Traveling for Phish is certainly nothing new for me. The older I get and the more I become comfortable in my professional life, travelling becomes part of the fun, checking off bucket list venues as if on some imaginary bingo card. But also, I’m from the Midwest, so as I scrolled through the dates, my eyes were immediately drawn to this middle weekend in August at the behemoth that is Alpine Valley. A venue that’s imprinted on the DNA of any Phish kid living in the middle of the country. Also, I could use this as an opportunity for a phamily reunion of sorts with all my homies from the great North. In addition, I happen to love lakes, brats, cheese curds and swill beer, so win-win. Of course, I bought the ticket and made the pilgrimage to this sprawling Midwestern Phish mecca. I have a bit of a storied history with this venue, many of which would be inappropriate to mention on this fine forum, so unfortunately you’ll have to wait for my tell-all book for all the dirty details. Needless to say, I’ve seen many, many shows at this place throughout the years.
[We would like to thank Doug Kaplan, user @MrDougDoug (Twitter: @hausumountain, IG: @hausumountain) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
What’s up wooks, custies, spinners, and spunions? It’s your boy @MrDougDoug, here to share the heady scoop on Phish’s 22nd ever show at Alpine Valley, on the day of our Lord Icculus, August 13th, 2022.
Today we’re going to focus on the notion of between-ness and liminality in the Phish experience. So we aren’t focusing on what was before, or what will be after, but that undecided, undefined space in the middle . Some of the most important rituals in the life cycle – like a wedding or graduation – celebrate the passage from what was known into the unknown and can serve as essential touchpoints, unforgettable times, moments in a box.
Conversely, some of the most mundane elements of life brim with this feeling of liminality: a doctor’s office waiting room or a train station are equally marked by their between-ness, but on a less world-altering "from-where-you-were-to-where-you’re-going"-sort-of-vibe. A liminal space brims with potential energy as one moves from what was before into what could possibly be. To exist in this sort of space in the present could be disorienting, or even a little bit frightening, like standing on the edge of a cliff. But being open to this sort of zone can provide life-altering and life-afirming experiences when you lean into embracing the unknown.
[We would like to thank Rob Mitchum for recapping last night's show. Rob is a science and music writer in Oak Park, IL. He tweets about Phish @phishcrit, other stuff @robmitchum, and has undertaken the Sisyphean task of writing about every Phish show on its 25-year anniversary, which will take him until at least 2047…and counting. Thank you Rob! -Ed.]
When Twin Peaks came back for a miracle third season in 2017, it succeeded where many other TV show reboots failed. It reunited beloved characters, but didn’t offer up the simple comfort of familiarity. Everyone looked older – an obvious fact, but not one that television usually admits. While some characters were still stuck in their former patterns and roles, others were different in ways both surprising and frustrating. A slew of new characters were introduced, expanding the show’s world in ways that weren’t always clear. There was no easy retracing of steps, and that tension, combined with the emotional weight of a story that had been living in viewer’s heads for 25 years, made for an experience unlike any other.
It’s early Monday morning. I’m sitting in a Bed & Breakfast in nearby Absecon, NJ, collecting my thoughts on the show that ended only a few hours ago, and on the greater tour at large. Feelings of gratitude, splendor, wonder etc. are all running amok through my head.
AC3 was my ninth show of this inspired tour. It’s no secret that the last two years have been an absolute joy for us Phish fans. Seemingly all the rules of set-listing are out the window, the band’s jamming is at an extremely high level, and everything just feels fresh. I’ve walked into every show I've seen this tour not knowing what to expect as the band has delivered twists and turns and major highlights nightly. After a revelatory, improvisation-laden Friday night and Saturday night party, the band was poised to deliver a top-to-bottom “complete” run in Atlantic City.
Did it finish in strong fashion? Were the Sunday Show™ vibes in full effect? Would we see Satan on the beach, trying to catch a ray?
Philly. Bethel. Hartford. Jones Beach. Raleigh. MPP. Blossom! AC night one! This tour has been incredibly consistent, with few dips and many many peaks. The tour is picking up steam, and AC1 showed that they have no intention of slowing down. Relentless is the one word that comes to mind. The ballads are few and far between, most perfectly placed, the jams continue to evolve and show no signs of stalling out. And on the jams—they've finally optimized the synthesizer toys between Trey, Mike and Page, and Trey has perfected his tone, which is pushing them to innovate. They're pushing each other, and instead of a basic pattern that relies on building bliss peaks, we're getting noise rock, ambient space jazz, a mix of good and evil—new, different sounds. What every Phish fan is looking for.
But it can't possibly last, can it? Fishman, fueled by an experimental jet propulsion technology, must need a tune up at some point. Trey's shoes must need to be replaced. Does Mike have enough neon outfits? Page's sandwich supply must be dwindling. Like helicopter parents, fans are constantly pushing Phish to do more, to keep it up, to continue to deliver. But like my colleague Megan wrote, "It’s their own fault though, they keep delivering so we keep expecting it."
A warm breeze blew down the famed Atlantic City boardwalk (did you know? It was first opened in 1870, and is the oldest boardwalk in America and is the longest boardwalk in the world), pushing salty air into the faces of thousands of phans as they waited to enter the sand to hear Phish for the first of three shows on the beach. *As the esteemed reviewer of last year’s AC night 1 show, I will refer you to that entry for more AC trivia.
Now in its second year, Phish’s three-night stand in Atlantic City is the only option for folks unable or unwilling to go to Riviera Maya (Mexico) to dip their toes into the ocean while jamming to our favorite foursome. The hotels have, unfortunately, caught on to the cash cow that the phandom brings to local communities, and prices for rooms now reflect that suckling of the teat. Does that deter us? Of course not - in the same way that accepting gifts from strangers at Phish is welcomed but actively rebuked when back in reality.
[Phish.net thanks Chris Vetoulis for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Living in this tube, we are safe. We are free. Our escape begins before the first notes are played. From the time our last moment of responsibility ends, our eyes suddenly open and we gaze in a world of fantasy, where our imaginations expand beyond the constraints of our day-to-day. The feelings weren’t forgotten, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude flows in as we realize we have the chance to do this once again.
[We would like to thank Aaron Presuhn (@presuhn) for volunteering to recap last night's show and agreeing to recap it even though, last minute, he wasn't able to attend the show. -Ed.]
Cuya-WHOA-ga. Yeah, it’s cheesy. I don’t care. I like cheese and that title amuses me. Accept it and move on. I LOVE Blossom. It’s been one of my favorite venues since my first show there in 2010, and the only show I haven’t seen there since is 2015. It’s also the 19th anniversary of my first festival, IT.
But alas, I’m not there tonight. So this review is from the comfort of my couch. Lights off, volume loud, and (relatively. kinda. ehh maybe not) sober. The crowd energy, friend reactions, venue ambiance…none of those impressions are there. And I’m kinda pissed about it. But such is life. The perfect confluence of f**kery conspired to prevent my attendance tonight, and it sucks. Oh well. Here are my thoughts.
TLDR: A rocking show with a party of a first set and great chops throughout. A perfect start with a 14 minute "A Wave of Hope." Fun but straightforward jams in "AC/DC Bag" and "Back on the Train". "Mull" gets very interesting, "Foam" is beautifully executed, and the "Ghost" really goes some spooky places and finally gives the first set the peak it's been asking for. Second set has all the meat in the third quarter's "Tweezer" > "Wingsuit" > "Tweezer" > "Birds of a Feather" segment which is well worth a good listen. "Joy" cools things down for a beautifully played "Taste" and a powerful "What's the Use?". "The Howling" > "Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S." are a nice combo to end the set. Fine but unremarkable 3-song encore.
Clouds fill the sky and turn down the heat in Columbia, MD as expectations for typical Sunday show greatness at Merriweather Post Pavillion fill the parking garages and the largest shakedown I've ever seen at this venue. No one is going to let a little rain dampen this day! It comes and goes lightly all afternoon and throughout the show (lawn girl here) but never gets too much to handle. A welcome change from the sweltering heat of weekend shows prior. I have brought my 16 month old on this weekend ride (don't judge me, she did great!), and this kept me bound to the top of the hill with all the other little ragers for the first set. Sight lines are a little better up there now with the newly raised roof, and the sound is definitely at a lower volume but still nice and clear. Little B enjoyed a few songs and then fell asleep somewhere in the middle of first set, leaving me a little more free for note taking and absorbing the music.
[We would like thank Michael Ayers, user @yhgtbfkm, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite aspects of Phish shows (aside from the music) is the people watching. Outside of the usual cast of characters you might happen to run into, one thing that’s always interested me is the groups of friends that attend shows together. I can’t recall which year at Dick’s it was, but one year in front of me were a group of 8-10 folks all wearing matching t-shirts with their names and the number of shows they had attended (I assumed) on the back. I remember thinking how cool that was, to have a group of friends like that. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, so I didn’t know anyone who liked Phish as much as I did. I knew people who knew who they were, but most everyone else was into either nu metal or country. That is, until I met [Redacted] (who asked to not be named as he’s embarrassed to be my friend and, quite frankly, I can’t blame him).
We met back when I was in college. We were both members of a peer-to-peer music sharing service called Soulseek where you could share your music collection with others and download what they had. After downloading the Phish shows that he had that I didn’t and vice versa, we exchanged messages and the rest, as they say, is history.
We arrived together, friends since we were six, 28 years since our first show at Walnut Creek.
The moist heat smacked us in the face like a used spa towel, but once we strolled through the dusty lot to arrive at the venue, we were home. Even the stairs to the lawn provoked memories that we endeavored to locate throughout the years.
This was a show that required some recognition. Suzy’s 225th show, Kersten’s kids’ first show, our fifth Walnut Creek show together, friends and family scattered across the audience---hard to find on the packed lawn)---running into random people and finding out they're from our tiny home town in rural North Carolina. Of course, conversation quickly drifted to the memorable 1997 show, when the deluge turned the lawn into a mudpit, Kersten’s parents were at their first show, and her brother was featured prominently on the jumbotron as he danced, shirtless and wild.
We live in a world where I have seen/heard easily 100 shows live from home and this was another. I personally have never been to Jones Beach, so this review will not be about the vibes or the lovely breezes, or any interstellar interactions. I’m sure the (insert classic Long Island food item) tasted extra sweet/savory and the beverages were flowing like the nearby Carmen’s River.
We start the night with "Mike’s Song," which is noteworthy mostly because what follows is the longest jam of the night instead of opting for a more traditional "Mike’s Groove" segment. Wolfie finds a chill funk groove with a bit of swing from Fishman as Trey starts to layer some effects into his tone. He pulls back to a cleaner tone and Page finds some energy on the baby grand, extra mustard seemingly emanating from his shirt. When Page switches to the organ, the band turns a corner through a heavier, more evil zone. The jam heads into a "Sigma Oasis" feel and then continues evolving. Page begins to add some sonic textures that hint at a spacey take-off point but instead we find ourselves in "Ya Mar."
[This recap is courtesy of Tom Volk, phishnet user tvolkl, blanksnpostage on Twitter. -Ed.]
So here we are at long last: off to arguably their best start to a tour in a good long while, Phish arrive at Jones Beach for the first time since 2013. It’s a venue fraught with a so-so reputation amongst fans that also has a sneakily long history with the band, dating back to the summer of 1992 as the fourth stop on the original H.O.R.D.E tour.
To understand where I am coming from with Jones Beach, you have to understand first that this place is essentially a vortex for me and my family. Legend has it my grandfather drove down the newly paved Wantagh parkway in August of 1929 to swim at and explore the newly created state park days before its official opening. In the early 70s, my parents met there while working summer jobs in college. My dad worked at the Zach’s Bay concession stand, a scant 100 yards from the entrance to the theatre, where he served ice cream everyday at lunch to a pleasantly drunken Guy Lombardo.
It’s where I saw my first Phish show in 1994, where beforehand I met Mike Gordon in the parking lot where he politely chatted with a small group of us in the southeast corner of the parking lot and chastised my friend for smoking a cigarette at too young an age. “Young smoker, huh?” peering down from his bike before he sped off. So for me, this venue is inescapable and my attachment to it is irrational. You’d only understand if you grew up on the south shore, amongst the mosquitos, strip malls, salt breezes and suburban congestion and then piled my family history on top of that. So, if you’re looking for complaints about the traffic, that fact the main concourse has all the ambiance of a third rate state fair food court, the looming NY State Troopers, or that the incessant ocean breeze destroys the sound you’ve come to the wrong place. Simply, I am a homer.
“Hartford is a sacred place, magical things happen here,” whispers a hippie girl as she hands me a red solo cup of what appears to be pond water. We’re standing under a violent sun in suffocating heat, surrounded in every direction by rubble and stickered-up vehicles. She continues: “This is a potent frog extract that will aid in the decalcification of your third eye.” I’m so thirsty that I ignore the last statement, plugging my nose and chugging it down as a hot breeze envelopes us with dust. The Hartford police usher us toward the venue and we head in.
[Phish.net thanks Noah Eckstein, freelance journalist, for this recap. His work has been featured in The Guardian, The Daily News, PBS, Variety, and DoubleBlind Magazine. He also assistant produced and co-wrote the first two seasons of Osiris Media’s podcast Undermine. Twitter: @NoahEckstein. Phish.net: @SOLARGARLICAFICIONADO. -Ed.]
Dairy cattle have given their bodies to supply humanity with labor, leather and beef for 2,000 years. And, let’s not forget about milk. Without which, the classic Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream would be, well, it wouldn’t be.
On July 23, 2022, the sacrifices of past, present, and future dairy cows and their revered spirits were honored with auditory splendor, a cosmic “thank you” from the band and from the crowd.
The Guernsey cattle that were the reason Max Yasgur had a farm in the first place were memorialized on Saturday night, their collective sacrifice and memory honored by Mr. Jon Fishman, (aka Moby Dick, Dick, Dick) who sampled their fabled utterance, the good ol’ classic “moo” throughout a rocking show that concluded an epic two night run at the Bethel Woods Arts Center.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Brad Strode (user @c_wallob) for this recap. -Ed.]
Hello everyone. Long time reader, first time recapper here. I’ve always enjoyed reading these recaps for every show, and I’m thrilled to be able to help out on Summer Tour 2022.
Bethel Woods Music Center for the Arts (corporate sponsorship hopefully not pending) in many ways is not so different from your typical summer shed; the parking lots are expansive and mostly devoid of shade, there is a single entrance point with sometimes long security lines, and the amphitheater itself is a standard pavilion & lawn, with an unremarkable roof covering those lucky enough to have reserved seats close to the band. With all that said, Bethel Woods Music Center is nothing like the typical summer stop on Phish tour. The fields and forests surrounding the venue are steeped in nostalgia.
[Thank you to Nick Williams (user @TwiceBitten) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Phish, the band, what can you say? An American original: full of the awe, spectacle and big top excitement of P.T. Barnum’s circus; as majestic as the Rocky Mountains and as thick as New England’s forests; as powerful as the magic that existed in this land before the white man came, and sometimes as dark and sinister as the evil that those settlers brought with them (well maybe only on a headful). So what does such a band do after playing a show up in Bangor that seems to be unanimously regarded as IT? They had options: Phish could have tried for a repeat, stretching another jam past 30 minutes; they could have relied on a bunch of bust outs to keep the fans satisfied; they could have phoned it in even.
As the years have gone on, Phish has largely moved out of the shadow of the Grateful Dead and into their rightful place as the elder statesmen and torchbearers for a spark that was ignited almost 60 years ago in a series of rented halls around the Bay Area. While the Dead largely settled into a standardized show format less than halfway through their career, Phish has always been keen on freshening-up the flow of shows from night-to-night, tour-to-tour, era-to-era. Still, much as there are only 12 notes in western music, there are only so many types of Phish shows (not counting more subtle variations within each format).
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Ben Harder for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
To my fellow Mainers, a big Hihowahya!!?? To those of you who were visiting from away, stoked you made it up for what was the first Phish show in Maine since the Bangor show on 6/25/19 and 6/26/19. Tonight's show made for the fourth at the venue (the first being 7/3/13), and over the years we've seen the GA Pit evolve from lawn to crushed rock to concrete pad. The place looked a bit like the Big Dig, with a steel retaining wall and framing for private boxed seating to come.
[David Goldstein, this recap's author, is a phish.net contributor and co-host of the Beyond the Pond podcast on Osiris Media. He usually wears Whalers gear on lot. -Ed.]
It could be nostalgia creeping in, but something about seeing Phish in New England in 2022 just hits a bit differently. This is especially so in Massachusetts, a state so integral to the band’s evolution; The ‘89 Paradise gig! Multiple New Year’s Shows in Boston and Worcester! They did a Gamehendge here once! And now that the nexus of the Phish kingdom has been effectively relocated two and a half hours south, they seem to play Massachusetts far less than they used to (you brahs too fancy for a heady Worcester run now?)
FYI Surrender to the Flow's Summer 2022 issue has been released and it is available for download at this link here. (https://sttflow.gumroad.com/l/sttf74) While it is free to download after you provide an email address, donations are encouraged as STTF has been a labor of love for many years and we at dot net hope you support it! There will be paper copies circulated on tour, so you may see it in the lot or at a show, but you're far more likely to see it if you download a PDF of it. (There likely will be a paper copy available for perusal at the WaterWheel table at shows, too.)
This issue includes information about the Summer Tour from Great Woods to Alpine, e.g., where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about the towns and the venues. The issue also includes reviews of the Spring Run 2022, articles including ...
[Blog post and video/audio of this 10/3/96 Gordon Stone Trio gig with Mike and Jon is courtesy of Chad Simons, dot net user @charlesrsimons (Twitter @ChadSimons1, and Insta chadrsimons). -Ed.]
Phish tour '96 ranked among the top for me. I jumped in at the Red Rocks shows and finished at the Clifford Ball. Need I say more? I could, trust me.
After the Clifford Ball, my crew and I crossed Lake Champlain by ferry in my friend's split-window VW bus. The sunset behind the Catskill Mountains was amazing, and I knew something very special was waiting for us on the other side. Just after driving off the ferry, we spotted a huge vertical sign with the word "WILSON" on it. Of course, Nectar's was next, and the list goes on.
I decided to stay in Burlington, and my friends went back to Indiana. I had no idea what was in store for me as the temperature started to drop that fall. I had never experienced a northern winter like the ones you get in Vermont, but the fun never stopped.
On October 3, 1996, I patched my Sony DAT-D8 into the mics of a guy I met before this show. We set up just in time, and I barely had a moment to count how many people were there before the guys began playing. There must've been only about 30 of us there, as you will hear in the applause and comments made between the songs. Mike is on bass for all of the songs, and he’s on vocals for nearly all of the songs; and Jon joined in on the washboard and bell for the entire second set. This show is truly a gem with such a fun setlist and plenty of humor.
Charles R. (Chad) Simons
Almost five years after the interview conducted by Dean Budnick, Chris Kuroda was interviewed by Scott Boyarsky and Hal Waterman, who were involved with the fan website CK5 (http://www.ck5.org, now defunct). This conversation delves further into Kuroda’s work philosophy, his personal tastes, and his life outside the band. A few of the questions are repeated from the previous interview, but Kuroda’s opinions had evolved over the preceding five years.
The full interview was initially published on the CK5 website and republished in the Phish Companion 1st Edition. The interview was then edited and streamlined for re-publication in the Phish Companion 2nd Edition. This blog post includes the edited interview from TPC 2nd Ed., followed by the remaining interview “bonus material” from TPC 1st Ed.
