Are the members of Phish or their management Gods? Hardly. They are men and women who are trying to chip away to find their place in this world through the business of the music industry just like other people in different fields and just like the people who eagerly linger in the lull for an announcement of another string of shows to make Summer…well…Summer. The most professional crew is at it again with an announcement that is sure to make plenty of people feel blessed (hometown or otherrwise) in any of the venues that Phish will be doing their thing in for this upcoming expedition. There has been the ever so common and obnoxious rumor mill and speculation machine. Aren’t we tired of all of this non factual stuff getting in the way of the actual factual? I don’t see how shitting on the venues that Phish chooses to play makes anyone more of an authority on what is and isn’t good Phish but people seem to do it day in and day out. Then again, Alpine Valley does pose a rough go of it if you hold in your hands a lawn ticket. Maybe so maybe not.
Maybe it is exactly where you want to be. I want to badly remain positive as Summer brings with it the hope of personal cultivation and the persuance for One. This doesn’t mean I don’t take issue with what people say about one of my favorite bands. In fact, I will nourish my ideas and if the reader calls me negative then I say that I call myself a challenger. Respectfully, I am embarrassed. Respectfully, I will be challenging if only for the hope that this exposure will lead to the end goal of us all getting on the same ship and foraging off into the ether as a unified force. It doesn’t matter if it is some prefabricated shed or some illustrious mountain view. You are almost certainly promised that something life changing for the good is going to happen if you keep your shit together and launch those receptors. The end goal in this militancy is always to get to the positive place that we all know is a million times more beautiful than anything anyone could ever spend their Phish downtime shitting on day in and day out on the Internet.
We have some of those in our ranks and some of them have learned the rudimentary tasks of creating a web presence. We also have some people out there doing the extreme disservice of trying to convince people that they somehow know exactly what is going on in the minds of the band and how this plays into their decision making on and off the stage. This kind of stuff is actually pretty revolting and I want to address it now with the sole intention of getting to a positive end as my blog progresses.
The music being played on stage is not better or worse depending on the venue or town where the play is playing. That isn’t how I think it works with Phish. Then again, I am not and never have claimed to be their spokesperson. There are enough people playing that game on the Internet. The music doesn’t become bad or good because Phish decided to play that song in the Midwest at Toyota Park. People actually attribute shit like that to the venue. My sentiment is that the fans give it that spin based on their own biased assumptions. Then again, a Red Rocks announcement would settle my soul a bit but only for the vacation aspect and not because I think the best ever version of “Fluffhead” is going to be played there once they announce it. My point is that the band doesn’t walk onto the All State Arena stage and decide beforehand that the A song or B song is going to deliver or fall apart. That isn’t how it happens from my research and personal on stage experience. That is what a lot of fans push when the show is over and I am convinced that it gets in the way of really squeezing all the possible joy out of the spectacle that is live Phish.
These individuals meander out into the lot and start to establish stories which are mostly hyper dramatic interpretations of their own experience at the moment. Let’s be fair. A lot of it is also supplemented by any number of chemicals that can easily be used to frame thoughts and create the unreal romantic notion that you hear when people are talking after a gig. It can be heart warming and it can be really sad to hear at certain times but at the end of the day it has nothing to do with what Trey was thinking or what Mike might have wanted to do during a “Possum” or a “Tweezer” on that night. It’s about the fan having the arrogant balls to pretend like they know what the band is thinking. Welcome to the rumor mill. It’s a place full of stories and projections. It’s a place where we think we are all right about everything. It’s the guy telling you that Kuroda and Trey had a fight about windmills last week and that is why Trey went flat when he should have gone sharp. It’s that girl that tells you “The Squirming Coil” was written because Page woke up one morning after having a dream about Richard Nixon and told Trey that he actually wasn’t such a bad guy at all and that they need to buy more flashlights for the next experiment. This is the rumor mill. This is the shit that takes up the time of fans when they are waiting for the band to be a band. Sadly, this is the stuff that a lot of people pay more attention to than the actual performance.
This is something that fans need to learn not to do.
Making empty excuses and blaming a physical structure or a geographic location for a poorly performed “Rift” is something that many do and I am surprised to see people who have attended many shows do it as well. Fans will do what they do and it will probably never be reconciled with One. Then again, not everyone is buying tickets and stepping out onto the playa for a spiritual pursuit. This is why their speculation is more important than the actual announcement of actual music happening. I moved out of that phase when I decided to surrender to the flow. It’s certainly not for everybody.
The first batch of dates were released on leap day. We really should be expecting stuff like this by now but the cerebral juggernaut that we know and love is always thinking. That is part of why there is so much love for the group. Their ability to tie things into one another is their ability to enhance the fan experience. It’s more than just music. It’s an inside joke that every last person should get in on as soon as humanly possible.
Phish is playing Bonnaroo. That is a really smart business decision but is not in the cards for me this time around. They announced 19 more shows for the first shake and each stop has the potential to be something magical, uplifting and thought provoking depending on your mindset going into it and the people that you surround yourself with at shows.
I am going to do my best to attend the shows at Alpine Valley and in Noblesville. Can we please stop calling it Deer Creek? I get that there were some great things that happened when the venue was named Deer Creek. However, like environment and structure, the name of a venue does not make the previous concert any less magical and does not make the next one potentially better by living in the past with nostalgic buzz phrases that somehow give us a false sense of lot cred. Is this some sort of rebellion mechanism created to act like we know more about Phishtory than someone that would call it by a newer name or would not know it as Deer Creek? Is it about weird alpha posturing or are we here for the actual music? Can we all just fucking let go for a minute for the sake of the music?
