I don’t treasure my Phish shows like I used to. I have a whole hard drive full of them, and I’ve backed them all up. I don’t want to lose them, but if I do, what of it? It doesn’t matter, all those ones and zeros still exist out there in the ether, so I can track them down again if I have to. To get tapes, let alone listenable ones, that took some doing. You had to network, both in person at shows and afterwards online. Every overstuffed bubble mailer that arrived at your door represented some sort of minor miracle.
When I was a senior in High School I got sent a pristine First Generation (remember “generations”, no more, thanks to digital) copy of 10/22/96, Madison Square Garden, within a week of it happening. That was a big damn deal! I must’ve dubbed a hundred copies of that show and made enough trips to the post office to know the clerks by name in order to spread the jams. It really took some doing.
My tape collection still has more personality than anything I’ve ever downloaded. Each package would arrive in the mailbox, and there was this moment of excitement. What could it contain? Is this the perfect show?! Some tapes would arrive with almost no information. Annoying yes, but somewhat like a game to figure out what you were listening to. Some of the best ones would come with full-on artwork that rivaled an official release. But some of those other tapes really had character! Out of the blue, there’d be god knows what, like stickers, pictures and other ephemera. It was kind of like a grab bag of Phishness.
- Aaron Hawley, excerpt from "The Relentless Communicator: A Tape Trader’s Lament" (2/1/11) on onlinephishtour.com.
For a limited time, you can access our blog archive at phishnet.tumblr.com.
Not very long ago, Phish shows were traded almost exclusively by tape. While tapers circulated shows in DAT, those of us who weren't all digital traded in low-generation tapes. Who amongst us doesn't remember the Maxell XL IIs?
Tapes typically circulated with a hand-written liner known commonly as a "J-card", since when removed from the case, it was shaped like a J. These J-cards left only about an inch and a half to write out the contents of each side of a tape. More often that not, people would strain to write all the titles in the pre-printed lines, leaving what would today look like a 9 point font. Those who hadn't the time for such penmanship would often ignore the line on the J-card altogether and just slather the titles across the paper. Either way, you would have to be creative in your text-spacing to get longer song titles to fit.
So it's not unexpected that those who traded tapes began using abbreviations for songs, and it's even less strange that many of those abberviations still exist today. Perhaps we're not trading tapes anymore, but it's still pretty common to see people jotting down setlists while at the show, even if smart phones pointed to sites like m.phish.net are becoming more common. Abbreviations are used throughout the Phish world, and even in our own reviews and forum you'll find people refer to songs using a lingo known only to those who immerse themselves in our world. Could MMGAMOIO mean anything to anyone but a Phish head?
The Phish.net Setlist archive aims to be the gold standard for Phish setlists, but like any true reference material, it's formal and complete. Some might argue, then, that it's dry, given the way we actually speak conversationally about the material. That's why we developed "
shorthand setlists J-Card Mode song nicknames" You can think of shorthand setlists as a "J-card mode" for Phish.net. Once enabled, it will display song titles in their abbreviated form: YEM for You Enjoy Myself, BEK for Black-Eyed Katy, and many more. We've enjoyed playing with this feature and think those familiar with Phish, especially those whose past is littered with J-cards, will appreciate the nostalgic fun too.
You can toggle "
shorthand setlists J-Card Mode song nicknames" at the top of the setlists page.
Update: This feature has been officially renamed "J-Card Mode" at the request of our users.
Update 2: With the release of "J-Card View", we decided to simplify the system and tag this "song nicknames," which is more appropriate given what J-Card View actually does. We apologize for the contiuned waffling.
CNBC Correspondent Dan Greenhaus, who according to the New York Times blog today, peppered his January 24 financial broadcast with numerous references to Phish songs to illustrate financial concepts. According to the Times blog, the song references "sailed over" the head of Greenhaus' co-anchor, and the correspondent gave phans a heads up with a post to the PT forum to "put on CNBC now".
[Inflation] has been going backwards down the number line for the better part of two years now.”
The Blog returns with your Monday Mystery Jam. This week and every week, we will be playing for an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.net. The rules are simple: 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. 1...2...3...Go!
If you listen carefully to the beginning of it, you'll probably figure it out.
MP3 Downloads Courtesy of LivePhish.com
The band has not confirmed that they are playing Watkins Glen over the July 4th holiday weekend (June 30 - July 3), but there's been a lot of chatter about a potential festival there for weeks now. A story on "bandsthatjam.com" claimed that a contract had been signed, and it appeared to be credible -- until another story from stargazette.com reported that the President of the Watkins Glen racetrack has denied that any contract with a promoter had been signed. He confirmed, however, that they have been "working with a concert promoter."
Phish will be releasing three shows from their past Summer Tour, completely remastered by sound engineer Fred Kevorkian. They will be available for download at iTunes this Tuesday, February 1st.
The shows are:
- 8/6/10 The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA
- 8/7/10 The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA
- 8/13/10 VZW Music Center, Noblesville, IN
Adding to Phish's catalog of the twenty Live Phish CD releases that are currently available, Phish has also pressed a limited number of CDs of these remasters. These will be available at select record stores nationwide as well, according to the Phish.com website.
The shows from the iTunes store can be preordered on the Phish.com website.
Here's a bouncy Mike Gordon/Leo Kottke number from the August 2009 Hartford show. Middle of the Road only appeared twice in Phish's stage shows, both 7 years after the album debuted and was featured on the subsequent tour. It may not have lasted in rotation, but it's still a nice booty-shaker, especially on a Friday afternoon.
New York Times
The storm that tormented the East Coast delivered its knockout punch here in the nation’s capital, where almost 200,000 people remained without electricity on Thursday, and disruptions across the metropolitan area caused some of the worst commuting delays on the Eastern Seaboard.
Contending for the title of worst commute was Adam Rosenberg, a communications director for a software company, who spent almost 12 hours driving 50 miles from Dupont Circle in Washington through a landscape of abandoned cars, stuck buses and drivers who had given up and gone to sleep.
Mr. Rosenberg knows traffic. He used to follow the band Phish with hordes of other fans. But nothing could have prepared him for what he saw on Wednesday night. Inclines sowed chaos. Cars spun helplessly and buses slid into other lanes, leaving an obstacle course of paralyzed vehicles."
Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard tweeted this:
“DMB & Pearl Jam or DMB & Phish?”
The funny thing is that both Phish fans and Pearl Jam fans have been tweeted back “Pearl Jam.” The rumor mill is suggesting that this is perhaps for Watkins Glen, the proposed AC festival, or (please let this not be so and let us have a real run there) the Gorge. It’s interesting if nothing else.