The following reflections on the Miami New Year’s Run come to us from an old time Phish fan who last saw the band on July 26, 1992, at the Big Birch Concert Pavilion in Patterson, NY. On that date in 1992, Phish played a 1-set, 7-song opener for Santana. To underscore the significant gap in time between shows, the last time the writer saw Phish, more than 22 years and 1011 Phish performances ago, Bill Clinton had not yet been elected President. The writer is a musician and bard himself, and here are his unedited reflections on seeing Phish for the first time in 22 years:
"When I think of Phish, I think of phar out melodies and a phuriously phunky rhythm section. If I could I surely would dance till the lights came up and when they did I would shout out loud "Whoo Hoo!". Phunking all right!
Phish is the little band that could. Trey, Page, Michael and Jon, old buds who formed and forged their sound in the little old state of Vermont. They stuck together through the turbulence and turmoil and learned how to make magic. It always begins with a little love, some sweet nectar and a dream.
Now my love does not eat meat, so I am going Phishing. Won't you join me?
When I first saw Phish I was a much younger man. They played a seven song set in support of Santana. Carlos saw what I saw and when they played together I knew that Phishing would never be a waste of time. A bevy of beautiful people came together to ensure that no matter who you were, what you are and what will be, it will be alright. That was the Phish message, not Santana's. I know why that message survives, thrives and inspires. If you love Santana as I do, remind him of the lessons he learned by jamming with Phish and encourage him to do it again. It makes us all stronger.
Now it's the New Year's Run 22 years later and the message means more than ever. The Beatles knew it...it was the mantra for a generation. Be here now! The meaning of those three words is slipping away as technology fosters the growth of materialism and the "we" increasingly becomes "me". Don't let the words "I love you" become "what can you do for me?" Give me a home where the buffalo roam...When the Phish play time is suspended. There is a sound that you just know is right, theirs is a sound that can get us all through the night. We, the audience dispense with our seats and we boogie, we let the music carry us along just like in that old John Lee Hooker song. Right now in front of me are two of the prettiest women you would ever want to meet dancing and waving a Prussian flag. They never stopped dancing as long as the music was playing. Be here now!
I know that part of what is expected of me is to be a bit of a journalist. I am after all writing, but I am writing about music. How does one write about something you have to experience? Would I impress you if I wrote about their wondrous aeolian cadences or would you prefer to strike an acquaintance with some exotic birds? Words can't do music justice and besides most journalists these days are more inclined to become corporate minions so I don't believe a word they say. Maybe that's why I have more faith in music. Journalists can be bought and sold more easily than musicians, though I know that musicians are not immune to the call of capital interests.
Phish is one of the few bands out there that still have an open policy when it comes to taping and trading bootleg copies of their concerts. Way back when you would see a shipload of amateur tapers with their microphones on a stick trying to get the best recording possible. In fact if you were at that concert in 1992 at Big Birch Pavilion, I beseech you to send a copy to the people that posted this Phish Phantasy. These days the band will actually let you download a copy of the concert you saw straight from the soundboard with your ticket stub, so you don't even need to bring your recorder anymore. That's wild! I believe in the call of the wild but even the Indians wanted a few beads before they sold Manhattan. Phish let their music do the talking. No journalists, no words are necessary.
If you have been listening whilst reading these words it might well have taken an hour and a half to get this far so it's time for an intermission...
We are doing the New Year's Run so get used to those intermissions. They make the house happy and it gives those of us in the audience not surgically attached to their cell phones a moment to speak...and say hello. Phish fans are a phriendly bunch. Your neighbor is sure to acknowledge your existence and be here now. How pleasant! I would also like to make a point, perhaps it is a point that Vermont's finest will agree with but I can't really speak for them. I can however speak about the causes they care about because the intermission gives us all another opportunity to communicate. The Phellowship for those of us that have over indulged and the Waterwheel Foundation for those of us who still believe in helping out those we meet along the way are both worthy endeavors sponsored by the band and those who love their music. I want to live in that world, do you know what I mean? The world where we still care about each other and take the time to look into each other's eyes.
Phish, the little band that could, the band that I remember jamming with Santana and proving their worth is now the only band that could fill a Miami arena for four days in a row, just like the Dead in Madison Square. This is a testament to you, 'cause without you it all falls apart. You are the music. You sing the songs and dance the dance. You are the charity, the comfort, the goodwill toward men. You are the phellowship. You are the reason why the music is playing. So let the music play...I want to dance another day!
Phish music is what inspires these thoughts. Dancing and singing and carrying on in concert with my brothers and sisters who are all around me. Real music, that's what it's all about. The four individuals that make up Phish have an innate, magical ability to hear each other, to communicate on another level. A rarity in music, a rarity in most human interaction, but it does give me a reason to believe, another reason to pull out the old pole and go Phishing again."
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March 27, 1993
25 years ago
Set 2: Buried Alive > Halley's Comet > It's Ice > Bouncing Around the Room, Chalk Dust Torture, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin' Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Poor Heart > Golgi Apparatus
 Beginning featured Trey on acoustic guitar.
 Fish on trombone.
 All Fall Down signal in intro.
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