Phish C/D

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Phish: Classic Or Dud?
And why do they get compared to The Spin Doctors???

Paul Rees, Wednesday, 12 February 2003 23:50 (seventeen years ago) link

Because there's this miasma of bands from 1992/93 that all of us want to collectively write out of history any chance possible.

"Aye, 'twere all Nirvana back then."

"But the Spin Doctors and Phish and Rusted Root and Soul Asylum and..."

"Shut up, SHUT UP!"

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 12 February 2003 23:52 (seventeen years ago) link

the drummer is classic for wearing a dress otherwise they never held my attention

chaki (chaki), Wednesday, 12 February 2003 23:58 (seventeen years ago) link

did he wear a dress B4 Cobain?

Oops (Oops), Wednesday, 12 February 2003 23:59 (seventeen years ago) link


hstencil, Thursday, 13 February 2003 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

too many absolutely excruciating encounters with their "music" in college for me to ever forgive their existence.

And I hate it when bands/fans try to shore up credibility by doing obvious covers of artists many times cooler and more interesting than them. So sad.

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 13 February 2003 00:04 (seventeen years ago) link

Not just covering a song, but an entire album.

brg30 (brg30), Thursday, 13 February 2003 01:45 (seventeen years ago) link

that's because whenever they get an idea to do something, they figure it'll be even better if they OVERdo it. Hence: their entire career.

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 13 February 2003 01:47 (seventeen years ago) link

I'd rather listen to jazz

William R Henderson (Cabin Essence), Thursday, 13 February 2003 02:28 (seventeen years ago) link

PHISH is just plain awesome. Again, like the Dave Matthews Band, these guys can PLAY. Trey Anastasio is a sweet guitarist, and with the likes of Paige on piano, Mike on bass, and Jon on drums, I think they can out-jam any rock band.
A definite CLASSIC, they've been around for almost 20 years, and they're not stopping any time soon, especially with an army of devoted fans to answer to.

naga_pampa (naga_pampa), Thursday, 13 February 2003 02:45 (seventeen years ago) link

Can out-jam any rock band: Something to be proud of?

My name is Kenny (My name is Kenny), Thursday, 13 February 2003 03:09 (seventeen years ago) link

uuuuuuuhhhhh..... yes

naga_pampa (naga_pampa), Thursday, 13 February 2003 03:26 (seventeen years ago) link

I really, really love their first album; quite like the second; don't mind the third; was quite disappointed by the fourth; and have barely bothered to listen to anything they've come out with since. They were wonderful up until about 1992, and then they lost the thread and became guilty of most everything they're habitually accused of.

Still, that first album alone has earned them a permanent place in my heart; it may well be my favorite album of the 1980s, or damn near.

Phil (phil), Thursday, 13 February 2003 03:35 (seventeen years ago) link

Yay. I would have done a Phish thread, but they don't seem to interest the ILxor populace. They are formely my favorite band (I don't really have one these days and they don't interest me as much since I broadened my tastes), and I've seen a number of their concerts that's in the double-digits and begins with a 2.

I like some of their albums lots. The first four and the live ones are all good, at least in part, the others not so much. The fourth, Hoist, is unfairly maligned by fans, and the third, Rift, is unfairly maligned by almost everyone - among other things, the production is fantastic. But live, of course, is where it's at. Yes, they overdo it, but it's a measure of their generosity and willing to take chances - there's bad there, but the good can be really good. Their tradition of putting on "musical costumes" at Halloween concerts (playing an entire album by another artist) is not a bid for credibility but a chance to try something new and give a present to their fans (who initially chose the album). It's one of their many gimmicks, but it also identifies who they really are at heart - your friend's not-half-bad cover band with the monster guitar player who play parties on halloween and new year's eve, etc. Except they have tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of friends. Especially good concerts can be found from the months of August 1993 (8/14 especially), October-November 1994 (especially 11/16), and December 1995 (especially New Years). The next year or two had some interesting stuff, but they started to get a bit stale.

