Monday 08/22/2011 by Lemuria

BAD MOMENTS IN PHISHTORY

The following excerpt from The Phish Companion is shared not only to encourage you to explore the book, but in light of concerns on the forum about jaded vets. We’re of course thrilled that so many people continue to discover (and rediscover) Phish, and welcome you to a site where connoisseurship sometimes puts praise in the context of historical variance. Previously posted in the earlier (Tumblr) version of this blog, it's now posted here...

There has been such extensive discussion about Phish’s high points that there are common suggestions for best performances (esp.12/31/95), strangest setlists (esp. 2/20/93), and most cosmic experiences (esp. 1/1/00). Much less attention is paid to the “bad moments” in Phishtory. You can find critique (and anything else) in excess in some places on the Internet, but it’s taboo in some circles. Many fans wear rose-colored blinders, or even nay-say about the possibility of mishaps, following the neo-hippie mantra that “it’s all good”. But it isn’t, even with Phish, and discussing that is a necessary responsibility in comprehensively covering their history and music.

To begin with something benign but often misrepresented, consider audience turnout, which neither skyrocketed nor consistently increased throughout Phish’s history. The famous “first show” is said to have had only one fan (Amy Skelton, although in a 11/03 interview in the Boston Globe Trey mentions three fans). But a show five years later is said to have had only two fans – 8/27/88, at the Food Court of Penn State’s Mont Alto Campus. And even five years beyond that, one show was moved from a larger venue to the smaller Tennessee Theater and then another (billed as “Party on the Plaza”) was performed not in the venue proper but its concession area. Even ten years into their career, they sometimes overestimated potential crowds: The show scheduled for July 19, 1993, at Baltimore’s Pier Six Pavilion was cancelled due to lack of ticket sales, major portions of tours in 1996 were played to half-full arenas, and the showing of a mere five thousand fans at 11/2/98 helped prompt the “you snooze you lose” monster performance of Dark Side of the Moon. And Europe was on occasion a total miss, as when the band were booed in Italy in 1996.

Sometimes, it was the band members who didn’t show: Trey was responsible for the “Guitar Player Taking a Leak” jam at Laguna Seca Daze in ’94, although the band covered with a funny little ditty in classic Phish humor followed by a smoking two-song second encore. Contrarily, Fishman (as told in the “bear story” 3/17/91) missed two of three sets on 7/30/88, leaving the band to tool around on standards with Trey on drums. (By the way, they’ve lost more than just themselves: Fishman lost his clothes 4/21/89, and Trey lost a contact lens at Farm Aid while jamming with Neil Young.) But these, too, were all relatively benign, even lending to some fantastically unique moments. Calling any of these “bad moments” may not be fair.

Sometimes, however, the band showed but the venue faltered, and these moments were bad. The 11/5/91 show was cancelled when the roof caved in, and a small flood ended 3/28/92 in the middle of a second set (acknowledged at and compensated on 2/19/93). A fire alarm interrupted the first set of 4/20/89, prevented a second set on 4/22/90, and brought the only “Horse” without a “Silent” on 6/21/94. The lights went out mid-“Melt” at10/20/89 and during “Chalk Dust” at 5/17/91, but the house lights went up 12/31/90 while the band huddled behind the stage selecting an encore. The PA went out during the 12/28/95 “Rift” (with lyrics “silence contagious in moments like these”) and the12/30/96 “Funky Bitch” (which the band “played” through, to the crowd’s delight). The PA also caused problems throughout 7/10/98, even in the roaring (and therefore appropriate) “Down with Disease”, although it mercifully cut short possibly the worst ever “Divided Sky”.

Weather, too, has been a trouble: Rain interrupted the first set of7/14/00 for 26 minutes, cut short the second set of 7/1/99, and moved the 6/8/95 show indoors. And while transportation has improved – from one van (which broke down on the way to 2/10/90) for the whole crew and equipment, to a set of buses and (for some festivals) jet rentals – international borders have been an issue on several occasions (including some equipment arrival to the Great Went), though not with any known impact on the shows.

