Phish.net: a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation


Whence We Recap

Posted 2 years ago by bertoletdown - 89 comments Link: http://phi.sh/b/5033bc38

We receive suggestions occasionally that those who recap the shows should have attended the show whenever possible.

We are grateful for these comments as we are for all manner of constructive criticism, and encourage the .net community to continue to suggest ways that we can bring you more content and better content.

That said, let me take a few moments to explain why this specific suggestion will not be implemented.

First, it should be noted that "the opinions expressed in Phish.net show recaps do not represent the opinions of Phish.net, The Mockingbird Foundation, or its affiliates." While there may be in theory some appraisal of a show that constitutes a triangulation of the staff's opinion, that's not what we attempt to put out there, and there is nothing "official" about a recap. It is merely one person's take on a show, ideally in the immediate wake of that show, accompanied by sufficient context. If the recap writer has done his or her job right, that context will include the manner in which he or she took in the show (live and in person, on couch tour, or via LivePhish the day after).

If the recap writer has done his or her job right, it won't matter all that much. Generally, what we attempt to deliver is a quick read on the music and its likely durability. In other words, is the show that Phish just delivered likely to be taking up lots of hard drive and cloud storage space a year from now, played back frequently on road trips, and spoken of in hushed, reverential tones? Does it feature unforgettable stretches of improvisation, creativity, pranksterism, or other unique qualities that set it apart and make it objectively endure?

I would like to suggest that it is really easy to tell that story a year after the show, and often very difficult to tell that story immediately afterward. All of us experience this music in emotional and even spiritual ways. The collective thunderbolt or satori experience is very rare -- and deservedly treasured -- but the individual thunderbolt or satori experience is very common. Likewise, it's easy for concertgoing hazards like spilled beers, cigarette burns, or loud chatter to distract us from precious moments. To give a show its fair due, all these things need to be stripped away as much as possible, and set aside -- not because they are not real, or have no value as subjective experiences, but because we are writing for all of you, and most of you weren't there. Those of you who weren't there will never be there, but you can open your wallet and download the LivePhish recording, and we hope that the opinions we profer in our recaps can help you make informed decisions about where to spend your money. And to some extent, it's easier to accomplish that effectively from one's couch than it is from the concertgoer's perspective.

That doesn't mean we will always recap the show from home rather than from the show itself; we reserve the right to mix things up. But if you attended the show and had your face melted clean off your skull and you want your experience validated in flowery, gushing prose, or feel that objective descriptions of a given performance might somehow diminish your experience, the Phish.net recap may not be your bag. There are certainly other sites you can depend on to deliver that kind of take (some of which I read and enjoy regularly myself).

One final note. I hope the community knows how passionate the staff still is about this band, even if our opinions might occasionally come across as staid. Twenty years later, we still dance our asses off at the show, and once we regain the capacity for speech, we often fight like cats and dogs about it.

As it should be.

Comments

Lemuria Phish.net Staff Reply
Lemuria Amen, and pass the grits!
Score: 3
forbin1 Reply
forbin1 Excellent post...agreed, you didn't have to be in attendance to review a show...it sometimes helps when trying to paint a prettier picture but I don't think it should be a requirement..
Score: 2
Fitz2001 Reply
Fitz2001 New rule, you can only review if you are within 8 feet of the stage. Good? Good.
Score: 1
NigelTufnel Reply
NigelTufnel "From whence" is redundant...just sayin'

/GeorgeCarlin'd
Score: 8
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @NigelTufnel said:
"From whence" is redundant...just sayin'

/GeorgeCarlin'd
Nice catch - fixed! Thanks.
Score: 1
safetymeeting Reply
safetymeeting "But if you attended the show and had your face melted clean off your skull and you want your experience validated in flowery, gushing prose, or feel that objective descriptions of a given performance might somehow diminish your experience, the Phish.net recap may not be your bag."

I like this. I'm glad phish.net did not do recaps after 8/8/97.
Score: 1
NigelTufnel Reply
NigelTufnel I actually like the idea of reviewing shows you weren't at. The reviewer examines it in a similar light as the many who weren't there - as opposed to an exclusive look that only the 7000 to 15000 were a part of. Every show is special to those in attendance. But the truth is that they are heavily outnumbered in the Phish world by people following at home. We don't need to hear about Mike's scarf or the beer spilled in your row...but about the music, because that's the only element of the experience that lives on and what we truly care about in the end. The staying power. Harder to be black and white if you were there, in my opinion. Just keep doing your thing .net staff - and thank you for your hard and excellent work!
Score: 1
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks
I would like to suggest that it is really easy to tell that story that a year after the show, and often very difficult to tell that story immediately afterward.
In all seriousness -- why bother, then? Why not wait a week or two? At the very least, why not use the during-tour posts to highlight things that are interesting on tour (e.g. the gigantic multifarious country where all this amazing shit takes place) and save the song-by-song stuff for a more leisurely moment, when talking about Just the Music makes more sense?

To take a more productive angle: how is a play-by-play worth more to the sort of person who's worried about 'wasting hard drive space' than, say, an end-of-the-week recap (or three of those, or a review-roundup digest post, or just a roundtable since you guys apparently chat eagerly amongst yourselves about such matters)?
Score: 2
ColForbin Phish.net Staff Reply
ColForbin Bravo. I have tried to say this in so many comments here (and posts on rec.music.phish back in the day) and I never even came close to this level of clarity.
Score: 1
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @NigelTufnel said:
We don't need to hear about Mike's scarf or the beer spilled in your row...but about the music, because that's the only element of the experience that lives on and what we truly care about in the end.
Really? Nothing else about the experience 'lives on,' regardless of how it's communicated to you, how vividly, how expansively...whether in person or secondhand? The only thing that matters about last night's Phish show is deciding whether or not to download 300Mb of mp3 files?

I'm exaggerating what I take to be your position in the quoted comment, but not by much...
Score: 1
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @waxbanks said:
I would like to suggest that it is really easy to tell that story that a year after the show, and often very difficult to tell that story immediately afterward.
In all seriousness -- why bother, then?
Because our page views and comment counts indicate people really enjoy reading them?
Score: 7
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @waxbanks said:
@NigelTufnel said:
We don't need to hear about Mike's scarf or the beer spilled in your row...but about the music, because that's the only element of the experience that lives on and what we truly care about in the end.
Really? Nothing else about the experience 'lives on,' regardless of how it's communicated to you, how vividly, how expansively...whether in person or secondhand? The only thing that matters about last night's Phish show is deciding whether or not to download 300Mb of mp3 files?

I'm exaggerating what I take to be your position in the quoted comment, but not by much...
I think you are exaggerating it by a lot.

I don't think it was Nigel's point and it certainly wasn't mine.
Score: 3
davey0110 Reply
"flowery, gushing prose"

You don't want to write about the musical planes of existence crossing paths to provide an intergalactic realm of improvisational ecstasy?
Score: 10
white_lightning Reply
I think there are two sides (actually more than two) to this coin.

I tend to agree that if you are trying to objectively separate and review the music, listening to a show via recording is the only way -- even a webcast could taint your take on the music. And this cuts both ways. I've been to shows where I clearly was overly critical and on second listen heard some amazing moments that I missed at the show.

There are also shows that being there permanently changed how I listen to the show (not just in the melt your face moment). I would use the Hampton 98 run as an example. I have some friends that are seasoned fans that weren't there that on listen to this day insist that it was an overrated run. As someone who was there to experience that run, even listening to a recording 14 years later I still think it was really f___ing good music in addition to being an amazing weekend long party. So who's right? No one. In the end, they're all just opinions, which is one of things that makes subjective experience like Phish music so great.
Score: 3
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd
[ ] I accept

Check the box above to accept the terms that you have (1) read @bertoletdown's "Whence We Recap" and (2) agree to not comment that the review is invalid or otherwise diminished because the reviewer was not in attendance. You will then be redirected to the show recap.
Score: 5
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @bertoletdown said:
@waxbanks said:
@NigelTufnel said:
We don't need to hear about Mike's scarf or the beer spilled in your row...but about the music, because that's the only element of the experience that lives on and what we truly care about in the end.
Really? Nothing else about the experience 'lives on,' regardless of how it's communicated to you, how vividly, how expansively...whether in person or secondhand? The only thing that matters about last night's Phish show is deciding whether or not to download 300Mb of mp3 files?

I'm exaggerating what I take to be your position in the quoted comment, but not by much...
I think you are exaggerating it by a lot.

I don't think it was Nigel's point and it certainly wasn't mine.
Cut out my last sentence (the aforementioned exaggeration) and the rest is directly implied by what Nigel said, yes. But I don't care enough to keep talking about this particular point. What YOU said, Chris, is just this...

Generally, what we attempt to deliver is a quick read on the music and its likely durability. In other words, is the show that Phish just delivered likely to be taking up lots of hard drive and cloud storage space a year from now, played back frequently on road trips, and spoken of in hushed, reverential tones?
...and I diplomatically asked whether other forms mightn't work better at this task, and suggested some such forms, rather than undiplomatically suggesting that the average Phish fan would be better off listening to a random selection of shows, even 'average-great' ones, rather than reading a next-day play-by-play of 'this version was awesome, this version was average, this is nothing new if you've listened to this one specific show from 1994,' etc.