Enjoy! - Matt Schrag aka @kipmat
Interview with Chris Kuroda from TPC 2nd edition
Excerpted from an interview conducted by Scott “Seabass” Boyarsky and Hal “Brother” Waterman backstage prior to the 10/7/00 Shoreline show, the last show before the hiatus.
HW: Where are you originally from?
CK: I was born in Princeton, New Jersey. I grew up in Chappaqua, New York, which is in Westchester County. When I was about 21, my family moved out to Allentown, PA.
HW: What’s the most rewarding part about this job?
CK: Well, my whole life when I was growing up my Father was thirty years at the same company, Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange, executive guy, got in a suit, commuted on a train everyday. Throughout my whole life growing up, I said to myself, I will not be a “nine-to-fiver.” So, when I think back about the whole thing, the fact that I actually accomplished that might have to stand out over everything. The second greatest thing is all the support I get from all the fans. I get a lot of support, and you know, as a human being it just makes you feel so good. And believe it or not, an extremely rewarding thing to me is when I nail a “David Bowie.” It brings tears to my eyes sometimes. Doing the job, that’s how I express myself to the world. I get to express myself through light and there is a lot of joy to that!
One of the many exciting aspects of the week before Phish tour is hearing news about the crew technical rehearsal; where they are, what they’re working on, and especially what Chris Kuroda’s new light rig will look like. As Lighting Director for Phish (a position which also incorporates the role of Lighting Designer), Kuroda has been continually innovative with both available technology and presentation, making the band’s lighting an integral part of the Phish concert experience. Dean Budnick (author of The Phishing Manual and erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of jambands.com, now part of the Relix Media Group) conducted an interview with Kuroda toward the end of the marathon Fall 1995 tour, offering an intriguing glimpse into Life on the Road with Phish. Budnick subsequently posted the interview text to the Usenet newsgroup rec.music.phish, but the interview has not been republished on this site until now. Please enjoy this trip down memory lane, as we look forward to more dazzling lights on Summer Tour!
- Matt Schrag aka @kipmat
[Dean Budnick is the editor-in-chief of Relix and has reported on the live entertainment industry for Billboard, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. He directed the documentary Wetlands Preserved: The Story of An Activist Rock Club, which opened nationally before airing on the Sundance Channel. He also is the creator and host of the Long May They Run podcast, which reached #1 on the Apple Music Podcast charts, and he has written many books, including Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped, and a forthcoming book with Peter Shapiro, The Music Never Stops: What Putting On 10,000 Shows Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic, https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/peter-shapiro/the-music-never-stops/9780306845185/.]
Interview with Chris Kuroda 12/5/95
From: email@example.com (Dean Budnick)
Organization: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Okay, here's the text of my interview with Chris. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. This interview took place around 5:00 on December 5th, before the second night of the Mullins Center run.
BTW, after the show Chris told me that he had forgotten to say one thing that was really bugging him. He's asking everyone to stop bringing laser pens to the shows and to discourage your friends from doing so. I noticed one on Trey's guitar on Saturday and people have been shining them up at the chessboard as well. On with the interview....
[Thanks to our guest recapper Dana Slattery (@tweezeher). -Ed.]
Spring tour feels a little like Summer tour, doesn’t it? Considering some recaps for this short sprint of shows boast it as the first leg of the Summer 2022 run, and I myself had been gently corrected with torches and pitchforks after a post to CashorTrade, it seems debatable. After a 3-night run on the coast of Alabama, and 2 scorchers on a tennis court in South Carolina, the Birkenstock tans on the dusty Deer Creek lot (Ruoff Home Mortgage Center to the layman…) look, feel & likely smell like a Summer tour.
Is it sun stroke or is the nitrous just good? After 2-nights of Phish and 3-days of Phish lot, the lines become blurred. Both were in seemingly endless supply in Indianapolis this weekend. The Sunday show started 90-minutes earlier than the previous 2, bringing a feeling of ‘Let’s get this show on the road’ and "party time." No one is interested in driving back through the mid-west with a trunk full of whatever you brought to the lot. So, yes, deals.
[Thanks to our guest recapper Michael Ayers (user @yhgtbfkm) . -Ed.]
As I was packing my bags to get ready to drive to Indianapolis, my phone beeped with an email address. The fine folks over here at .net asked me if I would be interested in recapping both Friday and Saturday, as nobody had volunteered for Saturday. They said I could even wait and send both Friday and Saturday in one big review as opposed to doing two. After pondering it for a few minutes I responded back that I’d love to, as writing one long incredibly mediocre review would be far less damaging to my ego than two short, incredibly mediocre reviews. So without further ado..prepare to be disappointed.
[Posting some photos courtesy of Matt Bittmann, taken from the pit last night (June 3, 2022, Deer Creek), because the recapper of last night's show will be recapping tonight as well and has chosen to recap the two shows together. Recap will be posted tomorrow. If you want to read a recap of last night don't miss Scott Bernstein's " The Skinny" on Jambase. -Ed.]
[This article was published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 1999, so is Copyright © 1994-99 San Francisco Bay Guardian. It is being re-printed here, and now, because it is hilarious and its author Summer Burkes is a great writer. Special thanks to Philip Zerbo (co-editor of the Third Edition of The Phish Companion) for posting the text of this article to Rec.Music.Phish in October 1999. Also want to thank Josh Martin, whose recap of Charleston1 reminded me of this article and how I'd wanted to try to locate it and post it to the blog. -charlie]
Hook, line, and stinker:
Staring in train-wreck horror at the cult of Phish
By Summer Burkes
THEY ARE PHISH, I am chum
I must admit, I'd been unfair. I'd hated Phish with a passion since the
moment they entered my consciousness, even though I couldn't ever recall
actually hearing one of their songs.
We wanted to wish MICHAEL GORDON a very happy birthday on this, the 11th anniversary of the June 3, 2011, "Down with Disease," that should be (re)listened to at all costs, now, either here on Relisten or on LivePhish.
It was a very humid day. The forecast called for mostly sunny skies with rain right around doors, so it was a bit of a gamble to figure out the calculus of when to leave for the lot. Luckily, hopping in rides with 1.0 friends made that easy.
We got to the lot around 4:20pm and jumped in line. At about 5:00pm there was incoming lightning, so the venue and band touring crew made the call to go ahead and pull us into the venue to shelter in place in an effort to weather the storm. We all posted up in the hallways to wait it out, and wouldn’t you know it, the lightning blew over without a drop of rain! So the show was not delayed, nor was it shortened to one set, which was the dreaded outcome had the lightning postponed doors.
[We would like to thank user @Jmart, Josh Martin, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Here’s the thing: You like Phish. And if you’re reading this, chances are you actually love Phish with a chunk of your heart so large as to baffle most of your family and other acquaintances.
From your love of Phish, we can deduce something further: You love to dance. You have a repertoire of moves to fit any occasion. Imitating someone else’s moves in your crew is valuable social currency.
How do your dance choices reflect your show experience? Let’s discuss.
(For sake of reference, all dancing was observed from the floor, halfway back on Mike’s side)
We all Phish for our own reasons and rage in our own ways. For me, I love reuniting with my favorite people while exploring parts of the country I might otherwise never visit. So, when Phish announced their tour opening run in Orange Beach that began the day after my 40th birthday, it was easy for me to decide how to welcome in the new decade. Nor was it difficult to convince my crew to head to Alabama, a new state for several of us, to celebrate with me. We rented a large condo at the Wharf big enough to accommodate us all and spent the weekend swimming, eating, and Phishing. There was no better way a Phish fan could usher in a big birthday.
At this point, it would just be silly to deny that Phish has hit a new stride in this era we call 4.0. Since returning to the stage in Arkansas on 7/28/21, Phish plays with a conviction and awareness that at any moment, the universe can throw us a curveball; they are playing every show like it could be their last one. With nearly 40 years of touring and hundreds of songs to take turns vying for our attention, Phish continues to amaze and inspire us all by only looking forward, eternally blazing on, growing, and improving with one even more ambitious set of music after another. Phish is in a state of pure creative flow, and that was on full display on this hot summer night in swampy southern Alabama.
[Thank you Dianna Hank user @Dianna_2Ns for recapping last night's tour-opening show. -Ed.]
Last night, Phish returned to The Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, Alabama, to kick off their 2022 Summer Tour. This was the band’s second ever visit to The Wharf Amphitheater (the first being for a one-night stand at the venue, eight years ago on 8/1/2014), and only the 13th time the band has ever played in the state. Lights went down shortly after 8 PM and for the first time in the song’s history, “Twist” took the show-opening slot, getting right into the meat of the tune within three minutes and leading into 10+ more minutes of exploratory playing. While the jam felt to have been cut slightly shorter than it could’ve been, the band returned back to the "Twist" lyrics cleanly and finished the tune. “Halley’s Comet” followed and the band showed that perhaps they were a little overeager with that choice, forgetting almost an entire verse before cutting the diddy even shorter than usual with less than one minute of “jam” before segueing into “Sand.” Hopes again rose for a nice 1st-set jam out of this consistent jam vehicle, and the band delivered: Again, within three minutes, we found ourselves in a nice groovy pocket, and the four then continued to interplay with one another for another seven minutes of interesting and efficient playing, before sticking the landing and returning to the outro together.
[Phish.net welcomes and thanks guest writer, Dr. Wook, for this recap. -Ed.]
Giving an ‘official’ recap of a Phish show these days can seem like a fool’s errand. What’s the use when by the time you leave the venue and get someplace, a little rectangle device resting in your hand will already deliver you the setlist with notable statistics, song times, and ability to immediately start relistening for the things you thought you heard hours ago. Dedicated fans, through this and other web sites, some in attendance, some viewing from home, often begin posting knowledgeable, insightful, and varied opinions covering all aspects of the performance before anyone even goes to sleep the night of a show. And as Phish heads through its 39th year, playing the venue they have played the most times across their storied career (68 at MSG), everyone at least agrees there is simply no singular way that people enjoy Phish. Stone cold sober or spun on psychedelics, on the rail or on the concourse, shedding a tear during "Joy" or peeing during Joy, there are such wildly diverse ways people engage with the immense catalogue of music and the ever-evolving live experience, that a common point of view is hard to come by.
[Phish.net welcomes and thanks guest writer, Jeremy Willinger (user Jeremy8698), for this recap. -Ed.]
I love YEMSG holiday Phish runs, except this year---and stop me if you heard this one before---we shifted things 112 days due to a resurging pandemic and concern for everyone’s general welfare. So, Happy belated New Year to all; now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
To get a little more granular, the 12/30 show has always been the standout during recent runs, and I will point you to my previous reviews of this night of music from 2019 and 2018 to showcase how unassailable and correct I am. Will tonight also eclipse what the band had in store for the end of 2020? Only time (that turns elastic) will tell.
[Thanks to Josh Martin, @JMart, for once again writing a recap for the phish.net blog. And thanks to Matt Bittmann for the sweet photos! - ed.]
Greetings, everyone, and glad tidings from New York City, where Phish played the first of four rescheduled concerts, originally slated to be played Decemeber 29th - January 1st.
Before we begin in earnest, a brief requiem for what might have been: It is overstating nothing to say that Phish in the fall of 2021 was on one of the hottest runs of the post-break up era, no matter what you choose to call it. And while comparisons to the best tours of ANY era may have been a tad premature, one can certainly forgive their being made, as such comparisons are made with the breathless exuberance of a fan who has just witnessed something great. And if you saw a Phish show last year, chances were you did. Add to that momentum the bonkers Sci-Fi Soldiers numerology that Phish started laying on the audience during the Halloween run (4680 days from 3/6/09 to 12/31/21, etc.) and one can’t help but be a bit sad for what might have happened if those dates had gone off as planned. That having been said, if the last two-plus years have taught anyone anything about life, it is that there are things that are simply out of our control and it is our charge to deal with that uncertainty as best as we’re able.
There was no 12/29/21 show, but there was a 4/20/22 show, and that show started at the shockingly early hour of 8:07 PM with “Carini.” Given the level of 4/20-related chatter that had been going on for the past few months, it’s doubtful that very many heads had this as the run opener. This subversive “Carini” modulated is its way out of the dark into a pleasant, if familiar, sonic space. Around 7:30 Trey started upping the ante and Mike was quick to follow. Page jumped on clavinet for a few bars of something that was starting to sound very sinister, but was quickly nixed for a return to calmer pastures. There Trey and Mike fell into two beautiful melodic runs that coalesced into a propulsive chop, beautifully segueing into “Possum.”
We hope you will join us for a fine wine and pasta party fundraiser for The Mockingbird Foundation (whose volunteers manage this website) pre-show on Saturday, April 23, 2022, from 4:30-6:30pm at Legacy Records, which is a ten minute walk from MSG.
The event will be held in the upstairs bar of Legacy Records, Ada's Place. This fundraiser is doubling as an opportunity for some of us to hang out with each other for the first time in [expletive deleted] years given the [expletives deleted] pandemic.
Please support this event if you have time and if you appreciate Phish.net. And if you're not keen on wine there will be non-alcoholic beverages available, of course; this is not a formal wine-tasting, there will simply be a variety of fine wines available to drink if you're into wine. This is a preshow gathering of friends new and old more than anything else. Thank you for your support of this site and The Mockingbird Foundation!
We arise at the crack of noon and slowly make our way to the pool. We are foggy, rather groggy, but it’s the final day in paradise and time is of the essence. We snag a couple chairs in the shade, order a couple of Miami Vices (half piña colada/half strawberry daiquiri), and make friends with our neighbors. Night four is rapidly approaching, and with plenty of bangers still on the table.
[We would like to thank user @Phish_tank Andy Zellinger for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Everyone entered the venue looking relaxed and sun-kissed as they did the stingray shuffle past psychedelic art installations and street tacos, margaritas in hand. Tonight was the first full show of the run, following a funky dance party Welcome Set last night. The lights went down around 7:49 pm to start night two of this four-night run at the Moon Palace Cancun.
[We would like to thank user Kelly Wilson @KellyNICU for this recap. -Ed.]
There’s no better feeling than dancing to your favorite band with your favorite people.
As always, the energy in the crowd was palpable. People had been partying in the pools all day waiting for their band to play. On night one of Mexico we ended up staying on our balcony facing the stage because how often do you get a chance to do that? We met some strangers who soon became friends, and invited them up to dance with us because that’s what Phish is all about.
[This post courtesy of Keith Eaton, @Midcoaster, who first became obsessed with music when, in 1979, he sat in a darkened theater and watched Apocalypse Now. Nothing was ever quite the same after that opening sequence.]
A few weeks ago, it took everything I had in me to change my clothes and head to the elliptical for a run. Low clouds hung like gray gauze, and a drizzle was ruining the fresh snow. Such is the winter norm now on the New England coast. Classes were quiet, masks burying facial expressions. I muddled through the day and then dragged myself to the gym. Victory!
Some days, this is really difficult. After having had COVID following the New Year, getting back into this running routine has been even harder. The annoying bouts of asthma had become chronic, and the 'rona fatigue of which they speak is real. Plus, after these past two COVID school years focused on the day to day while being denied various annual benchmarks, I've had a difficult time mustering enthusiasm. It was a familiar feeling, too. Depression? Nah. Teacher burnout? Maybe. What about grief?
That word, grief, stuck in my craw as I randomly selected music from my iPod. Music wasn't even something I was "looking forward to"; this is just part of the running routine. Right? The iPod roulette landed on 10/20/21 Eugene's "Ruby Waves". It was a great choice. Trey's simple mortality lyrics, uniquely his own, produce a clear vision of his soul's travels after death. Our soul-spark becomes pinball energy and is reabsorbed into the whole, an "ocean of love."
The jam (much discussed) brought me into a serene space where body mechanics and conscious breathing fell away, and I was left to simply flow. That's when it came to me: grief. Since March of 2021, I have lost five people who were closely connected to me in one way or another. Three were friends from my incoming freshman class in college. I met them in the fall of 1985, and there was a large group of us who glommed onto one another, sharing a love of the Grateful Dead, punk, activism, and misfit culture. In many ways, our cheap beer and brick weed Frisbee lounge shenanigans seem like yesterday.
Little did we know that friendships seeded then would last a lifetime.
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Dianna (@Dianna_2Ns) for this recap. -Ed.]
Last night, Phish treated fans to an absolute delight of a show as they literally went backwards down the number line to kick off their first night of four at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The band opened the show with some discordant sounds and eventually dropped into “Also Sprach Zarathustra” which was met with massive crowd cheers. This is the first time the band has opened a show with that tune since 9/22/99 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, NM. The patience, focus and synergy that would be present throughout the rest of the show was really on display throughout this song, as Trey brought back “LA Woman” teases from last Saturday’s Forum show in addition to throwing in a few “Manteca” teases, as well. This jam starts dirty and stays that way, with Mike heavy in the mix, Fishman driving relentlessly and Page supporting Trey’s wailing with massive synth swells before the drop back into the song. After an impressive sixteen and a half minutes, the band comes to a stop before Trey takes the mic to assure everyone that, “We're not gonna hurt you... We just wanna have some fun…” before an absolutely epic drop into a cover of Prince’s “1999”—only the third time this song has ever been played live and 130 shows since the last time it was played (7/26/17 at Madison Square Garden during the Baker’s Dozen). Similar to 2001, this jam was lengthy and went Type II, with Page taking the reins for a good deal of it backed by fantastic interplay between Mike & Trey. Towards the end of this almost 15 minute spacey jam, Trey just lets loose, sustaining soaring extended notes before the band moves on to “555.”
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Landon (@nomidwestlove) for this recap. -Ed.]
On Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 The Phish from Vermont brought their own unique brand of trans-dimensional, intergalactic space funk to the quaint central coastal community of Santa Barbara. The bowl itself, with its dramatic backdrop of the Santa Ynez mountains to the east and a view of the pacific ocean from our seats to the west, seemed to serve as a beacon, perhaps attracting unexplained aerial phenomenon and other sentient extra-terrestrial beings to use their state-of-the-art propulsion systems to hover in the void between the sea and stars.
This band has had plenty of peaks and valleys in their triple decade plus career, but I think they’ve proved with these past few shows, that the ceiling expands far higher into the stratosphere than one could have ever guessed. Yes, way up out there in the cosmos, Phish is providing the soundtrack for this donut-shaped universe.
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Willie (@twelvethousandmotherfker) for this recap. -Ed.]
After three long years, and fifteen months to the day from the originally scheduled date, Phish returned to the phabulous Forum last night to play a rock concert. Thank Icculus.
For me, it was my first indoor show since Nassau in 2019, and damn was it good to be back. I didn’t realize how much I missed standing with my buddies in my favorite spot (right in front of Mike), sharing in the joy and community and, yes, groove that makes Phish so special. We’re all extremely lucky this is still happening -- I don’t want to forget that. Plus, they’ve been playing out of their minds!
So, let’s dig in.
Phish performs in different places around the country to convince their fans to move there. No doubt that the luxury housing development atop the mountain range behind Chula Vista’s North Island Credit Union Amphitheater was able to advertise breathtaking views *and* the opportunity to listen to a live Phish concert while laying on your deck, totally nude, spun out of gourd without any LiveNation employees to hassle you.
