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."
Originally published in the second edition of The Phish Companion, this is a list of the top 24 shows as determined by “Gotta Have It” rankings submitted by hundreds of volunteers. The list starts with the show with the highest ranking average, and excludes some shows that had been ranked by fewer than five volunteers:
Originally published in the second edition of The Phish Companion, this is a list of the 22 most statistically unusual Phish shows. Determinations were made by the highest “Last Time Played” averages (the average, for each show, of the number of shows since each song in that show was played). Only shows in the previous ten years were considered (to prevent bias from spottier records for earlier years); and Halloween, television, and radio shows were excluded:
From a “newsmakers” interview with retiring Indio (CA) Councilwoman Melanie Fesmire, from the Palm Springs, CA Desert Sun published 12/7/09 at http://tinyurl.com/yflbb7w
The Coachella (Music and Arts) Festival, Stagecoach and Phish festivals have helped put Indio on the map as a first-class entertainment venue.
David Steinberg, www.ihoz.com, via email 12/7/09
Believe it or not…my Joy Box just arrived!
Trey Anastasio, to SonicNet, c.1994
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
By way of compiling content remnants from the previous version of this site and related projects, we've backdated a number of stories here as blog posts.
But the blog launched with this photo, posted 12/5/09 at noon by Adam.
Trey Anastasio, December 5, 2009
You gotta run like a naked guy, out of control!
aul Caine, “Phish at Madison Square Garden” (A.V. Club NY review, 12/4/09), http://tinyurl.com/y96hx6r
One of the most impressive elements of a Phish concert, aside from the crackerjack light show, is the degree to which fans personally invest themselves in the music. When a song is performed sloppily or a solo doesn’t last as long as it could have, there is an odd sort of familial disappointment, like a son’s embarrassment at his father’s shortcomings. But when the music is strong, it’s like a feedback loop that drives the band higher and higher. You can see it on stage and you can see it in the crowd.
Portland, ME, newspaper, 12/2/99
Simplicity is the new mantra for Phish.
Trey Anastasio, New York Post, 1/1/99
I'm the overbearing leader type, although I sometimes shy away from that. If Page is the father, I guess I'm the mother.
The following was posted to the Mockingbird Foundation website on October 9, 2008:
Stat Analysis Suggests Bust-Outs at Spaceship Hampton
Hardcore Methodology has Hardcore Phans Excited
Phish’s return to the stage next March is destined to involve screams of joy, lots of press, and several new songs. The band will perform three shows atHampton Coliseum in Virginia, after more than 4.5 years since its then-permanent breakup. A statistical analysis of information about it’s previous 12 shows at that venue, 34 shows in that state, and 1440 shows in history demonstrates that Hampton performances stand out. Specifically, it suggests that the band will perform Sample in a Jar, Harry Hood, Mike’s Song, Weekapaug Groove, Bathtub Gin, and Cars Trucks Buses (in order of the strength of expectation), as well as at least three new songs.
Starting around 1996, Phish's print advertisements for their shows began to get strange. But 1998 was a banner year for it.
Spring 1998 ads featured a Kung Fu character and proclaimed "Phish Destroys America".
Summer 1998 ads announced that "in addition to their other amazing expoits, the band will perform in a temple of fire", possibly referring to the "ambient fourth set" of the Lemonwheel. (Concerts LA by Casenet actually listed Temple of Fire as the opening act for Ventura!)
Fall 1998 ads (e.g. for the Greek Theatre) read "ROAD SHOW '98 ... They drive FASTER & play HARDER ! ACTION... PHISH.... Their GUTS are as hard as the STEEL in their ENGINES." The ads showed a demolition-derby-type car with a number 72 on the side.
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