I'm not awake or thoughtful enough to really get into what's good about them (yes, I'll admit some bad), but some of it includes: big rawk hooks with a sense of humor about themselves, compositional structure without classical pretentions (well, impressionist ones, maybe), bliss with funk (well, boogie, at least). Also, the arena phenomenon and the lights (if you've never seen these, you're verily missing something; I say this as someone who has never had much interest in seeing a Pink Floyd show) and the dancing and the gimmicks.

Of course jazz is better. I don't listen to Phish for jazz (but maybe for 'fusion' - they sure beat Santana). The Dave Matthews Band may be able to "play" (not so sure about that), but it usually chooses not to demonstrate it. Trey can play. Mike and Fish too. Page (nb - no "i") less so, but he's functional. Also, ask me about my unashamed like of the Spin Doctors. Did I mention I'm a lawyer?

Yes, the drummer wore a dress before Cobain.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Thursday, 13 February 2003 06:58 (seventeen years ago) link

I think Falling James wore a dress before the Phish guy.

Namechecking this Onion story before someone else does.

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Thursday, 13 February 2003 07:18 (seventeen years ago) link

That Onion story = classic. That Phish fans love it is instructive.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Thursday, 13 February 2003 07:27 (seventeen years ago) link

"I think Falling James wore a dress before the Phish guy."

I think Antennae Jimmy Semens wore a dress before either of them

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 13 February 2003 09:55 (seventeen years ago) link

I actually saw them once, must've been early '95. They were pretty good; they reminded me of some sort of Mahavishnu/They Might Be Giants fusion. The guitar player was the most annoying member of the band; his tone was totally weeny and he seemed to keep playing the same thing over and over. Dave Matthews Band opened for them. They were better!

Kris (aqueduct), Thursday, 13 February 2003 16:28 (seventeen years ago) link

The fourth, Hoist, is unfairly maligned by fans, and the third, Rift, is unfairly maligned by almost everyone

Wait, you're counting differently than I am:

(1) Junta (2) Lawn Boy (3) A Picture of Nectar (4) Rift (5) Hoist

-- was what I thought the order was?

The production on Rift is exactly what I don't like about it -- it slicks everything up to a glossy sheen I find uncompelling. Also the compositions are mostly forgettable, with a couple exceptions, and the lyrics have become more and more obnoxious. Junta is my favorite in part because the lyrics are so often so basic -- "Boy man god shit", "Let's go out to dinner and see a movie", et al. Phish's lyrics are problematic at best, so when they keep them simple and out of the way, I find they generally sit better with me.

Phil (phil), Thursday, 13 February 2003 20:42 (seventeen years ago) link

Dude, wheres my hackeysack?

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Thursday, 13 February 2003 20:45 (seventeen years ago) link

Damm, Chris beat me to the Onion article, but I got a CNN article.

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Thursday, 13 February 2003 20:48 (seventeen years ago) link

Any of you ever listened to STORY OF A GHOST? That's my favorite album of theirs.

naga_pampa (naga_pampa), Friday, 14 February 2003 17:59 (seventeen years ago) link

(putting in shame hat)

I hate to say it, but, well...I really like Phish. Not everything they've done, but a good 80 - 90% is in my "I like" mental-file.

In concert, that's where they shine. I've seen them and the Dead, and I don't think the comparison is fair at all...when Phish "jams", it always feels like it's moving towards something, their jams have momentum, whereas The Dead, jamming, just seemed to be this unbound floatilla just lazing around in a stream of tonal and riffular mediocrity.

The only thing I really dislike about Phish is most of their lyrics; I mean, sure there's an interesting novelness about getting tens of thousands of people singing "David Bowie!" over and over, but compared to some of their lyrics that actually seem to be worth something (such as in "Theme From the Bottom" or "Maze"), it get's SO FRIGGIN ANNOYING.

If you want to listen to a good Phish album, I highly recommend Rift and Billy Breathes above all others; there's something very focused and (for lack of a better word) "deep" about these albums than any of their others.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Friday, 14 February 2003 18:14 (seventeen years ago) link

(okay that should have read..."putting ON shame hat")

nickalicious (nickalicious), Friday, 14 February 2003 18:15 (seventeen years ago) link

and they're not stopping any time soon

That's what I was afraid of.

