Concerts are fun. Parties are fun. Carnivals are fun. But Phish was so much more than fun. If fun was the primary thing we drew from this band, would we all be rearranging our summers to hit as many shows as possible? If fun was the only thing we derived from Phish, they would have been like any other crazy Saturday night. But they weren’t. There was something intangible for all of us, something more than fun, that kept drawing us back to those arenas and amphitheatres for years on end. There was something strangely personal about the whole Phish experience, as if the band was sometimes playing to you and you, alone. That connection we all felt inside; to the music, the experience and to the moment kept us yearning for just one more taste. Whether that taste came the next day, the next weekend, or the next tour, we knew that taste was coming and we awaited it like we awaited nothing else. Yeah, there was something more than fun going on. And now, that next taste is in reach once again.
That late-night jolt of life that came last fall; the mystery that gripped our soul when the lights suddenly went black; that bursting sensation at the peak of the most grandiose Harry Hood; the sense of adventure when another Tweezer jam opened; the silence that fell over every crowd at the start of a Slave jam; these things were far more than amusement. Those tranquil inner moments or those times you felt like you were going to explode; balancing on the cusp at the onset of every Bowie or the sea of bliss that sailed with each Reba drop, this was not the stuff of birthday parties and pin the tail on the donkey. This stuff was serious, our car’s odometers and our former bank accounts can attest to that.
The reason why Phish 3.0 has revitalized the community and brought us all backwards down the number line is because we know that whenever we next see Phish, whether at Hampton, Jones Beach, Alpine Valley or beyond, we will have an experience that no one in their same mind could simply describe as fun. We know that when we find ourselves in front of the Phish, that special place inside that has been closed for so long will reopen. We will feel different. We will be different.
This even helps explain why Phish tickets are at such a premium today. Everyone wants a part of what’s left to come, because the experience provides us with so much more than fun; something with which to dream. Stir your best friends, post-show parties ’till way past sunrise, road trips, and mayhem into the mix with the transcendent live experience, and Phish tour magically morphs into one constant and reliable “Fun > Magic > Fun” segue. And it’s about to start all over again. With a blank canvas, Phish will paint a new self-portrait that will also serve as a mirror reflecting our own growth and change since Coventry. As Phish steps to each stage during this upcoming year, spawning new jams while revisiting old ones and evolving into the future, there is one thing you can be sure of, it will be far more than fun.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
Taking care of yesterday’s unfinished business, here we have the final three sets from The Ball. Highlights include a divine afternoon “Reba,” a beautifully crafted second set capped with a “best-ever” version of Slave, and an adrenaline-laced third set with a “Tweezer” centerpiece, that left everyone wanting just a little bit more.
I: The Old Home Place, Punch You in the Eye, Reba, Cars Trucks Buses, Lizards, Sample in a Jar, Taste, Fee, Maze, Suzy Greenberg
II: The Curtain > Runaway Jim, It’s Ice, Brother*, Fluffhead, Run Like an Antelope, Golgi Apparatus, Slave to the Traffic Light
III: Wilson, Frankenstein, Scent of a Mule**, Tweezer, A Day in the Life, Possum, Tweezer Reprise
NOTE: Before the second set, the Clifford Ball Orchestra played classical music by: Debussy: Nocturnes (2 movements), Ravel: Pavane Pour une Enfante Defunte, Debussy: Claire de Lune, Ravel: Tombeau de Couperin (2 movements), Chavrier: Joyeux Muse, Faure: Pelleas et Mellisandre (2 movements), Stravinsky: The Firebird (2 movements). *With Ben & Jerry singing a verse. **With a Fishman solo instead of the typical Page/Trey duel. #Without the “Ooom Pah Pah” opening and cut short before finishing.