As to the subject of this particular post, whether these recaps should be written by folks in attendance or not, it obviously doesn't matter -- everyone sane knows the tape isn't the show -- and this weird talk of whether a show will 'objectively endure' is happily unnecessary in any case.
Score: -2
IamHIGHdrogen Reply
IamHIGHdrogen Keep up the great work .net staff! I truly enjoy and look forward to reading these reviews whether I agree or disagree/ was at the show or not. If you strongly/differently about a review, post your own under that show's setlist. This is my most visited website period so this Phan digs what y'all do. Thank you.
Score: 3
safetymeeting Reply
safetymeeting Also, "If the recap writer has done his or her job right, it won't matter all that much."

Really? There are "hers" here?
Score: 5
Cantaloupe Reply
@safetymeeting said:
"But if you attended the show and had your face melted clean off your skull and you want your experience validated in flowery, gushing prose, or feel that objective descriptions of a given performance might somehow diminish your experience, the Phish.net recap may not be your bag."

I like this. I'm glad phish.net did not do recaps after 8/8/97.
I like reading Miner's page. He'll give you that unadulterated "I was in attendance" review. His verbal maelstrom sometimes makes me laugh, but his enthusiasm is inspiring.
But the review process will never be void of subjectivity, it is subjectivity. The recaps here though, aren't brimming with "show-glow." There's genuine effort to step back from the night, and see how it fits in deep melange of Phistory.

::proceeds to rant for some reason::

I for one, have a much better perspective of how the SBIX, and UIC, and Dick's went down than I did immediately after. They were great shows. My opinion of each song hasn't changed much, but there is so much to be said for the difference between experiencing a show and listening to it elsewhere or after.

While there, you feel the immediacy of something coming from nothing, witnessing and engaging in the process of creation. Hell, I like watching webcasts for a hint of that feeling that it is happening NOW. What's more, I get a special kick from playing along. I mean what a world where Phish is 2000 miles away and I can play a whole set with them in real time (1st set N1, minus mfmf...can't play that shit haha). That shit is too fun, and has me feel more connected to the band that I do at a show, because sometimes I just with I could be playing too hahah.

Really though, I hear Phish best when I don't have any distractions, and that includes seeing the band as well. Yeah, I love to watch the webcasts, and I love Kuroda's work, but the visual element, while an enhancement to the experience, changes how I hear things. Listening to a show with my eyes closed means my other senses don't blend too much into the experience.
Score: 6
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @safetymeeting said:
Also, "If the recap writer has done his or her job right, it won't matter all that much."

Really? There are "hers" here?
Too right. Online Phish fandom has always been male dominated, and offhand I can't think of a single female commenter/reviewer here. (So long Rosemary's Digest!) Probably the single worst thing about the whole culture, if you ask me.
Score: 2
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @Cantaloupe said:
Listening to a show with my eyes closed means my other senses don't blend too much into the experience.
yeah i wish they'd just play all their shows in pitch darkness so i can have a pure experience for once. those bright lights are just cheating. how can i know if something is just average-great if i'm forced to interact with the physical world, god damn it.

also i wish obama would make drugs illegal so they wouldn't interfere with my analysis.

(i jest, @cantaloupe -- i see where you're coming from. and vice hopefully versa.)
Score: 0
Cantaloupe Reply
@waxbanks said:
@Cantaloupe said:
Listening to a show with my eyes closed means my other senses don't blend too much into the experience.
yeah i wish they'd just play all their shows in pitch darkness so i can have a pure experience for once. those bright lights are just cheating. how can i know if something is just average-great if i'm forced to interact with the physical world, god damn it.

also i wish obama would make drugs illegal so they wouldn't interfere with my analysis.

(i jest, @cantaloupe -- i see where you're coming from. and vice hopefully versa.)
Haha I do indeed. Great response!
Score: 0
NigelTufnel Reply
NigelTufnel @waxbanks

My point is that I'm not going to care what Mike is wearing when he drops huge bass bombs in Kanasa City. I'm not going to look back on shows that I attended and describe to people what it was like to tell the girls in the row behind be to shut up or discuss how my experience was marred by the fact that the event staff threw my crew out for using drugs. Because 99% of the people who weren't there won't give a shit. What's it to them? The date itself only exists within the confines of photos and the mp3 files. So why not describe that? 7000 people have stories about Sunday night in Frisco...but all that matters to me, since I wasn't there, was how on they were and how well they played..the music.

The staff does a good job with that. I think you're jumping the gun here.
Score: 2
Fluffyfluffyhead Reply
Fluffyfluffyhead I actually care about every show. Bad or good, I want to read about it. Here.
You guys do a great service, keep it going!

Who doesn't want to know if Mike wore a purple scarf, an orange muscle shirt and green capri shorts? WTF?
That's part of the show! MAN, BOY,, I LOVE THIS BAND!
Score: 2
Fluffyfluffyhead Reply
Fluffyfluffyhead I actually care about every show. Bad or good, I want to read about it. Here.
You guys do a great service, keep it going!

Who doesn't want to know if Mike wore a purple scarf, an orange muscle shirt and green capri shorts? WTF?
That's part of the show! MAN, BOY,, I LOVE THIS BAND!
Score: 2
AlumniBlues420 Reply
"That doesn't mean we will always recap the show from home rather than from the show itself; we reserve the right to mix things up. But if you attended the show and had your face melted clean off your skull and you want your experience validated in flowery, gushing prose, or feel that objective descriptions of a given performance might somehow diminish your experience, the Phish.net recap may not be your bag. There are certainly other sites you can depend on to deliver that kind of take (some of which I read and enjoy regularly myself)."

I dont like this. Everyone has the right to make their comment about the show? If someone wants to share the fact that the band stole their face, some might find that offensive or childish, but others might think that is fun and exciting ( or even just comical). basically I feel that everyone has the right to recap and if you dont like what is said simply move on to the next comment but maybe out of the billions on this planet there are people that like that comment that you didnt like. essentially I feel there should be all kinds of reviews. If you dont like what someone posts just move on.... I dont think the person saying his face was stolen was trying to be cool or get praise, he probably got home in absolute spirtual bliss and all that came out was the band stole that persons face... again some like this comment some dont but freedom of speech says the comment should be made. and if you dont like give a thumbs down or move on..... not a big deal and fun

again i can come on and say a show that was good sucked but then everyone will bash me and give me thumbs down, but i feel if i want to say that i have that right as does anyone even if its absolutely wrong.

Phish is on fire in 2012 just be happy, who cares
Score: 0
mikh2wg Reply
mikh2wg I agree that you don't need to be there. As long as you write well and clearly I don't care how you heard the show.
But I also like to hear about being at the show. What if we had a sticky thread in the forum for show experiences that stayed sticky for 2-3 days post show?
Score: 1
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @AlumniBlues420 said:
"That doesn't mean we will always recap the show from home rather than from the show itself; we reserve the right to mix things up. But if you attended the show and had your face melted clean off your skull and you want your experience validated in flowery, gushing prose, or feel that objective descriptions of a given performance might somehow diminish your experience, the Phish.net recap may not be your bag. There are certainly other sites you can depend on to deliver that kind of take (some of which I read and enjoy regularly myself)."

I dont like this. Everyone has the right to make their comment about the show? If someone wants to share the fact that the band stole their face, some might find that offensive or childish, but others might think that is fun and exciting ( or even just comical). basically I feel that everyone has the right to recap and if you dont like what is said simply move on to the next comment but maybe out of the billions on this planet there are people that like that comment that you didnt like. essentially I feel there should be all kinds of reviews.
I am not sure I understand your comment.

Did you misconstrue the column as some condemnation of experiential or subjective reviews? Because I can point to at least several sentences that should have tipped you off that this was not my point at all.
Score: 3
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @mikh2wg said:
I agree that you don't need to be there. As long as you write well and clearly I don't care how you heard the show.
But I also like to hear about being at the show. What if we had a sticky thread in the forum for show experiences that stayed sticky for 2-3 days post show?
I wouldn't object, but generally I think that threads that generate discussion are going to make themselves sticky. All opinions are obviously welcome in the Forum. And as I said, we reserve the right to review Mike's scarf, Trey's shirt, Page's sandwich, and Fishman's tuck -- but our general inclination is to keep it focused on the music.
Score: 1
safetymeeting Reply
safetymeeting @bertoletdown said:
Trey's shirt
As an aside, Phish won't officially be 'back' until Trey re-wears the Pepe Le Pew t-shirt over a long-sleeve t-shirt.
Score: 6
jugglerswithfire Phish.net Staff Reply
jugglerswithfire @safetymeeting said:
Also, "If the recap writer has done his or her job right, it won't matter all that much."

