Author Topic: Can we talk about Phish?  (Read 31131 times)

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Offline bout to crash

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #35 on: August 18, 2010, 02:49:21 AM »
Might end up at Jones Beach... got an interesting phone call from Tony last night- "Do you wanna hang out with Jay, Ramsey, and an old hippy in a wheelchair at a Phish concert next week?" :lol
Old hippies = WIN

Amen... we went, couldn't get tickets but even though I would've liked to see the show I kind of enjoyed just hearing it from outside better (no screaming people... well, no massive crowds of them). It sounded awesome from where my car was parked. Tony was in heaven and I had a lot of fun (besides the insane amount of traffic getting there, etc.). That parking lot scene is amazing/hilarious.
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Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #36 on: August 18, 2010, 11:22:25 AM »
Listen to Junta and A Live One.  Your life will never be the same.
Alright I'm going to listen to both tomorrow at work

Let us know what you think.

Deer Creek reviews, primarily for YtsePhish:
8/12/10 - Set I highlights: Roggae and Wolfman's Brother
Set II:  ALL OF IT, especially Drowned>Gotta Jibboo>Bathtub Gin and Split Open & Melt.

8/13/10 - Set I highlights:  all the old tunes to begin the show, plus Ocelot and Possum
Set II: Halleys>Light>46 Days> MAZE.  This was easily the most energetic, electrifying Phish performance I've ever witnessed.  And catching a Fluffhead later didn't hurt...  :^)
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Offline Elsydeon

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #37 on: August 18, 2010, 12:42:23 PM »
I gave junta a listen today. I absolutely loved The Divided Sky. At first I didnt really think I would like it much after the first song, but I kept listening and something clicked and I was all like  :o      :tup

Offline Orbert

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #38 on: August 18, 2010, 12:51:31 PM »
Junta is amazing for its variety alone, but then you add the incredible studio jams, musicianship, and near-prog compositions, and it's nothing short of a masterpiece.

But then they went and ruined it by adding the Bonus Track "Union Federal".  At first I thought it was me; I wasn't familiar with their loose jam style of improv.  But even now, after years and years of Phish and many live albums, it still doesn't work for me.  I was talking about it with my buddy who turned me on to Phish in the first place, and even he said it was a lousy choice to put on there.  Presumably it was picked because was on a tape they had from that period, and it was really long and there was lots of room on the second CD (Junta was originally a cassette tape they sold at their shows).  But long does not equal great.

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2010, 04:43:39 AM »
I gave junta a listen today. I absolutely loved The Divided Sky. At first I didnt really think I would like it much after the first song, but I kept listening and something clicked and I was all like  :o      :tup

My first ever experience with Phish was Junta.  I put on the first disk and had mixed feelings about "Fee."  I had heard great things about "You Enjoy Myself" but on the first listen it just didn't click.  So I gave up.

About 4 years later I started listening to shows and got interested to hear more.  Got a hold of Junta again and LOVED it, except for "Union Federal."  By the way, that selection is an excerpt from one of their all-day-long jam sessions (referred to as Oh Kee Pah Ceremonies) that the band used to gain experience improvising. 
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Offline Norwood

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #40 on: August 19, 2010, 07:45:39 AM »
My first Phish show was 1989 and my last was 1995.

There is nothing, nothing about their music that can be considered "progressive rock".  It's noodling which is, at it's core, risky.  Sometimes it hits and other times it misses.  When they were on the same page they sounded pretty darn good, but when they were bad...it was really bad.  Once they released that album with the horse on it or whatever, and got a video on MTV their music took a huge hit, and their fan base took a huge jump upwards...so, obviously, did their ticket prices.  One tour you could walk up to the window the night of the show and buy general admission/floor seats for $20.  In the blink of an eye it was nothing but gigantic 3 day festivals costing hundreds of dollars per ticket.

They are a jam band, a somewhat talented jam band - but their fans are annoyingly arrogant.  Things like "Trey is the greatest guitar player in the world", "These guys are THE most talented musicians EVER" are statements a Phish-head will use.  Oh, also if you don't like them you must be "closed minded".  They seem to think that because the songs have extended jams, some people don't "get it"...when in actuality their music is very, very approachable to anyone that's ever played an instrument.

