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Weyoun42

Phish Reunites

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I've been having a discussion of music appreciation with one of my friends over the past couple of weeks. Basically, I've been comparing my perspective on his favourite band, Collective Soul, and mine, Phish. A couple quick points: I also enjoy Collective Soul very much. Their songs are generally very upbeat and catchy. They're probably a top ten band for me. And, yes, their name is taken from that conversation between Roark and Wynand in The Fountainhead, but the leader of the band says he just liked the sound of it and not to ascribe any real meaning to the choice (though I could, by citing some of their other lyrics). For Phish, on the other hand, I have well over 100 CD's of live performances. In attempting to explain the difference to him, I wrote the following bit in an e-mail. Now, the individual members of Phish are, to my knowledge, hard lefties (they're from Vermont, for Pete's sake), but whether they know it or not, I believe they play music for the best reason of all.

And now, I'm going to make the argument that Phish is a more selfish band than Ccollective Soul, by Objectivist standards. CS shows, much as their name would imply, are all about the synergy between them and the crowd. It's all about being there and the experience of them feeding off the crowd energy while the crowd feeds off theirs. An actual collective soul. The drawback is that unless it's something wildly out-of-character (like the symphony show), there isn't much of a reason to get a recording of stuff they've done live, because most of it is going to sound the same. They know the fans want the greatest hits, and they have fun playing those songs for the enjoyment of the people.

Phish, on the other hand, I would say, pretty much play for themselves. They don't play their "hits" every show. And, they do have a few live songs that are much more popular than the rest; but there is no guarantee you're going to hear them even if you go to ten concerts in a row. They really don't care what the crowd wants to hear; they play what they feel like playing. Hell, there was one song (Destiny Unbound) that they didn't play for somewhere around 8 or 9 years because they didn't feel like it. Entire front sections of the crowd would sing the opening lines as they took the stage in hopes that it would get it played and they still wouldn't do it. (They finally played it one last time. I have that concert on CD.) If they play a song, it might be a tight three minutes like the studio version or it might go on for forty minutes. It might morph (usually unplanned) into several other songs before coming back to finish. It all depends on how they feel like playing it at that moment. In fact, I have a concert where Trey talks about the fact that for that entire tour they never had a set list. They would pick the first song as they were taking the stage and then just go from there. And if somebody shouted a song title in the crowd, that was usually a good way to ge them not to play it. Often, while playing a song, one of the guys would do an instrumental "tease" of another song. Then, if the band felt like playing it, they'd all start playing that song, if not, it would just be that tease and they'd go into something else. The synergy of those four guys was amazing to behold. I think I always subconsciously appreciated that they were playing for themselves and not for me. I think that's why their live stuff translates better to recordings; not just that it's always different, but that the crowd is pretty much irrelevant. It's all about these four guys and the music they're creating.

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And the hippies rejoiced. :D

Not just the hippies. I did a fair amount of rejoicing, myself! :D

For a long time I would only listen to their studio stuff. By the time the switch in my head flipped and I "got" their live music, the band had broken up. Now, I finally have the chance to experience one of their live shows.

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I'll call Cartman, he'll want to put a stop to this crap. Really, they sound like watered-down Grateful Dead only way more boring. Thank god Black Ice will be out on the 20th. It won't have a shred of meaning in the whole damn thing, but it will blow away whatever these hippies are doing. I mean - yuck.

I've met many a Phish fan. They don't need a set list, everyone is stoned. You have to be stoned to listen to this. IM(not so)HO

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Well, I've never done drugs in my life. My freshman year college roommate did enough for both of us, and the only addiction I picked up from him was Phish. And the whole not doing drugs thing is probably what made it so I needed about eight years before I learned to appreciate their live stuff.

