Tuesday 09/13/2022 by TaylorFranklin

PHISH DURING COVID 19 - PART II

42nd Street, New York, NY, on a Saturday Night during COVID-19
42nd Street, New York, NY, on a Saturday Night during COVID-19

As a band whose success and even identity have always been bound to their live performances, the pandemic challenged Phish to continue to reach their audience at a time when many would benefit the most from the distraction of chasing tour rumors, planning trips, and following setlists. Fortunately, Phish found engaging ways to keep us tuned. And when the time came, their commitment to return to the road as safely and quickly as possible likely reflects their passion to play together as much as their awareness of how much we would appreciate it.

The challenges and responses that would continue to arise through 2021 and even again this year display the persistence of the band and fans to find some way back to the shows. Since Phish’s first unaffected tour since 2019 recently concluded at the eleventh Labor Day run at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, it seems like an appropriate time to finally share a chronicle of all that has occurred with Phish during COVID-19.

Part II of this ongoing series follows last week's first installment. The final part will be published next week.

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Tuesday 09/06/2022 by TaylorFranklin

PHISH DURING COVID-19 - PART I

Trey in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown. Photo by Sue Anastasio.
Trey in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown. Photo by Sue Anastasio.

“Its [sic] like the whole world getting Curveballed
- @thequietone, Phantasy Tour/Phish Message Boards User

That thread title made me smile when I first saw it on March 11, 2020, as the pandemic first began to affect travel. I heard it as though from a character where you know it’s a joke, but the actor plays the part so well, the chance that he was serious is what makes it gold. How could one be so narrow-minded to compare the beginning of a global pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus to a single rock band festival cancellation? After all, following the Curveball announcement, we just had to find something else to do for the weekend, get our refunds, and blaze on to Dick's in a couple of weeks. This one-liner from PT is an appropriate place to begin because it's not lost on me that writing a history of these recent times, which have been so hard on so many, in the context of one band may seem indulgent.

That said, the pandemic affected live music perhaps as much as any other industry outside health care and education - essentially shutting down all concerts with an audience month after month beginning in March 2020. Musicians and production crews that worked on the road and in the venues would be severely impacted, and the future of the industry always felt uncertain. Even though it would be hard to find anyone who doesn’t appreciate the arts, for many fans of live music—and especially Phish—the experience offers more than just musicians on stage in the centerpiece of a big swirling production. It provides much-needed respite, camaraderie, and even catharsis when we’re lucky. Furthermore, the industry generates billions of dollars with wide-ranging effects on millions of lives.

The loss of livelihoods and outlets for joy for many was a small but significant part of the broader economic fallout from the response to the exponential spread of the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 in the last two years. In the broadest sense, the pandemic changed everything about the world we had come to take for granted. This piece has been rewritten for months and months, just getting longer as the story continued to unfold and the pandemic dragged on. After all, we are still in the midst of a constant threat of (fortunately milder) infection from ever more contagious variants (BA.5 at the time of publication). Thankfully though, much of life has readjusted to living with the virus thanks to easily available vaccines, including the concert industry.

As a band whose success and even identity have always been bound to their live performances, the pandemic challenged Phish to continue to reach their audience at a time when many would benefit the most from the distraction of chasing tour rumors, planning trips, and following setlists. Fortunately, Phish found engaging ways to keep us tuned. And when the time came, their commitment to return to the road as safely and quickly as possible likely reflects their passion to play together as much as their awareness of how much we would appreciate it.

The challenges and responses that would continue to arise through 2021 and even again this year display the persistence of the band and fans to find some way back to the shows. Since Phish’s first unaffected tour since 2019 just concluded at the eleventh Labor Day run at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, it seems like an appropriate time to finally share a chronicle of all that has occurred with Phish during COVID-19.

Read more...

Monday 09/05/2022 by phishnet

DICKS4 RECAP: DICCKULUS

[We would like to thank Reed Meschefske, @DaleCooper, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

As mentioned by Dr Stephanie Jenkins during the Thursday review, Dicks is bordeline ritual for people. The same hotel, the same lot, the same seats. Each year adds a new ring of emotions and stories, like a tree growing upward and outward.

With 2022 being announced as a four show run, these patterns were uprooted somewhat. Travel plans, vacation days, long-made hotel reservations all had minor to major adjustements made. With these changes, the weekend looked different. There was more time by the pool, or having brunch, or hiking in the mountains. This extra day allowed people to look at their traditions in a new and expanded way.

