It was only a few months ago when I was waxing poetic about palm trees swaying placidly over Sleep Train Amphitheater on July 23rd. Phish delivered a complete show that night, a show at which one can throw a proverbial dart with your eyes closed and confidently exclaim "BULLSEYE" before the dart finds its mark – a show that the palm trees seemed to acknowledge with gentle acceptance personified by waving fronds, as they have more important issues to deal with than silly bar games. Far removed from the warm, soft, summer breeze and tropical flora – well, for some at least – mired across the country in a deep freeze, we looked onward at our television and computer screens, margaritas and cervezas firmly, and ironically, coldly, in hand, hoping to be warmed by what Phish might deliver on Sunday. I found myself in the same situation as most of you, looking for warmth via the glow of the screen. The closest thing we have to a palm tree here in Portland, OR is the fluorescent pink and lime green hues of the The Palms Motel sign buried somewhere in the snow in north Portland. ::shudders:: A far cry from Chula Vista, and an even further cry from those running their toes in the sandy beaches in Mexico – beaches adorned with real palm trees. Real sunshine. Real warmth. Suddenly I have the urge to purchase The Palms Motel sign – maybe it'll give me a tan if I stand close enough.
Seeing Phish live in concert is a pinnacle life experience, no matter the show, quite honestly. Nothing beats the in-the-moment energy, enthusiasm, and raw electricity the band and fan symbiotically produce. In fact, as I write this the hairs on my body stand at attention as a wave of electricity flows through them, enough to power that neon The Palms Motel sign for at least six and a half seconds. Enough to get me that much closer to Mexico. But alas, a fool's errand. Because here I am stuck in Portland, OR, where, I kid you not, a state of emergency has been declared because of the snow and ice. No amount of inert gases could've transported me to where I really wanted to be. So, fellow lamenter, I offer you this review with as much diligence, integrity, and warmth that one can offer from their couch with sub-zero temperatures lurking outside; but reader beware: no matter how tall we make our margarita, nor how spicy the enchilada, nothing compares to being there, in that corner of time and space, at a Phish show. But I will do my best to take you there. Better crank up the heater and start mixing that second batch now.
Welcome to the 257th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the middle of five in time and difficulty in January. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the three mystery clips – these clips are connected by a theme, but the theme needn't be part of the correct answer. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck, and Happy MLK Day!
Hint: This should get you most of the way there:
Answer: My sincerest apologies for all the issues with this week's MJM – we're still dealing with some technical issues at .net HQ, which include folks being unable to comment on any posts more than a day old. Kind of crucial for an MJM that makes it to the hint! In any event, @justino and @runlikecarini PM'd me yesterday that they had figured out the first two tracks, the 12/1/03 Wolfman's Brother and the 2/15/03 Wolfman's Brother, but were still chasing down the third. Unfortunately for them, the hint wasn't partcularly helpful – the telephone that was handed to Liz would only get them most of the way there: two-thirds of the way, to be exact. But after checking pretty much every "Wolfman's Brother" ever, @runlikecarini entertained other themes and realized that it could be as straightforward as "Jams played in 2003" – which proved correct. It wasn't too long into his search of 2003 jams that he found the third clip, from the first show of 2003 (not counting 12/31/02 III of course): the 1/2/03 Chalk Dust Torture. In doing so, @runlikecarini wins back-to-back MJMs, his third of the past four, and his sixth overall – all in the past 4 months! – continuing one of the most impressive streaks in MJM history*. One more win for @runlikecarini and we'll be chaining him to that iceberg and pushing him out into the sunset, to eventually arrive on the shores of Gamehendge where the rest the MJM Emeritus Crew awaits him with collars popped, topsiders polished, cocktails in hand, and keys to the The Vault jingling on their pleated khaki shorts. A shout-out to a few fellow 2.0Phishionados who recommended some of this week's clips, and next week: may your hints be punctual, your comments posted, and your hints crystal clear. MJM258 drops at the same time and place as always.
*To be fair, @runlikecarini never had to battle with the likes of @RabeldyNugs, @pauly, @bl002e, @ghostboogie, @PersnicketyJim, @mcgrupp81, @yunkfunk, @me, @WayIFeel, or @schvice – who all entered the MJM HoF before his first win.
