Posts Tagged ‘Phish’


Music Tuesday: Bands That Have “The Switch”

September 22, 2009

2739196943_8ec8824e73My music friends and I have noticed something. There are bands that possess something that others don’t. And, we’ve noticed that possessing that something seems to very very often be a necessary condition for us really liking a band. Sure, we do like bands that don’t have it, too. But, for us to really like a band, that band generally has to have it.

I’m referring to something we’ve taken to calling “The Switch”.

You know how there are those bands out there that seem able to crank it up a notch? They can turn the groove or the energy or whatever it is they have up to 11? Or even higher? Perhaps they find themselves in the middle of a dying set, and right about the time when everyone starts noticing, the band suddenly corrects its course, righting the boat, almost as if it was a setup. Almost as if they have a Switch? Read the rest of this entry ?


Music Tuesday: A Flashback to the First Rothbury Music Festival

September 1, 2009

1[Since I didn’t get to go to a music festival this summer, I thought I’d take a moment to relive the one I went to last year by republishing this post]

In about a month everyone’s going to be asking each other, “So, what did you do over the summer?” Mostly, people are going to be interested in what internships everyone did, and just as importantly, where they did them.

Sure, these are interesting questions for SIPA people. After all, some are out there working on climate change, food security, economic development, conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS, or human rights. They are doing it in places like Ghana, Uganda, Thailand, Brazil, and Nigeria. And so much of it is important work, in the name of helping others.

I, on the other hand, recently did something that was of pivotal importance to helping me. I got my head screwed back on right. It wasn’t until I pulled this off that I realized just how askew my head had become after a year of pushing my brains to their outer reaches at SIPA. For all the good it had done me, something just wasn’t right. Read the rest of this entry ?


Music Tuesday: 08/02/1998 – Happy Anniversary to My First Phish Show

August 4, 2009


Sunday marked the eleven-year anniversary of my first Phish show. So, I thought I’d take a moment to celebrate the occasion by telling you about that show, as I experienced it. Your first Phish show basically sets the stage for all the rest you go to after it, defines the perspective by which you perceive all that follow. And it is generally accepted that you can’t really understand Phish until you see them live. As my friend, The Goat, can tell you from his recent experience in Camden-you can listen to Phish for 13 years, but feel like you don’t quite “know” until you finally see them for the first time, 13 years later.

For my money, this show represents what I love most about Phish. Tension and release, peaks and valleys, quiet then loud then quiet, segues, teases, covers, songs I’d heard before, songs I’d never heard before (at this point, I’d heard only a small percentage of their catalog, mostly from albums, so there was still so much discovery ahead, ah, things were so fresh then, so young), dissonant and difficult to listen to, beautiful and flowing, fun and bouncy, dark and haunting. It was all here in this show. And this was back when they basically didn’t make mistakes. Especially Trey. Notes weren’t missed. Everything sounded like it was all worked out backstage before hand, and yet, as if it was all coming from that moment in time. I don’t know how they do this, but they do.

At the time that I saw this, I’d been listening to them about two years. But not religiously. I was kind of a fan. But really, I was a big Dave Matthews Band fan. I hadn’t been hooked yet. That would all change the moment they walked out on stage, picked up and climbed into their respective instruments, and without saying so much as a word, sauntered into the opening notes of Roggae. Read the rest of this entry ?


Music Tuesday: “Stash” by Phish, A Look Inside My All-Time Favorite Song

July 28, 2009

447373992_50242f30ce_oAt the time of this writing, my favorite song of all time, by any band or musician, has been “Stash” by Phish. It resonates with me in ways no other song has been able to, so far. So, I thought I would share with you why this is.

I also thought I’d tell you this story because I’ve heard a wide range of opinions on this song, and many of them have been highly critical. They’ve passed it off as contrived, thin, frivolous, meaningless, lyrical nonsense, and an assortment of other negative adjectives. For my money, this is due to a failure to understand the song. Or at least the song as I have interpreted it. And what I love about Phish is that their best songs tend to be very open to interpretation. Everyone has their own story for a given song. Here’s mine for “Stash”. Read the rest of this entry ?


Music Tuesday: Camden Welcomes Phish “Back”

June 9, 2009


I have to admit that, in seeing my first Phish show in almost six years, I was nervous. For a number ofreasons. One, the last time I’d seen them, they played a fairly flat show, and encored the worst encore song ever, “Friday”. In fact, the show was so disappointing, I don’t even have a copy of it, which I can’t say for any of the other 20 shows I’ve been to. 

Two, they downright stunk in 2004, which happened for a very good reason—the band had run its course and it was time to hang ‘em up. While there were very promising signs from the Hampton shows in March, and the beginning of this summer tour, given how badly the wheels came flying off the train in ’04, it was just a matter of time before the other shoe dropped (I like compounding metaphors, by the way). Three, they’d played some pretty good shows so far, and they were due for a stinker. In 2000, and especially 2003, a stinker would pop up after every handful of shows, so there was no reason to believe that the trend had been broken.   Read the rest of this entry ?