I was unable to attend Super Ball IX, my first “special” show missed since Halloween 98. By special, I mean anything outside of a standard tour -- festivals, Halloween runs, holiday runs, etc. But thanks to modern technology, I did get to enjoy every minute of Watkins Glen as it happened. Following the festival, I had a conversation with a close friend who attended that went something like this:
Friend: So, what did you think? Me: Some fun stuff, but I don’t think it will hold up well. Friend: What do you mean? It was the best weekend ever. Me: I’m sure it was, but I’m talking about the music. Friend: But you weren’t there. The weather was perfect. The vibe was amazing. Me: I’m sure it was. But I can’t load the weather and vibe into iTunes. Friend: They played for over 4.5 hours on Saturday. Me: Yes, and Saturday may be the least-interesting three-set Phish show since NYE 96. Friend: You’re so wrong. You’re just upset you didn’t go.
Well, he was right there. I was upset that I didn’t go. But attendance should have no impact in discussing the music. I’d argue that by not attending you’re likely to be more objective because you eliminate your personal experience from your judgement. There are a million things that can go right or wrong during the live experience. But long after the lights go up, it’s only the music on the recording that remains. If you want to have Phish nerd discussions about the best shows to listen to, then the music is the only universal currency to base these discussions on. It’s about separating the music played from your subjective experience. Otherwise, you might as well argue over who has the best favorite color.
With that said, I spent the last several days re-listening to every note of Super Ball IX to see what’s worthy of regular rotation in Phish listening. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights:
Time for the Mystery Jam, bury the Mystery Jam, take out the Mystery Jam time... 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: No hint needed this week...
Wednesday Answer: Congrats to RebeldyNugs on his fifth win with the 7/22/03 "Gumbo." See you all next Monday....
Most Phish fans can be categorized into two groups. One that has 'The Spreadsheet' in their browser bookmark bar and the other that is yet to experience the "Holy Shit!" moment when they discover it for the first time. A labor of love & dedication, the Spreadsheet is one of the definitive sources for Phish MP3's and catalogs every known circulating show since 1983. A mere utterance of the term, "The Spreadsheet", and most fans instantly know that you are talking about Kevin Hoy's Google Doc. But how did this amazing resource come about? And who is Kevin?
I spent some time recently asking Kevin all about the Spreadsheet.
Phish and its management, including security manager John Langenstein, tour director Richard Glasgow a/k/a "Dickie Scotland" and management gurus at Red Light Management get prominent mentions in an interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal about concert security here.
Before YouTube removed it earlier this week, most of the Phish community had seen a video of a Phish fan at SBIX under the influence of what appears to have been a psychoactive substance. The man was sitting cross-legged on the concert field during "Crosseyed and Painless," by himself, harming no one, and taking in the music. The person responsible for posting the video on the Internet also supplied some editorial commentary - which amounted to little more than speculation - about what was happening between the subject's ears.