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. ThePigSong Says:

    Livephish app crashed halfway through rnr


    Guessill wait til later for the rest

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    hope everyone’s swell. GorgeI looks fun, looking forward to a spin through.

    Page on theremin? Glad to hear the superball has gotten that toy back onstage. Always a nice addition to the weirdness. Time to bust out the somewhere over the rainbow or star trek theme or something now.

  3. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    Fuck $tar Trek.

  4. DukeOfLizards Says:


    You will one thousand percent get in the building.

  5. EL Duderino Says:

    Theremin = Riot in Cell block # 9

  6. c0wfunk Says:


    would be cool for them to use the theremin in the appropriate spot on no quarter too (where trey was hitting that loop before)

  7. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Dirty funk licks by Trza at 5:35 in the Boogie On

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    ahh el dude nice to see your virtual mug up in this place again.

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    @ c0w

    some are really glad i’m back some are not.
    Gotta a lot of support and e-mails from folks’.
    Felt good.

  10. albert walker Says:

    wtf demon

    no show yet. bummin. need to hear this RnR.

    give me a ring when you’re up Robear I need the lowdown.

    it’s seems like those extra GA’s may have been given to someone else my girl’s sister promised me but I’ll know today Kaya. hopefully there is still a Tuesday GA extra.

  11. kayatosh Says:

    looks like I put my faith in the BB for tix and herbs upon arrival in chi (for fair compensation, of course), and just book my flight. ball’s in my court.

  12. kayatosh Says:

    aw: pull down the aud. tape in FLAC from

  13. Mr palmer Says:

    Rock n Roll>gorage jam

    ^^ who ever came up with this… Bravo

  14. albert walker Says:

    Robear is the word play king. sounds like a Robearism

  15. kayatosh Says:

    thanks for scouring the landscape for tix, folks.

    some of you deal w/ spouses resistant to the phish traveling thing. my ole lady is practically kicking me out the door.

  16. kayatosh Says:

    lovin roggae and walkaway.

  17. albert walker Says:

    nice just noticed those downgrade rumors were true

    fuckin S&P

  18. kayatosh Says:

    downgrade baked in? what a brutal week. R2k took a major beating.

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    yeah been refreshin the demon to no avail here all morning too.

    Yeah, the tea party has managed to sabotage the full faith and credit of the US for the first time in 220 years. Some party.

  20. butter Says:

    How am I supposed to know if the show was any good ?

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    what i don’t understand is why give credence to the ratings by these agencies?
    Were not these the jokers that gave AAA ratings to those derivatives/mortgages that were admittedly and obviously crap during the financial crisis, and were paid on a scale for such bogus AAA ratings?

  22. albert walker Says:

    I’m out kids. I”m with C. no more political talk on here for me. safe to see the tea part had nothing to do with the debt limit hitting $14 T

    but welcome back cow. the king of misinformation

    laterz kids

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    the downgrade has nothing to do with the debt.
    It has everything to do with how long it took ’em to come to the deal. From S&P this morning on CNN

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    ‘The firm’s conclusion “was pretty much motivated by all of the debate about the raising of the debt ceiling,” John Chambers, chairman of S&P’s sovereign ratings committee, said in an interview. “It involved a level of brinksmanship greater than what we had expected earlier in the year.”‘

    ^from the wall street journal.

    I’m trying to remember who was playing the brinkmanship game last week?

  25. DukeOfLizards Says:


    That’s the thousand dollar question.

    Convention, mostly. There’s been a lot of talk about decreasing the rating agencies’ clout, but until that happens, we’re stuck with the current system.

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