Anticipation grows with each passing night of Phish’s annual new year’s run. Each night also carries with it the weight of past glories. December 30th holds a special place in Phishstory. On 12/30/93 the band played one of the greatest shows of their career to that point and a show that still holds up eighteen years later. A year later, Phish made their Madison Square Garden debut. The highlights of 12/30/97 are almost too numerous to mention: among them a mesmerizing “AC/DC Bag,” an epic “Harpua,” and two bustouts of “Sneaking Sally.” It’s possible the fog still hasn’t cleared from the 12/30/99 Big Cypress “Mike’s Song” and, more recently, 12/30/09 is one of the finest shows of the band’s 3.0 era. So expectations always run high on December 30th. Sometimes those expectations are met, and other times... not so much.
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Thursday night Phish took the stage at Madison Square Garden for the second of four shows to close out 2011. After a first night where most people had very warm reviews, the second night seems to be a bit more puzzling. After a series of passionate emails among staff here at Phish.net last night fits somewhere comfortably between "amazing" and "frustrating." I mean, we certainly used both words with great frequency but upon further review it's hard to pick which end of the level has more weight. I can probably name more "good" moments than "bad" but for some reason I'm left feeling a bit conflicted. Why is that?
You already know that Phish is in the middle of a four night run at Madison Square Garden. Check out a recap of the 28th and keep an eye out for last night's being posted shortly. Feel free to peruse videos of the show, tons of great ones already up. Don't forget our meet up at Hudson Yards Cafe before New Years Eve. We'd love to see you there! If you can't make the show, see you on couch tour! Happy New Year!
Alongside the storied Phish traditions of Halloween and the summer festivals, the New Year’s Eve run of shows are the most eagerly anticipated by fans in any year. When this run takes place at Madison Square Garden – the world’s most famous arena, in the epicenter of the Phish fan base – the level of pre-show hype is practically off-the-charts. Performing their 20th show at MSG tonight, it is like entering their own post-season, after a very successful year. Three and a half months off their last performance – 9/14/11, the benefit for Vermont flood victims – and on the heels of a strong end to the last tour including several strong performances in Chicago and Denver, would Phish come exploding out of the gates? Or would the “marathon not a sprint” mentality give us the proverbial warm-up show? The turnstiles crank on 7th avenue, while couch tour nation settles in at home. Let’s do this.
We join in mourning the loss of fellow fan Victor Harris.
My love of music—particularly live music—led me to Ticket Masters, but the type-A, business geek in me ended-up being just as satisfied. Budnick and Baron hit it out of the park with a multi-faceted piece that moves seamlessly between interesting anecdotes, thoroughly researched facts and rich, colorful presentations of characters that at times feel more supernatural than non-fiction. The result is a book that I not only recommend highly to the core readership of this blog (rabid music fans), but also to business folk I interact with in “my other life”.
"In the last few weeks, nearly every warm-blooded American who’s ponied up for a big-ticket event in the 21st century has received an email alerting them to a proposed settlement of a lawsuit against Ticketmaster few had ever heard of.
Particularly in the wake of Ticketmaster’s controversial merger with concert promoter Live Nation two years ago, the near-monopolist has earned a poor reputation for its high online purchase fees and bad relationships with venues and consumers. While the settlement may offer a measure of public retribution for its unhappy customers, it’s not going to line their pockets—but it might be a wake-up call for a troubled industry."
-Good magazine (12/13/11)
Welcome to the MJM79 here at Phish.net. As usual, we will be playing for a free 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...
Wednesday Hint and Answer: The Hint is that if RabeldyNugs takes a guess, that's probably the right answer. It certainly was this week, with the 7/1/98 "Disease." Congrats, once again, Rabeldy. The Mystery Jam will be taking Xmas off, so see you all in 2012...
The following is the text of Page's senior study from Goddard College. It was first "kindly made available to readers of the net" in 1992 by then-fan (later employee) Shelly Culbertson, who posted it to the then-nascent Phish.net mailing list, and is now reposted 19 years later in celebration of the 24th anniversary of its submission.
THE ART OF IMPROVISATION
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts at Goddard College
December 19, 1987
At the age of four I began taking piano lessons. For the next twelve years I studied with four different teachers. They attempted to teach me to read music, a skill I never fully developed. My dyslexic tendencies made the process very difficult and a good ear made it easier for me to play by ear. In my early years of lessons I had no problem playing the pieces that were assigned to me as long as I had heard my piano teachers play them for me. As the level of difficulty in the pieces I was playing increased, I was forced to learn how to read. I struggled with the process and didn't entirely enjoy it, though the ones that I did learn stretched my technical abilities. The most difficult piece that I learned was Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag."
During my ninth grade year I stopped taking piano lessons. It was during this next stage of my playing that I began to really enjoy playing. Obviously this was because I was playing for myself, not for my piano teachers or parents. I spent much of the next year listening to rock albums, playing what I heard, and taking my improvisation more seriously. Often I was just improvising the voicings to the songs that I was playing, but my ability to do blues improvisation increased also. My first introduction to the blues was a book I received in first grade called Jazz and Blues for Beginners. This book introduced me to blues progressions. These are progressions that alternate between the 17 and the IV7 chord and generally end with a V7-IV7-17 progression. Both rock and jazz find their roots in the blues, and in fact rock has never really left. The majority of rock songs written are a variation on the 17-IV7-V7 progression. Many do not vary at all.
I suppose that my main motivating factor for practicing during my high school years (other than the fact that I enjoyed it) was that...