Sean (Sean), Friday, 14 February 2003 18:59 (seventeen years ago) link

this thread is useful only because it outs several ILMers as Phish Phans (which means I will never take them seriously again)

Dave M. (rotten03), Saturday, 15 February 2003 02:37 (seventeen years ago) link

The fourth, Hoist, is unfairly maligned by fans, and the third, Rift, is unfairly maligned by almost everyone

Wait, you're counting differently than I am:

(1) Junta (2) Lawn Boy (3) A Picture of Nectar (4) Rift (5) Hoist

-- was what I thought the order was?

Yes, that's the order. Sometimes I scribble addresses too sloppy when I jot 'em.

Any of you ever listened to STORY OF A GHOST? That's my favorite album of theirs.

I think it's their worst. Gnomic, depressive. A good song or two at best.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 15 February 2003 03:18 (seventeen years ago) link

four years pass...

First Tube is probably one of the most hilarious songs ever:

three handclaps, Friday, 21 December 2007 03:04 (twelve years ago) link

I still kinda like Phish.

I have a Trey double-disc live album in my car.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Friday, 21 December 2007 03:15 (twelve years ago) link

i saw 15 phish shows in high school!

69, Friday, 21 December 2007 03:17 (twelve years ago) link

kids wont know the meaning of drugs without bands like phish and grateful dead. it's a disaster.

CaptainLorax, Friday, 21 December 2007 04:16 (twelve years ago) link

and why is that guy so funny looking? you tell me that.

CaptainLorax, Friday, 21 December 2007 04:17 (twelve years ago) link

Classic. True originals, even if you do hate the "weeny guitar tone" (as mentioned upthread, which is kind of OTM and funny even though I like some of his playing) and the goofy tunes and hippie nonsense.

I have a soft spot for many of their hallmarks (again, not even factoring in the music or the 'scene'): genuine grassroots success; never-the-same-show-twice setlists; a deep back catalog that always gets dipped into; a fondness for weird venues; relentless showmanship.

Savannah Smiles, Friday, 21 December 2007 10:37 (twelve years ago) link

I pulled the witch from out the ditch and turned to face the furry thugs,
The sheep they smiled with teeth agleam,
The weapons in their hooves revolved I detected a prostatic ream,
I gulped and felt my loins dissolve

Make of that what you will.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Friday, 21 December 2007 10:51 (twelve years ago) link

kinda dud, i think, and not just for the all the phishheads. just not my bag, i guess.

though i was way into phish in a period in high school, but not to the extent of a lot my friends (i knew a lot of tape traders/collectors.... i could never understand the point of needing so many damn phish tapes).

i can still kind of enjoy parts of junta though, which is the only phish album i hung onto (when i was 17 i used to have all the major studio releases and a few live albums, including that hampton box set).

Mark Clemente, Friday, 21 December 2007 14:40 (twelve years ago) link

You know what, I think I hate Phish more than DMB. I mean seriously I'll take Bela Fleck, Widespread Panic and Leftover Salmon over these dorks.

wanko ergo sum, Friday, 21 December 2007 14:44 (twelve years ago) link

since when does DMB not have some good random tracks, as does phish?

CaptainLorax, Friday, 21 December 2007 22:19 (twelve years ago) link

Hoos I like the way you represent. I always wanted to be able to get into these guys a little more, because I can really enjoy noodly jam stuff sometimes, but the singing - something about the timbre of dude's voice - always keeps me away.

J0hn D., Friday, 21 December 2007 22:25 (twelve years ago) link

look at all the nude spocks posting here

gabbneb, Friday, 21 December 2007 22:27 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

gabbneb, Sunday, 27 January 2008 07:36 (twelve years ago) link

gabbneb, Sunday, 27 January 2008 07:36 (twelve years ago) link

:( :( :(

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Sunday, 27 January 2008 08:08 (twelve years ago) link

man why you gotta post the youtubes and make me be like "ahhh yeah" and then hit me with that

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Sunday, 27 January 2008 08:09 (twelve years ago) link

harshin my steen

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Sunday, 27 January 2008 08:10 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

So this new one isn't bad, as far as Phish studio albums go. I really like Trey's playing.