Instrument problems have thankfully been few and far between. Mike broke a bass string on 4/22/90 and 5/2/91, and had some problems that interrupted the 11/28/92 “My Sweet One”. Trey broke a guitar string 11/29/96 (as did guest Del McCoury 7/18/99) – and his foot during the4/10/94 soundcheck (see show notes for 4/14/94, 4/20/94, 4/21/94, and4/23/94). He also apologized for being out of tune 4/6/85, aborted “Guelah” 12/6/91 due to guitar troubles, and got frustrated enough with his rig that he began kicking it during the 11/8/96 “Simple” (which was followed by “Loving Cup”, with the lyrics “I know I play a bad guitar”). At 11/22/92, Trey said Fish was mad at him because he “fucked up the ending” to “Axilla” – though exactly three years later, Trey accused Fish of screwing up “Rift” so badly they had to abort the song.

Trey has flailed on lyrics more often than notes, such as the last verse to “Fee” on 7/5/98, the first line of “Esther” 7/19/91, key lines of “Wilson” at both 7/19/03 and 8/3/03 (the latter somewhat corrected during the ensuing “Mike’s Song”), and lines from “Cavern” more times than we could count (but of which 5/23/00 is perhaps the most comical, and12/2/03 the most recent). Sometimes he drops only a few words, as in the 12/2/03 “Cities”, or even adds a few, such as an extra “whoa” in “Runaway Jim” (e.g. 8/13/97). But he forgot enough of the lyrics to “Sleeping Monkey” 5/2/93 that he apologized to Tom Marshall (who was in the audience). And he forgot enough of “Lizards” on 2/7/91 that he called the song off during the second verse, and enough on 7/3/95 that Fishman recommended a teleprompter.

But Fishman himself is sometimes out of step, such as starting “2001” when the rest are playing “Melt”, as on 7/15/99 and 7/26/99. And he forgot the lyrics to “Love Me” on 12/30/03, so ad-libbed about his vacuum cleaner. Even Mike, who doesn’t sing much, has occasionally missed a line, as on 11/28/92 when he was distracted and sang, “The tires are the thing on your hood when you get back to your house”.

Technical glitches and slippages aren’t the only ways in which some parts of Phish history have been arguably “bad”. Trey, who left the stage quickly after the first Great Went set, is heard in Bittersweet Motel saying simply, “We played a bad set.” He may be right (as quoted later in that documentary) not to care about missing “the changes”, saying that “it’s all about the energy”. But sometimes the slippage is in the energy itself. While some have argued that a “Friday” encore could ruin any show, even popular heavy-hitters aren’t completely reliable: Limestone hosted perhaps the best version of “Chalk Dust Torture” (at IT) but also perhaps the worst (at the Great Went). And Mike (recovering from the prior night) performed weakly enough 7/12/03 for Trey to “welcome [him] back” halfway into the second set.

Shows often start strong even if they don’t end well, but the weakest opener may have been 9/27/95 or 10/16/96. Among those shows that ended with a whimper, the 1/4/03 encore is commonly mentioned. Sometimes the band has petered out mid-song, such as the aborted “Lizards” 2/7/91; “Rift” 11/22/95; “Slave”, “Bowie”, and “Free” at 7/12/96; “My Friend” 2/25/97; “Guelah” 6/25/97; “Mike’s Song” and “Divided Sky”7/10/98, “Harry Hood”12/31/99, and “YEM” 1/3/03. (The 7/6/98 “Maze” was stopped on a dime – but only for Trey to apologize for not thanking the audience the previous night, which featured flubs throughout, notably in “Fee”.)

Finally, despite Phish’s variation of setlists, improvisational adventures, and expanding bag of antics, sometimes routine sets in and detracts from the wonder. “Golgi” is a great song, and “Rocky Top” a fine cover, but there was a time when they were all-too-common encores. Arguably worse (though also arguably a gimick), “2001” opened ten consecutive second sets in summer 1993, and ten more shows on that 33-show tour!