The beauty of the late fall outdoor show is that the concert begins in the dark so the light show is in full force. Palm trees lined the back of the lawn, which was not overpacked like most of the lawns were this summer. A pamphlet from the Twelve Tribes somehow ends up on our blanket.
My wife, Kylie, and I have lived in Phoenix since 2006. That means we moved to Arizona three years after Phish last played it. Their last show in the desert southwest was on July 7, 2003, at the same venue (different name). Needless to say, we have been awaiting their return since we arrived 15 years ago. This was absolutely a ‘hometown show’ for us and the excitement was built for a few reasons. Not only was it Kylie’s first show since 9/5/15 (and second since 12/7/97!), it was our kids’ first show ever and my first show in a proper outdoor shed since 2018. On top of all this we had friends in from Michigan and a local friend came along for his first show. A proper crew was engaged and ready.
Phish delivered. It was a wonderfully crafted show. An almost perfect one-off, Friday set list full of well-known rockers and newer tunes that were taken deep. “Julius” is an opener I’m always up for as it sets a bouncy, dance-y precedence…even when you don’t get through security until half through the tune. It took us about an hour to get through the line. The venue has only two entrances, so no one could have seen that coming.
Let me just start out by saying that I love “dirty” east coast Phish (looking at you Providence and Long Island). I’m also enamored by sweaty southern Phish and I definitely have a proclivity for the sprawling Alpine Valley Phish, but who can really ignore the majesty of West Coast Phish? And is it just me, or does California Phish, specifically, just seem to hit differently? In 1995, 2pac and Dr. Dre did confirm that California does indeed know how to party. And after only the 2nd show of this tour, Phish is already showing plenty of California love.
[Phish.net thanks first-time volunteer recapper Sterling Diesel (@sterlingpiper83) for writing this recap. -Ed.)
So this all started back at Shoreline, I met a platypi guy. We talked about how much we loved the band, I mentioned how I would love to write a review of a show, and bam, here I am :-). Thank you all for having me, it is very much appreciated.
After 2,252 miles I am ready to be out of my Volvo. I love it, but I got snowed in for about 15 hours at a rest area just outside Cheyenne on the way here and I am so ready to be out of it for a while. It is almost that time, the map is telling me the venue is just 3 minutes away, finally, it has been a long drive --- I see You Golden 1 Center, I will be there directly, just let me find a place to park first. I do just that and stroll up to the gate at 2:38pm local time and find myself to be just the 5th person in line. I meet a very nice gentleman named Michael, we talk about pyrokinesis, many smiles are created. I see Rosie coming from across the way; I met her a few weeks back on the rail in Pittsburgh at TAB, I am very glad to see her shining today. We talk about Trey's 4 song smile from that night. It's almost that time, here comes Rick with the wristbands now. Ahh, yeah! Looks like I'm gonna be the 8th person in tonight :-)
Dan Mielcarz (ColForbin here at Phish.net) has a doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is currently the Director of DartLab, the immune monitoring and flow cytometry shared resource at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH. We asked him to write a short piece on staying safe at indoor shows.
With fall tour and indoor shows upon us, some of you may be wondering what the best practices from a COVID-19 safety standpoint might be. As an immunologist, I was happy to see Phish change from a free-for-all at the beginning of summer tour to requiring vaccination or a negative test. This makes for a much safer environment for the band and fans alike. Vaccination is the number one way to stay healthy in the pandemic. If you aren’t vaccinated you are taking a huge unnecessary risk, so please, get the shots. And if you are eligible, get a booster. The sooner you get your shots the better, as peak protection takes at least 1 week past the second (or booster) dose.
Also, please do not come to a show if you are feeling sick. At the very least, take a rapid antigen test (I like the BinaxNow brand) if you have any symptoms and only attend if you are negative. I know how excruciatingly hard it is to miss a Phish show you have been looking forward to for years, but skipping a show when you feel sick is one of the most selfless acts a person can make in 2021, and will be repaid down the road, I assure you.
Beyond vaccination and staying home if you feel sick, what is the number one thing you can do to stay safe at a Phish concert this fall? Wearing a mask. In the words of the band themselves: “We strongly recommend that you wear a mask at Phish shows when social distancing isn’t possible.” When is social distancing not possible at an indoor Phish show? Everywhere. So you need to wear a mask everywhere. Universal masking will protect you, other fans, and the band. I know Trey continued his tour when some members of his band got infected, but there is no way that will happen with Phish.
[This site is run entirely by volunteers as a project of The Mockingbird Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for educating children and young adults in musical arts. This post is courtesy of Neve Spicer, who promotes arts education. -Ed.]
Art, music, and film move us, inspire us, and help us to see the world in new ways. Studying the arts does more than just bring us closer to the media we love, it can also be a gateway to personal, psychological, and cognitive benefits -- this is especially true for kids.
Research has shown that participation in arts education during childhood is linked with positive impacts to self esteem, collaborative skill, physical development, and even math and literacy skills. It is valuable contributions like these which are the driving force behind National Arts in Education Week, an annual arts-ed advocacy campaign sponsored by Americans for the Arts.
[We would like to thank Denny Kinlaw, user @SaintAndrew, for last night's recap, his first Dick’s show. -Ed.]
Some venues simply flaunt their status as beacons of musical heritage upon the American landscape: the mythic aura of Madison Square Garden, the sublime scale of Alpine Valley, and the dingy intimacy of Hampton Coliseum all come to mind. To enter these venues is to enter into the mythos of rock n’ roll history. For Phish and their fans, these venues represent not only the ascendancy of a band that labored most of its career in the shadows of more commercially celebrated acts—with Phish finally “making it” on the main stages by 12/30/1994 and utterly destroying them by 12/30/1997—but stand out as perennial havens for a band that continues to achieve improvisational high-water marks thirty years into its career. While Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will never elicit the type of hushed reverence these historic venues tend to evoke, nor will anyone ever gasp with stilted breath “It’s magnificent” upon entering Dick's (See Gorge), it simply is the most important outdoor venue for mapping Phish’s shape-shifting achievements in the 3.0 era.
[We would like to thank user @ObviousFool (@Nice_Shades on IG), Silas Cole, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Two weeks ago, we couldn’t believe that our first Phish shows in a year and a half were almost upon us; one week ago, we were uncertain if they would even happen, as we watched the Caldor Fire explode toward the shores of Lake Tahoe. But that was far from our primary concern, as we knew thousands of people were in danger of losing everything. As of this writing, officials are “cautiously optimistic” about improving conditions, but the threat remains very high. I urge you to donate whatever you can through The Waterwheel Foundation today. All funds will be donated to the Caldor Fire Fund through the El Dorado County Community Foundation.
And so, it was nothing short of a miracle, made possible by some consummate professionals within the Phish organization, that the shows were relocated to Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA. We are beyond grateful.
[We would like to thank guest recapper user gr8phul Jon Harris. -Ed.]
As we know the Tahoe shows had to be cancelled and moved to a new venue due to the Caldor Fire. First the shows were to be moved to the Greek Theater in Berkeley, but ultimately that did not happen and Shoreline it is. Now no one wants to go to Shoreline, we go because that's where Phish is playing. Not to say that Phish hasn't delivered hugely in the past at Shoreline, compared to being in Tahoe or in the magical Greek, Shoreline is sort of a letdown.
However, before we get to the music, I want to please ask all of you reading this to donate to Waterwheel as the money they raise will be going to help the people affected by the fires.
Now onto the music!
[Phish.net welcomes back guest recapper Oliver Pierson for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Rolling into the Saturday show at the Gorge after a beautiful day in Central Washington, I felt all kinds of excitement. Night one’s patient jamming, bust-outs, and the best ever version of "Mull" were behind us, and seemed plausible that the band had now shaken off what little rust may have built up between Atlantic City and the Gorge and was ready to come out swinging. I’m a Vermonter and this Gorge run is my first west coast Phish, but I had been intrigued about seeing the band play in the pacific northwest since I first listened to the 10/13/1991 Olympia Surf Club show where Trey made a point in the Gamehendge narration at the band’s second show in Washington to comment twice about the beauty of the surroundings, and the sense of awe that I always feel out here is noticeable in his voice. Coming over that last rise at the venue before Friday night’s show, and reaching the spot where you first see the stage, the Columbia river, and the eroded canyon walls in the background provoked an exclamatory “wow” from me, and the guy walking next to me said “is this your first time here?” Yes, and I was stoked. Back to Saturday, our crew settled in at the bottom of the terraces Mike-side, waited for the sun to set over the ridge, and made our list of songs with a high show gap that we hoped to hear. And besides being a spectacular venue, I was impressed by the sheer number of vendors inside the venue, perhaps because the beer lines at Hershey two weeks ago required a 45-minute investment. Hello local craft beer tent with great selections and no line!
[Phish.net welcomes back guest recapper Suzy Barros for writing this recap. -Ed.]
First things first---everyone needs to come see a show at the Gorge, full stop. If you have access to a private jet or can find a reasonably inexpensive airfare, come tonight. It’s always been lurking there on the tour dates page, staring at me and silently judging me for bypassing it for all these other reasonably fine venues (but are they the GORGE). Its untrammeled nature at its finest and even though seeing Phish at the Gorge doesn’t change the fact that we are living on planet earth in 2021, it makes it a hell of a lot more tolerable.
[We would like to thank user imdano Dan Dudensing for this guest blog post. Dan's first show was 11/29/98, he resides in Burlington, and he hosts a radio show on local Burlington VT radio every Monday at 5:00 pm, which streams on https://bigheavyworld.com/stream. Dan's views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of the volunteers on this website. -Ed.]
When you consider Phish’s career of 34 years—I understand that 2021 minus 1983 is 38, however, I think we must subtract four years from the career total to capture the 2004-2009 breakup—you realize more and more how difficult and likely pointless it has become to argue for “greatest this” and “greatest that.” There are so many shows, containing so much music, and totaling so much time, that I don’t think it’s possible any longer to have a full grasp of everything they’ve done, which would be essential in order to declare superlatives.
I am sure we can all call to mind a jam that took our breath away, and yet receives few or no shoutouts when the all-time great [insert jam-vehicle song name here]) dialogue is underway. There is just so much music to listen to at this point. Yes, there are some objective high-water marks, but even those might be hard to find consensus on; I like to identify New Years ’95, Clifford Ball, and Big Cypress as the real mountaintops, however a younger fan than I (no disrespect intended) may argue Baker’s Dozen. At this point we should all just stand back, give thanks, and perhaps acknowledge that with such an immense amount of music and time to consider, we may continue to find it harder and harder to agree on superlatives.
A Phish fan purchased a cheesesteak and a small container of fries and then looked for where she had left her friends and loved ones on the beach. But she was being watched. Without warning, a seagull that was hovering above landed feet first onto the hand holding the fries, obliterating their container and her desire to eat them, and while she mourned her side dish, a colony of seagulls (the collective noun for seagulls is 'a colony') swarmed on her long sandwich, colonizing it as their property. We truly became one with the ecosystem of Atlantic City.
[Phish.net welcomes back guest recapper Jeremy Willinger (@Jeremy8698) for writing this recap. - Ed.]
Ah Atlantic City...immortalized on screen (Boardwalk Empire), in childhood (who wants to play Monopoly?), in song (Springsteen), and cemented in popular consciousness (as in, "Will I step on a hypodermic needle if I go barefoot on the beach?"). For phans, however, AC has been an armpit of a pit stop as tour chugs along, convening many of us in the early 2010s for standout shows at Boardwalk Hall (the Led Zepp show immediately comes to mind) and the 2012 weekend at Bader Field. Now, after a year of waiting, Phish returns to this seaside hamlet of gambling, history, and urban decay, becoming the only artist aside from P!nk to play on the sand parallel to the Boardwalk.
[We would like to thank Andrew Sinclair for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
On this balmy Tuesday in August, a bunch of friends from all walks of life cruised the open roads towards Central Pennsylvania and the self-proclaimed “Sweetest Place on Earth” for the first of two shows in downtown Hershey. This Chocolate Town has been around a long time, and over the generations it has become a pretty enjoyable family spot for a summer getaway. It was in the building next door to our venue, Hersheypark Arena, that Wilt Chamberlain famously dropped 100 points in one game, and also the site of Kobe Bryant’s (RIP) Pennsylvania State Championship, before he made the leap to the NBA. It was also where Phish took "Mike’s Groove" into the heavens, back on 12/1/1995.
For this phan, it was also a homecoming as I grew up in nearby Allentown, Pennsylvania. I figured this would be an enjoyable midweek getaway and the first day adventures did not disappoint. Let’s get to the action.
[Thank you Dianna Hank for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Going into this weekend, I had a crew of four, maybe five, folks from my immediate Phish group making the pilgrimage to the infamous Deer Creek for Sunday night’s (hopeful) scorcher of a show. Seeing as I live in Las Vegas now, you might be wondering why I was only going to be attending the last of the three night run in the middle of Indiana, so far from home. And the answer to that question is that I was lucky enough to be invited to my dear friends Lauren Amster & Angus Abrams’ wedding in Chicago this past Saturday night! Conveniently enough, Chicago is a mere three hour drive (+ the 1 hour time zone change) from Ruoff, so once tour was announced and some of us realized we’d be “in the area” during this run, we decided to try to make it work. The best part of all of this is the fact that I met the bride though Phish friends many years ago, so a good chunk of our Phish-going crew was going to be in attendance for this event. Like I said earlier, going into the weekend, we only had four, maybe five confirmed for the show. Yet slowly but surely, people kept giving in to temptation, changing flights, booking hotels, securing tickets and suddenly, our meager crew was starting to take some solid shape! We even had three additions at the morning-after brunch on Sunday AM! So after saying our goodbyes to the bride and groom, we hit the road and gunned it to the land of the corn.
[Phish.net welcomes back and thanks volunteer recapper Michael Ayers (@yhgtbfkm) for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Deer Creek Music Center Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Klipsch Music Center Ruoff Music Center! About 20 miles north of downtown Indianapolis, Deer Creek has been a relative staple in Phish’s touring repertoire, having played there 24 times starting back in 1995, the site of several notable shows including Live Phish Vol. 12 and The Phish from Vermont. With plenty of seating and an absolutely mammoth lawn with no bad sightlines, Deer Creek is one of those venues that should be on everyone’s list to check out, as there’s rarely a bad show there.
[Phish.net welcomes back and thanks volunteer recapper Nick Williams (@TwiceBitten) for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Late news breaking! This just in! Here's the scoop! Last night Phish abducted 25,000 people from
a cornfield and probed their every last hole. Thats well upwards of 150,000 holes, not counting
the pee hole, or the possibility of them popping out your eyes! If you've seen the print for this run
all I can say is: they warned us. Such abductions were once thought to be commonplace in this
area but their frequency has diminished over the years to the point in which many stopped
[We would like to thank user @Jmart, Josh Martin, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Greetings, everyone, and glad tidings from Alpharetta, where Phish played their fourth show of this summer tour. It’s been a long time, and I’m glad to get to discuss our favorite band with you again.
But before we get to that, a little housekeeping: As some of you know, we had a first song back pool going on the .net forum. Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to @bonzo6980 for picking “I’ve Never Needed You Like This Before.” If any of you are sour that they played three of your picks (sigh), maybe it’ll help to know this fine gentleman donated his $127 pot to the WaterWheel Foundation. They were very appreciative and it was a humbling moment to make the donation in person. (See beneath the recap, below, for a photo of the folks at the WW table after receiving the handoff!)
Onto the music.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper @LizardwithaZ for writing this recap. PhishNet depends on volunteers to recap shows, and opinions offered herein do not necessarily reflect those of PhishNet and our volunteer community. -Ed.]
How do we sustain ourselves in life? Sustaining ourselves through a global pandemic was a near impossibility, as we lost so much, day after day.
Yet here we are again, as we find ourselves back in Alpharetta, almost exactly three years after “Ghost,” “Carini,” “Soul Planet,” “You Sexy Thing,” and that incredible 2018 run.
This time, we’re looking for sustenance. For something to sustain us. And perhaps Phish is looking for something to sustain them, too.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Suzy Barros for writing this recap. PhishNet depends on volunteers to recap shows, and opinions offered herein do not necessarily reflect those of PhishNet and our volunteer community. -Ed.]
Second night of tour, everybody, and for those of us who hadn’t been to a show at Oak Mountain, there was that fun element to check off the Phish venue bucket list. It goes without saying that this show was INCREDIBLY HOT in all the meanings of the word. This show was ALL MEAT NO FILLER and I can’t express my enthusiasm for it strongly enough, although I’m going to give it a shot.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Michael Ayers (@yhgtbfkm) for writing this recap. PhishNet depends on volunteers to recap shows, and opinions offered herein do not necessarily reflect those of PhishNet and our volunteer community. On behalf of fans everywhere, it sure is good to be back! -Ed.]
Welcome back everyone!
Tonight marks the first time Phish is playing in The Natural State, one of a handful of states that the band has never played.
There’s always an air of mystery surrounding tour openers, but given everything that’s occurred over the past 18 months, I’m sure everyone had more questions than normal. What would the band open with? Would they be rusty? Would the venue still be selling $15 Bud Lights? (Spoiler, they were and they were just as bad as you remember them).
With all of these questions and more bouncing around in my head, my friend and I took up residence Page side on the lawn at the Walmart AMP (a surprisingly nice little venue that I later found out stood for “Arkansas Music Pavilion”) and got settled in for what was sure to be an interesting night.
Looking for a certain bustout this summer? Hoping to catch a certain song at a certain venue? Looking for more long jams and fewer micro-jams? Create some good vibes towards making your wish come true by making a conditional pledge to a charitable cause!
Here’s how it works:
1. Go to this form: Google Form For Good Karma Hope You Get Your Tour Wish Fundraiser
The only personal information we ask for in the form is your first name and an email address to reach you if your conditional pledge comes to fruition.
2. Enter the donation amount you would like to conditionally pledge. Your choice.
3. Tell us the condition you want to attach to your pledge. We created six ideas (below), but there is an option to create your own. (For example: "I want "Tweezer" to open Deer Creek night 1" or "I want "More" to encore at Walmart" or "'Dog Log' at Dicks" or "For 'Guelah Papryus' to go Type II").
4. If the condition you selected comes true, we will reach out to you and ask you to honor your pledge. It is a strictly voluntary pledge and we ask for no payment or payment information up front.
5. Spread the word!
Today, July 8th, is the anniversary of the fabled 7/8/94 Great Woods Gamehendge show. This is serendipitous indeed, because during last week's Attendance Bias podcast, Brian Weinstein had Jeff Goldberg (our resident sound archeologist), join him on the show. While they took a deep dive discussing that famous show, their analyses were preceded by a discussion about... you guessed it... previously uncirculated Phish material. Here is the link to the show where Jeff and Brian discuss the process and what it’s like to work on Phish material which so few people have ever heard:
Why is this significant? Well, thanks once again to Jeff's audio engineering efforts (Phish.net handle: @Jeff_Goldberg), we have some more uncirculated Phish music for your listening pleasure. No recordings were known to exist of the December 2nd, 1990 show at The Front in Vermont… until now. Jon Trafton graciously provided the only known recording of part of Set II of the 12/2 show to Jeff to digitalize and clean up so it could finally circulate.
[This guest blog post is courtesy of Adam Lioz (user @RadicalSuit) and Malcolm Howard (user @mhoward205), who are are founding Board members of Phans for Racial Equity.]
