SET 1: Shaking Someone's Outstretched Hand, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Cayman Review, Outside the Lines, mercy, Back on the Train, Heavy Things , Brian and Robert, Oblivion, Dark And Down, Sand
PHISH will perform at Madison Square Garden on December 28, 29, 30 and 31. The ticket request period for the phoi pholloi is underway at tickets.phish.com and will conclude on Monday, September 25th, at Noon eastern time. The public onsale begins Friday, September 29th, at Noon eastern time. A limited number of travel packages (hotel + tickets) will go on sale Wednesday, September 27th at Noon ET here.
[This article was published in the newspaper distributed on the grounds of the IT Festival twenty years ago in early August 2003 courtesy of Dean Budnick of Relix and his team. I also wish to apologize to the ~87 of you who may have seen this post appear on the home page for a very brief time earlier today. I was planning for this to go "live" on the site Monday morning, but I wasn't paying attention to the publication date, and I managed to briefly publish it on the site earlier today in error. I regret the error. You did not imagine... ... ... it. -charlie]
Since IT was announced, fans began speculating about the meaning of IT. Some immediately thought that Stephen King's book of the same name, published in 1986, inspired IT, because the setting of that horror tale also takes place in Maine. Others thought that maybe the festival got its name because the band and its management often wondered whether they would do "it" again -- that is, put on another festival after the hiatus—and IT stuck. Whatever the meaning of "IT," Phish could not have picked a more ambiguous name for a festival. After all, our nation was recently inundated by marketing for a device originally known as "It," which was (is?) supposed to revolutionize human transportation. (Mike has already played bass on a "Segway Human Transporter" live-in-concert on more than one occasion.)
But what about the history of "IT" before IT became the name of Phish's 2003 festival? What is the (sur)real story behind IT in the improvisational rock community?
[The views expressed in this article—which are extreme and outrageous, and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community—are not necessarily shared by any of the volunteers who manage this site. You the reader agree to hold Phish.net and its volunteers harmless from any and all liability for the contents of this post. The opinions expressed in this post are those of its author alone, unless the author otherwise indicates or expressly disclaims such opinions, at any time.]
IT has been made plain in the “Comments” to my screed about Phish show ratings on this site that some of the views obtusely and abstrusely expressed therein created confusion and vitriol, arousing and inflaming the passions of the most ignorant and noobtarded of this site’s beloved user community. For this, I insincerely do not apologize. The blog post was at times deliberately and maliciously perverse, and often baffling, and while it did diminish what little credibility I may have had with many of you, this is your fault entirely, as you wasted your time reading it, and I should never have been esteemed by anyone at any time in the first place. You're welcome.
ENCORE: Everything's Right
The next Phish festival will be at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware, from August 15-18, 2024. More information will be published soon. Join the Phish Update to hear about it first (email + shiny new SMS list): phish.com/update.
[The views expressed in this article do not necessarily comport with the views of any of the many volunteers who help run this site and manage its content. The author of this post is also not in control of his faculties, and you the reader agree to hold Phish.Net harmless from any and all liability for this blog’s contents. If this article appears TOO LONG and you DON’T want to READ it: Trust show ratings at your peril, as there is no truth in them. The only truth is in you.]
IT is well-known that users can and do rate Phish shows on this site by awarding them one, two, three, four or five stars. A logged-in user simply views a setlist’s "permalink page"—for example, this beauty right here—and, behold! Beneath the setlist in the section headed “SHOW RATING,” you the user are invited to provide “Your rating:” of the show by clicking on one-to-five blank stars that fill-in the moment your mouse hovers over them. If you’ve already rated the show, one or more of the stars will be filled-in and not blank when you first view the section. And after you’ve rated a show, you can change the rating with ease, if you wish, by hovering a mouse over the stars and rating the show anew. The “Show Ratings” section also states the number of times the show has been rated by unique users and its “Overall” average rating out to three decimal places, with one point calculated per star. One of the greatest musical performances in the history of music by any group of musicians in recorded history, for example, is currently rated an average of 4.761 by 1400 users.
What is less well-known or even understood is how much Phish the Typical Fan Who Rates Shows on this site has actually heard, or seen. How many users of this site who rate shows only rate shows they’ve attended? How many users who rate shows on this site have heard every or nearly every circulating note of Phish—all shows in Phish history, the recordings of which stream on Relisten.net or Phish.in or LivePhish—and thus wield a judicious sense of what characteristics constitute an above, below, or “Average Typically Great” Phish show? A few hundred perhaps?