Really? There are "hers" here?
~Very much a "her"

Nice work Chris
Score: 5
ckess22 Reply
ckess22 @safetymeeting said:
@bertoletdown said:
Trey's shirt
As an aside, Phish won't officially be 'back' until Trey re-wears the Pepe Le Pew t-shirt over a long-sleeve t-shirt.

my only prediction for kc, btw. that and waves, that is.
Score: 0
hrc333 Reply
First, thanks to all the Phish.netters for all you do. This is a great site for the community.

Secondly, I love reading the recaps and reviews on all sites. I'm lucky enough to attend most shows and love reading about other people's experience at the show.

Thus, this article is very strange to me. It seems that the author is arguing that somehow that copies of the original experience is more genuine than that actual experience. This is surprising to me that anyone who loves improvisational music as much as clearly the author does, would make such an argument. A show is more than the recording. It is the lights, the crowd, the feeling both the people in attendance and the band are feeling. I doubt anyone would argue that the band does not clearly feed off the energy in the room. Sometimes this energy is captured on tape and other times it is not. Thus to make an argument that the authentic experience is somehow less authentic than a video or a recording just does not make sense to me. Now if the author were to claim that it is to difficult to organize reviewers for each show who are in actual attendance than that is fine and I could respect that.

All that being said, I do appreciate the response to this question. While I disagree with the authors view, it is nice to know .nets position on this. I will continue to read .nets reviews but now with a grain of salt.
Score: 1
AlbanyYEM Reply
AlbanyYEM Ok, I'll say it. To everyone who does not like the fact that someone has reviewed a show he was not at: go read Mr. Miner's blog at http://phishthoughts.com/ . He's always attended the show and he always has something glowingly positive to say.

We live in a different time than the old days of phish.net. The idea of someone reviewing a show (s)he was not at was simply unheard of because it was impossible due to lower sophistication of technology. And if someone did try to go ahead and do that in 96 or 97 or whenever I would have been self-righteously pissed at their audacity. I even disliked the switch from the old ascii review page to this one, like "how dare they??"

Ironically, these blog posts have the least staying power but we all treat them as if they are the place to have one's opinions on phish validated. I immensely appreciate them for what they are, however, a tool to employ when deciding which shows are worth the dload and which I will skip. That's it. The only other site I've found that even describes every phish show regularly is Miner's site. And while I always get a chuckle from his unbridled enthusiasm, he is of absolutely no use to me when it comes to culling the gems from the rough.

So hell yea for these guys who go ahead and tell it like it is even though they are then the immediate lightning rod for party-line phish propagandists. I can't believe I just typed that but I think it fits the situation.

We didn't used to have this problem on the old review site because they had the individual jam reviews and the show reviews. Overall reviews were for people who were there and the jam reviews were generally for people attempting objective analysis afterwards. Again, lots of credit to Dirksen who took the time to show everybody the way even if he *gasp* wasn't always right. If you wanted to hear a snapshot semi-biographical about the scene, the lots, the security, the highs, the lows and the rest then you clicked on the show review. If you wanted to get down to serious business and pay focused attention to the best parts of the shows (the jams) then you went for those specific jam reviews.

Now everything is mixed up in the immediate afterglow of show-dom. I could read 30 posts about how "epic" a show was and it wouldn't tell me a thing because I don't know if the sources are credible. These blog posts are credible sources. It may seem like they are overly negative because they are attempting to give an honest, objective view within the context of a tour and the underlying overall phish history. Kind of like, dare I say it, phish journalists.

Anyway, as I've said before, we could go the old route and have different review sections that cater to different phish interests. I've dabbled with trying to review a jam within the confines of the review page you get to from the setlist section, but I feel like there are a million people who have a higher aptitude for converting a highly visceral and sense-oriented experience into logical chunks of thoughts known as words and sentences. Maybe if people are willing to do them, we could bring back the jam review section so there is a clear dichotomy between the feel of being there and the analytic, nerdy, and gloriously informative cataloguing and ranking.

The caveat with this idea (that is so buried in the comments section that no one will probably read this anyway) is that we are essentially mainly here to hear phish jam. A quick note about the killer roggae in the 1st set and INTO the rocknroll> ghost we go!! I can't think of a better way to read about the true merits of a show then to read someone whose opinion I trust get into it for real and freaking tells us about the jams already! Usually, we get about a sentence or two about it that use the most general descriptors imaginable. Or go to that other site and get a paragraph of thesaurus-laden "interstellar" adjectives.
Score: 11
sideshowNYC Reply
sideshowNYC I enjoy reading the .net reviews. However I expect the reviewer to be at the show. Live music is meant to be seen live (and yes later on recordings). I dont care about mikes scarf, but hearing passionate fans recount their own visceral experience of the show is why I check in to these reviews. Otherwise I'd just follow along to a stream
thread. Just my thoughts. Thanks .net for the reviews and respones and your obvious desire to provide quality content on your site.
Score: 0
mikh2wg Reply
mikh2wg @bertoletdown said:
@mikh2wg said:
I agree that you don't need to be there. As long as you write well and clearly I don't care how you heard the show.
But I also like to hear about being at the show. What if we had a sticky thread in the forum for show experiences that stayed sticky for 2-3 days post show?
I wouldn't object, but generally I think that threads that generate discussion are going to make themselves sticky. All opinions are obviously welcome in the Forum. And as I said, we reserve the right to review Mike's scarf, Trey's shirt, Page's sandwich, and Fishman's tuck -- but our general inclination is to keep it focused on the music.
True, popular threads don't need to be sticky. But I've never seen a thread that attempted to collect stories about the show and not the music. Maybe that's because no one wants to read a thread like that, but maybe not.
Only one way to find out. i'll start it up the morning after the next show and we'll see what happens.
Score: 2
AlumniBlues420 Reply
yes i miss read sorry. i thought you were knocking people for posting stuff other than about the actual music. like specifically i thought you were referring to the commenter in the SF night 3 show, where a person said thank you phish you stole my face or something...

basically i miss understood sorry
Score: 2
smellslikemule Reply
I enjoy this site very much and have been logging in for many years although I have never posted. I have been going to Phish shows since 1994.

Reading this kind of surprised me. In one respect I can't imagine why a review would only be concerned with the music alone and the overall experience and energy of the show not be considered. It is extremely important. But, if it must be just about the music, I would disagree that someone that was not at the show could review it well. I love this site but generally find the reviews to be totally subjective and not necessarily what I would consider an expert view. That is also fine but should be considered. I just returned from Long Beach and San Fransisco and can tell you that the band is playing with increased enthusiasm and energy and overall there is an incredible tightness to many of the songs they play. I find many of the reviews gloss over these great moments, but, am not surprised because they were not there to truely experience it. It seems more that the reviewers here are mostly only interested with the magic, best of all time moments, focussed mostly on the improvised jams. I am not surprised because this is what sticks out to me as well when I am listening to the shows while not actually there. But, Phish is a different band now. Most likely there are going to be more songs that are technically very tight and played incredibly well than improvised jams from the old days. I can't give much validity to a reviewer that is only in search of recreating that show he/she saw back in 1997 that blew their mind. In the case of the recent SF shows, the energy and tightness of the band was better than anything I saw last year. Everyone that I have talked to that was actually at the shows had musical experiences that where much higher than many of the shows they have seen. And the band played incredibly well. So many great music moments. But, maybe you just had to be there to understand.

Overall unfortunately I find most of the reviews to approach the review in a shallow analysis. Therefore I do not agree with the point being made above.

Still a great site, but, the reviews are the weakest part in my opinion. Sorry.

Just my view.
Score: 2
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @hrc333 said:
First, thanks to all the Phish.netters for all you do. This is a great site for the community.

Secondly, I love reading the recaps and reviews on all sites. I'm lucky enough to attend most shows and love reading about other people's experience at the show.

Thus, this article is very strange to me. It seems that the author is arguing that somehow that copies of the original experience is more genuine than that actual experience. This is surprising to me that anyone who loves improvisational music as much as clearly the author does, would make such an argument. A show is more than the recording. It is the lights, the crowd, the feeling both the people in attendance and the band are feeling. I doubt anyone would argue that the band does not clearly feed off the energy in the room. Sometimes this energy is captured on tape and other times it is not. Thus to make an argument that the authentic experience is somehow less authentic than a video or a recording just does not make sense to me.
It doesn't make any sense to me either, which is why I didn't write that.

Let me come at this from a slightly different angle.

Everybody's experience of the show is subjective. It is a function of not only the music, but countless factors including but not limited to the reviewer's age, relative health, mood, experience with Phish, seats, sound in his/her seats, appreciation for the setlist, substance intake or lack thereof, neighbors, and attitude. Anybody who has seen Phish 20+ times knows that sometimes you float on air out of a show convinced it was the Best Ever Ever and when you listen again it's... not. Anybody who has seen Phish 20+ times knows that sometimes you leave a show thinking it was lacking in one way or another and when you listen again it's better than you thought it was.

