2022 has been an interesting year of Phish. There have been moments of brilliance, but the music has rarely reached the improvisational peaks of Fall 2021. We discuss this at length on HF Pod. Of course, we don't really know how or why Phish’s playing is different tour to tour. But for me, one major factor is the band’s willingness to take risks, and I think last night’s show was a prime example of taking risks—and seeing it pay off.
A 22-minute opening “Fluffhead” set us off in a great direction. In the 7 minutes post-jam, it starts slowly and melodically, with Page on piano. The tempo wasn’t fast, but that allowed for more interplay between Page and Trey. That could have been the end, as it started to get quieter—but they kept on it and ended up in a really nice jam that, with a little bit of teasing before, ends in “Your Pet Cat.” But we don't really get the typical Your Pet Cat jam, we get a huge, booming climax, making people at MSG, and at home, wonder "what the hell is going on"? And that's exactly where we want to be.
For today's recap, please hop over to JamBase for a full rundown from RJ Bee of Osiris Media and HF Pod.
As we were doing our HF Pod review of Mexico, it made me want to share some additional thoughts on the last weekend of incredible music, relaxation and fun. I have a lot of thoughts on the music, but I also did a lot of thinking about what makes this so incredibly unlike anything else Phish does.
Important disclaimer up front: I realize how fortunate I am for being able to go on this trip. Even though it was a big expense for us, I was able to pay for the trip, arrange childcare for my kids, do my work remotely and take a few days off, and generally experience the beauty—which is a huge privilege.
Musically, post-”The Lizards,” I was immediately struck by how in control Trey was the entire weekend. He’s always in control, in a lot of ways, but the way he played all weekend was from the front—leading jams, playing fills and riffs where you don’t always hear them, and constructing these unique and interesting setlists. I got my first “Peaches en Regalia” in 27 years of seeing Phish, and the “I Never Needed You Like This Before” was a fiery trip. Add a 20-minute “Tweezer” and what I thought was a great combo of “Shade,” “Evolve,” “Tube,” “Sigma Oasis,” and “Sand,” and you have a great start to the weekend.
Who could have predicted a show that was made entirely of songs about animals? Many people did, and with last night's show, we finally uncovered the complex equation that reveals Phish's Halloween plans, once and for all. The answer is: they're fucking with us. They are always fucking with us.
If you can believe it, I actually didn't realize that the set was all animal songs until deep into the first set. My excuse is that I was just really into the music, man. But with "The Dogs" opener, clocking in at about nine minutes, we knew we were being subjected to another elaborate plan. The "Ocelot" brought us further into the animal kingdom, and "Turtle in the Clouds" gave us some much needed on-stage choreographed dancing.
By this point in the set, we were wondering if we were going to get another thematic show, with serious improv, like 10/28/21. But on this night, the service was to the bit, the bit led the music, and although we didn't see the levels of improv we saw on the other nights, it gave us a show with 25 songs and 201 minutes of music, and the kind of show you're not likely to see again. And you can always tell, when the band is doing a bit, when they know what's in store and we don't, they absolutely love it. They were relishing it. All night.
“You’re going to Atlantic City again? To see that same band you saw two nights ago?” It’s a fair point, and without getting into hours of philosophical lectures with this person, as a fan, sometimes you have to ask yourself that same question. Why do I have to go see this band again?
But then you get to the venue, you see the people you intended to see, and some you didn’t, and the collective energy ripples through the entire crowd, and to the empty stage, and back again. By the time the lights go down, maybe you are seeing the show with a new friend. This happened to me on Friday night, I met two new people who I spent the whole show with. And they were back on Sunday, same spot, same donut-themed fan to keep everyone cool, same enthusiasm and energy. And I got to introduce them to my wife and other friends. Here we are, again.
Me, two months ago: “Hell yeah I’ll do the Hershey 2 recap, I’ll be there. Boom!”
Narrator: “He would not be attending Hershey.”
Due to a looming work deadline and some family obligations, I had to bail on the shows, but I was excited to be able to do the recap based on couch touring. I also got to spend the evening with my wife, celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. Maybe I should have prioritized that in the first place? All’s well that ends well.
When Phish rolls into town for a multi-night run, it’s a losing person’s game to try and guess which show will be better. Historically, the conventional wisdom has been that the second (or last) show of a run will be the strongest. But in recent years, we’ve seen some night ones be the best of a run—for example, Rosemont, IL, 10/26/18. Going into Tuesday night’s show, given the strength of the past several shows, expectations were sky high.
