Permalink for Comment #1375534902 by FACTSAREUSELESS

FACTSAREUSELESS @digitalhoward said:
My two cents.

Deadhead since '89. Phish vet since '92. Saw the Dead 12 times (once with Brent, 11 with Vince). Jerry was literally dying on stage from '92 on. Loved the music dearly (still do) and loved going to the shows but knew it was something (much) less than what it used to be. Actually disappointed at several shows I attended, and I'm not one of those guys! I can't listen to anything post '90 now because it's really just terrible for the most part. I only say all of this because I know what it is to watch a band crumble.

Now to Phish. Saw about 15 shows between '92 and 2000. Started going again in 2011 and have seen another 12 shows. Phish today is as relevant and imaginative and plain old fun as they've ever been. Period. I'll grant that Trey is no-longer the gunslinger he used to be but that's ok. Michael Jordan went from holy-shit-did-you-see-that-dunk machine in the first half of his career to dead-eye jumpshooter in the second half. Just as effective and just as deadly. Trey's doing the same thing and he's still at the top of his game. And as far as I'm concerned, neither Mike, Page nor Fish have lost even a half-step, in fact they could be on steroids because they've all gotten better as time has gone on.

Bottom line, I watched the Dead fade away. Phish is picking up steam and going to their shows is a fucking treat, even though not every one is truly epic. And they're still writing great new tunes. I was there in '92-'93 when tons of songs were played back to back nights because they didn't have all that many (and several were awful tunes that thank god are no longer in their repertoire). I pull out shows from '11 just as soon as I'd pull out a '97 just for the great variety, not to mention growth in playing.

So quit yer whinin', feel free to critique versions of this vs. that - that's what we do. As someone who absolutely loves '90s shredding machine-gun Trey, stop with the whole they ain't what they used to be. Some nights they're better, some nights they're worse. Grow up and enjoy.
Really love what you had to say in this post and I agree with all of it. I tried to articulate the whole "Jerry dying before our eyes" bit a couple years ago and got soundly criticized for it, but I agree with you, obviously. Saw my first GD show in '81. Went to a boatload of shows on the East Coast over the decade of the '80's. Never went to see them in the '90's because by '89 I couldn't take it anymore. Everyone was bragging about their "renaissance" but I didn't hear it. Jerry would sleepwalk through much of the first set (with exceptions, of course) and just didn't have the physical energy to pour out with any consistency or endurance. The Dead were really pretty much cooked after '82. They were on fumes after that. People who were digging the scene may disagree, as there were a lot of young college kids (I was one of them!) who got into the band during that era. The Dead were the "thing" in those days. Everyone wanted to go to a show and find out what the buzz was about.

Really, though, the creative and musically interesting period of the Dead was for the most part over by mid-'78. If you listen to older GD it's like a completely different band than the '80's.

You are right about Phish. They are different now, too, but not in a "disentegrating" way. I worry about Trey over the last year or so, as his playing is really much sloppier than it was just a couple short years ago. Yet, he seems perfectly coherent and engaged, they are smiling and enjoying each other's playing....

Trey "seems" sharper when he plays with TAB, which leads me to believe that the sloppiness I hear (that we all hear) with Phish is a result of him pushing and experimenting with ideas and stylings. He has been much more of an engaged listener to his bandmates in general over the last year and a half than previous, I think, and I believe the result has been more inventive and creative playing from his mates.

Jerrry Garcia could not get outside the box effectively over the last years of his career because he was barely alive most of the time. So the band just did what they could.

Phish is actively pushing the boundaries this year, presenting new music, reinterpreting old tunes and generally hitting home runs frequently. I mean, what they've done with Harry Hood this year is quite something and it obviously started last year in Hollywood Bowl. Back in '10 I never would have guessed that the Hood would ever stray beyond its perscribed limits again. I used to dread it's prescence in second sets because it was so predictable. Not anymore. Now, their most beautiful singular piece of music has been reignited with fresh life. That is not the work of a band "playing out the string".

I agree with your sentiments entirely. If there had been a blog in the '80's that used the same stringent criteria of judgment that we put against Phish these days, I can only imagine what we would have read.

Let's see.....set-killers, momentum-killers, rote playing, type 1, type 2, set construction, flubs, etc.etc. We're pretty tough on the Phish of Vermont and all they do is continue to impress. is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

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