Size-zero-brigade-embrace-token-chubby-chops (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 15 September 2009 13:05 (eleven years ago) link

nine months pass...

I was just reading about Phish covering Neutral Milk Hotel on Stereogum and, you know, I think it make me love them a little bit more for pissing off a whole bunch of those annoying people that hold up NMH as something holy. Some choice comments:

"No one should be allowed to touch this song. This hurt my ears."

"Keep your jam bands off my favorite album. TAKE BACK THE MUSIC!"

he's always been a bit of an anti-climb Max (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 1 July 2010 15:06 (ten years ago) link

I've never heard the original, but Phish's version sounded pretty decent.

kkvgz, Thursday, 1 July 2010 15:10 (ten years ago) link

Won't you STEP into the FREE-ZER

Trip Maker, Thursday, 1 July 2010 15:12 (ten years ago) link

eight months pass...

Dud, because of scenes like this.

thirdalternative, Wednesday, 23 March 2011 17:10 (nine years ago) link

i ended up downloading a show because i wanted to see what a 20 minute version of "ghost" was like (11/17/97) and wow this is really great :(((((

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Sunday, 19 July 2020 16:03 (four months ago) link

"hey this is pretty cool, who is this?" –me, to a bartender who was playing Phish off his iPod over the speakers

trapped out the barndo (crüt), Sunday, 19 July 2020 16:46 (four months ago) link

i ended up downloading a show because i wanted to see what a 20 minute version of "ghost" was like (11/17/97) and wow this is really great :(((((

― mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson)

yeah that's a fucking amazing show, they were killing it in fall of '97

Kate (rushomancy), Sunday, 19 July 2020 19:37 (four months ago) link

This band’s saving grace for me is providing fodder for the very entertaining Analyze Phish podcast (R.I.P. Harris Wittels) — a must for fans and haters alike.

― the last Berry La Croix in the work fridge (morrisp), Saturday, July 27, 2019 7:54 PM (eleven months ago) bookmarkflaglink

I second that^^^

― tobo73, Saturday, July 27, 2019 8:09 PM (eleven months ago) bookmarkflaglink

i started this today! it's great. i hate scott aukerman but he's kind of the antagonist of this show anyway

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 20 July 2020 00:01 (four months ago) link

went to their show at the garden on dec 30th and fell asleep during a 35-minute version of tweezer

mozzy star (voodoo chili), Monday, 20 July 2020 00:08 (four months ago) link

my wife once fell asleep watching king crimson play "starless"

"starless" is a great song, but she was tired

and it was a seated show, which didn't help

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 20 July 2020 01:41 (four months ago) link

xxp Cool! I’ve listened to the whole thing, several times thru (well, skipping the digression episodes in the middle that are about “Jaws” or something).

FAC 179 (morrisp), Monday, 20 July 2020 01:46 (four months ago) link

it occurs to me that i am one of, possibly, the few people on this board who would rather listen to phish play literally _anything_ than listen to a podcast

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 20 July 2020 01:59 (four months ago) link

went to their show at the garden on dec 30th and fell asleep during a 35-minute version of tweezer

This is widely consider by lots of Phish fans to be one of the best jams of the bands current, 3.0, era.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 20 July 2020 02:02 (four months ago) link

step into the freezer
fall asleep to tweezer

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 20 July 2020 02:48 (four months ago) link

tbf to me, it was widely considered to be one of the drunkest nights of my current approaching 30 era


mozzy star (voodoo chili), Monday, 20 July 2020 03:10 (four months ago) link

idk if it's just me but i feel like the song portion of this is much less obnoxious than that time in '95 they played the song for 45 damn minutes straight

i mean it's still a terrible song but it sounds less terrible somehow?

