[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.
[Courtesy of Christy Articola. -Ed.]
It's time for another issue of Surrender to the Flow! This issue is STTF #79: Colorado 2023, and we are so excited to offer it to you free or by donation as always. This issue is full of good stuff! It includes information about this year's Dick's Run 2023, e.g., where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about. In this issue there are also reviews of most of Summer Tour 2023, and articles on a variety of interesting topics that we know you'll just love, e.g., articles about FOUR non-profits doing fantastic work, the Phish Studies Conference 2.0, and the status of the We've Got It Simple documentary.
The 2024 Phish Studies Conference, which will be hosted at Oregon State University on May 17-19, is soliciting proposals for academic presentations, art exhibits, and musical performances. Scholarly presentations may come from any academic discipline and methodological approach and can fall into three categories: individual 20-minute presentations, 90-minute panel, roundtable, or workshop proposals (three presenters minimum), or 10-minute student scholar papers.
The conference also seeks proposals for artwork to be featured in conference venue hallways and meeting rooms. Additionally, the organizers invite proposals from musicians and bands to play during nightly social events. Performers and bands do not necessarily have to play the music of Phish but should have some relevance and connection to the band or their music.
[We'd like to thank Jennifer Moore (Twitter: @rowjenny) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Everyone knows what happened last night, so part of me feels like this entire review should just be WOWZA!!!!! Nothing I can write here can encapsulate the musical magic of this very special Saturday evening in Saratoga.
Last night, Phish played their second performance of the weekend at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Both shows were benefit shows to raise money to help people in Vermont and Upstate New York who were affected by catastrophic flooding in July. Phish and their charity organization, the Waterwheel Foundation, put these special shows together in a matter of weeks, complete with two acoustic preshow performances by Page and Trey.
We were fortunate to score pit tickets for the Saturday SPAC show. The SPAC pit is small (capacity 150), and in the dozens of times I have been to a concert at SPAC, I have only been in the pit a few times before. We entered the early entry lottery and scored numbers 3 and 4!!!!!!!
[We'd like to thank Jennifer Moore (Twitter: @rowjenny) for recapping Trey Anastasio's and Page McConnell's one set performance prior to Phish's show last night. This intimate acoustic performance was for a select number of fans; giving them access to the SPAC Foundation Lounge before and throughout the Phish show, and special Foundation poster and merch, in addition to other amenities. More information can be found at https://phishfloodrecoverybenefit.100xhospitality.com/. -ed.]
For the second night in a row, Trey and Page performed a special, intimate acoustic concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the late afternoon on a tiny stage inside the SPAC grounds. These special acoustic preshows were one of the many ways Phish, and the Waterwheel Foundation, Phish’s charity organization, raised money to benefit victims of flooding in Vermont and Upstate New York. Vermont experienced catastrophic flooding in July, with many towns completely inundated with flood waters, including our state capital of Montpelier. I live in Burlington and while we were safe from the flooding, many of our friends’ businesses and homes were not. We have been under the delusion that Vermont was mostly safe from massive disruption from climate change. This summer’s flooding was a giant wakeup call, and everyone is incredibly appreciative of the effort that went into pulling off these fundraisers on such a tight timeline.
We attended both nights of the Foundation event. In case you didn’t read yesterday’s review, the Foundation preshow was held at the Charles R. Wood Stage, a little tiny stage at the back of the lawn near concessions. It is small and simple, with a beautiful all wood back wall. It looks like the kind of stage a kids’ summer theater would perform on. The stage had a few hundred chairs set up in front of it, but also a little very low platform directly in front.
[We'd like to thank Jennifer Moore (Twitter: @rowjenny) for recapping Trey Anastasio's and Page McConnell's one set performance prior to Phish's show last night. This intimate acoustic performance was for a select number of fans; giving them access to the SPAC Foundation Lounge before and throughout the Phish show, and special Foundation poster and merch, in addition to other amenities. More information can be found at https://phishfloodrecoverybenefit.100xhospitality.com/. -ed.]
On the terrible day in July that Vermont started experiencing catastrophic flooding, I made a joke online “Phish play another flood benefit show in Vermont (too soon?)” As it turns out, it wasn’t too soon. Phish started planning two benefit shows at SPAC almost immediately when the flooding started. The last time Phish played a flood benefit for Vermont (SIGH) it was held at the fairgrounds in Essex, Vermont, capacity 11K. This time, Phish chose SPAC for two nights, capacity 25K.
SPAC is an amazing choice for Vermonters for these shows – it is the closest amphitheater to the state, and for many of us, we consider this our home venue. I grew up in upstate NY and cut my Phish teeth here, too. There have been 21 standalone Phish shows at SPAC and I’ve been to all of them. As someone who adopted Vermont as her home state for twenty plus years, it means a lot that this band and the entire organization put together these shows in such a short period of time. Huge thanks to everyone who made these shows and this special event happen.
[We would like to thank user Mgolia6 (Matthew Golia) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
While I am grateful for the opportunity to recap this show, I would have preferred that Phish not have to perform a benefit concert and that upstate New York and Vermont had not been ravished with storms and flooding. That being said, hats off to Phish, the band and organization, Waterwheel (and by proxy The Mockingbird Foundation and all of the .net volunteers) for their tireless efforts to support their community and the communities on every tour stop. Please, where possible, donate to help uplift and empower others.
235 years ago, in the Spring of 1788, a young Gideon Putnam was driven from his home in Bemis Heights New York by torrential flooding. He was rescued from the floods by his neighbor, Zophar Scidmore, and his sailboat, yes, a sailboat, in the middle of upstate New York. When the flood waters finally receded, the 25-year-old Putnam left Bemis Heights, following an old Native American trail to Saratoga Springs...and the rest, as “THEY” say, is (p)history!
Now, if not for that catastrophic flood, Gideon Putnam may have never come left his Bemis Heights home, taken risks to build hotels, tube the mineral springs, and create the hamlet of a town that is Saratoga Springs. And if it weren’t for the recent floods, Phish would not be in town and I would not be here click clacking away at the ole word processor, sipping on LEMONADE to recap the deluge of sonic brilliance that rained down upon SPAC last night.
[This post is courtesy of user Mgolia6 (Matthew Golia), who will be recapping the Friday SPAC show in a week for this blog. -Ed.]
A Quick Level Set
We all have a different relationship with Phish. Each is personal, subjective, and influenced by a multitude of factors. Some fans are pure music lovers. Some love drugs (there is a veritable Silk Road pop up shop on every tour stop). Some come solo. Others roll deep with a lively crew. Some drag people while others get dragged. The draggers oft times were once draggees. For some it’s their first show. For some it’s their first show sober. For some it’s their hundredth. For some it’s their 46th and this is significant because they believe that at that show they will not only get a “46 days” but a chartable one to top 8/3/2003.
Some are lopes (that’s short for antelopes- term of endearment) that herd near the merch tent with their modified reinforced yoga mat holsters; waiting for the tour posters to go on sale so they can ask the clerk for the 46th numbered copy (same kid from above…lol). I once thought that these holster slingers were hardcore yogis who took mat protection to the next level and had a planned communal yoga sesh at setbreak. Turns out I was wrong.
When was the last time you listened to 8/13/93? If you've never heard it, check it out (it's on Relisten too). You'll hear why it's one of the most widely traded shows on cassette in Phish history and, frankly, you don't need to read any of the reviews on this website about it to hear Why That Is True, either. Both fans and the band agree: It was a SPECTACULAR show. Trey did cartwheels backstage post-show. Check out the LivePhish sbd if you haven't already.
For some discussion about it, check out this Osiris Undermine podcast with Brian Feller, who was there, and user @Icculus, who wasn't.
[We would like to thank user Suzy Barros (@SuzyDrano) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Well! What a couple nights that was, I’m glad I wasn’t tasked with recapping Friday night because I would have overfluffed (or fluffed just the right amount depending on who you ask, Best "Fluffhead" ever amirite???). Anyhoo, Friday was perfection for me, as was the only other show I’ve seen this summer (3rd night Alpharetta) and though I’ve only listened to the highlights of the other shows, it’s enough to know something special has been happening in their playing, even besting the already excellent playing they did during the spring tour.
"Loving Cup"!!! Summer terr debut and the last time it opened a show unless I’m mistaken is all the way back in the cursed year of our lord 2004. I assume the reason being primarily because of its normal usage as a raging encore but there is really no good reason to not set the stage for the evening with a rager as end it with one, now is there??? Plus, when I turned around to give my dear old friend Marnie who joined me for these two shows a huge hug she was having a meltdown, I hadn’t realized it was her favorite song so that made it even better.
[We would like to thank user Jeremy Willinger (@Jeremy8698) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
On the penultimate night of what has been a standout run both in terms of playing and permanence, Phish continued to exhibit why they are the best band on the fucking planet.
Before jumping into this review, let us take a trip back to Tuesday: a perfect show that demonstrated how the band can find a pocket and capitalize in the space to create a defining performance. That momentum from the standout show of the year—yeah I’m saying it—was a wave on which band and phans rode together, past Wednesday and into last night’s ripper at YEMSG.
“Character Zero” ends, I blink, and “Possum” fires up… or at least it feels like we’re picking up right where we’d left off after the pure Phish magic that was Tuesday’s show. My seat neighbor for these two nights, Trey (yes, really, that was his name), astutely points out that Tuesday/Wednesday crowds at The Garden are made up of the most devoted (albeit insane) Phish fans, and the music played for these shows can generally be summed up as “Phish for Phish fans.” Tuesday night saw the band go deep on a handful of favorites with Zen focus for Jerry Garcia’s birthday, arguably delivering the finest show yet of 2023; tonight is a perfect foil to Tuesday, with no shortage of jamming between songs, deeper cut song selections, antics, and an extremely fun and Phishy overall vibe.
The crowd is noticeably comfortable and in no rush to get to their seats with 5 minutes left to spare before the band takes the stage, but everyone locks in immediately with the unmistakable “Possum” intro. Tonight is my 48th Phish show and my first “Possum” opener. “Guyute” takes the number 2 spot, evocative of the encore on 12/29/22, which served this same pairing in reverse order. However, “Guyute” sounds much tighter and more rehearsed tonight.
[Recap of Tuesday night's MSG show courtesy of user @SterlingPiper83. -Ed.]
For me, Phish at Madison Square is where it's at. There is no other place You can possibly do so much so easily, while also seeing Phish. But the venue itself, notwithstanding the seemingly never ending construction, is just incredible.
One of the things that makes YEMSG so incredibly special to me is that when the band is locked in and we get to grooving just right the floor begins to pitch and sway beneath your feet. For those of You that haven't been, it is not unlike the sensation one feels when standing on a surfboard or boat in calm waters.
[We would like to thank Matt, @scissortail, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
With three of seven in the books for Phish’s summertime jaunt in Madison Square Garden, we have what I call “good Phish problems.” When the band walks on stage the first night of a seven night run and delivers a masterpiece—when they capture the mysterious and elusive “flow” so completely—it’s impossible not to compare each successive show against the king.
A misplaced ballad. A standard, no-frills run-through of a song that has the potential to go deep. Extremely weird lyrics about guns.
These do not ruin a Phish show. Not even close. They simply prevent the show from reaching the heights of near perfection. And because we witnessed that kind of show on Friday, these little missteps can be unfairly magnified in the harsh light of comparison. But if your only problem at a Phish show is that the raging rock extravaganza is momentarily interrupted by a perfectly fine (if energy-deflating) ditty—life is pretty good. These are good Phish problems.
[Recap courtesy of @dmg924, David Goldstein -Ed.]
The pre-show vibe amongst the Lawson’s Hopcelot consuming crowd at Madison Square Garden on July 29th, 2023 could be basically been summed up as such – “Well….how the hell are they going to top THAT?”
The ‘THAT’ in question being the prior night’s show. Based upon the frequently used expletives in my text threads and myriad invocations of the carpenter for whom Easter is celebrated; July 28, 2023 was one of THOSE shows. It was a top to bottom masterpiece in which the improvisation was so effortless and the peaks so memorable that it leaves the more conspiratorial minded fan to wonder exactly why Phish doesn’t play like this all the time? Do they actually have something against the good people of Wilmington, North Carolina? Phish’s ability to turn IT on and off will forever be a mystery worthy of stoned dorm room debate. But that’s why you go to more than one, and there’s no right way to Phish; some fans would prefer to see a 12 to 13 song first set rife with six-minute sing-alongs versus a 22 minute maelstrom of sound only five minutes into the show. I won’t judge. Besides which, if Phish played like 7/28 every night, both they and the audience would simply collapse; Big Red’s mighty fingers worn down to calloused nubs of flesh. So what would they possibly do for an encore on this, only the second night of a seven night Madison Square Garden run?
[Recap courtesy of user @spac_melt, AJ Stalloni. -Ed.]
Ahh, back at the wonderful Mann Center in my hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Phish (or at least Trey) loves playing here, and the energy is palpable. It rained a few times throughout the afternoon/early evening, but luckily nothing along the lines of Wilmington 2.
There would be no rain delay tonight a la 7/8/14.
[We thank user @VermontCowFunk for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Wow. Phish played an absolute barnburner of a Sunday show last night, gracing Jon Fishman’s hometown and a great lakeside venue with fiery, energetic, and creative playing. 10 shows in to summer tour, the rust has been shaken off, new songs are being woven into the mix and jammed out, and much fun is being had on stage. While only Phish’s ninth show in the Salt City and the first since 2016, the stars aligned last night, and the band treated around 15,000 fans to almost three hours of fun last night.
My friend Chris (@flippingbackward) and I left Burlington Vermont Sunday morning to drive to the show, and after a very weird summer weather-wise so far, it felt great to be on the road under smoke-free blue skies. Rain’s been too present of late, causing serious flooding in Vermont and upstate New York, as well as an early ending to an earlier show, so it was a relief to have a dry forecast in store for Sunday. After the obligatory meal at Dinosaur BBQ, we parked at Destiny Mall, wondering if that name foreshadowed a potential bustout, and biked four miles on a bike path along Onondaga Lake, with no sign of the three-eyed fish that graced a very cool poster for the show, and quickly found our way on to the lot, which hosted a relaxed and friendly pre-show scene over quite the linear series of lots. Shakedown was busting with energy in the late afternoon sun and, asking for a friend, do the nitrous vendors always wear Phish T-Shirts? Time quickly slipped by, and we entered the venue almost painlessly thanks to some very friendly and efficient staff (although I did hear others had a hard time getting in) and quickly found ourselves at the top of the lawn, looking over the lake with a breeze cooling everyone down a bit; spirits were high, and pushed higher by a food vendor blaring some studio Phish at the top of the lawn (never heard that before). We made our way down through the lawn to some great seats in the 100 level, cognizant of the relatively early start times at some recent shows and were in place ready to go by 7:30. Or at least we thought we were ready…
[We thank user @farmose (formerly @fad_albert) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Saturday, July 22, approx 2:30pm, the Pavilion at Star Lake. Suspect was apprehended and taken into custody with the aid of three plain clothes Hanover PD officers and two K-9 units. The charge? Pennsylvania Penal Code 4419: Attempt to distribute counterfeit merchandise. Apparently Miss Stamatis found it funny to print 100 t-shirts that read, “Let Phish Suck Ass,” following their ill-fated tour stop in Wilmington, NC. But anyone offended by her crude humor can heartily laugh now that she’s spending what should be her 175th show locked in a metal cage with a wooden plank for a bed, tripping her tits off.
So why am I addressing you all on her behalf? Because I traditionally have Saturday nights off duty and Miss Stamatis was kind enough to furnish me with her ticket on the auspices that I’d fulfill her obligation to review the concert. A quick stop to the evidence locker and I’m ready for my first time seeing The Phish.
The sun wasn’t even setting when the Phish came out onstage. From the top of the lawn I had a surveillance-tower-view of the audience. Buncha freaks! Barefoot longhairs in their pajamas wearing rainbow fishing hats.
[We thank user Chris Vetoulis for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
On the morning of August 13th, 1997, Josiah and I boarded a Greyhound bus in NY that would take us to Pittsburgh. At seventeen years old (and way before smartphones), we didn’t realize it would take a generous woman picking up laundry to hitch us the 20 minute drive out to Star Lake Amphitheater for our second show and Phish’s first performance at the former Coca-Cola Amphitheater, set in Gamehedge-esque Western PA.
We would go on to Darien the next night with strangers made friends who offered a ride and were among those to see Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters dance on stage for a rather “trippy test” leading up to The Great Went two days later in Limestone.
Returning to Star Lake after more than 25 years would stir adolescent emotions and nostalgia mixed with gratefulness for our continued gift of Phish with my closest traveling companions, Jake, Cheryl and Nate.
Coming off a show cut short mid-set, bizarre to have happened 10 years to the day when "Caspian" closed a short Northerly Island set, also at Mother Nature’s command. Feeling high energy (temps a bit lower) as the band takes stage to make tonight’s opening choice another permanent record.
Some nights are destined to become an adventure. Some nights it’s all about the music, some nights it’s all about the vibes, some nights it’s all about the stories we get to carry with us. Last night was all of those three and it was also definitely an adventure.
I love seeing shows in North Carolina. I finished my college career in this state and most of my family still lives there. For me, it is a nostalgic place and tied into so many of my Phish memories. Days when my wook friends would crash at my parents’ home and terrify my younger siblings with our late night parties and mornings with cigarettes drowning in beer cans littered around the back deck. So it was only fitting that my girlfriends and I stayed at my parents house for this two night run and my dad carted us around town like the happiest Uber driver in the world. There was something comforting about having my parents stock the house with soy milk and cereal for our post show snacking and, of course, not having to pay for a hotel for two nights to see my favorite band far away from where I live in NYC was a huge bonus. And this new-to-Phish venue is so incredible. It is intimate and relaxed. So much space, everyone on coastal Carolina time and charming us northerners with their gorgeous southern drawls. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The adventure began when my dad, Jack, dropped my girlfriends and I off at Hi-Wire Brewing (well, actually he came in and had a beer with us before he left) where we met up with my college friends. We had incredible wood fired pizza from the excellent restaurant next door (my dad just got cannolis, but it should be noted IN THE PERMANENT RECORD that these cannolis had crushed pistachios on the ends). We spent the afternoon catching up and hanging out and headed down to Shakedown around 5:15 pm. We did a quick loop on the grassy lot where they had a nice little set up with lots of space. Wanting to get a better spot than night one (I was on the lawn with an obstructed view thanks to the soundboard tent), I was eager and, to be fair, a little annoying about corralling the group to the venue as soon as possible. We walked in around 5:45 pm. No line, no stress. The staff at Live Oak Bank Pavilion are the most friendly, helpful staff I have ever experienced. We cruised in and found a perfect spot Page side just to the left of the soundboard and hung out until showtime.
[We thank user @SaintAndrew Denny Kinlaw, of Greenville, SC, not GA, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
A cursory list of things that stood out to a first timer at Alpharetta in 2023:
[Thank you to user @sterlingpiper83 Sterling Diesel for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Three days of Phish is heaven for me. Especially when it's a weekend run at Alpharetta. Sure the band always bring the goods, but in Alpharetta they are generally served up scorching hot. Tonight was no exception.
So I've just made my last choice for pick 5, I'm tied 2-2 from last night with my Friend Alana. I start thinking I should have picked "It's Ice" since Mike was doing a video about it just a bit ago. No time to change it though, the band has just come out to play for us.
"Runaway Jim" is a wonderful way to start any show, right? It has fun lyrics, the music is lively and bouncing, and the jam potential is strong. I love the quick trills Trey pulls around 6:25, they build to a fun bouncy peak with a bit of dark sounding counterpoint which I just love. The gnarly almost wah tone coming out of Trey's guitar right now is easily one of my favorite sounds He makes. The band is locked in tight on this groove, an excellent rendition if I do say so.
STTF #78: Summer Tour 2023 is now available for immediate download! Free or by donation! You can also ORDER A PAPER COPY OR SEVERAL BY MAIL by sending $ via PayPal to [email protected]. $5 for the first copy, $2 for each additional copy in the same envelope; don't forget to put your mailing address in notes! Of course, STTF is always free on lot... but you have to find us! We don't set up on Shakedown... all our vendors are roving... good luck!)
This issue is full of good stuff for you! It includes information about this year's Summer Tour 2023 - where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about each area and venue. You can read reviews of Spring Tour 2023 in this one, too.
