Sorry, to sum up my response to @hdorne which sorta got buried in a response to the thread in general:Wally, I can see why a lot of Phish fans (and Dead fans before them) only listened to those respective bands and thought their music was so terrific (on it's good nights, it was) that no other music could possibly measure up or was worth hearing, but I'm kind of dumbfounded that an otherwise intelligent seeming and sophisticated music aficionado such as yourself with a recognized published book on the 33 ⅓ series could hold the same opinion. Yeah, Wilco, maybe. Yeah, other rock bands, maybe. Yeah, other jambands, maybe. But does your opinion include all Western music of every era and genre? Phish greater than Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc.?
Phish try every night to accomplish something that Wilco, on their best night, couldn't dream of (and I say this despite loving Nels Cline's improv w/MMW, and Tweedy's songwriting). On an off night, Phish aim for total musical synchronization and end up playing nothing more than Unprecedentedly Coherent Improvised Rock, which is still totally worth the ticket price as long as they don't completely butcher all the writtens, I think.
Now if they're having trouble syncing up, or are noticeably rusty, well -- that's frustrating, and embarrassing if they didn't put in the work to tighten up for tour. But if they're putting nose to grindstone and making interesting music with some technical errors, that seems a fair tradeoff. I wasn't there, haven't heard, don't know -- but that evaluative framework seems sensible to me for now.
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