Juneteenth commemorates the day the last enslaved people in the U.S. were granted freedom in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. What’s the relevance of a celebration of Black liberation for the largely White jam band community? Why should we keep Juneteenth in mind as many of us plan to head back out on tour for the first time in more than a year?
On April 1st at 4:30 pm EST, Tom Adams (@Reelife_Tom) of Reelife Documentary Productions will release never-before-seen video of Phish performing a "The Pendulum" jam, filmed during the soundcheck before the 12/7/90 show at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. According to phish.net's records, "The Pendulum" was last played on April 1st, 1986 - meaning tomorrow is the 35 year anniversary of its last live (and what was thought to be its only recorded) performance. Tom has released a teaser video of additional footage featuring Marley getting kicked out of the venue:
For the eighth year in a row, Dr. Stephanie Jenkins will teach the “Philosophy School of Phish” course—more formally called the “Philosophy of Art and Music”—via Oregon State University’s Ecampus program. Using the band as a case study, students will explore canonical theories about art and its meaning, from ancient to modern times. Registration is open now and class begins on March 29th!
Space is limited. To enroll, follow instructions for registering through OSU’s ecampus and enroll in PHL 360: Philosophy & the Arts (CRN 59716). (Because this class is a special section of a regular course offering, you will not find PHL 360 listed online as “Philosophy School of Phish.”) Make sure Dr. Jenkins is listed as the professor. Note: You do not have to be a current OSU student to take this course. You’ll need to apply and enroll as a “non-degree seeking student.”
[We'd like to thank @paulj for once again contributing a thought-provoking analysis piece to the blog - ed.]
Since its introduction in June of 1997, "Twist" has been a welcome addition to the Phish catalogue. With just a couple of exceptions during its early years, "Twist" has never been out of regular rotation, averaging an appearance about every five shows.
With only 10% of its appearances in the first set, "Twist" has fulfilled a variety of roles in the second set. First, "Twist" made its debut as a second set opener and, in its 145 total appearances, has been a set opener 15 times.
Second, although "Twist" does not generally enjoy the big jam reputation of its contemporaries such as "Piper" and "Ghost," it has a top ten ranking in total number of Jam Chart entries during the 3.0 era. "Twist"’s 23 Jam Chart entries for 3.0 were, I’ll happily admit, a bit of a surprise as I’d always pigeon-holed the song into its third role: maintaining the second set groove.
You could say I was born in the taper section. In the mid 1970’s, Grandpa Jimmy recorded three-year-old me singing and proudly answering questions about my birthday, address, and parents’ names. In January 2020, I found a few such cassettes, along with the reason you’re reading this.
The tapes turned up in the final few weeks of helping Dad downsize from a house to an apartment. The move was never possible while Mom was still alive, thanks to her hoarding.
From the link above:
Sometime in February 1995 I was asked, by way of a mix C.D. to go to a dance called the Big Band Boogie Ball. On that C.D. were two songs I had never heard of that were played on repeat until every note was singed into my ears and burned on my brain. I immediately drove to the local Record store to scoop up any additional albums and the 411 on this band called Phish. Fast forward 25 years, one husband, thousands of recordings and between the two of us 60 some live shows, it’s safe to say I love this band. There is nothing quite like the high vibe, energetic, feel good hit of dopamine that live art brings. Anything can happen in live performance and I for one crave the paradox of feeling certain about the magical unpredictability of live art. As Wonderbound continues to take great strides to return to this same performance experience, I am delighted to share Julius, a music video, starring William Clayton and featuring the Wonderbound company artists, with music by Phish. Filmed August 20-26, 2020 at Wonderbound, I hope we manage to make you smile.
Check the music video out here:
As the COVID-19 public health emergency began to develop, The Mockingbird Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to music education, began fundraising efforts to grant money to programs that were actively developing strong responses to challenges presented by the pandemic. In the past, the Foundation had issued Emergency Response Grants on a regional basis, such as in the aftermath of a natural disaster. But the pandemic presented a national-level crisis with both immediate and long-term effects, and we knew it would cause seismic shifts not only in musical teaching techniques, but also in governmental and charitable funding of music programs nationwide.
Mockingbird announced the COVID-19 Relief fundraising effort at the end of May. We allocated $25,000 of existing funds to launch this effort, while asking the Phish fan community to donate $25,000, which we pledged to match, totaling $75,000. Not only did the community help us reach the goal within only two months, their collective donations were double that goal! We are thus able to fund $100,000 in grants for this round of emergency giving. We cannot thank all of our donors enough for your amazing support of music education!
Hundreds of individual donations were made through our fundraising channels over the summer. Many of the donations were exceptional and substantial, and there were sizable donations not only from new donors but from long-time donors as well. Among the donations, sadly, were numerous tributes to family members and friends lost to COVID-19, dramatizing its impact on our community and the communities of many other music fans nationwide.
Our community’s spectacular fundraising response inspired us to promptly identify needy programs that were facing new challenges arising from the pandemic. We developed different criteria to review previous applicants and grantees, and also examined inquiries submitted for our 25th Round of annual giving within approximately the last year, the application period for which concluded on August 1st. In addition, we researched outside our customary channels for organizations that were creatively providing - or seeking funds to try to provide - musical education to students in this time of unprecedented challenges.
Mockingbird announced our first COVID-19 Relief Response grant to Girls Rock Detroit on June 25th, one month after launching the campaign. The $5,000 grant helped their summer camp to continue virtually after they lost the ability to host in-person fundraising events. One week later, we announced that Heartbeat Music Project in Crown Point, New Mexico, would receive $5,000 to support their music education program for Navajo (Diné) children living in the Navajo Nation, which suffered COVID-19 related illnesses and deaths disproportionately to other regions.
[Thank you @Choda for sharing your thoughts on Dick's, as we head into this special three-day holiday weekend of "Dinner and a Movie" Dick's webcasts. If you watch any of them please consider donating to Phish's charitable arm, The WaterWheel Foundation, as all funds donated to WaterWheel this weekend will benefit The Mockingbird Foundation, whose volunteers run dot net. -Ed.]
If the Great and Knowledgable Icculus took me from the Earth on this day of our Gamehendge, September 4th 2020, I would stand before him in my Birthday Suit (for being naked in front of a powerful deity is a requirement if y’all didn’t know) and be judged for my life as a faithful Phish fan (and trust me, I saw 28 shows in 2.0). Icculus would peruse his iPad Pro and check out my stats:
The Great and Knowledgeable (GK) Icculus: “Ah Mr. Choda, I see you saw the final 'Faht' performed live?”
Choda: “Yes Icculus! I almost died driving back to Ithaca that night but totally worth it.”
GK Icculus: “It says here you saw the longest single Phish jam of all-time?”
Choda: “Yes, my sweet Icculus! It was a glorious night in Worcester ‘97!”
Then, Icculus would pause briefly, and look up from the screen, stunned:
Icculus: “OH MY!! You attended every show at Dick's?”
Choda: “Mighty Icculus, all I can say is: I LOVE DICKSl!! (Just ask [phish.net username withheld])
Voting in the final matchup of the phish.net forum “Jam of the Era” tournament is open until tomorrow at 9 am EDT. Vote here.
In celebration of the two finalists the bracket organizing committee is pleased to welcome guest contributor, @philospliphy.
In the Long May They Run podcast, Trey reveals that an obscure book of urban planning theory became the band’s "bible" when they first began planning their independent, infamous, and shockingly successfully festivals. A Pattern Language (APL), by C. Alexander, et al., proposes and defends a mode of communal living wherein all social functions − from the privacy of the marital bed to the sharing of collective meals to the labor of workers in diverse fields to the pedestrians passing them all on the street − are creatively weaved into an organic, but open whole, designed to balance basic, yet contrasting, human needs like solitude and communality, productivity and rest, self-expression and family and community responsibility, darkness and light.
The discovery of this book, of course, corresponds with the time after which Phish had firmly and permanently become an arena-level draw, and during which the group achieved heights of musical performance, economic success, and cultural impact that no one at Nectar’s, or even on the farms of Ian or Amy could have anticipated. The interconnected community they had always sought to build through music was not only actualized, but seemed poised to become a substantial and permanent fixture on the American cultural landscape. A band that had tailored their career so that they needed to prove themselves and win over audiences every night could now not only write its own ticket, but freely set its own benchmarks. The shift to more collective, less guitar-centred improv in ’96, the hard turn towards funk and darkness in ’97, the surprise covers and more spacious sound of ’98, eventually giving way to the ambient bliss from ’99-'00 reveal a band always reaching for a new height, or finding a new way of integrating their catalog and hard-won connection with what was, for them, most interesting or challenging at the moment. It’s no wonder that, after "The Show," Fish thought they should stop; by the new millennium, a band built around having to earn its keep night after night had literally nothing left to prove. And if the band’s 2004 performances aren’t proof enough, Trey’s Charlie Rose interview makes clear that he knew the Phish that he founded and that did, indeed, "conquer America" wasn’t built to last; playing music so diverse, complex, and risky demanded 100% commitment to the project and, once it ceased to become the primary – and virtually sole – focus of the lives of all of the members, it was destined to get "sloppy around the edges" and become something else. Trey, Mike, Fish, and Page are, after all, human beings, rather than musical machines (even if they occasionally sound that way), and APL is grounded in the idea that being fully human requires us all to balance our work – independent, creative work of passion, though it may be – with the other vital facets of our lives, lest any one of them become all consuming, and thus damaging to ourselves, others, or both.
For the seventh summer in a row, Dr. Stephanie Jenkins will teach the “Philosophy School of Phish” course—more formally called the “Philosophy of Art and Music”—via Oregon State University’s Ecampus program. Using the band as a case study, students will explore canonical theories about art and its meaning, from ancient to modern times. As part of their required course work, students will attend three virtual listening assignments and conduct philosophical interviews with artists from the Phish community. Registration is open.
Space is limited. To enroll, follow instructions for registering through OSU’s ecampus and enroll in PHL 360: Philosophy & the Arts (CRN 72292). (Because this class is a special section of a regular course offering, you will not find PHL 360 listed online as “Philosophy School of Phish.”) Make sure Dr. Jenkins is listed as the professor. Note: You do not have to be a current OSU student to take this course. You’ll need to apply and enroll as a “non-degree seeking student.”
On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, The Mockingbird Foundation and Phish.net join the music industry’s “Black Out Tuesday” to reflect, organize, and act. We stand in solidarity with everyone committed to eliminating white supremacy, racial injustice, and inequality.
In case you missed it, The Princeton Footnotes released a cover of “Julius” that has over eleven thousand views on YouTube as of today. I touched-base with Douglas Corzine (Princeton ’20) about the group and the background of their cover of “Julius.” -charlie
CD: So what’s the background of this excellent cover?
DC: The Footnotes have been around since 1959, and our repertoire changes every year. “Julius” was one of the group's signature songs in the early 2000’s, but the arrangement was retired about ten years ago.
[Thanks to Mockingbird board member Matt Sexauer for sharing this...]
John Rua, the amazing choreographer of NYE Clones and Halloween's Abe Vigoda Wombat, has agreed to teach us some new Martian Monster dance steps for the April 28 Dinner & A Movie opener. We will be setting up a Zoom link for those who want to join around 8:30 PM during the webcast to dance in unison. The goal is to surprise the band by sharing that link and subsequent video with them. If you can't join Zoom then you can always film yourself during the webcast and post to Facebook, IG, Twitter with the hashtag #MartianMonster. This community has always been a two-way street, and hopefully we can send a little fun back their way during these crazy times. So practice the dance, and we'll see you for Dinner & A Movie!
Check out the video after the jump...
[We want to thank Patti C. (.net user @SharingintheGroov) for relaying her tale of discovering Phish 30 years ago today...]
It was a semi-stormy Wednesday afternoon in April 1990, and I was walking across campus on my way back from class at the University of Notre Dame. I could hear some grooving sounds coming from what I assumed was a campus band playing on the quad by the fountain, as often was the case for one reason or another on any given day. But something different was catching my ear and I found my feet moving to the sound, rather than back to the dorm.
I sat down in my favorite patch of grass in front of the band that was playing, among a small handful of other students and I watched. And I listened. I was intrigued, yet thoroughly puzzled (particularly by the bass lines, truth be told). My frame of musical appreciation at this point in my life was Springsteen, U2, Tom Petty... You get the idea. I had no idea who was playing or what was happening, but I was shook.
[we'd like to thank Prof. Paul Jakus, @paulj, for yet another thought-provoking statistical analysis of Phish.net data - ed.]
Phish.net show ratings are meant to convey Phish fans’ collective perception of how good a show was, but these ratings are subject to a number of biases. For example, .net ratings do not come from a random sample (sampling bias), and people tend to rate the shows they’ve attended quite highly (attendance bias).
Another possible bias, which the .net Cognoscenti have termed “Recency Bias”, is the tendency to rate a show during the first few days after the performance, if not immediately after the show. It is believed that ratings posted in the immediate aftermath of a concert will reflect the warm glow of that experience. People have not taken the time to reflect on the quality of that show relative to the performances immediately before or after, or within the context of an entire Phish tour. Recency bias implies that a show’s rating will decline as its warm glow dissipates.
It occurred to me that I could estimate the magnitude of recency bias using a Phish show database I’ve periodically updated since Summer 2018. We’ll look solely at the 21-show Summer 2018 tour, which started at Lake Tahoe on July 17 and ended at Dick’s on September 2. For each show, we can use snapshots of .net ratings taken on October 2, 2018, on May 5, 2019, and on April 2, 2020. Thus, we have ratings taken one month after the conclusion of tour, 8 months after tour, and 19 months after tour.
Here are the ratings time paths of three Summer 2018 shows [Gorge Night 3 (7/22/18), Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Night 2 (7/25/18), and The Forum Night 1 (7/27)]:
Last year, PhanArt and the Phishsonian Institute teamed up to present “Below The Moss Forgotten,” a pop-up museum exhibit detailing Phish’s relationship to the Pacific Northwest at the first-ever Phish Studies Conference at Oregon State University told mostly through fan-created items. The exhibit marked the first step in establishing a relationship with OSU in regards to the PhanArt archive, establishing a home for the 3000 items already documented.
[We'd like to thank Phish nerd extraordinaire, Maya Gans (@WindoraBug on .net, @mayacelium on Twitter), for writing this post and sharing the phishr library that she wrote with Sam Levin (@levisc8 on .net, @SamLevin5 on Twitter) with the community - ed.]
When I tell people I meet outside of the scene that I’m a Phish fan it’s always met with a certain look - you know the one. But this always makes me laugh because one of the reasons I love Phish so much is how they provide one of the richest data sets to adoring fans. I love when folks who say they hate math or statistics end up rattling off their most seen songs, largest song gaps they need to close, or provide feedback on graphs I put up on Twitter.
# load the libraries
[This post is courtesy of fan Keith Eaton, @Midcoaster, who is still processing Trey's 2 ½ hour music drop that was Ghosts of the Forest one year later. A slow processor, it takes him some time to sort these things out. He first became obsessed with music when, in 1979, he sat in a darkened theater and watched Apocalypse Now. Nothing was ever quite the same after that opening sequence.]
Last spring (2019), I had a rare moment of synergy. It came while reading Michael Pollan's book How to Change Your Mind. I had blazed through the first four and a half sections at a record clip. This is no easy feat, for me, as a busy teacher. That reading streak was interrupted, pleasantly, by a couple of weekends of traveling to shows: Mike Gordon at The Sinclair, and then Trey's Ghosts of the Forest (GOTF) at the Portland State Theater. Surprisingly, the Trey show was profoundly connected to the experiences of patients in the guided psychedelic therapy sessions that Pollan describes, it just took me a while to see it.
Mid-April, a couple of weeks after Ghosts of the Forest debuted in Maine, I returned to Pollan's final two sections of the book. Reading about the use of psilocybin to treat depression and despair, even, in end-of-life therapy, I was struck by a passage where Pollan used Bertrand Russell's words to describe what it would be like to cultivate or prepare for an acceptance of death: "the best way to overcome one's fear of death 'is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged into the universal life' " (355). Suddenly, I heard a melody.
It only took a second to recognize that I was hearing strains of Trey's GOTF composition "Wider." Following "Ruby Waves" and the instrumental "Shadows Thrown by Fire" (I'd had to look this up), I was suddenly struck by the fact that in his exercise of staring down Chris Cottrell's death, Trey's song cycle was mirroring the experiences Michael Pollan was detailing in his book. Most strikingly similar were the results of tests done with patients who had a terminal cancer diagnosis. The Venn diagram of loss, grief cycles, mystical ego death, and guided psychedelic therapy were suddenly overlaying my dawning understanding of GOTF in full.
[phish.net kindly thanks you for your patience and understanding during the slight delay in getting these recaps posted. All of our recappers (and staff) are entirely volunteer; simultaneously taking on the tasks of our "normal" lives while also helping to maintain our great website and community. phish.net would like to thank user @peetasan (Instagram: @EpicFamilyFarms) for this recap. -ed]
Phish in Mexico is a singular experience. There is, literally, nothing to compare it to. Sharing the groove with the smallest crowd you’ll find, on the beach, with the Carribean Sea lapping the shoreline beside you (or around you!), in the middle of winter, in Mexico, after spending the day drinking mimosas and tequila, sunning on the beach, eating ceviche or strutting your best floaty at one of the many pool parties; it is nothing short of continually astounding that we get to do this. It’s apparent that the band feels this way as well, because they are consistently relaxed and in a fun, playful mood. The return of Fishman’s pink jacket and shorts (because how can you wear that only once??) on night 4 was an indication that the band was feeling loose and playful, with Fishman playing a rare set out of the dress.
I love this trip.
[phish.net kindly thanks you for your patience and understanding during the slight delay in getting these recaps posted. All of our recappers (and staff) are entirely volunteer; simultaneously taking on the tasks of our "normal" lives while also helping to maintain our great website and community. phish.net would like to thank user @gr8phul, (Twitter: @gr8fuljonnyd) for this recap. -ed]
Sometimes it is hard to write about a Phish show, especially as good as the one played Saturday night. What do you say when you feel like everything has already been said about the band we love? Who knows, but as they say, on with the show!
As Phish fans, we are creatures of habit. We’ve got our pre-show routines, our standard spots on the floor, our myriad of ways we choose to gamble on the setlist. Despite the mystery of every night being different, we’ve become accustomed to certain elements of a Phish show that give it familiarity. But while we appreciate that familiarity, it is the rare and unique that we truly seek.
Aside from weather fiascos (Northerly 2013, Fenway 2019), Phish has only played one-set shows at special performances (Sessions At West 54th), festivals (Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, HORDE Tour, Doctor) and as an opening act for Santana (’92, ’96). That means this is the first “regular” planned one-set Phish show. But there’s nothing regular about seeing Phish on the beach next to the Caribbean in the heart of winter.
With the late start time, folks had ample time to take advantage of the endless free drinks. And by the time we started heading for the venue, it showed. General sloppiness aside, spirits were high and the energy was palpable. We ran into fellow .netters @slinky and @slambomartinez and shared some speculation. What unexpected treats were we in for tonight? A 90 minute “Party Time”? A sit-in from a local mariachi band? Or would it just be a standard set of Phish?
Please join The Mockingbird Foundation on Friday February 21st at The Silks & Neighbor show at Brighton Music Hall in Boston (Allston, MA), where we will be raising money for music education for kids and young adults.
