Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cash For Your Extra? Part II

It's only been a few days since Phish's announcement of a live return, and longtime phans are still buzzing about it. This includes our buddy Brian who has filed his second report about the reunion.

Ok, so the dust has settled a little bit, and the shock has worn off (kinda). I must say after speaking and texting with several people yesterday, the buzz is in the air. Ladies and Gentleman, Phish is back on the road. I started to think about this yesterday and it is amazing to me the huge amount of hype and excitement that this band generates. I've been trying to put my finger on why this particular band gives people such a feeling of euphoria. Why in the end does it always come back to Phish?

Including local shows, I have probably been to hundreds and hundreds of concerts in my 30 years of life. My interests in music have always been very eclectic and I've always tried to have an open mind when it comes to choosing musical acts to see. Over the years I have seen rock, R&B, bluegrass, metal, classical, alternative, jazz, and so on....My point is that I've opened my musical spectrum to all genres. Each show I go to fulfills a different side of my musical interest. Music has always fascinated me to a level that I can't describe. It literally touches my soul. It inspires me, makes me sad or happy, reminds me of a time in my life, etc. Any musical enthusiast will probably tell you the same thing. I guess this is part of the reason that I learned to play guitar and piano. So, that I could begin to explore my own musical outlets....Ok, sorry about getting a little off topic here. Anyway, going back to Phish. The four guys in Phish love music and their own influences purely reflect their style. Each member brings a different aspect to the table. Mike brings the bluegrass and country, Trey the 70's style rock, Page brings the jazz and ragtime, and Fishman brings it all together with his impressively technical style. When you throw this all together, I guess you have Phish. There is no other way to really describe their music. I think what's creative about Phish is that you never know what you will get at each concert. Each setlist is different and their onstage antics over the years have proved to be comical and surprising. Other bands will go on tour and play the same songs in the same order and even say the exact same things on stage each night. Phish does merely the opposite of this. The entire experience of driving from city to city following this band is an adventure in itself. I met many people over the years at Phish concerts and you really do see the same faces year after year. Its like a large extended family. Maybe this is why people are so attracted to the scene. People feel a sense of community and acceptance when on the road with the band. For me personally, I like the spontaneity of the band itself. I like their improvisational style and their highly regarded expertise at each instrument they play. The energy that the band can achieve musically is simply something that can't be described in words. Simply put, their music makes me feel good...really good! I like the excitement I feel before the show anticipating what the band will do that night and wondering if they will play a song I haven't heard before or whether they will break out some new material. All of the sights, sounds, and smells of the parking lot before and after each show is certainly something you will always remember (for those of you who have never been to a Phish concert).

I guess its a combination of all of these ideas that makes people so crazy for Phish. The end result is that the band continues to evolve musically and its phans want more, more, more. If the band keeps booking shows, the phans will follow. They will always want that high of the entire Phish experience. For some its about the music, for some its about the scene, for some its about the drugs, and for some its just about a good time. I guess I can say that I'm in for a little bit of everything. I saw this band 45 times between 1996-2004 and every show brought me a different and memorable experience. I kept going back because the whole experience was always an adventure. I really can't describe it any other way to you. For anyone that has been to a handful of Phish concerts, you know what I'm talking about and you understand why their return has turned everyone upside down. It will be interesting to see how long the band's return to the stage will last. Only time will tell.

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