In new music news, I have been living under a rock for quite some time. So of course, I didn’t find out about Phish’s reunion shows in Hampton, VA until after the fact. However, the good news about Phish in the digital era is that they offer free downloads of their live sets online now.
To be perfectly honest, I haven’t even thought about Phish in a very long time. There was a time in my life when I would check the set lists of Phish concerts daily, and bemoan concerts that I missed out on. When Phish retired in 2004, I thought it was appopriate, because I had retired that part of my life some time before then. In high school, I spent many nights memorizing lyrics to songs and thinking about what their words could mean. Although they were not the band that defined my musical tastes and preferences (that honor was held by Radiohead from the time that I picked up Pablo Honey in the seventh grade), they were nonetheless a very significant part of my adolescence and young adulthood. Phish songs took me through some tough times. When I went to Phish concerts, I felt a little bit out of place – not quite sure where I fit in with the calico patchwork skirts and dreadlocked twenty-somethings. I didn’t fit in, beyond my appreciation for their music. One of my best concert experiences ever took place my junior year of college, a Phish concert in Salt Lake with my sister Melissa – their second set they played the complete Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, and I felt it so intensely. Even if I wasn’t twirling the entire time.
After that, near-perfect concert going moment, I only attended one other Phish concert – in Las Vegas. After that, I just felt like I was done with that part of my life. I found new storytellers, like the Decemberists and their stories riddled with history and place seemed more interesting then the same tales of Gamehenge that I had been listening to for many years. I had a life that craved a little more angst than Phish could provide, so bands like Death Cab for Cutie and eventually Interpol started to make more sense. And I started craving British accents once again and those fat Vermont boys just lacked the requisite sex appeal, skinny pants and ties.
So my life moved on without Phish. But when I read about the concert this weekend and read that I could download the sets they played for free, I thought to myself, well, I will just take a look. And that is the thing – I can’t just look. Because when I saw the lists of songs, they greeted my like old friends. I had to download them all. And then I listened to them and sung along every word. The twirling will follow later.