Last May, Oregon State University hosted the first-ever scholarly conference devoted to Phish’s music, fans, and culture. The three-day event showcased research from over fifty presenters, representing numerous academic disciplines ranging from sociology to philosophy to musicology. Recordings of conference presentations are now available via a free online archive.
The Mockingbird Foundation (whose volunteers operate this site) will have a table on Friday night, January 31, 2020, at Great Scott in Allston, MA, where Garcia Peoples will perform (after an opening set by Owsley's Owls). Tickets for the gig are available here. Please stop by and say "hi" and consider making a donation to the cause of music education for children and young adults.
Synchronicity is when no observable cause connects two events, yet a meaning exists between them. In other words, these are your cases of real-life magic. They’re the moments that likely won’t rearrange the course of your life, but remind you that the cosmos are capable of playing little tricks to help you remember the mundane, in fact, does not always have to be so mundane.
[We would like to thank Cotter, the youngest fan ever to recap a show for this blog, for recapping last night's NYE show. (Note that he also recapped MPP2 in June 2019 for us.) Happy New Year's everyone! -Ed.]
Last night was the single most memorable night of my life. The tangible excitement surrounding the holy grail of all Phish shows was contagious as it spread from me, to my mom, my dad, and even my twelve-year-old brother, who’s first show was a three set show!
[Phish.net would like to thank Jeremy Willinger for recapping last night's show -ed]
I bought a brand new mini-notebook yesterday afternoon to record my impressions while jamming at MSG. At around 11:30PM last night I crammed a wrinkled, bent, stained, stack of paper that resembled a notebook back into my pocket. On the pages were various scribbles, time stamps, and ruminations that started off very legible and devolved into an alphabet soup of observances and compliments around the beginning of the second set, for some cold, cold, cold reason...
Let’s just get the overall review out of the way: This show was absolutely epic! It is a must listen - especially the second set - but the first set has gems, pleasers, and stunning musicianship all its own. Truly, 12/30/19 will be talked about in the pantheon of shows for the ages and reinforces why Phans will do whatever we can, and endure or inure any and all unforeseen circumstances to see this foursome again and again. Now, onto the show.
There are some dates that can quickly send a shiver down the spine of a Phish fan. For many, 12/29 is one of those dates. The amount of tremendous music that has been created on this night throughout the years is somewhat staggering, perhaps equaled or surpassed only by the following night. 12/29 is also a very personal date as it was on that night in 2013 that I got back into Phish after thirteen years. On a whim, I decided to watch the webcast. I was blown away by what I saw after being out of the game for so long. These guys were having FUN and it showed – no turning back from there!
So what would last night’s show bring? Would it yield one of the longest, zaniest jams ever like on 12/29/94? Would it contain some classic, joyful funk like on 12/29/97? Would it be an underrated hidden gem like 12/29/16? Or would it be an absolute scorcher like 12/29/18? As we should have known, it was none of those things. Because 12/29/19 was its own show, its own element, just like the nights before and after it…and that’s part of the beauty of it all.
After fortifying ourselves with delicious pizza and wine nearby, we headed over to the venue. The vibe inside was all smiles and buzzed with excitement. We found some friends right in front of the soundboard and got ready. People around us were being very gracious and courteous which added to the feeling in the air.
[Recap is courtesy of user @bobbker, Bob Ker, (@Phish1999at2019 on Twitter). Please remember that recaps are written by VOLUNTEER FANS. Their views are entirely their own and are not necessarily shared by anyone who volunteers to work on Phish.net. There is no such thing as an "official" dot net recap of a show. -Ed.]
The little-loved sibling of the annual New Year’s run, Phish’s concerts on December 28 have historically offered sporadic highlights but rarely, if ever, have produced a classic. More often than not, the band uses the night to limber up after a dormant period, eschewing strong setlist construction in favor of running through songs seemingly intended to get their muscle memory going. The enthusiasm of the audience and energy in the room makes it a worthy date on the Phish calendar, but in the opening night of the New Year’s run, the crowd traditionally writes a check that the band puts a 24-hour hold on.
There will be yoga classes from 10am to 2:45pm on December 30 at the Hotel Penn (100% of the proceeds will benefit Mockingbird and Living Yoga). To get tickets and for more information, visit this page. And of course don't miss the PhanArt show also at Hotel Penn (18th floor) from noon to five on December 30.
On the final episode of After Midnight, host Jesse Jarnow dives into the following questions: What was it like for the band to walk off stage after playing for 7 hours? Would fans go back to a world destroyed by Y2K? What was next for Phish after this monumental achievement? How did Big Cypress influence festivals and the music industry?
What's it like to pull an all-nighter with 80,000 of your closest friends? What happens when you try to drive a hot dog through that same crowd? Can you say "Cheesecake!" like you're pissed? Will the band play an encore?
In episode 4, we answer these questions and more. We also explore the lasting impressions of the legendary midnight-to-sunrise experience.
[Phish.net user Tommy Whittaker, @Quidley, organized the line of Phish fans, all of whom were ultimately let into the show, outside the Met last week. He shares his story and gratitude below. - ed.]
The Phish phenomenon has been a constant in my life since October 29, 1995. Over the 161 shows I have attended, with the Met being 160, somehow I have managed to have tickets to all but four shows prior to my arrival. The last time I showed up to a show without a ticket was Virginia Beach on August 9, 1998, which was the third anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s passing. Oddly enough, I was traveling with my favorite Phish buddy, Henry, aka “Bring it on home jam.” We arrived two or three songs into the first set, assuming we would only be able to hear the show from outside. Much like the feeling at the Met, we thought, "no way we are getting in." Out of nowhere, the “Virginia Beach Saint” miracled us tickets in the 8th row, center. We thanked him profusely, started running to the show, and before we knew it, we were wide-eyed seeing the only "Terrapin Station" Phish has played to date.
At this point the reader may ask, what the hell does this have to do with the Met show? For me, two things: first, my favorite road buddy “Bring it on home jam” had decided to use his vacation days for the Met and Pittsburg. Second, the anxiety and blind faith of two 25 year loyal followers meeting up to attempt the impossible. Both of us, up to the day of the show, had exhausted all available channels to get tickets to no avail.
Here we are fellow phans, on December 3, 2019, and I have taken a cab into the city and arrived at the Met at 1:30 pm. The scene is pretty loose with people steadily arriving all day who were either on the Sirius/Phish friends and family list, or those lucky enough to win a package. There were a handful of one finger in the air fans hanging at the back of the package winner’s line hoping to score their spot with a variety of good trades, including four floors for New Years, and up to $1,000 cash. I roamed around for a few minutes before catching wind of an “unofficial” sign up sheet for people hoping to get a miracle from Sirius.
[Recap is courtesy of user TwiceBitten, Nick Williams (@deepthoughtsjp on Instagram). Please remember that recaps are written by VOLUNTEER FANS. Their views are entirely their own and are not necessarily shared by anyone who volunteers to work on Phish.net. There is no such thing as an "official" dot net recap of a show. -Ed.]
Phish fans are not exactly a homogenous bunch and I find the differences in the fanbase generally line up with geography. Fans in the Northeast are the most persnickety. They are capable of providing enormous amounts of energy, but they are also prone to talking over slow songs, smoking cigs indoors, and groaning and shit-talking the show while the music is playing. Fans on the West Coast are a lot more easy going. There is room to move in the GA section, the crowd is more evenly divided gender-wise and in general they are the most pleasant audience to be around. Still, West Coasters lack the fire and grit when it comes to giving energy back to the band, and we all know the band feeds on that and uses it to complete the circuit.
The Mountain West fanbase is somewhat harder to pin down, seeing as they’ve only played Dick’s over the last nine years, and it’s a real melting pot of fans from all over the country. Speaking of cannabis, I will say that the audience in Colorado can also be a bit unresponsive, maybe due to the strong legal weed, but also possibly due to the vibes dissipating slightly in the large open air venue. Fans from the Midwest are a rowdy bunch, more willing to display enormous amounts of energy without discrimination, but also willing to talk over slow songs like their Northeast counterparts. I think the term “blind unfocused rage” works well to describe them.
[We would like to thank user Suzy Barros for recapping last night's show.]
Being a relatively new resident of SC I was especially excited when the Charleston shows got announced as a 3 night run at the end of this fun unexpected Island toury 2019 revamp replete with wildly controversial Sirius XM “OH MY GOD PHISH IS SELLING OUT WHAT WILL WE DO” gig. I thought all of the shows thus far had had lots of good playing and fun song selection (especially once it was figured out that there would be no repeats). The drawback of no repeats being of course that you have, say your "Ghost" which I enjoyed the hell out of as a Nassau opener and thought it had a really lovely bliss jam thrown in there but now there won’t be any 18-minute dark mind expanding/exploding "Ghost" to look forward to. The other drawback being (and you can call this a drawback or a plus depending on what songs are played I guess) but it makes for an even more schizophrenic than usual setlist as in tonight’s situation. With Phish you just gotta take what they give you and hope for the best.
[We would like to thank user Josh Martin for recapping last night's show.]
Seasons greetings, everyone, from Charleston, where your favorite band kicked off the first of three nights of music. There are a lot of memorable tours in the Phish catalog, but there are only a handful of historic ones. Right at the top of the list are Falls ‘95, ‘97, and ‘13, and with some distance ‘18 may make the list as well. There’s something about this time of year that lends itself to scorching shows. Heck man, tonight was the 22nd anniversary of one of the greatest shows EVAR.
In episode 3, we emerge from the traffic jam, and we are officially on Big Cypress. We hear Trey and Tom reflect on cruising Big Cypress, and talk to Jon Fishman, Brad Sands, John Paluska and lots of fans about their experiences on site. And we start to get to the music. There's music!
[We would like to thank user Aaron Presuhn for recapping last night's show.]
On a cold Wednesday night, The Phish from Vermont returned to The Petersen Events Center, University of Pittsburgh campus. Contrast tonight’s weather with the last time they played here in 2017...when it was about 95 degrees. Walking up that damn hill in searing midday heat after drinking a Founder’s KBS was no fun. That show happened to fall on my birthday, and it was a heater to go along with the weather. I was excited to see how tonight shook out!
Ah yes, Long Island. The New Jersey that nobody talks about. The land of sports cars smashed into trees with smoke slowly rising from them and no driver or passengers to be found. The only island you can visit where you'll see a housewife driving a fat Benz with a vanity plate that reads XANAX. Long Island, where you can advertise that you're driving on Xanax with no recourse.
Which naturally leads us to Long Island's prodigal son: Billy Joel. Many of us in the Phish community know of Mr. Joel's real and/or exaggerated and/or entirely fictional rivalry with Phish (for hogging MSG every New Year's Eve despite being a "second rate cover band"); but what y'all might've missed is that Mr. Joel already had a longstanding rivalry with Long Island for requiring that he drive his sports cars "safely" and "on the road." For when I was in high school Mr. Joel wrecked his third hot rod in two years when he swerved off the road, over the curb, across the lawn, and into a sleeping old man's living room. And while this sleeping old man was probably the only Long Islander who didn't double as a Billy Joel fan (a Piano Fan?), when the police arrived on the scene, the officers were quite starstruck. Harkening back to moments ago when we were discussing a brazen use of Xanax while operating heavy machinery: despite driving directly into someone's house, Mr. Joel was not given a breathalyzer test.
So what was going to happen to us tonight? Would a fuming Billy Joel drive through the center of Shakedown? And more importantly, was Phish going to mow down our psyches and egos with some searing, soaring, and face melting hetty jams?
In episode one of After Midnight, Jesse Jarnow brings in new interviews with Trey, Fishman, Paluska and others to help answer the following questions: Why did 75,000 Phish fans endure an 18-hour traffic jam to see Phish in the Everglades? Why did Phish make 75,000 fans endure a massive traffic jam to see them? What were Phish doing in Florida in the first place?
A preview of After Midnight, an original Osiris podcast celebrating the 20th anniversary of Phish’s Big Cypress festival. Listen to the trailer here. And subscribe today on the show page. This five-episode series, hosted and narrated by Jesse Jarnow, will include interviews with Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, John Paluska, Brad Sands, Beth Montouri-Rowles and many other people who played a key role in making this amazing festival happen.
We wanted to make sure you’ve heard about Long May They Run, a new music documentary podcast series from C13Originals, hosted and written by Dean Budnick, editor of Relix (and a veteran Phish fan). The first season of the podcast is about Phish, which is appropriate, because the podcast’s intent is to discuss iconic touring bands who have had a lasting impact on music culture and the music industry. You can listen to the first several episodes of the podcast here on Apple Podcasts: http://bit.ly/LMTRPodcast.
And here is an audio preview clip of the next episode that debuts tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, featuring Trey discussing the improvisational comedy communication concept of "Yes, and---":
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. -- Proverbs 10:4
Note #1: “Idle Days” is the number of days from the last pre-Dick’s show to the first night of Dick’s. In 2019, it was 47 days from Alpine N3 to Dick’s N1.
Note #2: The average three-night rating for 2019 is based on about 425 reviewers for each show. The value used in this graph (3.967) is likely to change a bit as more people provide a rating.
With the cancellation of camping at Dick’s 2019, and an initial announcement that vending would not be allowed, there was uncertainty about whether the Dick’s lots would live up to their reputation as some of the finest in the land. While there was no official “Shakedown Alley,” there were plenty of people peddling their wares on the first night. Unsurprisingly, that meant there was a solid flea market popping off by night two.
We drove to the venue about 4 PM and entered the parking lots with zero delays. We parked the car and hit the pavement to sling some of my hand-painted sunglasses (shameless plug for Instagram @nice_shades). There was much more of a central Shakedown area, but still nothing like previous years, so we roamed around instead of posting up. We managed to stop by the phish.net “Official Meat-Up” hosted by @DaleCooper just in time to hug some friends and get in the group pic. My girlfriend Esther (who went to her first show Friday) was not going to be in the picture but at the last minute she was joyously invited to partake by a bunch of people she’d just met. We even said her name as we took the pic. Welcome to the family, babe.
As the sun faded into the mountains in the West, there was something electric in the air. After a couple hours of sweating bullets, and tired of chasing shade, we decided to head into the venue about 6:30. It had been a hot day with highs in the triple digits by some accounts, and sometimes that is enough to drain the energy from the crowd, if not the band as well. This was not to be one of those nights.
[we'd like to thank Josh Cohron, @cohron1, for recapping last night's show - ed.]
A lot of Phish thinking these days seems to revolve around, “What’s next?”
Since the end of the final notes of the THANK YOU Encore at Dick’s in 2015, questions arose about how the band could possibly top 2015’s Summer Tour. Would, or even could, this era of Phish ever reach the heights of that almost-universally-loved tour? An up-and-down 2016, which probably relied too heavily on Big Boat material, was followed by the signature run of this era: The Baker’s Dozen.
The same, natural questions were had by fans of Phish after the Dozen ended: Where does the band go from here? The first thing they did was play a monster show Friday night at Dick’s.
[Thanks again to longtime blog contributor, @paulj - ed.]
Over its long career, Phish have played over 1,500 shows in hundreds of different venues, yet there is a relatively short list of venues that are on nearly every fan’s must visit list. Madison Square Garden, Hampton, and the Gorge have been special Phish venues since the 1.0 era. During 3.0, it’s pretty clear that the MGM and Dick’s offer experiences that are likely to reward any fan making the effort.
Most of these bucket list venues offer something much more than a Phish show: MSG and MGM are suffused with the craziness of NYC and Las Vegas, respectively, and the Gorge is home to…the GORGE.
But Dick’s Sporting Goods Park? Seriously? A soccer stadium located atop a Superfund site in an industrial area adjacent to an oil refinery—which is also a Superfund site? (They don’t call it Commerce City for nothing.)
It's been fifteen years since the shows at Coventry, billed to be Phish's last shows. Long-time fan Chris Pepino of True Form Pictures created a documentary film about Coventry and Phish fans traveling to it, We Enjoy Yourself, in 2004. It screened at the New Jersey Film Festival back in 2009, even winning Best Documentary at the festival that year. The complete film is now streaming live for free at weenjoyyourself.com.
If you've never listened to the music of Coventry, don't be shy.Those who attended the shows that weekend will never forget them; and this post partly explains why, and why there are a lot of good reasons to listen to the shows, warts and all.
[Thank you user @Waxbanks, Wally Holland, for offering your thoughts on Between Me and My Mind, the documentary about Trey. Wally is the author of A Live One, a book in the 33 1/3 series by Bloomsbury about Phish's double-live album of the same name. As always, the thoughts expressed by guest authors on this blog are not necessarily shared by any of the many volunteers on Phish.net. -Ed.]
The documentary film Between Me and My Mind is conventionally structured: Trey Anastasio begins initial work on his "longform" solo project Ghosts of the Forest at The Barn while planning and prepping for the Baker’s Dozen and NYE 2017 with the other members of Phish; along the way we see him in staged 1-on-1 conversations with his wife, daughters, mother, and father. It’s an ordinary slice-of-working-life story about a recently sober 50something looking back on his life and finding inspiration to move ahead with more personal work. For Phish/Trey fans, and for anyone moved by tales of gifted people entering their autumn years, it will offer intense if familiar pleasures.
It being about Trey, though, it’ll also be a little strange.
And infectiously joyful. And idiosyncratically beautiful.
There is no release without tension.
[We would like to thank Doug Kaplan user @MrDougDoug (@hausumountain on Twitter) for recapping last night's Alpine show. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper on this site are not necessarily shared by any volunteer who works on phish.net. -Ed.]
Well here we are again, team. Another night at Alpine Valley: a venue that whenever I return to it, it feels like the venue’s farewell run. Surprisingly and delightfully, things have been roughly 42069% smoother than the last several runs I’ve attended, and it seems to me like the venue’s star may be rising again. Who knows y’all, maybe LiveNation finally sympathized with us, after all of the complaint emails after Bon Iver destroyed the galaxy? It’s certainly much more preferable for me when the band plays a hometown show in Chicago proper, but hey… renting a lake house with eleven of your best buds in the world is a pretty excellent way to spend a weekend.
[Thank you Brad Krompf (@bradkrompf) for recapping last night's show at the Mohegan Sun. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed]
It was about 7:30pm and we found ourselves in a ridiculously long line of relaxed people, coming in from a long day at the pool, gambling, or a number of other similarly incredible ways to spend a random Wednesday. I’m not certain if Mohegan N1 had an overwhelming amount of flow, but the entire “weekend” (which is what it felt like) had enough overflow to make up for it. Perhaps that overflow would spill into the arena tonight. Proudly donning my Hartford Whalers t-shirt, I was more patient waddling through the security line than I would’ve guessed. We had good friends around us, and despite growing up in Connecticut for my entire childhood, last night was the first time in at least 15 years I had slept there.
We got past security around 8:10 and ran when we heard the opening notes of “Buried Alive.” Without question the Phish from Vermont came to party and so did the crowd.
[Thank you @aisincl (Andrew Sinclair) for recapping last night's show in Boston, MA. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed]
Seems that Most Events Aren’t Planned. Tonight once again reminded us to Surrender to the Flow, as the Phish from Vermont played an absolute heater of a show, in a unique environment (39,000 capacity shrine to Baseball) and with some unique meteorological ingredients.
[Thank you @jmart (Josh Martin) for recapping last night's show in Boston, MA -Ed.]
It’s your old pal Marty. First thing's first: I've been instructed to be explicit about the fact that this is a couch tour recap, so, you know, Caveat Emptor, etc. Onward.
