Once again, the initial recap didn’t say it wasn’t an enjoyable show. It spoke of multiple highlights, such as the 2001, and the great vibe at Alpharetta. Recaps aren’t for blindly praising the band. They aren’t for fluff. As Trey said in Bittersweet Motel, we don’t just “lap it up,” we get online and talk about why it was a bad show. And while Sunday was far from a bad show, it did have some musical mishaps. Quite honestly, this tour has made me frustrated with the degree of flubbing occurring on a near-nightly basis, and I know I’m not alone. I love the band for its looseness and the occasional flubs are endearing, but if you’re going to completely butcher a song, maybe don’t play it. There’s a fine line between looseness and being unprofessional.
The “don’t you dare criticize the band, everything they do is perfect” mentality is nothing new, though. I remember listening to the tapes from Coventry and much of 2004 in general, then hopping on .net to read show reviews and being alarmed by how many people thought the band sounded perfect, when they clearly sounded like a strung-out shit show (with some mind-bendingly great jams, mind you). And there’s always the old chestnut, “a bad Phish show is better than any other band’s best show,” which is nonsense. Paying to hear a band butcher their own catalog is a bummer.
That’s what the original recap was getting at: Phish have had far better moments than the “Vultures” from Sunday. If you had a great time at the show, or if technical execution isn’t important to you, then someone’s criticism of a technical aspect of the performance shouldn’t hurt your feelings. I had an amazing time at 8/11/09, which wasn’t a great show.
Recaps are supposed to be critical evaluations of Phish performances, the good, the bad, and the BGCA “Waking Up Dead.” If you can’t separate your subjective experience of being at the show from a critique of the music itself, reading recaps may not be your thing. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
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