They learned at the foot of the Grateful Dead who, while not as musically proficient, were a better band 10 times over.

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Offline Orbert

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2010, 08:20:11 AM »
Wow, nothing like a tightly closed mind to add nothing to a discussion.

Offline Elsydeon

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #42 on: August 19, 2010, 09:16:19 AM »
i like phish. but not fish, i hate seafood.  But i happen to love sea"music".....p h fish.  not f   ;)

Offline Norwood

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2010, 09:39:48 AM »
Wow, nothing like a tightly closed mind to add nothing to a discussion.

How's all that Hopey Changy stuff workin out for ya?

I guess I should have said "They suck", or quoted another person and wrote the word "This" under it.

I thought I wrote out some reasons, from ticket prices, to album quality to muscianship.

Musta been TLDR for ya.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 09:47:05 AM by Norwood »

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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2010, 09:58:02 AM »
There is nothing, nothing about their music that can be considered "progressive rock". 
I wouldn't say that.  I'm not even that familiar with all that much of their output, but there are certainly elements of prog rock in the music that I've heard.  They're certainly not a prog band, but there are definitely elements there.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2010, 11:51:45 AM »
Exactly.  Saying that there is nothing, nothing progressive about them (emphasis yours) is pretty closed-minded.  It's so true that it's a cliche that no two people agree on exactly what's prog and what's not, so making such a statement and dismissing what they do as "noodling" is just naive.  Then you went on to rant about their shows and their fans, which adds absolutely nothing to your position.  You never say which albums of theirs you've heard, if any.  I said that their earlier stuff bordered on prog.  You didn't refute it; you merely contradicted it, emphatically.  Does repetition and bold letters somehow make it a stronger argument?

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2010, 02:22:45 PM »
Absolutely. Now go get me an orange soda. Orange soda.
Oh Jackie, always jumping to the most homoerotic possibility.

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2010, 02:36:11 PM »
There is nothing, nothing about their music that can be considered "progressive rock".  It's noodling which is, at it's core, risky.  Sometimes it hits and other times it misses.  When they were on the same page they sounded pretty darn good, but when they were bad...it was really bad.  Once they released that album with the horse on it or whatever, and got a video on MTV their music took a huge hit, and their fan base took a huge jump upwards...so, obviously, did their ticket prices.  One tour you could walk up to the window the night of the show and buy general admission/floor seats for $20.  In the blink of an eye it was nothing but gigantic 3 day festivals costing hundreds of dollars per ticket.

They are a jam band, a somewhat talented jam band - but their fans are annoyingly arrogant.  Things like "Trey is the greatest guitar player in the world", "These guys are THE most talented musicians EVER" are statements a Phish-head will use.  Oh, also if you don't like them you must be "closed minded".  They seem to think that because the songs have extended jams, some people don't "get it"...when in actuality their music is very, very approachable to anyone that's ever played an instrument.

They learned at the foot of the Grateful Dead who, while not as musically proficient, were a better band 10 times over.

Respectfully, I disagree on almost every single point you've made.

-Quite a bit of their earlier work leans toward the progressive side.  Trey's compositional style is very Frank Zappa-esque jazy prog.  While not progressive in terms of the genre, their playing is at once bold and virtuosic while at the same time loose and improvisational.  The multitude of musical styles they cover (and their mastery of each one) is quite "progressive" in my mind.  I think jam bands are all unsung heroes of (what I'll call, for lack of any better words) "progressive musicianship."

-Truthfully, you sound a bit like one of those arrogant fans.  If you've given up on the band post-Hoist, you must have viewed them as "selling out."  Make sure you're not being closed-minded (your words) to the band's music written in the past 15 years.  Most of it is solid, and perfectly reminiscent of the classic older tunes.