Further, we offer articles on a variety of interesting topics that we know you'll just love and so much more! And, this issue also includes our regular features like recipes, My First Show, My Favorite Jam Ever, 20 Years Later, Phish Changed My Life, Everybody Loves Statistics, Vendor Profile, horoscopes, Read the Book book reviews, Celebrations, fan fiction, a puzzle, and other things we think you'll enjoy.
Please check out this issue and tell your friends, and have a great time on Summer Tour 2023, everyone!
[Thank you to user LizardwithaZ, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Some people have all the luck.
In my case, attending a Phish show in Alpharetta, which just happens to be my 13th show, might have given me pause. After all, 13 is not exactly known for being a lucky number. The number 13 for me, however, has always been just fine, and in many cases, the opposite of unlucky.
I was hoping that this would prove true for this weekend’s shows as well. After all, this is the spot where I ended my extended Phish drought (from 6/24/2000 until 8/3/2018) and where the band blew my mind all over again two years ago. This venue has gained the reputation of being a “can’t miss” stop, earning that reputation especially with the last 2 runs in 2018 and 2021. Is it “MSG South?” I might not go that far, but only because Alpharetta is its own thing entirely.
So that brings us to last night, and the first 3-night run of Summer 2023. Looking at the weather, 91 degrees seemed like it would be manageable, but as is often the case in the South, the real story is the humidity. As the venue slowly filled in leading up to start time, we found ourselves dripping in sweat, with nary a breeze in sight. If luck were on our side, the band would give us a scorcher of a show to thank us for putting up with the heat.
[Thank you to user @MM2001, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
The Orion Amphitheater is an intimate, coliseum style, slice of heaven in north Alabama. From the food trucks outside the amphitheater to the multiple bars throughout the venue offering unique selections of craft cocktails and craft beer, this venue gets an A+. Seriously, Huntsville, AL deserves a huge thank you for creating this space for music lovers. There is not a bad seat in the house.
You could feel the anxiety as heat lightning radiated around the venue, never getting close enough to cause a delay. A lot of prayers were said as a delightfully refreshing, misty drizzle provided a bit of relief from the heat. Alas, there were no delays for weather as if mother nature was smiling down on everyone present.
The opening song, its debut as such, was “Plasma.” This may have been one of the most well executed versions in all of Phishtory. It was beautiful all the way through the peak which had the crowd begging for more. As they moved on and into “Sigma Oasis,” the style of jam to this point really set the tone for the evening. Unlike the previous night’s dark and gritty style, tonight was bound to be light, airy, and fun. “Sigma Oasis” flowed easily into a lovely ambient jam. It was soothing to hear and watch the patience with which it was built. In the end, Mike took a stance and slowed everything down as they launched “Wolfman’s Brother.” It was a fairly typical, but entertaining as usual, rendition. In keeping with the tone set, they avoided diving into the darker undertones and kept a refreshing pace.
[Thank you to user @THEWATCHFULHOSEMAKER (McGrupp), Ryan Mannix, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
One aspect of Phish Shows that I feel rise above any other live performing artist, is their ability to construct a Narrative over the course of a show. Many great artists are able to approximate this by crafting a tried and true song list of their strongest material and setting them in stone for entire tours, or even careers.
What Phish does, as you well know, is something else entirely. Every night themes emerge and evolve naturally, and morph and disintegrate again; at their best, they can take you on a musical journey just as satisfying as a good book (which you should read by the way).
Or, a lyric can nudge the music in a different direction, like on 9/03/21 during the “Chalkdust Torture” Jam, “Runaway, Runaway, Runaway” lyrics from “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing” (played earlier in the set) appear, prompting a total left turn into “Runaway Jim.”
Of course, I can’t mention Narrative without the Show from 9/6/15 which features not only an actual story told in “Harpua,” but the coded message of “Thank You” in the setlist, which was a wonderful conclusion to the tale of “Spelling Things at Dick’s” (Note for Editor: we could use a stronger title).
Oregon State University will host the second Phish Studies conference in Corvallis, Oregon on May 17-19, 2024. The conference will feature research presentations and community events about the improvisational rock band Phish, as well as its fans and culture. Diverse disciplinary approaches will be represented, featuring scholars from across the country. The conference will also showcase a number of special events including: community panels, an exhibition fair, a poster session, a Phishsonian pop-up museum exhibit, a pre-conference workshop for members and allies of Phans for Racial Equity and GrooveSafe, and curated art exhibits.
[We would like to thank David Schlesinger, user @slesss, for this piece. -Ed.]
In the Fall of 1987, synth pop darlings Depeche Mode, still very much a UK “alternative” band at the time, put out their sixth studio record, Music for the Masses. It was not a noticeable departure from the music that they had been putting out previously, but for some reason it just hit different. As a result, they went from a band almost never heard on commercial radio (unless you lived in LA and were blessed with KROQ, the first mainstream modern rock station) or had a cool older sibling/neighbor/camp counselor that turned you on to the good stuff.
The success of the record led to a world tour during which they sold out the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. (That’s 60,000 souls, for those counting.) And just like that, alternative was no longer alternative by definition and kids across America were now hearing a more eclectic sampling of music on their favorite radio stations, spawning curiosity and a desire to discover bands beyond those had been fed to them. Radio was priming the youth for hair metal, but even MTV started spreading its wings and launched 120 Minutes, 2 hours on Sundays at midnight during which we could get our first visuals of all of these incredible bands that were now kickstarting the youth of America to make better mixtapes.
[We would like to thank Jonathan Jelen, user @Devious_Jelen, for this piece. -Ed.]
I’ve cried at a handful of Phish shows through the years. Sometimes it’s been the hollowed out feeling created by the heartfelt lyrics of a song like Miss You that makes me think of my Grandpa. Other times, it’s been a beautiful jam peak that swelled up to the point that a little liquid emotion couldn’t help but spill out.
But at my Phish shows last June at Deer Creek – it was different. At those shows, I cried for Mom.
[Thank you to user @twelvethousandmotherfker, Willie Orbison, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
As we follow the lines going south on this little west coast spring swing, we Phish fans find ourselves at one of the most beautiful and historic live music venues in the country, the venerable old Hollywood Bowl, where heads of all shapes and sizes have been gathering for over a hundred years to take in their favorite performers on a shady hillside under the California sky. It’s a privilege (and not just because of the ticket prices) to spend an evening here, and on what was the warmest, sunniest day of the year after a cold and rainy Los Angeles winter (feel free to cry us a river), everything felt extremely right making the long walk up the hill toward the show.
[We would like to thank CoffinLifeBuoy, author of this piece in The Atlantic, for volunteering to recap Greek3 in a dignified and human manner. -Ed.]
If Phish.net has resorted to having ChatGPT write a review for 4/19/23, I guess I can offer a few thoughts from the human-side of things.
Allow me to begin by saying this three-night run at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California, were my first shows since Big Cypress. Depending on your age (and maybe tax bracket?), that’s either a #humblebrag (RIP Harris Wittels) or a shameful confession. But take that as a blanket caveat on everything that follows — and, yes, that’s a #tarpers pun, although I admit that’s a term I learned just yesterday.
[The title of this recap is both a reference to this lovely tweet about the scene inside The Greek Theatre seven (7) minutes after doors, thanks to line-cutting by "fans," and the fact that this recap was authored by "ChatGPT." Note also that both the title of this recap and the contents of this intalicized and bracketed intro have been revised since first being published on April 20 at 4:20 pm e.t., if only to gaslight some of the Commenters. You're welcome. -Ed.]
IT seems that the band played a great mix of classic Phish songs and newer material. The first set kicked off with "I Never Needed You Like This Before," a relatively new tune that has quickly become a fan favorite. This was followed by "AC/DC Bag," which always gets the crowd energized, and "Rift," a classic Phish song that showcases the band's tight musicianship.
Hey nerds. As I sit here writing these words, beams of sunlight are poking through the oak trees outside and shooting through the living room window. A fire is blazing in the corner. I have a freshly made cup of joe in hand, curled up on the couch in only my underwear as a beautiful orange tabby cat sleeps peacefully by my side. Why?
Because I’m at home! And I couldn’t be more thrilled to report that after my 137th Phish show last night at the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre something happened for only the second time ever—I slept in my own bed!
[Thank you Gene for recapping last night's show! -Ed.]
It’s been eight and a half years since Phish last played in Seattle — nowhere near the 23.5 year gap that its neighbor to the south and my adopted hometown of Portland can claim — but a long time nonetheless. And a lot has happened since October 2014.
Renewal, evolution, and hope make the Climate Pledge Arena a fitting cradle for the birth of Phish’s spring tour. The last time they played this room, it was a sad monument to a departed basketball team ("The Line" fit in all too well in that setlist). When Seattle got its most recent sports upgrade, they chose to build on what was already there rather than start from scratch — to renovate, renew, and look to the future with one foot in the past, under a landmark roof first built for the 1962 World’s Fair.
The result is nothing short of stunning. The “new” Climate Pledge Arena shares the basic shape of its predecessor, but the similarities end there. Amenities galore, massive sound-treatment improvements, 100% renewable energy, and zero single-use plastic. This is the venue of the future. And that respect for the past, as we build and evolve for the future? That’s a great metaphor for the tour opener Phish threw down in Seattle last night.
"Blaze On" opened, built gradually, and evolved seamlessly into "Plasma." The shuffling march of "Plasma’s" drum line set a rhythmic theme for the night that would persist throughout, as Fishman kept a setlist full of relatively complex drum patterns and patient, slow-build jams woven together masterfully. The map is not the terrain. The setlist is not the show.
[Thank you Christy Articola, Editor and Publisher of STTF! -Ed.]
Surrender to the Flow is thrilled to offer their 77th issue for this Spring Tour! STTF #77: Spring Tour 2023 is full of good stuff for you! This issue - available FREE or by donation - includes information about PHISH's west coast Spring Tour 2023 - where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about each area and venue. You can read reviews of NYE Run 2022-2023 and Mexico 2023 in this one, too.
[The following post is an interview with Kate Aly-Brady, Daniel Budiansky, Adam Lioz, and Rupa Mitra by Stephanie Jenkins about their article, “White Phragility.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal (edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen). Kate, Daniel, Adam, and Rupa will also be answering your questions in the Comments throughout the week. Please note that the opinions expressed in blog posts on this site are not necessarily endorsed or shared by any of the volunteers who run Phish.net or The Mockingbird Foundation. This site and this blog rely entirely on the work of volunteers. -Ed.]
Tell us about yourselves? Who are you? When were your first shows? Why do you come back?
RM: My name is Rupa Mitra, and I was born in the US to parents of Bengali ethnic heritage. I grew up in the Northeast of the US but lived a third of my adult life abroad (mainly France and Tanzania). I’m a labor/human resources lawyer. My first show was in 2011. I had to take a hiatus when I gave birth as a solo parent in 2019 but hope to be bringing my little one to shows before long! Nothing can compare to the exuberance of a Phish show.
KAB: My name is Kate Aly-Brady, and I am a cisgender white female who grew up on the East Coast. I moved to the Pacific Northwest after college, and have been a special education teacher ever since. My first shows were in 1998, and I keep coming back because the music, the people, the energy are like home. I’m a part of Phans for Racial Equity (PHRE) because I want everyone to have the chance to feel at home there, too.
ARL: My name’s Adam Lioz and I’m a secular Jewish kid from Long Island who grew up seeing the Dead at Nassau Coliseum, MSG, and Giant’s stadium in the 90s. For my day job I work to promote inclusive, multiracial democracy (fighting to expand voting rights) as a lawyer and advocate. I saw a few shows in 1.0 and 2.0 (including Coventry), but I really got hooked in 2009 when I went to the Gorge and Festival 8. I keep coming back for the music, the community, and that decent chance each night to experience some pure joy and collective ecstatic release. I sometimes think these four guys run the most efficient joy factory I’ve ever seen.
DB: My name is Daniel Budiansky (.net: @climber17). I am a cisgender white male who grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia during the 80s. While my first show was 4/20/94, it wasn’t until my second show, when they played University Hall (at UVa, where I was a student) in late fall ‘94 that I “got IT”, during the first set "Maze"…it’s been a long, strange trip ever since. A Phish show will forever be my “home away from home.”
Why did you decide to write this essay? What do you want your readers to take away from it?
ARL: The essay is based on the online reactions to the "Phish Scene So White: Let’s Talk" blog post I wrote in 2017. To be honest I was pretty surprised and a bit taken back by the response – first that it went so viral, with thousands of comments, and then by the vitriol it inspired, both through those comments and through some pretty harsh direct messages to me. Of course, people looked me up and called me a tarper and that was fine, but I really didn’t anticipate how upset people got. But when I started to look at the response through the lens of DiAngelo’s white fragility framework it started to make a lot more sense. A big reason people were so angry and defensive is that we see ourselves as an inclusive, welcoming scene and my essay was a threat to that self-image. Once we started looking at the comments with DiAngelo’s lens it was pretty easy to start seeing a lot of the comments as examples of one or more of the elements of defensiveness and fragility.
Our goal was to encourage people to examine our scene a bit more closely and critically and think about whether we’re quite as inclusive as we think, and whether the kind of defensiveness that is the hallmark of white fragility might be a particular challenge for us moving forward. We also think we hit a neat extension of D’Angelo’s theory by distinguishing between “pillars” of white fragility (which are the false beliefs about race that lead to the fragility) and “manifestations” (which are the various ways that the resulting defensiveness plays out).
We’d be remiss to recap the final night of Phish’s 2023 Mexico run without taking a moment to note the obvious: Phish Mexico is pure joy, plain and simple. There is absolutely nothing like it.
I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I know it’s expensive. I know from countless .net threads exactly the kinds of vacations one could take for the same cost. But when it comes to Phish runs, this place is truly magical. If you like lounging in a pool with a cocktail in hand, making instant friends with every single person you meet, and ending each day with a concert on the beach by the greatest band in the history of the world—you just might like Phish Mexico.
Out of four shows this run, Friday night is a clear, undeniable standout. It’s firmly in the tier of Mexico classics like 2/25/22, 2/26/22, 2/22/20 and 1/15/17. It was the kind of show that makes you remember what Phish can do. And it was the kind of show that could make you scratch your chin and wonder: What gets into them on nights like that? Why can’t they do that all the time?
[We would like to thank Kelly Wilson, Phishnet user Kellynicu, for recapping last night's show. This site relies entirely on volunteers to recap shows. If you are interested in recapping a summer show that you're planning to see for this blog, please email charlie at phish dot net about which show(s) you'd like to recap (first choice, second choice, etc.). -Ed.]
Here we were again, ready for the first night of Phish in paradise at Riviera Maya Moon Palace. It was an interesting start. With stronger than normal winds here in Cancun, the band opted to postpone yesterday's soundcheck. The winds were quite strong again today, leading phans to wonder if tonight’s show would indeed go on as planned. But in typical Phish fashion, the band made sure the show did in fact go on, and it was nothing short of amazing.
[The following post is an interview with Denise Goldman (phish.net user denisegold) about her article, “You Were the Song that My Soul Understood.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen. Denise will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Kate Aly-Brady, Daniel Budiansky, Adam Lioz, and Rupa Mitra of Phans for Racial Equity, so please submit your questions now.]
Hi everyone! I am an adjunct professor of freshman writing & research at Long Island University. I teach a class in ethnographic research using this research as a model for my students. I am also a college admissions coach who helps high school students with their college applications. My first Phish experience was at the Boston Garden on 10/30/1992, which was actually Phish’s first time playing the Garden. It was a one-set show which was part of a larger multi-band show. My first official Phish show was at Red Rocks on 6/10/1994. I also went to Big Cyprus, which was one of my most memorable experiences. I identify as a Phish fan and value both the band (who has kept things fresh and exciting for 30 years) and the community (my soul-sisters and brothers) who have made me feel like every show is home.
Why did you decide to write this essay? What do you want your readers to take away from it?
My story is unique amongst the other scholars published in this journal because I was inspired to conduct this research after meeting some Phish “aca-fans” during the Baker’s Dozen, who were joining forces to create “Phish Studies.” At this time, online communities were on the rise and the novelty of “Phish Chicks” really fascinated me. I loved listening to the discourse that was created by women finding other women with whom they connected over the shared love of Phish. Although all discourse communities, including this one, alter over time (with new members coming in), the onset of this community was really a beautiful thing. As I have used this research in my own teaching, I would love for others to take away the same message: discourse communities form from a shared goal for which communication is the conduit for achieving the goal. With that, you see a unique language that forms as well as various genres that satisfy the needs of the members. Since we are naturally drawn to these communities based on our interests, it is important to recognize how we adapt this second language into our daily lives. This research allowed me to develop a curriculum that I use in my teaching and for which I was published in The Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning. I believe that a real understanding of your audience allows you to learn how to be a better writer and communicator. While there will always be some controversy that arises within discourse communities, the overall nature of them as well as the learning potential that can be gained from them should be prioritized.
[The following post is an interview with Christina “Chryss” Allaback (phish.net: Tela2019) about her article, “Phish Fan Subculture: The Possibilities of Phans' Performance.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen. Kristine will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Denise Goldman, so submit your questions now.]
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
My name is Christina “Chryss” Allaback, and I’m an Assistant Professor of Theatre at University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and a theatrical director. My first show was 8-1-98 at Alpine Valley. This year is the 25th Anniversary of my first show and I hope to be celebrating on the floor at MSG. I come back to Phish because they are top rate musicians and artists. They take ambitious artistic risks that really pay off. Having done improvisational theatre and comedy in the past, I appreciate the fact that they are making beautiful art at the moment, and then that moment is gone. Of course, we can listen to tapes after the show, but the ephemeral nature of the live improvisational performance is a treasure to experience.
Why did you decide to write this essay? What do you want your readers to take away from it?
This essay is actually part of the larger dissertation that I wrote for my doctoral degree. I started writing about Phish fans as an academic project because there was something being performed at shows that was really special, and it was not just what was happening on stage. There was a feeling, an emotion, that I felt at Phish shows that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And I started reading all this performance theory and it started making sense.
It is my hope that when people read my articles, they get a deeper understanding of why we, as humans, perform in everyday life and on stage. There is a liberation in performance, a freedom, a connection. As a young artist, I wanted to change the world with my art. As I grew up, I realized what a naïve goal that was. But we can change people with our art and that is as good as changing the world. I was told by people in my life, as a non-actor, that I was probably good at lying because I was an actor. But art is not about lying, it is about expressing a truth within a world. I feel Phish does this onstage, and we do this in the audience.
It’s a new year and Riviera Maya is around the corner, so it's time once again for the Phish.net “Jam of the Year” tournament. As they have done yearly since 2014, Phish.net forum users have come together to seed a 64 jam bracket highlighting the best of improv of 2022.
Every Monday, we will create a thread to post new head-to-head matchups based on regions within the bracket, beginning in the Willy region. Voting for the first round is open to all and currently underway on the forum (look for the ***asterisks***). There you will also find that we have created LivePhish+ and Phish.in playlists for your listening pleasure and convenience. Please join us for voting, discussion, and debate on the forum each week as we narrow the field and ultimately determine the “2022 JOTY”.
The following post is an interview with Stephanie Jenkins (phishnet: askesis) about her introduction to and perspective on the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal that she co-edited with Charlie Dirksen. The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating its publication. Stephanie will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Christina Allaback, so submit your questions now.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
I’m Stephanie Jenkins and I’m an associate professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University. I am one of the co-editors of the special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal devoted to Phish, along with Charlie Dirksen. My first show was 2/24/2003 at Continental Airlines Arena. That show debuted three B.B. King songs at the end of the first set, with him making a guest appearance on guitar. I come back because I was saved by rock and roll. Phish is healing for me; it’s also my temple, where I go to pray. Dancing at a Phish show reconvenes, reconnects, and recharges my mind, body, and spirit.
The following post is an interview with Kristine Warrenburg Rome about her article, “The Kisceral Connection.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen. Kristine will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Stephanie Jenkins, so submit your questions now.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
I am Kristine Warrenburg Rome, a mother to two wonderful kids (6 and 9) and an Associate Professor of Communication at Flagler College (14 years) in St. Augustine, Florida, where I teach classes concerned with listening first, media ethics, stereotypes in the media, popular culture criticism and more. While pursuing my Ph.D. in Rhetoric & Communication Ethics (2009) from the University of Denver, I met my husband in the front row of a Phix show, a Mockingbird Foundation benefit post-Trey Band show in Fall of 2005. My brother is a Phishhead, his wife is a Phishhead, my friends from every stage of life from grade school to grad school have been show partners for going on 27 years since my first show (Deer Creek 8/12/1996). At this point, shows are class and family reunions and I am grateful for that.