I read on the Internet that another Phish blogger thinks the Atlantic City shows are going to be a weird mix of the AC Halloween shows and Superball. How is it fortuitous to predict what improvisational music is going to sound like before it is even played? It seems like this is just filler typing to fill up some empty space inside of oneself. It has to be filler typing. I have yet to meet someone that can predict a concert for me before the concert event even happens. It’s this kind of stuff that embarrasses me as a fan sometimes because I said earlier that certain things do not determine how a show is going to sound before the freaking show even happens. Atlantic City is going to be a show in close proximity to other shows but it in no way means that the show is going to sound exactly like those near location events just because they were a few miles down the way. To proclaim this and throw it out there is incredible to me and makes me seriously question the credibility of the author. Then again, anyone can start a website. I could put up a home page about Asian ladyboy basket weavers. I don’t know shit about Asian ladyboy basket weavers no matter what Phantasy Tour has told you.
The same author quoted Phish as having a lack of vision. It’s important to keep in mind that the author is not a musician so he doesn’t actually know anything about any “vision” that the band may or may not have as musicians. It’s this lack of knowledge that allows no cornerstone in the way of what kind of ideas may or may not be firing inside an artist. It’s disrespectful. Moreover, there are many musicians who can’t get their head wrapped around the vision that the band might have when they step out on stage. The thing that aggravates me so much are the assumptions and strangely blatant attempts at pseudo-psychic writing that takes place with this author. The person writes like he is literally thinking for the band and translating to the listeners the intimate details of what is going on within their minds at any given time.
It’s arrogant writing on a number of levels and is even more incredible when you consider that the person writing and telling the reader why the band played a certain way or did a certain thing is trying to get you to simultaneously believe that he is speaking on behalf of four musicians. You cannot tell a reader that a group of artists lack vision when you cannot even define what the vision is in the first place. It’s disrespectful to the musicians and the author then loses credibility even more in those pesky post-show-parking-lot conversations. However, the slow down while an accident happens in me continues to read this nonsense each and every week. I can only imagine what any of the band members think when they hear or read an article that has the author telling them what they were thinking at any given moment and why they were wrong to think that way. I certainly know what I would do. Does anyone else find it disrespectful? I myself am more attracted to a partial or a universal veil but sometimes it’s just plain thin.
It’s important to note that at the end of the day the need to criticize simply belies a longing for recognition, appreciation,validation and a few other things. None of which, however, can be obtained through criticism. Let’s find a better way together as a unified base and just let the band be a band this Summer. Who is with me?
In a previous blog entry I brought up the musical term adagio and we will continue to discuss it further as we move through this blog together. Here is one of the best examples of an entire movement of music that begins adagio and remains this way throughout the entirety of the piece of music. What songs can you think of by Phish that are at this tempo? Next time you can reference the song or the portion of a song that is adagio and you will also be speaking one of the romantic languages at the same time. Impress your friends. Remain silent. Have fun with this piece of music.
I am also still reflecting on last Summer.
Second set of Tahoe night two opened strong with “Disease” Stop Stop Stop…No Phish…Keep on going. It might sound cliche but it was a tour of second sets for me and I don’t say that about every tour. The jam at the end of “Disease” was strong and to the point. Trey’s sustain then broke into a short stated series of 16th notes that was reminscient of machine gun Trey of old but let’s not get bogged down in technicalities. Let’s talk about the feelings that those technicalities create in any number of people with any number of backgrounds….Shit…Machine gun Trey. It’s one of his elder tricks and he has learned to apply it tastefully over the tours instead of banging you over the head with it to the brink of almost having an anxiety attack 1.0 style. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy that brink in my youth..Hell…I chased it… but I am in a much more relaxed anti manic stage in my life and have learned to embrace the whole that present day Phish creates and when he brings out the machine gun then I stand ready to be shot by it.
It’s these same tasteful applications of their entire tool box that has marked the maturity of this band into present day American venue icons and I don’t use the word casually. “Disease” went on until it melted into an abrupt rest and then back up again into “Runaway Jim.” Plinko Jam became the theme of this meandering “Runaway” for the intro into the second verse. They used it tastefully this time around and I actually am embarrassed to even use the term publicly but there you go.
The second chance for the band to improvise was again straight ahead Phish and created a second story beyond the plinko….beyond the jam….beyond any competition. Then, we went there again…Phish took us there again as the song concluded. Where did they take us? They took us to that place that we still haven’t been able to universally define or put our finger on exactly because it keeps wobbling off every time we get closer to the One. We wobbled for quite some time before they busted out the arguable song of the Summer for me on another personal level. We are truly living in a golden age. Sell now!!!
The impromptu vocal jam out of “Sallie” made the song unique and obviously had the crowd shaking their collective asses.
I am still pining over Tahoe really hard. I have often said that I could hear “Guyute” at every Phish show and never complain. I can explain but it would be a long ass entry. The short answer is that this song rang through my head almost every time I lined up to the assassination range while I performed in The Dupage Symphony Orchestra. We were playing Brahms or some god awful rehashed Christmas spectacular…but in my head…everytime I picked up a stick or a mallet….I was playing “Guyute.” That’s the short answer. The long answer? Let’s not go there.
Trey grinning before going into the final verse left me fleeing all cares and worries of the day while we were getting ever closer to that one thing. Mike also was grinning ear to ear during the final musical phrase and it’s always good to see him lose the poker face and smile like he probably smiled when he figured out his first scale. Phish. Summer. 2012. It’s not coming. It’s already here.