Monday, August 16, 2004

Gone Phishin' 

Somewhere upstate of here, thousands of neohippies are crying as Phish goes out with a hundred water- and fish-based puns. Their follower's clothes and bedding are filthy and damp; their cars are still stuck in the mud they lodged in Friday, when they arrived for the weekend farewell at Coventry. According to today's Brattleboro Reformer, the promoters spent 50k on mud-pull tractors and winches, but honestly, there's no hurry -- many of these folks have been on the road following the band for so long they've got nowhere to go.

Imagine if Moses came to the Isralites after the first 30 desert years and said "Okay, guys, you're on your own -- go home." Like the Jews that moment God decided to stop stopping by, Phishheads (Groupies?) have suddenly become people of the book, too.

Though I can't resist a good concert, I've never been the kind of guy to follow a band around the country. I went to my first and only Phish show at the Somerville Theater way back in '91, when the shows were still general admission and there was only one cassette to buy, and I bought it; got there early enough to snag sixth row, with drummer Jon Fishman's mom in the next seat over -- we had a nice chat between the trampolines of "Bouncing Around the Room" and the intermission animated film of "Esther." Later, I convinced my deadhead college roommate to try their show at then-nearby Albany, the famous set where they did almost all (but not quite) of the legendary Gamehenge cycle, unannounced as always -- I've always regretted not tagging along.

But the albums and live cuts will live on forever in the coffee shop soundtracks and road trip tape decks. Their jams were tight, the production lush, the energy sublime throughout their career. Their SNL self-parody several years ago, on the comeback trail after a year-long band hiatus, was a thriller; from Bathtub Gin and Fee to Back on the Train -- the track, incidentally, from whence this blog's subtitle comes -- Phish made music that stepped into the high gear of my soul. Trey, Mike, Page and Jon -- though your solo projects rock, each and every one, and will surely continue to do so, things will never be the same without you.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:33 AM |

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