It is thus forgivable that some (perhaps you yourself) find this site’s “Show Ratings” to be at least hilariously if not outrageously unreliable, often so grossly inflated that it’s prudent to distrust and disregard them with the most extreme prejudice.
Thank you to the 100 golfers who came together on September 2 at Willis Case Golf Course in Denver in support of our mission. We’re still crunching numbers, but have already raised over $6,000 through the event to continue our support of music education programs across the country.
I've had a bad habit of posting results 9 months or so later, but this time... we've got tournament results, prize summaries, sponsor thanks, some photos of the event, and a hidden lyrics puzzle - all below the fold...
The Mockingbird Foundation is all about music education, and the volunteers behind it adore concerts, so we love when we can support the combination of the two. We're proud to announce that we have donated $20,000 to the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, New Hampshire, to bring teachers-by-day and musicians-by-night The String Queens to the venue for a residency in April 2024 as part of the LOH's coming Centennial Celebration.
During this residency, The String Queens will not only put on a slate of shows for the community, but also host a youth education series to demonstrate how diverse string music can be and offer one-on-one lessons to participants. We'll share more about the series as the event draws closer, but to find out more information, visit the Lebanon Opera House's social media pages.
We are only able to achieve this through your continued support. If you haven't donated recently, we hope that you'll consider doing so - at mbird.org/donate or via the "donate" button at the bottom of any page on Phish.net or at the top right of any page at mbird.org.
When Jimmy Buffett recorded Phish’s “Gumbo” 23 years ago, it was one of many incredibly generous things he did, to the surprise of some. Generous, because it was for the Mockingbird Foundation’s two-disc tribute album Sharin’ in the Groove, which continues to raise funds for music education through scores of streaming services (from Amazon to Spotify and beyond) to this day. Incredible, because he spent an entire week in an Atlanta studio with the full Coral Reefers band, all on his own dime, recording the one Phish song that mentions a parrot. (Jimmy also has his own song about gumbo, as well as a song about a lizard.) Surprising, because some in the “music industry” continue to be stupefied that he did it at all.
Jimmy was extremely charitable, helping to start three nonprofits serving different needs. But he was apparently known for declining charitable performance invitations. He did his own things, and enjoyed his own spaces, and he gave plenty through other means. But his performances were understood to be for Parrotheads, or perhaps for profit (at least up front), not directly for philanthropy. “How’d you get him?” many who would know have inquired. The short answer is, I just asked. The longer answer involves that Jimmy and his people were instrumental in the creation of the Mockingbird Foundation, in ways few know and appreciate, providing helping hands both before and after Jimmy recorded what became our track #2.
[We'd like to thank Rachael Wesley for recapping last night’s show. Her debut (and very Phish-filled) memoir, SECOND SET CHANCES, is forthcoming (April 2025) through Vine Leaves Press. Follow her on IG rachael_wesley_writes or check out her website: rachaelwesley.com for writing and book updates. —Ed.]
Growing up, Sundays were never my favorite day of the week. I was raised in a secular Catholic household, which meant if my parents woke, sans alarm, in time to attend Mass, we would go. My brother and I almost always arose before Mom and Dad. We would tiptoe around the house like mice, turning on Rugrats at the lowest volume possible, whispering together, holding our breath every time we heard a noise, anticipating our parents rising. Any second, we would be summoned to dress for church.
This happened about 50% of the time. Whether we made it to Sacred Heart of Jesus or not, our afternoons always ended with family time and sauce (never gravy) at my Grandparents’. Sometimes, it felt like forever before the spaghetti was served.
Though I never learned to enjoy church, I discovered that if I just surrendered to the routine of that day, Mass would go by a lot quicker, and the pasta at Gram’s would arrive sooner rather than later.
It’s been decades since being forced to attend a Mass I had zero interest in, but as Matt, yesterday’s reviewer, so beautifully said, Phish IS Church, and I’ve been a willing member of this congregation for over twenty years. A Sunday show day includes many of the same elements of the Sundays of yore: church, family, and food, and, for good measure, throw in the lessons of my youth to remember to surrender to what the day throws at you.
[We'd like to thank Matt (@scissortail) for recapping last night's show. -Ed]
“Phish is church.”