[On December 31, 2022, on stage at Madison Square Garden, a certain rodent broke the Phish time machine, causing many participants in New Years' gags and other events from the past 40 years of the band’s history to temporarily make their way to the present. When the Time Machine broke, it also inadvertently sent a number of fans back in time, Quantum Leap style, to experience Phish shows from their younger days. Those fans include Jonah user @LizardwithaZ, whose recap of July 7, 1999, at the Blockbuster Pavilion in Charlotte, NC, appears below. If you are also one of the fans transported back in time and would like to recap your time-traveling show, please send an email to charlie at phish dot net.]
The feeling that prickles through my skin as the clock approaches midnight on December 31, 2022 causes me to sit straight up on the couch, goosebumps rippling across my skin. One moment I am here, awaiting the incoming New Year, the next, I have somehow been thrust back into 17-year-old me, riding in the back seat of a sedan.
That’s right: the Phish Time Machine has sent me back to July 7, 1999 to recap the 2nd show I ever attended.
Charlotte, North Carolina.
(What’s a Blockbuster, you ask? Sorry, I’ll just be sitting in the corner crying about how old I’ve gotten.)
[We would like to thank Eric, user @Doktahgonzo, for recapping NYE. -Ed.]
New Year’s Eve has been a time that has become synonymous with renewal, the process of moving forward, and the promise associated with setting a new marker to measure our lives by. It underlies what many of us recognized to be at the heart of the cultural understanding we have developed around New Year’s Eve. It is a time for reflection on both the good moments we have had, as well as the adversities faced, and an attempt to look forward to something better on the near horizon. In the community around Phish I have long felt that we may be more acutely aware of this phenomena. The sense of spectacle, humor, and tradition that the band has infused the date with makes for an optimistic yearning that has felt palpable to me for the entire run of these shows.
December 30, 1997. 25 years ago. I was nineteen and up to no good. I sauntered into MSG for what would be the best Phish show I have ever seen.
I had seen a few incredible shows that summer, but college and a lack of funds kept me from seeing any Fall ‘97 shows. I had also been listening to a lot of house music and was getting into the rave scene, so my attention was slowly turning away from my favorite band. I was expecting that Phish would put on a great set of shows for their first multi-night New Year’s Eve run in New York City, but my interest in other music made me less concerned with what or how they would play. But, the opening 921-show bust out of “Sneakin’ Sally,” the Pentagram “Harpua,” the curfew breaking, the encore with the final “Black Eyed Katy”… it was the perfect capstone to an epic year of dance party, cowfunk Phish.
[We would like to thank Ryan Storm for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Last night was a much-needed reminder of why we Phish.
After an almost four-month break since Dick’s, the band returned to the Mecca, The Venue, the best place to see them – Madison Square Garden. Their second run at the World’s Most Famous Arena in 2022 (following up the whale of a good time in April) and the first proper New Year’s run since 2019 had excitement high.
With rumours flying wildly about the possibility of a “Baker’s Dozen II” next summer and tickets seemingly falling from the sky, expectations were high yet tampered. This year in Phish has been somewhat akin to 2016 or 2019 – lots of inconsistency with big jams scattered across the shows in a year that needs to follow up a landmark or peak (2015, 2018, 2021).
Regardless of any outside expectation or vibe, I was bursting at the seams with excitement upon walking into MSG last night. Having scored a four-day pass in lower section 208, I was set with a great view of the stage and was surrounded by a good number of people who were also settling into the spot for all four nights. I also took quick note of the stage setup – Page’s rig is NOT on a moving riser this year, which means the NYE gag will not involve a full-stage clear like the previous couple have.
The new Surrender To The Flow (STTF #76: NYE Run 2022-2023) is out, please download it here at this handy link, and please consider donating to support it!
The following is an interview of Jason Del Gandio (phish.net user @JasonDG) about his article, “Pulsating with Love and Light.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen. Jason will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Kristine Warrenburg Rome, so please submit your questions now.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
Hi, everyone! I am a college professor at Temple University in Philadelphia focusing on the theory and practice of social justice. My first show was back in 1993 (7/25, Waterloo Village). Not to sound cliché, but the collective vibe is what keeps me coming back. Besides live music, I also love traveling, stimulating conversation, the bustle of cities and the tranquility of nature, and I am passionate about changing the world for the better.
Why did you decide to write this essay? What do you want your readers to take away from it?
I saw this as an opportunity to connect my ideas about the vibe with the Phish experience, and hopefully share those ideas with a receptive audience. I am hoping that the essay gives people a language for articulating and understanding something we all talk about, but rarely define or explain.
You said the essay reflects your personal Phish experience. What’s your favorite encounter with the vibe?
I grew up in a household where the vibe was a common word. Then in my late teens I started going to concerts, clubs, raves, underground parties, etc. It’s there that the vibe stood out as real, tangible, experiential. One notable Phish vibe is 4/15/94, Beacon Theater. Without exaggeration, it was otherworldly. My 20-year-old mind asked: What is it, how might we explain it, and can it help change the world?
[The following post is an interview with Isaac Slone (phish.net user @isaacslone) about his article, “How is Phish Therapeutic?.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen. Isaac will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Jason Del Gandio, so please submit your questions now. -Stephanie]
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
Thanks for asking! I am a practicing psychotherapist in New York City - working on my license to practice psychoanalysis. My life intertwines with Phish in so many ways, it’s somewhat unbelievable. My first show was 6/2/09 - the summer before I started high school. It was so exciting that the band was reuniting - I remember it felt like something to live for. I come back because of the music. I think the band is phenomenal, and their live show is unparalleled.
Why did you decide to write this essay? What do you want your readers to take away from it?
I decided to write this essay because of how often I hear Phish fans talk about the joy they experience at shows. People within the Phish community commonly accepted the notion that Phish has a therapeutic value, but there was more for me to articulate about how exactly that works. There is a long tradition of psychology/psychotherapy extending out in conversation with other disciplines, and I wanted to begin building that bridge with Phish. I hope that it opens a deeper discussion or reflection for the reader because my experience is only one of many, and there’s only so much I can say about it in the short space of the essay. There are numerous ways to describe how what Phish does is therapeutic - I hope my piece sheds light on that and pushes the conversation further.
We’re excited to announce an upcoming series that The Mockingbird Foundation offers in collaboration with an academic journal.
This summer, the Public Philosophy Journal published a special issue on “Phish and Philosophy”—the first academic journal ever to be dedicated to the band—and Mockingbird’s participation in scholarly research was a first-of-its-kind partnership! Find buckets full of thoughts and read the articles via the PPJ’s online publishing platform at this link, and please click the "Read More" link below for more information.
[We would like to thank @DaleCooper for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
As mentioned by Dr Stephanie Jenkins during the Thursday review, Dicks is bordeline ritual for people. The same hotel, the same lot, the same seats. Each year adds a new ring of emotions and stories, like a tree growing upward and outward.
With 2022 being announced as a four show run, these patterns were uprooted somewhat. Travel plans, vacation days, long-made hotel reservations all had minor to major adjustements made. With these changes, the weekend looked different. There was more time by the pool, or having brunch, or hiking in the mountains. This extra day allowed people to look at their traditions in a new and expanded way.
[We would like to thank Dr. Stephanie Jenkins, Ph.D., for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Thursday marked the beginning of this year’s Dick’s run. I think that this exact thing happened to me just last year. For a decade.
Last night was Phish’s thirty-first Labor Day weekend show at the Commerce City venue in what is arguably the band’s longest running, most reliable tradition. Every year, since 2011, we can count on three—now four—concerts at the same place, at the same time, with our favorite band. In 2011, at the “S” show, I made a promise to myself to never miss a Dick’s show and, so far, I’ve kept that commitment.
The digital version of Surrender to the Flow Issue No. 75 is available now at www.gum.co/sttf75 for free or by donation. This issue includes information about this year's Labor Day Weekend Run at Dick's---where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about the area. The issue also contains reviews of the first half of Summer Tour 2022; articles about WaterWheel's 25th Anniversary, fans helping others, an interview with Jovi, and things to do during the day in Colorado; and regular STTF features (among other things) like recipes, My First Show, Phish Changed My Life, Everybody Loves Statistics, Read the Book book reviews, Celebrations, fan fiction, and a puzzle.
Hey nerds! When tour dates dropped this Spring, a chime of disappointment rang through my chest with the realization that my favorite band wouldn’t be coming within 1,200 miles of my home in California. A collective shrug inevitably felt by most of my west coast brethren. Yeah, yeah, we did get eighteen amazing shows between the summer and fall of ’21 (an embarrassment of riches really), but as a card-carrying member of hardcore phans, it’s in our very nature to be disappointed at least part of the time.
Traveling for Phish is certainly nothing new for me. The older I get and the more I become comfortable in my professional life, travelling becomes part of the fun, checking off bucket list venues as if on some imaginary bingo card. But also, I’m from the Midwest, so as I scrolled through the dates, my eyes were immediately drawn to this middle weekend in August at the behemoth that is Alpine Valley. A venue that’s imprinted on the DNA of any Phish kid living in the middle of the country. Also, I could use this as an opportunity for a phamily reunion of sorts with all my homies from the great North. In addition, I happen to love lakes, brats, cheese curds and swill beer, so win-win. Of course, I bought the ticket and made the pilgrimage to this sprawling Midwestern Phish mecca. I have a bit of a storied history with this venue, many of which would be inappropriate to mention on this fine forum, so unfortunately you’ll have to wait for my tell-all book for all the dirty details. Needless to say, I’ve seen many, many shows at this place throughout the years.
[We would like to thank Doug Kaplan, user @MrDougDoug (Twitter: @hausumountain, IG: @hausumountain) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
What’s up wooks, custies, spinners, and spunions? It’s your boy @MrDougDoug, here to share the heady scoop on Phish’s 22nd ever show at Alpine Valley, on the day of our Lord Icculus, August 13th, 2022.
Today we’re going to focus on the notion of between-ness and liminality in the Phish experience. So we aren’t focusing on what was before, or what will be after, but that undecided, undefined space in the middle . Some of the most important rituals in the life cycle – like a wedding or graduation – celebrate the passage from what was known into the unknown and can serve as essential touchpoints, unforgettable times, moments in a box.
Conversely, some of the most mundane elements of life brim with this feeling of liminality: a doctor’s office waiting room or a train station are equally marked by their between-ness, but on a less world-altering "from-where-you-were-to-where-you’re-going"-sort-of-vibe. A liminal space brims with potential energy as one moves from what was before into what could possibly be. To exist in this sort of space in the present could be disorienting, or even a little bit frightening, like standing on the edge of a cliff. But being open to this sort of zone can provide life-altering and life-afirming experiences when you lean into embracing the unknown.
[We would like to thank Rob Mitchum for recapping last night's show. Rob is a science and music writer in Oak Park, IL. He tweets about Phish @phishcrit, other stuff @robmitchum, and has undertaken the Sisyphean task of writing about every Phish show on its 25-year anniversary, which will take him until at least 2047…and counting. Thank you Rob! -Ed.]
When Twin Peaks came back for a miracle third season in 2017, it succeeded where many other TV show reboots failed. It reunited beloved characters, but didn’t offer up the simple comfort of familiarity. Everyone looked older – an obvious fact, but not one that television usually admits. While some characters were still stuck in their former patterns and roles, others were different in ways both surprising and frustrating. A slew of new characters were introduced, expanding the show’s world in ways that weren’t always clear. There was no easy retracing of steps, and that tension, combined with the emotional weight of a story that had been living in viewer’s heads for 25 years, made for an experience unlike any other.
It’s early Monday morning. I’m sitting in a Bed & Breakfast in nearby Absecon, NJ, collecting my thoughts on the show that ended only a few hours ago, and on the greater tour at large. Feelings of gratitude, splendor, wonder etc. are all running amok through my head.
AC3 was my ninth show of this inspired tour. It’s no secret that the last two years have been an absolute joy for us Phish fans. Seemingly all the rules of set-listing are out the window, the band’s jamming is at an extremely high level, and everything just feels fresh. I’ve walked into every show I've seen this tour not knowing what to expect as the band has delivered twists and turns and major highlights nightly. After a revelatory, improvisation-laden Friday night and Saturday night party, the band was poised to deliver a top-to-bottom “complete” run in Atlantic City.
Did it finish in strong fashion? Were the Sunday Show™ vibes in full effect? Would we see Satan on the beach, trying to catch a ray?
Philly. Bethel. Hartford. Jones Beach. Raleigh. MPP. Blossom! AC night one! This tour has been incredibly consistent, with few dips and many many peaks. The tour is picking up steam, and AC1 showed that they have no intention of slowing down. Relentless is the one word that comes to mind. The ballads are few and far between, most perfectly placed, the jams continue to evolve and show no signs of stalling out. And on the jams—they've finally optimized the synthesizer toys between Trey, Mike and Page, and Trey has perfected his tone, which is pushing them to innovate. They're pushing each other, and instead of a basic pattern that relies on building bliss peaks, we're getting noise rock, ambient space jazz, a mix of good and evil—new, different sounds. What every Phish fan is looking for.
But it can't possibly last, can it? Fishman, fueled by an experimental jet propulsion technology, must need a tune up at some point. Trey's shoes must need to be replaced. Does Mike have enough neon outfits? Page's sandwich supply must be dwindling. Like helicopter parents, fans are constantly pushing Phish to do more, to keep it up, to continue to deliver. But like my colleague Megan wrote, "It’s their own fault though, they keep delivering so we keep expecting it."
A warm breeze blew down the famed Atlantic City boardwalk (did you know? It was first opened in 1870, and is the oldest boardwalk in America and is the longest boardwalk in the world), pushing salty air into the faces of thousands of phans as they waited to enter the sand to hear Phish for the first of three shows on the beach. *As the esteemed reviewer of last year’s AC night 1 show, I will refer you to that entry for more AC trivia.
Now in its second year, Phish’s three-night stand in Atlantic City is the only option for folks unable or unwilling to go to Riviera Maya (Mexico) to dip their toes into the ocean while jamming to our favorite foursome. The hotels have, unfortunately, caught on to the cash cow that the phandom brings to local communities, and prices for rooms now reflect that suckling of the teat. Does that deter us? Of course not - in the same way that accepting gifts from strangers at Phish is welcomed but actively rebuked when back in reality.
[Phish.net thanks Chris Vetoulis for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Living in this tube, we are safe. We are free. Our escape begins before the first notes are played. From the time our last moment of responsibility ends, our eyes suddenly open and we gaze in a world of fantasy, where our imaginations expand beyond the constraints of our day-to-day. The feelings weren’t forgotten, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude flows in as we realize we have the chance to do this once again.
[We would like to thank Aaron Presuhn (@presuhn) for volunteering to recap last night's show and agreeing to recap it even though, last minute, he wasn't able to attend the show. -Ed.]
Cuya-WHOA-ga. Yeah, it’s cheesy. I don’t care. I like cheese and that title amuses me. Accept it and move on. I LOVE Blossom. It’s been one of my favorite venues since my first show there in 2010, and the only show I haven’t seen there since is 2015. It’s also the 19th anniversary of my first festival, IT.
But alas, I’m not there tonight. So this review is from the comfort of my couch. Lights off, volume loud, and (relatively. kinda. ehh maybe not) sober. The crowd energy, friend reactions, venue ambiance…none of those impressions are there. And I’m kinda pissed about it. But such is life. The perfect confluence of f**kery conspired to prevent my attendance tonight, and it sucks. Oh well. Here are my thoughts.
TLDR: A rocking show with a party of a first set and great chops throughout. A perfect start with a 14 minute "A Wave of Hope." Fun but straightforward jams in "AC/DC Bag" and "Back on the Train". "Mull" gets very interesting, "Foam" is beautifully executed, and the "Ghost" really goes some spooky places and finally gives the first set the peak it's been asking for. Second set has all the meat in the third quarter's "Tweezer" > "Wingsuit" > "Tweezer" > "Birds of a Feather" segment which is well worth a good listen. "Joy" cools things down for a beautifully played "Taste" and a powerful "What's the Use?". "The Howling" > "Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S." are a nice combo to end the set. Fine but unremarkable 3-song encore.
Clouds fill the sky and turn down the heat in Columbia, MD as expectations for typical Sunday show greatness at Merriweather Post Pavillion fill the parking garages and the largest shakedown I've ever seen at this venue. No one is going to let a little rain dampen this day! It comes and goes lightly all afternoon and throughout the show (lawn girl here) but never gets too much to handle. A welcome change from the sweltering heat of weekend shows prior. I have brought my 16 month old on this weekend ride (don't judge me, she did great!), and this kept me bound to the top of the hill with all the other little ragers for the first set. Sight lines are a little better up there now with the newly raised roof, and the sound is definitely at a lower volume but still nice and clear. Little B enjoyed a few songs and then fell asleep somewhere in the middle of first set, leaving me a little more free for note taking and absorbing the music.
[We would like thank Michael Ayers, user @yhgtbfkm, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite aspects of Phish shows (aside from the music) is the people watching. Outside of the usual cast of characters you might happen to run into, one thing that’s always interested me is the groups of friends that attend shows together. I can’t recall which year at Dick’s it was, but one year in front of me were a group of 8-10 folks all wearing matching t-shirts with their names and the number of shows they had attended (I assumed) on the back. I remember thinking how cool that was, to have a group of friends like that. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, so I didn’t know anyone who liked Phish as much as I did. I knew people who knew who they were, but most everyone else was into either nu metal or country. That is, until I met [Redacted] (who asked to not be named as he’s embarrassed to be my friend and, quite frankly, I can’t blame him).
We met back when I was in college. We were both members of a peer-to-peer music sharing service called Soulseek where you could share your music collection with others and download what they had. After downloading the Phish shows that he had that I didn’t and vice versa, we exchanged messages and the rest, as they say, is history.
We arrived together, friends since we were six, 28 years since our first show at Walnut Creek.
The moist heat smacked us in the face like a used spa towel, but once we strolled through the dusty lot to arrive at the venue, we were home. Even the stairs to the lawn provoked memories that we endeavored to locate throughout the years.
This was a show that required some recognition. Suzy’s 225th show, Kersten’s kids’ first show, our fifth Walnut Creek show together, friends and family scattered across the audience---hard to find on the packed lawn)---running into random people and finding out they're from our tiny home town in rural North Carolina. Of course, conversation quickly drifted to the memorable 1997 show, when the deluge turned the lawn into a mudpit, Kersten’s parents were at their first show, and her brother was featured prominently on the jumbotron as he danced, shirtless and wild.
We live in a world where I have seen/heard easily 100 shows live from home and this was another. I personally have never been to Jones Beach, so this review will not be about the vibes or the lovely breezes, or any interstellar interactions. I’m sure the (insert classic Long Island food item) tasted extra sweet/savory and the beverages were flowing like the nearby Carmen’s River.
We start the night with "Mike’s Song," which is noteworthy mostly because what follows is the longest jam of the night instead of opting for a more traditional "Mike’s Groove" segment. Wolfie finds a chill funk groove with a bit of swing from Fishman as Trey starts to layer some effects into his tone. He pulls back to a cleaner tone and Page finds some energy on the baby grand, extra mustard seemingly emanating from his shirt. When Page switches to the organ, the band turns a corner through a heavier, more evil zone. The jam heads into a "Sigma Oasis" feel and then continues evolving. Page begins to add some sonic textures that hint at a spacey take-off point but instead we find ourselves in "Ya Mar."
[This recap is courtesy of Tom Volk, phishnet user tvolkl, blanksnpostage on Twitter. -Ed.]
So here we are at long last: off to arguably their best start to a tour in a good long while, Phish arrive at Jones Beach for the first time since 2013. It’s a venue fraught with a so-so reputation amongst fans that also has a sneakily long history with the band, dating back to the summer of 1992 as the fourth stop on the original H.O.R.D.E tour.
To understand where I am coming from with Jones Beach, you have to understand first that this place is essentially a vortex for me and my family. Legend has it my grandfather drove down the newly paved Wantagh parkway in August of 1929 to swim at and explore the newly created state park days before its official opening. In the early 70s, my parents met there while working summer jobs in college. My dad worked at the Zach’s Bay concession stand, a scant 100 yards from the entrance to the theatre, where he served ice cream everyday at lunch to a pleasantly drunken Guy Lombardo.