© 2022 Scott Marks
© 2022 Scott Marks

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Sunday 09/04/2022 by zzyzx

DICKS3 RECAP: THE (BEAR) LADY OR THE TIGER

Saturday night brought the 33rd time that Phish played Dick's Sporting Goods Park. If you're an Orioles fan from the 1970s, this number brings to mind Eddie Murray. A Billy Strings enthusiast would mention that 33 is a special number for him. A vinyl collection would desperately want to type "1/3" after the 33. We've made it a third of the way to 100 shows in this soccer stadium, the second most frequently played venue (MSG being the first) outside of the Burlington clubs they cut their teeth in (see The Front, Nectar's). Phish were going to spin another set in Commerce City and hopefully it would not be one to skip.

Humans are pattern-matching creatures and, if I'm being honest, when I was assigned the Saturday night slot to review, I was definitely nervous. While only sporadically backed with actual evidence, the concept of Saturday being the lame night---the proverbial "Saturday Night Special"---is ingrained in our culture as much as "Never miss a Sunday show!" is. From the perspective of a recapper, it doesn't matter much if the show is good or bad, just as long as it's notable. Fortunately Phish definitely delivered.

© 2022 Scott Marks
© 2022 Scott Marks

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Saturday 09/03/2022 by FunkyCFunkyDo

DICKS2 RECAP: LIGHTNING ROUND!

Start your engines! Stop the presses! Circle the wagons! Because we have liftoff, baby! ::ding ding!:: Mike approves. Lightning flashes in the clouds behind the stage. From the floor I tell myself I have seen this all before, but looking around at nervous eyes and phones akimbo, something doesn't quite feel right. Lightning flashes in the clouds behind the stage, closer now. Brighter. I’ve seen comet tails and tracers before - usually summoned by Kuroda’s light and edible postage stamps (USPS delivers) but these lights… I don’t know. Lightning flashes in the clouds… over the stage now. We are told to take cover. Huh, and I thought the mail didn’t come on Sundays. Good thing it's Friday.

© 2022 PHISH - Rene Huemer
© 2022 PHISH - Rene Huemer

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Friday 09/02/2022 by phishnet

DICKS1 RECAP: HOMECOMING

[We would like to thank Dr. Stephanie Jenkins, Ph.D., for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

Thursday marked the beginning of this year’s Dick’s run. I think that this exact thing happened to me just last year. For a decade.

Last night was Phish’s thirty-first Labor Day weekend show at the Commerce City venue in what is arguably the band’s longest running, most reliable tradition. Every year, since 2011, we can count on three—now four—concerts at the same place, at the same time, with our favorite band. In 2011, at the “S” show, I made a promise to myself to never miss a Dick’s show and, so far, I’ve kept that commitment.

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

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Thursday 09/01/2022 by phishnet

SURRENDER TO THE FLOW #75: COLORADO 2022

The digital version of Surrender to the Flow Issue No. 75 is available now at www.gum.co/sttf75 for free or by donation. This issue includes information about this year's Labor Day Weekend Run at Dick's---where to eat, things to do, and things you need to know about the area. The issue also contains reviews of the first half of Summer Tour 2022; articles about WaterWheel's 25th Anniversary, fans helping others, an interview with Jovi, and things to do during the day in Colorado; and regular STTF features (among other things) like recipes, My First Show, Phish Changed My Life, Everybody Loves Statistics, Read the Book book reviews, Celebrations, fan fiction, and a puzzle.

© 2022 STTF
© 2022 STTF

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Thursday 09/01/2022 by Lemuria

MOCKINGBIRD GOLF GOES VIRTUAL AGAIN

The Seventh Annual Runaway Open is booked solid at a record 120 players with waiting list enabled and we've expanded it, so that as many Phish golfers who are interested can take part in the fun and fundraising, wherever you are.

Those on-site this Saturday will be part of our largest outing yet: sixty (60!!) golf carts, 22% larger than last year, with gift bags twice the size! We've already had 6 cancellations, and been able to fill them from the waiting list. Hopefully there aren't any more conflicts, but the waiting list is now empty, so sign up if you're interested, and we'll let you know as soon as there's a spot.

And now those not coming to Denver - or not able to golf on a show day - can join a virtual tournament, using the same 18Birdies app that we used for the Fifth Annual in 2020, at the height of quarantines (and a cancelled Dick's run). You can play on any course, anytime from September 1 to September 7.

