Vocals: Trey (lead), All (backing)
Albums: Party Time
"It's party time, people!" was a mantra for most of the western world in January 2009. Barack Obama had just been inaugurated as President of the United States of America. Seemingly, the bleak darkness that hung over the planet for the previous eight years was fading as the Bush-Cheney Cabal withdrew from their seat of power.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, a similar darkness was receding from the Phish world at the same time. Discounting the ill-fated "mid-term election" that Phish 2.0 and its subsequent implosion and impeachment represented; Phish fans had suffered through a similar interminable wait in the darkness for eight long years. About a month before Election Day 2008, the due date for the birth of Phish 3.0 had been announced. Scarcely a month after President Obama's inauguration, wherein the "Party of the People" were back in the highest office, the party people of Phish emerged from the mother ship to begin their campaign toward new heights with a newfound spirit of "Light." During the time between, the band hit the studio.
The studio version of "Party Time" was recorded at The Barn in January 2009, but it took thirty shows to make its debut at Merriweather on 8/15/09, the day the party people of India celebrate their independence from our common former imperial masters. Following up on another Fishman lyrical tour de force, "Ha Ha Ha," extensive research (no, not really) reveals this as the non-instrumental Phish song combo with the fewest words – "Ha," "Party" and "Time." The other three appearances in 2009 were all in prominent set-opening spots, inaugurating the best party of the touring year at Festival 8 (10/30/09), opening the show with the best-regarded jam ("Seven Below" -> "Ghost") of the year at TAFKAK (11/28/09) and providing the "Auld Lang Syne" intro at the Miami NYE gig to ring in 2010. It's first 2010 appearance on 6/17/10 at Hartford seemed innocuous enough but propelled one of the best jams of early summer '10, the thrilling "Down with Disease" -> "Sand" combo.
Carrying the carefree funk feel of a Mardi Gras parade on the back of a "Cars Trucks Buses" groove, "Party Time" certainly lives up to its name. We can only hope that the man who promised us "Change" can overcome the obstacles of two wars, a "Greater Depression," and the most egregious ecological disaster in our nation's history to date, and continue to lead us out of the darkness and into the light many were expecting. If he is unsuccessful in living up to the promise that earned him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, we will be forced to once again sing Dubya's campaign song at the next party and find a new man to pin our nation's hopes upon.
Jon Fishman in 2012!
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Plus you didn't even mention the Telluride version!
some of us like to listen to phish as it provides an escape from having to hear about things like politics, especially from people who clearly understand so little.
plus, this song deserves better. really.