When last we spoke, I was busy drooling over that Charlotte 6/21 show. Guess what? I’ve listened to the whole thing at least three times since then and to my ear it still stands up as the show of the tour and “Runaway Jim” the jam of the tour. More on those distinctions in a second.
After Charlotte we were treated to six solid shows from Merriweather, Bangor, and Camden, each with its own individual moments (the "Simple" from the first night of Bangor1 and the "Mercury" from Camden1 definitely belong in the conversation of notable jams.) Reports from the run at Camden varied wildly, with some folks saying the second night was a true heater to others saying it was one of the worst Phish shows in years. As with all things, the truth is probably somewhere in between.
Back at SPAC for night two and the last show of the 2019 summer tour run in Saratoga Springs. Weather pretty much the same as the previous night, high 80ºs, hazy sun, if a bit more humid and less breezy than Tuesday. Unlike night one, we got into the venue about an hour or so earlier so we could check out SPAC’s continually improving food and beverage selections (the former cheerless fencedâ€‘in, dirtâ€‘grounded “beer garden” quarantine zone being thankfully but a bad memory) and hang out in the picnic area at the back of the lawn to sit down, eat, drink and hang a while with some other random newfound tour friends.
With the exception of MSG (60 shows) and Dick’s (27 shows), SPAC (22 shows) is Phish’s most played venue (other than Burlington’s Nectar’s and The Front, neither played since 1991). Kat and I have been to 21 SPAC shows, missing only the first, 7/27/1992, when Phish did a short set opening for Santana. That was before we first got on the Phish bus in the spring and summer of the following year. Last night’s show was our 122nd show, give or take, since 1993.
[Thank you Dianna Hank user @Dianna_2Ns for recapping last night's show in Camden, NJ. -Ed.]
Several times over the course of my Phish-seeing career, the band has played a show that the vast majority of the fanbase has lost their collective (pebbles and) marbles over that I thought was just ok/good. Last night was one of those shows.
[We would like to thank Jeremy Willinger, @Jeremy8698, for recapping last night's show. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed]
Let’s assume that when Noah built the ark, assembled the animals and launched the ship, it was a fairly wet and humid period. The animals came, on four legs, trudging through the thick, heavy air to reach salvation. The contemporary version took place in the gorgeous (?) confines of Camden, New Jersey, as wooks, bros, fans, phans and vets, walked two by two into the BB&T Pavillion amidst a greying sky and a rising temperature.
[Thank you William "Billy" Stark user @mikebomb24 for recapping last night's show in Bangor, Maine. -Ed.]
I had high hopes for Bangor night two. Summer tour has been relatively hot to date and Night one brought big jams in the “Down With Disease”, and “Simple.” I was certainly not alone in having a transcendent experience during the Type II “Limb by Limb”. On top of that Bangor seemed to be the perfect place to see a Phish show. The Northeastern Wookery was felt deeply, and tickets were almost too easy to come by with people miracling pits on lot. Driving deep into central Maine was certainly a treat, and as the pines multiplied in abundance and the Atlantic Ocean came into sight I experienced a tremendous amount of gratitude for Jonathan Fishman. The band could have profited more in a bigger venue elsewhere, but Fishmans dedication to his northern tribe is demonstrably deep. The music of phish feels at home in the north country, returning to the crucible of ice, snow, and forests in which it was originally forged in Vermont.
[Thank you Ben Harder user @BennyHa_Ha_Ha for recapping last night's show in Bangor, Maine. -Ed.]
Well it’s been a minute for me, and it’s been even longer than that for ME. My first show, at 15, was 12/11/95 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, and since that barn burner---which included Warren Haynes on both “Funky Bitch” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and even some Elvis homage (for the last venue he was set to play) in the form of a “Suspicious Minds”---I’ve attended a number of shows each year that the band has toured. My run came to an end on 12/31/17, after which I went zero (0) for 2018. Wudn’t pretty, wudn’t preferable, but I suspect that a number of you in the Old Guard know what it means to have to sit out a tour or more to give a child your undivided love and attention. But boy does the passion abide. Perhaps even more so than when I was taking multiple night runs for granted. I listened to every note of 2018 during my hiatus, and once I got beyond the butthurt and the self-pity (and believe me, I delved deep), I just had to marvel at a show like 10/26/18. Dick’s, the New Year’s run, Mexico, they were all gravy.
CD: Thank you so much for the 11/22/97 "Halley's Comet" "Anatomy of a Jam" film, it was very inspiring to watch, not just for many volunteers of phish.net but even for Jon Fishman, as you've seen from his post on Facebook about it. When did you begin writing and composing "Anatomy of a Jam" pieces and what inspired you to create them?
A: Thank you for the kind words! I’m truly blown away by the positive response and support from the Phish community.
[We would like to thank Cotter, the youngest fan ever to recap a show for this blog, for recapping last night's MPP2 show. -Ed.]
Phish means more to me than nearly any other aspect of my life, so the months leading up to any given show are filled with anticipation. I imagine I’m not alone in this sentiment, but my point of view may be different. Being a diehard Phish fan in high school is one hell of an experience. Be it the incessant checking of this very site in class, or even explaining to people that "no, I’m not in love with a water-dwelling animal, but instead with the magic four middle-aged rock stars produce." This leads to some pretty obnoxious scorns, but shows like last night make it worth it. The 40-minute drive north was chalk full of questions by my family on setlist predictions and song meanings, but that’s really not a problem, as I’ll proudly flaunt whatever knowledge such an obsession leads to. Now to the music.
[This recap is courtesy of Aaron Presuhn (@presuhn). Please note that the opinions expressed in blog posts like this one are not necessarily shared by any of the volunteers who work on Phish.net. -Ed.]
Merriweather Post Pavilion. It’s kinda my home venue. I live closer to Star Lake in Burgettstown, but the Phish have ignored that shed for a while now (please come back!). Haven’t missed an MPP show since my first one there in 2000. Quite a few fun shows here!
I went in expecting a downpour because, you know, all it’s done for the past month in the northeast is rain. But we ended up having a beautiful, sunny day. It really felt like summer for the first time this year. Parking was weird, and the police presence was more than I remember from last year. There are assigned lots now, but everyone seems to ignore them. My lot was blocked off anyway, so we just drove around until finding something open.
[Recap is courtesy of user @jsauce, Josh Martin. Apologies to him and to you that this recap was belatedly posted. Once again, please note that the opinions offered in this recap are not necessarily shared by any of the volunteers on this site. -Ed.]
Greetings and salutations from Charlotte, North Carolina: Place of my birth, my first show (11/19/95), and of course, tonight’s show.
A word about PNC (neé Blockbuster) Pavilion: it’s about as generic a venue as you can imagine. Sprawling outdoor shed located way outside the city limits, convenient to absolutely no one, huge gravel parking lot, very interested police presence, broiling summer sun, etc. Imagine the late 90’s shed circuit: your Polarises, your Lakewoods, your Walnut Creeks. You get the point.
AND YET, for some reason known only to them, Phish have chosen this particular venue to unload the magic time and again over the years. For proof, and for sake of brevity, I offer Only one example: the massive, world shattering “Harry Hood”>”David Bowie” second set pairing from 7/25/03, which remains to me the quintessential 2.0 jam and one of the finest jams of their career. If you haven’t heard it, I strongly recommend taking a second to give it a spin.
[Recap of last night's show courtesy of user TwiceBitten, Nick Williams. Note that the opinions expressed by a recapper of a show on this blog are not necessarily shared by any volunteer who works on Phish.net, and there is no "official" Phish.net "take" of a show. We rely on volunteer fans like you to recap shows. -Ed.]
Blossom is perhaps the most beautiful traditional “shed” in the country. “The venue is located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and is administered by the Cleveland Orchestra’s non profit organization,” I told my wife as we exited the highway and made our way towards the T.A.Z. Driving through a beautiful river valley to see Phish is a far cry from your usual trek through suburban sprawl. We arrived at a back entrance to the venue only to find it blocked by a Police barricade. I got out to ask the cop directions and he informed me that I was in luck because he was about to “open this b*tch right up.” Score. We quickly found our way in and were waltzing through security before we knew it.
[We would like to thank Alaina Stamatis, user @farmhose (@fad_albert on twitter and instagram), for recapping last night's show. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed.]
When the border agent asked us what our plans were for our trip into Canada, we probably should have just lied to him. It wouldn't have made a difference, however, because we have 57 stickers on our car, including but not limited to an oversized Stealie with two dancing bears on the hood. At the time of our border crossing, we were also, for lack of a better term, dressed like wooks.
"We're seeing a concert."
"Who are you here to see?" the border agent asked in the most serious tone one can conjure while still having a Canadian accent.
"Phish, man, greatest show on earth! If you have the night off you should-"
A couple SWAT-team-type bros in skin-tight black uniforms approached. This was not my bachelorette party and these were definitely not strippers. They dismantled the car. Luckily (intentionally) we brought nothing of interest. "Enjoy the concert, guys."
[Recap/review of last night's Bonnaroo show is courtesy of Michael Ayers, user @yhgtbfkm. Note that there was no recap/review posted to the blog about Roo1's show, because no one attending the show volunteered to recap it, and there wasn't a webcast of it either, and we decided not to recap it based simply on the LivePhish recording. -Ed.]
Ahh, Bonnaroo. The perennial jam band festival that’s not really a jam band festival anymore.
I’ve had the pleasure of only attending Bonnaroo once, back in 2005. I saw a slew of amazing sets that weekend, including Benevento Russo Duo with Mike Gordon (a show you should definitely check out if you haven’t), Keller Williams, Jurassic 5 and Dave Matthews Band (laugh all you want, it was my first time seeing them and I really enjoyed it). That’s the nice part about festivals like this, it gives you the opportunity to see acts in the same place that you normally wouldn’t.
After the St Louis shows, I texted a good friend of mine who was on the fence about driving up to Camden to see them. I said, “Dude, I might be biased, but they are already playing lights out. You can’t miss seeing them in Camden.” I thought both nights in St Louis were spectacular. I will admit, the second night in particular will always be near and dear to my heart because of what transpired during the setbreak and how set two started out. I felt like there was little rust in the St. Louis shows (which you sometimes can’t say for tour openers), which made me both excited for the two nights at Bonnaroo and disappointed that I was not attending them.
So what will the boys have in store for us for Sunday down in Manchester? Will they bust out something they haven’t played in years (looking at you, "Free Bird")? Will Bo Bice and Trey share the stage again? (Spoiler alert: they did not, thank god.) Everyone is familiar with the old adage “Never Miss A Sunday Show,” would that apply to tonight as well? Let’s find out.
[Would like to thank user @KipMat Matt Schrag for recapping St. Louis for the blog. Be advised that the opinions offered in a "recap" of a show (or in any post) on Phish.net's blog are not necessarily shared by any of the other many volunteers who work on the site. We would appreciate it if you correct anyone out there ignorant enough to suggest that the "recap" of a show on this site is in any way, shape, or form an "official" view of the show by Phish.net. There is no such thing, and no such thing has ever existed at any time at all whatsoever. Thank you. -Ed.]
I had initially volunteered to write just one show recap for the Blog, but was asked by Phish.net to provide recaps for both nights of the tour-opening St. Louis run. Several well-meaning folks read my recap of last night’s show, and felt that it was lacking, or simply not what they were expecting.
This site is one of several sources on the internet for day-after recaps of Phish shows. These recaps are traditionally linear in form, in that they provide a rundown of the setlist, start to finish, with commentary on each song. I do not prefer this style for two reasons: fluff, and formula. A recap doesn’t have to include an opinion on every single song. Even though sentiments like “I love 'Roggae' it’s one of my 50 favorite Phish songs!” or “I wish I could hear 'Bouncing Around The Room' at every show!” are pleasing and help spread good vibes, they don’t pique my interest. And because recaps are essentially newspaper-style journalism, the writing tends to fall back on tired conventions to fill space. "Song A featured X, then segued into song B which featured Y," or "Phish often does ______ during a show, and tonight was no exception." I acknowledge that there’s an audience for this kind of journalism; I just find it bland.
So let’s talk about last night’s show! @EvenCarlSagan disagrees with me, but I thought the first set was weak sauce up through “We Have Come To Outlive Our Brains.” Everything up until that point struck me as safe, by-the-numbers Phish, while a noticeable portion of the audience was out on the concourse watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the mounted flat-screen tv’s. Nothing from the stage seemed “off," but the music just wasn’t happening for me. The ice was broken by Trey’s acknowledgement of blowing the repeat of the chorus of “WACTOOB” by hamming it up and asking the audience to sing along. The band’s performance seemed to refocus after the flub, and the rest of the set was a distinct improvement to my ears. Of course, the news that the St. Louis Blues had won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history had spread during “Run Like An Antelope," and New Jersey Devils fan Chris Kuroda (pictured here in 1989) was gracious enough to shine bright blue and gold lights on the audience, using the Blues’ team colors to acknowledge the occasion.
[Would like to thank user @KipMat Matt Schrag for recapping St. Louis for the blog. Be advised that the opinions offered in a "recap" of a show (or in any post) on Phish.net's blog are not necessarily shared by any of the other many volunteers who work on the site. We would appreciate it if you correct anyone out there ignorant enough to suggest that the "recap" of a show on this site is in any way, shape, or form an "official" view of the show by Phish.net. There is no such thing, and no such thing has ever existed at any time at all whatsoever. Thank you. -Ed.]
“Phish, with a P-H?”
The hotel Valet Attendant both looked and talked like famous twin brother Seth Galifianakis [url: https://youtu.be/sMFwNrAAsDs] - it was uncanny.
“That’s right, they’re the band playing at Chaifetz Arena tonight and tomorrow night.” I braced myself mentally for the inevitable follow-up question.
“What do they sound like?”
“Well, they’re an improvisational rock band…”
“OK, so not Country, then.”
I nodded in affirmation. This is usually the point when the conversation topic is switched, so I was caught slightly off guard by the Attendant’s next question.
“Who’s the opening act?”
“Actually, there’s no opening act, Phish plays the whole show, usually about three hours.”
“Three hours? And no opening act? Who even does that anymore?”
I used to be poorly skilled at recognizing rhetorical questions, and in the past I would have tried to name other jam bands the Attendant likely wouldn’t recognize. Instead, I smiled broadly and said, “I know, right?” and wished him well.
[Courtesy of Josh Martin, user @jmart. -Ed.]
How to approach the Trey Anastasio Band's second (and tour closing) show at the Tabernacle in Atlanta?
1. Consider this exchange with a fellow serious phish head a few weeks before the occasion: Me: "So I scored some tickets to go see Trey band at the Tabernacle down in Atlanta in a few weeks." Friend: "Well, there's nothing in that sentence I like."
Really? Seems kind of harsh. I mean, Atlanta isn't my favorite city either [note: I have revised that opinion based on this trip], but the Tabernacle is VERY cool, and Trey band has some good stuff going for it, right? Most importantly a guitarist named Trey, whom you've probably dreamed of meeting several dozen times and have probably seen in concert many more times than that. BUT ALSO, nice vocal harmonies, dense percussion, and propulsive rhythm and horn sections that power new songs and substantively change the sound of familiar songs. Is this a good thing? I'm not sure. I guess the listener gets to decide that, but I would prefer to think that change is a good thing, especially with something as familiar to all of us as large swaths of the Phish catalog.
[Alex Grosby, user @grozphan, was responsible for the wonderful "Below The Moss Forgotten" exhibit at the first Phish academic conference at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, in May 2019. -Ed.]
Phish fans love to gather. We come together in familiar and unfamiliar spaces and create our own world summer after summer, the occasional fall, and of course over New Year’s. A number of years ago, as I was working on my Business degree, I came up with an idea. Why don’t we have a place to gather outside of touring schedules? Sure, we could gather at Nectar’s and reminisce over gravy fries or hang in the parking lot at Hampton without a show, but it’s not a space to call our own. This was the first spark when the concept of a Phish museum entered my brain, and I went to work on throwing ideas together. That was the genesis of my organizational name, “The Phishsonian Institute.” I worked on a logo and wrestled with what to do now?. I started reviewing shows, and then realized that wasn’t right. I’m now working on comprehensive venue histories a little bit. But a goal has always been to tell Phish’s story. What happened next solidified the need to take charge of our own public history.
A very creatively written take on the "Phish Studies" conference that took place in May 2019 in Corvallis, Oregon, has been published by the Corvallis local paper, the Gazette-Times: "Floating with the flock: Three days among the faithful at the first Phish Studies Conference." We hope you find it worth your time to read, even though you must pause your ad-blocker.
[This is the second essay that Phish.Net user @thephunkydrb has published on Phish.net. He previously published a meditation on time and experience tied to the Baker’s Dozen “Tube,” which you can read here. -Ed.]
By Jnan A. Blau
I’ve just come back from one of the coolest, most stimulating and invigorating, and definitely one of the most “far out” (to quote Mr. Bill Kreutzman, via Mr. Benjy Eisen) experiences of my life. Late last Monday night, I got back home to San Luis Obispo, California from Corvallis, Oregon. I had to rise and shine the next day, no time at all to transition from Phishiness to so-called real life—a direct, rather abrupt segue (a rip cord if there ever was one!) into a full day of teaching in university classrooms. I was, and still am, kind of exhausted. But, I’ve had a secret smile the size of Mt. Icculus plastered across my face and tattooed on my heart ever since. This because I am back from Phish Studies, the first-ever academic conference dedicated to our favorite topic/subject/phenomenon.
This, unlikely as it may seem, is my conference review for all you dot-netters, you denizens of the Phishverse, you members of one of the most lovely and inspiring communities going.
(Could this be the world’s first conference review?!)
Wilson Ramos has been walking up to bat to the tune of Wilson by Phish for quite a while now. The chords are strummed and the crowd screams Wilson, announcing time for one of the more feared hitting catchers to come to the plate. Sadly, that has not been the case this year. ...
Ryan Gibbs has a cogent essay about Vampire Weekend's new album, connections to Phish, and online chatter about it.
Your time is near, the mission’s clear, but it’s later than you think. The inaugural Phish Studies conference will take place at Oregon State University this weekend. The three-day event is unprecedented. There have been classes about other bands. There have been conferences focused on other bands. There has never been a stand-alone conference devoted to a single band with this level of community integration and collaboration. You’ve never seen this side of Phish. The conference has been a dream of ours for a long time. Don’t miss out on your only chance to be at the first-ever Phish Studies conference held on a college campus. Help shape the future of the growing field, redefine what is possible in the Academy, and take part in history as it unfolds. You will always remember where you were.
Oregon State University will host the first-ever Phish Studies academic conference, showcasing research about Phish, its fans, and culture. The three-day event will take place on May 17-19, 2019, in OSU’s Memorial Union. More than 50 presentations from scholars from more than 20 states and Canada will present at the conference. In addition to academic presentations, the conference will feature a number of special events, including art exhibits, community panels, a concert, and a documentary film screening.
[Recap courtesy of user @Franklin, thank you Jeremy! -Ed.]
In the twenty months since the Baker’s Dozen, I’ve realized that what I appreciate most about Trey is that his leadership is grounded in loyalty more than ego. As much as I love, say, Bruce Springsteen, his singular vision is what drives the E Street Band. Trey isn’t like that – his loyalty to Phish and to the audience is what drives his music. This time, even when we’re under the banner of Trey Anastasio’s Ghosts of the Forest and it is clearly a singular vision running the show, loyalty is still at the center of the evening. His loyalty to his friend Chris, as he detailed in heart-wrenching detail in a recent Rolling Stone interview, is what led to Ghosts of the Forest. And our loyalty to Trey is what led us to drive all the way up to Maine to see a band that, until 8:15pm last night, didn’t yet exist.
