Jon Fishman, interview with Michael Parillo on the Modern Drummer magazine website (September 20, 2010 issue) at http://phi.sh/~aQo05g
The Stones went from being a band I really liked and admired to being my heroes in some ways now that they weren’t before. And not just because they made that album. Though the full thing, from cover to cover, is the most soulful, least mental album, and it sounds like the sound of fun. But as I’m getting older and I’ve been in a band now for twenty-five years, I look at the Stones with nothing but reverence. You understand why U2 is an opening band for the Stones.
To be in my situation, in a band that’s been together only twenty-five years, and to look at them, you go, “Wow!” They’re playing really well, and their values are in the right place. I feel like I can look to the Stones now as an example of almost everything to do right. There are so many examples of what not to do, and they’re all part of the boneyard. So, by deduction, it’s: I’m not gonna do what Hendrix did, and I’m not gonna do what the Grateful Dead did, and I’m not gonna do what the Beatles did…. I don’t want to fight about money, and I don’t want to sleep with anyone’s wife like Fleetwood Mac did, and I certainly don’t want to be the Eagles…. [laughs] Here are the pitfalls to avoid, but where’s an example of how to do it right? The Stones!
I admit it: I’m a setlist snob.
I started formulating this realization on the field in Indio, when ZZYZX turned to me and said, without the condescension implied, “I remember when I was chasing bust-outs.” And my response was succinctly “If we’re going to hear a 10 minute jam, I suppose I’d rather have the jam be off of a song I haven’t heard before rather than one I’ve seen a dozen times.”
But as true as that is, it’s not the real story. The real story is that I am chasing bust-outs. Not just bust-outs, but “interesting-ness”. And “interesting-ness” changes with the seasons. I’m actually chasing anything at a show that makes me think “Interesting!”
Paul Asbell, Trey's guitar teacher at the University of Vermont, in a foreword to the second edition of The Phish Companion
Making music has always been the single most important, enduring obsession in my life. I’m truly grateful for what music has given back to me in return for my attentions. Teaching others often reminds me how much i long to live in a world that values music as i do. I was raised in a “real folk” household where I saw music played regularly by my Dad and his friends… it helped me to form the understanding that music was created by real humans with practiced skills, as opposed to originating from the radio. Our culture often seems to send the message that the importance of music is found in the grandeur of the spectacle, the celebrity of the performers, or the number of units sold. I think this unfortunate message can be offset by passionate music professionals and teachers who kindle the flame, “pass the torch” to others to follow, and in the process build more discerning, “tuned in” audiences to play for. Here’s hoping it continues!
In our effort to continually add enhancements to the Phish.net website, we are pleased to announce links have been added to all Phish.net setlists to any soundboard recordings available through LivePhish.com (“LP”).
The LP links can be found on each setlist page for which there is a LP recording (every show since 2002 and previous LP CD releases ##s 01 - 20 documented on the Phish.net website here). Click on the “link” icon or the show date to bring you to the setlist page for the show where the LP link is (between the setlist itself at the top and the rating stars and show reviews underneath).
The Mockingbird Foundation (the fan charity which maintains Phish.net) is now a marketing affiliate of LP (which is a joint venture of Phish and nugs.net). We get a small fee from nugs.net when you buy a download by clicking on the Phish.net page links.
As the LP webpages already say, and phans already may be aware, the band already donates a portion of its LP proceeds to the Mockingbird Foundation (and has done so since LP went live in 2002).
If you appreciate the work of this several dozen volunteers who staff this site and keep the setlists, song histories, stats and other goodies coming your way, please consider using our links to buy from LP.
It has been nearly a decade since I last visited Hershey Park, on 9/15/00. If this visit is anywhere as memorable as my last, it will be as sweet as southern iced tea. 9/15/00 musically was a standard good Phish show for 2000. “Piper” and “Tube” were muscial highlights for me.
One of the most memorable experiences of the show however, was the appearance of a ‘naked’ guy who showed up beside us center mid field during the “Antelope” in the first set. While Tom Marshall and one of his daughters came onstage to sing the “Rye, Rye, Rocco” lyrics, everyone around us had their attention forced away from the stage. Things had progressed from funny to awkward. The naked guy had decided to make himself a bit ‘freakier’. As security came to escort him off the field, the crowd in the stands were chanting, “Naked Guy”, “Naked Guy”. The incident lasted through “Golgi” and finally was over by the “Bittersweet Motel” set closer.
This go around at Hershey I look forward to pre-show free chocolate, seeing friends I haven’t seen since Miami, and most importantly seeing Phish destroy Hershey for my first show of the summer tour. How sweet it is!
