The Mockingbird Foundation has issued an all-points bulletin seeking old photos of Phish. Now that there's a pause in touring, we're asking you to climb into your closets, break out the shoeboxes, crack open the photo albums, and help us out. We're looking for anything, everything, but especially '83 to '97, the 15 years before there WAS a Mockingbird Foundation. (No need to hesitate on newer stuff - we'll consider anything - but we need to fill gaps in early years, asap!)
And not just you, because there's a chance we've asked you before: We beg, plead, with you to contact other Phish fans you know - perhaps, even, this is a chance to reach out to phans you used to know or travel with but haven't seen in awhile. Find 'em on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (remember that?), Google+ (remember that?), or just Google stalk them until you find them. Even if you don't have anyone in mind, we hope you'll spread this APB far and wide - tweet it, post it, send it anywhere - all points of contact, please! :)
Off the heels of a truly inspired Phish tour comes another edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday. The 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. Good luck!
Answer: Many of you quickly and correctly speculated that this clip came from the It festival, but first-time MJM winner @warped was the first to identify the 8/2/03 Spread It 'Round.
The tour closer. Phish is playing as well as they have in years. More than that, it seems like this is a general consensus. Phish fans may be scattered across generations and social-media platforms but there is little obvious disagreement about the quality of improvisation, which night in and night out has been magnificent. The drummer is massive, controlling the action in front of him to a greater degree than ever before. The keyboard player is all over the place, more percussive than usual, rising to the challenge, demanding and happily executing solos when usually he lays back. Even the guitar player, on whom so much depends, is hitting his marks most of the time and seems to want to do it right.
Phish, Inc. chose to offer a free webcast of Sunday night's Phish concert live from Alpharetta, Georgia. One wonders why it was free, whether enough shame finally accrued to the organization from the amateur-hour shenanigans of Nugs.net that it felt the need to pay off the fan base, or whether they are testing a new product, or whether they are deviously trying to identify, harvest, and ruthlessly exploit your intimate personal information like Facebook. When the band took the stage at 8:13pm, it was playing to a big room.
Tonight, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre hosts the 21st and second-to-last show of Phish’s 2014 summer season. Tomorrow’s capper in Alpharetta will close the books on a tour that has left smoking craters in its wake and paid off with a consistency that rivals fall 2013. With one or two minor exceptions that are probably better left unnamed, the band has played with purpose, patience, and fire at every stop this summer, spinning ideas into moments and moments into grand, cathedral proclamations.
On a few of these nights (like the second night of Merriweather, which is by now a shopworn reference) it has seemed as if Phish could do no wrong. The band’s own social media stream suggests that they are doing a whole mess of rehearsing out there on the road (as distinguished from sound-checking), which would certainly explain in part the confidence and surefooted execution we have seen so far.
Friday night’s Phish gig at The Amphitheater at the Wharf in Orange Beach, AL began an increasingly rare three night, three city run. The first such run since 2012 also presents relatively modest driving distances (three to four hours) between shows, almost like we’re back in the 90s.
The Wharf itself is an interesting venue. Only a few miles from the site of the Hangout Festival (and the BP oil spill of 2010), the amphitheater is situated among a complex of high-end condos, mediocre restaurants and overpriced retail stores. Like Oak Mountain, the venue has no covered pavilion and no lawn. The reserved seats are just metal bleachers, behind a not-oversold GA pit area. Despite a seemingly tolerant atmosphere (the other Richard and I got to-go cups from Ginny Lane), there wasn’t much of a lot scene. Tickets seemed plentiful, with both pit and reserved seats available for face value or less – even free.