It’s where I saw my first Phish show in 1994, where beforehand I met Mike Gordon in the parking lot where he politely chatted with a small group of us in the southeast corner of the parking lot and chastised my friend for smoking a cigarette at too young an age. “Young smoker, huh?” peering down from his bike before he sped off. So for me, this venue is inescapable and my attachment to it is irrational. You’d only understand if you grew up on the south shore, amongst the mosquitos, strip malls, salt breezes and suburban congestion and then piled my family history on top of that. So, if you’re looking for complaints about the traffic, that fact the main concourse has all the ambiance of a third rate state fair food court, the looming NY State Troopers, or that the incessant ocean breeze destroys the sound you’ve come to the wrong place. Simply, I am a homer.
“Hartford is a sacred place, magical things happen here,” whispers a hippie girl as she hands me a red solo cup of what appears to be pond water. We’re standing under a violent sun in suffocating heat, surrounded in every direction by rubble and stickered-up vehicles. She continues: “This is a potent frog extract that will aid in the decalcification of your third eye.” I’m so thirsty that I ignore the last statement, plugging my nose and chugging it down as a hot breeze envelopes us with dust. The Hartford police usher us toward the venue and we head in.
[Phish.net thanks Noah Eckstein, freelance journalist, for this recap. His work has been featured in The Guardian, The Daily News, PBS, Variety, and DoubleBlind Magazine. He also assistant produced and co-wrote the first two seasons of Osiris Media’s podcast Undermine. Twitter: @NoahEckstein. Phish.net: @SOLARGARLICAFICIONADO. -Ed.]
Dairy cattle have given their bodies to supply humanity with labor, leather and beef for 2,000 years. And, let’s not forget about milk. Without which, the classic Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream would be, well, it wouldn’t be.
On July 23, 2022, the sacrifices of past, present, and future dairy cows and their revered spirits were honored with auditory splendor, a cosmic “thank you” from the band and from the crowd.
The Guernsey cattle that were the reason Max Yasgur had a farm in the first place were memorialized on Saturday night, their collective sacrifice and memory honored by Mr. Jon Fishman, (aka Moby Dick, Dick, Dick) who sampled their fabled utterance, the good ol’ classic “moo” throughout a rocking show that concluded an epic two night run at the Bethel Woods Arts Center.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Brad Strode (user @c_wallob) for this recap. -Ed.]
Hello everyone. Long time reader, first time recapper here. I’ve always enjoyed reading these recaps for every show, and I’m thrilled to be able to help out on Summer Tour 2022.
Bethel Woods Music Center for the Arts (corporate sponsorship hopefully not pending) in many ways is not so different from your typical summer shed; the parking lots are expansive and mostly devoid of shade, there is a single entrance point with sometimes long security lines, and the amphitheater itself is a standard pavilion & lawn, with an unremarkable roof covering those lucky enough to have reserved seats close to the band. With all that said, Bethel Woods Music Center is nothing like the typical summer stop on Phish tour. The fields and forests surrounding the venue are steeped in nostalgia.
[Thank you to Nick Williams (user @TwiceBitten) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Phish, the band, what can you say? An American original: full of the awe, spectacle and big top excitement of P.T. Barnum’s circus; as majestic as the Rocky Mountains and as thick as New England’s forests; as powerful as the magic that existed in this land before the white man came, and sometimes as dark and sinister as the evil that those settlers brought with them (well maybe only on a headful). So what does such a band do after playing a show up in Bangor that seems to be unanimously regarded as IT? They had options: Phish could have tried for a repeat, stretching another jam past 30 minutes; they could have relied on a bunch of bust outs to keep the fans satisfied; they could have phoned it in even.
As the years have gone on, Phish has largely moved out of the shadow of the Grateful Dead and into their rightful place as the elder statesmen and torchbearers for a spark that was ignited almost 60 years ago in a series of rented halls around the Bay Area. While the Dead largely settled into a standardized show format less than halfway through their career, Phish has always been keen on freshening-up the flow of shows from night-to-night, tour-to-tour, era-to-era. Still, much as there are only 12 notes in western music, there are only so many types of Phish shows (not counting more subtle variations within each format).
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Ben Harder for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
To my fellow Mainers, a big Hihowahya!!?? To those of you who were visiting from away, stoked you made it up for what was the first Phish show in Maine since the Bangor show on 6/25/19 and 6/26/19. Tonight's show made for the fourth at the venue (the first being 7/3/13), and over the years we've seen the GA Pit evolve from lawn to crushed rock to concrete pad. The place looked a bit like the Big Dig, with a steel retaining wall and framing for private boxed seating to come.
[David Goldstein, this recap's author, is a phish.net contributor and co-host of the Beyond the Pond podcast on Osiris Media. He usually wears Whalers gear on lot. -Ed.]
It could be nostalgia creeping in, but something about seeing Phish in New England in 2022 just hits a bit differently. This is especially so in Massachusetts, a state so integral to the band’s evolution; The ‘89 Paradise gig! Multiple New Year’s Shows in Boston and Worcester! They did a Gamehendge here once! And now that the nexus of the Phish kingdom has been effectively relocated two and a half hours south, they seem to play Massachusetts far less than they used to (you brahs too fancy for a heady Worcester run now?)
FYI Surrender to the Flow's Summer 2022 issue has been released and it is available for download at this link here. (https://sttflow.gumroad.com/l/sttf74) While it is free to download after you provide an email address, donations are encouraged as STTF has been a labor of love for many years and we at dot net hope you support it! There will be paper copies circulated on tour, so you may see it in the lot or at a show, but you're far more likely to see it if you download a PDF of it. (There likely will be a paper copy available for perusal at the WaterWheel table at shows, too.)
This issue includes information about the Summer Tour from Great Woods to Alpine, e.g., where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about the towns and the venues. The issue also includes reviews of the Spring Run 2022, articles including ...
[Blog post and video/audio of this 10/3/96 Gordon Stone Trio gig with Mike and Jon is courtesy of Chad Simons, dot net user @charlesrsimons (Twitter @ChadSimons1, and Insta chadrsimons). -Ed.]
Phish tour '96 ranked among the top for me. I jumped in at the Red Rocks shows and finished at the Clifford Ball. Need I say more? I could, trust me.
After the Clifford Ball, my crew and I crossed Lake Champlain by ferry in my friend's split-window VW bus. The sunset behind the Catskill Mountains was amazing, and I knew something very special was waiting for us on the other side. Just after driving off the ferry, we spotted a huge vertical sign with the word "WILSON" on it. Of course, Nectar's was next, and the list goes on.
I decided to stay in Burlington, and my friends went back to Indiana. I had no idea what was in store for me as the temperature started to drop that fall. I had never experienced a northern winter like the ones you get in Vermont, but the fun never stopped.
On October 3, 1996, I patched my Sony DAT-D8 into the mics of a guy I met before this show. We set up just in time, and I barely had a moment to count how many people were there before the guys began playing. There must've been only about 30 of us there, as you will hear in the applause and comments made between the songs. Mike is on bass for all of the songs, and he’s on vocals for nearly all of the songs; and Jon joined in on the washboard and bell for the entire second set. This show is truly a gem with such a fun setlist and plenty of humor.
Charles R. (Chad) Simons
Almost five years after the interview conducted by Dean Budnick, Chris Kuroda was interviewed by Scott Boyarsky and Hal Waterman, who were involved with the fan website CK5 (http://www.ck5.org, now defunct). This conversation delves further into Kuroda’s work philosophy, his personal tastes, and his life outside the band. A few of the questions are repeated from the previous interview, but Kuroda’s opinions had evolved over the preceding five years.
The full interview was initially published on the CK5 website and republished in the Phish Companion 1st Edition. The interview was then edited and streamlined for re-publication in the Phish Companion 2nd Edition. This blog post includes the edited interview from TPC 2nd Ed., followed by the remaining interview “bonus material” from TPC 1st Ed.
Enjoy! - Matt Schrag aka @kipmat
Interview with Chris Kuroda from TPC 2nd edition
Excerpted from an interview conducted by Scott “Seabass” Boyarsky and Hal “Brother” Waterman backstage prior to the 10/7/00 Shoreline show, the last show before the hiatus.
HW: Where are you originally from?
CK: I was born in Princeton, New Jersey. I grew up in Chappaqua, New York, which is in Westchester County. When I was about 21, my family moved out to Allentown, PA.
HW: What’s the most rewarding part about this job?
CK: Well, my whole life when I was growing up my Father was thirty years at the same company, Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange, executive guy, got in a suit, commuted on a train everyday. Throughout my whole life growing up, I said to myself, I will not be a “nine-to-fiver.” So, when I think back about the whole thing, the fact that I actually accomplished that might have to stand out over everything. The second greatest thing is all the support I get from all the fans. I get a lot of support, and you know, as a human being it just makes you feel so good. And believe it or not, an extremely rewarding thing to me is when I nail a “David Bowie.” It brings tears to my eyes sometimes. Doing the job, that’s how I express myself to the world. I get to express myself through light and there is a lot of joy to that!
One of the many exciting aspects of the week before Phish tour is hearing news about the crew technical rehearsal; where they are, what they’re working on, and especially what Chris Kuroda’s new light rig will look like. As Lighting Director for Phish (a position which also incorporates the role of Lighting Designer), Kuroda has been continually innovative with both available technology and presentation, making the band’s lighting an integral part of the Phish concert experience. Dean Budnick (author of The Phishing Manual and erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of jambands.com, now part of the Relix Media Group) conducted an interview with Kuroda toward the end of the marathon Fall 1995 tour, offering an intriguing glimpse into Life on the Road with Phish. Budnick subsequently posted the interview text to the Usenet newsgroup rec.music.phish, but the interview has not been republished on this site until now. Please enjoy this trip down memory lane, as we look forward to more dazzling lights on Summer Tour!
- Matt Schrag aka @kipmat
[Dean Budnick is the editor-in-chief of Relix and has reported on the live entertainment industry for Billboard, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. He directed the documentary Wetlands Preserved: The Story of An Activist Rock Club, which opened nationally before airing on the Sundance Channel. He also is the creator and host of the Long May They Run podcast, which reached #1 on the Apple Music Podcast charts, and he has written many books, including Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped, and a forthcoming book with Peter Shapiro, The Music Never Stops: What Putting On 10,000 Shows Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic, https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/peter-shapiro/the-music-never-stops/9780306845185/.]
Interview with Chris Kuroda 12/5/95
From: [email protected] (Dean Budnick)
Organization: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Okay, here's the text of my interview with Chris. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. This interview took place around 5:00 on December 5th, before the second night of the Mullins Center run.
BTW, after the show Chris told me that he had forgotten to say one thing that was really bugging him. He's asking everyone to stop bringing laser pens to the shows and to discourage your friends from doing so. I noticed one on Trey's guitar on Saturday and people have been shining them up at the chessboard as well. On with the interview....
[Thanks to our guest recapper Dana Slattery (@tweezeher). -Ed.]
Spring tour feels a little like Summer tour, doesn’t it? Considering some recaps for this short sprint of shows boast it as the first leg of the Summer 2022 run, and I myself had been gently corrected with torches and pitchforks after a post to CashorTrade, it seems debatable. After a 3-night run on the coast of Alabama, and 2 scorchers on a tennis court in South Carolina, the Birkenstock tans on the dusty Deer Creek lot (Ruoff Home Mortgage Center to the layman…) look, feel & likely smell like a Summer tour.
Is it sun stroke or is the nitrous just good? After 2-nights of Phish and 3-days of Phish lot, the lines become blurred. Both were in seemingly endless supply in Indianapolis this weekend. The Sunday show started 90-minutes earlier than the previous 2, bringing a feeling of ‘Let’s get this show on the road’ and "party time." No one is interested in driving back through the mid-west with a trunk full of whatever you brought to the lot. So, yes, deals.
[Thanks to our guest recapper Michael Ayers (user @yhgtbfkm) . -Ed.]
As I was packing my bags to get ready to drive to Indianapolis, my phone beeped with an email address. The fine folks over here at .net asked me if I would be interested in recapping both Friday and Saturday, as nobody had volunteered for Saturday. They said I could even wait and send both Friday and Saturday in one big review as opposed to doing two. After pondering it for a few minutes I responded back that I’d love to, as writing one long incredibly mediocre review would be far less damaging to my ego than two short, incredibly mediocre reviews. So without further ado..prepare to be disappointed.
[Posting some photos courtesy of Matt Bittmann, taken from the pit last night (June 3, 2022, Deer Creek), because the recapper of last night's show will be recapping tonight as well and has chosen to recap the two shows together. Recap will be posted tomorrow. If you want to read a recap of last night don't miss Scott Bernstein's " The Skinny" on Jambase. -Ed.]
[This article was published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 1999, so is Copyright © 1994-99 San Francisco Bay Guardian. It is being re-printed here, and now, because it is hilarious and its author Summer Burkes is a great writer. Special thanks to Philip Zerbo (co-editor of the Third Edition of The Phish Companion) for posting the text of this article to Rec.Music.Phish in October 1999. Also want to thank Josh Martin, whose recap of Charleston1 reminded me of this article and how I'd wanted to try to locate it and post it to the blog. -charlie]
Hook, line, and stinker:
Staring in train-wreck horror at the cult of Phish
By Summer Burkes
THEY ARE PHISH, I am chum
I must admit, I'd been unfair. I'd hated Phish with a passion since the
moment they entered my consciousness, even though I couldn't ever recall
actually hearing one of their songs.
We wanted to wish MICHAEL GORDON a very happy birthday on this, the 11th anniversary of the June 3, 2011, "Down with Disease," that should be (re)listened to at all costs, now, either here on Relisten or on LivePhish.
It was a very humid day. The forecast called for mostly sunny skies with rain right around doors, so it was a bit of a gamble to figure out the calculus of when to leave for the lot. Luckily, hopping in rides with 1.0 friends made that easy.
We got to the lot around 4:20pm and jumped in line. At about 5:00pm there was incoming lightning, so the venue and band touring crew made the call to go ahead and pull us into the venue to shelter in place in an effort to weather the storm. We all posted up in the hallways to wait it out, and wouldn’t you know it, the lightning blew over without a drop of rain! So the show was not delayed, nor was it shortened to one set, which was the dreaded outcome had the lightning postponed doors.
[We would like to thank user @Jmart, Josh Martin, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Here’s the thing: You like Phish. And if you’re reading this, chances are you actually love Phish with a chunk of your heart so large as to baffle most of your family and other acquaintances.
From your love of Phish, we can deduce something further: You love to dance. You have a repertoire of moves to fit any occasion. Imitating someone else’s moves in your crew is valuable social currency.
How do your dance choices reflect your show experience? Let’s discuss.
(For sake of reference, all dancing was observed from the floor, halfway back on Mike’s side)
We all Phish for our own reasons and rage in our own ways. For me, I love reuniting with my favorite people while exploring parts of the country I might otherwise never visit. So, when Phish announced their tour opening run in Orange Beach that began the day after my 40th birthday, it was easy for me to decide how to welcome in the new decade. Nor was it difficult to convince my crew to head to Alabama, a new state for several of us, to celebrate with me. We rented a large condo at the Wharf big enough to accommodate us all and spent the weekend swimming, eating, and Phishing. There was no better way a Phish fan could usher in a big birthday.
At this point, it would just be silly to deny that Phish has hit a new stride in this era we call 4.0. Since returning to the stage in Arkansas on 7/28/21, Phish plays with a conviction and awareness that at any moment, the universe can throw us a curveball; they are playing every show like it could be their last one. With nearly 40 years of touring and hundreds of songs to take turns vying for our attention, Phish continues to amaze and inspire us all by only looking forward, eternally blazing on, growing, and improving with one even more ambitious set of music after another. Phish is in a state of pure creative flow, and that was on full display on this hot summer night in swampy southern Alabama.
[Thank you Dianna Hank user @Dianna_2Ns for recapping last night's tour-opening show. -Ed.]
Last night, Phish returned to The Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, Alabama, to kick off their 2022 Summer Tour. This was the band’s second ever visit to The Wharf Amphitheater (the first being for a one-night stand at the venue, eight years ago on 8/1/2014), and only the 13th time the band has ever played in the state. Lights went down shortly after 8 PM and for the first time in the song’s history, “Twist” took the show-opening slot, getting right into the meat of the tune within three minutes and leading into 10+ more minutes of exploratory playing. While the jam felt to have been cut slightly shorter than it could’ve been, the band returned back to the "Twist" lyrics cleanly and finished the tune. “Halley’s Comet” followed and the band showed that perhaps they were a little overeager with that choice, forgetting almost an entire verse before cutting the diddy even shorter than usual with less than one minute of “jam” before segueing into “Sand.” Hopes again rose for a nice 1st-set jam out of this consistent jam vehicle, and the band delivered: Again, within three minutes, we found ourselves in a nice groovy pocket, and the four then continued to interplay with one another for another seven minutes of interesting and efficient playing, before sticking the landing and returning to the outro together.
[Phish.net welcomes and thanks guest writer, Dr. Wook, for this recap. -Ed.]
Giving an ‘official’ recap of a Phish show these days can seem like a fool’s errand. What’s the use when by the time you leave the venue and get someplace, a little rectangle device resting in your hand will already deliver you the setlist with notable statistics, song times, and ability to immediately start relistening for the things you thought you heard hours ago. Dedicated fans, through this and other web sites, some in attendance, some viewing from home, often begin posting knowledgeable, insightful, and varied opinions covering all aspects of the performance before anyone even goes to sleep the night of a show. And as Phish heads through its 39th year, playing the venue they have played the most times across their storied career (68 at MSG), everyone at least agrees there is simply no singular way that people enjoy Phish. Stone cold sober or spun on psychedelics, on the rail or on the concourse, shedding a tear during "Joy" or peeing during Joy, there are such wildly diverse ways people engage with the immense catalogue of music and the ever-evolving live experience, that a common point of view is hard to come by.
[Phish.net welcomes and thanks guest writer, Jeremy Willinger (user Jeremy8698), for this recap. -Ed.]
I love YEMSG holiday Phish runs, except this year---and stop me if you heard this one before---we shifted things 112 days due to a resurging pandemic and concern for everyone’s general welfare. So, Happy belated New Year to all; now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
To get a little more granular, the 12/30 show has always been the standout during recent runs, and I will point you to my previous reviews of this night of music from 2019 and 2018 to showcase how unassailable and correct I am. Will tonight also eclipse what the band had in store for the end of 2020? Only time (that turns elastic) will tell.
[Thanks to Josh Martin, @JMart, for once again writing a recap for the phish.net blog. And thanks to Matt Bittmann for the sweet photos! - ed.]
Greetings, everyone, and glad tidings from New York City, where Phish played the first of four rescheduled concerts, originally slated to be played Decemeber 29th - January 1st.
Before we begin in earnest, a brief requiem for what might have been: It is overstating nothing to say that Phish in the fall of 2021 was on one of the hottest runs of the post-break up era, no matter what you choose to call it. And while comparisons to the best tours of ANY era may have been a tad premature, one can certainly forgive their being made, as such comparisons are made with the breathless exuberance of a fan who has just witnessed something great. And if you saw a Phish show last year, chances were you did. Add to that momentum the bonkers Sci-Fi Soldiers numerology that Phish started laying on the audience during the Halloween run (4680 days from 3/6/09 to 12/31/21, etc.) and one can’t help but be a bit sad for what might have happened if those dates had gone off as planned. That having been said, if the last two-plus years have taught anyone anything about life, it is that there are things that are simply out of our control and it is our charge to deal with that uncertainty as best as we’re able.
There was no 12/29/21 show, but there was a 4/20/22 show, and that show started at the shockingly early hour of 8:07 PM with “Carini.” Given the level of 4/20-related chatter that had been going on for the past few months, it’s doubtful that very many heads had this as the run opener. This subversive “Carini” modulated is its way out of the dark into a pleasant, if familiar, sonic space. Around 7:30 Trey started upping the ante and Mike was quick to follow. Page jumped on clavinet for a few bars of something that was starting to sound very sinister, but was quickly nixed for a return to calmer pastures. There Trey and Mike fell into two beautiful melodic runs that coalesced into a propulsive chop, beautifully segueing into “Possum.”
We hope you will join us for a fine wine and pasta party fundraiser for The Mockingbird Foundation (whose volunteers manage this website) pre-show on Saturday, April 23, 2022, from 4:30-6:30pm at Legacy Records, which is a ten minute walk from MSG.
The event will be held in the upstairs bar of Legacy Records, Ada's Place. This fundraiser is doubling as an opportunity for some of us to hang out with each other for the first time in [expletive deleted] years given the [expletives deleted] pandemic.
Please support this event if you have time and if you appreciate Phish.net. And if you're not keen on wine there will be non-alcoholic beverages available, of course; this is not a formal wine-tasting, there will simply be a variety of fine wines available to drink if you're into wine. This is a preshow gathering of friends new and old more than anything else. Thank you for your support of this site and The Mockingbird Foundation!