mind you if the "jam" portion has anything whatsoever to do with the "song" portion the relation is too musically advanced for me to be able to parse

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 20 July 2020 04:40 (four months ago) link

I saw the 58-minute Runaway Jim at Worcester 97. It was flat-out amazing to dance and be high to, but much less captivating when I finally got a tape of it.

peace, man, Monday, 20 July 2020 11:29 (four months ago) link

The recent super long (38 minutes) Phish jam that I've really felt earned it's length was the "Ruby Waves" from Alpine Valley last summer:

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 20 July 2020 14:34 (four months ago) link

i am listening to fukuoka 6/14/00 and this is prob the phish show i’d try to convert someone with (ha fat chance). i am very stoned right now and listening to it is like floating through interstellar clouds

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 21 July 2020 04:02 (four months ago) link

Ah, that takes me back. Had a roommmate that played that one a lot. One of the official live releases, right? Never been a huge fan of the band but a few songs on there (Twist, and uh, I forget) are undeniable.

Phish is the ultimate “What is this record you’re playing? It’s awesome. Oh.” band.

...except for their songs that sound like someone soloing over a cross between the Sex & The City theme song and the Will & Grace theme song. This was the barrier I was ultimately unable to cross

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 21 July 2020 18:51 (four months ago) link

Oh, you mean The Landlady.

peace, man, Tuesday, 21 July 2020 19:52 (four months ago) link

xpost - yeah, it is one of that first batch of Live Phish archival releases they did in the early 2000s. Sadly, I was one of those people that kept them in those stupid foldable binder pages they came in, so my entire run of those releases had the discs ruined by the adhesive.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 21 July 2020 19:54 (four months ago) link

i also really love the fukuoka jam on "gumbo," very subtle, small movements that suggest vast inner galaxies of psychedelia, very floyd imo

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 22 July 2020 12:26 (four months ago) link

i have spent so much time listening to the denver "ghost" > "fire" this week lol

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 22 July 2020 14:11 (four months ago) link

which. maybe the "johnny b. goode" > "denver jam" is even better. fishman is totally playing a motorik beat for most of it

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 22 July 2020 15:17 (four months ago) link

Did they ever release a box set of the IT festival? I remember hearing some of that and liking it, especially the stuff they played on that tower thing

Paul Ponzi, Wednesday, 22 July 2020 15:35 (four months ago) link

oh this is so rad. i love this show (4/4/98) sooo much, bunch of phish songs i think are legit great ("taste," "limb by limb," "birds of a feather," "ghost") stretched out as far as they can go

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 22 July 2020 18:51 (four months ago) link

real mindblowing inner space funk jam they get out of this ween song. wish this upload had the "piper" ending though

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 27 July 2020 17:34 (three months ago) link

just listening to "harry hood" on a live one today and thinking man, phish is so good

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 12:57 (three months ago) link

this and the 420 thread are parallel explorations of personal growth and unlocking hidden potential, love it

adam, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 13:08 (three months ago) link

A Live One is the only Phish album I own and I've never had any desire to explore further but the stuff from the Island Tour Brad linked to is making me reconsider.

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 13:36 (three months ago) link

island shows are all worth hearing, like i think they're even better than the canonical phish shows i've heard (denver 97, fukuoka 00, nye 95). 4/4/98 is the peak imo but they all have something to offer, they were in a very exploratory mood. my friend pointed out that they only repeat one song over four separate nights ("birds of a feather," which was brand new)

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 13:46 (three months ago) link

I was a huge Phishhead in middle school at the tail end of 1.0 and saw them twice back then (5/21/00 Radio City Music Hall and 9/22/00 Rosemont, IL--the latter was KILLER). I drifted away from them after that but the 2017 Baker's Dozen spectacle pulled me back in in a big way--just a huge achievement playing 13 GOOD consecutive concept shows with no repeats and packed with thrills like the live debut of End of Session after 19 years.