When Phish returned at Hampton, waiting until two weeks out before shipping tickets made a lot of sense. It made scalping slightly more difficult and then anything that did that was a good thing. However 2009 has become 2010. Far from being a popular thing to scalp, people are now lucky if they can get face value for their extras for most nights.
The delay can definitely cause issues. If you get a partial tour fill, tickets could come when you’re already on the road. When you send tickets out this close to showtime, it doesn’t take much of a shipping delay to cause issues. And while scalping is something worthy of stopping, plans can fall through. The shows you think you’re going to in March might not be your actual June plan. Selling tickets to friends for face has always been part of the Phish community and that also is made more difficult by the delays.
Yes, the intent was good, but the problems outweigh the advantages. Free the tickets! Let Fed Ex packages fly!
In an attempt to bring Phish Stats to the 21st century, there now is a Facebook page. The goal is to have a new blurb (limited to the 420 characters of an update) somehow related to Phish Stats every work day except for when Phish is touring, then the last 3 times played update will run.
I get asked sometimes why I continue to read Phantasy Tour despite all of the negativity there. I have a few standard answers: there’s information there that you can’t really get elsewhere, there are some very good threads if you know which threads/people to ignore, but there is another reason that makes it worthwhile. Sometimes the negative reviews reset your expectations.
The reviews of Phish 3D on PT were largely bad. Between the endless complaints about the song selection and the jump cut editing, I went in expecting to see the Coventry “Glide” on endless repeat with the camera switching every tenth of a second. As a result, there was no way I could have been disappointed.
I'm just hoping it'll last another year, or however long it'll last -- as long as we keep getting along and stuff.
Shuffle play can reveal some interesting things sometimes. This Party Time track just came up at work and I thought it was Akron/Family or something. Between the production, the weird drums, the bizarre keys, the chanting style of singing, and the complete lack of anything sounding like Trey’s guitar anywhere on the track, this is a unique song for Phish.
If you’ve never looked at the credits, this is a Page track. Maybe it was Vida Blue or the Spam All Stars or his solo band that inspired such a song, but this does show what the side projects are accomplishing. I wouldn’t want every song to sound like this, but as a change of pace, it’s fascinating.
This is why it’s kind of sad that Party Time was just released as a bonus disc on the box set. Between this, “Gone,” “In a Misty Glade,” and “Splinters of Hail,” Phish accomplish some things that they haven’t on any other album. Unfortunately, it will always be considered a novelty disc, and not the intriguing album that it is. Even “Let Me Lie” has an interesting arrangement. Maybe it was the freedom of just being a goofy release that let Phish put out these bizarre tracks, in the same way that the soundcheck jams are sometimes more interesting than anything that the show produces, but more of this please!
Now that it's April, with love in the air and winter's soreness in your shoulders, we know you're ready for this: Mockingbird-branded mini vibrator massagers.
Get 'em soon; at 2 for $5, they won't last long. Mockingbird Massagers. For those average-great shows, when you just need a little more pizzaz.
Phish.net will be offline for a planned maintenance window on Friday, November 26. We are moving to a new, more powerful web host who has the resources, knowledge, and capacity to handle our increasing needs. We expect the site to be offline for approximately 2-3 hours as we migrate our data.
During this time period, all links to the site will redirect to a placeholder message and the Phish.net API will return a general error message.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and if you're in the USA - Happy Thanksgiving!
At about one minute fifty-five seconds and without any jam, a fairly faithful replication of an album version of a song shouldn't be a setlist standout. But, by many accounts, the 12/31/09 offering of "Demand" is a notable and curious point in a long setlist. It's notable not because it was flawlessly performed (although it was inarguably done justice), not because it contained inspired playing (but fun, sure), but rather, because it hasn't been performed since November 1996, over 13 years ago. Having been shelved for so long - and very likely to be stashed away again for some time - makes the performance special. But why? Why does it matter, why do we enjoy ourselves so much if Phish plays one of their rarer songs rather a well-jammed version of than one of their more common songs?
At heart, I'm a stats geek. Maybe not like Zzyzx, but certainly I'm interested in the stats. I'm incredibly interested in Phish setlist construction, and hope that one day I find myself in a situation where I can interview Trey about it. "Why," I would ask, "does a song like, say, Camel Walk, only appear every 50-some-odd shows? Is that intentional? Why premiere Glide II only to drop it seemingly forever? Are there ever permanently retired songs, like, perhaps, No Dogs Allowed, Dear Mrs Reagan, and Jennifer Dances? Can we ever expect to see Eliza again?" I would assume that, like most musicians, Phish collectively enjoys playing some songs more than others, but is that reflected in the setlist? If they don't like a song, why would they play it at all... or write or perform it at all? Maybe it's purposeful that they "create" rarities? I wonder, do they maybe love playing Harpua, but intentionally not overuse it so that its appearance heralds a special show? Why not just unleash a hose of rarities during a tour knowing it would make fans very happy? Unless these some songs are purposely rarities? Will Alumni Blues ever rejoin the setlist as anything other than a super-rarity?