This recap is coming to you from the land of champagne powder, Steamboat Springs, CO. I enjoyed a day of hiking in the snow with my golden, Tela, and cross-country skiing. I am transformed to another time and another space as I sit down to watch the webcast of Phish taking on their second Saturday night appearance in the amazing setting of Mexico. Sometimes we long for the old days, but you have to be grateful for technology :) A few questions going in: Will Fishman continue to sport the Lucha libre wrestler mask the entire run? Saturday night shows are somewhat of a mixed bag, we have all heard the saying about Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shows.. so will Phish deliver something special or standard great this show?
IT appears that many of our site's users were angered by Trey's golden, flowing hair, no... Fish's fierce Lucha libre wrestling mask, no... by @SausageMahoney's recap of the December 29th MSG show. A comment from user @CoryRoc reads: "nothing annoys me more than these reviews, yet i keep reading them to remind myself to never become as jaded as the clowns who write them."
An excerpt of The Phish Companion, 3rd Edition by Noah Cole
On the first night, Friday, the band soundchecked as a few hundred people waded in the ocean in front of the resort. The gates opened and we were greeted by waiters in tuxedos with trays of margaritas and beer and surprisingly decent food – the “all-inclusive” experience might not have included WiFi or room service at many places, but it did include food and drinks in the venue.
It was hot and humid as Phish took the stage, amidst elaborately decorated palm trees (Fish yarn bombs), sand sculptures, and “Page Side Rage Side” temporarily renamed “Page Side Wave Side” due to the proximity to the Caribbean. A predictable – but perfect choice given the setting – “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” opened this first Mexico Phish show, and gave CK5 his first chance to show the extra lights that lit the ocean. Standard versions of “My Soul,” “Martian Monster,” and “Ya Mar” were followed by a sing-along “Halley’s Comet” and “Fuego.”
Early attempts were made at keeping fans out of the water, but eventually there were dozens of fans wading in the waters, so “The Wedge” was an appropriate choice as the band returned to the water motif established at the beginning of the set. “The Wedge” lyrics had been in my head all day, as many of us lazed away the afternoon bobbing on the surface of the warm and wonderful sea.
Welcome to the 256th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the second easiest of January. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of both mystery clips – these clips are connected by a theme, but the theme needn't be part of the correct answer. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
Answer: Congrats to @runlikecarini who keeps up his hot streak and snags his second MJM win in the past three weeks, and his fifth overall. On a night crew mission, he quickly identified the 7/7/99 Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley and (perhaps with some help from @metawhy's comment and Desert Sky '03 being the most recent show he's seen according to phish.net?) the 7/7/03 Wolfman's Brother. As a vague allusion to the perfect square reference I made last week, both clips were from 7/7. There are five Mondays in January, so MJM258 is supposed to be of 'medium' difficulty – but difficulty is all relative, right? *evil grin*
Welcome to the 255th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the first of 2017 and easiest of January. I hope everyone had a great holiday, especially those who made the annual trek to MSG to see Phish play. 2016 was a down year in many ways, but I had a blast with all of you in my first full year as your host. I can't wait to see what you come up with as you try to crawl into my head 50+ times this year to figure out what I'm thinking / listening to – thankfully, Phish keeps delivering the goods, so I don't think there'll be any problem finding another 52 MJMs in an effort to stump you (emphasis on "effort": the Blog only won three times last year, though the MJM did make it to the hint more than a third of the time). The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of the mystery jam clip. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
Answer: Congrats to @PhreePhish who made quick work of the first puzzle of 2017, marking his sixth win overall and first in three-and-a-half years – one more and he's moving to Florida with the rest of the retirees! Yes, this week's MJM was simple, especially on the heels of NYE at MSG and last week's MSG-themed MJM: 12/31/98 Simple. Two of the last three MJMs have been won by multiple-MJM winners who hadn't won in years. Is the competition getting even stiffer with the new batch of savants duking it out with the resurgent MJM veterans? Check back in on Monday to find out, when they battle in the first perfect square MJM since MJM225.