Though doing so would be unrepresentative, we could also review occasional problems with traffic, bathroom facilities, and ticketing. A focus on reviewing the highlights of Phish history (in terms of setlists, settings, and performances) belies and ignores the empirical variation in the quality of their shows. But I don’t mean to bring reminders of slippage down like a hammer on your warm memories and adoration for the band, much less to imply that Phish is anything less than a godsend. Rather, it is precisely because we love the band enough to have heard them enough to notice and remember these blunders. They remind us that perfection isn’t a given, that Phish are human, and that, when it all does come together flawlessly, it does so only because of a tremendous amount of work, energy, and dedication by the band members and their support staff. Thanks to them, while it isn’t all good, most of it is fantastic, and much of it is unadulterated bliss!

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Comments

, comment by AugustWest2001
AugustWest2001 long overdue. i will purposefully martyr myself to say what i have to say. i believe in balance. that being said, i love this band with all my heart. all of it. i love many many bands, but this one is THE ONE. phish can suck. the dead can suck. to be honest, the damn beatles outside the studio sound like well, nothing special, screaming girls aside. -1 me to death, i dont care. their music has been the thing that has shaped my adult life and the shows have brought me the best moments of my youth many times over. this band has changed what a rock band can do forever. but....and listen now....the cost is sucking from time to time. not every show is supposed to change your life. look at thier career as a sum total of achievements, and you have to step back and have an "oh shit moment". phish can suck and its so ok!
, comment by Fluffyfluffyhead
Fluffyfluffyhead @AugustWest2001 said:
not every show is supposed to change your life. ... phish can suck and its so ok!
Two thumbs up!!
, comment by TheEmu
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd I think perhaps my favorite flubbed lyric ever is 7.15.1991 in Cavern. Going along through the song, it sounds like they are going to add a couple extra instrumental measures or jam a little between two of the verses. Until Trey asks something along the lines of: "Does anyone else remember the lyrics to this? Because I sure don't."

Its like a paraphrase of the old adage about pizza and sex: "Even when they're bad, they're still pretty funny."
, comment by deceasedlavy
deceasedlavy Who on Earth doesn't like the Went "Chalk Dust"? That's one of the most ludicrous things I've ever read on here, right up there with 2/20/93 II being the best set ever.

I think the interesting thing about this little piece is how it barely mentions the actual bad moments in Phishtory--Coventry, or Vegas '04, or some of the dull fall '99 performances, etc. I know, I know, it's very SUBJECTIVE, but mentioning flukes and miscues doesn't get to the heart of the matter: Phish's best and worst moments result from the risks they take as people and musicians.

I'm not ripping on the piece; it's a fun read, but none of the minor instances mentioned here come close to the truly BAD moments in Phishtory; they're all forgivable and generally humorous side notes compared to the deterioration of the band's instrumental abilities during 2003/04, or even the objectively sour vocals they've often pushed on us ever since 1997 or so.

None of this detracts from how amazing the band has re-become in 2011, however. Here's hoping "Friday" remains a laughable memory of how bad things USED to be.
, comment by batshitcrazy
batshitcrazy At least they can make flubs phunny like on 7/25/99 when fishman forgot the words to purple rain. That was hilarious!!!
, comment by User_11821_
User_11821_ Argh I don't have the date off the top of my head. Trey flubbed yem "boy, man, shit, God" and looked like he wanted to apologize somehow for putting shit before God, the panic on his face for two or three seconds was priceless.
, comment by MDosque
MDosque
I was thinking similar to deceased lavy (I think!) as I read this piece. Flubs and miscues are not really bad moments at all, especially when put in context with an otherwise solid show. For me, "BAD" moments in Phish history stem from seeing a zonked out Trey and disinterested band plod through a droning set to just go through the motions. There are few truly bad moments like this, but the aforementioned years of 2.0 probably have most of them, along with some 99-00 stuff and surely a handful of shows in the mid-90's. This is a silly and fun read, but I think these moments of technical difficulties and flubbed lyrics are being described in the wrong context here. I would say that Coventry is as worse a moment for Phish as all the silly weather and sound problems combined. This is the point of the "jaded vet". That term is bogus. Most of the people that get accused of being that are just coming from a place where we witnessed first-hand some tough shows leading up to the real hiatus and everything is not always rosy. Generally speaking, this bunch thinks 3.0 is stellar and loves to see the band healthy and happy from the bottom of our heart. This post would have a been a light and fun read if not for the opening condescending paragraph. Not only did it miss the point entirely, but failed to dig deep into the great history of our beloved band...true warts and all.