In no way does that phenomenon invalidate what you experienced. At least it shouldn't, because that certainly isn't our aim. I'm also not trying to pretend that we or anybody else are capable of being 100% objective. But we feel we do a greater service by trying to get as close as possible to that mark, for a variety of reasons, but primarily because if we review our subjective experience, every show is going to be a 9 out of 10 or a 10 out of 10 and then we have wrung all of the value out of our words.

Let's take BGCA as an example. I had an 8/10 personal experience on night two. I had a 9.5/10 personal experience on night three. But from a pure musical perspective, those shows were night and day. I assume nobody cares about where I sat, who I was dancing with, or what I had for dinner. Do you?
Score: 4
TheLizard Reply
@NigelTufnel said:
@waxbanks

My point is that I'm not going to care what Mike is wearing when he drops huge bass bombs in Kanasa City. I'm not going to look back on shows that I attended and describe to people what it was like to tell the girls in the row behind be to shut up or discuss how my experience was marred by the fact that the event staff threw my crew out for using drugs. Because 99% of the people who weren't there won't give a shit. What's it to them? The date itself only exists within the confines of photos and the mp3 files. So why not describe that? 7000 people have stories about Sunday night in Frisco...but all that matters to me, since I wasn't there, was how on they were and how well they played..the music.

The staff does a good job with that. I think you're jumping the gun here.
Score: 0
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @smellslikemule said:

Still a great site, but, the reviews are the weakest part in my opinion. Sorry.

Just my view.
I give your post a C-.

:)
Score: 3
TheLizard Reply
That may be true, but I listened to the recording of sunday night's show last night, and if you weren't there you would not have known that they didn't include in the recording how Trey was playing Eleanore Rigby teases before they threw down Crosseyed and Painless. Or how Trey had just put down his guitar during yem and started getting down while Mike laid out his unexpected barrage of bass bombs and funky slapping with a huge smile on his face. Saying you don't have to be at a show to review it is like saying you don't have to have eaten an entire bowl of Capt'n Crunch in order to write a review on it. Just a taste of one piece would be sufficient. Without eating a whole serving, you wouldn't know that after a few minutes, when the milk just starts soaking in, the cereal starts to cut the roof of your mouth. Or the gritty feeling it leaves on your teeth after you finish the bowl. You may have gotten a taste of the show by listening to it on your computer, but you would not know the gravity of Mike's thunderous bass bombs. Or appreciate the look on the band's faces when they are fully immersed in a particularly outstanding jam. A huge part of the show is the energy that the band exudes while playing to all it's adoring fans. Isn't that one of the reason we try so hard to get into the show itself. Or how good the acoustics of the venue were. You may listen to the soundtrack of a movie, but without seeing the film, you can not make an accurate review. I can't tell you how many times I have left a show with me and many of the other show goes feeling that the show was absolutely stellar, only to read a review back at the hotel that the show had been lack-luster or just average. I know, to many people, the drugs they took can play a large part in swaying this perception, but as I attend the shows fully sober, I am not influenced by those things. The overwhelming truth is that the quality of a show can only be accurately depicted by someone who was in attendance. And when I haven't attended the show, they are the only opinions I can fully trust.
Score: 1
krumplestiltskin Reply
"Those of you who weren't there will never be there, but you can open your wallet and download the LivePhish recording, and we hope that the opinions we profer in our recaps can help you make informed decisions about where to spend your money."

Doesn't anyone listen to crowd taped copies anymore?
I would have said "help you make informed decisions about where to put your bandwidth".

The age of the taper has come and gone I'm afraid ;)
Score: 1
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @krumplestiltskin said:
"Those of you who weren't there will never be there, but you can open your wallet and download the LivePhish recording, and we hope that the opinions we profer in our recaps can help you make informed decisions about where to spend your money."

Doesn't anyone listen to crowd taped copies anymore?
I would have said "help you make informed decisions about where to put your bandwidth".

The age of the taper has come and gone I'm afraid ;)
I download Padelimike's AUDs all the time. Lots of other folks do as well. I very much enjoy a good AUD.

The bandwidth point you make is also valid.
Score: 2
JARdale Reply
Wow..... the band destroyed on Sunday and this is the conversation going on? What is this...... October??? Did we enter a time warp? Who has the time to complain about show reviews?
Score: 3
hrc333 Reply
@bertoletdown said:


It doesn't make any sense to me either, which is why I didn't write that.

Let me come at this from a slightly different angle.

Everybody's experience of the show is subjective. It is a function of not only the music, but countless factors including but not limited to the reviewer's age, relative health, mood, experience with Phish, seats, sound in his/her seats, appreciation for the setlist, substance intake or lack thereof, neighbors, and attitude. Anybody who has seen Phish 20+ times knows that sometimes you float on air out of a show convinced it was the Best Ever Ever and when you listen again it's... not. Anybody who has seen Phish 20+ times knows that sometimes you leave a show thinking it was lacking in one way or another and when you listen again it's better than you thought it was.

I agree 100% with what you write here. But a good reviewer should be able to step back and look at it objectively. I personally had a blast at the NYE run but I could objectively say that is was not the best shows musically. I just happened to be with a great group of friends. But if you weren't at a show you don't even have the full picture. Maybe it makes you slightly more objective on one what part of the show experience but you don't have the full show experience.

Either way, thanks for the reviews. I do enjoy them I was just surprised to learn that some of the reviewers were not there. Off to sleep, KC tomorrow!
Score: 0
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd @mikh2wg said:
True, popular threads don't need to be sticky. But I've never seen a thread that attempted to collect stories about the show and not the music. Maybe that's because no one wants to read a thread like that, but maybe not.
Only one way to find out. i'll start it up the morning after the next show and we'll see what happens.
Good deal, go for it. Maybe start it today or tonight to introduce the idea, and lets come up with a thread title that we can standardize for all shows. Like a running feature. e.g. "Experiential Reviews - Oak Mountain" - but maybe less bland and sterile.

I like this idea. I personally enjoy reading fun and interesting stories about shows that don't specifically focus on the music alone. The forum might be a better venue for that.
Score: 0
ColForbin Phish.net Staff Reply
ColForbin @TheLizard said:
That may be true, but I listened to the recording of sunday night's show last night, and if you weren't there you would not have known that they didn't include in the recording how Trey was playing Eleanore Rigby teases before they threw down Crosseyed and Painless. Or how Trey had just put down his guitar during yem and started getting down while Mike laid out his unexpected barrage of bass bombs and funky slapping with a huge smile on his face. Saying you don't have to be at a show to review it is like saying you don't have to have eaten an entire bowl of Capt'n Crunch in order to write a review on it. Just a taste of one piece would be sufficient. Without eating a whole serving, you wouldn't know that after a few minutes, when the milk just starts soaking in, the cereal starts to cut the roof of your mouth. Or the gritty feeling it leaves on your teeth after you finish the bowl. You may have gotten a taste of the show by listening to it on your computer, but you would not know the gravity of Mike's thunderous bass bombs. Or appreciate the look on the band's faces when they are fully immersed in a particularly outstanding jam. A huge part of the show is the energy that the band exudes while playing to all it's adoring fans. Isn't that one of the reason we try so hard to get into the show itself. Or how good the acoustics of the venue were. You may listen to the soundtrack of a movie, but without seeing the film, you can not make an accurate review. I can't tell you how many times I have left a show with me and many of the other show goes feeling that the show was absolutely stellar, only to read a review back at the hotel that the show had been lack-luster or just average. I know, to many people, the drugs they took can play a large part in swaying this perception, but as I attend the shows fully sober, I am not influenced by those things. The overwhelming truth is that the quality of a show can only be accurately depicted by someone who was in attendance. And when I haven't attended the show, they are the only opinions I can fully trust.
This is a great argument for the other side, and I do appreciate the "I was there" details like what the venue was like, what the band was wearing, whether there were any funny dance moves, even setbreak music. When I wrote reviews for shows back on r.m.p. I included that kind of stuff, and I think people enjoyed reading it (go ahead and click on my name, they are all here). All things being equal, I think the staff here would like to have every recap done by someone in attendance, but it isn't always possible to do so in a timely manner (and recaps that are even delayed by a day see far less traffic and commenting activity).

But unfortunately, no one who logs on to Phish.net who didn't attend the show can ever attend the show. What they can do is listen to the show - so our reviews try to cater to those people, because for any given show there are thousands more Phish fans and .netters who weren't there than those who were.

Al that said, for every setlist in our database there is an opportunity to review the show, and for most recent shows there are plenty of personal experience style reviews to check out. I encourage everyone to post reviews if that is their thing, and thumbs up the ones they like even if they don't post.
Score: 5
listen4myHorn Reply
listen4myHorn Well put.

When can we get N2 recap? I feel that by not writing it after all the forum hullabaloo, gives credence that the show was
1. as bad as those hearing it said it was
2. that all the talk of "negativity" intimidates the show reviews from writing it as they heard it.

I love what you guys write. The subjective honesty is why I take the time to read it.

PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HANGING FOR N2!
Score: 1
tribes Reply
#realtalk w/ PHISH.NET
Score: 0
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @listen4myHorn said:
Well put.