[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome back guest contributor Matt Burnham for this recap. - lbc]
New Year’s Eve is a strange holiday. It’s an event that holds special significance for many and can indicate a time for rebirth. But mostly it seems like a large to-do which, for the most part, can be a let down. The novelty of staying up until midnight really only holds until you're twelve. And unless you’re married or in a long term relationship, as time ticks closer to midnight, searching the room for that guy or girl you’re looking to meet up with at midnight doesn’t always work out in your favor either. Resolutions on a whole are made that everyone knows aren’t going to make it to Valentine’s Day. The event on a whole can outweigh the meaning behind it. A good way to avoid this, as most of you all probably know, is to go to see live music on New Year’s Eve. Less stress, less mess. For this reviewer, I didn’t get the chance to do this but I was able to couch tour New Year’s Eve, so although there is really no substitute for being there, this is about as close you can get. Plus, as LivePhish loves to indicate, I get to watch it back on demand after the show which seems like a strange selling point but helps in the writing of these reviews.
12/30. Just four humble digits with a slash in the middle--but with so much history infused in them, and such a high standard implied.
You all know the sluggers. Big Cypress “Mike’s” makes your knees wobble. The Miami “L.A. Woman” stirs your loins. You know exactly when to punch out of the MSG “Hood” before it segues into “My Soul” and you never skip the encore. Some of these performances are legendary and by now part of most fans’ genetic makeup. The ability to give something extra the night before the big gig and still handle your biz for three sets on NYE is sort of one of Phish’s proven superpowers. Big fans expect big things on this big day.
It's amazing to think that at the end of 2016, more than 27 years since I first saw Phish live, I have so much closer a connection with the band members than ever before. For instance, when Trey Anastasio took the stage with his bandmates ("the boys") Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, I saw instantly that I own the same hoodie Trey was wearing.
Phish's most recent concerts were a four-night run in Las Vegas, and they'd opened the first three of those shows with originals written for and debuted at their 2014 Haunted House performance. Tonight, another pattern emerged. For the second straight show of the current four-night run, they opened with an a cappella number: "Sweet Adeline," which Phish hadn't dusted off since needing it to make up the numbers at the S show at Dick's in 2011. If this trend continues ... aaayyyyyy. Here's hoping for a "Free Bird" tomorrow night.
[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome back guest contributor David Goldstein for this recap. - lbc]
Irrespective of your political affiliation, can we all agree that the two months since Phish last played a rock show have been, to put it neutrally, interesting? This goes double for New York City residents, most of whom are still coming to grips with the fact that Trump Tower, once synonymous with a lousy restaurant for unimaginative tourists, has since been transformed into an impenetrable fortress of intrigue. And in a case of unintended consequences only rivaled by Faith No More inadvertently enabling Limp Bizkit and Korn, Twitter, once used predominantly for celebrity gossip and ranking jambands into tiers, could now be partially responsible for launching a new nuclear arms race. The Chicago Cubs also won the World Series.
What I’m obliquely trying to say here is, more than any time in recent history, GOOD GOD could we all use a Phish show right about now. And few numbers in Phishstory spark the imagination as much as 12/28. Everything is on the table, anything feels possible, and we get to do THIS four nights in a row in a city in which Trey Anastasio can relax in his own bed. Expectations are rightfully though the roof given the stunning quality of the recent four night Las Vegas run, in addition to the fact that night one of the Garden holiday shows has resulted in some goodies in the recent past; in particular the “Little Drummer Boy” inflected “Wolfman’s Brother” from 12/28/12, the monstrous “Tweezer” that occurred forty minutes later, and on 12/28/13, the best version of “Steam” played to that date - a Fishman scream-fest anchoring an otherwise average show. The energy in the city was palpable within a five-block radius of Madison Square Garden; let’s see what the boys have in store.
The Mockingbird Foundation will be having its year end special sale of The Phish Companion, 3d. Ed. and its associated poster art and merch at the PhanArt "Skyscraper is Grander" show on Thursday, December 29th from noon until 6. Admission is free. We will be among the 20 artists and craftspeople selling Phish-related art at the show in the Gold Room at the Hotel Pennsylvania at 401 7th Avenue (at W 33rd St, directly down the street from MSG).
