The battle lines have been drawn, the regionals are over, and we have made it to the end of the line—the Final Four! After some hard fought battles in the Elite Eight, the people have spoken and the cream has risen to the top. The first semifinal of 2012 will pit two vehicles of groove—#1 seed “Tweezer” against another #1 seed “Reba.” The second semifinal will see the tournaments overall top seed and Phish’s seminal opus, #1 “You Enjoy Myself” battle against the band’s sacred hymn and #2 seed, “Harry Hood.” Below are recaps of the Elite Eight games and previews of the two monster match-ups to come. Thanks to Trey is My Friend for such a great idea and a well run tourney!
(1) “You Enjoy Myself” def. (3) “Antelope”— 625-338
In the west regional final, the size and defense of the tournaments’ top seed, “You Enjoy Myself,” held off the run-and-gun offense of an upstart “Antelope” squad who had their eyes on the big upset. The game stayed close for the first half as “Antelope’s” pesky quickness caused several turnovers that led to easy baskets. But the second half was another story. Spreading their feared zone defense, “You Enjoy Myself” took away the long ball by smothering the three-point line, while their help side defense was quick to collapse when the ball was passed inside. This took away “Antelope’s” advantage and led to an easy victory by the sizable voting gap of 625 to 338.
(1) “Tweezer” def. (3) “Ghost”— 566-369
The East final matched two esteemed launch pads—“Tweezer” and “Ghost.” Dark, exploratory, and funky as hell are adjectives that describe this ferocious battle. Taking the game into the outer regions of psychedelic debauchery, “Tweezer” and “Ghost” played a contest that was not for the faint-hearted. Featuring a continuous highlight reel of ally-oops, fast breaks, and groove-based basketball, both teams were feeling the flow in this game. Like the West’s match-up however, “Tweezer” just proved to be too much for the late-‘90s funk staple, and “Ghost’s” offensive prowess disappeared into the night with ten minutes to play. “Tweezer’s” experience—having played the game in every way possible—proved to be one of the crucial factors of this contest, as “Ghost” looked like a discouraged JV squad by the end. Though this was the marquee match-up of the Elite Eight, did anyone ever have any doubt about the result?
(1) “Reba” def. (2) “Bathtub Gin”— 559-449
“Reba” was the third #1 seed to make it into the Final Four, illustrating the accuracy of the tournament’s seeding committee. Phish’s classic fugue-turned blissful groove outclassed “Bathtub Gin” in a notably upbeat game—a far cry from the demonic basketball on display in the East final. “Gin” tried to knock “Reba” off its uplifting path by applying full-court pressure early and often. Making a second-half spurt with some powerful rhythm licks and ball movement “Gin” looked as if they it might overcome the narrow deficit. But “Reba” was able to answer back, winning the closest regional final by a tally of 559-449 to reach the Final Four.
(2) “Harry Hood” def. (1) “Down With Disease”— 596-365
“Harry Hood” put on a ball control clinic in the South regional final, dictating a slower pace of game and taking the break-neck #1 seed “Down With Disease” completely out of rhythm. “Disease,” known for its off the rails adventure, was never able to get things going as the meticulous back door cuts and methodical passing of “Hood” lulled them to sleep. A This match-up featured the archetypal battle between a song that holds an unmatchable place in the Phish pantheon versus a more modern classic with limitless jam potential. And tradition won out over improv as #2 “Harry Hood” put a trouncing on “Disease” by the score of 596-365. As “Hood” moves into the semifinals, “Disease’s” fight song has never seemed more appropriate, for now is the time the team members can finally say, “This has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way.”
FINAL FOUR PREVIEWS:
(1) “Tweezer” vs. (1) “Reba”
If I had to pick two songs to hear at any given concert, these would be the two. This national semi-final pits two diverse vehicles of groove against each other. With “Tweezer” favoring darkness and mystery and “Reba” leaning towards bliss and towering glory, this match-up is one for the ages. Both of these songs have similar game experience, but “Tweezer” more readily adapts to different styles of games, while “Reba” is a fairly one-dimensional, though formidable, squad. Able to shoot threes that tickle the next from anywhere on the floor, “Reba” will have to rely on their marksmanship to counteract “Tweezer’s” intimidating and imposing front line. While this should be a very entertaining game to watch, I think “Tweezer” has a spot in the championship locked up.
(1) “You Enjoy Myself” vs. (2) “Harry Hood”
Perhaps the two most revered songs in the band’s catalog will square off in the second national semifinal. Both “YEM” and “Hood” touch the very soul of Phish, featuring multi-part compositions that release into jams that have a character all their own. “Harry Hood” is carrying momentum after knocking off “Disease” with a particularly intense last few minutes of play, while every analyst has picked “YEM” to be in the championship from Selection Sunday. Could an upset be brewing? Many fans have been touched by “Harry Hood’s” ethereal and heart-tugging jams, and the emotional connection many have to the song could put it over the edge. While the band’s signature piece, “You Enjoy Myself” hasn’t held as much significance in this era, its history and experience is unmatched by any team in the tournament. It’s lack of a routine rotation spot as of late could hurt “YEM” against a song that has never rested much since it’s 1985 debut. Though I’ll be casting my vote for “Harry Hood,” I think “YEM” will win in a barnburner.
PREDICTION: “You Enjoy Myself”
PHILLY PHISH EVENT- TONIGHT!
3/21/1992 Twenty Years Later: A Night to Celebrate the Phish
March 21, 1992 at the Chestnut Cabaret in Philadelphia was a typical ’92 smoker! Secret language all over the place, that ’92 energy rippling through the room, and a”YEM” complete with a “Three Blind Mice” vocal jam reared its lumpy head. Tonight, The Blockley in Philadelphia would like to invite everyone to come and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the one and only time Phish graced our West Philadelphia stage! There will be 1/2 priced drafts until 10 PM and “Lot-Tails” such as Reba’s Toxic Purple Paste, the Makisupa Swizzle, Piper’s Sour (complete with worms!), and Bathtub Gin Punch…You in the Eye! Phish Quizzo/Happy Hour will start around 8 PM and 3/21/92 will begin playing over the PA around 9:30. Throughout the night there will be giveaways (think 3-day Bader Field Pass and other Phish goodies), surprise jams, DVD footage, related videography, and a Phan-friendly food menu, taboot! Look for Mike the Rager behind the bar in his magical vest! Come on down, and feel the feeling you forgot!
When: Tonight!—Wednesday 3/21/2012 @ 8 PM
Where: The Blockley, 38th and Chestnut, Philadelphia, PA
Why: An Asteroid Crashed, and nothing burned!
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Jam of the Day:
“David Bowie” 3.21.92 II, Philadelphia, PA
Twenty years ago, today, Phish dropped this “David Bowie” in the middle of the second set.