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. Mr palmer Says:

    Great points El dude and Aw.

    Lots of blame to go around. Both sides.

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    ^reference. I’ll stop.

    Or not. I enjoy a good political conversation with my friends. If that makes you upset because you disagree with me, I apologize. I haven’t been around so maybe everyone’s burnt out already on the topic.

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    time to move to China or India me thinks 😉

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    the Australian economy has been booming over the last few years, that might be a good place to settle 🙂

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    any kind soul got a mp3 linky they can share with me?

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    @ c0w

    been a lot of discussion here the last week or so on these topics.

  7. DukeOfLizards Says:

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    “time to move to China or India me thinks”

    I hear that. Thankfully have the multi-year Chinese visa and an open invitation. Let’s hear it for thinking ahead!

    (take that everyone who said I should have learned Spanish, ha)

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    seems reasonable, being that the latest news and buzz is always a topic around here.

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    the tailor cane source has a ton of seeds. you can DL it in about 10 minutes AJ

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    Sorry it that sounded shitty, but for the last 15 years I have had to deal with “China? Why China? Doesnt everyone there wear Mao suits and ride a bicycle?”

  12. ThePigSong Says:

    I’ve been thinking the same think aboutthose agencies all morning el dude.

  13. EL Duderino Says:

    this Gorge show gets a MEH rating IMO.

    # Lined – Roggaed Funky Bitch Slapped

  14. kayatosh Says:

    nice meme, duke.

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    double standards are a way of american society/ life Pig.

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    regarding webcasts…

    this has likely also been discussed to death.

    I haven’t done this, but I would wager if you did took a sample of the proportion of open jamming during webcasted shows compared to any other 8 shows of the era you’d find they fall right into the norm.

    Also, suggesting that the webcast was on Trey’s mind during that storm in Alpharetta is a little silly. Seemed to me the song fest was meant to keep the thing moving, keep people dancing and warm, and get as much in as possible, considering there was a very real possibility that the show could end at any given moment.

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    I’ve been hearing good things about the roggae though. El dude yer letting your 90s bias show 🙂

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    good points on alpharetta c0w

  19. EL Duderino Says:


  20. DukeOfLizards Says:

    ^TaylorC source

    Really interesting Taste last night. One of those jams that can go either way, but is completely awesome when they find a sweet pocket.

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    Tela’s birthday folks’. Lucile Ball would have been a 100 today as well

    happy b-day Tela’s

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    thanks for the link duke

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    the lucy google today is epic

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    Truth be told, if I am jumping countries, I am headin to Sweden – love it there, perfect socialism, clean, cultured, diverse, mandatory Chinese for every student in the country. They have it together.

  25. halcyon Says:

    Morning folks…..

    Taylor C’s source is flying….

    Duke how was MSMW

    Just read this morning that After the US Downgrade no country with a presidential system has an AAA rating. Whatever that means.

    Go to Google. Happy Bday Lucy and Tela’s!

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