Dosque
, comment by Phabolous
Phabolous Great piece of writing, Makes me want to listen to it all and some!! One thing I will say is its more about crowd energy now as to before when the crowds would still be fresh and attentative. So before the energy came straight off what the band was putting out. Now if they throw a bad curveball, the crowd will respond. Either stop dancing or begin to talk. I sadly had to see this site when Trey started Prince Caspian at UIC3 this past show. Given it couldve also been a cool down song. It couldve also been them doing as they please like usual. Point is only thing that can make shows BAD is the attendees and listeners, other than that. ITS All GOOD
, comment by Scissortail
Scissortail Peacey, don't know if it's the time you were thinking of, but he did exactly that on the first night of the Hampton 09 shows during the second-set-closing YEM. I was as close to the stage as I've ever been (before or since) and I totally noticed exactly what you described. It was like ... the Fluffhead opener, the well-rehearsed and tight playing all night, erasing our memories of Coventry and the worst of 04 ... the sheepish, apologetic look on his face was like "Fuck. We came and did exactly what we wanted to do, slayed that first show, and then I fucked it up." (Even though he absolutely didn't.)

Anyway, I enjoyed the read, and I appreciate reading criticism of Phish in general. I don't wear the blinders, and while I don't choose to dwell on the negative, I don't hate on the people providing serious criticism.

BUT ...

The thing I dislike about the Jaded Vet crowd is that it has become this badge of honor. And to wear the badge, you must conform to all the rules of being a Jaded Vet. You can't allow yourself to enjoy a nice Prince Caspian, for that would ruin your Jaded Vet cred. You must dismiss any Tweezer less than 18 minutes, because if they don't stretch it out it's utter shit. Etc etc etc.

And that's all fine in blog posts and forum discussion ... but I went to the Gorge with someone who I'd put in this category, and I actually felt bad for him. He wouldn't allow himself to enjoy the show as a fan of Phish, or of music. He was bound by the ethos of the Jaded Vet. And he, like every reviewer I read afterward, MUCH preferred night 1 to night 2. And you know why? (We all know why) Because they went all Type-2 crazy on Rock and Roll and had a killer segue into Meatstick. Yes, that was fucking awesome, but the energy/flow/awesomeness of night 2 as a whole completely blew away night one if you ask me (or any of my other non-Jaded-Vet crew), Rock and Roll-> Meatstick notwithstanding.

Anyway, that doesn't have a ton to do with the meat of this article, but the intro referenced people's attitudes regarding the Jaded Vet segment of the fanbase. I have no beef with criticism, but I think people submarine their own enjoyment of Phish, and they do it intentionally just to sing the same chorus as the other Jaded Vets on all the blogs.

, comment by SlavePhan
SlavePhan An overlooked flub was the Cypress 'Hood' tease at 5:30 in the morning before playing 2001. It took them a few seconds to remember that they had played it the previous night (and had to abort to remain true to their "no song played 2x on a new year's run" philosophy.)
, comment by hewins
hewins Just want to say that opening a 2nd set with 2001 ten times in a row is not worse, but awesome. It's a great set opener. I saw 4 of them that year and was psyched each time.
, comment by Dundun
Dundun @Peacey said:
Argh I don't have the date off the top of my head. Trey flubbed yem "boy, man, shit, God" and looked like he wanted to apologize somehow for putting shit before God, the panic on his face for two or three seconds was priceless.
On 12-15-99 (my first show), he started saying Shit before God. Ended up like Shhhhhhhh-God
, comment by Nicculus_george
Nicculus_george @Peacey said:
Argh I don't have the date off the top of my head. Trey flubbed yem "boy, man, shit, God" and looked like he wanted to apologize somehow for putting shit before God, the panic on his face for two or three seconds was priceless.
Boy.Man.Shit...God Shit. First night of the Hampton reunion fluffhead opener with more energy than imaginable and Trey flubs the climactic lyric... everyone noticed, no one gave a fuck, everyone laughed and shared in the groove

In my opinion it is completely forgivable that Trey got over anxious with the lyrics considering the song/situation. Loved it, made us all feel like we were in this together again.
, comment by spaced
spaced @Scissortail said:

The thing I dislike about the Jaded Vet crowd is that it has become this badge of honor. And to wear the badge, you must conform to all the rules of being a Jaded Vet. You can't allow yourself to enjoy a nice Prince Caspian, for that would ruin your Jaded Vet cred. You must dismiss any Tweezer less than 18 minutes, because if they don't stretch it out it's utter shit. Etc etc etc.