We arise at the crack of noon and slowly make our way to the pool. We are foggy, rather groggy, but it’s the final day in paradise and time is of the essence. We snag a couple chairs in the shade, order a couple of Miami Vices (half piña colada/half strawberry daiquiri), and make friends with our neighbors. Night four is rapidly approaching, and with plenty of bangers still on the table.
[We would like to thank user @Phish_tank Andy Zellinger for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Everyone entered the venue looking relaxed and sun-kissed as they did the stingray shuffle past psychedelic art installations and street tacos, margaritas in hand. Tonight was the first full show of the run, following a funky dance party Welcome Set last night. The lights went down around 7:49 pm to start night two of this four-night run at the Moon Palace Cancun.
[We would like to thank user Kelly Wilson @KellyNICU for this recap. -Ed.]
There’s no better feeling than dancing to your favorite band with your favorite people.
As always, the energy in the crowd was palpable. People had been partying in the pools all day waiting for their band to play. On night one of Mexico we ended up staying on our balcony facing the stage because how often do you get a chance to do that? We met some strangers who soon became friends, and invited them up to dance with us because that’s what Phish is all about.
[This post courtesy of Keith Eaton, @Midcoaster, who first became obsessed with music when, in 1979, he sat in a darkened theater and watched Apocalypse Now. Nothing was ever quite the same after that opening sequence.]
A few weeks ago, it took everything I had in me to change my clothes and head to the elliptical for a run. Low clouds hung like gray gauze, and a drizzle was ruining the fresh snow. Such is the winter norm now on the New England coast. Classes were quiet, masks burying facial expressions. I muddled through the day and then dragged myself to the gym. Victory!
Some days, this is really difficult. After having had COVID following the New Year, getting back into this running routine has been even harder. The annoying bouts of asthma had become chronic, and the 'rona fatigue of which they speak is real. Plus, after these past two COVID school years focused on the day to day while being denied various annual benchmarks, I've had a difficult time mustering enthusiasm. It was a familiar feeling, too. Depression? Nah. Teacher burnout? Maybe. What about grief?
That word, grief, stuck in my craw as I randomly selected music from my iPod. Music wasn't even something I was "looking forward to"; this is just part of the running routine. Right? The iPod roulette landed on 10/20/21 Eugene's "Ruby Waves". It was a great choice. Trey's simple mortality lyrics, uniquely his own, produce a clear vision of his soul's travels after death. Our soul-spark becomes pinball energy and is reabsorbed into the whole, an "ocean of love."
The jam (much discussed) brought me into a serene space where body mechanics and conscious breathing fell away, and I was left to simply flow. That's when it came to me: grief. Since March of 2021, I have lost five people who were closely connected to me in one way or another. Three were friends from my incoming freshman class in college. I met them in the fall of 1985, and there was a large group of us who glommed onto one another, sharing a love of the Grateful Dead, punk, activism, and misfit culture. In many ways, our cheap beer and brick weed Frisbee lounge shenanigans seem like yesterday.
Little did we know that friendships seeded then would last a lifetime.
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Dianna (@Dianna_2Ns) for this recap. -Ed.]
Last night, Phish treated fans to an absolute delight of a show as they literally went backwards down the number line to kick off their first night of four at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The band opened the show with some discordant sounds and eventually dropped into “Also Sprach Zarathustra” which was met with massive crowd cheers. This is the first time the band has opened a show with that tune since 9/22/99 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, NM. The patience, focus and synergy that would be present throughout the rest of the show was really on display throughout this song, as Trey brought back “LA Woman” teases from last Saturday’s Forum show in addition to throwing in a few “Manteca” teases, as well. This jam starts dirty and stays that way, with Mike heavy in the mix, Fishman driving relentlessly and Page supporting Trey’s wailing with massive synth swells before the drop back into the song. After an impressive sixteen and a half minutes, the band comes to a stop before Trey takes the mic to assure everyone that, “We're not gonna hurt you... We just wanna have some fun…” before an absolutely epic drop into a cover of Prince’s “1999”—only the third time this song has ever been played live and 130 shows since the last time it was played (7/26/17 at Madison Square Garden during the Baker’s Dozen). Similar to 2001, this jam was lengthy and went Type II, with Page taking the reins for a good deal of it backed by fantastic interplay between Mike & Trey. Towards the end of this almost 15 minute spacey jam, Trey just lets loose, sustaining soaring extended notes before the band moves on to “555.”
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Landon (@nomidwestlove) for this recap. -Ed.]
On Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 The Phish from Vermont brought their own unique brand of trans-dimensional, intergalactic space funk to the quaint central coastal community of Santa Barbara. The bowl itself, with its dramatic backdrop of the Santa Ynez mountains to the east and a view of the pacific ocean from our seats to the west, seemed to serve as a beacon, perhaps attracting unexplained aerial phenomenon and other sentient extra-terrestrial beings to use their state-of-the-art propulsion systems to hover in the void between the sea and stars.
This band has had plenty of peaks and valleys in their triple decade plus career, but I think they’ve proved with these past few shows, that the ceiling expands far higher into the stratosphere than one could have ever guessed. Yes, way up out there in the cosmos, Phish is providing the soundtrack for this donut-shaped universe.
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Willie (@twelvethousandmotherfker) for this recap. -Ed.]
After three long years, and fifteen months to the day from the originally scheduled date, Phish returned to the phabulous Forum last night to play a rock concert. Thank Icculus.
For me, it was my first indoor show since Nassau in 2019, and damn was it good to be back. I didn’t realize how much I missed standing with my buddies in my favorite spot (right in front of Mike), sharing in the joy and community and, yes, groove that makes Phish so special. We’re all extremely lucky this is still happening -- I don’t want to forget that. Plus, they’ve been playing out of their minds!
So, let’s dig in.
Phish performs in different places around the country to convince their fans to move there. No doubt that the luxury housing development atop the mountain range behind Chula Vista’s North Island Credit Union Amphitheater was able to advertise breathtaking views *and* the opportunity to listen to a live Phish concert while laying on your deck, totally nude, spun out of gourd without any LiveNation employees to hassle you.
The beauty of the late fall outdoor show is that the concert begins in the dark so the light show is in full force. Palm trees lined the back of the lawn, which was not overpacked like most of the lawns were this summer. A pamphlet from the Twelve Tribes somehow ends up on our blanket.
My wife, Kylie, and I have lived in Phoenix since 2006. That means we moved to Arizona three years after Phish last played it. Their last show in the desert southwest was on July 7, 2003, at the same venue (different name). Needless to say, we have been awaiting their return since we arrived 15 years ago. This was absolutely a ‘hometown show’ for us and the excitement was built for a few reasons. Not only was it Kylie’s first show since 9/5/15 (and second since 12/7/97!), it was our kids’ first show ever and my first show in a proper outdoor shed since 2018. On top of all this we had friends in from Michigan and a local friend came along for his first show. A proper crew was engaged and ready.
Phish delivered. It was a wonderfully crafted show. An almost perfect one-off, Friday set list full of well-known rockers and newer tunes that were taken deep. “Julius” is an opener I’m always up for as it sets a bouncy, dance-y precedence…even when you don’t get through security until half through the tune. It took us about an hour to get through the line. The venue has only two entrances, so no one could have seen that coming.
Let me just start out by saying that I love “dirty” east coast Phish (looking at you Providence and Long Island). I’m also enamored by sweaty southern Phish and I definitely have a proclivity for the sprawling Alpine Valley Phish, but who can really ignore the majesty of West Coast Phish? And is it just me, or does California Phish, specifically, just seem to hit differently? In 1995, 2pac and Dr. Dre did confirm that California does indeed know how to party. And after only the 2nd show of this tour, Phish is already showing plenty of California love.
[Phish.net thanks first-time volunteer recapper Sterling Diesel (@sterlingpiper83) for writing this recap. -Ed.)
So this all started back at Shoreline, I met a platypi guy. We talked about how much we loved the band, I mentioned how I would love to write a review of a show, and bam, here I am :-). Thank you all for having me, it is very much appreciated.
After 2,252 miles I am ready to be out of my Volvo. I love it, but I got snowed in for about 15 hours at a rest area just outside Cheyenne on the way here and I am so ready to be out of it for a while. It is almost that time, the map is telling me the venue is just 3 minutes away, finally, it has been a long drive --- I see You Golden 1 Center, I will be there directly, just let me find a place to park first. I do just that and stroll up to the gate at 2:38pm local time and find myself to be just the 5th person in line. I meet a very nice gentleman named Michael, we talk about pyrokinesis, many smiles are created. I see Rosie coming from across the way; I met her a few weeks back on the rail in Pittsburgh at TAB, I am very glad to see her shining today. We talk about Trey's 4 song smile from that night. It's almost that time, here comes Rick with the wristbands now. Ahh, yeah! Looks like I'm gonna be the 8th person in tonight :-)
Dan Mielcarz (ColForbin here at Phish.net) has a doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is currently the Director of DartLab, the immune monitoring and flow cytometry shared resource at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH. We asked him to write a short piece on staying safe at indoor shows.
With fall tour and indoor shows upon us, some of you may be wondering what the best practices from a COVID-19 safety standpoint might be. As an immunologist, I was happy to see Phish change from a free-for-all at the beginning of summer tour to requiring vaccination or a negative test. This makes for a much safer environment for the band and fans alike. Vaccination is the number one way to stay healthy in the pandemic. If you aren’t vaccinated you are taking a huge unnecessary risk, so please, get the shots. And if you are eligible, get a booster. The sooner you get your shots the better, as peak protection takes at least 1 week past the second (or booster) dose.
Also, please do not come to a show if you are feeling sick. At the very least, take a rapid antigen test (I like the BinaxNow brand) if you have any symptoms and only attend if you are negative. I know how excruciatingly hard it is to miss a Phish show you have been looking forward to for years, but skipping a show when you feel sick is one of the most selfless acts a person can make in 2021, and will be repaid down the road, I assure you.
Beyond vaccination and staying home if you feel sick, what is the number one thing you can do to stay safe at a Phish concert this fall? Wearing a mask. In the words of the band themselves: “We strongly recommend that you wear a mask at Phish shows when social distancing isn’t possible.” When is social distancing not possible at an indoor Phish show? Everywhere. So you need to wear a mask everywhere. Universal masking will protect you, other fans, and the band. I know Trey continued his tour when some members of his band got infected, but there is no way that will happen with Phish.
[This site is run entirely by volunteers as a project of The Mockingbird Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for educating children and young adults in musical arts. This post is courtesy of Neve Spicer, who promotes arts education. -Ed.]
Art, music, and film move us, inspire us, and help us to see the world in new ways. Studying the arts does more than just bring us closer to the media we love, it can also be a gateway to personal, psychological, and cognitive benefits -- this is especially true for kids.
Research has shown that participation in arts education during childhood is linked with positive impacts to self esteem, collaborative skill, physical development, and even math and literacy skills. It is valuable contributions like these which are the driving force behind National Arts in Education Week, an annual arts-ed advocacy campaign sponsored by Americans for the Arts.
[We would like to thank Denny Kinlaw, user @SaintAndrew, for last night's recap, his first Dick’s show. -Ed.]
Some venues simply flaunt their status as beacons of musical heritage upon the American landscape: the mythic aura of Madison Square Garden, the sublime scale of Alpine Valley, and the dingy intimacy of Hampton Coliseum all come to mind. To enter these venues is to enter into the mythos of rock n’ roll history. For Phish and their fans, these venues represent not only the ascendancy of a band that labored most of its career in the shadows of more commercially celebrated acts—with Phish finally “making it” on the main stages by 12/30/1994 and utterly destroying them by 12/30/1997—but stand out as perennial havens for a band that continues to achieve improvisational high-water marks thirty years into its career. While Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will never elicit the type of hushed reverence these historic venues tend to evoke, nor will anyone ever gasp with stilted breath “It’s magnificent” upon entering Dick's (See Gorge), it simply is the most important outdoor venue for mapping Phish’s shape-shifting achievements in the 3.0 era.
[We would like to thank user @ObviousFool (@Nice_Shades on IG), Silas Cole, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Two weeks ago, we couldn’t believe that our first Phish shows in a year and a half were almost upon us; one week ago, we were uncertain if they would even happen, as we watched the Caldor Fire explode toward the shores of Lake Tahoe. But that was far from our primary concern, as we knew thousands of people were in danger of losing everything. As of this writing, officials are “cautiously optimistic” about improving conditions, but the threat remains very high. I urge you to donate whatever you can through The Waterwheel Foundation today. All funds will be donated to the Caldor Fire Fund through the El Dorado County Community Foundation.
And so, it was nothing short of a miracle, made possible by some consummate professionals within the Phish organization, that the shows were relocated to Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA. We are beyond grateful.
[We would like to thank guest recapper user gr8phul Jon Harris. -Ed.]
As we know the Tahoe shows had to be cancelled and moved to a new venue due to the Caldor Fire. First the shows were to be moved to the Greek Theater in Berkeley, but ultimately that did not happen and Shoreline it is. Now no one wants to go to Shoreline, we go because that's where Phish is playing. Not to say that Phish hasn't delivered hugely in the past at Shoreline, compared to being in Tahoe or in the magical Greek, Shoreline is sort of a letdown.
However, before we get to the music, I want to please ask all of you reading this to donate to Waterwheel as the money they raise will be going to help the people affected by the fires.
Now onto the music!
[Phish.net welcomes back guest recapper Oliver Pierson (user VermontCowFunk) for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Rolling into the Saturday show at the Gorge after a beautiful day in Central Washington, I felt all kinds of excitement. Night one’s patient jamming, bust-outs, and the best ever version of "Mull" were behind us, and seemed plausible that the band had now shaken off what little rust may have built up between Atlantic City and the Gorge and was ready to come out swinging. I’m a Vermonter and this Gorge run is my first west coast Phish, but I had been intrigued about seeing the band play in the pacific northwest since I first listened to the 10/13/1991 Olympia Surf Club show where Trey made a point in the Gamehendge narration at the band’s second show in Washington to comment twice about the beauty of the surroundings, and the sense of awe that I always feel out here is noticeable in his voice. Coming over that last rise at the venue before Friday night’s show, and reaching the spot where you first see the stage, the Columbia river, and the eroded canyon walls in the background provoked an exclamatory “wow” from me, and the guy walking next to me said “is this your first time here?” Yes, and I was stoked. Back to Saturday, our crew settled in at the bottom of the terraces Mike-side, waited for the sun to set over the ridge, and made our list of songs with a high show gap that we hoped to hear. And besides being a spectacular venue, I was impressed by the sheer number of vendors inside the venue, perhaps because the beer lines at Hershey two weeks ago required a 45-minute investment. Hello local craft beer tent with great selections and no line!
[Phish.net welcomes back guest recapper Suzy Barros for writing this recap. -Ed.]
First things first---everyone needs to come see a show at the Gorge, full stop. If you have access to a private jet or can find a reasonably inexpensive airfare, come tonight. It’s always been lurking there on the tour dates page, staring at me and silently judging me for bypassing it for all these other reasonably fine venues (but are they the GORGE). Its untrammeled nature at its finest and even though seeing Phish at the Gorge doesn’t change the fact that we are living on planet earth in 2021, it makes it a hell of a lot more tolerable.
[We would like to thank user imdano Dan Dudensing for this guest blog post. Dan's first show was 11/29/98, he resides in Burlington, and he hosts a radio show on local Burlington VT radio every Monday at 5:00 pm, which streams on https://bigheavyworld.com/stream. Dan's views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of the volunteers on this website. -Ed.]
When you consider Phish’s career of 34 years—I understand that 2021 minus 1983 is 38, however, I think we must subtract four years from the career total to capture the 2004-2009 breakup—you realize more and more how difficult and likely pointless it has become to argue for “greatest this” and “greatest that.” There are so many shows, containing so much music, and totaling so much time, that I don’t think it’s possible any longer to have a full grasp of everything they’ve done, which would be essential in order to declare superlatives.
I am sure we can all call to mind a jam that took our breath away, and yet receives few or no shoutouts when the all-time great [insert jam-vehicle song name here]) dialogue is underway. There is just so much music to listen to at this point. Yes, there are some objective high-water marks, but even those might be hard to find consensus on; I like to identify New Years ’95, Clifford Ball, and Big Cypress as the real mountaintops, however a younger fan than I (no disrespect intended) may argue Baker’s Dozen. At this point we should all just stand back, give thanks, and perhaps acknowledge that with such an immense amount of music and time to consider, we may continue to find it harder and harder to agree on superlatives.
A Phish fan purchased a cheesesteak and a small container of fries and then looked for where she had left her friends and loved ones on the beach. But she was being watched. Without warning, a seagull that was hovering above landed feet first onto the hand holding the fries, obliterating their container and her desire to eat them, and while she mourned her side dish, a colony of seagulls (the collective noun for seagulls is 'a colony') swarmed on her long sandwich, colonizing it as their property. We truly became one with the ecosystem of Atlantic City.
[Phish.net welcomes back guest recapper Jeremy Willinger (@Jeremy8698) for writing this recap. - Ed.]
Ah Atlantic City...immortalized on screen (Boardwalk Empire), in childhood (who wants to play Monopoly?), in song (Springsteen), and cemented in popular consciousness (as in, "Will I step on a hypodermic needle if I go barefoot on the beach?"). For phans, however, AC has been an armpit of a pit stop as tour chugs along, convening many of us in the early 2010s for standout shows at Boardwalk Hall (the Led Zepp show immediately comes to mind) and the 2012 weekend at Bader Field. Now, after a year of waiting, Phish returns to this seaside hamlet of gambling, history, and urban decay, becoming the only artist aside from P!nk to play on the sand parallel to the Boardwalk.
[We would like to thank Andrew Sinclair for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
On this balmy Tuesday in August, a bunch of friends from all walks of life cruised the open roads towards Central Pennsylvania and the self-proclaimed “Sweetest Place on Earth” for the first of two shows in downtown Hershey. This Chocolate Town has been around a long time, and over the generations it has become a pretty enjoyable family spot for a summer getaway. It was in the building next door to our venue, Hersheypark Arena, that Wilt Chamberlain famously dropped 100 points in one game, and also the site of Kobe Bryant’s (RIP) Pennsylvania State Championship, before he made the leap to the NBA. It was also where Phish took "Mike’s Groove" into the heavens, back on 12/1/1995.
For this phan, it was also a homecoming as I grew up in nearby Allentown, Pennsylvania. I figured this would be an enjoyable midweek getaway and the first day adventures did not disappoint. Let’s get to the action.
[Thank you Dianna Hank for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Going into this weekend, I had a crew of four, maybe five, folks from my immediate Phish group making the pilgrimage to the infamous Deer Creek for Sunday night’s (hopeful) scorcher of a show. Seeing as I live in Las Vegas now, you might be wondering why I was only going to be attending the last of the three night run in the middle of Indiana, so far from home. And the answer to that question is that I was lucky enough to be invited to my dear friends Lauren Amster & Angus Abrams’ wedding in Chicago this past Saturday night! Conveniently enough, Chicago is a mere three hour drive (+ the 1 hour time zone change) from Ruoff, so once tour was announced and some of us realized we’d be “in the area” during this run, we decided to try to make it work. The best part of all of this is the fact that I met the bride though Phish friends many years ago, so a good chunk of our Phish-going crew was going to be in attendance for this event. Like I said earlier, going into the weekend, we only had four, maybe five confirmed for the show. Yet slowly but surely, people kept giving in to temptation, changing flights, booking hotels, securing tickets and suddenly, our meager crew was starting to take some solid shape! We even had three additions at the morning-after brunch on Sunday AM! So after saying our goodbyes to the bride and groom, we hit the road and gunned it to the land of the corn.
[Phish.net welcomes back and thanks volunteer recapper Michael Ayers (@yhgtbfkm) for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Deer Creek Music Center Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Klipsch Music Center Ruoff Music Center! About 20 miles north of downtown Indianapolis, Deer Creek has been a relative staple in Phish’s touring repertoire, having played there 24 times starting back in 1995, the site of several notable shows including Live Phish Vol. 12 and The Phish from Vermont. With plenty of seating and an absolutely mammoth lawn with no bad sightlines, Deer Creek is one of those venues that should be on everyone’s list to check out, as there’s rarely a bad show there.
[Phish.net welcomes back and thanks volunteer recapper Nick Williams (@TwiceBitten) for writing this recap. -Ed.]