What about common songs? Is Trey aware that AC/DC Bag has opened no fewer than SIX shows since November 1? Did Phish decide to showcase Kill Devil Falls more times than any other song off of Joy because they feel it's the best song, or was that just coincidence? Are they purposely playing songs like Llama less frequently, or are they simply not remembering it during on-stage setlist construction? Will Time Turns Elastic get its due, in time, when it is a rarity?
In the end, the whole debate is, at the same time, pointless and essential; it is, one on hand, irrelvent, and on the other, the heart of what makes Phish so interesting. If they played rarities all the time, they wouldn't be rarities and a large part of the fun of Phish shows might be lost. But we all go to see them play, and even songs of which I've personally grown a bit tired, such as Stash, still manage to steal the set from time to time, most notably night one of Festival 8. It's not so much what they play as much as how they play it. I've learned that even Character Zero, once you get past the lyrics, can be just as interesting a jam vehicle as Mike's, YEM, Jim, or Bowie. And yet, I'm still kind of hoping for a bust-out. Despite that, certain songs - for me, Moma, for example - are a bit of a letdown, because I'd rather hear something else I like better. I suppose if I have to hear a jam, I'd rather that jam stem from a song I've yet to hear live than a song I've heard 10+ times before.
When I look at the NYE setlist, I think the highlights, musically, were Ghost, Rock and Roll, and Piper, three fairly common songs. I also think Demand was awesome (mostly given the infrequency of its appearance?), and Swept Away into the most uncommonly jammed Steep I've ever heard is a high point, largely because it was an especially unique performance. So it's a mix of both quality jams, song frequency, and performance uniqueness that made this fun. A prior night of the run included Gotta Jibboo > Wilson -> Gotta Jibboo, again, two fairly common songs that provided a notable highlight as well. It's not just about rarities, that much is certain.
But why should we care about stats, right? What good are stats anyway? All they do, one might argue, is allow you to measure your own satisfaction comparatively, an expressly non-Phishy attitude. What good is seeing Buffalo Bill or Brother if you don't like those songs as much as, say, Divided Sky or Possum except that one can say they've seen a rare song?
I think the conclusion is that it's a mix of all of that: great jams, cool people, uniqueness of an individual performance, and the fact that the setlist remains an unknown all provide a different dimension of interest, and it's all of that that can make a Phish concert so fun. It's not about comparison to others' shows, but rather, a comparison to my own show history: a re-affirmation of the fact that I can keep seeing the same band without ever tiring of the process. As much as I love the great jam, there's still a moment in between songs when I'm jumping out of my seat with excitement that the next song could be something crazy.
 I realize that there were scores of rarities this tour, but I'm talking a total blow-out, something like "Set 1: Brother, Alumni Blues, Dog Log, Glide, Anarchy, In a Hole, She Caught the Katy, Sparkle, Have Mercy, Harpua > Buffalo Bill".
 ...Just seeing if you were paying attention.
There are three ways a Phish show can be spectacular - there can be interesting jams and otherwise unique versions of songs, there can be rare songs played, and there can be funny band/fan interaction. Tonight had all three, which makes it really special.
Rare songs, I think we all know what those are. Two debuts - including “Gone” which I was really hoping for - and then the return of the much lamented “Tela.” Fan interaction? Well there was the subtle game playing of breaking the 240 record that was going on for those who were in the know, and then there was the more obvious fact that they blerping brought a fan on stage to play the vacuum. And then they gave him it! Throw in a really nice “Sand” jam, an amazing “GBOTT,” and the “Run Like a Reggae Woman,” and you have the unique versions criteria met.
I don’t think there’s any way this show won’t be praised to the heavens. There’s a reason for that though. The easiest way of knowing a show was great was to ask people after the show what they thought. A good show would have people saying mostly positive things, but a great show, one of THOSE nights? Well when you ask someone what they thought about those, they just laugh or can’t be coherent or bitch about something just as a joke. Walking out of the AAA, that was the reaction….
…and tonight is New Years’ Eve. I can’t imagine they’ll top last night, but I can’t wait to see them try!
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $1,000,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.