Those who participate in the provided Virtual component and make a donation of at least $50 to the Mockingbird Foundation during that window, will be sent the two limited-edition event merch items (a divot tool with a magnetic marker and pencil sharpener, and a mini bluetooth speaker, both in the same forest green of all Runaway Open merch, and both with the Runaway Open logo) and other surprises pending availability.

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Tuesday 08/23/2022 by Slewfoot

MOCKINGBIRD 2022 BACK TO SCHOOL CAMPAIGN

Hi Gang,

Hope all is well! We at The Mockingbird Foundation hope you are enjoying the Summer and staying healthy and safe. We are currently in the midst of a Back to School Campaign running through Labor Day to help ensure that music programs will be coming back on the right track. We aim to raise $50,000 to help support children’s music education throughout the country.

An incredibly generous donor has once again agreed to match the first $25,000 of donations that are made. You can make your donation by clicking on this link. Any amount - big or small - will help us reach our goal.

Used With Permission
Used With Permission

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Monday 08/15/2022 by phishnet

ALPINE3 RECAP: PHAMILY REUNION

[We would like to thank Landon Schoenefeld, user @Nomidwestlove (IG: @_colonel_mustard) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

Hey nerds! When tour dates dropped this Spring, a chime of disappointment rang through my chest with the realization that my favorite band wouldn’t be coming within 1,200 miles of my home in California. A collective shrug inevitably felt by most of my west coast brethren. Yeah, yeah, we did get eighteen amazing shows between the summer and fall of ’21 (an embarrassment of riches really), but as a card-carrying member of hardcore phans, it’s in our very nature to be disappointed at least part of the time.

Traveling for Phish is certainly nothing new for me. The older I get and the more I become comfortable in my professional life, travelling becomes part of the fun, checking off bucket list venues as if on some imaginary bingo card. But also, I’m from the Midwest, so as I scrolled through the dates, my eyes were immediately drawn to this middle weekend in August at the behemoth that is Alpine Valley. A venue that’s imprinted on the DNA of any Phish kid living in the middle of the country. Also, I could use this as an opportunity for a phamily reunion of sorts with all my homies from the great North. In addition, I happen to love lakes, brats, cheese curds and swill beer, so win-win. Of course, I bought the ticket and made the pilgrimage to this sprawling Midwestern Phish mecca. I have a bit of a storied history with this venue, many of which would be inappropriate to mention on this fine forum, so unfortunately you’ll have to wait for my tell-all book for all the dirty details. Needless to say, I’ve seen many, many shows at this place throughout the years.

Photo by Scott Marks
Photo by Scott Marks

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Sunday 08/14/2022 by phishnet

ALPINE2 RECAP: THE BETWEEN-NESS OF PHISH

[We would like to thank Doug Kaplan, user @MrDougDoug (Twitter: @hausumountain, IG: @hausumountain) for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

What’s up wooks, custies, spinners, and spunions? It’s your boy @MrDougDoug, here to share the heady scoop on Phish’s 22nd ever show at Alpine Valley, on the day of our Lord Icculus, August 13th, 2022.

Today we’re going to focus on the notion of between-ness and liminality in the Phish experience. So we aren’t focusing on what was before, or what will be after, but that undecided, undefined space in the middle . Some of the most important rituals in the life cycle – like a wedding or graduation – celebrate the passage from what was known into the unknown and can serve as essential touchpoints, unforgettable times, moments in a box.

Conversely, some of the most mundane elements of life brim with this feeling of liminality: a doctor’s office waiting room or a train station are equally marked by their between-ness, but on a less world-altering "from-where-you-were-to-where-you’re-going"-sort-of-vibe. A liminal space brims with potential energy as one moves from what was before into what could possibly be. To exist in this sort of space in the present could be disorienting, or even a little bit frightening, like standing on the edge of a cliff. But being open to this sort of zone can provide life-altering and life-afirming experiences when you lean into embracing the unknown.

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

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Saturday 08/13/2022 by phishnet

ALPINE1 RECAP: I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN IN 25 YEARS

[We would like to thank Rob Mitchum for recapping last night's show. Rob is a science and music writer in Oak Park, IL. He tweets about Phish @phishcrit, other stuff @robmitchum, and has undertaken the Sisyphean task of writing about every Phish show on its 25-year anniversary, which will take him until at least 2047…and counting. Thank you Rob! -Ed.]