Late news breaking! This just in! Here's the scoop! Last night Phish abducted 25,000 people from
a cornfield and probed their every last hole. Thats well upwards of 150,000 holes, not counting
the pee hole, or the possibility of them popping out your eyes! If you've seen the print for this run
all I can say is: they warned us. Such abductions were once thought to be commonplace in this
area but their frequency has diminished over the years to the point in which many stopped
[We would like to thank user @Jmart, Josh Martin, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Greetings, everyone, and glad tidings from Alpharetta, where Phish played their fourth show of this summer tour. It’s been a long time, and I’m glad to get to discuss our favorite band with you again.
But before we get to that, a little housekeeping: As some of you know, we had a first song back pool going on the .net forum. Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to @bonzo6980 for picking “I’ve Never Needed You Like This Before.” If any of you are sour that they played three of your picks (sigh), maybe it’ll help to know this fine gentleman donated his $127 pot to the WaterWheel Foundation. They were very appreciative and it was a humbling moment to make the donation in person. (See beneath the recap, below, for a photo of the folks at the WW table after receiving the handoff!)
Onto the music.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper @LizardwithaZ for writing this recap. PhishNet depends on volunteers to recap shows, and opinions offered herein do not necessarily reflect those of PhishNet and our volunteer community. -Ed.]
How do we sustain ourselves in life? Sustaining ourselves through a global pandemic was a near impossibility, as we lost so much, day after day.
Yet here we are again, as we find ourselves back in Alpharetta, almost exactly three years after “Ghost,” “Carini,” “Soul Planet,” “You Sexy Thing,” and that incredible 2018 run.
This time, we’re looking for sustenance. For something to sustain us. And perhaps Phish is looking for something to sustain them, too.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Suzy Barros for writing this recap. PhishNet depends on volunteers to recap shows, and opinions offered herein do not necessarily reflect those of PhishNet and our volunteer community. -Ed.]
Second night of tour, everybody, and for those of us who hadn’t been to a show at Oak Mountain, there was that fun element to check off the Phish venue bucket list. It goes without saying that this show was INCREDIBLY HOT in all the meanings of the word. This show was ALL MEAT NO FILLER and I can’t express my enthusiasm for it strongly enough, although I’m going to give it a shot.
[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Michael Ayers (@yhgtbfkm) for writing this recap. PhishNet depends on volunteers to recap shows, and opinions offered herein do not necessarily reflect those of PhishNet and our volunteer community. On behalf of fans everywhere, it sure is good to be back! -Ed.]
Welcome back everyone!
Tonight marks the first time Phish is playing in The Natural State, one of a handful of states that the band has never played.
There’s always an air of mystery surrounding tour openers, but given everything that’s occurred over the past 18 months, I’m sure everyone had more questions than normal. What would the band open with? Would they be rusty? Would the venue still be selling $15 Bud Lights? (Spoiler, they were and they were just as bad as you remember them).
With all of these questions and more bouncing around in my head, my friend and I took up residence Page side on the lawn at the Walmart AMP (a surprisingly nice little venue that I later found out stood for “Arkansas Music Pavilion”) and got settled in for what was sure to be an interesting night.
Looking for a certain bustout this summer? Hoping to catch a certain song at a certain venue? Looking for more long jams and fewer micro-jams? Create some good vibes towards making your wish come true by making a conditional pledge to a charitable cause!
Here’s how it works:
1. Go to this form: Google Form For Good Karma Hope You Get Your Tour Wish Fundraiser
The only personal information we ask for in the form is your first name and an email address to reach you if your conditional pledge comes to fruition.
2. Enter the donation amount you would like to conditionally pledge. Your choice.
3. Tell us the condition you want to attach to your pledge. We created six ideas (below), but there is an option to create your own. (For example: "I want "Tweezer" to open Deer Creek night 1" or "I want "More" to encore at Walmart" or "'Dog Log' at Dicks" or "For 'Guelah Papryus' to go Type II").
4. If the condition you selected comes true, we will reach out to you and ask you to honor your pledge. It is a strictly voluntary pledge and we ask for no payment or payment information up front.
5. Spread the word!
Today, July 8th, is the anniversary of the fabled 7/8/94 Great Woods Gamehendge show. This is serendipitous indeed, because during last week's Attendance Bias podcast, Brian Weinstein had Jeff Goldberg (our resident sound archeologist), join him on the show. While they took a deep dive discussing that famous show, their analyses were preceded by a discussion about... you guessed it... previously uncirculated Phish material. Here is the link to the show where Jeff and Brian discuss the process and what it’s like to work on Phish material which so few people have ever heard:
Why is this significant? Well, thanks once again to Jeff's audio engineering efforts (Phish.net handle: @Jeff_Goldberg), we have some more uncirculated Phish music for your listening pleasure. No recordings were known to exist of the December 2nd, 1990 show at The Front in Vermont… until now. Jon Trafton graciously provided the only known recording of part of Set II of the 12/2 show to Jeff to digitalize and clean up so it could finally circulate.
[This guest blog post is courtesy of Adam Lioz (user @RadicalSuit) and Malcolm Howard (user @mhoward205), who are are founding Board members of Phans for Racial Equity.]
Juneteenth commemorates the day the last enslaved people in the U.S. were granted freedom in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. What’s the relevance of a celebration of Black liberation for the largely White jam band community? Why should we keep Juneteenth in mind as many of us plan to head back out on tour for the first time in more than a year?
On April 1st at 4:30 pm EST, Tom Adams (@Reelife_Tom) of Reelife Documentary Productions will release never-before-seen video of Phish performing a "The Pendulum" jam, filmed during the soundcheck before the 12/7/90 show at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. According to phish.net's records, "The Pendulum" was last played on April 1st, 1986 - meaning tomorrow is the 35 year anniversary of its last live (and what was thought to be its only recorded) performance. Tom has released a teaser video of additional footage featuring Marley getting kicked out of the venue:
For the eighth year in a row, Dr. Stephanie Jenkins will teach the “Philosophy School of Phish” course—more formally called the “Philosophy of Art and Music”—via Oregon State University’s Ecampus program. Using the band as a case study, students will explore canonical theories about art and its meaning, from ancient to modern times. Registration is open now and class begins on March 29th!
Space is limited. To enroll, follow instructions for registering through OSU’s ecampus and enroll in PHL 360: Philosophy & the Arts (CRN 59716). (Because this class is a special section of a regular course offering, you will not find PHL 360 listed online as “Philosophy School of Phish.”) Make sure Dr. Jenkins is listed as the professor. Note: You do not have to be a current OSU student to take this course. You’ll need to apply and enroll as a “non-degree seeking student.”
[We'd like to thank @paulj for once again contributing a thought-provoking analysis piece to the blog - ed.]
Since its introduction in June of 1997, "Twist" has been a welcome addition to the Phish catalogue. With just a couple of exceptions during its early years, "Twist" has never been out of regular rotation, averaging an appearance about every five shows.
With only 10% of its appearances in the first set, "Twist" has fulfilled a variety of roles in the second set. First, "Twist" made its debut as a second set opener and, in its 145 total appearances, has been a set opener 15 times.
Second, although "Twist" does not generally enjoy the big jam reputation of its contemporaries such as "Piper" and "Ghost," it has a top ten ranking in total number of Jam Chart entries during the 3.0 era. "Twist"’s 23 Jam Chart entries for 3.0 were, I’ll happily admit, a bit of a surprise as I’d always pigeon-holed the song into its third role: maintaining the second set groove.
You could say I was born in the taper section. In the mid 1970’s, Grandpa Jimmy recorded three-year-old me singing and proudly answering questions about my birthday, address, and parents’ names. In January 2020, I found a few such cassettes, along with the reason you’re reading this.
The tapes turned up in the final few weeks of helping Dad downsize from a house to an apartment. The move was never possible while Mom was still alive, thanks to her hoarding.
From the link above:
Sometime in February 1995 I was asked, by way of a mix C.D. to go to a dance called the Big Band Boogie Ball. On that C.D. were two songs I had never heard of that were played on repeat until every note was singed into my ears and burned on my brain. I immediately drove to the local Record store to scoop up any additional albums and the 411 on this band called Phish. Fast forward 25 years, one husband, thousands of recordings and between the two of us 60 some live shows, it’s safe to say I love this band. There is nothing quite like the high vibe, energetic, feel good hit of dopamine that live art brings. Anything can happen in live performance and I for one crave the paradox of feeling certain about the magical unpredictability of live art. As Wonderbound continues to take great strides to return to this same performance experience, I am delighted to share Julius, a music video, starring William Clayton and featuring the Wonderbound company artists, with music by Phish. Filmed August 20-26, 2020 at Wonderbound, I hope we manage to make you smile.
Check the music video out here:
As the COVID-19 public health emergency began to develop, The Mockingbird Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to music education, began fundraising efforts to grant money to programs that were actively developing strong responses to challenges presented by the pandemic. In the past, the Foundation had issued Emergency Response Grants on a regional basis, such as in the aftermath of a natural disaster. But the pandemic presented a national-level crisis with both immediate and long-term effects, and we knew it would cause seismic shifts not only in musical teaching techniques, but also in governmental and charitable funding of music programs nationwide.
Mockingbird announced the COVID-19 Relief fundraising effort at the end of May. We allocated $25,000 of existing funds to launch this effort, while asking the Phish fan community to donate $25,000, which we pledged to match, totaling $75,000. Not only did the community help us reach the goal within only two months, their collective donations were double that goal! We are thus able to fund $100,000 in grants for this round of emergency giving. We cannot thank all of our donors enough for your amazing support of music education!
Hundreds of individual donations were made through our fundraising channels over the summer. Many of the donations were exceptional and substantial, and there were sizable donations not only from new donors but from long-time donors as well. Among the donations, sadly, were numerous tributes to family members and friends lost to COVID-19, dramatizing its impact on our community and the communities of many other music fans nationwide.
Our community’s spectacular fundraising response inspired us to promptly identify needy programs that were facing new challenges arising from the pandemic. We developed different criteria to review previous applicants and grantees, and also examined inquiries submitted for our 25th Round of annual giving within approximately the last year, the application period for which concluded on August 1st. In addition, we researched outside our customary channels for organizations that were creatively providing - or seeking funds to try to provide - musical education to students in this time of unprecedented challenges.
Mockingbird announced our first COVID-19 Relief Response grant to Girls Rock Detroit on June 25th, one month after launching the campaign. The $5,000 grant helped their summer camp to continue virtually after they lost the ability to host in-person fundraising events. One week later, we announced that Heartbeat Music Project in Crown Point, New Mexico, would receive $5,000 to support their music education program for Navajo (Diné) children living in the Navajo Nation, which suffered COVID-19 related illnesses and deaths disproportionately to other regions.
[Thank you @Choda for sharing your thoughts on Dick's, as we head into this special three-day holiday weekend of "Dinner and a Movie" Dick's webcasts. If you watch any of them please consider donating to Phish's charitable arm, The WaterWheel Foundation, as all funds donated to WaterWheel this weekend will benefit The Mockingbird Foundation, whose volunteers run dot net. -Ed.]
If the Great and Knowledgable Icculus took me from the Earth on this day of our Gamehendge, September 4th 2020, I would stand before him in my Birthday Suit (for being naked in front of a powerful deity is a requirement if y’all didn’t know) and be judged for my life as a faithful Phish fan (and trust me, I saw 28 shows in 2.0). Icculus would peruse his iPad Pro and check out my stats:
The Great and Knowledgeable (GK) Icculus: “Ah Mr. Choda, I see you saw the final 'Faht' performed live?”
Choda: “Yes Icculus! I almost died driving back to Ithaca that night but totally worth it.”
GK Icculus: “It says here you saw the longest single Phish jam of all-time?”
Choda: “Yes, my sweet Icculus! It was a glorious night in Worcester ‘97!”
Then, Icculus would pause briefly, and look up from the screen, stunned:
Icculus: “OH MY!! You attended every show at Dick's?”
Choda: “Mighty Icculus, all I can say is: I LOVE DICKSl!! (Just ask [phish.net username withheld])
Voting in the final matchup of the phish.net forum “Jam of the Era” tournament is open until tomorrow at 9 am EDT. Vote here.
In celebration of the two finalists the bracket organizing committee is pleased to welcome guest contributor, @philospliphy.
In the Long May They Run podcast, Trey reveals that an obscure book of urban planning theory became the band’s "bible" when they first began planning their independent, infamous, and shockingly successfully festivals. A Pattern Language (APL), by C. Alexander, et al., proposes and defends a mode of communal living wherein all social functions − from the privacy of the marital bed to the sharing of collective meals to the labor of workers in diverse fields to the pedestrians passing them all on the street − are creatively weaved into an organic, but open whole, designed to balance basic, yet contrasting, human needs like solitude and communality, productivity and rest, self-expression and family and community responsibility, darkness and light.
The discovery of this book, of course, corresponds with the time after which Phish had firmly and permanently become an arena-level draw, and during which the group achieved heights of musical performance, economic success, and cultural impact that no one at Nectar’s, or even on the farms of Ian or Amy could have anticipated. The interconnected community they had always sought to build through music was not only actualized, but seemed poised to become a substantial and permanent fixture on the American cultural landscape. A band that had tailored their career so that they needed to prove themselves and win over audiences every night could now not only write its own ticket, but freely set its own benchmarks. The shift to more collective, less guitar-centred improv in ’96, the hard turn towards funk and darkness in ’97, the surprise covers and more spacious sound of ’98, eventually giving way to the ambient bliss from ’99-'00 reveal a band always reaching for a new height, or finding a new way of integrating their catalog and hard-won connection with what was, for them, most interesting or challenging at the moment. It’s no wonder that, after "The Show," Fish thought they should stop; by the new millennium, a band built around having to earn its keep night after night had literally nothing left to prove. And if the band’s 2004 performances aren’t proof enough, Trey’s Charlie Rose interview makes clear that he knew the Phish that he founded and that did, indeed, "conquer America" wasn’t built to last; playing music so diverse, complex, and risky demanded 100% commitment to the project and, once it ceased to become the primary – and virtually sole – focus of the lives of all of the members, it was destined to get "sloppy around the edges" and become something else. Trey, Mike, Fish, and Page are, after all, human beings, rather than musical machines (even if they occasionally sound that way), and APL is grounded in the idea that being fully human requires us all to balance our work – independent, creative work of passion, though it may be – with the other vital facets of our lives, lest any one of them become all consuming, and thus damaging to ourselves, others, or both.
For the seventh summer in a row, Dr. Stephanie Jenkins will teach the “Philosophy School of Phish” course—more formally called the “Philosophy of Art and Music”—via Oregon State University’s Ecampus program. Using the band as a case study, students will explore canonical theories about art and its meaning, from ancient to modern times. As part of their required course work, students will attend three virtual listening assignments and conduct philosophical interviews with artists from the Phish community. Registration is open.
Space is limited. To enroll, follow instructions for registering through OSU’s ecampus and enroll in PHL 360: Philosophy & the Arts (CRN 72292). (Because this class is a special section of a regular course offering, you will not find PHL 360 listed online as “Philosophy School of Phish.”) Make sure Dr. Jenkins is listed as the professor. Note: You do not have to be a current OSU student to take this course. You’ll need to apply and enroll as a “non-degree seeking student.”
On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, The Mockingbird Foundation and Phish.net join the music industry’s “Black Out Tuesday” to reflect, organize, and act. We stand in solidarity with everyone committed to eliminating white supremacy, racial injustice, and inequality.
In case you missed it, The Princeton Footnotes released a cover of “Julius” that has over eleven thousand views on YouTube as of today. I touched-base with Douglas Corzine (Princeton ’20) about the group and the background of their cover of “Julius.” -charlie
CD: So what’s the background of this excellent cover?
DC: The Footnotes have been around since 1959, and our repertoire changes every year. “Julius” was one of the group's signature songs in the early 2000’s, but the arrangement was retired about ten years ago.
[Thanks to Mockingbird board member Matt Sexauer for sharing this...]
John Rua, the amazing choreographer of NYE Clones and Halloween's Abe Vigoda Wombat, has agreed to teach us some new Martian Monster dance steps for the April 28 Dinner & A Movie opener. We will be setting up a Zoom link for those who want to join around 8:30 PM during the webcast to dance in unison. The goal is to surprise the band by sharing that link and subsequent video with them. If you can't join Zoom then you can always film yourself during the webcast and post to Facebook, IG, Twitter with the hashtag #MartianMonster. This community has always been a two-way street, and hopefully we can send a little fun back their way during these crazy times. So practice the dance, and we'll see you for Dinner & A Movie!
Check out the video after the jump...
[We want to thank Patti C. (.net user @SharingintheGroov) for relaying her tale of discovering Phish 30 years ago today...]
It was a semi-stormy Wednesday afternoon in April 1990, and I was walking across campus on my way back from class at the University of Notre Dame. I could hear some grooving sounds coming from what I assumed was a campus band playing on the quad by the fountain, as often was the case for one reason or another on any given day. But something different was catching my ear and I found my feet moving to the sound, rather than back to the dorm.
I sat down in my favorite patch of grass in front of the band that was playing, among a small handful of other students and I watched. And I listened. I was intrigued, yet thoroughly puzzled (particularly by the bass lines, truth be told). My frame of musical appreciation at this point in my life was Springsteen, U2, Tom Petty... You get the idea. I had no idea who was playing or what was happening, but I was shook.
[we'd like to thank Prof. Paul Jakus, @paulj, for yet another thought-provoking statistical analysis of Phish.net data - ed.]
Phish.net show ratings are meant to convey Phish fans’ collective perception of how good a show was, but these ratings are subject to a number of biases. For example, .net ratings do not come from a random sample (sampling bias), and people tend to rate the shows they’ve attended quite highly (attendance bias).
Another possible bias, which the .net Cognoscenti have termed “Recency Bias”, is the tendency to rate a show during the first few days after the performance, if not immediately after the show. It is believed that ratings posted in the immediate aftermath of a concert will reflect the warm glow of that experience. People have not taken the time to reflect on the quality of that show relative to the performances immediately before or after, or within the context of an entire Phish tour. Recency bias implies that a show’s rating will decline as its warm glow dissipates.
It occurred to me that I could estimate the magnitude of recency bias using a Phish show database I’ve periodically updated since Summer 2018. We’ll look solely at the 21-show Summer 2018 tour, which started at Lake Tahoe on July 17 and ended at Dick’s on September 2. For each show, we can use snapshots of .net ratings taken on October 2, 2018, on May 5, 2019, and on April 2, 2020. Thus, we have ratings taken one month after the conclusion of tour, 8 months after tour, and 19 months after tour.
Here are the ratings time paths of three Summer 2018 shows [Gorge Night 3 (7/22/18), Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Night 2 (7/25/18), and The Forum Night 1 (7/27)]:
Last year, PhanArt and the Phishsonian Institute teamed up to present “Below The Moss Forgotten,” a pop-up museum exhibit detailing Phish’s relationship to the Pacific Northwest at the first-ever Phish Studies Conference at Oregon State University told mostly through fan-created items. The exhibit marked the first step in establishing a relationship with OSU in regards to the PhanArt archive, establishing a home for the 3000 items already documented.
[We'd like to thank Phish nerd extraordinaire, Maya Gans (@WindoraBug on .net, @mayacelium on Twitter), for writing this post and sharing the phishr library that she wrote with Sam Levin (@levisc8 on .net, @SamLevin5 on Twitter) with the community - ed.]
When I tell people I meet outside of the scene that I’m a Phish fan it’s always met with a certain look - you know the one. But this always makes me laugh because one of the reasons I love Phish so much is how they provide one of the richest data sets to adoring fans. I love when folks who say they hate math or statistics end up rattling off their most seen songs, largest song gaps they need to close, or provide feedback on graphs I put up on Twitter.
# load the libraries
[This post is courtesy of fan Keith Eaton, @Midcoaster, who is still processing Trey's 2 ½ hour music drop that was Ghosts of the Forest one year later. A slow processor, it takes him some time to sort these things out. He first became obsessed with music when, in 1979, he sat in a darkened theater and watched Apocalypse Now. Nothing was ever quite the same after that opening sequence.]
Last spring (2019), I had a rare moment of synergy. It came while reading Michael Pollan's book How to Change Your Mind. I had blazed through the first four and a half sections at a record clip. This is no easy feat, for me, as a busy teacher. That reading streak was interrupted, pleasantly, by a couple of weekends of traveling to shows: Mike Gordon at The Sinclair, and then Trey's Ghosts of the Forest (GOTF) at the Portland State Theater. Surprisingly, the Trey show was profoundly connected to the experiences of patients in the guided psychedelic therapy sessions that Pollan describes, it just took me a while to see it.