-Phish's music is really not universally approachable IMHO.  In order to really appreciate a show, you need to know the songs in the setlist very well.  If you've heard 10 or 15 versions of one song, you know what is commonplace and what is extraordinary.  Without a prior knowledge of the tune, its form and its usual improvisational structure, you have no way of knowing what is unique and fascinating about that particular performance of the song.  Otherwise, a new fan will listen to the Providence "Bowie" (12/29/94) or one of the "Tweezer-fests" from '93 and say "Hmmmm, that's nice..." without recognizing them as some of Phish's finest performances.

-Oh, and Phish>The Dead.
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Offline LudwigVan

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2010, 03:11:20 PM »

-Oh, and Phish>The Dead.

You were all good till you hit this point   :P
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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2010, 03:15:08 PM »
Yeah, you can't touch the Grateful Dead.  I can't stand hippies and I still love the Dead.

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2010, 03:57:25 PM »
I grew up with The Dead and am a hippie, but I still like Phish better.  They took what The Dead were doing and went further with it, and are generally better musicians as well.

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2010, 08:29:28 PM »
To be fair, I like the Dead quite a lot too... in fact, MUCH more so than the last time I discussed them on this forum. 

It's funny, really.  The Dead's musical style is so loose that their jams can go many more different directions (and much more quickly) than Phish's improv.  But Phish's virtuosic musicianship and tight grooves one-up the masters, IMO.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #52 on: September 04, 2010, 04:35:43 AM »
Any prog rock fan who avoids Phish is really doing themselves a disservice, especially with some of the older stuff like Junta.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #53 on: September 06, 2010, 05:40:52 PM »
Absolutely.

That's why it really bugs me when people dismiss Phish as "just a jam band".  A good jam band -- and Phish is a phenomenal jam band -- brings more musicianship to the table, not less, than most other bands.  They have excellent technical skills but can also improvise like mutherfockers, have a huge range of influences from which to draw but rarely (IMO) get carried away with them, and in the case of Phish, they've been doing it together, the four of them, for so long that they have a geniune psychic bond like few other bands have.

Prog is certainly one of the elements that Phish has in their music, and to me, Phish is every bit as entertaining and musically impressive as any prog band.  Those of you who know what a proghead I am know that that's not faint praise.

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #54 on: September 06, 2010, 08:10:46 PM »
Absolutely.

That's why it really bugs me when people dismiss Phish as "just a jam band".  A good jam band -- and Phish is a phenomenal jam band -- brings more musicianship to the table, not less, than most other bands.  They have excellent technical skills but can also improvise like mutherfockers, have a huge range of influences from which to draw but rarely (IMO) get carried away with them, and in the case of Phish, they've been doing it together, the four of them, for so long that they have a geniune psychic bond like few other bands have.

Prog is certainly one of the elements that Phish has in their music, and to me, Phish is every bit as entertaining and musically impressive as any prog band.  Those of you who know what a proghead I am know that that's not faint praise.

This.  Well said Orbert!
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Offline Birch Boy

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #55 on: January 14, 2011, 09:19:06 PM »
Listening to Phish: Live Bait Vol. 03 now (first time listening to Phish) and WOW. I've been so excited to check this band out and they definitely delivered. I love The Allman Brothers Band and knew I'd love Phish, and I do!

Also, holy, shit: https://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/movies/phish-concert-provides-a-heavy-assortment-of-drugs

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #56 on: January 14, 2011, 11:32:38 PM »
Hey, Phish resurrection!

Cool, because I thought Bradford and I had killed the thread.

Offline Marvellous G

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #57 on: January 15, 2011, 06:32:24 AM »
I do really want to get into Phish at some point but everything everyone's listed here for liking Phish are the reasons I love DMB, and it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band, even though DMB aren't quite on the same level as Phish in that respect, I'm still checking out fan tapes of shows and stuff so I dunno if I'm ready to do all that again quite yet.

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2011, 06:40:27 AM »
it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band
Why?  There shouldn't be any effort at all.  You either like them or you don't, same as every other band.
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Offline Marvellous G

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2011, 06:49:00 AM »
it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band
Why?  There shouldn't be any effort at all.  You either like them or you don't, same as every other band.

