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?

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Jam of the Day:

Harry Hood” 9.11.99 II

Another Gorge highlight to bring us through the week.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/02-Track-02.mp3]

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

  1. EL Duderino Says:

    MSMW is touring?????

    Best thing I’ve read this morning!

  2. kayatosh Says:

    set I from last night — a solid $$. maybe even $$+

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    the 1st half Kaya
    politely and respectfully disagree on the second half

  4. angryjoggerz Says:

    “Mounting debts and ridiculous political wrestling in Washington have damaged America’s image abroad,” Xinhua said. “To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to re-establish the common sense principle that one should live within its means.”

    Called out.

  5. halcyon Says:

    El Dude

    They are the resident band at the Whitney Museum on Friday evenings in NYC.

  6. angryjoggerz Says:

    Halycon, how long does that go on for? May have to pay a visit to my staff in NY on a Friday!

  7. EL Duderino Says:

    Lucky NYC’ers

  8. kayatosh Says:

    taste roggae walkway f.bitch roses bowie sounded great to me.

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    I don’t think there’s anything in the Roggae Walkaway F. Bitch at all.
    DB standard

  10. Mr palmer Says:

    Roggae sounded sweet to me. Can’t speak to the other two yet.

    I’m a Roggae fan though so….

  11. EL Duderino Says:

    roses? really?

  12. halcyon Says:

    angryjoggerz

    here is the link to the details

    http://whitney.org/Events/WhitneyLiveMedeskiMartinAndWood1

    wish I was in NYC for these shows

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    yeah roggae’s a classic for me. Kinda miss it. back in the day it was like every 2 shows or something

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    AJ you teach the BB Chinese

    I’ll teach the BB Spanish

    And the whole BB will be able to speak Changlish.

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    So roses was jammed on .. what, twice? ever? In how many versions? It escapes me why people expect it to blow up each time. Sort of like expecting type 2 from back on the train after hearing miami 09

  16. halcyon Says:

    in celebration of their 20th anniversary, legendary band Medeski Martin & Wood will be in residence at the Whitney Museum of American Art on Friday nights in August as part of the Whitney Live performance series. Joined by guest artists each night, the performances will encompass older works and newer projects including several MMW side projects and a re-mounting of the acclaimed Turntable Sessions

  17. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @halcy

    Awesome. They played the lower gallery of the Whitney museum – no stage, just set up on the floor in what couldn’t have been more than like a 20′ by 15′ space. People crowded all around, looking down from balconies above, etc. Super cool, intimate scene. I was about three feet from Medeski for most of the show.

    As one would expect, the music was fantastic. Groove fest. Scofield and Medeski just have those extra gears that most musicians can’t even fathom. There were a couple of breakdown segments where they were trading licks that ran chills down my spine.

    Plus they encored with a gorgeous version of Amazing Grace, which I’d never heard them do. Straight church.

  18. DryIceFactory Says:

    Just tuned into hoodstream and the “moma dance-esque jam” is spilling back into my ears giving me flashbacks of wanting to shoot myself in the head here in Boston at 1:45am. This is exciting, exciting stuff going on. Phish has paired their ability to smash composed sections of songs and has mastered several approaches to building jams that can be compared to their playing of each and every era. Although, I feel like last night (minus the new songs played) felt like it could have been plucked right out of Summer 99.

    Anyone who has tickets for UIC should be very, very excited. This jamming style paired the indoor, intimate sheds goes together like spaghetti and meatballs.

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    This could be Phish’s weakest show @ the Gorge to date.
    Besides R&R I’m just not hearing/seeing it!

    Not being a hater. just callin’ it like I see it.
    That being said, if you didn’t dose last night, I’d be dosing tonight!

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    + it’s Tela’s birthday, so… Go Big or Go Home!

  21. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Last night’s Roggae was $$+ at worst.

    Psych rock adventure. Shades of Storage-y goodness in there.

  22. DryIceFactory Says:

    And I know I should read back, but were any of you guys there last night? I have to imagine shit got really freaky during the mid to latter part of the Gorage jam.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    I’m in the Gorage now. lovely. $$$.

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    el dude I will say looking at the setlist this morning, on paper, that looked like a very un-gorge’d show… I would expect a full lambaste from Mr. Miner when he gets back. Possible he was mollified by the big ole rnr though so it’ll be interesting to see the reaction.

  25. DryIceFactory Says:

    I agree that the later part of the show was weak sauce and it was definitely not a strong Gorge show, but you have got to love the tip of the hat to the storage jam. It means some great things are coming.

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