When Twin Peaks came back for a miracle third season in 2017, it succeeded where many other TV show reboots failed. It reunited beloved characters, but didn’t offer up the simple comfort of familiarity. Everyone looked older – an obvious fact, but not one that television usually admits. While some characters were still stuck in their former patterns and roles, others were different in ways both surprising and frustrating. A slew of new characters were introduced, expanding the show’s world in ways that weren’t always clear. There was no easy retracing of steps, and that tension, combined with the emotional weight of a story that had been living in viewer’s heads for 25 years, made for an experience unlike any other.

© 2022 Matt Bittmann
© 2022 Matt Bittmann

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Thursday 08/11/2022 by andrewrose

TORONTO RECAP: TORONTO FROM THE TOP

Welcome to Canada y’all. Been a while. Has it? Time sure feels messy these days, and this band just keeps on plugging away blowing our minds, despite it all. In any case, I feel like there’s a lot of ways to set the context for last night’s show in Toronto. We could call back to the band’s recent history at the venue in 2019 (a show which I thought was unfairly maligned), or whether or not they’d bust out "Misty Mountain Hop," which they debuted here in 1999. And then there’s the context of this unique tour, which has at times been brilliant and, at other moments, felt like maybe the momentum of their revived post-Covid identity has been waning a bit, Trey especially. I said to a new friend before the show that, really, the biggest knock on 2022 is that it’s sitting right next to 2021 -- a year in which the band performed to a level they really had no business reaching this late in the game. So what would this tour’s Canadian stop add to the story? Would it be a throwaway gig between AC and Alpine, or a can’t-miss, out of the way gem? Where do we stand? Let’s find out…

Photo used with permission - Andrew Rose
Photo used with permission - Andrew Rose

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Monday 08/08/2022 by phishnet

AC3 RECAP: MOMENTS IN A BOX

[We would like to thank Brendan Daily, user @itsice88 (and IG: bdailysound), for recapping last night's show, which was the ninth show he's seen on this tour. -Ed.]

It’s early Monday morning. I’m sitting in a Bed & Breakfast in nearby Absecon, NJ, collecting my thoughts on the show that ended only a few hours ago, and on the greater tour at large. Feelings of gratitude, splendor, wonder etc. are all running amok through my head.

AC3 was my ninth show of this inspired tour. It’s no secret that the last two years have been an absolute joy for us Phish fans. Seemingly all the rules of set-listing are out the window, the band’s jamming is at an extremely high level, and everything just feels fresh. I’ve walked into every show I've seen this tour not knowing what to expect as the band has delivered twists and turns and major highlights nightly. After a revelatory, improvisation-laden Friday night and Saturday night party, the band was poised to deliver a top-to-bottom “complete” run in Atlantic City.

Did it finish in strong fashion? Were the Sunday Show™ vibes in full effect? Would we see Satan on the beach, trying to catch a ray?

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

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Sunday 08/07/2022 by phishnet

AC2 RECAP: HOUSE MONEY

[Today's recap is courtesy of RJ Bee of Osiris Media and HF Pod. -Ed.]

Photo by Lonny Geller
Photo by Lonny Geller

Philly. Bethel. Hartford. Jones Beach. Raleigh. MPP. Blossom! AC night one! This tour has been incredibly consistent, with few dips and many many peaks. The tour is picking up steam, and AC1 showed that they have no intention of slowing down. Relentless is the one word that comes to mind. The ballads are few and far between, most perfectly placed, the jams continue to evolve and show no signs of stalling out. And on the jams—they've finally optimized the synthesizer toys between Trey, Mike and Page, and Trey has perfected his tone, which is pushing them to innovate. They're pushing each other, and instead of a basic pattern that relies on building bliss peaks, we're getting noise rock, ambient space jazz, a mix of good and evil—new, different sounds. What every Phish fan is looking for.

But it can't possibly last, can it? Fishman, fueled by an experimental jet propulsion technology, must need a tune up at some point. Trey's shoes must need to be replaced. Does Mike have enough neon outfits? Page's sandwich supply must be dwindling. Like helicopter parents, fans are constantly pushing Phish to do more, to keep it up, to continue to deliver. But like my colleague Megan wrote, "It’s their own fault though, they keep delivering so we keep expecting it."

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