[We would like to thank user @Scissortail (Matt) for this recap. -Ed.]
“If you’re gonna take a risk, sometimes you’re gonna play shit. … But I don’t think our fans do happily lap it up. I think what happens is they get on the internet and talk about how it was a bad show.” – Trey Anastasio, circa 1996
Trey said the above in the documentary “Bittersweet Motel,” in response to a review that said he could urinate in our ears and call it music, and we would be there happily with tape recorders to capture the moment. I bring it up here because I take some exception to the general premise of Trey’s response.
I think the majority of Phish fans can be quite forgiving of a risk gone bad. What we don’t easily forgive is when Phish isn’t taking any risks at all.
[We would like to thank user @Laudanum (Jon Allison) for this recap. -Ed.]
The normal mix of anxiousness and anticipation surrounding a Phish show gets dialed up a notch or two when you know you’re going to be recapping it. Moreso when it’s your first time. Will I get a dud and be forced to trash my favorite band? A middling show with nothing much to say about it either way? Or a good to great show, easy to write about, but carrying some small measure of responsibility to capture it for the ages?
[We would like to thank John Montague (.net @mazegue) for providing this recap. -Ed.]
How did I get here? I like my Phish a little grimy. I like it indoors, because I like the energy bouncing off the walls. If I could, I’d get teleported to The Colonial Theater in the early '90s, or perhaps pick up some broke and dirty hitchhikers en route to Dane County Coliseum. I want the full Phish experience. I want the parking lot. I want Shakedown Street. I want my dose of American culture at its very best. That said, I am here in Mexico for whatever Gamehendge has in store. Two of my best friends are turning 50 this week, and this is how they want to celebrate. I can’t think of a better reason to be here.
I just saw a good dark and stormy, grimy Phish show in Mexico, in the least grimy of venues. It was a deep show, layered with complexity, light dancing with dark on Black and White night.
[We would like to thank Kelly Wilson (.net @kellynicu) for providing this recap. -Ed.]
Night one of Phish at Riveria Maya began with a mild yet refreshing mist of rain before the band took the stage at 9:15 to a sea of eager fans. They kicked off with an upbeat “Back On The Train” to get the party started while Kuroda’s purple and blue lights made even the palm trees dance and glow. After an extended jam, Trey, as always, graciously welcomed us before breaking into “Moma Dance,” which included three random samples of the words “three orange whips.”
[We would like to thank user Jasn1001 (Jason Carlson) for his work and this post! -Ed.]
One of the best things about Phish.net and Phish.in is the free API access to the relational database. It allows any member to request a key and query the database of songs, shows, setlists, and more.
As a long time Phish fan and having recently gained some data manipulation skills, I started a personal project to make a visualization dashboard. Plots that I always wanted to see. To help summarize all of the data the volunteers at The Mockingbird Foundation, Phish.net, and Phish.in have collected over the years.
I had already been working on the dashboard before seeing the recent post about show ratings being disabled because of a surge in activity skewing ratings of historical shows. This motivated me to finally finish the dashboard and share it. The idea of increasing access to the data and helping individuals find a reason to rate shows on Phish.net is what the project is about. Whether it is a highly rated show, average, or low. If a listener had been there the night of, streamed it from home, or listened to it on phish.in a few years later. I think the dashboard can help to navigate the data around the year, tour, or show and help to justify a rating of what your ears just heard. A law of large numbers type of idea that the larger the sample size of ratings becomes the closer we get to the true rating of the show. Here is the link https://www.philletofphish.com/. It is best viewed on an iPad or larger.
Here is a quick rundown on the site.
First, select the show date from the searchable dropdown box, which by default is set at the most recent show.
What is Wordsmith?
By popular demand, Wordsmith is back! Once again, Tom wrote a verse of what might be a song someday, and he’s stuck with a bad case of writer’s block. Please help Tom by contributing the next verse.
Hold on a minute. Before you read any further, let’s time-travel 15 years into the past. Need a little help? Here’s a quick summary of where we were, as a nation, in the late-winter of 2009:
President Barack Obama has just been inaugurated for his first term as president. Seinfeld is airing a quasi-reunion episode via the genius of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Yankees won the World Series a few months earlier, and the Pittsburgh Steelers just won the Super Bowl. Taylor Swift is a successful but niche country artist, while The Black-Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga are at the top of the pop charts. And in the world of film, Heath Ledger just won a posthumous Oscar for his iconic performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight.
Are you there yet?
It's Fish's 59th birthday today! How better to celebrate it than to hear him speak (often insightfully) on a host of different topics with a fellow drummer and fan Nick Ruffini in two episodes of the Drummer's Resource podcast. For example, in the first of the two episodes, episode 368 The Art Of Constant Evolution, beginning around minute 69, Fish talks about how the band was really hard on themselves and made fun of each other, and the importance of “embracing silence” in improvising. He also discusses how life-changing the No-Analysis-During-Shows band policy was.
[We would like to thank Matt Nestor (@rhythmatt) for this post —Ed.]
What transpired during the third hour of this millennium on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida remains a source of wonder and enchantment in this community more than two decades after it washed over the everglades.
