One of the things that makes 3.0 feel like older Phish is that it's been evolving. Look back to the first era of Phish. We had the early years where no one knew how songs were going to go - "Fluffhead" and "The Divided Sky" took pieces from other songs to make their final versions - or even who was going to be in the band. Then we had the slow rise of the band as a touring outfit in the early 90s. This led to two distinct peaks in 95 and 97, revolving around different styles. The last thing that could be considered a change would be the addition of the Trey band songs and their groove based jams in 99. Since then Phish kind of felt like the same band. Sometimes they jammed more (2004), sometimes the songs were better played, but between 98 and 04, the change was pretty subtle. They played the same songs - with a large catalog, you couldn't take it over with new songs (giving a show a different feel) the way you could when the Rift songs came out - in the same venues in a fairly similar style. There was some truth to Trey's nostalgia band comments around the time of the breakup. It felt like there was no new direction to go.
That was a question for Phish’s return. Where – if anywhere – could they go to make music different from what they have done in the past? They took the Choose Your Own Adventure approach, retreating back to the last safe spot before all of the disasters happened. 2009 feels closer to 1992-3 stylistically than anything else. What’s been making it exciting is that the rules have been changing. Remastering the songs first led to subtle improvisational changes (e.g. the end of “Prince Caspian” being surprising in many 2010 versions) and then became the goofy mashup stylings of Fall 2010, where they could play two or three songs interlaced with each other.
We’re just getting used to Song Based Jamming, but the rules are changing again. In the four shows since Superball IX, two of them have featured a jam based on the style of the “Storage Jam.” It’s starting to look like that late night jam might be one of the defining moments of the band, along the lines of how playing Remain in Light started the cowfunk revolution. It’s a new style of playing, one that at least will define the end of summer 2011. Maybe it’ll be done before Colorado, maybe we’ll be hearing jams in this style in 2029. Right now we have absolutely no way of knowing; that by itself is incredibly exciting.
Greetings from Stateline, Nevada. Phish just finished up a show in what really amounts to Phish Fantasy Camp. Fans not fortunate enough to be in Tahoe likely listened to the show via the livephish.com webcast. So, most people interested in reading this have likely experienced the show in one fashion or another. For the rest of you, there's the ten cent version (SPOILER ALERT): The first set will have little to offer you; the second set is must-hear Phish.
Don't get me wrong, the first set was an enjoyable set of Phish, made immeasurably better by the fact that it took place in one of the more beautiful stretches of land this country has to offer, hosted by a truly laid back staff. But that can't and won't be captured on the recordings. An apropos "Party Time" kicked off the festivities, followed by an "Oh Kee Pa" > "Bag." The set remained song oriented with "Mellow Mood," a tasty "PYITE" > "Meat" combo and the first real, if you'll excuse the pun, "meat" of the set in "Bowie." "Bowie" was similar to other recent versions in that it was well-played, particularly compared with earlier 3.0 versions, but never quite made it into the stratosphere. Several songs later, "46 Days" provided the highlight of the set.
We just received an email from @herschel confirming that print at home tickets for tonight's show at Harvey's Outdoor Arena in South Lake Tahoe do indeed need to be exchanged for hard tickets prior to entry into the venue.
A sign at the entrance reads:
No Ticketfast tickets will be accepted. Please exchange all printed tickets at the Ticketmaster office, located in the Harveys Bus Lobby.
If you're on site with such a ticket you will want to plan a few extra minutes to get a new one so as not to miss the opener :)
Tonight marked Phish’s first Los Angeles appearance since Valentine’s Day 2003. That’s an awfully long time for our little town – which boasts a lot more Phish fans than many may assume – to wait. It was worth it.
Words serve poorly when trying to describe the Hollywood Bowl. For an audience it is an eyeful, and a constant inspiration, and for a band it presents certain problems. It creates a lot of space that wants to be filled. It has spirits and mythology. And for much of the first set tonight, the P.A. wouldn’t warm up.
It's Monday and even though the Blog has more important things to do today (Hollywood Bowl!!), it still found time to bring you a Mystery Jam. As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). The hint will come on Tuesday and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Tuesday Hint: Fun show at the Bowl last night. Sure had been awhile since they last played the LA area...
Wednesday Answer: Congratulations to Rutherford_The_Brave for nailing the 2/14/03 "Walls of the Cave" from Phish's last trip to the L.A. area. The Blog will be back on Monday with another Mystery Jam.
I had occasion to interview a pop star last week, and in reference to his band's current tour, he said it was "a good show." One of the treats about following the work of Phish is that its touring history is a long, ever-evolving narrative—not a collection of singular "shows" that are each mounted night after night in different cities, aiming to achieve the same effect and hit the same marks, as if a touring Broadway production. And so, within the rhythm of a given Phish tour, different clumps of shows naturally cohere into groups: a West Coast run here, a second leg there, perhaps a Red Rocks stand. For attendees of the second-leg-opening pair of shows at the Gorge this weekend, the music of the two nights likey combines into a jamble of highlights. And so the weaknesses of Saturday's show are easier to overlook—it's more pleasant to take its high points, combine them with the best parts of Friday's tour opener, and celebrate the highlight reel of "the Gorge."
Congratulations to "Runaway Jim", pictured above with phan owner Stacy.
Jim won his maiden race for three year olds and up at the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY in Friday's 8th race (a $48,000 allowance race on the turf for 3-year-olds and up), running 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf and winning in 1:42:40. It was only his second race of the year, after a rehab stint over the winter/spring season. Jim paid $10 to win, $4.20 to place and $3.60 to show.
The Gorge. A simply stunning landscape coupled with rich Phish history spanning back to 1997, you know it is going to be good. Apparently required disclaimer: I didn’t attend this gig and am writing this recap literally “on the couch” from Cape Cod based on the recording. If this approach offends your sensibilities or invalidates the opinions offered, you are welcome and encouraged to not read it. Thanks! Let’s get to the action.
A crisp, upbeat and metaphor-rich opening sequence of “Kill Devil Falls” and “The Wedge” starts things out with appropriate nods to the spectacular surroundings before yielding to the first jam vehicle of the night, "Bathtub Gin.” Facing a strong headwind of history at this venue (8/3/97 and 8/7/09 are must-hears) “Gin” immediately dispels any notion that rust may have accumulated during the month break after SBIX. Breezily riding the main theme with Trey sailing over the groove, the foundation doesn’t stray but the steady, attacking build and culmination equals total satisfaction. In the words of @ericwyman: “pure power gin last night, rage face on hardcore.” Indeed.
IT never ceases to amaze you. The first taste fills you with a joy so supreme, you want the experience to last forever. The moment of discovery is pure and beautiful. As it happens, there is nothing more important, nothing more meaningful. Your heart races. You forget to breathe. Your soul is blissfully overwhelmed. You cannot get enough of it. You had never met before, but you had known it all your life. It has found you, and you, it.
For over ten years, phans have volunteered a lot of creative fundraising efforts to support the Mockingbird Foundation's mission to bring music education to underserved kids, including tribute band shows, poker tournaments, poster exhibitions and CD release parties.
For Phish's Denver-area run at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in suburban Commerce City, CO over Labor Day weekend, tour operator Greg Yance of Bobby D-Tour is donating the entire proceeds of the on-board bars on his upscale Denver shuttle buses to the Mockingbird Foundation. The rolling bars will feature beer, wine, sodas and snacks "at lot prices".