We've all heard Trey talk about Phish in print, audio and video, but his solo career has remained largely unexamined—until now. And with the return of live music, the time has come for fans to be alive again.
We are thrilled to share the premiere of Alive Again, a new podcast exploring the solo career of Trey Anastasio. You’ll hear Trey talk about his musical origins, including his early compositional experiences and musical influences, and the relationship between composition and improvisation.
How did a band with no major label from a small city in Northern Vermont become one of the biggest bands in music within a decade? What were the origins of Phish and what laid the foundation for their cultural timeline and organic growth? In the first episode of Undermine, Phish lyricist Tom Marshall brings in the perspectives of fans and collaborators who saw their rise in Vermont and helped to create the scene that was critical as the band found their groove and structure in the early 80s.
We wanted to share the news that on February 3, 2021, Osiris Media will launch Undermine, which combines Under the Scales, Helping Friendly Podcast and Beyond the Pond into a new weekly show. Undermine will excavate the deep history of the band through interviews, in-depth analysis of the band’s music, and looks at broader musical themes and influences. You can listen to the Undermine announcement episode from Under the Scales here.
Summer Tour 2019 is the first actual tour since the creation of 10 Kasvot Vaxt iRokk songs and 21 Ghosts of the Forest songs. Assuming that all GOTF songs are on the table, that’s 31 new songs. What does a shit ton of new material mean? Huge risks, huge rewards.
I see two divergent forces driving Trey at this moment. On the one hand, he’s creating new music and always pushing forward and trying hard to make all of the new tunes work with his band. If you watch “Between Me and My Mind,” you’ll see how hard Trey works to get the rest of the band on board with his ideas, musically and otherwise. I think you can feel that this tour, particularly with the GOTF songs. This hard work is always present and recognizable.
And then there’s the flip side, the trying to let go. As Trey said in the recent New York Times interview, “I do as much preparation as I can, but once everybody gets in the room, I let go.”
[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris! A weekly series brought to you from the team at Osiris. Each Wednesday we're going to bring you a Phish show from that week with some commentary. Our goal is to go beyond official releases and well-known shows to bring you some of the overlooked gems throughout Phish history. If you like what you find, we'd encourage you to check out the assortment of podcasts at the Osiris! This week's catch comes from RJ Bee of Helping Friendly Podcast.]]
As I sit here in California, I'm grateful to be reflecting on an awesome California run and and a notable, if sometimes overlooked, show from San Francisco. True to the point of "Weekly Catch," this is another one of those "show the night after the show" kind of shows. Follow that? Me either. Anyway, the night before is one of the most famous shows I’ve come across, 4.16.92.
[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris, a weekly piece brought to you from the team at Osiris. Each Wednesday we're going to bring you a Phish show from that week with some commentary. Our goal is to go beyond official releases and well-known shows to bring you some of the overlooked gems throughout Phish history. If you like what you find, we'd encourage you to check out the assortment of podcasts at the Osiris! This week's catch comes from RJ Bee of Helping Friendly Podcast.]]
I'm going to keep it short and sweet this time. Sometimes, we look at "the show," in this case, 3.20.92 from Binghamton. But sometimes, it's fun to look at the show before "the show," or the show after "the show." As fans, we sometimes don't do this, because we've been trained over time to expect the before/after "the show" to be lacking, or at least not as good. And with 1,660 Phish shows (according to ZZYZX's amazing IHOZ), you can't listen to everything. Or can you? Anyway, let's check out "the show after the show," 3.21.92 from Philadelphia. Also, this second set was released on video by a fan in 2017, as highlighted by JamBase.
This week, team HF Pod is celebrating its 150th episode in style, looking back on the run that started it all for this era of Phish, Hampton 2009. We talk about the shows and play some highlights from the run as well. Leave us a comment about where you were and your memories from that run.
[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris! A weekly series brought to you from the team at Osiris. Each Wednesday we're going to bring you a historic Phish show from that week with some commentary. Our goal is to go beyond official releases and well-known shows to bring you some of the overlooked gems throughout Phish history. If you like what you find, we'd encourage you to check out the assortment of podcasts at the Osiris! This week's catch comes from RJ Bee of Helping Friendly Podcast.]
Very few Phish tours are about specific instruments. But the Spring 1993 tour is different. It is 100%, completely about the addition of Page's baby grand piano. From the first notes of "Loving Cup" on 2/3/93 from Portland, Maine, you hear what this tour will bring. And this show, from a few days later in upstate New York, gives tons of ivory ammunition to dig into.