I’ve been seeing Phish for a long time, and I’ve heard many people say some version of this over the years. I’ve said it plenty of times myself. It’s slightly difficult to articulate exactly what we mean by this phrase. We just feel it. We know it. The strange and mysterious alchemy of the music, the fellowship, the collective joy, the freedom, the release—it lifts up our hearts and enriches our souls. For many of us, it is nothing short of necessary.
The first time I saw Phish with my friend Byron was at the Woodlands Pavilion near Houston in 1999. I saw Phish with Byron dozens of times after that.
On Saturday morning I attended Byron’s funeral in our hometown of Edmond, Oklahoma. On Saturday evening I attended a Phish concert in Commerce City, Colorado. My wife and I, and many of our longtime Phish friends, decided that our Saturday should unfold this way for two reasons:
Because Byron would insist on it. And because Phish is church.
[We'd like to thank Michael Ayers for recapping last night's show. -Ed]
I have a love/hate relationship with Dicks. I think it has become the quintessential Phish experience. Even after the loss of camping in 2019, it’s hard to top the Dicks experience. The city is fantastic, the venue is fantastic, hell, even the cops are chill. It’s always a great way to end summer tour.
Dicks, however, does not reciprocate that affection. In 2016, a minor medical issue ruined what was otherwise a perfect show on N1. In 2019, a minor medical emergency was narrowly averted as I was able to get some rest and water before anything serious happened. Which brings us to N1 2022. Were any of you leaving the Thursday show Mike’s side and saw a dude sitting on the ground, surrounded by EMTs because he faceplanted into concrete? If you did, hey, that was me! Two broken teeth, a $1200 ambulance ride, a lost Montreal Expos hat (one of those really nice fitted ones, too) and Dicks 2022 was over before it really got started.
If there’s anything circling around the sun for decades following this band has taught me, it’s that you have the best shows when you have no expectations. When you live in the moment. And when you focus on feeling so damn lucky to be a part of something much bigger than yourself. Because even if you think you have it figured out — these guys find a way to surprise you. And when you let go of chasing songs or building dream setlists — the magic happens. For me, 8/31/2023 was that kind of night.
For the 35th rendition of Dicks, Phish took the crowd on an interstellar improvisational adventure. There was no shortage of experimentation — from the explosive start with a 19-minute show opening “Carini” (dedicated to Frenchie, the naked dude who inspired NYE 2022’s gag and a fellow Coloradoan I happen to have personally known… RIP) to a Tweezer that’s honestly hard to put into words. All night, it was easy to get lost in the ambient jamming under the full moon. And just when the flow seemed to go off the rails, the band brought the crowd back down to Earth to remind us why we were all here in the first place — to have a one-of-a-kind experience unlike anything we’ve ever heard before.
We're excited about the upcoming First Annual Wingsuit Open, a charity disc golf tournament for Phish fans organized by Matt James. The event will be September 2nd in Aurora, CO, and benefits music education for children through the all-volunteer Mockingbird Foundation. Complete rules, registration info, and a course map are at www.peacejames.co/wingsuitopen. There will also be a mini disc golf competition and a putting competition on site, as well as other contests, prizes, and limited edition gift items TBA.
Matt's hoping to grow the event to 180 players; you'll want to say that you were an OG, at the inaugural event. Also, the event is currently in the "middle registration" period, and the donation request jumps in 5 days to "late registration". (Those unable to attend can also register to get a player's pack shipped to them.) So, sign up soon, and start working out those throwing arms!
Note that this is the same day as the Eighth Annual Runaway Open charity golf tournament, for which there are still openings and which will now also include a virtual component. Three kinds of golf, to accomodate your preference and location, and bring us all together for some fun and fundraising. Register for one, or all three, today!
The all-volunteer Mockingbird Foundation is hosting the 8th Annual Runaway Open charity golf tournament for Phish fans on Saturday September 2nd in Denver during the upcoming Dick's run. We'll have 120 players in a shotgun start, with coffee, lunch, cocktail, gift bag, raffles, and prizes, and we'd love to see you there. Register soon (mbird.org/8ro), while spots are still available - it fills up every year, and we can't go above 120.
(Audio is the ending of "Tweezer/Magilla" by Michael Ray and The Cosmic Krewe, from the Mockingbird Foundation's double-disc tribute, Sharin' in the Groove. Concert photo by Nate Cundy for Listen Up Denver, by permission of the photographer and website.)
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.