This is an exploration of “Quadrophonic Toppling,” the hard-to-define digital delay loop jam that spills out of a determined, trance-like “Sand” around 3 a.m. at Big Cypress. It’s a moment of sonic tranquility amid a raging flood of Y2K revel. And, it completes a 36-minute segment that serves as a keystone in the architectural marvel that is Phish’s all-night millennium set.
This is a continuation of the “Remember Mix(ed) Tapes? No? What Are ‘Tapes’?” blog post from last year, which you may want to review before reading further. Simply put, in the late 1990s, I liquidated a lot of tapes in my collection for a number of reasons, and because, waaay waaaaay back then, it wasn’t possible to (re)listen to everything online with ease, I saved/preserved certain versions of songs on tapes aka mixtapes to listen to again. I have 22 of such tapes numbered as such, and you can see the first 13 tapes’ track lists in the original post, and the track lists of tapes 14-22 below.
Bottom line? Since I bothered to record (preserve) the versions below on new tapes before liquidating the shows/tapes that they were on, I recommend you listen to them, even though with the benefit of decades of hindsight, they may not necessarily be jamchart-worthy or "must hear." That said, I see my favorite normal-lengthed Stash (5/19/94) is here, as is the Linus and Lucy Hood, and my favorite FEFY (8/17/93). So there’s that. And there are definitely many other “must hear” versions of Phish songs below, like the 6/24/94 Antelope (and some hilarious versions of songs, too, e.g. Fish on Undun, the intro to the 4/27/89 Bowie).
And I’m just now finding out that apparently the 5/11/87 Clod (on Tape 14) doesn’t circulate online (I bothered to save it to tape so it must have been on my tapes of 5/11/87 that I liquidated decades ago, sigh). I will see about getting it digitized. More sighing. ANYWAY, I hope you find the following entertaining if not also useful and inspiring! And if you don’t? You just might, maybe, perhaps, if only a little, suck at Phish. -charlie
It’s another new year and once again the Phish.net forum “Jam of the Year” committee is proud to present a curated selection of improvisation from the 2023 touring year as selected by Phish.net users. Look for weekly discussion and voting threads in the forum as we make our way through head to head matchups between the best jams last year had to offer.
[We'd like to thank Steven Gripp for this post, and for his work on this Phish mapping project. You can learn more about the project by watching Steven describe it on the Helping Friendly Podcast. We also wanted to give a shout out to The Phishsonian's show mapping project —Ed.]
For the past three years, I’ve embarked on a project that I feel really encapsulates the epic journey of Phish. Knowing that, while we have all gazed at the wonder of Phish’s illustrious 40-year career, reminiscing on how they’ve become what they have become goes back to all the places they have been. I’ve mapped out on Google Earth every Phish show, from their first performance in the back of the Harris-Mills Cafeteria all the way to their ambitious Gamehendge performance at Madison Square Garden. From their beginnings in downtown Burlington, to their cross-country tours, to their European and Japanese excursions, all have been placed for the user experience to see where Phish has traversed. I’ve been a phan since 1996, and I’ve always wanted to give back to the community. I feel that finishing this project right at their 40 year anniversary has a serendipity and timing to take the listening experience to the next level.
Today marks the release of Joe Cripe's second EP, Bob's House, from which 100% of the streaming profits will be donated to the Mockingbird Foundation to support music education for children. As Joe describes it:
This project took many months of effort to complete, and all I want is this to continuously help those who need music the most. Playing music is beneficial for mental health, team work, creativity, stress relief, building friendships, strengthening motor muscles and expressing what words cannot. It’s never too late or early to learn an instrument!
If you feel so inclined, please donate directly through this post. I set the goal at $1, because there is no dollar goal, but I’m happy for anything that is received. Please enjoy Bob’s House in the meantime!
Sitting in a small, glass-walled meeting room with Trey Anastasio, Doug Wright and Amanda Green as they readied Hands on a Hardbody for its Broadway debut in 2012, I started to ask Trey—and yeah, let’s just call him Trey for our purposes here—about his long-running interest in musical storytelling.
"Gamehendge wasn’t a musical, but…,” I began.
“It was supposed to be a musical,” Trey broke in.
[We'd like to thank Paul Jakus for this analysis of recent Phish.net ratings. Coincidentally, we've been analyzing ratings with him for a future blog series digging deeper into how Phish fans rate shows. Stay tuned for more on ratings soon! —Ed.]
At 3:42 p.m. on the afternoon of January 3, 2024 the ratings function of Phish.Net was disabled due to unusual patterns in ratings behavior. Here we’ll explain those patterns, but first let’s establish what a “normal” Holiday Run ratings pattern looks like.
For comparison, let’s look at ratings submitted between 1:00 a.m. January 1, 2023 through 3:42 p.m. January 3, 2023 (a time period that will match that of the 2023/24 NYE Run.) Some 1,004 ratings were submitted over nearly 63 hours, for 116 different shows. Of these ratings, 838 (84%) were for the four holiday shows, leaving 166 ratings to be spread across the remaining 112 non-holiday shows. The most new ratings any non-holiday show received was six.
So, what happened after the 2023/24 Run? Read on for more.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.