When can we get N2 recap? I feel that by not writing it after all the forum hullabaloo, gives credence that the show was
1. as bad as those hearing it said it was
2. that all the talk of "negativity" intimidates the show reviews from writing it as they heard it.

I love what you guys write. The subjective honesty is why I take the time to read it.

PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HANGING FOR N2!
Thank you, @listen4myHorn. I don't think there are plans to recap night two of BGCA but I'll give you my Cliff Notes version.

Wolfman's was terrific, and merits a second listen at a bare minimum. 46 Days was short but incendiary; if you liked the Tahoe WOTC (as I did) you will like this 46 Days. Simple was an earnest and appreciated attempt at taking things OUT, but ultimately came across as something less than coherent.

The rest of the show was not so great. I am not one of these people, but there are those who consider it one of the worst shows in recent memory.

All that said, I had an awesome time. Which is the whole point of this. I can't remember ever having a bad time at a Phish show -- even a relatively bad Phish show.
Score: 3
TheEmu Phish.net Staff Reply
TheEmu @TheLizard said:
I can't tell you how many times I have left a show with me and many of the other show goes feeling that the show was absolutely stellar, only to read a review back at the hotel that the show had been lack-luster or just average.
But this only becomes a problem, IMO, if you take what the reviewer says about the "show" being average to mean that the experience must have been average, or that having the time of your life at that show is dumb because the music was average. Maybe the recaps come across that way sometimes; maybe all reviews need to state clearly up top that whether or not the reviewer is talking about the live experience or the recorded music.

I don't think there is anything wrong with reviewing just the recorded music. For that matter, there's nothing wrong with reviewing the concert experience. Both have value, and you can enjoy one and not the other. Two examples from my experience:

A friend of mine took off on a whim and drove from Des Moines to Dayton for the 11-30-95 show. At the time, he didn't enjoy it. He thought it was a poor show, that the band sounded off. When he finally got the tape in early '96, he was blown away by it and insisted on spinning it for me right away.

Earlier this summer, I had the best Phish concert experience of my life at Portsmouth2. I thought it was a perfect show, and that the Divided Sky was truly an amazing moment in Phish history. Listening to the show over the next few days, I was surprised to discover it was possibly above average, but not that far above.

So, in either case, a review of the show and a review of the music might be quite different, and both are valid and have their place. But since most of us actually weren't there, and can never be, it makes a lot of sense to spend more time on reviews of the recorded music, with reviews of the experience sprinkled in when possible. Plus, people can give their take on the concert experience in the comments of the blog, as well as on the reviews linked to the setlist.

The bottom line is that saying a "show" is average doesn't mean that the live experience must also have been average.

::goes to refill bag of hot air::
Score: 2
unoclay Reply
unoclay I appreciate the opinions expressed here, and you've done as good a job as one might hope toward convincing me that people who weren't at a show have a better (or even equal) ability to comment on a show than someone who was there.

That said, I always put the primacy of importance on people who were actually there--who actually experienced the SHOW, not merely 'the music'.

Anyone who attends Phish concerts should appreciate that the experience of being a phish fan--much less a single concert--extends far beyond the mere "what they played and how well they played it". Was Deer Creek 2000 merely a collection of half-a$$ed Moby Dick references, or was it actually a weird culmination of the tour, a microcosmic vibe of the era, something in the air that weekend, etc? Was Oswego "just" a semi-festival, or was it an experience that can't be documented by the tapes (i.e. camping in tar patches, 100+ degree heat, middle-of-the tour weird festival timing, etc)? And are the glowstick wars, rainstorms, general behavior of fans/fanbase, sensibilities of an era, ticket availabilities, security presence (or lack thereof), parking lot atmosphere, and placement of show vis-a-vis the tour NOT vital and unforgettable parts of the Show Itself?

I strongly submit that these things are irreplaceable, inimitable parts of a show, are in fact inherently related to an understanding of the show itself, and that this naturally means reports from on-the-ground / in-the-audience authors can often outweigh 'the importance' of the clinical couchtour review. Does this mean that I invariably trust the biased show-goer who is simply bubbling over with love for The Phish? Certainly not--I prefer objective statements and attempts at "unbiased" observations in all reviews, regardless of whether the author was in the audience or at home.

Unfortunately, many people reject this viewpoint (i.e. that one can never honestly know/review a show unless you were there) because it feels like it means that someone who stayed home is 'less important' than those who went. I find this egalitarian mindset simply silly--i mean, do court cases give primacy to eye-witnesses of a crimescene over someone who simply heard audio of the crime? (I'll gladly admit that eyewitnesses can often be shown as inaccurate observers, but by the same token, audio recordings would often omit valuable data relevant to establishing the details of the crime). In a similar frame of mind, I prefer to weigh the opinions of the actual show audience, mediating their biases the same way I would some jaded couch-tour blogger. At least with the former, I'm getting a fuller picture of The Show Itself, not merely the audio recording.

Nobody needs to feel offended by this, but maybe people do need to realize/accept that yeah, if you stayed home and just listened to the stream …you missed out on something that is an irreplaceable part of the Phish experience. Just because we listen to tapes of a show doesn't mean we had the full experience of the show—or even the music. To discount the actual experience of seeing the band play the music, the body language of the musicians, much less the auditory aspect of live music (speakers, vibrations, the mix as delivered in a live setting vs. recorded)….this would be like arguing there's no use for the live experience, if a recording is "as good".

It's fine for people who say "i dont care about anything but the music" to prefer a review that omits consideration of all but the tapes....but much like my view of webcasts (I generally reject the overt televising of a phenomenon meant to be experienced live), I kind of think it's better, when editorially feasible, to use in-person reviews.

That's all for now!
Score: 1
_rrot_ Reply
"Nobody needs to feel offended by this, but maybe people do need to realize/accept that yeah, if you stayed home and just listened to the stream …you missed out on something that is an irreplaceable part of the Phish experience. Just because we listen to tapes of a show doesn't mean we had the full experience of the show—or even the music. To discount the actual experience of seeing the band play the music, the body language of the musicians, much less the auditory aspect of live music (speakers, vibrations, the mix as delivered in a live setting vs. recorded)….this would be like arguing there's no use for the live experience, if a recording is "as good". "

If ANYONE were making that argument, what you're saying might have some bearing on the subject.

But they aren't. No one is suggesting that you don't "miss out on something" by not being at the show. Of course you miss out on a lot. No one is claiming that listening to tapes of a show gives them the "full experience of a show."

So you're arguing, in part, against something that isn't even being put forward.

And you're seemingly neglecting to realize that, unfortunate as it may be, it is nevertheless true that many aspects of what it means to *really* be there and *really* experience the show are also intensely subjective, variable and, as everyone who sees shows and later listens to recordings realizes, capable of interfering with a judgement of the music.

So it's fine to say, "I only care about the real experience of the show" -- but most of us are going to miss most shows. Therefore I'm always going to prefer a review of the music (which is all I'm going to ever get if I miss the show), uncolored by the fleeting phantoms of the in-person experience which never make it to the tapes.

More absentee reviews, please!
Score: 2
unoclay Reply
unoclay > > > > > If ANYONE were making that argument, what you're saying might have some bearing on the subject. .....So you're arguing, in part, against something that isn't even being put forward.

I agree, I am. When I put forward a rhetorical argument, I definitely try to shut down the obvious objections before they get raised (saves time in replies and is good dialectical process, imho).

> > > > > And you're seemingly neglecting to realize that, unfortunate as it may be, it is nevertheless true that many aspects of what it means to *really* be there and *really* experience the show are also intensely subjective, variable and, as everyone who sees shows and later listens to recordings realizes, capable of interfering with a judgement of the music.

Sure--but i disagree that I'm neglecting to realize it.

My original post states: "Does this mean that I invariably trust the biased show-goer who is simply bubbling over with love for The Phish? Certainly not--I prefer objective statements and attempts at "unbiased" observations in all reviews, regardless of whether the author was in the audience or at home. "

You clearly articulate your preference, and its obviously a fine way to enjoy part of phish. I'm really just objecting to the (often voiced, or implied) viewpoint that an audio-only review is a valid assessment of the show itself (a phenomenon, an art object, live art form, etc).
Score: 0
sethadam1 Phish.net Staff Reply
sethadam1 @unoclay said:
I appreciate the opinions expressed here, and you've done as good a job as one might hope toward convincing me that people who weren't at a show have a better (or even equal) ability to comment on a show than someone who was there.

That said, I always put the primacy of importance on people who were actually there--who actually experienced the SHOW, not merely 'the music'.
I could argue both sides here, but I feel strongly that the obvious answer is this: everyone knows that the non-audible real life experiences add to the show memory, that's a given. It's nice to document those facts too; hopefully, people do in their own show reviews.

But our recaps are mostly evaluations of the music itself, a primer for people looking to understand which shows are worth hearing after the fact. Otherwise, all we're doing is preserving one person's experience. That's not really a recap, that's a review, tag it on with the rest of the reviews.