Fans who have not yet picked up their copy of The Phish Companion may want to get to this show on the early side as we expect to sell out of our allotment of 50 books by mid-show as we have the several shows we've done earlier this year in Chicago and Las Vegas.
NOTE: THERE IS NOW A "LOW INVENTORY ALERT" ON THE PHISH COMPANION: WE HAVE FEWER THAN 1,000 COPIES LEFT AND EXPECT TO SELL OUT BY THE END OF JANUARY!
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Welcome to the 254th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the last of 2016 and the hardest of December. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of each of the three mystery jam clips. These three mystery jam clips are connected by a theme, but this week, the theme needn't be part of the answer – it's only there to help you. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck and Happy Holidays and New Year!
Answer: This may be the first time in MJM history that the blog post has only gotten one comment, and that comment contained the correct answer! Congrats to @runlikecarini who wins his fourth MJM, crossing the halfway mark to his forced retirement, by identifying the 7/23/96 Mike's Song, the 11/15/98 Scent of a Mule, and the 7/20/14 Ghost. Somewhere between finding the first and second clips, he realized that I might just be in a celebratory enough mood to spell "M-S-G" with the final MJM of 2016 – how the hell else could he have found that SOAMule on the first day? Tune in Monday, when MJM255 rings in "2017: There's no way it can be worse than 2016, right??" ::prays for west coast tour dates::
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Welcome to the 253rd edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the penultimate of December. Special thanks to @Dog_Faced_Boy for hosting last week's MJM in my stead – he's the real reason MJM 3.0 never takes a week off, even when yours truly is bouncing around the globe. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of each of the three mystery jam clips. These three mystery jam clips are connected by a theme, but this week, the theme needn't be part of the answer – it's only there to help you. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
Hint (9:52 AM PT / 12:52 PM ET): If someone were to solve the first two clips first, they would likely be led astray by the obvious commonality between the two – the real theme was hinted at yesterday, but only one of you seemed to notice.
Answer: Congrats to @jerrytimber who wins his first MJM in 5+ years by identifying the 6/16/94 DWD, the 6/16/00 Theme, and the 11/18/98 Wolfman's Brother. @justino was well on his way to his way to his fourth win, having figured out the last two clips and the theme that they were both played in shows featuring performances of "Dog Faced Boy," but he gave up a lot of information right before the hint and @jerrytimber already had the first clip. Regarding the hint, which @HarborSeal correctly noticed I had provided as an Easter Egg in the initial blog post, I linked to the list of all DFB performances instead of to @DFB's user page in my thank you to Phil. The Easter Egg was to supposed to offset the red herring, where two of the clips shared the same date, but @jerrytimber was able to pick up the last couple bits from @justino and cruise to the win. I love the "connected by a Theme" connection that folks found, but I'd be lying if I said I meant to do that! Stay tuned for MJM 254 on Monday, December 26th, and have a great holiday!
Welcome to the 252nd edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the second MJM of December. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the TWO mystery jam clips, and what these two versions share in common. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck! Also thanks yet again to @ucpete for letting me sit in for him, big shoes to fill!
Answer: Congratulations to @FunkyCFunkyDo and @andrewrose, who share in this week's victory, the 4th MJM victory for each. In a unique and unexpected sitution, we had @FunkyCFunkyDo as the first to correctly identify the two tracks: the Ghost from 2/26/03 and the Boogie On Reggae Woman from 6/7/12. Meanwhile, @andrewrose was right on @FunkyCFunkyDo's heels in identifying the tracks, but he was the first to correctly identify the theme: the venue formerly known as the Worcester Centrum, now known as the DCU Center. It was a sticky situation - the theme proposed by @FunkyCFunkyDo is very close and works as a unifying theme. However for reasons I won't go into, I specifically had the Centrum/DCU Center in mind as the theme. Therefore, they are both right. I would like to thank both winners for their amenable and good-natured spirit in sharing this week's win. It really is a nice community when ambitious MJM Emeritus seekers can put aside legitimate claims of victory, and agree to share the spotlight as co-winners. Thanks guys - I'll have to come up with some cool way to thank you for your sense of fair play. Tune in next Monday when @ucpete takes the difficulty level up several notches with MJM 253.
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