Mid-April, a couple of weeks after Ghosts of the Forest debuted in Maine, I returned to Pollan's final two sections of the book. Reading about the use of psilocybin to treat depression and despair, even, in end-of-life therapy, I was struck by a passage where Pollan used Bertrand Russell's words to describe what it would be like to cultivate or prepare for an acceptance of death: "the best way to overcome one's fear of death 'is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged into the universal life' " (355). Suddenly, I heard a melody.
It only took a second to recognize that I was hearing strains of Trey's GOTF composition "Wider." Following "Ruby Waves" and the instrumental "Shadows Thrown by Fire" (I'd had to look this up), I was suddenly struck by the fact that in his exercise of staring down Chris Cottrell's death, Trey's song cycle was mirroring the experiences Michael Pollan was detailing in his book. Most strikingly similar were the results of tests done with patients who had a terminal cancer diagnosis. The Venn diagram of loss, grief cycles, mystical ego death, and guided psychedelic therapy were suddenly overlaying my dawning understanding of GOTF in full.
[phish.net kindly thanks you for your patience and understanding during the slight delay in getting these recaps posted. All of our recappers (and staff) are entirely volunteer; simultaneously taking on the tasks of our "normal" lives while also helping to maintain our great website and community. phish.net would like to thank user @peetasan (Instagram: @EpicFamilyFarms) for this recap. -ed]
Phish in Mexico is a singular experience. There is, literally, nothing to compare it to. Sharing the groove with the smallest crowd you’ll find, on the beach, with the Carribean Sea lapping the shoreline beside you (or around you!), in the middle of winter, in Mexico, after spending the day drinking mimosas and tequila, sunning on the beach, eating ceviche or strutting your best floaty at one of the many pool parties; it is nothing short of continually astounding that we get to do this. It’s apparent that the band feels this way as well, because they are consistently relaxed and in a fun, playful mood. The return of Fishman’s pink jacket and shorts (because how can you wear that only once??) on night 4 was an indication that the band was feeling loose and playful, with Fishman playing a rare set out of the dress.
I love this trip.
[phish.net kindly thanks you for your patience and understanding during the slight delay in getting these recaps posted. All of our recappers (and staff) are entirely volunteer; simultaneously taking on the tasks of our "normal" lives while also helping to maintain our great website and community. phish.net would like to thank user @gr8phul, (Twitter: @gr8fuljonnyd) for this recap. -ed]
Sometimes it is hard to write about a Phish show, especially as good as the one played Saturday night. What do you say when you feel like everything has already been said about the band we love? Who knows, but as they say, on with the show!
As Phish fans, we are creatures of habit. We’ve got our pre-show routines, our standard spots on the floor, our myriad of ways we choose to gamble on the setlist. Despite the mystery of every night being different, we’ve become accustomed to certain elements of a Phish show that give it familiarity. But while we appreciate that familiarity, it is the rare and unique that we truly seek.
Aside from weather fiascos (Northerly 2013, Fenway 2019), Phish has only played one-set shows at special performances (Sessions At West 54th), festivals (Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, HORDE Tour, Doctor) and as an opening act for Santana (’92, ’96). That means this is the first “regular” planned one-set Phish show. But there’s nothing regular about seeing Phish on the beach next to the Caribbean in the heart of winter.
With the late start time, folks had ample time to take advantage of the endless free drinks. And by the time we started heading for the venue, it showed. General sloppiness aside, spirits were high and the energy was palpable. We ran into fellow .netters @slinky and @slambomartinez and shared some speculation. What unexpected treats were we in for tonight? A 90 minute “Party Time”? A sit-in from a local mariachi band? Or would it just be a standard set of Phish?
Please join The Mockingbird Foundation on Friday February 21st at The Silks & Neighbor show at Brighton Music Hall in Boston (Allston, MA), where we will be raising money for music education for kids and young adults.
Last May, Oregon State University hosted the first-ever scholarly conference devoted to Phish’s music, fans, and culture. The three-day event showcased research from over fifty presenters, representing numerous academic disciplines ranging from sociology to philosophy to musicology. Recordings of conference presentations are now available via a free online archive.
The Mockingbird Foundation (whose volunteers operate this site) will have a table on Friday night, January 31, 2020, at Great Scott in Allston, MA, where Garcia Peoples will perform (after an opening set by Owsley's Owls). Tickets for the gig are available here. Please stop by and say "hi" and consider making a donation to the cause of music education for children and young adults.
Synchronicity is when no observable cause connects two events, yet a meaning exists between them. In other words, these are your cases of real-life magic. They’re the moments that likely won’t rearrange the course of your life, but remind you that the cosmos are capable of playing little tricks to help you remember the mundane, in fact, does not always have to be so mundane.
[We would like to thank Cotter, the youngest fan ever to recap a show for this blog, for recapping last night's NYE show. (Note that he also recapped MPP2 in June 2019 for us.) Happy New Year's everyone! -Ed.]
Last night was the single most memorable night of my life. The tangible excitement surrounding the holy grail of all Phish shows was contagious as it spread from me, to my mom, my dad, and even my twelve-year-old brother, who’s first show was a three set show!
[Phish.net would like to thank Jeremy Willinger for recapping last night's show -ed]
I bought a brand new mini-notebook yesterday afternoon to record my impressions while jamming at MSG. At around 11:30PM last night I crammed a wrinkled, bent, stained, stack of paper that resembled a notebook back into my pocket. On the pages were various scribbles, time stamps, and ruminations that started off very legible and devolved into an alphabet soup of observances and compliments around the beginning of the second set, for some cold, cold, cold reason...
Let’s just get the overall review out of the way: This show was absolutely epic! It is a must listen - especially the second set - but the first set has gems, pleasers, and stunning musicianship all its own. Truly, 12/30/19 will be talked about in the pantheon of shows for the ages and reinforces why Phans will do whatever we can, and endure or inure any and all unforeseen circumstances to see this foursome again and again. Now, onto the show.
There are some dates that can quickly send a shiver down the spine of a Phish fan. For many, 12/29 is one of those dates. The amount of tremendous music that has been created on this night throughout the years is somewhat staggering, perhaps equaled or surpassed only by the following night. 12/29 is also a very personal date as it was on that night in 2013 that I got back into Phish after thirteen years. On a whim, I decided to watch the webcast. I was blown away by what I saw after being out of the game for so long. These guys were having FUN and it showed – no turning back from there!
So what would last night’s show bring? Would it yield one of the longest, zaniest jams ever like on 12/29/94? Would it contain some classic, joyful funk like on 12/29/97? Would it be an underrated hidden gem like 12/29/16? Or would it be an absolute scorcher like 12/29/18? As we should have known, it was none of those things. Because 12/29/19 was its own show, its own element, just like the nights before and after it…and that’s part of the beauty of it all.
After fortifying ourselves with delicious pizza and wine nearby, we headed over to the venue. The vibe inside was all smiles and buzzed with excitement. We found some friends right in front of the soundboard and got ready. People around us were being very gracious and courteous which added to the feeling in the air.
[Recap is courtesy of user @bobbker, Bob Ker, (@Phish1999at2019 on Twitter). Please remember that recaps are written by VOLUNTEER FANS. Their views are entirely their own and are not necessarily shared by anyone who volunteers to work on Phish.net. There is no such thing as an "official" dot net recap of a show. -Ed.]
The little-loved sibling of the annual New Year’s run, Phish’s concerts on December 28 have historically offered sporadic highlights but rarely, if ever, have produced a classic. More often than not, the band uses the night to limber up after a dormant period, eschewing strong setlist construction in favor of running through songs seemingly intended to get their muscle memory going. The enthusiasm of the audience and energy in the room makes it a worthy date on the Phish calendar, but in the opening night of the New Year’s run, the crowd traditionally writes a check that the band puts a 24-hour hold on.
There will be yoga classes from 10am to 2:45pm on December 30 at the Hotel Penn (100% of the proceeds will benefit Mockingbird and Living Yoga). To get tickets and for more information, visit this page. And of course don't miss the PhanArt show also at Hotel Penn (18th floor) from noon to five on December 30.
On the final episode of After Midnight, host Jesse Jarnow dives into the following questions: What was it like for the band to walk off stage after playing for 7 hours? Would fans go back to a world destroyed by Y2K? What was next for Phish after this monumental achievement? How did Big Cypress influence festivals and the music industry?
What's it like to pull an all-nighter with 80,000 of your closest friends? What happens when you try to drive a hot dog through that same crowd? Can you say "Cheesecake!" like you're pissed? Will the band play an encore?
In episode 4, we answer these questions and more. We also explore the lasting impressions of the legendary midnight-to-sunrise experience.
[Phish.net user Tommy Whittaker, @Quidley, organized the line of Phish fans, all of whom were ultimately let into the show, outside the Met last week. He shares his story and gratitude below. - ed.]
The Phish phenomenon has been a constant in my life since October 29, 1995. Over the 161 shows I have attended, with the Met being 160, somehow I have managed to have tickets to all but four shows prior to my arrival. The last time I showed up to a show without a ticket was Virginia Beach on August 9, 1998, which was the third anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s passing. Oddly enough, I was traveling with my favorite Phish buddy, Henry, aka “Bring it on home jam.” We arrived two or three songs into the first set, assuming we would only be able to hear the show from outside. Much like the feeling at the Met, we thought, "no way we are getting in." Out of nowhere, the “Virginia Beach Saint” miracled us tickets in the 8th row, center. We thanked him profusely, started running to the show, and before we knew it, we were wide-eyed seeing the only "Terrapin Station" Phish has played to date.
At this point the reader may ask, what the hell does this have to do with the Met show? For me, two things: first, my favorite road buddy “Bring it on home jam” had decided to use his vacation days for the Met and Pittsburg. Second, the anxiety and blind faith of two 25 year loyal followers meeting up to attempt the impossible. Both of us, up to the day of the show, had exhausted all available channels to get tickets to no avail.
Here we are fellow phans, on December 3, 2019, and I have taken a cab into the city and arrived at the Met at 1:30 pm. The scene is pretty loose with people steadily arriving all day who were either on the Sirius/Phish friends and family list, or those lucky enough to win a package. There were a handful of one finger in the air fans hanging at the back of the package winner’s line hoping to score their spot with a variety of good trades, including four floors for New Years, and up to $1,000 cash. I roamed around for a few minutes before catching wind of an “unofficial” sign up sheet for people hoping to get a miracle from Sirius.
[Recap is courtesy of user TwiceBitten, Nick Williams (@deepthoughtsjp on Instagram). Please remember that recaps are written by VOLUNTEER FANS. Their views are entirely their own and are not necessarily shared by anyone who volunteers to work on Phish.net. There is no such thing as an "official" dot net recap of a show. -Ed.]
Phish fans are not exactly a homogenous bunch and I find the differences in the fanbase generally line up with geography. Fans in the Northeast are the most persnickety. They are capable of providing enormous amounts of energy, but they are also prone to talking over slow songs, smoking cigs indoors, and groaning and shit-talking the show while the music is playing. Fans on the West Coast are a lot more easy going. There is room to move in the GA section, the crowd is more evenly divided gender-wise and in general they are the most pleasant audience to be around. Still, West Coasters lack the fire and grit when it comes to giving energy back to the band, and we all know the band feeds on that and uses it to complete the circuit.
The Mountain West fanbase is somewhat harder to pin down, seeing as they’ve only played Dick’s over the last nine years, and it’s a real melting pot of fans from all over the country. Speaking of cannabis, I will say that the audience in Colorado can also be a bit unresponsive, maybe due to the strong legal weed, but also possibly due to the vibes dissipating slightly in the large open air venue. Fans from the Midwest are a rowdy bunch, more willing to display enormous amounts of energy without discrimination, but also willing to talk over slow songs like their Northeast counterparts. I think the term “blind unfocused rage” works well to describe them.
[We would like to thank user Suzy Barros for recapping last night's show.]
Being a relatively new resident of SC I was especially excited when the Charleston shows got announced as a 3 night run at the end of this fun unexpected Island toury 2019 revamp replete with wildly controversial Sirius XM “OH MY GOD PHISH IS SELLING OUT WHAT WILL WE DO” gig. I thought all of the shows thus far had had lots of good playing and fun song selection (especially once it was figured out that there would be no repeats). The drawback of no repeats being of course that you have, say your "Ghost" which I enjoyed the hell out of as a Nassau opener and thought it had a really lovely bliss jam thrown in there but now there won’t be any 18-minute dark mind expanding/exploding "Ghost" to look forward to. The other drawback being (and you can call this a drawback or a plus depending on what songs are played I guess) but it makes for an even more schizophrenic than usual setlist as in tonight’s situation. With Phish you just gotta take what they give you and hope for the best.
[We would like to thank user Josh Martin for recapping last night's show.]
Seasons greetings, everyone, from Charleston, where your favorite band kicked off the first of three nights of music. There are a lot of memorable tours in the Phish catalog, but there are only a handful of historic ones. Right at the top of the list are Falls ‘95, ‘97, and ‘13, and with some distance ‘18 may make the list as well. There’s something about this time of year that lends itself to scorching shows. Heck man, tonight was the 22nd anniversary of one of the greatest shows EVAR.
In episode 3, we emerge from the traffic jam, and we are officially on Big Cypress. We hear Trey and Tom reflect on cruising Big Cypress, and talk to Jon Fishman, Brad Sands, John Paluska and lots of fans about their experiences on site. And we start to get to the music. There's music!
[We would like to thank user Aaron Presuhn for recapping last night's show.]
On a cold Wednesday night, The Phish from Vermont returned to The Petersen Events Center, University of Pittsburgh campus. Contrast tonight’s weather with the last time they played here in 2017...when it was about 95 degrees. Walking up that damn hill in searing midday heat after drinking a Founder’s KBS was no fun. That show happened to fall on my birthday, and it was a heater to go along with the weather. I was excited to see how tonight shook out!
Ah yes, Long Island. The New Jersey that nobody talks about. The land of sports cars smashed into trees with smoke slowly rising from them and no driver or passengers to be found. The only island you can visit where you'll see a housewife driving a fat Benz with a vanity plate that reads XANAX. Long Island, where you can advertise that you're driving on Xanax with no recourse.
Which naturally leads us to Long Island's prodigal son: Billy Joel. Many of us in the Phish community know of Mr. Joel's real and/or exaggerated and/or entirely fictional rivalry with Phish (for hogging MSG every New Year's Eve despite being a "second rate cover band"); but what y'all might've missed is that Mr. Joel already had a longstanding rivalry with Long Island for requiring that he drive his sports cars "safely" and "on the road." For when I was in high school Mr. Joel wrecked his third hot rod in two years when he swerved off the road, over the curb, across the lawn, and into a sleeping old man's living room. And while this sleeping old man was probably the only Long Islander who didn't double as a Billy Joel fan (a Piano Fan?), when the police arrived on the scene, the officers were quite starstruck. Harkening back to moments ago when we were discussing a brazen use of Xanax while operating heavy machinery: despite driving directly into someone's house, Mr. Joel was not given a breathalyzer test.
So what was going to happen to us tonight? Would a fuming Billy Joel drive through the center of Shakedown? And more importantly, was Phish going to mow down our psyches and egos with some searing, soaring, and face melting hetty jams?
In episode one of After Midnight, Jesse Jarnow brings in new interviews with Trey, Fishman, Paluska and others to help answer the following questions: Why did 75,000 Phish fans endure an 18-hour traffic jam to see Phish in the Everglades? Why did Phish make 75,000 fans endure a massive traffic jam to see them? What were Phish doing in Florida in the first place?
A preview of After Midnight, an original Osiris podcast celebrating the 20th anniversary of Phish’s Big Cypress festival. Listen to the trailer here. And subscribe today on the show page. This five-episode series, hosted and narrated by Jesse Jarnow, will include interviews with Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, John Paluska, Brad Sands, Beth Montouri-Rowles and many other people who played a key role in making this amazing festival happen.
We wanted to make sure you’ve heard about Long May They Run, a new music documentary podcast series from C13Originals, hosted and written by Dean Budnick, editor of Relix (and a veteran Phish fan). The first season of the podcast is about Phish, which is appropriate, because the podcast’s intent is to discuss iconic touring bands who have had a lasting impact on music culture and the music industry. You can listen to the first several episodes of the podcast here on Apple Podcasts: http://bit.ly/LMTRPodcast.
And here is an audio preview clip of the next episode that debuts tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, featuring Trey discussing the improvisational comedy communication concept of "Yes, and---":
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. -- Proverbs 10:4
Note #1: “Idle Days” is the number of days from the last pre-Dick’s show to the first night of Dick’s. In 2019, it was 47 days from Alpine N3 to Dick’s N1.
Note #2: The average three-night rating for 2019 is based on about 425 reviewers for each show. The value used in this graph (3.967) is likely to change a bit as more people provide a rating.
With the cancellation of camping at Dick’s 2019, and an initial announcement that vending would not be allowed, there was uncertainty about whether the Dick’s lots would live up to their reputation as some of the finest in the land. While there was no official “Shakedown Alley,” there were plenty of people peddling their wares on the first night. Unsurprisingly, that meant there was a solid flea market popping off by night two.
We drove to the venue about 4 PM and entered the parking lots with zero delays. We parked the car and hit the pavement to sling some of my hand-painted sunglasses (shameless plug for Instagram @nice_shades). There was much more of a central Shakedown area, but still nothing like previous years, so we roamed around instead of posting up. We managed to stop by the phish.net “Official Meat-Up” hosted by @DaleCooper just in time to hug some friends and get in the group pic. My girlfriend Esther (who went to her first show Friday) was not going to be in the picture but at the last minute she was joyously invited to partake by a bunch of people she’d just met. We even said her name as we took the pic. Welcome to the family, babe.
As the sun faded into the mountains in the West, there was something electric in the air. After a couple hours of sweating bullets, and tired of chasing shade, we decided to head into the venue about 6:30. It had been a hot day with highs in the triple digits by some accounts, and sometimes that is enough to drain the energy from the crowd, if not the band as well. This was not to be one of those nights.
[we'd like to thank Josh Cohron, @cohron1, for recapping last night's show - ed.]
A lot of Phish thinking these days seems to revolve around, “What’s next?”
Since the end of the final notes of the THANK YOU Encore at Dick’s in 2015, questions arose about how the band could possibly top 2015’s Summer Tour. Would, or even could, this era of Phish ever reach the heights of that almost-universally-loved tour? An up-and-down 2016, which probably relied too heavily on Big Boat material, was followed by the signature run of this era: The Baker’s Dozen.
The same, natural questions were had by fans of Phish after the Dozen ended: Where does the band go from here? The first thing they did was play a monster show Friday night at Dick’s.
[Thanks again to longtime blog contributor, @paulj - ed.]
Over its long career, Phish have played over 1,500 shows in hundreds of different venues, yet there is a relatively short list of venues that are on nearly every fan’s must visit list. Madison Square Garden, Hampton, and the Gorge have been special Phish venues since the 1.0 era. During 3.0, it’s pretty clear that the MGM and Dick’s offer experiences that are likely to reward any fan making the effort.
Most of these bucket list venues offer something much more than a Phish show: MSG and MGM are suffused with the craziness of NYC and Las Vegas, respectively, and the Gorge is home to…the GORGE.
But Dick’s Sporting Goods Park? Seriously? A soccer stadium located atop a Superfund site in an industrial area adjacent to an oil refinery—which is also a Superfund site? (They don’t call it Commerce City for nothing.)
It's been fifteen years since the shows at Coventry, billed to be Phish's last shows. Long-time fan Chris Pepino of True Form Pictures created a documentary film about Coventry and Phish fans traveling to it, We Enjoy Yourself, in 2004. It screened at the New Jersey Film Festival back in 2009, even winning Best Documentary at the festival that year. The complete film is now streaming live for free at weenjoyyourself.com.
If you've never listened to the music of Coventry, don't be shy.Those who attended the shows that weekend will never forget them; and this post partly explains why, and why there are a lot of good reasons to listen to the shows, warts and all.
[Thank you user @Waxbanks, Wally Holland, for offering your thoughts on Between Me and My Mind, the documentary about Trey. Wally is the author of A Live One, a book in the 33 1/3 series by Bloomsbury about Phish's double-live album of the same name. As always, the thoughts expressed by guest authors on this blog are not necessarily shared by any of the many volunteers on Phish.net. -Ed.]
