What a weekend it was to be alive! The landscape of our lives has been severely altered- back to the way it was, back to the way it should be. About to return to the source, the four-part magical mystery machine that provides our portal is coming back together. After traveling divergent personal and musical pathways for some time, the band members’ four roads are about to merge again, each bringing their new experiences and perspectives to the table. We all know what Phish was, but what Phish will be remains to be seen. In a Phish-less world, Phish side-projects sometimes got overlooked or simply didn’t seem relevant. Right now, however, all band members are playing actively, happily, and separately- something that bodes well for the future. On the brink of a cosmic convergence, before jumping into Phish 3.0, let’s check out what each of our four super heroes have been doing in their recent musical lives, and what effect it may have on the new Phish.
The undeniable driving creative force behind the band has always been Trey– and he is at it again. Having persevered his well-publicized addiction, arrest, and subsequent drug program, it seems that Trey is, once again, at a creative highpoint. Having only played three shows since he’s been “back,” the new material has been astounding. In one of these shows he debuted a thirty-minute orchestral composition, “Time Turns Elastic.” With the emergence of a thirteen-minute solo acoustic recording from The Barn, it seems that the second movement of this piece could be arranged for Phish and turn into a mature epic. One of those three shows was Brooklyn, in which he debuted seven- yes, seven- new songs, many which are sure to transition to Phish. He and Tom Marshall have been writing together again, churning out as many as ten more yet-to-be played songs. With a great diversity of new material, Trey seems to have his mojo back. From the pop-rock of “Backwards Down The Number Line” and “Peggy” to the grooving lyrical poetry of “Valentine,” from the multi-part composition of “Greyhound Rising,” to the inspiring soundscapes of “Light,” Phish will have plenty to work with when they return to the stage. (Listen to these new songs by rolling over and clicking play on each link! Listen while you read!) With lush multi-part harmonies (noticeably absent from TAB) and great improvisational potential, each of these could translate into Phish beautifully.
Mike is fresh off his most well received solo tour to date, boasting an eclectic band and an entire album of personally written material- including many potential Phish songs. Fans from the road have been raving about Mike and his band killing it nightly with originals, covers, and lots of improv. Mike, never short on the bizarre, even featured an end of the tour variety show with guest musicians, acrobats, and performers who assisted in acting out the dream sequence described in his new fan favorite, and potential Phish song, Andelmans’ Yard. In multiple interviews, Mike has expressed sincere excitement about his new band and album, and a desire to keep playing with them regardless of Phish’s schedule. As fate turns him back to Phish, he is certainly riding a creative wave as high as any crest in his personal career, and Gordeaux will undoubtedly bring new and rejuvenated musical ideas to Phish’s next chapter.
Page, after recording a solo album in the years away from Phish, recently sat in with old-school New Orleans funk trio, PBS- George Porter, Russell Batiste, and Brian Stoltz, for a run of four New England shows in an outfit called “Moodoo.” Scribing solo material and improvising with legends of the Bayou, Page also took both personal and musical steps away from Phish recently that will no doubt influence his own thinking as he approaches the return of his role as “Chairman of the Boards.”
Fishman, who always seems to find a way to be playing drums with one band or another, has a two show sit-in planned with Yonder Mountain String Band next week in New York and Philly. Throughout the last two years, he has played with the quartet for several shows, as well as joining them at Rothbury this past summer. Backing a four piece string outfit in venues of all shapes and sizes is certainly something outside the Phish realm, and illustrates Fish’s incredible dexterity and creativity. In addition, Fish will head up to party in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Ashville, NC, as he joins Everyone Orchestra at the Loki Music Festival directly after the Philadelphia show. Always enthusiastic and ready for adventure, Fishman will no doubt bring his new experiences, as well as his classic zaniness and unconscious beats back to the mix.
Phish was only going to happen again if all four members found themselves with the right combination of personal happiness, health, enthusiasm, and dedication- and that time has come! As evidenced by the band members solo endeavors, music has returned to the forefront of their lives, and whenever Trey, Mike, Page, and Fish are all playing music- they should most definitely be playing it together. They know that, we know that, the universe knows that; and so it will be.
Ticket Update: This lottery is getting ridiculous. The orders started at #4300000 on Saturday afternoon, a friend made request # 4404609. That means there is well over 105,000 ticket requests with two more days for request. I don’t think it is silly, at this point, to think they will get 175,000 requests. The odds of getting tickets in this lottery, where Phish has in the realm of 3-4000 tickets is incredibly slim. Preemptive ticket transactions are happening on eBay for between $200-350 per ticket. The Ticket Master server is gonna’ be slammed, if not overloaded, on October 18th, leaving it up to pure luck whether we will score a ticket online. There are no TM outlet sales, so you can’t drive to Yuba City, CA or Fargo, ND to be the first in line. There will be thousands of people both on the phone and online across the nation at 10am EDT on October 18th; I’m not sure there is an precise strategy. This could become pretty crazy, especially with a tight per person ticket limit. Get your friends and relatives in on the mission with you, because who know what will happen after the 18th! (Mind you, it is probable they will announce dates throughout the rest of March once 2009 hits. You think they’re just gonna play three and stop? I doubt it.)
Due to corrupted files, I’m not positive everyone who downloaded the Miner’s Picks: Phish Returns! compilation on Saturday got all the tracks. I wanted to put up links here to make sure everyone gets them, because this is like one five-hour Phish set of pure fire. The track listing and descriptions of selections are in the post below.
A standout show in a climactic December 1999 run leading up to Big Cypress, this one took place on campus at NC State with an oddly dispersed crowd. Styling if you were on the empty floor- not so much if you were in the packed fieldhouse seats, Phish threw down huge. A boisterous beginning of Wilson > Chalkdust got things revved up, while a late set combo of Camel Walk, Possum brought it back to the old school. The second set, as usual, is where things got crazy. Opening with a twenty-two minute Sand, one the best of the many ’99 Sands, you were knee deep in this set within four minutes. Beginning with his mini-keyboard, Trey rips a very cool melody over the heavily textured backdrop as the band churns out dissonant grooves. Hopping off keys and grabbing his guitar, Trey puts this one in the the books. A very ’99-esque late set Tweezer with heavy walls of sound, building into a Slave jam, makes this one a personal favorite.
I: Wilson > Chalk Dust Torture, Lawn Boy, Limb by Limb, Horn, Get Back On The Train, Roggae, Heavy Things, Camel Walk, Possum
II: Sand, The Mango Song, Wading in the Velvet Sea > Jam > Tweezer > Runaway Jim
E: Bittersweet Motel > Tweezer Reprise