Oregon State University will host the first Phish Studies academic conference in Corvallis, Oregon on May 17-19, 2019. The conference will showcase research about Phish, its fans, and culture. A wide variety of disciplinary approaches will be represented, featuring scholars from across the country.
There are a number of ways that you can support the conference and growing field of Phish Studies:
[Thank you @Gr8phul for this report from the rail! -Ed.]
After what I thought was a mostly lackluster first night, outside of the stellar bustouts, I decided to take my chances and get a bracelet to see if I could get on the rail. Night one I chose to be directly in front of Kuroda. While the view of CK's lights and the mix were exceptional, there was far too much talking around me. So after getting a wrist band for the line, I was beyond excited that I was number five in line. I was able to procure a spot on the rail right in front of Mike.
[Recap courtesy of dot net user @ObviousFool. Thank you! -Ed.]
Somewhere between the poolside daiquiris and the beachside margaritas, we realize that we might need a little down time before the show. We retreat to our suite for a soak in the hot tub and a doobie while we plan our evening. This does not suck.
We decide to go in shortly after doors to take in the surroundings, and get our bearings---and for the massive taco buffet, which also does not suck. After a day of eating at buffets that wouldn’t even make it at the Circus Circus Reno, we are grateful for the delectable sustenance.
Before we make our way forward into the crowd, the skies open up briefly and douse us in warm rain; not enough to soak, but just enough to cool us down. We ditch our flip flops by a palm tree and walk barefoot through the sand, proclaiming, once again, that this does not suck. And as the sun sinks into the western sky, a warm breeze comes in over the ocean, the lights go down, and the Phish take the stage.
It's time for the 2018 version of the annual Phish.net Jam of the Year (JOTY) competition! The seeding is done and the bracket is ready; this year, the four regions are named after the members of Kasvot Växt. The Horst region begins this week.
The first four weeks will have eight matchups each (sixteen songs), while subsequent weeks will have four matchups or fewer, with the Jam of the Year decided by April. Voting will take place in the Phish.net forum in dedicated weekly "***Official*** JOTY" threads, like this one for the first round. Just post your favorites for each head-to-head matchup in the thread for that round, and the dedicated JOTY staff will tally everything up. Each round's winners will be announced in the following round's announcement. Voting for the first round closes at 5 pm ET, Monday, February 11th, 2019, but you may vote for a later round even if you missed an earlier round.
You can find the first round match-ups and bracket after the jump.
[Phish.net and the Mockingbird Foundation would like to thank Matt Laurence (@mattynabib) for this blog post and his tireless work to resurrect the video he recorded at Amy's Farm in 1991, brought to you free of charge and in its highest quality. - @ucpete]
I know we are entering a period of Phish limbo until Riviera Maya and the Mike and Trey tours, so to kick 2019 off right, here (at long last) are all three sets of Amy's Farm in video form. Enjoy - limitations and all - and may 2019 be a significantly better year for all of us!
As with so many of you, I was hooked on Phish well before they threw the free party of the decade up in Auburn, ME, over half my life ago. For me it all started well before 1991, before I even properly woke to the joys of Phish.
I was SUPPOSED to see Phish several times in the 1980s. In the spring of 1987 I was to take a road trip to Vermont with some friends with a UVM connection to see the boys at Nectar's; it was called off due to something that - at the time - seemed more important. I was supposed to see them again at “The Big Gig,” their first big Boston show at The Paradise in January of 1989, but my friend’s car was frozen into the ice in his driveway. I planned to see them yet again in early 1990 at some Boston area show, but that time we went outside to find that my car had been STOLEN, a pile of glass and skid marks sitting where it had been. It wasn’t looking good for Phish.
My ship finally came in on September 20, 1990, when I successfully attended my first show at the Somerville Theater. From that point on it was full-steam ahead (as much as possible for someone working full time). I was back the next night with my lousy little taping rig, then continued to catch them as often as I could for the next several years, taping where possible, and eventually gaining access to a couple of camcorders.
Lugging those cameras and tripods around was a little more effort than I thought was worth it for most enclosed shows, however, so I only did it once or twice during the legendary Horn Tour of 1991. One of those times was the Arrowhead Ranch weekend.
Last year at the stroke of midnight, during the first few seconds of 2018, and the very earliest notes of “Free,” I immediately caught a whiff of an unmistakable scent, similar to mothballs on fire; that’s right, I’m talking about DMT. I looked over and discovered that a hippie goddess with sparkling dreads and a hemp cotton dress had laced her joint with the spirit molecule. She passed the deemster doobie to a guy with floor-length dreads, legendary in his own right, but eternalized in that moment: for as he hit the DMT joint at the very genesis of 2018, he attempted to stomp on one of the balloons that had just landed in front of him, but instead he slipped on it and fell on his ass.
This year I convinced my husband @twicebitten that we should enter the venue earlier and secure a closer spot on the floor, that somehow it would be less chaotic. Outside the rain really sucked (tonight) and it was sad to see the little hunched over wookies soaked, simultaneously attempting to get miracle’d and sell more doses. Inside the scene was all glitz and glamour: flappers, prom dresses, barefoot guy giving out gummy bears, silver balloons ready to drop, Phish jocks in their chic athletic wear, young bros in bathrobes, the faux monk in his hotel sheet tunic, and the kids whose shirts spell out ICCULUS.
[phish.net welcomes and thanks guest writer, Jeremy Willinger, for the recap of 12/30/18 - ed]
At the intersection of two Phish-y tropes, the band delivered a show for the (golden) ages. The knowledge of never missing a Sunday show, with the many standout shows played on 12/30 in past years (2016, just to name one), was a recipe that made the stars align.
[phish.net welcomes and thanks guest writer, Robert Ker, for the recap of 12/29/18 - ed]
[phish.net welcomes and thanks guest writer, Andrew Sinclair/@aisincl, for the recap of 12/28/18 - ed]
As the rain subsided and the nearby Queens power generator explosion (CK5 dress rehearsal?) was subdued, we all made our way to 33rd and 7th to kickstart the final run of 2018. Compared to the last few freezing years around MSG during the holidays, it was a welcome warmth and buzz that permeated the neighborhood. Tonight’s show felt like a montage for the entire year, combining stellar, patient tunes with hyper-speed jamming, delivered through thoughtful song selections and dedication to vocals. The Phish from Vermont are playing with vigor and continue to flex their muscles. Night 1. Thanks to Jon R and his family for the primo seating spot at center court, in between the two levels. Lots of room to get down on Rage-side, now we just need some audio.
In an unprecedented collaboration between an academic journal and the live music community, Phish.net, the Philosophy School of Phish, and the Public Philosophy Journal (PPJ) are soliciting abstracts for essays about the improvisational rock band Phish, its music, and fans. Selected papers that successfully complete the PPJ’s Formative Peer Review process will be published in a special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, co-edited by Dr. Stephanie Jenkins (Oregon State University, assistant professor of Philosophy) and Charlie Dirksen (Mockingbird Foundation, Vice President and Associate Counsel).
Contributors may submit abstracts on any topic of philosophical significance related to the Phish phenomenon. Proposed essays should explore philosophical questions, problems, concepts, themes, or historical figures through connections to the music and fan culture of Phish. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Perhaps there are no Phish dates more closely aligned than November 1 and January 1. Both have received scant performances - 5 for 11/1, 3 for 1/1 - and both follow the two most celebrated holidays in the Phish calendar: Halloween & New Year’s Eve, respectfully. Yet the similarities all but end there. While New Year’s Day has been treated as a moment for pause and reflection before moving onwards and into a new year, November 1 has historically allowed the band a moment to collect the new sounds and ideas they’d been secretly brewing up over the last few months, and share them freely with the entire fanbase. One needs only to think of the stunning “Light” from 11/1/09 that displayed the band’s renewed trust and dedication to their own creative future, or the regal peak of “Twist” from 11/1/13 that seemed to signal their elation over debuting an entire album’s worth of new material the previous night, or the “Light -> Dogs -> Lengthwise” from 11/1/14 that contained all the raucous energy and zany Phish nonsense from the previous night’s Chilling Thrilling set to hear how fascinating this night can be and how important it is to their annual development.
It was with all this in mind that I settled into the MGM Grand Garden Arena for my 70th Phish show, first in November, and 5th in Sin City. Following the bizarre mind-fuck that was the Kasvot Växt set - seriously, they crafted an entire non-band’s history to throw their fanbase off and live debut their 3rd new album in 5 years - I had a feeling the band was going to approach November 1, 2018 with an outsized portion of creativity and stress-free jamming. For the most part, I was correct.
Having heard the rumor that Fishman had been spotted wearing a T-shirt by an obscure-ish (but real) band called “The Residents” and having seen a screen-shot of a text with him and someone else alluding to the fact last night's cover would be an obscure album from 1981, I knew it could be a remote possibility, being Phish and all, but it still seemed a bit far-fetched. So many other (slightly) more plausible rumors were being floated and when the anticipation had reached an absolute fever pitch and doors opened we got our first glimpses of the Phishbill. The album would be i rokk by the band Kasvot Växt. An aside here - I was at the Wingsuit Halloween show when speculation was super high for The Allman Brothers Band's Eat A Peach, which I was mega excited about. I sat in my seat and read the Phishbill and immediately started laughing. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but the Phishbills are written in the most bizarre, stilted way where everything about it, especially the quotes from the band, made it seem like a total joke. Which is the exact same vibe that I got from THIS Phishbill, making it more likely to me that it may in fact be true. Also, I was sober this time around, and reading the Phishbill a few times before the show started, it did seem pretty plausible??
Anyway, speculation and rumors and much internet sleuthing were all happening in a major way, but it all finally came to an end as the lights went down and we went into the first “extremely uneven” set of the night. I love a fast opener like ‘“Buried Alive” (nice call Russ); it’s got the ability to whip the crowd into a frenzy right from the get-go. "Buried" has always conveyed this dissonant sense of chaotic unpredictability to me, and this version didn’t disappoint.
[We would like to thank Rob Mitchum for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Recapping the show before Halloween is a sucker’s bet. The narrative of any fall tour with a costume set capper inevitably becomes defined by whatever Phish chooses to do with that holiday show. Like a well-constructed mystery novel, once you know the twist ending, it’s rewarding to go back and spot the clues you missed your first time through. But any speculation about the 31st I make today will almost certainly have an expiration date of, oh, 72 hours or so.
They say you should never miss a Sunday show, and while I wholeheartedly agree that you should miss as little Phish as possible, I think in recent years I’ve come to realize that Friday has been delivering at an equally high level as the Lord’s Day. I’d say we should leave Tuesday out of this just in case anyone reading decides to start going to weekday Phish shows when they should be at work or school or whatever. Come to think of it, seems to me that this band plays pretty darn well on any day that ends in "day." Feel free to click the links above to make the determination for yourself. Can there really be only one and where does that leave us anyway? In a relatively-old-school, all-blue, wooden-ceilinged venue just outside of Chicago on Friday 10/26/18 it would seem.
Would Phish continue the T.G.I.F. trend by delivering an all-out banger? Would Phish’s first run of indoor Chicago shows in seven years be enough of a spark to blow the whole fireworks factory sky high? Would it be one of those shows that satisfies the whole fan base, from the rail riders who waited all day just to give Trey a very special note, to the wooks on the back of the floor who just want to spin and flail with as few impedances as possible?
Back in 2016 I was hanging out in the park next to Ascend Amphitheater during the day before the Phish show. It seemed like the only place in Nashville where you could charge your phone and buy weed from a homeless person. I met someone named Fish Taco (F-I-S-H T-A-C-O tattooed on his knuckles) who promised to find us some grass. As we waited long hours with him for his dusty connection to arrive, I became skeptical of anything he had to say. He bragged that beautiful women buy him fifths of whiskey and cuddle in hammocks with him, and I struggled to mask my disbelief.
“Man, you should have been here at 7 this morning,” Fish Taco announced. “This big tour bus drove through the park, pulled up right over there. And Bob Weir poked his head out the window and said, ‘Hey, kid!’”
The weed, the whiskey, the women had all seemed fabricated. But deep down I knew that if anybody was going to call Fish Taco a “kid,” it would be Bob Weir. And as we all know, Fish Taco rewarded my faith in him with a surprise appearance from Bobby that night!
[Thank you to user @Jsauce, Josh Martin, for the recap. -Ed.]
Greetings from Hampton, everybody. Glad to be back with you all. Truth: I listened to a lot of Phish last summer. I hit the live phish app pipe so hard I thought my brain was going to bleed. A break was in order and a break was had. It was nice to come back to tour feeling hungry for the music.
[Thank you to user Aaron Presuhn for stepping up and recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Fall tour. Indoors, dark, intimate, a completely different vibe than outdoor summer Phish. It was a chilly day, but the Times Union Center was HOT. Night one was amazing, and it set the tone for what I thought to be a great, well-played set of shows.
[Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, an ordinarily reliable, clear-headed member of our team, and both a trusted and highly esteemed colleague, had so much deleterious fun at this fall's tour opener in Albany that he was mentally and physically unable to "recap" the show for this website. We therefore respectfully request that YOU "recap" the show in the Comments section below, but only if you attended it, lest you offend the more sensitive among us who believe a recap lacks credibility if the recapper is recapping based strictly on listening to a recording or viewing a webcast. -Ed.]
[we'd like to thank Paul Jakus, @paulj, for his second deep dive into the statistice of Phish. - ed.]
Phish fans are famously obsessive about the band, and the setlists on .net reflect that obsession. Setlists on Phish.net are not simply a list of songs played; instead we are provided with a wealth of information about debuts, bustouts, narrations, and even notation denoting two types of segues. All of this information tries to characterize what happened at a concert (far more than just listing a bunch of songs) with the goal of pointing us to shows of particular interest.
But does this additional information have value? Does knowing the number of “->” segues, or that a song hasn’t been played in over 100 shows, truly correlate with how fans of the band perceive the quality of a given show? Can we look at an intriguing setlist from 10 or 15 years ago (or look at today’s setlists a decade from now) and use its content to determine whether or not to listen to the show? That is, do the elements of a Phish setlist relate to how we, the members of Phish.net, rate Phish shows?
[Recap of last night’s show courtesy of longtime Mockingbird Foundation contributor, jaded vet, and serial ranker @chopaganda.]
Before we begin, I want to thank Steve Paolini for offering me his traditional Sunday Dick’s recap. Steve was one of many fans who thought Curveball would actually happen and missed this year’s Dick’s run in lieu of it. Sucker.
There are two ways we can look at last night’s show. On the one hand, it was incredibly fun, high-energy, and packed with moments that remind us why we love Phish. On the other hand, it was a big step back from Friday night and a somewhat tepid way to end a Summer tour following the cancelation of Curveball.
If we were to break down the Summer 2018 shows into tiers*****, it would look something like this:
Tier 1: Dicks1
Tier 2: Alpharetta1
Tier 3: Gorge3, Alpharetta2, Camden1, Merriweather2, Dicks3
Tier 4: San Francisco1, Alpharetta3, Forum1, Camden2, Dicks2
Tier 5: Gorge1, San Francisco2, Austin, Raleigh, Merriweather1
Tier 6: Tahoe1, Tahoe2, Gorge2, Forum2
*****This is specifically looking at the music that ends up on the recordings. It is not a ranking of good times and crowds going wild (e.g. even though Alpharetta night three was obviously one of the most fun shows of Summer, it’s also one of the weaker shows of Summer in terms of improv and flubs).
So which parts of last night's show (Sunday Dick's) elevated it to Tier 3?
[Recap of last night's show is courtesy of Dr. Stephanie Jenkins. -Ed.]
Seven years ago today, Phish played their first show at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
Do you know what happened then?
My 2011 Dick’s experience was very different than my still unfolding 2018 experience. Since Thursday evening, when I read the JamBase flashback describing how phans responded to the “S show,” I’ve been asking myself “What changed?” and “How did I get here?” It is impossible for me to write a recap of last night’s show without telling you about my “then” and “now” Dick’s experiences, because the ways the venue, community, and my self have transformed over the course of eight Dick’s runs have intimately affected my experience of last night’s show.
[Thanks to Brian Crossen, @TypeIIIJPD, for sharing his thoughts on the recent Curveball cancellation and some optimism for what lies ahead - ed.]
As I sit here a few scant days after returning from the Festival That Wasn’t™ (Curventry, Covenball, Lemonadewheel, The Great Wasn’t, Knuckleball, No Ball… whatever you want to call it we sure know how to coin a phrase, huh?) the full weight of what we missed out on continues to weigh on me. The stage was set for another fantastic weekend of music as Phish came in humming after a solid summer tour and the entire community was poised to practically explode with anticipatory excitement at the prospect of another weekend at Watkins Glen. Alas, what we ended up with was decidedly NOT that as many others have documented over the past week. But this post is not about that. Instead, my focus is on looking forward while also reflecting back in an effort to offer perspective on what our long history with this wonderful band can provide at this time.
I, like many many others, am a survivor of both Phish festival weather-related failures. And when I call Coventry a “failure” I mean that personally as much as anything. Without rehashing my own ‘tragic’ tale of woe in never getting close enough to even attempt to walk in to that festival let’s just say that the experience definitely altered my relationship with Phish for several years. Here some fourteen years later we find ourselves in a similar position where the choice to be made is whether to allow this experience to send us back down those dark paths or to go another direction. In the immediate moments after learning of the Curveball cancellation I was transported back to that car on I-91 as Mike came on the Bunny to give us that fateful news, turning some fans into thru-hikers and others such as myself into dejected folks wandering around New England to try to find some other form of closure for the whole thing (spoiler alert: there was no good closure to be found anywhere).
[Some words from Andrew Sinclair, user @aisincl, who was supposed to recap Curveball's third show for this blog. -Ed.]
Of course it is cloudy, windy and rainy on this Sunday morning. Of course Junior’s Donuts in Margate City, NJ would be serving Coconut, Red Velvet and Twist donuts on yet another 2018 weekend interrupted by Mother Nature.
Emotions are a very interesting thing. I credit Pixar for taking a real risk by tackling emotions when it created Inside Out. We got to know Anger, Sadness, Joy, Disgust and Fear and their involvement in our minds and lives. This weekend certainly brought out all of these characters for some 40,000+ of us. As I did some digging on emotions for this piece, I became focused on the “deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” This entire weekend, last few years of Phandom and total relationship with The Phish from Vermont can be summed up by the bit on relationships with others.
[The following is courtesy of Ryan Harrell. THANK YOU RYAN! -Ed.]
About a year ago, I was enjoying one of the Live Bait releases and began thinking about the somewhat disembodied nature of this series, in which live performances from different years and eras are removed from their context and assembled in a way that simulates a long live set. This effectively presents a broad range of Phish’s archives, for which we are all grateful, but it necessarily loses any sense of the chronology or historical context of a given song in doing so.
Also around this time, I noticed .net users on the forum discussing years and eras of the band underserved by official releases of full shows. As I recall, 1999 and 2000 were particularly high on that list, and I began wondering how much soundboard-quality audio from these years existed in a form let than a full show, but at least one song. Far from simply being a nerdy thought exercise, which it definitely was, I also realized how awesome a playlist from a particular year or tour would be with this data collected and compiled chronologically. Okay, so it still sounds nerdy.