And that's all fine in blog posts and forum discussion ... but I went to the Gorge with someone who I'd put in this category, and I actually felt bad for him. He wouldn't allow himself to enjoy the show as a fan of Phish, or of music. He was bound by the ethos of the Jaded Vet. And he, like every reviewer I read afterward, MUCH preferred night 1 to night 2. And you know why? (We all know why) Because they went all Type-2 crazy on Rock and Roll and had a killer segue into Meatstick. Yes, that was fucking awesome, but the energy/flow/awesomeness of night 2 as a whole completely blew away night one if you ask me (or any of my other non-Jaded-Vet crew), Rock and Roll-> Meatstick notwithstanding.
Respectfully, I think you have to be careful about assuming what other people are thinking. That's just as much of a pitfall as people pretending to hate something in order to fit some "jaded vet" archetype. How do you know whether someone really, truly likes that Caspian deep down in their heart, or whether they just plain don't like it? There's a natural human tendency to assume that if you or I love a particular song/show, that other Phish fans must too. It makes us feel better to assume that those who disagree with us are just being inauthentic, because it makes our own opinions seem less subjective.

But Phish is a diverse and eclectic band, and there are lots of aspects to love: songs, jamming, stage antics, overall energy, the community, etc. In other words, there are lots of things that might make someone a fan, so there's more room for legitimate disagreement among people that like the band.

This goes both ways though; just because someone loves 3.0 doesn't necessarily mean that they are being uncritical. or that they're purposefully shutting their brains off in order to like something that they normally wouldn't.

Point is, maybe people are just pretending to like/dislike something, or liking it because they are being uncritical listeners. But that shouldn't be our first assumption when dealing with people we disagree with. Too often around here, it is.
, comment by unoclay
unoclay What a great article. I especially liked the wrap up at the end, well written stuff.
, comment by hambone024
hambone024 The flubs aren't really low points for me, except when it is sheer butchery. I quite enjoyed the Vegas 00 Esther when Trey summarized a whole stanza with "She died. She's dead." Weak, but funny. So what?

Here're a couple of Phish stinkbombs:
--The Friday encore Nov 03 in Philly. Yuck. Never happened. What a way to ruin a fairly mediocre show.
--Kid Rock sitting in with them for so many songs, and THEN coming back out for the encore in Vegas 00. Yucky. Ruined the second half of the second set.

, comment by mgiaco
mgiaco Lyric flubs, bad weather and equipment malfunctions do not represent bad moments in Phish history. It shows they are human just like everyone else and not everything they do is perfect. You have to expect the occasional lyric flub with all the songs they have in the repertoire.

Glide from Coventry, now that's bad.
, comment by BYAHHH
BYAHHH when was this written? it seems 3.0 has been completely neglected from this report. missed lyrics aside- how could the sound outtage at 12/30/10 camel walk go unnoticed?

my two cents.

otherwise well done- great read!
, comment by nichobert
nichobert "But Fishman himself is sometimes out of step, such as starting “2001” when the rest are playing “Melt”, as on 7/15/99 and 7/26/99"

Both of those sound like they're on purpose as a spacey 2001-esque jam starts, Fishman starts the 2001 drumbeat and then the band drops in over it perfectly.

As for 7/12/96.. Those always seemed more like a "creative decision" - Phish doesn't really have an obligation to finish Slave and Bowie for us. I always really dug that show because they seem comfortable & willing to defy expectation. As far as I can remember, they didn't finish a single song in that 2nd set.

If you're going to mention the 1/4/03 just for the Friday (a song that Phish didn't realize everyone was going to dislike yet) then i'm surprised you wouldn't mention the first night of Superball..what was it, Bug, Horse-> Silent, Weekapaug, Joy, Zero, Show of Life? Not one of the finest moments in set construction.