They have so many great songs and jams, but what I keep coming back to is the Reba jam. The song itself is fun, zany prog-mode Phish, but the way they ride those two blissed-out chords in the jam section is like heroin thru the veins for me. So currently vibing to Reba 12/7/97--Page getting properly spacy on the Rhodes with tasty, delicate leads from Trey. Brad otm re: Story of the Ghost upthread; that's def where they peaked studiowise. Guyute is their Terrapin Station

J. Sam, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 14:36 (three months ago) link

Is it generally accepted that people who like "Farmhouse" are posers? Like the equivalent of a Touchhead? Because I think I really like "Farmhouse."

Gonna check out the rest of the Island tour shows today. Damn you all

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 14:38 (three months ago) link

I like large swaths of Farmhouse, but I absolutely loath both "Heavy Things" and "Gotta Jibboo" (though the later has gotten some decent workouts on stage), so I can never fully embrace it. The opening and the closing run from "Dirt" to "First Tube" are both great.

It's weird, I don;t know if there is any real general consensus on Phish studio albums. There's a sizable contingent these days that seems to essentially ignore the studio records and don't care about them at all, but I do know of quite a few fans that dig Farmhouse and look at it as their Workingmans' Dead/American Beauty (i.e. super distilled version of one particular thread of Phish songwriting, that happens to lean more heavily towards a folk/country sound in parts - though the comparison isn't precise).

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 16:43 (three months ago) link

I came on board with Rift and still think it's pretty enjoyable and compelling. The sequencing is smooth, the production is crisp, the performances are energetic, a phenomenal batch of songs.

peace, man, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 17:26 (three months ago) link

Hey y'all, bona fide Phish head here. First off, it is a treat to see them getting some love on ilx. I definitely fall into the category of Phish fans whose defense of their lyrics, singing, songwriting, scene, etc. is often feeble and apologetic. So really nice to see people from other corners of the musical world appreciating what they do.

I was at 4/4/98 and it is indeed awesome. I think most Phish fans still recognize the Island Tour as pretty close to their peak -- all the adventurousness of their playing in 1997 with the added jolt of the freedom that came from scheduling 4 off-the-cuff shows just because they were itching to get out in front of an audience again. The second set of 4/3/98 is the pinnacle for me; as Brad mentioned, in addition to the looong, patient jam out of Roses are Free, do check out the Piper that followed it. Equally patient and subtle. For those who are novices checking this stuff out, I also strongly recommend Twist from the first night, 4/2. After some pro forma jamming it really gets to an amazing place.

Studio albums: it seems like the first 4 or so have come to be regarded by fans as classics, and the longer the band exists the more fans seem to rate all of the albums from the 90s, but I think there's more than a hint of nostalgia/distance driving that reappraisal. It's weird to me that anyone would see Farmhouse as their masterpiece, as half the songs are leftovers from the songwriting explosion that led to the previous album, SOTG. And I agree with you jon, Heavy Things and Gotta Jibboo back to back in the middle of the album is just so dire and really kills it. I think what it has going for it is that they sort of hit on the ideal sound for studio Phish, but the song selection and sequencing negates that for me.

Personally, I stan for Junta, Rift, and Billy Breathes, and never reach for any of the others. Junta may be hard to take for non-fans because there's a lot of silliness in the lyrics, but there's something super charming about the clean, basic production on these long proggy songs that you get used to hearing in the high octane live environment. With Rift I have never really been able to hear the criticisms. To my ears the production sounds a lot richer and fuller than all their previous albums, they were writing more ambitious lyrics and actually hitting on many of them, the complex/proggy songwriting is toned down such that it serves the songs better, and the eclecticism of the previous 2 albums is smoothed out just enough for the whole thing to feel cohesive (previous album Picture of Nectar is the antithesis of cohesive). Billy Breathes was long regarded as their "masterpiece" as it were, but that does seem to be slipping somewhat. I think it is still probably their most successful album, but it is also maybe the one least representative of what the band's overall thing is. So.