[Recap is courtesy of user @SmilerControl, Brandy Davis. -Ed.]
Phish returned to Columbia, Maryland, last night for a traditional Saturday/Sunday two-night run at Merriweather Post Pavillion, a celebrated venue that the band started headlining 20 years ago (1998-08-08, well worth a nostalgic listen). MPP has made some significant changes in the three years since Phish last visited. Most are improvements, including a raised pavilion roof for better sight lines from the lawn, and a renovated parking infrastructure that made getting in and out a bit easier. Many fans are saddened, however, by the trading-in of field and forest for a more corporate-park vibe. Tailgating was still on, though, even in the new “Lot 2” parking garage that’s only a short walk from the gate. Despite its corporate feel, the venue seems to have done much to accommodate the Phish community and our shenanigans, and even named one of their new streets “Divided Sky Drive” in the band’s honor.
[Thanks to Josh Martin (@JSAUCE) for recapping Raleigh for the blog. -Ed.]
Greetings, everyone. Jsauce, of the Gorge 2 review, here to give you the lowdown on last night's proceedings in Raleigh.
When Phish goes on tour, I pay a lot of attention and I’m sure there are many, many people besides myself who’ve listened to every note of this tour this far. We care. That’s great. An inevitable consequence of caring is that people are going to disagree. That’s also great. That’s how lively debate happens. However, I can’t help but get a little down when I read the comments section underneath the .net reviews. Maybe it’s always been this way and I just never noticed, but it seems as though it’s gotten way more, you know, PERSONAL all of a sudden. Go back and read the comments on the review of 8/5. Half the people seem to think it was one of the heaters of the tour (my votes would be for 7/20 or 8/3) while the other half seem to think the show was flub city bordering on unprofessional. Am I wrong for thinking that opinions seem to be skewing to one direction or the other in a way they didn’t before? Maybe so, maybe not. More on that later.
[Many thanks to Ryan Harrell for recapping Camden2 for the site. -Ed.]
The BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey, is storied not for its architecture or aesthetic, but rather for the high quality of shows Phish has brought to its stage over the years. This was my first run at this venue, and what struck me the most was the great sound quality one could find at almost any place on its large lawn. In particular, the drums and bass guitar sounded noticeably crisp and tight. I wondered if the individual band members have any venue-specific knowledge about how their instruments carry out to the crowd. While I have no idea if they have such knowledge, given the strong, confident performances by Mike and Fish last night, it wouldn't surprise me if they did.
[Thanks very much to Dianna Hank for writing the recap of last night's show. -Ed.]
East Coast tour continued last night with yet another hot and humid show at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion. Phish opened with this year’s debut of “Crowd Control,” perhaps acknowledging all the "fools" staying on the hill who were about to get poured on by the incoming storm. Next up, synth-funk Page stepped up to bat to lead the band in a concise--albeit solid--“No Men In No Man's Land” groove, with Mike playing a heavy supporting role. In fact, this entire show saw Trey taking a bit of a back seat to this fiery Page/Mike combo, and some really incredible things were able to happen because of that. So thank you for that, Trey.
[The following was submitted to the Phish.net Support Team from a User, "Sweet Caroline," who explicitly requested it be posted as a "rebuttal," presumably to the Alpharetta3 recap. -Ed.]
[Thanks to Brandy Davis, @smilercontrol, for recapping last night's show for the blog. -Ed.]
As I am sure you have heard by now, Phish started the east coast leg of the 2018 Summer Tour hot in Hotlanta on Friday night, leaving fans greatly satisfied, but also wondering what kind of Saturday night throw-down could top it. Before the show last night (the second of three shows at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre At Encore Park in Alpharetta, Georgia), fans basked in the afterglow of greatness, and Shakedown and the lot surrounding the venue were full of suspense and a definitive party vibe. The tailgating game was strong in the afternoon, with fans new and old coming together to celebrate a successful start to a historically great weekend for the Phish from Vermont.
[We'd like to thank Dianna Hank, @Dianna_2Ns, for recapping last night's show - ed.]
Last night at the hot and humid Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta, GA, Phish threw down an absolute scorcher of a show -- one that most fans will probably agree (Imagine? Phish fans agreeing on something??) is the show of the summer thus far.
Being my first time seeing “Southern” Phish (excluding Miami & New Orleans, because those aren’t really the South I’m talking about), I was unsure of what to expect from the whole experience. I knew from prior tours that, more often than not, the band seems to bring a certain special something to their 3-night runs down in Georgia, which is why I wanted to cross this trip off my list in the first place.Arriving on lot was a bit of a cluster, with long lines of traffic being directed into lots by disinterested high school kids in neon shirts who clearly had already had it up to here with this Grade A wookery the band had brought to town -- and this was just the first night! After parking, we wandered over to Shakedown and I quickly remembered what Summer Phish felt like in the pre-Baker’s Dozen years. The smell of pesto grilled cheese and veggie burritos frying up on flat top griddles wafted by as competing stereos blasted The Brothers Johnson’s “Strawberry Letter 23” and the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime.” Friends from all over the country bumped into each other and stopped to hug, causing sweaty, dusty wook traffic jams. Folks ambled by with pin boards and koozies, slanging their wares in hopes to pay for those insanely overpriced beers inside the venue. I felt the feeling I forgot. This is what New York City Summer Phish was missing.
[we'd like to thank Willie Orbison, @twelvethousandmotherfker, for writing this recap for the blog - ed.]
When you think about the fact that this Soul Planet of ours has been around for about four and a half billion years, it’s nothing short of a gosh darn miracle that we’re living in the time of Phish. This wasn’t – and won’t always be – the case. So, perhaps it’s important to remember on nights like this, while we sift and scrutinize, that Phish shows aren’t inevitable. They don’t just happen. They are precious and rare events that deserve to be celebrated for the simple fact that they occur. We could have been living in the time of the ancient Egyptians. Or in the Dark Ages. Or in some future hellscape where the only music is made by computers.
Instead, we’re here. Now. And Phish is on tour. And that is a wonderful thing.
[Thank you, Josh Martin, @Jsauce, for this recap of last night's show. -Ed.]
Greetings from the Gorge, everyone. Jsauce here. Long time listener, first time reviewer. I love the writing on here and I’m honored to be doing the .net review for Gorge2.
[Recap courtesy of Pete "PhanArt" Mason. -Ed.]
The hot and windy mid-Washington Gorge Amphitheater slowly welcomed Phish fans to their first ever three-night run, home to legendary Phish runs going back 21 years. With eager families and first timers dotting the hill and posing for the obligatory "We have arrived" photo, the return to the Gorge was met with plenty of buzz as the first weekend of the tour got underway.
[The following is offered by dot net user Kylie, @Kyphi, for your consideration as the Summer Tour begins. She is an east coast gal and UVM alum, who moved out West for both work and play. She enjoys live music, travel, and exceptional food in the presence of good company. You can find her on lot this summer with a Heady Topper in hand. Be advised that the following reflects her views, and not necessarily those of Phish.net, or anyone who has ever volunteered for Phish.net over the course of Phish history. Thank you! -charlie]
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: PHISH summer tour. By now, your PTBMs have safely found their way to your mailbox and it’s likely you’ve been rapid-fire chatting logistics with friends for weeks as the days draw closer.
We’re all here eagerly visualizing what’s to come. Full summer tour — dead ahead.
It seems unbelievable, but in 2018 Phish will embark on their tenth year of touring since returning from their breakup. Following last year’s Baker’s Dozen run, many speculated that we may have reached the peak of Phish “3.0.”
Setting aside one rain-shortened concert (7/19/2013), there have been 358 shows since March 6, 2009. The average show rating on Phish.net was 3.944 (out of 5), but the lowest-rated event was Grand Prairie’s 2.377 (10/25/16). If Phish reached “bottom” as recently as 2016, have they really been getting better since their return? We can use show ratings on Phish.net to test this hypothesis, but let’s start by getting a few caveats out of the way.
Ratings on Phish .net are unlikely to be representative of the population of Phish fans as a whole. First, I suspect that .netters are among the most enthusiastic members of an already rabid fanbase. This may bias show ratings up or down--frankly, the hyper-critical nature of .netters means the direction of bias is not clear, but some sort of bias could be present. Second, not every .netter rates every show and I’m guessing that most of us are more likely to rate shows we’ve attended or watched on live video. This is, of course, the attendance bias effect discussed so often on .net. If attendance motivates a person to rate a show, then ratings on Phish.net will be biased upward. Third, a hot show on a current tour will sometimes zoom to the top of the all-time list, only to drop lower as more people provide a ratings weeks, months, or even years later. This “recency bias” results in higher ratings for recent shows relative to those from long ago. Fourth, the number of users on .net has been growing in recent years; if new .netters differ from long-time .netters (having, say, less familiarity with Phish performances from years past), then ratings from 2017 may not be comparable to those of 2009. Finally, the data reveal a “herd effect” for outstanding shows: more people will rate a great show than will rate poorly received show. We’ll be using the average rating for shows, though, so it’s not clear that the herd effect will bias a show rating. These caveats mean that our statistical analysis applies only to those of us on .net, and does not necessarily represent the broader population of Phish fans. That said, let’s take a look at the data.
The first academic conference highlighting research in the interdisciplinary field of Phish Studies will take place on July 21, 2018, at 1pm in the Gorge Amphitheater Campground. The event is hosted by Oregon State University’s School of History, Philosophy, and Religion.
An exciting lineup of scholars from across the country will present their research to OSU students attending the Philosophy School of Phish field trip to Phish’s three-night run at the Gorge Amphitheater. The conference will also be open to the public.
For more information, or to request accommodation for disability, contact conference organizer, Dr. Stephanie Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Welcome back to “From The Tapers’ Section,” Part 2B. @wforwumbo here with another matrix of a 2017 show: Red Velvet night, 7/23/17.
Of all Baker’s Dozen shows to remaster, I curate 7/23/17 here for a number of reasons - the biggest of which is that it’s the Baker’s Dozen show I feel is the most under-discussed given the material contained within the show. It is the first show of the year that appreciates how special 2017 would eventually become; walking out of the venue that evening, this show destroyed my expectations for what Phish is capable of performing. To my ear, it is a precursor to what would come the next two nights of the run (though hindsight is always 20/20). Red Velvet night is also the first show that presents the 2017 jamming style in a fully-realized form, both in the “How Many People Are You” and “Wolfman’s Brother” > “Twist” > “Waves”; but more on that shortly.
Welcome to the 331st edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the fourth and most difficult of June. The winner will receive an MP3 download code courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the four mystery clips. Each person gets one guess to start – if no one answers correctly in the first 24 hours, a hint will be posted. After the hint, everyone gets one more guess before Wednesday at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
[Note - MJM host @ucpete is still unavailable. In his absence, we once again welcome MJM Hall of Fame member @wforwumbo, who has put together a fun puzzle for you to solve. Please direct any correspondence for this week's MJM to @wforwumbo.]
Answer: Congratulations to @jimsleftear, who correctly identified the four clips, the Waves from 6/28/12, David Bowie from 6/19/95, Scents & Subtle Sounds from 7/23/03, and the Halley's Comet from 8/3/98, after figuring out that the hint, the John Deere Company logo, suggested versions from the outdoor venue in Noblesville, IN, which at one time was affectionately known as Deer Creek. This win marks the second consecutive for @jimsleftear, and his sixth overall, leaving him just one victory shy of elevation to the MJM Hall of Champions and Emeritus status (as well as forced retirement). Will he make it three in a row? Thanks again to @wforwumbo for selecting this week's theme and versions.
Welcome to the 330th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the third of June. The winner will receive an MP3 download code courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the three mystery clips. Each person gets one guess to start – if no one answers correctly in the first 24 hours, a hint will be posted. After the hint, everyone gets one more guess before Wednesday at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
[Note - MJM host @ucpete is unavailable due to a family emergency. In his absence, we wecome back MJM Hall of Fame member @wforwumbo, who has cooked up some tantalizing and tasty treats for you to ponder. Please direct any correspondence for this week's MJM to @wforwumbo.]
Hint: No hint needed.
Answer: Congrats to @jimsleftear on his fifth MJM win! The great sinister ear of Jim avoided the red herring of “jams from 8/14”, instead correctly figuring out the theme of “jams from shows immediately preceding festivals” in the form of the 8/14/97 Harry Hood, 8/14/96 Runaway Jim, and the 8/12/04 Scents & Subtle Sounds. Be sure to tune in next week where the puzzles reset in difficulty with a fresh month that also brings summer tour with it!
[be sure to check out part 1 of this series if you missed it, and click the tape icon at the end of this post to see a listing of each part as the series rolls along – @ucpete]
Welcome back, everyone! @wforwumbo here with the second edition of From the Tapers’ Section, and it’s a two part installment. Part 2A, 12/30/17, is here today for your listening pleasure; part 2B will follow in two weeks (Friday, June 22nd). Rather than focus this edition on cleaning up an older tape in need of overhaul, I opted for a slightly different approach this time: I took two already fantastic recordings and made a matrix recording from them. To make a matrix, one combines multiple source recordings to create an experience that draws from aspects of each original source. Referring to and inspired by Dan Healy’s days mixing the Grateful Dead, a matrix usually has a soundboard for one its sources; but this week’s From the Tapers' Section doesn’t, as sharing a matrix recording that includes the LivePhish source is both against Phish’s open taping policy and counter to the purpose of this blog series. Let’s all embrace the AUD fully, shall we?
12/30/17 is a slightly different breed of Phish: it’s got deep jams in both sets, and the band hammers away all evening in an attempt to create as good a show as possible, taking very few breaks for air. The entire performance is fluid and cohesive, with a solid narrative and high energy between band and audience. Given the historical significance of December 30th over the past quarter century, those of us in attendance were hoping for another all-timer; amazingly, Phish was able to match and eventually surpass our lofty expectations.
@wforwumbo applies machine learning to binaural hearing theory, and is putting the finishing touches on his doctorate in architectural acoustics this summer. His research focuses on the effects that a room has on performed music and how we perceive sound in space – he does so by building computational models that simulate and extend human hearing. He is also a classically-trained musician and an electrical engineer with a keen interest in digital audio signal processing; he designs and implements filters and transforms to manipulate audio, which he brings to his studio production and mixing engineering work. His obsession with audio doesn’t end there though, as he has recently ventured into the tapers’ section to record live music. Thankfully for us at Phish.net HQ, @wforwumbo is a huge fan of Phish and Phish.net, and has begun contributing to the site, both working to expand and improve the Jam Charts and helping to craft (and remix!) Mystery Jam Monday puzzles. Today, he will kick off a new regular blog series, “From the Tapers’ Section,” wherein he will draw from several different parts of his massive toolkit to not only bring Phish fans brand new mixes of audience recordings from classic Phish shows, but he’ll also share both his deep technical knowledge and discerning musical perspectives of the shows and the recordings thereof. - @ucpete
Drawing from my experience as both a live taper and a studio production engineer, I frequently manipulate my back catalog of live Phish tapes to my personal preference on reference listening systems. I have spent lots of time working with studio tools; it’s a labor of love, always trying to craft and sculpt sound - to let the tape get out of the way between me and the music. I do want to make one thing explicitly clear here: I am not the definitive voice. I am not touting that these are the “correct” way to listen to shows. I’m not even claiming that these will be preferable to your current tape of a show. Because at the end of the day, the sole rule of “good” audio is that only YOU can decide what sounds best. In fact, that’s the most important bit of advice I give to everyone when they ask me about audio: trust your ears. My tastes may not be the same as yours, and that’s okay - there’s plenty of room for all of us in the fan base.
Now with that being said, one intent of this taping series is to encourage the distribution and usage of audience-recorded tapes (“AUDs”). Tape trading has an incredibly rich and storied history, and is a large part of why many of us are into Phish. One of my favorite endeavors in digging through my catalog of tapes is comparing two different recordings and correlating their strengths and weaknesses to my personal preferences. This furthers my taping and production work by thinking about how to capture and manipulate sound, including the layouts, techniques, and gear that I use. To me, it’s lots of fun to think about and understand the intricacies of a given microphone and preamp, the recording location inside of a venue, or what experience I want from a tape (immersion? stereo image? frequency balance? more Mike? etc.). This blog series is in part an attempt to share my notes and thoughts on specific tapes to highlight different aspects of a show that you might not have heard before.
[Fyi. You do NOT have to be a student in order to register for this class. It's open to all. -charlie]
Now you can READ THE BOOK and take the field trip!
For the fifth summer in a row, Dr. Stephanie Jenkins will teach the “Philosophy School of Phish” course—more formally called the “Philosophy of Art and Music”—via Oregon State University’s Ecampus program. Using the band as a case study, the course focuses on themes about the nature and significance of art and music. As part of their required course work, students attend three Phish concerts—in person or via webcast—and conduct philosophical interviews with artists from the Phish community. Learning about theories of art and music experientially helps students actively engage with the philosophical content and learn more about the Phish community.
[Post is courtesy of dot net user @dmg924.]
Beyond the Pond is a bi-weekly podcast in which Brian Brinkman (@sufferingjuke on Twitter) and David Goldstein (@daveg924 on Twitter) use the music of Phish as a gateway to introduce the listener to many other bands, the vast majority of which are not jambands. An episode generally begins with a deep dive into a designated portion of Phish improvisation, and then can spin off to any variety of musical themes and other acts, the overarching purpose being introducing the listener to as many new and different bands as possible.
ICYMI: HQ Trivia's Scott Rogowsky is a Phish fan, and relix has an article about his work and Phish memories here. Notably, Scott's first show was Nassau 2/28/2003, inarguably among the greatest shows in Phish history (and there have been a lot of excellent shows at the Coliseum).
[Michael Hamad (@MikeHamad on dot net and Twitter), who you may know for his "setlist schematics" (including a recent one for UM's latest album), offers the following for your consideration. -charlie]
I get frustrated when Phish jams sound like other Phish jams. I crave the unknown. It’s where I’m at. I’m supremely jaded.
This feeling came over me most recently on Dec. 30, 2017, during the 28-minute-long “Down With Disease.” Let me walk you through it.
[Post is courtesy of dot net user @swittersdc.]
Well, that was quite a run, huh? On this episode of HF Pod, we break down the incredible 4 nights of Phish at MSG. We also included our live podcast we recorded at American Beauty on 12.29, as part of the PhanArt show.
[After covering hundreds of hockey and basketball events at and for Madison Square Garden over the past two decades, Emmy Award winning writer, David Kolb has officially crossed over to cover his other love, music -- more precisely, Phish! The native New Yorker, who was first introduced to Phish in the 90's by his long-lost Bear Stearns co-worker, Frank "Chip" Tolve, won his Emmy for his coverage of the New York Rangers' run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014.]
The challenge following-up the universally recognized epic 12/30 show loomed large, yet seemed to be no problem, when the show kicked off with a bit of a surprise. Trey opened blasting out the first bar of "Carini," while letting out a smile, restoring any energy that might have been lost overnight. It was a quick way to let us know, the night, would be no letdown!
Unlike the previous shows during this New Year’s run, my perspective changed from my incredible G.A. floor position -- several feet from the stage, to row 17 of section 118, helping gain perspective of what was about to unfold. The first three shows were outstanding, particularly Saturday’s wonder.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.