Halloween has been used to scare people and I am officially scared. Scared that the band I have grown up loving and admiring is nothing but a zombie brought back from the dead, slowly walking blindly with its arms stretched out, looking for fresh blood to feast on.
The truth is that if the 20 year old versions of these men met the aged men that we now know as Phish, those young versions would laugh in the faces of their now zombified selves.
Don't get me wrong, I love Phish and will always love Phish. I am glad that I can see them perform and be together on stage, but I am painfully coming to grips with the reality that this is now a band that will tell me what they are going to do before they do it, that when it gets dark out, they get tired, that the songs that used to be rare treats are now novelty songs used to make us feel okay that we spent hundreds of dollars to see them struggle through their material.
When they announced that they were doing an album for halloween I was baffled that they would tell us such news in advance, but i remembered that the first couple times they covered albums on halloween they told the audience in advance and had us vote on which album we wanted to hear. So I just wrote it off. Immediately I though to myself that the obvious album would be Exile on Main St. The Beatles, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd, The Who, Velvet Underground. The Stones seemed natural and with a couple songs already in their bag, Exile seemed even more obvious. But wait. Phish is a band that represented originality, searching the unknown, surprise and anticipation. So i hoped and prayed that this obvious choice is something they would never do, because its just too obvious. But as I listened to Phish perform their music over the weekend, I found myself guessing every song correctly, knowing exactly when we've reached the highest peak and when the songs would end. And when the flyers circulated that told us they would be performing Exile on Main Street, completely destroying the last remaining element of surprise, my heart sunk and a turned to my young girlfriend and told her that I wish she could have been old enough to have toured with me in the 90's when they were true masters of their craft.
I will continue to see Phish shows. I have seen 9 shows since they have been back and have my tickets for fall tour and will most likely get my tickets to new years. There is still no band like them. They are still living legends and still make me feel great when they stumble through their master pieces. But the resurrection of my favorite band is officially no more than an opportunity to relive the past as opposed to an opportunity to trail-blaze new paths into the future.
Perhaps Phish 4.0 is on the horizon but, to me Phish 3.0 is as sad as it was for me to visit my grandmother before she passed. I loved her so I kept going to see her, but it seemed like she forgot who I was and became confused about who she was.