I do like all the Phish that I've heard, but I disagree with you, I'd say getting into a jam band definitely requires more activity on the part of the listener than other music. There'd be the normal getting into all the studio stuff, then all of the official live releases, then the infinite bootlegs that people would be recommending, and with DMB that process is still ongoing and I'm loving it, but I can't quite face immersing myself in a band to quite that extent again yet.

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #60 on: January 15, 2011, 06:52:14 AM »
it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band
Why?  There shouldn't be any effort at all.  You either like them or you don't, same as every other band.

I do like all the Phish that I've heard, but I disagree with you, I'd say getting into a jam band definitely requires more activity on the part of the listener than other music. There'd be the normal getting into all the studio stuff, then all of the official live releases, then the infinite bootlegs that people would be recommending, and with DMB that process is still ongoing and I'm loving it, but I can't quite face immersing myself in a band to quite that extent again yet.
I'm confused.  Are you equating "getting into them" with "listening to every single thing they've ever done"?
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Offline Marvellous G

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #61 on: January 15, 2011, 06:54:29 AM »
it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band
Why?  There shouldn't be any effort at all.  You either like them or you don't, same as every other band.

I do like all the Phish that I've heard, but I disagree with you, I'd say getting into a jam band definitely requires more activity on the part of the listener than other music. There'd be the normal getting into all the studio stuff, then all of the official live releases, then the infinite bootlegs that people would be recommending, and with DMB that process is still ongoing and I'm loving it, but I can't quite face immersing myself in a band to quite that extent again yet.
I'm confused.  Are you equating "getting into them" with "listening to every single thing they've ever done"?

With any band, I'm equating 'getting into them' with listening to their best-loved work, and with jam bands that list is so massive, before you even move into the other stuff, that I'd say it was more effort. Some Phish fans say to start with x and y bootlegs, some say one studio album, some say live compilations, and it's not as simple as I find it to be with other bands knowing where to start.

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2011, 09:19:56 AM »
it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band
Why?  There shouldn't be any effort at all.  You either like them or you don't, same as every other band.

I do like all the Phish that I've heard, but I disagree with you, I'd say getting into a jam band definitely requires more activity on the part of the listener than other music. There'd be the normal getting into all the studio stuff, then all of the official live releases, then the infinite bootlegs that people would be recommending, and with DMB that process is still ongoing and I'm loving it, but I can't quite face immersing myself in a band to quite that extent again yet.
I'm confused.  Are you equating "getting into them" with "listening to every single thing they've ever done"?

You don't need to listen to "every single thing they've done" to get into Phish.  But, as I've hinted at earlier in this thread, it does take quite some time to wrap oneself around the music you hear in a show.  Absolutely no two performances of the same song are anything near alike.  So it takes effort to not only become familiar with each song (like you do with discovering any band), but also to distinguish what sort of things usually happen in a given piece of improvisation and what is extraordinary.

For example, let's go back to Junta since I know you're familiar with it.  Take the classic track "David Bowie."  We know from the studio recording that the track begins with a structured composition (the part with the lyrics and the odd time-signatures), then progresses to an instrumental (3:52) that culminates in what appears to be a structured ending around 10:42.  A first-time listener to this track might not realize that the music in-between the two timestamps is completely improvisational.  None of the moods/feelings/timbres created in that performance occur in any other performance, save for the fact that the intensity usually builds until the band reaches the composed ending together.  This particular performance is standard.

Now let's take another version found on Live Phish 20, recorded in 1994.  This particular performance is one of Phish's more revered pieces of improvisation... many refer to it as a career highlight.  Someone who has not heard the studio version of "Bowie" might think that what is heard in this 35-minute performance is nothing unusual.  They'd have no way of knowing that most versions don't reach four distinct musical plateaus and include Trey muttering phrases like "Come on Lassie... good dog..." at the end.  Having heard and studied multiple versions of this number, I would describe this performance as extraordinary.

