So I was just listening to “Gone” off of Party Time and I was trying to think of what the lyrically darkest Phish songs are. These are the ones that come to mind.
“Esther” - it might be just a little too goofy to qualify, but it’s a woman who accepts a random gift and finds her life spiraling downhill rapidly the second she takes it.
“Free” - only if you accept that this is a song about drowning your wife and then proclaiming your freedom.
“Dirt” - almost definitely about someone killing themselves, leaving behind a despondent person futilely shouting their name into the wind and wondering if they could have done more.
I love the formulation in this essay as somebody who follows Phish and politics avidly. Hope you all like it as well.
Once there was a guy called ‘The Timer.’ He stood in the front row at every show. He had a clipboard and a stopwatch. He was a brilliant math researcher, getting his Ph.D. at someplace like MIT. Whenever we started to play, he would start his stopwatch. His idea of quality was length. Whenever the jam wasn’t long enough, he would shake his head disapprovingly. So we had to ask him to not stand in the front row anymore. I have since heard that he is still timing everything, but just from the back of the hall.
Where do you put your keys, driver's license, and other personal effects?
I'm not trying to encourage this kind of behavior. I'm just wondering about logistics.
Jesse Jarnow, Jambands.com Featured Column: Living in the Snootable Snunshine (12/8/09) http://tinyurl.com/yh3p9nk
Finally listened, after many years, to the three tracks recorded by Richard Wright (the Phish buddy, not the Pink Floyd keyboardist) in the late ’80s under the name Nancy Taube (the lesbian-trapped-in-an-acidhead’s-body, not the board member at Vermonters For A Sustainable Population). Phish have covered two of his songs, “I Didn’t Know” and “Halley’s Comet,” since the mid-‘80s. For some reason, it’d just never occurred to me to check out the originals, even though the Mockingbird Foundation blessedly (as it turns out) coaxed them out of Wright a few years ago, ‘cause they’re really cool. Based on this music alone, one could make a fair case for Richard Wright to be the true genius of the Phish scene, a psych-pop outsider from some DIY sub-scene in deepest Vermont.
Rob Harvilla, in the Village Voice, 12/8/09 at http://tinyurl.com/yk3j64d
Which is not to say the show was terrible—exhausting, certainly, and nigh-insufferable, occasionally, but, for long stretches, surprisingly vibrant and rousing, too. This is something everyone should probably do once, seeing these boys in action. You might even talk me into doing it again someday. But only after an appreciable recovery period. Say, three to five years.
The best reason to see Phish: their fans. These are extraordinarily devoted gentlemen (and ladies), generous in their enthusiasm and unflagging in their devotion, everyone joyfully and unself-consciously dancing as if trying to amuse a baby. They give louder, longer, lustier between-song ovations than anybody, then rush home to document the source of their elation: It is profoundly admirable, to swing by the fan-generated setlist outpost at phish.net a few days later and learn that “Peaches en Regalia” had been performed for the first time since September 24, 1999, in Austin, Texas, unveiled at a paltry 4.94 percent of Phish live shows since 1986—to encounter this level of freely given slavish detail.
I've been arguing back and forth about this for a while. I feel that 2009 is pretty much a standard year for Phish. No it's not 1995 or 1997, but if you throw those years out, there's little to complain about with 2009.
People's perceptions are skewed because 2.0 was very atypical and no one listens to the average 1.0 shows so the exceptional shows seemed closer to the average than they ever were. Tape trading used to be annoying enough that no one had every show right after it was played, so again people only tracked down the exceptional. With a few exceptions, if you listened to every night of any tour, you'd hear a whole bunch of standard shows and the 3 or 4 standouts.
When's the last time you listened to the spring 1994 run up and down I-5, other than maybe 5/27/94? How often does summer 99 make it into your rotation? Hell, I saw a 6 show run in fall 95 that had a pretty good "Harry Hood" and the only "Keyboard Army (Reprise)."
No, 2009 hasn't been the best year in Phish's history. However, I think you can make a case that it's in the top 5. It's definitely behind 95 and 97 and 94. 2003 is probably better as it had the 2004 jams but didn't quite fall into flub world. After that though, any other year is pretty arguable.
Phish came back after a 5 year break and played shows that were more consistently interesting than most of their career and people focus on the fact that they aren't at the peak of their powers. I don't understand that, but I'm someone who saw 14 shows of Phish in 1990, so I guess I can put up with average shows better than most.
-- The Press-Enterprise (Riverside CA), 12/8/09 http://tinyurl.com/yb4ynwq
"The Empire Polo Field in Indio, home of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the Stagecoach Country Music Festival and this year's Phish Festival 8, is nominated for "Best Major Outdoor concert Venue." [by Pollstar].
Coachella also got a nod in the "Music Festival of the Year (non-touring) category.
The 2009 Pollstar Concert Industry Awards will be held Feb. 17 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles."