Monday 05/31/2010 by zzyzx

TIME TO REVISIT PTBM'S SHIPPING POLICIES

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!

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Tuesday 05/18/2010 by zzyzx

INTRODUCING THE PHISHSTATS FACEBOOK PAGE

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.

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Sunday 05/02/2010 by zzyzx

PHISH 3D REVIEW

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.


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Saturday 05/01/2010 by Lemuria

KEEPING ON...

I'm just hoping it'll last another year, or however long it'll last -- as long as we keep getting along and stuff.

Trey, c.5/1/00
Monday 04/26/2010 by zzyzx

IF I TOLD YOU

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!

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Thursday 04/01/2010 by Lemuria

MOCKINGBIRD MASSAGERS MINTED

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.

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Sunday 01/24/2010 by sethadam1

OFFLINE FOR MAINTENANCE FRIDAY

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!

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Wednesday 01/06/2010 by sethadam1

ANATOMY OF A SETLIST: NOTHING IS PERMANENTLY RETIRED

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[1]? 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.

[1] 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[2], Have Mercy, Harpua > Buffalo Bill".

[2] ...Just seeing if you were paying attention.

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Thursday 12/31/2009 by zzyzx

12/30 IMMEDIATE REACTION

 

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!

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Thursday 12/31/2009 by zzyzx

12/30 IMMEDIATE REACTION

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!

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Thursday 12/17/2009 by sethadam1

SPOTTED ON NICK JR.

Spotted on Nick Jr today.  Someone has a Phish head working in the animation department...

Thursday 12/10/2009 by jraras

3.0 SO FAR: SUSHI - PART ONE

(all listed chronologically vs. ranked order within category)

The Fatty Toro:

6/7/09 - The Camden Sand - If not the first HOSE of 3.0, certainly a high-powered sprinkler. To many of us, an indication of what we had been waiting for loved of 1.0 and 2.0 phish.

6/7/09 - Tweezer - Less exploratory and more melodic and soaring, lovely stuff. Hrm, maybe Camden should be higher in my show rankings??

7/31/09 - Drowned -> Crosseyed - The segue on paper and as performed would likely land this piece here as Fatty Toro, but the playing around it confirms. Must hear.

7/31/09 - Tweezer - A clear exception to the timing/length rule. This Tweezer clocks in at just over 12min, but has mind bending and melodic playing—auditory gymnastics.

8/2/09 - Boogie On - Are we back at Alpine? Not quite, but an elite version; great playing, Twist-eqsue jamming.

8/7/09 - Sally - Amidst a relatively sloppy set-1 Sally goes bezerk after the VJ, unexpected hosing.

8/7/09 - Light - The band hits on all cylinders as they continue to showcase the new song as a second set hitter. Put this one in the wookipedia as the definition of “jamming so good it sounds composed” - the calypso / cooing jam.

8/7/09 - Gin - Yep, this Gorge1 is the real deal. Slinking all over and boomerang.

8/8/09 - Rock and Roll - This one’s better than a’right…

8/16/09 - #Line - Exploratory, some like, some don’t… but you have to admire the process. Segue into 20 Yrs.

11/28/09 - The Albany Seven Beghost - I’m sure you’ve heard all about this one…

Part Two next - The Chu Toro

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Thursday 12/10/2009 by zzyzx

THIS PLACE IS OF THE DARK

So I was just listening to “Gone” off of Party Time and I was trying to think of what the lyrically darkest Phish songs are. These are the ones that come to mind.

“Esther” - it might be just a little too goofy to qualify, but it’s a woman who accepts a random gift and finds her life spiraling downhill rapidly the second she takes it.

“Free” - only if you accept that this is a song about drowning your wife and then proclaiming your freedom.

“Dirt” - almost definitely about someone killing themselves, leaving behind a despondent person futilely shouting their name into the wind and wondering if they could have done more.

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