For a limited time, you can access our blog archive at phishnet.tumblr.com.
IT thrills you, IT inspires you, IT enthralls you, IT fulfills you! IT flowns your balls! When a Phish show does IT for you, you experience a joy so profound that most if not all of your life's most significant events seem small by comparison. You may even consider changing your life to prioritize music, or at least your love of it.
Phish's music had this power for many fans in Portsmouth, and it continues to have this power right now, even after several decades and over 1600 performances—particularly as those of you fortunate enough to be at MPP four days ago know! For those whose love of Phish includes an appreciation of Phish’s most widely-acclaimed shows, and an interest in why one seemingly-amazing show gets more praise (or less praise) from some fans than another seemingly-amazing show, this post’s $0.02 are for you. Because in light of your 100+ wonderful comments to Jeremy Goodwin’s excellent MPP2 post, it’s apparent that many of you aren’t too upset when “recaps” are about more than just last night’s show.
Photo © Parker Harrington
PORTSMOUTH, VA – On Tuesday night Phish’s summer tour juggernaut found its exhale point at nTelos Pavilion on the shores of Virginia’s Hampton Roads. Following a pair of powerhouse performances and packed house, frenzied big summer weekend vibes at Merriweather Post Pavilion – with the intensity, innovation and fearlessness of Sunday’s “Tweezerfest” that landed from outer space, instantly slotting that gig as the 23rd highest rated show among fans in all of Phish’s illustrious 30-year history – it was clear that we were due for a return to earth. Given the context of the band playing at a sustained career peak, even a decompression show was bound to produce gems.
This is one of several items we're hosting at Phish.net today to engage with students in Stephanie Jenkins' Philosophy class. Here, I attempt to answer questions submitted by her students – about the band, its management, its fans, changes in them, and how that relates to community (this week's topic in the course)...
I was fortunate enough to have attended this past Sunday's Merriweather show. Clearly this show was "different" from everything else done this summer (to date). Do you think the band makes conscious decisions to attempt a performance like this or -- as my friend put it on the ride home - "does it just happen?". How much does the bands relationship with its community effect this kind of unique performance.
Every factor – decision, intention, community, happenstance, flatulence, etc. – matters at least a little bit for every show. How much any one mattered for any particular show (that is, how much of the variance in show quality or improv or excitement, is explained by any one of those factors), perhaps not even the band members know for certain. (Mike didn't even know that he teased "The Cave"!) But there have certainly been lackluster crowds, mediocre locations, and darker times (It's not all good, brah); and Sunday was a hot crowd in a storied venue when the band is (by most accounts) trending up.
Do you think Phish -- and bands in general -- choose fan friendly venues that foster community? Is music + community a "magic formula" for band success?
Ah, yet another Monday. Yet another workweek to plow ourselves through. Yet another stellar Sunday Phish show's afterglow in which to bask. And yet another Mystery Jam to solve!
Yet another winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of the mystery jam clip. Each person gets one guess per day, with the second “day” starting after I post the hint. A hint will be posted on Tuesday if necessary, with the answer to follow on Wednesday. Yet another chance for me to wish you all good luck!
Answer: This week's clip was taken from the 12/5/99 Meatstick, which @PersnicketyJim identified to win the MP3 DL and pick up his fourth MJM victory, all impressively occurring in the last thirteen contests. Additional kudos to @ucpete for his reverse-engineering efforts, noting that the 12/5/99 Rochester show featured the debut of Sunday's noteworthy bustout, Jennifer Dances. For his efforts, he wins unlimited access to the LivePhish.com MP3 preview clip of his choice. Check in next Monday for MJM #182.
When, in the course of human events, your favorite band plays a show that is just stupid-good—and historically important, in the context of an already rich and well-documented history—and, by chance, you have volunteered in advance to write a recap of that show for Phish.net…well, sometimes the best thing you can do is just shut up about it.
But, let's face it, that's not really my thing.
This week, Phish.net will host several events in conjunction with, and as part of, PHL360: Philosophy and the Arts at Oregon State University. The course is taught by Assistant Professor of Philosophy and "huge Phish fan" Dr. Stephanie Jenkins, who has nicknamed the course "Philosophy School of Phish." (See promo video and syllabus.)
Merriweather Post Pavillion may not be a shed that is much loved by most fans – particularly those relegated to the lawn – but it has been the site of some fantastic Phish shows. Their first headlining show here on 8/8/98 contained two beloved cover debuts, "Sweet Jane" and “Sabotage,” along with a fantastic “Piper.” An epic spacey dark “Mango” on 9/17/00. A great "Rock and Roll” and "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” bustout on 6/26/10 and the “Saw It Again” fest the next night. 7/14/13 featured one of the best first set jams of 3.0 in “Stash.” This great venue history with the growing legend of the summer 2014 tour made anticipation for the MPP run high. Let’s get this show on the road!
The show started at a very early 7:35p with “Sample," which in my mind is a much better first set opener than a second set closer. When I find myself getting jaded with this song I try to remember how I felt hearing it after I had skipped school to buy Hoist, and I get excited all over again. Maybe Phish's finest pop song?
Hey kids, hope you enjoyed the time off since Sunday in Chicago. Last night led us back to the “Queen City” of the south. Phish has played in Charlotte fifteen times, with the recently renamed PNC Music Pavilion host to five previous Phish gigs. This shed boasts a solid track record, yielding surprise bust-outs such as “Colonel Forbin's” > “Mockingbird" and “Icculus” from 6/7/11, the glorious “Harry Hood” from 7/25/03, and the nearly 30-minute “2001” on 7/7/99. The last time Phish played here Trey made a comment that “there’s just something about playing this venue." So although as a fan I try to keep expectations in check, there are certain venues where you expect great things, and Charlotte is one of them.