This is a new era of Phish. Call it what you will, but there is no doubt that we are entering the next phase of the band’s sprawling and illustrious career. After 19 months off due to the pandemic, the band will step on stage tonight—in Arkansas of all places—to rev up the engine once again. And I won’t be there. I am not feeling fully comfortable with pandemic Phish at the moment. I feel there are too many distractions and peripheral stressors for me to close my eyes, let go and immerse myself in the expansive, boundary-less experience that I have come to know and love over the course of 26 years. I was planning on going to Atlanta, Nashville, Deer Creek and Atlantic City this run, and for now, it seems that I am going to be skipping until Deer Creek at the earliest. I have traditionally distanced myself from the shows while I am not there, because after seeing every show from for so long, missing them was always a bitter pill to swallow. I don’t webcast the shows and sometimes I don’t even listen to them right away. But it feels different this time since I am opting out rather than not going because I am unable, and so I am thinking perhaps that I will try to engage with the music differently while being home.
Subsequently, I am thinking I may write some thoughts on this site for the first time in a long time. I won’t try to review the shows—that would make no sense without being there, as Phish is a live experience. But perhaps some stream of consciousness thoughts about the music, the jams, the new songs as I digest them from afar. I am not sure what form this might take, and I might start and feel like it isn’t going anywhere and bail right away, but maybe it will help me metabolize this new experience as it unfolds. We will see what happens. Stay tuned.