While the Grateful Dead leans country, Phish leans rock. But, it's just a generally more mellow, jazzy rock. If I just want to relax and read, I find jam band music is the way to go. I've got all of AC/DC, too (and Iron Maiden, Metallica, etc.), but that's why men invented the iPod. Easy access to whatever kind of music one wants at a given moment. And my musical taste casts a pretty damn wide net.

As for the hippies: I don't fault jam bands for the people that choose to follow them. The music stands on its own. Sometimes I just want to enjoy listening to guys up there creating music out of nothing on the fly.

Edited by Weyoun42

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Great news, I hadn't heard that Phish had reunited and now I'm really looking forward to being able to see them live. I have listened to many of their CD's while under the influence of L.S.D. and its amazing. Yes, I consider myself an objectivist and I do dose L.S.D. and smoke weed. I also have a degree in Computer Science and work for a large corporation, it seems I'm breaking all the rules.

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I WAS a deadhead when I went to go see Phish - way back when when they were still playing in small rooms at local colleges. Good times. The last show I saw was in Keene NH I think in 1990 - and they did this amazing cover of "Highway to Hell" it was awesome. They are really talented.

However, by the time they were playing in big venues, I was kinda phished out. I have to say that the Dead definitely paved the way for Phish....think of all those deadheads that were confused as to what their purpose would be in life after Jerry took his final nap.

Anyway - I don't think I could sit down and listen to a whole album by Phish today. I am too old. And too sober, hahah.

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I saw was in Keene NH I think in 1990 - and they did this amazing cover of "Highway to Hell" it was awesome. They are really talented.

Really? I'd like to hear that, it would be interesting. It also gives me the idea that I am going to put that album up for rating (I've never put my rock albums up for rating, not even Beggar's Banquet, which I think is one of the best blues albums - ever). I've had the thought that the band's mass popularity resembles the mass popularity of sports. That, no matter the simplicity of the music, or the genericness of the lyrics, they encapsulate the touchdown in action. The chest-pumping confidence of "the win".

But, I do not want to hijack a Phish thread with what some would consider their antipode. I'd also like to take back some of my criticism of Phish as somewhat just biased, as at a a certain level of quietness (or "non-hard- rockness") I simply switch to completely different genres of music altogether. But I will stand by the assertion that Phish has a large stoner following. Of course, a lot of bands that I like have a following that I personally would never want to associate with - and I do not know what they get out of it. It is "yuck" for me, but it would be unfair to assume that someone else whom I do not know could not hear value in it. I don't know what that would be, and can be hard to communicate or even to grasp on a personal level. It's not like they are Schoenberg or something.

Edited by Thoyd Loki

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Well, I'm not going to try to deny that the vast majority of Phish fans are stoners! That would be rediculous. A is A, right? And, I completely understand where you're coming from on only enjoying rock from a certain point of hardness and up. I've always been a more mellow kind of guy, so it was very easy for me to fall into Phish. I used to hate metal and harder rock. Only within the last year or two have I made the effort to listen to bands like Iron Maiden, Coheed and Cambria, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, etc., and found a lot of enjoyment there. (I was turned on to the genre by a cartoon, of all things: "Metalocalypse" on Cartoon Network's [adult swim]. I also really enjoy the faux band's actual eponymous album release: "Dethklok." Kind of like Phish: on the silly side, but excellent music.)

To me, the big difference is that jam bands like Phish are about exploration and creation, while metal is about composition and precision. I fully acknowledge that both are impressive to behold in their own rights when done well.

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Most Phish fans I know WERE fans of partaking in nature's drugs (that is to say, pot) back in the 80s and early 90s. However, they grew out of it, as I did years and years ago.

Just like a lot of deadheads in the 70s grew out of the love ins, etc. and became productive in the 80s, etc.. etc...

Phish is amazing because of where they let the music take them, if you will. Each song feels like a journey to me (at least when I used to listen to them), and that is why I enjoyed them.

"Highway To Hell" is a really neat song to see a guy in a dress perform. I will never forget that show hahah.

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