Happy to make additional personalized recommendations if people are looking to dip their toes into this band. I guarantee a better job than Harris Wittels RIP. and I'm always looking for ways to justify the embarrassing amount of space the Phish live catalog takes up in my brain!

Here's the one performance I'd recommend to anyone:

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 17:45 (three months ago) link

xpost glad you agree on Rift, peace, man!

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 17:45 (three months ago) link

Sounds like a pretty good testimonial in the album's favor, imo!

peace, man, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 18:33 (three months ago) link

Nice post Lavator. I would definitely throw Billy Breathes up as my favorite studio record, it's the one I go back to the most. SOTG would be a close second, such a weird, knotty record.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 19:16 (three months ago) link

xp Lavator that Ghost from 5/22/00 is fantastic! I was at the previous night's show at Radio City, which I found kind of underwhelming at the time. Looks like I picked the wrong show of that run.

I was kind of disappointed by Farmhouse because it was such a sharp turn away from the deep funk of SOTG and Slip Stitch and Pass, but it's held up pretty well. If Phish has a "Workingman's Dead/American Beauty" I'd say it's Billy Breathes

J. Sam, Tuesday, 28 July 2020 19:23 (three months ago) link

I can see that, but I really feel like Farmhouse better fits the WD/AB mold because it was the one to break out with a wider audience. I think I caught "Free" once or twice on alt-rock radio back in the day, but "Heavy Things" and "Back on the Train" were inescapable on AAA stations when Farmhouse was released. That felt like the point where Phish was being most widely acknowledged by more mainstream radio at least.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 20:21 (three months ago) link

But, yeah, Billy Breathes is most definitely the better album of the two.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 20:22 (three months ago) link

three months pass...

livephish no. 8, a '99 show in camden, nj, is really solid throughout, contains the best "chalkdust torture" i've heard and probably the best "bathtub gin" (not normally one of my faves) too. second set is pretty immediately off the chain with a slow heavy "tweezer" that works itself into a really odd space and then a "birds of a feather" that fuckin' cooks which is what i really care about

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Saturday, 14 November 2020 23:18 (one week ago) link

my friend recommended this show to me by saying that the "chalkdust torture" turns into stereolab and she is not wrong

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Saturday, 14 November 2020 23:23 (one week ago) link

fucking amazing 18 minute "fluffhead" too my god

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Saturday, 14 November 2020 23:38 (one week ago) link

Yeah, that’s a great one! Sadly one of the many Live Phish sets I had that was destroyed by the mystery goo.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Sunday, 15 November 2020 00:31 (one week ago) link

i enjoyed that show so much that i had to hear another summer '99 show, and the only other official release from that tour is 7/23/99 at the polaris ampitheatre in columbus, oh. starts off a little slow but the last thirty minutes of the surprisingly long first set are incredible, and then the second set is... def the best second set i've heard after my all-time favorite show (4/4/98). "ghost" > "free" alone is like floating. absolutely worth the $10 i paid for it on livephish dot com

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Sunday, 15 November 2020 18:29 (one week ago) link

goddamn i love "birds of a feather" so much

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Sunday, 15 November 2020 18:49 (one week ago) link

I love when Brad goes on a Phish kick! I’ve always loved a good “BOAF” jam.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Sunday, 15 November 2020 21:41 (one week ago) link

Hey y'all, please check out this awesomeness. Depending how deep your Phish kicks have gone this song may not be as deeply embedded in your DNA as it is in mine, but this is a revelatory arrangement any way you slice it:

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:06 (one week ago) link

I haven't been able to check out any of the Beacon Jams shows, but def going to give that a watch later. Thanks for the reminder!

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 21:06 (one week ago) link

YEM one of the few Phish songs I still listen to. This version is exemplary.

peace, man, Wednesday, 18 November 2020 00:35 (six days ago) link

Thanks, Lavator - beautiful, and then I was just was grinning like a goofball from 5 and a half minutes onwards - infectious joy! Looks like I'll be binging these shows over the weekend.

knowing for certain the first touch of the light will finish you (fionnland), Wednesday, 18 November 2020 01:07 (six days ago) link

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