A recap should be a neutral take on the music, that's what our goal was. Yes, it's still subjective, but that's somewhat offset by the fact that we're all hearing just the music - there are no bunk shrooms or glorious gooballs that might be affecting the interpretation. The heat isn't killing us and the gorgeous rainbow isn't making us into softees. At the end of the day, the recap is about music, and reviews are about personal experiences.

At least, that's how we see it.
Score: 1
davidgiven Reply
davidgiven Wow--I am surprised by this. A lot. Lots of people are fine with Show reviews written by people listening to the tape...I would prefer show reviews written by people who were there.

A lot.

In fact, I am of the opinion that was the roll of the critic--to actually experience as much of what they were writing about as possible.

I think Critics actually need to attend the Show to write a review of the Show--and I would like Phish.net reviews to be about the Show.
Score: 1
steve_and_em Reply
I am actually surprised more that there is such a debate about this, but, perhaps I shouldn't be since there seems to most often be a debate about most things Phish. The separation appears to mostly be a more philosophical debate in which one asks "Can you separate the music from the experience?" I would say that the answer is a resounding yes and that is one of the POINTS of the recap.

We all know that a live Phish concert is a blend of music and experience. Hell, there have been shows that have been such an experience just GETTING there that by the time they hit the first not I had almost forgotten that at the end of all that Phish was actually going to play. I don't think that in any way, recapping the previous nights music in any way detracts from any experience a person had at a show.

This seems to go back to a never ending debate between why people go: Personal or Precise. Precise people want eloquent, articulate jams with a well constructed set list and personal want loose, happy, joking around Phish. Rarely are both in the same show. Is it hard to capture the energy when you are not there, especially of a more "personal" show? Of course! Are there moments at shows and at times entire shows that you had to be there to really get it? Of course! That's what makes Phish who they are.

However, from a "precise" view point, can you evaluate the energy delivered in an individual song without commenting on the energy of the crowd? Absolutely. Can you evaluate the music itself without the experience? Certainly. I would simply expect that those reading the recaps take them for what they are, evaluations of a show and/or it's music based on how the blogger experienced the show. Read. Agree. Disagree. Move in.

Thanks Phish.net you do a fantastic job with this site and thanks to everyone who loves Phish for being precise, personal, or both.
Score: 3
steve_and_em Reply
@TheLizard said:
That may be true, but I listened to the recording of sunday night's show last night, and if you weren't there you would not have known that they didn't include in the recording how Trey was playing Eleanore Rigby teases before they threw down Crosseyed and Painless. Or how Trey had just put down his guitar during yem and started getting down while Mike laid out his unexpected barrage of bass bombs and funky slapping with a huge smile on his face. Saying you don't have to be at a show to review it is like saying you don't have to have eaten an entire bowl of Capt'n Crunch in order to write a review on it. Just a taste of one piece would be sufficient. Without eating a whole serving, you wouldn't know that after a few minutes, when the milk just starts soaking in, the cereal starts to cut the roof of your mouth. Or the gritty feeling it leaves on your teeth after you finish the bowl. You may have gotten a taste of the show by listening to it on your computer, but you would not know the gravity of Mike's thunderous bass bombs. Or appreciate the look on the band's faces when they are fully immersed in a particularly outstanding jam. A huge part of the show is the energy that the band exudes while playing to all it's adoring fans. Isn't that one of the reason we try so hard to get into the show itself. Or how good the acoustics of the venue were. You may listen to the soundtrack of a movie, but without seeing the film, you can not make an accurate review. I can't tell you how many times I have left a show with me and many of the other show goes feeling that the show was absolutely stellar, only to read a review back at the hotel that the show had been lack-luster or just average. I know, to many people, the drugs they took can play a large part in swaying this perception, but as I attend the shows fully sober, I am not influenced by those things. The overwhelming truth is that the quality of a show can only be accurately depicted by someone who was in attendance. And when I haven't attended the show, they are the only opinions I can fully trust.
This one just got me a little bit and I felt like I had to point out that the analogy you use would be someone basing their ENTIRE opinion on seeing Phish live by listening to it on tape. The truth is that I don't think that is at all what is happening. What you are trying to say is that no matter how many bowls of Cap'n Crunch anyone has eaten they cannot make an opinion on THIS bowl of Cap'n Crunch. While it's true, they can't see the bowl, they don't know if it is clay or ceramic or even how big. They don't know the size of the spoon or even possibly if it is 2% or whole milk, but they have HAD bowls of Cap'n Crunch before. They know about many of the things you describe. And while it is true that it may not deliver the entirety of this PARTICULAR bowl, I think that the opinion of people who have eaten Cap'n Crunch for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a LONG time has merit, even if they only get to sample YOUR particular bowl.

Not being a jerk, but either the analogy was not what you intended or it was a perfectly accurate analogy for exactly the opposite of what you were saying.
Score: 1
MDosque Reply
MDosque Hey Everyone,

I know I'm late to the party but I want to chime in. Personally, I think that someone who writes a review should have been at the show. The reason why I am on this site daily is because I cannot be on the road seeing them every night and I want to experience the shows vicariously through people that are lucky enough to be in the audience. Sure, it is helpful to know that the version of Light is must-hear and the show is worth a download. I love that information. But what I love more is for the reviewer to set the stage for me (not specifically personal like "this frat tool spilled a beer on me and was yapping through the Billy Breathes solo" but more like "Trey looked at Page midway through the type 1 jam of Tweezer and then, DAMN, Mike dropped a bomb and the crowd went nuts." Yes, webcast can see that too, but I tend to want information regarding the venue, crowd vibe, chemistry, lights, etc a lot more than weather it translates to a recording. Just a personal opinion - that's what I enjoy reading most. I would be a little disappointed to see phish.net go strictly into tape-recommendation site. When I started reading gadiel.com in the 90's that was a necessary function due to the technological limitations, but now, for me, this site can hopefully offer more than a recommendation to "seek out that tape ASAP at any cost."

As this has become an overarching philosophical discussion, I also feel obligated to add that it gets on my last nerve when people post stuff that is critical of criticism. Get over it. This community loves to micro analyze the band. We love them. That's why. It's not negative to bitch a little bit. It's because people care. Just read it, add your two cents and move one. That rant last week by someone about the negativity was weird.

One last thing - waxbanks - good to see you back brother, but you were firing too strong and it was obviously personal. I hope you work it out with whoever you are, as the kids say, beefin wit. You should know that every time I see you post, I read it because I have read so much good shit by you on past shows and you know what the hell your talking about. Peace out to all. I would love a fall arena tour - and we need them here to do DC - and Merriweather doesn't count.

Sincerely,
Dosque
Score: 3
makisupaman Reply
makisupaman "The collective thunderbolt or satori experience is very rare -- and deservedly treasured -- but the individual thunderbolt or satori experience is very common."

This is probably the most important point of the whole piece. Keeping this one bit of wisdom in mind when reading reviews seems like a proper modus operandi going forward, for me anyways. That is always my hang-up, trying to reconcile my own subjectivity with that of others. In the end, 'nothing I see can be taken from me,' which is perhaps all that matters, but I think it's healthy and actually pretty challenging (yet rewarding) to be open-minded when hearing someone else's take on an experience s/he shared in common with one's own experience, whether that be by way of a recording or in-person. The lengthy discussion the OP spawned speaks to that challenge.
Score: 2
3conecap Reply
3conecap @TheEmu said:
@TheLizard said:
I can't tell you how many times I have left a show with me and many of the other show goes feeling that the show was absolutely stellar, only to read a review back at the hotel that the show had been lack-luster or just average.
But this only becomes a problem, IMO, if you take what the reviewer says about the "show" being average to mean that the experience must have been average, or that having the time of your life at that show is dumb because the music was average. Maybe the recaps come across that way sometimes; maybe all reviews need to state clearly up top that whether or not the reviewer is talking about the live experience or the recorded music.

I don't think there is anything wrong with reviewing just the recorded music. For that matter, there's nothing wrong with reviewing the concert experience. Both have value, and you can enjoy one and not the other. Two examples from my experience:

A friend of mine took off on a whim and drove from Des Moines to Dayton for the 11-30-95 show. At the time, he didn't enjoy it. He thought it was a poor show, that the band sounded off. When he finally got the tape in early '96, he was blown away by it and insisted on spinning it for me right away.

Earlier this summer, I had the best Phish concert experience of my life at Portsmouth2. I thought it was a perfect show, and that the Divided Sky was truly an amazing moment in Phish history. Listening to the show over the next few days, I was surprised to discover it was possibly above average, but not that far above.

So, in either case, a review of the show and a review of the music might be quite different, and both are valid and have their place. But since most of us actually weren't there, and can never be, it makes a lot of sense to spend more time on reviews of the recorded music, with reviews of the experience sprinkled in when possible. Plus, people can give their take on the concert experience in the comments of the blog, as well as on the reviews linked to the setlist.

The bottom line is that saying a "show" is average doesn't mean that the live experience must also have been average.