For 2011 the "bad" has generally been encores starting halfway through the 2nd set and utterly inexplicable segues where you can't even believe the same person who was just playing those incredibly fluid guitar lines actually thought that "Twist" somehow fit over that jam despite being in a different tempo & key than the jam currentl...err formerly going on. For awhile it got to a point where I was swearing it was a joke, as the band was so much tighter than they were in the late 90s/early 00s.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert oops just like the guy above me, i didn't realize this was from the Phish Companion.

, comment by provolone
provolone Low points: BB King, 2003, 2004, Jay Z.
, comment by pauly
pauly 4-15-04;even though i had fun,the show was a mess!
, comment by Scissortail
Scissortail
Respectfully, I think you have to be careful about assuming what other people are thinking. That's just as much of a pitfall as people pretending to hate something in order to fit some "jaded vet" archetype. How do you know whether someone really, truly likes that Caspian deep down in their heart, or whether they just plain don't like it? There's a natural human tendency to assume that if you or I love a particular song/show, that other Phish fans must too. It makes us feel better to assume that those who disagree with us are just being inauthentic, because it makes our own opinions seem less subjective.

But Phish is a diverse and eclectic band, and there are lots of aspects to love: songs, jamming, stage antics, overall energy, the community, etc. In other words, there are lots of things that might make someone a fan, so there's more room for legitimate disagreement among people that like the band.

This goes both ways though; just because someone loves 3.0 doesn't necessarily mean that they are being uncritical. or that they're purposefully shutting their brains off in order to like something that they normally wouldn't.

Point is, maybe people are just pretending to like/dislike something, or liking it because they are being uncritical listeners. But that shouldn't be our first assumption when dealing with people we disagree with. Too often around here, it is.
I don't disagree, and I didn't at all mean to say that because I like or dislike something about Phish that everyone should like or dislike the same things. I meant more like ... people stake out such a rigid stance on these things ("I hate Prince Caspian!" ;) that they take the option of ever enjoying it completely off the table. I've had plenty of experiences at shows that completely changed my opinion of songs ("Taste" and "Roggae" come to mind), and I feel like some people don't allow themselves that chance.

I also didn't mean to imply that anyone is pretending in order to fit an archetype, or that I know what anyone is thinking. I was indeed generalizing, and I don't like to do that. Of course not everyone is the same. Not everyone who would consider themselves (or who I would consider) a Jaded Vet thinks or behaves the same way. But I do think it has become a kind of mob mentality for *some*. It sorta reminds me of the people I call Hippie Snobs on the lot. If you're not Wooked-out enough, if you haven't been to X number of shows, if you weren't around in '93, you're less-than. Those people absolutely exist and they remind me of snobby high-schoolers who shun the kid with the wrong brand of jeans. I'm not saying anyone who criticizes Phish is like the Hippie Snobs on the lot. Not at all. But I do think that sort of snob mentality exists (for *some!*) with regard to the music, not just the scene -- It's not cool to like Prince Caspian. Noobs like Prince Caspian. Therefore I cannot and will not like Prince Caspian, lest I ruin my (as I said before) Jaded Vet cred.

Anyway, I don't mean to pigeonhole anyone or say anyone doesn't have the right to enjoy or hate Phish in any way they please. I just think some people seem to sabotage their own capacity for joy, and it's not wrong, just sad.
, comment by AugustWest2001
AugustWest2001 the 1991-02-07 lizards is hilarious. the sloth "in its entirety" makes up for it completely. thats an oops, not so much an ouch. ill take those f-ups all day long.
, comment by krinks
krinks What about the Golgi "trio version" on 12/5/10 when Mike's bass went out? That could certainly be included in the sixth graph under "Instrument Problems." Sing the bass line!
, comment by Lemuria
Lemuria @deceasedlavy said:
I think the interesting thing about this little piece is how it barely mentions the actual bad moments in Phishtory--Coventry, or Vegas '04, or some of the dull fall '99 performances, etc.
It was written in 1999 and published in 2000, IIRC. If we could have known how disastrous Coventry was going to be, we probably would have mentioned that in the book - cuz, you know... it'd be interesting to know ahead of time.