And versions of Bowie run the gamut between standard, lousy, and psychotically brilliant.  It takes quite a lot of listening to understand that and to tell the difference (even though a lot of it is indeed a matter of taste and preference).  It's all about understanding the POSSIBILITIES that the band brings to the stage every time they play.

But hey, that's just me.
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Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #63 on: January 15, 2011, 09:25:13 AM »
Listening to Phish: Live Bait Vol. 03 now (first time listening to Phish) and WOW. I've been so excited to check this band out and they definitely delivered.

Props to you, Birch.  The music on Live Bait 3, especially the monster-long "Runaway Jim," is a lot to digest for a beginner.

I do really want to get into Phish at some point but everything everyone's listed here for liking Phish are the reasons I love DMB, and it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band, even though DMB aren't quite on the same level as Phish in that respect, I'm still checking out fan tapes of shows and stuff so I dunno if I'm ready to do all that again quite yet.

Feel free to PM me if you want some suggestions for tapes to listen to.  I'd love to help others discover this band.
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Offline Birch Boy

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2011, 09:32:27 AM »
"Runaway Jim" was AWESOME. I love that kind of improvisation. Before, I've been turning to The Allman Brothers Band's "Mountain Jam" to fulfill my extended-jam craving, but now there's a new king. ;D

Anyone seen them live?

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #65 on: January 15, 2011, 09:35:53 AM »
Anyone seen them live?

3x and counting.
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Offline Marvellous G

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #66 on: January 15, 2011, 11:05:12 AM »
Listening to Phish: Live Bait Vol. 03 now (first time listening to Phish) and WOW. I've been so excited to check this band out and they definitely delivered.

Props to you, Birch.  The music on Live Bait 3, especially the monster-long "Runaway Jim," is a lot to digest for a beginner.

I do really want to get into Phish at some point but everything everyone's listed here for liking Phish are the reasons I love DMB, and it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band, even though DMB aren't quite on the same level as Phish in that respect, I'm still checking out fan tapes of shows and stuff so I dunno if I'm ready to do all that again quite yet.

Feel free to PM me if you want some suggestions for tapes to listen to.  I'd love to help others discover this band.

Yeah that would be useful, but is there just one good album/live album you'd recommend as a not-too-daunting starter? I dunno if you're familiar with DMB, but something like the Phish equivalent to the Central Park album, with all the 'hits' and some good jams to get me going?

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #67 on: January 15, 2011, 11:33:59 AM »
Listening to Phish: Live Bait Vol. 03 now (first time listening to Phish) and WOW. I've been so excited to check this band out and they definitely delivered.

Props to you, Birch.  The music on Live Bait 3, especially the monster-long "Runaway Jim," is a lot to digest for a beginner.

I do really want to get into Phish at some point but everything everyone's listed here for liking Phish are the reasons I love DMB, and it's a lot of 'effort' getting into a jam band, even though DMB aren't quite on the same level as Phish in that respect, I'm still checking out fan tapes of shows and stuff so I dunno if I'm ready to do all that again quite yet.

Feel free to PM me if you want some suggestions for tapes to listen to.  I'd love to help others discover this band.

Yeah that would be useful, but is there just one good album/live album you'd recommend as a not-too-daunting starter? I dunno if you're familiar with DMB, but something like the Phish equivalent to the Central Park album, with all the 'hits' and some good jams to get me going?

I would begin, then, with the 12/31/95 show.  It's commercially available as "Live at Madison Square Garden."  You'll get a handful of crowd-pleasing short(er) songs and a generous sampling of much-revered jamming.

(sidenote... I LOVE the DMB Central Park album!!!!)

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Offline Marvellous G

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #68 on: January 15, 2011, 11:37:10 AM »
Cool, I'll give that a try after my roulette's over, I do really look forward to it, I love what Phish I've heard. And yeah Central Park is amazing, it got me into DMB properly and I still love it now, which is amazing.

Offline Birch Boy

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Re: Can we talk about Phish?
« Reply #69 on: January 15, 2011, 12:07:51 PM »
Anyone seen them live?

3x and counting.
It must be crazy. I hear (and have evidence) that you can get any drug you desire at a Phish show.