The documentary film Between Me and My Mind is conventionally structured: Trey Anastasio begins initial work on his "longform" solo project Ghosts of the Forest at The Barn while planning and prepping for the Baker’s Dozen and NYE 2017 with the other members of Phish; along the way we see him in staged 1-on-1 conversations with his wife, daughters, mother, and father. It’s an ordinary slice-of-working-life story about a recently sober 50something looking back on his life and finding inspiration to move ahead with more personal work. For Phish/Trey fans, and for anyone moved by tales of gifted people entering their autumn years, it will offer intense if familiar pleasures.
It being about Trey, though, it’ll also be a little strange.
And infectiously joyful. And idiosyncratically beautiful.
There is no release without tension.
[We would like to thank Doug Kaplan user @MrDougDoug (@hausumountain on Twitter) for recapping last night's Alpine show. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper on this site are not necessarily shared by any volunteer who works on phish.net. -Ed.]
Well here we are again, team. Another night at Alpine Valley: a venue that whenever I return to it, it feels like the venue’s farewell run. Surprisingly and delightfully, things have been roughly 42069% smoother than the last several runs I’ve attended, and it seems to me like the venue’s star may be rising again. Who knows y’all, maybe LiveNation finally sympathized with us, after all of the complaint emails after Bon Iver destroyed the galaxy? It’s certainly much more preferable for me when the band plays a hometown show in Chicago proper, but hey… renting a lake house with eleven of your best buds in the world is a pretty excellent way to spend a weekend.
[Thank you Brad Krompf (@bradkrompf) for recapping last night's show at the Mohegan Sun. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed]
It was about 7:30pm and we found ourselves in a ridiculously long line of relaxed people, coming in from a long day at the pool, gambling, or a number of other similarly incredible ways to spend a random Wednesday. I’m not certain if Mohegan N1 had an overwhelming amount of flow, but the entire “weekend” (which is what it felt like) had enough overflow to make up for it. Perhaps that overflow would spill into the arena tonight. Proudly donning my Hartford Whalers t-shirt, I was more patient waddling through the security line than I would’ve guessed. We had good friends around us, and despite growing up in Connecticut for my entire childhood, last night was the first time in at least 15 years I had slept there.
We got past security around 8:10 and ran when we heard the opening notes of “Buried Alive.” Without question the Phish from Vermont came to party and so did the crowd.
[Thank you @aisincl (Andrew Sinclair) for recapping last night's show in Boston, MA. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed]
Seems that Most Events Aren’t Planned. Tonight once again reminded us to Surrender to the Flow, as the Phish from Vermont played an absolute heater of a show, in a unique environment (39,000 capacity shrine to Baseball) and with some unique meteorological ingredients.
[Thank you @jmart (Josh Martin) for recapping last night's show in Boston, MA -Ed.]
It’s your old pal Marty. First thing's first: I've been instructed to be explicit about the fact that this is a couch tour recap, so, you know, Caveat Emptor, etc. Onward.
When last we spoke, I was busy drooling over that Charlotte 6/21 show. Guess what? I’ve listened to the whole thing at least three times since then and to my ear it still stands up as the show of the tour and “Runaway Jim” the jam of the tour. More on those distinctions in a second.
After Charlotte we were treated to six solid shows from Merriweather, Bangor, and Camden, each with its own individual moments (the "Simple" from the first night of Bangor1 and the "Mercury" from Camden1 definitely belong in the conversation of notable jams.) Reports from the run at Camden varied wildly, with some folks saying the second night was a true heater to others saying it was one of the worst Phish shows in years. As with all things, the truth is probably somewhere in between.
Back at SPAC for night two and the last show of the 2019 summer tour run in Saratoga Springs. Weather pretty much the same as the previous night, high 80ºs, hazy sun, if a bit more humid and less breezy than Tuesday. Unlike night one, we got into the venue about an hour or so earlier so we could check out SPAC’s continually improving food and beverage selections (the former cheerless fencedâ€‘in, dirtâ€‘grounded “beer garden” quarantine zone being thankfully but a bad memory) and hang out in the picnic area at the back of the lawn to sit down, eat, drink and hang a while with some other random newfound tour friends.
With the exception of MSG (60 shows) and Dick’s (27 shows), SPAC (22 shows) is Phish’s most played venue (other than Burlington’s Nectar’s and The Front, neither played since 1991). Kat and I have been to 21 SPAC shows, missing only the first, 7/27/1992, when Phish did a short set opening for Santana. That was before we first got on the Phish bus in the spring and summer of the following year. Last night’s show was our 122nd show, give or take, since 1993.
[Thank you Dianna Hank user @Dianna_2Ns for recapping last night's show in Camden, NJ. -Ed.]
Several times over the course of my Phish-seeing career, the band has played a show that the vast majority of the fanbase has lost their collective (pebbles and) marbles over that I thought was just ok/good. Last night was one of those shows.
[We would like to thank Jeremy Willinger, @Jeremy8698, for recapping last night's show. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed]
Let’s assume that when Noah built the ark, assembled the animals and launched the ship, it was a fairly wet and humid period. The animals came, on four legs, trudging through the thick, heavy air to reach salvation. The contemporary version took place in the gorgeous (?) confines of Camden, New Jersey, as wooks, bros, fans, phans and vets, walked two by two into the BB&T Pavillion amidst a greying sky and a rising temperature.
[Thank you William "Billy" Stark user @mikebomb24 for recapping last night's show in Bangor, Maine. -Ed.]
I had high hopes for Bangor night two. Summer tour has been relatively hot to date and Night one brought big jams in the “Down With Disease”, and “Simple.” I was certainly not alone in having a transcendent experience during the Type II “Limb by Limb”. On top of that Bangor seemed to be the perfect place to see a Phish show. The Northeastern Wookery was felt deeply, and tickets were almost too easy to come by with people miracling pits on lot. Driving deep into central Maine was certainly a treat, and as the pines multiplied in abundance and the Atlantic Ocean came into sight I experienced a tremendous amount of gratitude for Jonathan Fishman. The band could have profited more in a bigger venue elsewhere, but Fishmans dedication to his northern tribe is demonstrably deep. The music of phish feels at home in the north country, returning to the crucible of ice, snow, and forests in which it was originally forged in Vermont.
[Thank you Ben Harder user @BennyHa_Ha_Ha for recapping last night's show in Bangor, Maine. -Ed.]
Well it’s been a minute for me, and it’s been even longer than that for ME. My first show, at 15, was 12/11/95 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, and since that barn burner---which included Warren Haynes on both “Funky Bitch” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and even some Elvis homage (for the last venue he was set to play) in the form of a “Suspicious Minds”---I’ve attended a number of shows each year that the band has toured. My run came to an end on 12/31/17, after which I went zero (0) for 2018. Wudn’t pretty, wudn’t preferable, but I suspect that a number of you in the Old Guard know what it means to have to sit out a tour or more to give a child your undivided love and attention. But boy does the passion abide. Perhaps even more so than when I was taking multiple night runs for granted. I listened to every note of 2018 during my hiatus, and once I got beyond the butthurt and the self-pity (and believe me, I delved deep), I just had to marvel at a show like 10/26/18. Dick’s, the New Year’s run, Mexico, they were all gravy.
CD: Thank you so much for the 11/22/97 "Halley's Comet" "Anatomy of a Jam" film, it was very inspiring to watch, not just for many volunteers of phish.net but even for Jon Fishman, as you've seen from his post on Facebook about it. When did you begin writing and composing "Anatomy of a Jam" pieces and what inspired you to create them?
A: Thank you for the kind words! I’m truly blown away by the positive response and support from the Phish community.
[We would like to thank Cotter, the youngest fan ever to recap a show for this blog, for recapping last night's MPP2 show. -Ed.]
Phish means more to me than nearly any other aspect of my life, so the months leading up to any given show are filled with anticipation. I imagine I’m not alone in this sentiment, but my point of view may be different. Being a diehard Phish fan in high school is one hell of an experience. Be it the incessant checking of this very site in class, or even explaining to people that "no, I’m not in love with a water-dwelling animal, but instead with the magic four middle-aged rock stars produce." This leads to some pretty obnoxious scorns, but shows like last night make it worth it. The 40-minute drive north was chalk full of questions by my family on setlist predictions and song meanings, but that’s really not a problem, as I’ll proudly flaunt whatever knowledge such an obsession leads to. Now to the music.
[This recap is courtesy of Aaron Presuhn (@presuhn). Please note that the opinions expressed in blog posts like this one are not necessarily shared by any of the volunteers who work on Phish.net. -Ed.]
Merriweather Post Pavilion. It’s kinda my home venue. I live closer to Star Lake in Burgettstown, but the Phish have ignored that shed for a while now (please come back!). Haven’t missed an MPP show since my first one there in 2000. Quite a few fun shows here!
I went in expecting a downpour because, you know, all it’s done for the past month in the northeast is rain. But we ended up having a beautiful, sunny day. It really felt like summer for the first time this year. Parking was weird, and the police presence was more than I remember from last year. There are assigned lots now, but everyone seems to ignore them. My lot was blocked off anyway, so we just drove around until finding something open.
[Recap is courtesy of user @jsauce, Josh Martin. Apologies to him and to you that this recap was belatedly posted. Once again, please note that the opinions offered in this recap are not necessarily shared by any of the volunteers on this site. -Ed.]
Greetings and salutations from Charlotte, North Carolina: Place of my birth, my first show (11/19/95), and of course, tonight’s show.
A word about PNC (neé Blockbuster) Pavilion: it’s about as generic a venue as you can imagine. Sprawling outdoor shed located way outside the city limits, convenient to absolutely no one, huge gravel parking lot, very interested police presence, broiling summer sun, etc. Imagine the late 90’s shed circuit: your Polarises, your Lakewoods, your Walnut Creeks. You get the point.
AND YET, for some reason known only to them, Phish have chosen this particular venue to unload the magic time and again over the years. For proof, and for sake of brevity, I offer Only one example: the massive, world shattering “Harry Hood”>”David Bowie” second set pairing from 7/25/03, which remains to me the quintessential 2.0 jam and one of the finest jams of their career. If you haven’t heard it, I strongly recommend taking a second to give it a spin.
[Recap of last night's show courtesy of user TwiceBitten, Nick Williams. Note that the opinions expressed by a recapper of a show on this blog are not necessarily shared by any volunteer who works on Phish.net, and there is no "official" Phish.net "take" of a show. We rely on volunteer fans like you to recap shows. -Ed.]
Blossom is perhaps the most beautiful traditional “shed” in the country. “The venue is located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and is administered by the Cleveland Orchestra’s non profit organization,” I told my wife as we exited the highway and made our way towards the T.A.Z. Driving through a beautiful river valley to see Phish is a far cry from your usual trek through suburban sprawl. We arrived at a back entrance to the venue only to find it blocked by a Police barricade. I got out to ask the cop directions and he informed me that I was in luck because he was about to “open this b*tch right up.” Score. We quickly found our way in and were waltzing through security before we knew it.
[We would like to thank Alaina Stamatis, user @farmhose (@fad_albert on twitter and instagram), for recapping last night's show. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed.]
When the border agent asked us what our plans were for our trip into Canada, we probably should have just lied to him. It wouldn't have made a difference, however, because we have 57 stickers on our car, including but not limited to an oversized Stealie with two dancing bears on the hood. At the time of our border crossing, we were also, for lack of a better term, dressed like wooks.
"We're seeing a concert."
"Who are you here to see?" the border agent asked in the most serious tone one can conjure while still having a Canadian accent.
"Phish, man, greatest show on earth! If you have the night off you should-"
A couple SWAT-team-type bros in skin-tight black uniforms approached. This was not my bachelorette party and these were definitely not strippers. They dismantled the car. Luckily (intentionally) we brought nothing of interest. "Enjoy the concert, guys."
[Recap/review of last night's Bonnaroo show is courtesy of Michael Ayers, user @yhgtbfkm. Note that there was no recap/review posted to the blog about Roo1's show, because no one attending the show volunteered to recap it, and there wasn't a webcast of it either, and we decided not to recap it based simply on the LivePhish recording. -Ed.]
Ahh, Bonnaroo. The perennial jam band festival that’s not really a jam band festival anymore.
I’ve had the pleasure of only attending Bonnaroo once, back in 2005. I saw a slew of amazing sets that weekend, including Benevento Russo Duo with Mike Gordon (a show you should definitely check out if you haven’t), Keller Williams, Jurassic 5 and Dave Matthews Band (laugh all you want, it was my first time seeing them and I really enjoyed it). That’s the nice part about festivals like this, it gives you the opportunity to see acts in the same place that you normally wouldn’t.
After the St Louis shows, I texted a good friend of mine who was on the fence about driving up to Camden to see them. I said, “Dude, I might be biased, but they are already playing lights out. You can’t miss seeing them in Camden.” I thought both nights in St Louis were spectacular. I will admit, the second night in particular will always be near and dear to my heart because of what transpired during the setbreak and how set two started out. I felt like there was little rust in the St. Louis shows (which you sometimes can’t say for tour openers), which made me both excited for the two nights at Bonnaroo and disappointed that I was not attending them.
So what will the boys have in store for us for Sunday down in Manchester? Will they bust out something they haven’t played in years (looking at you, "Free Bird")? Will Bo Bice and Trey share the stage again? (Spoiler alert: they did not, thank god.) Everyone is familiar with the old adage “Never Miss A Sunday Show,” would that apply to tonight as well? Let’s find out.
[Would like to thank user @KipMat Matt Schrag for recapping St. Louis for the blog. Be advised that the opinions offered in a "recap" of a show (or in any post) on Phish.net's blog are not necessarily shared by any of the other many volunteers who work on the site. We would appreciate it if you correct anyone out there ignorant enough to suggest that the "recap" of a show on this site is in any way, shape, or form an "official" view of the show by Phish.net. There is no such thing, and no such thing has ever existed at any time at all whatsoever. Thank you. -Ed.]
I had initially volunteered to write just one show recap for the Blog, but was asked by Phish.net to provide recaps for both nights of the tour-opening St. Louis run. Several well-meaning folks read my recap of last night’s show, and felt that it was lacking, or simply not what they were expecting.
This site is one of several sources on the internet for day-after recaps of Phish shows. These recaps are traditionally linear in form, in that they provide a rundown of the setlist, start to finish, with commentary on each song. I do not prefer this style for two reasons: fluff, and formula. A recap doesn’t have to include an opinion on every single song. Even though sentiments like “I love 'Roggae' it’s one of my 50 favorite Phish songs!” or “I wish I could hear 'Bouncing Around The Room' at every show!” are pleasing and help spread good vibes, they don’t pique my interest. And because recaps are essentially newspaper-style journalism, the writing tends to fall back on tired conventions to fill space. "Song A featured X, then segued into song B which featured Y," or "Phish often does ______ during a show, and tonight was no exception." I acknowledge that there’s an audience for this kind of journalism; I just find it bland.
So let’s talk about last night’s show! @EvenCarlSagan disagrees with me, but I thought the first set was weak sauce up through “We Have Come To Outlive Our Brains.” Everything up until that point struck me as safe, by-the-numbers Phish, while a noticeable portion of the audience was out on the concourse watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the mounted flat-screen tv’s. Nothing from the stage seemed “off," but the music just wasn’t happening for me. The ice was broken by Trey’s acknowledgement of blowing the repeat of the chorus of “WACTOOB” by hamming it up and asking the audience to sing along. The band’s performance seemed to refocus after the flub, and the rest of the set was a distinct improvement to my ears. Of course, the news that the St. Louis Blues had won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history had spread during “Run Like An Antelope," and New Jersey Devils fan Chris Kuroda (pictured here in 1989) was gracious enough to shine bright blue and gold lights on the audience, using the Blues’ team colors to acknowledge the occasion.
[Would like to thank user @KipMat Matt Schrag for recapping St. Louis for the blog. Be advised that the opinions offered in a "recap" of a show (or in any post) on Phish.net's blog are not necessarily shared by any of the other many volunteers who work on the site. We would appreciate it if you correct anyone out there ignorant enough to suggest that the "recap" of a show on this site is in any way, shape, or form an "official" view of the show by Phish.net. There is no such thing, and no such thing has ever existed at any time at all whatsoever. Thank you. -Ed.]
“Phish, with a P-H?”
The hotel Valet Attendant both looked and talked like famous twin brother Seth Galifianakis [url: https://youtu.be/sMFwNrAAsDs] - it was uncanny.
“That’s right, they’re the band playing at Chaifetz Arena tonight and tomorrow night.” I braced myself mentally for the inevitable follow-up question.
“What do they sound like?”
“Well, they’re an improvisational rock band…”
“OK, so not Country, then.”
I nodded in affirmation. This is usually the point when the conversation topic is switched, so I was caught slightly off guard by the Attendant’s next question.
“Who’s the opening act?”
“Actually, there’s no opening act, Phish plays the whole show, usually about three hours.”
“Three hours? And no opening act? Who even does that anymore?”
I used to be poorly skilled at recognizing rhetorical questions, and in the past I would have tried to name other jam bands the Attendant likely wouldn’t recognize. Instead, I smiled broadly and said, “I know, right?” and wished him well.
[Courtesy of Josh Martin, user @jmart. -Ed.]
How to approach the Trey Anastasio Band's second (and tour closing) show at the Tabernacle in Atlanta?
1. Consider this exchange with a fellow serious phish head a few weeks before the occasion: Me: "So I scored some tickets to go see Trey band at the Tabernacle down in Atlanta in a few weeks." Friend: "Well, there's nothing in that sentence I like."
Really? Seems kind of harsh. I mean, Atlanta isn't my favorite city either [note: I have revised that opinion based on this trip], but the Tabernacle is VERY cool, and Trey band has some good stuff going for it, right? Most importantly a guitarist named Trey, whom you've probably dreamed of meeting several dozen times and have probably seen in concert many more times than that. BUT ALSO, nice vocal harmonies, dense percussion, and propulsive rhythm and horn sections that power new songs and substantively change the sound of familiar songs. Is this a good thing? I'm not sure. I guess the listener gets to decide that, but I would prefer to think that change is a good thing, especially with something as familiar to all of us as large swaths of the Phish catalog.
[Alex Grosby, user @grozphan, was responsible for the wonderful "Below The Moss Forgotten" exhibit at the first Phish academic conference at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, in May 2019. -Ed.]
Phish fans love to gather. We come together in familiar and unfamiliar spaces and create our own world summer after summer, the occasional fall, and of course over New Year’s. A number of years ago, as I was working on my Business degree, I came up with an idea. Why don’t we have a place to gather outside of touring schedules? Sure, we could gather at Nectar’s and reminisce over gravy fries or hang in the parking lot at Hampton without a show, but it’s not a space to call our own. This was the first spark when the concept of a Phish museum entered my brain, and I went to work on throwing ideas together. That was the genesis of my organizational name, “The Phishsonian Institute.” I worked on a logo and wrestled with what to do now?. I started reviewing shows, and then realized that wasn’t right. I’m now working on comprehensive venue histories a little bit. But a goal has always been to tell Phish’s story. What happened next solidified the need to take charge of our own public history.
A very creatively written take on the "Phish Studies" conference that took place in May 2019 in Corvallis, Oregon, has been published by the Corvallis local paper, the Gazette-Times: "Floating with the flock: Three days among the faithful at the first Phish Studies Conference." We hope you find it worth your time to read, even though you must pause your ad-blocker.
[This is the second essay that Phish.Net user @thephunkydrb has published on Phish.net. He previously published a meditation on time and experience tied to the Baker’s Dozen “Tube,” which you can read here. -Ed.]
By Jnan A. Blau
I’ve just come back from one of the coolest, most stimulating and invigorating, and definitely one of the most “far out” (to quote Mr. Bill Kreutzman, via Mr. Benjy Eisen) experiences of my life. Late last Monday night, I got back home to San Luis Obispo, California from Corvallis, Oregon. I had to rise and shine the next day, no time at all to transition from Phishiness to so-called real life—a direct, rather abrupt segue (a rip cord if there ever was one!) into a full day of teaching in university classrooms. I was, and still am, kind of exhausted. But, I’ve had a secret smile the size of Mt. Icculus plastered across my face and tattooed on my heart ever since. This because I am back from Phish Studies, the first-ever academic conference dedicated to our favorite topic/subject/phenomenon.
This, unlikely as it may seem, is my conference review for all you dot-netters, you denizens of the Phishverse, you members of one of the most lovely and inspiring communities going.
(Could this be the world’s first conference review?!)
Wilson Ramos has been walking up to bat to the tune of Wilson by Phish for quite a while now. The chords are strummed and the crowd screams Wilson, announcing time for one of the more feared hitting catchers to come to the plate. Sadly, that has not been the case this year. ...
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