::goes to refill bag of hot air::
Very well said @TheEmu!
Score: 0
Josh006 Reply
Josh006 I am one of those people who thinks that people who webcast shows should NEVER review a show, not because their opinions are meaningless, but rather because I feel their take should be discussed/shared in the comments section. 15 years from now when I go back to reminisce about past shows, I'd like to hear from people who were THERE to help me piece those live memories back together. One way of looking at this- do webcasters count shows they watched from their couch towards their statistics? No? Well why do you think that is? Listening to old shows will tell you something about the music, but it doesn't put you THERE.

Look, I was at all 3 of the SF shows and I'm gonna be honest, reading some of the reviews after the show on Friday kinda knocked my post-show high down JUST A LITTLE (because that 2nd set was BALLS- like could contend against most shows this tour). Wanna know why? Because WE ALL share in the groove. Reading webcasters spewing hate regarding that was, I'm sorry to say, very ignorant and just plain factually incorrect! Still though, I just stopped reading and stopped looking at this site. I guess that's just the way the diehards gotta go. It's been real though.
Score: 0
trenthfb Reply
Thank you phish.net and all of you who keep IT going. Eternally grateful.
Rock on!
Trenthfb
Score: 2
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @Josh006 said:
I am one of those people who thinks that people who webcast shows should NEVER review a show, not because their opinions are meaningless, but rather because I feel their take should be discussed/shared in the comments section. 15 years from now when I go back to reminisce about past shows, I'd like to hear from people who were THERE to help me piece those live memories back together. One way of looking at this- do webcasters count shows they watched from their couch towards their statistics? No? Well why do you think that is? Listening to old shows will tell you something about the music, but it doesn't put you THERE.

Look, I was at all 3 of the SF shows and I'm gonna be honest, reading some of the reviews after the show on Friday kinda knocked my post-show high down JUST A LITTLE (because that 2nd set was BALLS- like could contend against most shows this tour). Wanna know why? Because WE ALL share in the groove. Reading webcasters spewing hate regarding that was, I'm sorry to say, very ignorant and just plain factually incorrect!
I was the one who reviewed Friday and I stand by it.

"Spewing hate" and "ignorant" and "factually incorrect" are tall claims for which you offer no evidence. Would you like to offer some?

As for that recap's impact on your post-show high, that's on you. Sorry.
Score: 2
Puffy Reply
I have learned how to take the recaps. I argue some points with myself sometimes, but use it as a metronome and I decide the syncopation of critique. To be honest there are times right before attending a show, I refuse to read the recap because I don't want to be so critical while I'm there. Sometimes I understand the term jaded vet more from reading the recap. But nowhere else can you get such quick solid facts, live setlists, than on the .net and nor can you get a technical opinion than on the recap. After I heard the SF first thing that came to mind was a recap of a lack luster quick Crosseyed from 3.0 that did not do justice to past ones. The boys listen and when they want to they put it to rest. Thanks to all it makes it what it is and why we do it.
Score: 1
steve_and_em Reply
@bertoletdown said:
@Josh006 said:
I am one of those people who thinks that people who webcast shows should NEVER review a show, not because their opinions are meaningless, but rather because I feel their take should be discussed/shared in the comments section. 15 years from now when I go back to reminisce about past shows, I'd like to hear from people who were THERE to help me piece those live memories back together. One way of looking at this- do webcasters count shows they watched from their couch towards their statistics? No? Well why do you think that is? Listening to old shows will tell you something about the music, but it doesn't put you THERE.

Look, I was at all 3 of the SF shows and I'm gonna be honest, reading some of the reviews after the show on Friday kinda knocked my post-show high down JUST A LITTLE (because that 2nd set was BALLS- like could contend against most shows this tour). Wanna know why? Because WE ALL share in the groove. Reading webcasters spewing hate regarding that was, I'm sorry to say, very ignorant and just plain factually incorrect!
I was the one who reviewed Friday and I stand by it.

"Spewing hate" and "ignorant" and "factually incorrect" are tall claims for which you offer no evidence. Would you like to offer some?

As for that recap's impact on your post-show high, that's on you. Sorry.
I agree with Josh and to be honest, I had to stop reading the original post after:

(because that 2nd set was BALLS- like could contend against most shows this tour).

Really? It doesn't even contend with half the second sets on Leg 2 and there have only been FOUR of them! (Long Beach & SF3). This is the kind of subjective conjecture I am glad to not read in the recaps. Keep up the good work fellas.

FYI - If a recap can knock down your post show bliss...you're doing it wrong.
Score: 1
TheLizard Reply
@TheEmu said:
@TheLizard said: [quote] I can't tell you how many times I have left a show with me and many of the other show goes feeling that the show was absolutely stellar, only to read a review back at the hotel that the show had been lack-luster or just average.
But this only becomes a problem, IMO, if you take what the reviewer says about the "show" being average to mean that the experience must have been average, or that having the time of your life at that show is dumb because the music was average. Maybe the recaps come across that way sometimes; maybe all reviews need to state clearly up top that whether or not the reviewer is talking about the live experience or the recorded music. [/i]
I obviously do not take a reviewers word over my opinion of a show if I was there. Even if someone else who was there thought the show was terrible and I thought it was amazing then I continue to believe it was just as amazing as I had experienced it to be. For instance, the Boardwalk Music Hall shows, I thought, were fantastic!! The Boys were dead on the whole run. I absolutely loved the venue and it still remains one of my favorite venues for sound quality and general layout. And strictly musically speaking, I thought it was incredible. Especially the 30th, they were ON FIRE!!! Especially with the Tweezer> Heartbreaker> Tweezer> Ramble On> Thank You> Tweezer> Stairway. Historical!! However, I had run into a few people throughout the run in bathroom lines and such who were complaining about how awful both the shows and the venue were. I told them that they were out of their minds and not to infect me with their bad attitudes. I do agree that it is very important for a reviewer to note whether or not they had attended the show. But as for the argument that some others have been making about how people at the shows may be jaded or swayed by their actual show experience, positive or negative, people listening at home may also be jaded by many factors. Maybe they had a bad connection, pet pissing on the rug, fight with significant other, lost their job or the fact that they were upset that they couldn't attend the show. Yes, all people's reviews are strictly their opinions and you can take what you want, but to imply that people attending the shows can not give an objective musical review as others have said is absurd. And it's not just about your show experience, you simply can not hear the music through your computer or home speakers the way you can hear it through speakers at any concert venue.
Score: 0
TheLizard Reply
@steve_and_em said:
@TheLizard said:
That may be true, but I listened to the recording of sunday night's show last night, and if you weren't there you would not have known that they didn't include in the recording how Trey was playing Eleanore Rigby teases before they threw down Crosseyed and Painless. Or how Trey had just put down his guitar during yem and started getting down while Mike laid out his unexpected barrage of bass bombs and funky slapping with a huge smile on his face. Saying you don't have to be at a show to review it is like saying you don't have to have eaten an entire bowl of Capt'n Crunch in order to write a review on it. Just a taste of one piece would be sufficient. Without eating a whole serving, you wouldn't know that after a few minutes, when the milk just starts soaking in, the cereal starts to cut the roof of your mouth. Or the gritty feeling it leaves on your teeth after you finish the bowl. You may have gotten a taste of the show by listening to it on your computer, but you would not know the gravity of Mike's thunderous bass bombs. Or appreciate the look on the band's faces when they are fully immersed in a particularly outstanding jam. A huge part of the show is the energy that the band exudes while playing to all it's adoring fans. Isn't that one of the reason we try so hard to get into the show itself. Or how good the acoustics of the venue were. You may listen to the soundtrack of a movie, but without seeing the film, you can not make an accurate review. I can't tell you how many times I have left a show with me and many of the other show goes feeling that the show was absolutely stellar, only to read a review back at the hotel that the show had been lack-luster or just average. I know, to many people, the drugs they took can play a large part in swaying this perception, but as I attend the shows fully sober, I am not influenced by those things. The overwhelming truth is that the quality of a show can only be accurately depicted by someone who was in attendance. And when I haven't attended the show, they are the only opinions I can fully trust.
This one just got me a little bit and I felt like I had to point out that the analogy you use would be someone basing their ENTIRE opinion on seeing Phish live by listening to it on tape. The truth is that I don't think that is at all what is happening. What you are trying to say is that no matter how many bowls of Cap'n Crunch anyone has eaten they cannot make an opinion on THIS bowl of Cap'n Crunch. While it's true, they can't see the bowl, they don't know if it is clay or ceramic or even how big. They don't know the size of the spoon or even possibly if it is 2% or whole milk, but they have HAD bowls of Cap'n Crunch before. They know about many of the things you describe. And while it is true that it may not deliver the entirety of this PARTICULAR bowl, I think that the opinion of people who have eaten Cap'n Crunch for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a LONG time has merit, even if they only get to sample YOUR particular bowl.

