Permalink for Comment #1355894261 by nichobert

, comment by nichobert
nichobert It continues to amaze me that people talking about the FYF face show are like "Jim jammed out again!" and then just keep on moving. IMO it's clearly the best jam from that show and a very strong contender for the best jam from Dicks.

Same thing with the Dicks Piper.. While short, there is a solid 2 minute stretch in there that sounds utterly unlike anything we've ever heard from Phish before, and they move into and out of it as if it was as ho-hum as a Streets of Cairo tease.

I also feel like the entire ending to the Dicks Light was some bizarro version of Back At The Chicken Shack that's just phrased slightly differently.

Farmhouse-> Alaska was amazing. It was like they really wanted to throw in two songs that they're playing extremely well yet get no credit at all.. While I understand that when it comes to Alaska (or Ocelot for that matter), I don't think I'm going anywhere close to out on a limb by saying that the past 5 or 6 Farmhouses are the best ones they have ever played. To me, Farmhouse is a microcosm for why Phish is so great right now. It's all the subtle improvisational details that are really making this thing hum.

For awhile there, it was almost as if they wanted to deaden our expectations for jamming. The 2.0 era in particular featured spectacular improv on a nightly basis but the collective response seemed to wipe their ass with the great jams and focus on Trey forgetting the lyrics to Sample or some shady shit they saw in the parking lot.

I feel like I've banged this drum a ton, but on average the quality of jams at 'normal shows' (ie: i'm taking Japan and Cypress out of the equation simply to make myself sound more right LOL) was significantly higher in the 2.0 era, and 99-00 wasn't any sort of slouch in the flubs and drooling and forgotten lyrics department either. For whatever reason though, 2.0 seems to have fared much worse in reputation.

I think improvisation is special to Phish. I think it's the bread and butter of what they do. It's why we care about them. And when we're ignoring the improv or nitpicking it to death, we're missing the point.

So to get back on track. Phish seemed to spend the first couple of 3.0 years intently focusing on playing their songs better than they have since the mid-90s. This either had the side-effect or the intended consequence of pulling their focus off of jamming. And of course we bitched! We fiended. We wondered if they were just cashing in. We started to realize how fucking happy they looked on stage and how tight they sounded. We noticed that little 30 second snippets of improv were beginning to pack a startling amount of ideas- but not in a flashy way. This isn't speed jazz. Phish had long ago scaled the Prog Mountain and realized what a dead end it was.

Tightly knotted, intricate musical mutations you can dance to though? That's another story. All that attention to detail they'd begun giving their songs started seriously rubbing off on the way they invented new music on the fly. At some point, (my vote goes to Bethel) it's like they figured out how to fuse everything they've ever been into a coherent sound capable of sprouting into tangents without feeling forced or obligatory.

I love that this band feels like they've shaken out the malcontents and to a degree where they can play a show like Oklahoma City and a show like Dicks I and walk off stage feeling like both were equal successes. They've taken a really long road to removing that burden of expectations, and it really paid off for them musically. is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

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