The Influence of Webcasts?

PNC- 5.31.11 ( (C.LaJaunie)

Phish announced yesterday that they will be webcasting their two sold-out shows from Lake Tahoe on Monday and Tuesday next week. Fans from across the nation—and the world—will be able to tune in to the twin bill for only $24.99, exponentially increasing the 7,000 person audience with a virtual cast of thousands. But is this a good thing for the integrity of the show? Does a show being webcasted alter the band’s performance? Does it change the way Trey arranges the setlist in his mind? Maybe so, maybe not.

One thing we know for sure is that thousands of Phish fans get to enjoy a pimped-out couch tour experience when Phish drops a webcast, and that is certainly a huge positive—that much is a given in this discussion. But is the show that fans watch on widescreens at home the same show that would have gone down were they not wired in? One would hope that the band wouldn’t “play to the webcast,” but at times, it seems that this happens. Often favoring anthems, bustouts, and a moving setlist, webcasts in this modern era don’t always translate to huge jams.

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

The last two webcasted shows—Alpharetta’s two-night stand—didn’t turn out so great. Though the first night boasted some highlights, the only musical adventure over two shows came in “Disease,” and the only other jam that moved outside the box over four sets was “Light Up or Leave Me Alone.” Fun shows? Sure, but dwarfed by most nights of tour. “What about MSG?,” one might ask? Well, there were some jams here and there, but other than “Tweezer,” “Sand,” “Ghost” and “Simple,” there wasn’t a hell of a lot left to go over. But in that case, the webcast and the inherently planned-out nature of a New Year’s Run, collided in some glossy—though entertaining—sets.

The issue with webcasted shows during this era of sobriety is that the band has yet to truly let themselves go—without caring what might come out—in front of a pay-per-view audience. Aside from 12/30’s “Tweezer” and 1/1’s “Simple,” just about every jam from MSG possessed a certain linear quality, only seldom flirting with transcendence. Trey, we all know, still battles his mind (and band members) cutting off jams through this past tour (albeit far less often). Do webcasts just add something else to think about, causing him to consider what the people at home want to hear? I don’t know, but when he cut “Tweezer” for “Julius” after a monsoon in Alpharetta, one had to wonder if he wanted to get in more songs and why.

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

Perhaps all of these conjectures have no bearing in reality. Perhaps it is mere coincidence that the past five webcasted shows weren’t exactly drenched in improvisational adventure. Or, perhaps there would have been a jam in the first or third set of New Year’s Eve were it not for the pay-per-view performance. Hopefully, the Tahoe shows will blow up and  dispel any connection between webcasts and mediocrity. I’ll be the first to admit it and cheering them on. But all of a sudden, the intimate 7,000 person Lake Tahoe shows don’t feel so intimate, especially when your buddies from the east coast blow up your phone with texts as they watch along with the show that you traveled across the country to attend.

Even if the webast never affected the music, does it not effect what is sacred about a Phish show? Shows are irreplaceable experiences that happen at one time in one place. Should people be washing dishes and putting babies to sleep at setbreak? Trust me, I support the inclusive feature of the webcast, but does it cut into what is cherished about a Phish show if kids across the country are ripping tubes while watching “Tweezer” with a soundboard feed? The technology of the future is great. Or is it?


Jam of the Day:

Harry Hood” 9.11.99 II

Another Gorge highlight to bring us through the week.


1,898 Responses to “The Influence of Webcasts?”

  1. BrandonKayda Says:

    Hey @Silly

    I was reading some Derrida thing on repetition last night, thought it was pretty cool. I need to look into him more, I know he was all about deconstructing other philosophers. I’ve heard you mention his name a lot, so there’s that.

  2. gunslingingparrot Says:

    hoodstream playing RnR jam now

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    Not much happening in this RnR up until the 11min mark. Getting nice and twisted.

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    12:30 super menacing funk groove comes in out of the weirdness.

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    Page comes in on theramin around 14:00. Funky.

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    Mike is yelling “it’s alright” overtop the groove with loops and stuff going off around 15:00….pretty eerie.

    Nice way to let the RnR run in full guys 😀

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    this is pretty much mindfucking space with a heavy Fishman groove from here on out. Reminds me of MPP 10′ Tweezer but darker.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    this RnR jam is awesome


    Yes. I do love Derrida.

    People either love or hate him.

    Don’t go looking for answers in Derrida. At least, not the kind that will show you how to live your life or give you a solid perspective

    he starts from the purely theoretical. And his goal is to decentralize thought. to show how ideas that were formerly held up as “the truth” are contradictory.

    his basic idea is that most aspects of human behavior from language and rhetoric to fashion and friendship can be read as a text and then discussed as such.

    some disagree, but he’s a disciple of Nietzsche so his project is to shake up western thought.

    i think western thought failed us when it lead us to two world wars. so im interested in deconstructing it.

  9. gunslingingparrot Says:

    Go Mike

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Breakdown at 19:00 mark


  11. SillyWilly Says:

    i mean. the segue into meatstick is pretty good

    freakin robear.

  12. willowed Says:

    If this is last nights show on Hood Stream right now (I just popped on) The RnR>Meat Stick transtition is pretty dope! and if that was the end of RnR – that shit sounded killer.

    Again, I don’t know if it’s last night.

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    That sounds interesting @Silly. I’ll have to look into him more.

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    The last 7mins of this RnR is BRILLIANT

  15. willowed Says:

    Silly – are you on Hod Stream? Is this the show form last night?

    Wow – that transition was sweet

  16. Mr palmer Says:

    Beautiful morning on eastern LI. Out on the porch with coffee and Roggae. I’ll never get the rnr in before I get interrupted. Roggae is sick. Love this tune.

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    I like the MPP Wolfman’s->Boogie On better than this Meatstick->Boogie On, but they’re both awesome.

  18. SillyWilly Says:


    yeah, the show streaming on hoodstream is the one from last night


    his most famous work is Of Grammatology.

    highly recommended, but it is highly theoretical and doesn’t always read real easy

  19. jdub Says:

    G’morning BB, pumped to dive into last night.

  20. ae Says:

    The early am review crew. Nice. I’m in bed listening from the live Phish app. Man if that wasn’t the best .99 ever spent. And the ability to do this hours after the show…anyways that rock n roll is neat. Very storage jam esque but with fishman keeping a full driving rhythm throughout. Good stuff.

  21. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sadness that Boogie On ended when it did.

    Yeah definitely @ae on the RnR. Very psychedelic jam with a driving groove.

  22. ae Says:

    I don’t love meatstick in these prime slots. Obviously for nye it is/was appropriate but at the ball and again last night, not my first choice. The groove is nice but it feels too gimmicky to go in the middle of a hot 2nd set.

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    yeah, I don’t love meatstick, but whatever….phish is phish and they kicked us down one of the best jams of the summer in the rnr and the segue was pretty natural

    but you’re right. i’d probably prefer a segue into sally or twist out of that rnr

  24. Mr palmer Says:

    Damn. They got all storage in this rock and roll. Bad ass. Very good sign for rest of tour.

  25. willowed Says:

    Meatstick is one of those jams I’m like……come on guys really?

    But then I find myself locked into the groove. I really don’t mind it. But yes, I would prefer a segue into Sally or Twist from that RnR

    Last nights weas pretty tight though!

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