Not being a jerk, but either the analogy was not what you intended or it was a perfectly accurate analogy for exactly the opposite of what you were saying.
I don't know what is so hard to understand about this, but obviously you are having trouble. It's very very simple. If you are listening to a recording of the show, you are just getting a taste. Not the full experience of the show. I don't really care how many shows anyone has seen live. We all know that each show is incredibly unique and just because you have seen and heard a live bowie or reba or stash or whatever before, doesn't mean that you experienced that particular one if you weren't there. My analogy was exactly on the point I was trying to make. It's not my fault you have trouble understanding it.
Score: 0
patper Reply
patper The Phish shows I have attended are always six hundred million times better in person than re-listening to the recordings of the same shows.

I have always taken reviews with a grain of salt, and generally avoid reading them. Phish didn't make their way selling compressed soundboard recordings made in front of no audience. They made their way because of the people who are there watching them do it.
Score: 1
tasatter Reply
Nice. Rock, man.
Score: 0
mikh2wg Reply
mikh2wg @johnnyd said:
@mikh2wg said:
True, popular threads don't need to be sticky. But I've never seen a thread that attempted to collect stories about the show and not the music. Maybe that's because no one wants to read a thread like that, but maybe not.
Only one way to find out. i'll start it up the morning after the next show and we'll see what happens.
Good deal, go for it. Maybe start it today or tonight to introduce the idea, and lets come up with a thread title that we can standardize for all shows. Like a running feature. e.g. "Experiential Reviews - Oak Mountain" - but maybe less bland and sterile.

I like this idea. I personally enjoy reading fun and interesting stories about shows that don't specifically focus on the music alone. The forum might be a better venue for that.
Ok, the thread is up and the Almighty Mods have made it sticky. Thanks, guys. It's called:

Kansas City Show Stories

I wasn't there so I'd love to hear what happened to you. I think most of use would agree that show experiences are subjective. But subjective can be fun too. Let's go Gonzo on it!
Score: 1
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd @mikh2wg said:
Ok, the thread is up and the Almighty Mods have made it sticky. Thanks, guys.
You bet.
Just for the record, I'm the n00b Mod, not one of the Almighty ones.
: )
Score: 0
Josh006 Reply
Josh006 @bertoletdown said:
@Josh006 said:
I am one of those people who thinks that people who webcast shows should NEVER review a show, not because their opinions are meaningless, but rather because I feel their take should be discussed/shared in the comments section. 15 years from now when I go back to reminisce about past shows, I'd like to hear from people who were THERE to help me piece those live memories back together. One way of looking at this- do webcasters count shows they watched from their couch towards their statistics? No? Well why do you think that is? Listening to old shows will tell you something about the music, but it doesn't put you THERE.

Look, I was at all 3 of the SF shows and I'm gonna be honest, reading some of the reviews after the show on Friday kinda knocked my post-show high down JUST A LITTLE (because that 2nd set was BALLS- like could contend against most shows this tour). Wanna know why? Because WE ALL share in the groove. Reading webcasters spewing hate regarding that was, I'm sorry to say, very ignorant and just plain factually incorrect!
I was the one who reviewed Friday and I stand by it.

"Spewing hate" and "ignorant" and "factually incorrect" are tall claims for which you offer no evidence. Would you like to offer some?

As for that recap's impact on your post-show high, that's on you. Sorry.
No no no, sorry for my confusing post brah... I wasn't referring to the full-on "recap", but rather the initial reviewer comment on that section by @HighNote, who was complaining of poorly executed transitions (there were no real segues, so it's kinda hard to really mess up a transition like that) and generally degrading the show as a whole. While I give you Wading and Joy were kinda slow and were a bit awkward sandwiched between Disease> Birds> Tweezer> Twist then CDT then Antelope, but being at the show, I found those tunes to be both beautiful and necessary so that I might catch my breath. After noticing people who weren't there poop all over Friday and Saturday, I stopped reading and so I never read your Recap (no offense). I do find it strange that official recaps are being written by people who werent at the show, which as far as I'm concerned invalidates any commentary. Can a movie reviewer write a review on a flick without ever seeing the production but rather just read the book?

As far as my "post-show high", none of y'all really killed it, just added to my frustration in that the couch tour is an awesome thing, but it's not even on the same plane of existence as being at a show! To pretend otherwise is utterly ridiculous!!!
Score: 0
Josh006 Reply
Josh006 @steve_and_em said:
@bertoletdown said:
@Josh006 said:
I am one of those people who thinks that people who webcast shows should NEVER review a show, not because their opinions are meaningless, but rather because I feel their take should be discussed/shared in the comments section. 15 years from now when I go back to reminisce about past shows, I'd like to hear from people who were THERE to help me piece those live memories back together. One way of looking at this- do webcasters count shows they watched from their couch towards their statistics? No? Well why do you think that is? Listening to old shows will tell you something about the music, but it doesn't put you THERE.

Look, I was at all 3 of the SF shows and I'm gonna be honest, reading some of the reviews after the show on Friday kinda knocked my post-show high down JUST A LITTLE (because that 2nd set was BALLS- like could contend against most shows this tour). Wanna know why? Because WE ALL share in the groove. Reading webcasters spewing hate regarding that was, I'm sorry to say, very ignorant and just plain factually incorrect!
I was the one who reviewed Friday and I stand by it.

"Spewing hate" and "ignorant" and "factually incorrect" are tall claims for which you offer no evidence. Would you like to offer some?

As for that recap's impact on your post-show high, that's on you. Sorry.
I agree with Josh and to be honest, I had to stop reading the original post after:

(because that 2nd set was BALLS- like could contend against most shows this tour).

Really? It doesn't even contend with half the second sets on Leg 2 and there have only been FOUR of them! (Long Beach & SF3). This is the kind of subjective conjecture I am glad to not read in the recaps. Keep up the good work fellas.

FYI - If a recap can knock down your post show bliss...you're doing it wrong.
By "tour", I was including leg 1. As far as the "post show bliss", see above. ;-P
Score: 0
bs915 Reply
bs915 The only issue I have with the recaps is their inconsistency. Not in the actual reviews, but in their postings. How come there are reviews for the 1st and 3rd nights of BG, but not the second? There are other shows that seem to have gone unrecapped, or the recap was posted so long afterwards that it didn't even matter anymore.

I don't get to go to many shows, and, truth be told, I'm usually too tired to even stay up late enough to catch the entire setlist, so one of my favorite things when I get to work in the morning during tour is to read the recap of the previous nights show. Some recaps seem to be posted within hours of the last note, and others still aren't posted days later. Is it because an assigned recapper has dropped the ball? No admins at the show? Hard to put the experience into words sometimes? Any reason is acceptable, and I defintely understand if writing a recap is the last thing someone wants to do after a show.

So, in summation, I love the recaps, it's a great addition to all that phish.net does, but I think it would be nice if their posting time was more consistent.
Score: 0
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd @bs915 - It's a bunch of volunteers with any combination of full time jobs, families, houses, and any other commitments and obligations that normal people have. We're doing our collective best to coordinate and produce. We do realize how many page views the recaps get, and understand that they are of a lot of value to many dotnet users the next day, ASAP.
Score: 0
bs915 Reply
bs915 Thanks @johnnyd. I always appreciate how open and honest the admins are with us common.netter-folk.
Score: 1
HarryHerring Reply
HarryHerring This website has recaps??
Score: 0
ericwyman Phish.net Staff Reply
ericwyman @bs915 said:
Some recaps seem to be posted within hours of the last note, and others still aren't posted days later. Is it because an assigned recapper has dropped the ball? No admins at the show? Hard to put the experience into words sometimes? Any reason is acceptable, and I defintely understand if writing a recap is the last thing someone wants to do after a show.

So, in summation, I love the recaps, it's a great addition to all that phish.net does, but I think it would be nice if their posting time was more consistent.
It's all of the above. I will say for myself, that writing a thoughtful recap is a tremendous amount of work. Sometimes it's just tough to get in before the next show happens. We'll keep working at it. Glad you enjoy them.

Score: 2
YouSuckAtTucking Reply
By this reasoning, Id say you'd have to be at EVERY SHOW to recap.

My favorite recaps on this site are just that....RECAPS. Not reviews.
Score: 0
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @ericwyman said:
@bs915 said:
Some recaps seem to be posted within hours of the last note, and others still aren't posted days later. Is it because an assigned recapper has dropped the ball? No admins at the show? Hard to put the experience into words sometimes? Any reason is acceptable, and I defintely understand if writing a recap is the last thing someone wants to do after a show.

So, in summation, I love the recaps, it's a great addition to all that phish.net does, but I think it would be nice if their posting time was more consistent.
It's all of the above. I will say for myself, that writing a thoughtful recap is a tremendous amount of work. Sometimes it's just tough to get in before the next show happens. We'll keep working at it. Glad you enjoy them.
This, PLUS nobody here feels entitled to write a recap of a shitty stream. That, you can be assured, will never happen.

We are working internally to develop a more reliable rostering system that will hopefully ensure that every show gets recapped within 24 hours. I think we've got this tour pretty well covered from here on out. Feel free to hold us accountable if we don't deliver.
Score: 0
Josh006 Reply
Josh006 @bertoletdown - No worries bro, thanks for understanding (even if you don't necessarily "agree" ;) where I'm coming from!
Score: 0

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