Mike once said, "I'm no longer allowed to predict the future. I'm just allowed to predict the past."
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 @provolone said:
Low points: BB King, 2003, 2004, Jay Z.
I was about to mention 2/24/03 at the Meadowlands in NJ. It was my first show since the hiatus and it started well. Then BB King came out. At first, it was awesome to see BB King since the man is a living legend, but after twenty minutes of going nowhere, they took a set break. In the second set, I swear I thought Trey was going to fall over and off the stage. He seemed really f'd up and I was really disappointed with the majority of the show. But then the next night in Philly, 2/25/03, I thought they brought it like the old days. I even believe that the "Talk" that followed the Julius opener was in reference to all the trash talk from phans about the night before. Anyway, I love Phish, I will follow them to the ends of the earth, and I hope I can write about one or two more bad shows twenty years from now. Amen.
, comment by The_Optimistic_Vet
The_Optimistic_Vet As Trey said in Bittersweet Motel, you pay your $20 ($30, $40, $50, $60) bucks, and when you take risks, sometimes you're gonna suck. And the fans do not happily lap it up when they piss in our ears, we take to the internet and say how it was a bad show! They Trey started nervously biting his nails...
, comment by fluffernutter
fluffernutter Worst opener? One of them that immediately comes to mind was Merriweather Summer 09 (8/15/09)...Crowd Control? Jesus.... and the sound was pretty bad, couldn't hear it taboot (thankfully)
, comment by The_Optimistic_Vet
The_Optimistic_Vet I would also add some lack luster shows: 4/16/94. 1/04/02 Encore was depressing, given the snow outside on the east coast to get home. Most of Hampton Phish 2.0 stunk.

I would add this summer's Comcast Center show at Great Woods was subpar, 6/7/11. I thought the Llama was a good sign, but quickly went south. When will they blow the roof off Great Woods again?????? '09 Great Woods was the worst Phish show I have ever seen. They just have not put it on during Phish 3.0 at Great Woods.

Cumberland County Civic Center Dec 1999 was not even close to the huge expectations and super strong vibe. Great Gin, but....

I'd also point out NYE was lackluster in 2002. Terrible opener. NYE has been subpar for many years except Miami 2003, which was THE BOMB of a four show run, possibly even their BEST four show run EVER. I think they feel NYE has gone south, too, and will not do a run this year, as evidenced by the lackluster run last year at both the Centrum and MSG. They don't want to deal with NYE any more in Phish 3.0.

Gorge & Shoreline 1998 was also lackluster.

Charlotte 10/26/96 was also one of the few I saw down south that was so-so...non inspirational. Terrible arena though.

Coventry gets a pass in my books. For uniqueness, you can't say its gets any more unique than Coventry! Even if Trey couldn't play Glide....
, comment by phishingroovin
phishingroovin Page sounded totally out of tune at Outside Lands during Life On Mars
, comment by Chicken_Corner
Chicken_Corner Honestly, what the fuck is wrong with Friday? I can dig it, but then, I think Round Room is the best album Phish as ever put out. Well, except for the Siket Disk, but that's not really an album.
, comment by RobesPierre
RobesPierre @fluffernutter said:
Worst opener? One of them that immediately comes to mind was Merriweather Summer 09 (8/15/09)...Crowd Control? Jesus.... and the sound was pretty bad, couldn't hear it taboot (thankfully)
This show gets a lot of hate on .net and PT... its not the greatest but I didnt think it was that bad. I thought the first set, including the opener and closer, was great.

crowd control was probably played cause of the insane police presence at mpp...

overall its a pretty standard summer 09 show. but it was enjoyable.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert And then they reprised the CC opener during the "Saw It Again" run. Ha ha ha.

Guess they read the reviews with people being WAY too mad about what they opened with.

I was frankly embarrassed at how many vet fans I know who threw a FIT when they opened with it at MPP again in 2010. Exquisitely paced stunt. I thought it was funny hearing CC opener again, it was obvious they were ribbing us. Then the Saw It Again set knocked the joke out of the park.
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