This week on HF Pod, we're bringing you something a little different. Two longtime listeners, Jason and Mike, join us to talk about an important topic—their experiences with addiction and recovery, and their experiences in the Phish community. We also play some music. You may have read the GQ article that came out yesterday, which featured Trey and a bunch of other musicians talking about how to thrive creatively without drinking or doing drugs. Also mentioned in this episode are The Phellowship and Trey's drug court speech from 2011.
December 1995 is hallowed ground for Phish fans. We try to do it justice with this two-part episode to round out the HF Pod episodes for the year. We have two special guests who help us rank, evaluate and ultimately recommit to the amazingness that was this month.
For the past few episodes, we've spent a lot of time talking about 2018, with good reason. But for the 20th anniversary of this legendary show, we're going back to revisit the wild and wonderful 11.27.98 from Worcester. Check it out.
Although it only lasted just over two weeks, this Fall Tour was a doozy. We have come to outlive our brains, maybe? We have plenty to talk about, including the Hampton Simple vs. Hampton Golden Age, the lyrical improvements of this tour, the secretive nature of the Kasvot Voxt set and Kuroda's continuing magic.
There are two ways you can view Phish shows—through the experiences, and through the music as it exists as an artifact after the show. As Phish fans, we go to shows to collect experiences, to have good times with our friends and family, and of course, to see great music. Sometimes, we go and we realize that the experience was great, but that the music doesn’t hold up quite as well later. Sometimes, the opposite is true. And sometimes, both things align and the Phish world is in a state of satisfaction and bliss. Hampton 3 was one of those nights.
As everyone is getting ready for Fall Tour, we at HF Pod released a mini episode to let you know about a Halloween giveaway contest, the return of Couch Report, and a live event in Hampton. Oh, and a jam from Albany to get you in the mood for Fall Tour.
The latest episode of the Helping Friendly Podcast features music and conversation about September 2000. Check it out!
As fans, I think we sometimes underestimate the vast number of variables that have to align to create a great Phish show. Probably more so now, when everyone is older, travel and logistics are more complicated, the setup is so much more intense, and more.
Despite a little rust during night 1, Phish came out on night 2 at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena completely locked in and ready to play. The playing was much tighter, and although the jams and experimentation didn’t always reach the lengths we wanted or expected, this second night at Tahoe bodes extremely well for the rest of the tour.
There’s something about West Coast Phish shows. It’s a more relaxed vibe, the people are more laid back, and there’s a more celebratory air. If you’re waiting for Phish to come on stage at Madison Square Garden, you might feel a little anxious and a little overwhelmed. Not so for Tahoe. Under a beautiful blue sky and surrounded by pine trees and adoring fans, Phish kicked off 2018 Summer Tour with a solid show—at times inconsistent, at times magnificent.
On this week's Under the Scales, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom about the 20th anniversary of "Story of the Ghost." Shortly after getting into the conversation, we realize we should probably call Trey to bring some more color to the conversation. We talked to him about the making of the album and much more.
This week we're thrilled to have author and podcaster Steven Hyden back on the show, this time to talk about his new book, Twilight of the Gods. There's a lot of Phish content and conversation. It comes out on May 8, but you can pre-order it now. We highly recommend this book. This is part 1 of our conversation with Steven, part 2 will come out in 2 weeks.
As a follow up to the previous news posted here on Phish.net, this week HF Pod interviews Jeff Goldberg, a professional audio technician, archivist, and engineer who recently remastered two Phish shows that were previously unreleased and unavailable to the community (4/8/90 and 4/8/92).
On this episode of the Helping Friendly Podcast, we revisit the 20th anniversary of the Island Tour. 20 years later, we’re still upside down from the Island Tour. We had to celebrate this awesome run, so we talk about a notable jam from each night. We had some laughs, discussed the legacy of the run and how it looks from 20 years out, and then we played some Phish. We hope you enjoy. You can listen by visiting our site or through the player below.
This week's HF Pod guest is Tom Wassell, a Phish fan and sports radio host who joins us for the first time. Tom shares how he fell into, out of, and back into love with Phish. We share one of his favorite sets, from 11.26.97 in Hartford. You can listen to the episode in the player below, or download it here.
This week the Helping Friendly Podcast revisits the Japan runs from both 1999 and 2000 with a fan who was there. He's incredibly lucky for having gone to both of these runs, and he shares his memories with us. You can read much more about his experiences here on his blog. And here's a video he put together about Phish at the Fuji Rock Festival. You can listen to the episode in the player below, or download it here.
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